There are therapists who specialize in treating individuals with characterological disorders who are realistic about the prognosis and, depending on the severity of the case and commitment to change, can help an individual with these problems, such as Borderline Personality Disorder, develop better impulse control, reality testing and how to consider other’s feelings and needs if only to avoid the consequences of not doing so (e.g., the loss of an important relationship).
Then there are therapists who can best be described as BPD enablers and apologists. They tell the BPD individual and her or his significant other, who is often on the receiving end of tremendous emotional, psychological, financial and/or physical abuse, that the BPD’s partner must learn to practice “radical acceptance” because the individual with BPD can’t control themselves and doesn’t know what they’re doing. They insist that the BPD’s victims need to be more understanding and empathetic of their abuser’s pain.
Unfortunately, a lot of these therapists provide services to those seeking marriage and family therapy, and it appears the bad ones far outnumber the good ones.
This attitude toward BPD individuals as victims, even when they’re perpetrating egregious abuse, is also rampant on a number of support sites that supposedly exist as resources for men and women who are being abused by spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends, friends and family members with BPD.
They are quite literally sending the message that the victims of personality disordered abusers need to react to that abuse by making themselves vulnerable to more of the same.
There is very little open discussion of just how dangerous these therapists and “support groups” are to the victims of personality disordered abusers. It is important for people to know how to spot this problem in professionals, and in supposed support groups. It is the only chance they have of obtaining help from people who are actually interested in ending abuse rather than perpetuating it.
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Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.
Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.
Heart Broken Geek says
My ex found the therapist her parents worked with at a state mental hospital for 30 years. Who told her everything she did was right and I should just be more understanding.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Seeing that therapist should have been a conflict of interest given the shrink was friends with mommy and daddy.
Heart Broken Geek says
I tried explaining that to both her and him. They both looked at me like I just did a magic trick.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
I’m guessing the wormy apple that is your ex didn’t fall too far from the tree.
Heart Broken Geek says
No, her mother was raised by an extremely abusive baptist preacher and his manipulative wife. Her mom’s mom, until the day she died, pitted my ex’s mother and all of her siblings against each other, sat back and enjoyed the mayhem.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Which is very similar to what your ex is doing now with the children you share with her. This is why it’s so important to break the intergenerational cycle of abuse.
Heart Broken Geek says
I am trying. I really am. 🙁
Dr Tara Palmatier says
I know you are, HBG. It would be nice if the courts would actually do what is in the best interest of the children for a change.
Heart Broken Geek says
I don’t have high hopes for hat happening. What I EXPECT will happen is the judge will look at the massive amount of information the GAL has, with his recommendation and say “Mrs. HBG, you will have custody but you need to do XY and Z better.” To which she will nod her head and then go on screwing me over.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
I hope not, but that does seem to be how most Family Court judges roll.
Therapsists are a lot like plumbers.
1. They vary widely in experience and expertise.
2. We automatically confer “expert” status on them.
3. A bad one can do more harm than good.
4. You only look for one when you’re in crisis.
5. You shoot craps by going with the first one who returns your call.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Is this your “Shit Happens Theory,” Mell? (plumbing pun)
I was seeing a therapist for nearly 2yrs. I knew she was a little liberal (I’m very middle of the road, lib on some things, conservative on others).
I didn’t realize how liberal (and feminist) she was but kept feeling frustrated b/c I would tell her what the ex did, or what some crazy woman did on a date, and she asked ‘well what are you doing to these women?’ and I thought, wow, I’m a complete gentleman and pretty nice guy…have my defects but nothing deserving of being slapped on a date or financially raped by the ex, parental alienation syndrome, etc.
I slowly realized too that as a guy, if I did something not in line with her value system, it was very bad…but if a woman did it, well okay whatever. Then she put some kind of diagnosis or label on me I think PTSD or ADD or something…and it ended up being a medical condition that causes fatigue & fybromalgia-like symptoms and is fairly easily treated. When I started feeling better, she got really concerned/worried and was practically trying to talk me out of feeling better. The therapist also contacted people at work and people I know, I believe(?) in an attempt to make things better, but her labeling & breaking confidentiality caused enormous problems at work, and, alienated friends and co-workers. It really caused substantial problems and I am cleaning up the damage she has done, but I’m not sure it can be reversed at this point.
Bottom line is, most therapists are good for about 2-3 sessions then they end up becoming detrimental and self-fulfilling prophesizers who can mess up your life FUBAR. I recommend going to a church or minister or even a bar to talk about your problems before going to a therapist b/c many are old-school, feminist psychologists and are clueless to many things including modern science & medicine.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Ministers and pastors can be just as damaging. Cuatezon, once you realize that a date, girlfriend or therapist is toxic or damaging, the responsibility is on you to pull the ripcord.
There are non-feminist therapists out there. You just need to adequately screen for them.
Itza Sekret says
I spent some time talking with a well respected relationship/marriage counselor about when SHTF with Ex. This counselor listened to a bunch of history, and got me to read a bit about BPDs. AhhHaa! All the crazy suddenly started making sense.
Then the DSM was revised to soften it’s characterization of NPD/BPD.
Then the counselor I had been talking to suddenly forgot anything she knew about the phrase “Borderline Personality Disorder” and started selling me on “Bipolar”… cuz apparently the revised DSM still “allowed” her to talk about that.
Thank God I knew the DSM was under revision or I would have been seriously derailed by that counselor’s flip flop. And I wasted a whole session reminding her what business had already been settled.
A year, or so, later I actually met someone who I now can characterize as hypomanic bipolar. (Yes, I see the pattern…)
The two afflictions are nothing alike.
Realizing now that the counselor likely set aside years of experience and changed her counsel based on the DSM’s revison I believe that it’s not as simple as just being alert for excessively feminist sympathies.
And I quickly bailed out of the hypomanic bipolar thing. I’m way more alert to the little signs of maladaptive coping in a person’s life now.
Touche! I hear the responsibility message you’re expressing here. However, as many cluster Bs do, these professionals are adept at masking their identities & motives and value systems. Stealthy. I really did not know how much so…and I was in need of talking to someone face-to-face. Bottom line is, self-reliance and group-support are more effective & generally safer alternatives.
Thank you, Dr Tara. I have a BPD mother and it is really difficult, especially with my father’s unrealistic view of her capacity and justification of her. I think that I will have to cut relations with her, what is a sad thing, especially because of my father.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Ending a relationship with an abusive family member, especially a parent, can be very difficult. Here’s a link to an article I wrote on this topic that might be helpful:
Thank you again, Dr Tara.The major difficulty is the rejection and the justification of people to an unhealthy person.
I’ll ask her to seek treatment, but it is unlikely that she will accept, in fact she will only get more angry. Anyway, I need to protect myself.
I won’t be able to attend live, so here are some things I would like to see discussed by Tara and Paul, if possible:
1) Could Borderline Personality Disorder be a spectrum disorder as hypothesized by Dr. Randy Sansone? If so, how does this affect (or should it affect) the way we treat those diagnosed with BPD as parents/siblings/significant-others or in counseling? http://www.avoiceformen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2011/03/Fibromyalgia-and-Borderline-Personality-Theoretical-Perspectives-Sansone.pdf .
2) Men need to be able to readily identify Borderlines and those who fit the DSM-IV Cluster B criteria to avoid becoming involved with them in the first place. Women with “Cluster B” characteristics are usually the ones that cause the most trouble for men — Superficial charm and hyper-sexuality of borderlines make them alluring until the distortion campaigns start
(google angiemedia borderline distortion campaigns).
(google shari schreiber articles )
The question: what is the panel’s opinion on the best approach in dealing with those with BPD in relationships or counseling and what would the panel suggest in terms of resources (books and online resources) so that a non-BPD partner can get “healthy help.” What questions should a non-BPD partner ask of a counselor or therapist prior to entering therapy with their BPD significant other so that they can avoid being further damaged by therapist bias/enabling/apologetics?
2) Discuss the subversion of psychotherapy by feminists:
a) softening the descriptive language: Changes in the DSM-IV-TR versus the DSM-V. — Borderline Personality is now “Emotional Regulation Disorder” Does the language matter?
b) Why the Whitewashing by BPD apologists? What are their individual/social/political goals? I’ve notices articles in the media, some which attempt to whitewash the disorder, for example:
(google dailykos borderline personality disorder heroic martyr or emotional vampire)
(google scientific american the truth about borderline personality is often flawed)
(google good therapy should we abolish the diagnosis of borderline personality)
What should we think about articles like this?
3) What critical thinking strategies can non-BPD individuals apply so as to be fair-minded and bias-free in their choices regarding and in their approach to therapists, their BPD significant others and to their own mental health?
Red Frog says
I was a called a cheater over a $3.00 polo shirt! lmao
Red Frog says
Stop I’m having a flashback! She even had red hair lol
Missed the show live.
Were you referring to the omission of Self-defeating personality disorder (also known as masochistic personality disorder) from the DSM-IV?
“Exclusion from DSM-IV
Historically, masochism has been associated with feminine submissiveness. This disorder became politically controversial when associated with domestic violence which was considered to be mostly caused by males. However a number of studies suggest that the disorder is common. In spite of its exclusion from DSM-IV in 1994, it continues to enjoy widespread currency amongst clinicians as a construct that explains a great many facets of human behaviour.”
Hi Dr. T: It’s oddly ironic that you posted this particular topic today. I had actually been thinking of writing you an email to discuss a book I recently finished reading. Entitled: “overcoming borderline personality disorder” – I found this book to be a giant volume of how to enable your borderline, how to take the abuse, and how to make their experience of pain far more important than your own. At first, I thought the book was helpful until I reached the sections on “Validation”. Now, this is something that I experienced with my bpdex quite a bit towards the end of our relationship. What I heard on a nearly day from her is: “You need to validate my emotions and my experiences”. This was always dumbfounding for me. Mainly because she would want me to validate and acknowledge experiences that never happened – things that I never said or intended – and a reality that just wasn’t so. “Overcoming Borderline Personality” states that you’re supposed to validate these experiences for your BPD whether you agree with them or not. The more I read over in this section, the more it just seemed like a giant recipe for accepting abuse and enabling bad behavior. And furthermore, to give up any personal boundaries you might have for yourself.
This book was written by Valierie Porr. I believe she is a big spokesperson for the TARA group – an advocacy group for people with BPD and the people that love them. Without being too judgmental, she seems like one of the very apologists you talk about in this segment of your program.
I’d be really curious to hear your thoughts on TARA and the people that take part in it. If you enroll in one of those programs (for people supporting and coping with a loved one with BPD) aren’t you only adding to the problem by actually learning techniques that amount to enabling the very behavior you’re trying to avoid in your bpd loved
Thanks Dr. T. Awesome episode btw.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
I am familiar the the book you mention by Valerie Porr and agree with you. It should be retitled, “Enabling Borderline Personality Disorder,” especially her take on radical acceptance.
Itza Sekret says
My working theory is that BPs go thru life trying to reconcile their need for “re-parenting” (‘cuz their real parents prob sucked) with their need to find a mate. The concept of radical acceptance I liken to “re-parenting”. The need for finding a mate often runs into…. accountability. And then the crazy gets out….
After which… some therapists seem to confuse the needs of “adult mate of BP” with responsibilities they imagine for “idealized re-parent of BP”. And their advice is thusly compromised.
Some books that helped me alot:
Surviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds and Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self-Esteem
The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships
The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms
Perhaps Borderline Personality Disorder should be renamed for what it REALLY is: Entitled Impossible Brat Disorder and then see how much “validation” these people can garner! 😉
It’s high time people woke up from the feminist opiate and realized, “The Empress has no clothes!”
I’ve always felt more comfortable with my male friends because they generally accepted me as an equal and my interests seem to jibe with theirs. Truthfully, I’ve never had the slightest interest in feminine ploys, games, and gossipy “girl talk,” all aimed at “getting” a man (read: throwing out a lasso and reeling him in, so he can “look after you” for the rest of your life while you do as you please, spending all his hard-earned cash.)
When I find myself among my fellow women, I’m often dismayed at the way they ridicule men, put them down, trash them verbally and generally agree that most men are just about as useful as a male drone ant in the colony: a hapless insect whose sole purpose is to fertilize a queen ant and then die. 🙁 I find the feminist vitriol towards men very depressing and disturbing. While I agree that women and men should earn equal pay for equal work, feminism has morphed into little but female bullying, in my humble opinion.
Thank you for your sincerity, Seeker. Happiness just may come if society allow men to be men and women to be women, but the feminist movement want to force men to be like a women and women to be like men, not a surprise the high level of depression in the western world.
About the equal pay, you find some answers about that here: http://www.warrenfarrell.net/Summary/
Thanks AG! Very well-spoken: Let men be men and women be women and ALL are happier! The Warren Farrell link is a keeper and quite intriguing to read.
I say take it one step further and say let people just be themselves. If a woman is more masculine and bold, hey that’s great…if a guy is kinda timid and shy or ‘soft’, hey let him be if that is who he is and how God/Creator/Whatever made him. Unfortunately, so many have their agendas and pre-conceived notions of how people ‘should be’ and then the invalidation and anti-affirmation set in. Live and let live its pretty simple…but miserable people have to spread their contempt and misery with others…
I agreed with you, maybe we should create a new movement called “Right to be Different”.
People need to realize that both sexes are different and bring happiness to BOTH sexes means respecting the differences between genders.
I share a lot of Seeker’s sentiments. I’m not feminist and I’m 53 years old and lived through the feminist movement. I thought the feminist movement had fizzled out until a few years ago when I went to work for a university and noticed that the Dept. Head had several very demoralizing cartoons on her door directed at both men and women. It was very ugly and childish. Women were bashed for wearing lipgloss and men were bashed for everything else. When a grad student in our dept got married and had a traditional Christian wedding, the dept head attempted to walk out and I had a fit and made her sit and be respectful. I thought were were in the 21st century but apparently, there a a group of women out here that are extremely bitter and defensive and always trying to prove that they are capable of doing everything themselves and abuse other women and castrate men along the way.
This is my first time posting and visiting this site. I wanted to comment on the video which for the most part found very helpful as I’m a female married to a man with NPD and BPD and the most horrible PA behaviors that have all but killed me and I’m not being dramatic. I’m serious. It has taken me a very long time to fully understand what I’ve been enduring because until two years ago, all of my/our therapists minimized the abuse that I’ve been enduring and led me down a very long road of false and destructive hope. Ironically, it was the amazing wisdom and insight and professionalism of a young intern that not only educated me about what I had been enduring but also how to protect myself and how to to action to prevent further damage. My life has been been permanently damaged and although I am currently packing to leave, I will forever be paying for my choice to marry this man and stay with him as long as I did. Please heed my warning and get out of these draining, exhausting and abusive relationships. If you end up like me, isolated with no family or friends anymore and having to start over completely alone without any support, it’s hell and I mean it takes every micron of spirit and energy that I can muster on a daily basis to get out of here. Also, I agree with the Dr. that the root of this is sociopathy.
This was a great episode.
It’s so rare to find a really excellent couples counselor. When I was married, my wife and I went to one for about a year that really helped us to communicate better at a time where we had some major issues. It wasn’t enough to save the marriage but I think we got to the point that we could talk through any subject. And we have an amazingly good friendship. It was rough going but with two people being open, honest and giving a sincere effort counseling can really work wonders. But not with a BPD partner…
Since that time, having dated a person who exhibits a lot of BPD traits and caused me a living hell, I tried three different couples counselors with her and each experience ended up enabling her, and shutting me down just like you talked about. It was awful actually. It seems most counselors really aren’t mentally equipped to handle a person with BPD. They operate under this false assumption that we’re all on a level playing field and following the same rules being honest and sincerely trying. And my feeling is they seem quite biased towards the man. You know, maybe they’ve never actually met the devil incarnate!
One counselor was completely naive and dismissive about the severity and unpredictability of the verbal and mental abuse I described to her. She was the school of thought that it was about our “dynamic” and I must be doing something that triggers her.
I finally had to say to this counselor, “Look, you know when you just asked me ‘how I’m feeling’, how would it affect you right now if I stood up screaming my answer at the top of my lungs implying how stupid you were for asking me that. Wouldn’t you consider that totally inappropriate on my part, and that you are not at all responsible for triggering my response by asking a simple question? Because that’s the sort of behavior I’m subjected to.”
The point was made but she never once tried to deal with my partners overreactions that went exactly like that. This same therapist was upset that I came to therapy with a list of specific instances of verbal abuse that I wanted dealt with, when I was supposed to provide a generic “what I want from the relationship list.” It was pointless to continue with her.
easy going guy says
I want to know how to leave my controlling woman who has threatened me. We have had on again/off again relationships for over five years but I am at her beck and call. I don’t have a life other than what she plans for me. Help. Can I just walk out… Tell her it’s over?
I read a comment at Lovefraud today in which a male socio had an affair with a female colleague. After he was reported by several people, he was so slick that he actually got everyone that reported him fired by convincing the big boss he was a poor, innocent victim. The genders were reversed, but the tactic was the same. Another commenter detailed how her significant other’s ex-gf stalked isolated her from her friends and colleagues.
This is a little off topic, but I was thinking of apologists in the work place because of what I saw at Lovefraud. My brother in law just left nursing largely due to the drama created by female nurses at every facility he’d ever worked at. My twin sis and I had the same experience in working in medical facilities, and I say this as a woman, but until my current job I hated working with large groups of women. (I’m now a teacher at a very calm, very dedicated school.)
Do you think women in insular or relatively small groups are more likely to be apologists for crazy b’s? It seems like it only takes one to whip everyone else into a righteous fury.
A narcissistic commonly makes use of rational means to manipulate while a borderline makes use of emotional means.
A narcissist will lie or make threats to get what they want, for them life is like a big chess and people are like the pieces of the game, their goal is always to take advantage of others and achieve pleasure.
A borderline is like a child that has not grown, always afraid of being alone, the borderline lives in fear of being abandoned. Moreover, they are hyperemotional, anything is a great offense and threat. As a child, the borderline makes use of emotions and self victimization to get what they want. This is why therapists are so protective of borderline because they can not see through their lies and exaggerated behavior.
Today’s society, with values such as greed and selfishness being encouraged by the media, only fuels this kind of behavior. In simpler and remote community, people tend to have fewer mental disorders and are happier, because they do not have great pressures regarding achieve success and wealth.
I didn’t realize the two different methods used by these two types of sick people. Thanks for clarifying. I am guessing the emotional/borderline is harder to deal with because tears are more effective at appealing to a man’s innate good nature, protectiveness and kindness. I suspect a great deal of the emotional “trauma” that these BDs display is actually theatrics and perhaps a chess game at the core too? Just more Kleenex involved…:P
Some borderline are so sick that it seems that they no longer know the difference between truth and lie. They live dominated by distressing emotions and anything is an offense. They suffer, it is true; but any reason is a cause for suffering. It’s like their mind is dominated by great attachment and anger. It’s not like they were pretending, but they are superemotional; like a child who is always crying, scared and waiting for attention.
AG- spot on. This is what I have lived with for years with my husband. His entire perception of everything is seen only through emotion and he has no ability to reason or be logical. He’s reactive like an egocentric child and everything is all or nothing, all right or all wrong and he is either a victim or he’s a hero. There’s never any attempt to view anything or anyone with reason or logic. Either he gets his way or he gives up and he will argue for something with the most insane excuses. One time he got angry because I was moving some flammable things away from our woodstove and he accused me of hating those things and having a grudge against them. ” Why do you hate that basket? Why do you hate newspapers?” Trying to explain to him that they could catch fire is pointless and quite frankly, makes me feel insane!
I also went through similar experiences with my mother. Borderline people possess great attachment not only to people but also to objects.
Something I noticed also that there is no reason or argument with borderlines, and, as you said, it is very difficult to keep calm with people who are so sick.
My mother has shown sadistic attitudes, for example, she did something that made me angry, then she said she thought beautiful to see me angry. And if someone asks about it, she will say I’m lying or exaggerating.
It’s so nice to know someone who can understand what I’m dealing with. I too have a mother with NPD and although I’ve severed ties with her for many years, I still get triggered by certain experiences that start the tape replaying in my head. I think I’ve done well considering but I know that I’ll never be completely healed from the damage.
The husband issue is much much worse and I’m having a really difficult time ..my physical health and mental health are suffering and I’m doing my best to get out of here as fast as I can. The problem I’m dealing with at the moment is that his therapist is empowering him to assert himself and it’s manifesting in the worst ways. His abuse has escalated as a result and it’s taking one hell of a toll on me.
Very interesting about the ‘ objects’ that you mentioned. YES, I’ve noticed this and it’s very bizarre.
Thanks for clarifying, AG. Understanding these personality disorders is rather new for me but I am learning a lot in this forum. I think your analogy about the child always crying and scared is great.
Good to help you, Seeker, Best to avoid borderline and narcissistic people.
“Today’s society, with values such as greed and selfishness being encouraged by the media, only fuels this kind of behavior. In simpler and remote community, people tend to have fewer mental disorders and are happier, because they do not have great pressures regarding achieve success and wealth.”
Absolutely!! Great observation.
I recently had my final divorce from a person with BPD and I must say , my marriage was 5 months my divorce took a year because she wanted half of everything I worked for 26 years, False Domestic Violence charges , dropped , she got very little in the end compared to my net worth , the smear campaign was endless, and still on going , they went as far as taking my laptop to the FBI to get me fired. This is after I found out about he past cocaine convictions and other crimes, and exposed her, its was a battle but I fought tooth and nail , 30,000 in attonery fees, but I did not lay down , there is no justice in the court room for a man , I believe this know , I should have known because on our wedding night she told my daughter ” I’m meanier than you are your not going to win ” that set the tone 5 months later I had to just walk away , the hardest thing I ever had to do , knowing there would be a cost , If I listed the things she would say and do , most of you would get sick to your stomach , you can survive it though. No contact is the best thing you can do , if you have kids god bless you. This site has been the best thing I ever found for getting through the hump. I’m wounded and feel it but know at least for me I did the right thing . Time does heel all wounds but it should never replace what you learned from divorcing crazy.
Tom, I empathize with you. My brother recently divorced a narcissist with BPD and it was hell for him. He too suffered horrible financial consequences and he has two daughters as well. I recently saw his ex’s FB page and I almost vomited. She was half naked, obviously posing for male attention and her children’s photos were overlayed on top of her photo on the page as well. I hope my brother hasn’t seen this page.
I’m divorcing a man ( won’t call him a husband) that has N and BPD and it’s so much worse now than it ever has been because I’m leaving. Part of the problem is his incompetent therapist who is giving him assertiveness training. She believes that he’s a gentle passive man that is married to an aggressive abusive monster and needs to learn to protect himself. So now his abuse has escalated. What I live with is truly insane and it takes every bit of strength to endure this right now. He’s already tried to poison me ( can’t prove malice) , harm our dogs ( who are now dead) and he has destroyed us financially but is now doing so with even more fury.
There is no justice in any courtroom anymore Tom. Even though it’s been common practice for courts to perceive women as helpless victims , I think that courts are so inundated with so much nonsense that they really don’t protect anyone anymore. When my parents divorced when I was a child, I saw what my mother did to my father- including using me as a pawn to hurt him so I always had a lot of compassion for decent fathers with bitter hateful wives and how the courts reduced them to part time fathers. In those days, it was very rare that a man ever got custody and even today I think courts just default to joint because they don’t want to give men full custody. Sometimes men are their own worst enemies in these domestic situations. I think a lot of attorneys (men and women) still think that women are better caregivers than men. I’m a woman but to be frank, I don’t feel that I have the upper hand in my situation because my husband is a covert abuser and it’s very difficult to prove malice in much of what he does. I on the other hand am assertive and confrontational and will openly address our problems but then get accused of being aggressive and attacking him. I’m always between a rock and a hard place.
What was odd in my case is that her therapist told her I took advantage off her fathers passing, wow nice work by her. How sick is that , as far as the courts your correct , her Attorney’s only concern was that he needs to get paid , and my wife who works as a Park ranger who has free housing was an indigent , so I got stuck fighting my self in court what a joke and the judge was just blind lie after lie was told in court and she was busted . I’m am filing a bar complaint against her Attorney though because they both went to the FBI to turn over my laptop and I do work in a highly secure area. Within in a week of marriage I was a $$% idiot , by the end she claimed to her Uncle with me right their that we have nothing in common , he rises and say’s she married you for money but will never leave you, wow. By the end I was so beaten down emotionally I lost 20 pounds ready to just walk away sell everything and go to Alaska . Now after realizing I was the one trying to communicate , trying to understand what was happening and how I can make it work out , the best thing I ever did was fight my ass off and call her out in court every step of the way , it made me realize what kind of person she really was , hard because I blamed myself for how she was mistake #1, Her first motion to the court was that I told her she never had to work again , she’s 50 by the way , nice gig if you can get it. But talking does help , but I limited it to two of my closes friends the whole time , and her not knowing what I was up to was making her more nut’s, driving by, taking my mail, trying to break into my house , having her nut job friends drive by relentless, her Attorney told mine at one point that she has witches in her ears and was eager to settle , she even drove him nuts. I could write a book about this , I do want to advocate for False Allegations of Domestic Violence , though , I did not see her for 7 months when it happened to me , cops at my door took all my guns , all lies , If I had the money I would file a civil suit in against her for that . All I can say now is that you control your future being between a rock and a hard place is now way to live, I’m alone now but never lonely, new doors will always open if you put yourself out their , but if you step on one eggshell step back and really take a look at where your walking.
I haven’t seen any mention of online support forums. Back in 2005 to 2009 or so I had a very positive experience with a support forum for family members of BPD individuals. I was in the “chosen relationships” section and migrated into the “divorcing” group. More recently I returned to the group to retrieve some of my posts because I was constructing time lines of my marriage for use by divorce attorney.
The site had changed radically. Moderators quickly told me that saying anything negative about a person with BPD was strictly prohibited. Then I was told that because I refused to take responsibility for my role in my own abuse, that I was BPD myself! I was amazed to be gaslighted on a support forum by the head moderator. The lunatics had completely taken over the asylum and the forum was now being run to the benefit of people with BPD, seemingly to support and encourage their abusive behaviors. Shockingly, the site claims to be supported by Randi Krieger, author of the seminal “Stop Walking on Eggshells”.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
A lot of men and women on the S4M forum have had a similar experience with BPDFamily.com. In fact, one of them has suggested that Krieger re-title her book, “Learn How to Be Better at Walking on Eggshells.”
I had the exact same thought myself! And yet, BPDFamily was very helpful to me for about 5 years. I became pen pals with one of the forum members, who fled to Australia to escape a court order to pay more than his current income in alimony to a BPD ex wife. He had an extradition trial but escaped only because he married an Australian woman. He and I both have the honor of being banned from BPDFamily.
I should mention that my ex was “successfully” treated for BPD. With a team of a psychologist and psychiatrist, 15 years of therapy and daily Zoloft and Clonapin, succeeded in bringing her down to zero BPD symptoms. Instead, she “only” manifests narcissistic traits. I wish I had known she would never become mentally healthy. If anything, she more dangerous because she is more organized and not delusional and thereby far more effective in her manipulations.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Ha! There’s a whole bunch of banned BPDFamily.commers who belong to my forum. In fact, one of my mods is a banned member. They were all banned for similar reasons. Namely, they didn’t want to tolerate the abuse of their BPD spouse, ex or ex of their spouse and refused to tow the party line of zero accountability for and mollycoddling of the BPD abuser.
I think of BPDs as self-pitying bumbling sociopaths. I can absolutely see how treatment makes some of them more dangerous. I’m sorry to read that you appear to be gearing up for an ugly divorce.
I think many BPDs who go to therapy are like rattlesnakes without rattles. The behaviors that used to warn people of danger–cutting, extreme raging, suicidal threats, etc–are removed, but they are every bit as toxic, you just don’t hear them coming.
Having been an enabeler, it staggers my mind the complexity of what it entalis. Thanks to Al Anon, this group helps to come to grips with it…
and be around others that are dealing with recovery.
Dr T opened my eyes and put me on the road to freedom and recovery.
There are many rungs on the ladder that have come to help me as well. The book Codependent No More has been a godsend to me,turning bus rides into learning/theraputic experiences.
Don`t give up……..Dr T is always there to help and give the grounding needed to clear up the big picture.
I want to share the story of my friend Steph (whom I’ve known for about 7 years) I have seen her go in and out of three relationships, all following the same route — I love this man, he is my life-I feel insecure in the relationship for no real actual reason- I hate this man, he treats me terribly but as a martyr I want him all for myself– she also does the same with friendships. I am not as close to her as we used to because I simply can’t. I always noticed that her behavior was what was causing her misery, since she refused to seek therapy, I tried to hear out and point out how her behavior was illogical, but she did not like that, she felt attacked and betrayed by my counseling. I know her last boyfriend incredibly well, we’re all from a tight circle of friends, and he was clearly emotionally abused, nothing he ever did was enough and I know for a fact that he tried his best but I would always tell him to get away from her because she abuses and manipulates men and no matter what he does, he will never be good enough. They finally broke up with a whole lot of drama, she was even violent and forced him to say that he did not love her, and she checked herself in a mental hospital and Anthony is staying away from her (me and my boyfriend are keeping him company to avoid him give in to her “let’s talk about it”) We all agree (me, Anthony and My boyfriend) that she displays clear BPD symptoms but she is not clinically diagnosed, she is clinically diagnosed with bi-polar and eating disorder but I strongly believe that those are products of BPD. My question is, I want to help her out,and I want to be able to contact the mental facility and give them outsiders perspective so that she can receive the proper treatment, would that be helpful at all?
My wife’s enabler is her mother, a councillor, ‘psychic medium’ and local mayor. My wife goes to her with complaints about my “behaviour” or my immediate families “bad behaviour” towards my wife (all in her head), agrees with all she is told and then they tag team attack me and my parents/sister.
So my MIL is my wife’s therapist and enabler. What FUN!
She won’t see another therapist, why should she when she has one on hand 24/7? I mentioned that I should go to therapy but she doesn’t want me to “they will tell you to leave me”. Duh you think!?
Two BPD women encouraging each other to attack people weaker than them. They both agree that what they are doing is right and just. It is like they are each others conscience. If mum/daughter says what I am doing is right, then I am right! Once a year they verbally attack each other which means they don’t talk to each other for a month, and MIL ignores her Grandchildren.
My family and I hardly ever had arguments with anyone until we joined with her family, and now it is a monthly occurrence for them and endless for me. She wants me to cut all ties with my family, logs on to my facebook and blocks them and tells me I should be phoning them up and “have it out with them”. If I refuse (because the wife’s upset is something crazy she has concocted) she says I am not supporting her, and yells at me “I am your WIFE!” She thinks that because we are married I should stick up for her at all cost, right or wrong. I used to be a deer in a headlight, but now this site is helping and I can see they are both crazy.
I had Randi Krieger herself admonish me for a comment I made on her site. It was nearly a year after I posted the comment, but she emailed me. I apologized because the comment was written in anger, but i did find it odd that she took it so personally.
I’m not a full on Krieger basher. Her book is useful is many ways, especially if you’re forced to deal with a Borderljne because of a child the way I am. But I agree with most people here that it’s probably inevitable that the best strategy is to cut bait–even with children involved. My son is 15 and is pretty much a proxy for his mother’s manipulations. I can tell he wants a normal relationship with me, but he’s caught between his mother’s emotional abuse and a father who has built a wall to protect himself from a very troubled and destructive woman. (My son is an entrapment baby.)
I spent 9 years working with a therapist who didn’t truly understand BPD. I wonder how different my life would have been had the therapist looked at me and said, “Prepare yourself to have to walk away. It may be your best chance for a peace of mind.” I suspect that if I had put walking away on the table early on, my son’s mother would have behaved differently. At the very least, I would have been able to work on something concrete like my guilt around not being in my son’s life more. As it stands, I’m still going through the hell of my guilt and I’ve been manipulated and exploited by a borderline for 15 years. I say to any guy who realizes he’s dealing with a borderline–RUN FOR YOUR LIFE. You can deal with the mess once you’re far away from the danger.
My BPD ex and I tried to go to couples counseling. She did the shopping. We went to one counselor. My ex did not like what he had to say. He was basically calling her out. So we went to another that she shopped. My ex’s job benefits paid for it. She approved of her so I felt “dragged to it. She was a ” weekend part time Saturday therapist.” I bet she had no experience in BPD. So sessions were filled with my exes “crocodile tears.” Once counseling started boy she could cry on command. I am sure it was a quick buck for the conselor, but a waste of time for me. The conselor basically told me that I needed to have more sex and be more intimate with my ex. Really? So her reward for abuse and manipulation should be sex? We never got to the real issues. After we broke up, she told me she was seeing her as an individual counselor to work through “her issues.” Can we say ENABLER? My ex once told me that her counselor thinks I am a Narcissist. Can we say projection? I asked my counselor who I am paying for. If I showed any signs of Narcissism. She said no. I do wonder now that my ex has a new boyfriend/enabler she can show a sign of normalcy to her “fake friends” on social media if she stopped counseling. I am working on myself and fixing my issues and not getting a “band-aid” to fix my wounds and not thinking of dating for a while. Spending time talking to friends and getting closer to family who she tried to alienate me from.
The self proclaimed “awesome mom” has a new man in month or two after we broke up. (Child is not legally or biologically mine and we lived together.) Talk about messing up your kid. Kid is 10 years old now. Which she babies and infantizes or makes him act like a partner. OUCH. Wait till he becomes a teenager. The kid is already developmentally delayed socially due in part to mom not letting him have a social life.
I am at a loss and am not sure where to go from here. I mean, I know what I should do, but taking that step is difficult. I’ve been married for ten years to a woman I strongly suspect has BPD. We have two children together. If I’m not mistaken, her mother has been diagnosed with either BPD or NPD. She abused my wife when she was a child, but her father refused to do anything about it. I don’t see the typical rage with her that I see many other commenters talk about it, but the manipulation, idealization/devaluation, unstable personal relationships, fear of rejection and abandonment, and impulsivity are there. She has attempted suicide at least twice that I’m aware of, though both incidents occurred prior to our relationship. She spends very little time with our children, preferring instead to spend her time in bed. There are days when she will only get out of bed for maybe an hour at the most. She’s not always sleeping, but sometimes she is. She blames this on what a neurologist diagnosed as cluster headaches (specifically, TAC headaches). She had an EEG, an ultrasound, and CAT scan performed, none of which found any abnormalities (I’m thinking he only diagnosed her based on her symptoms). She had a sleep study done once, and all they could say was that she had allergies. She’s also begun wondering lately if she has multiple sclerosis or even Alzheimers (she’s in her early 30’s). There are times I try to wake her up when she’s having one of these headaches and it almost seems as though she’s not there (like the lights are on, but nobody’s home). I can tell her things when I wake her up, but later, she has no recollection of me telling her anything, or of even talking to me. She even eats all of her meals in bed. Throughout our marriage, I have always been the one to have to do all the grocery shopping (I should point out that, since our twins were born nine years ago, she has not worked), helping our children with their homework, planning meals (either cooking or going to pick up fast food. I don’t think she’s cooked in probably three or four years), getting our children ready for bed, bringing her drinks and snacks while she’s in bed, etc. I know I’m enabling her behavior by doing these things, but someone has to do them. She’s never been diagnosed with BPD. She went to a few visits with a therapist and he diagnosed her with bipolar 2. Her psychiatrist then put her on medication for it. Currently, she’s on Adderall ER, Valium (she was on Xanax until recently), and Prozac. The medications don’t seem to be helping anything. Despite the Adderall, she still stays in bed all the time. Her psychiatrist has recently recommended that she start going to therapy again (she stopped going to the last one because 1.) it bothered her that he moved to a different office, which wasn’t far from his old one, and 2.) he told her her thinking was irrational). I sent a letter to her psychiatrist detailing many of the things that had been going on. The letter stretched to ten pages, and I still felt like I was leaving out a lot of details. After reading the letter, he recommended I begin coming to her appointments with her so that he can get a clearer view of what’s going on besides the cherry-picked viewpoint she’s providing him with. Any time she does something wrong, she skews it to where it’s someone else’s fault and she was just the innocent victim. Most of the time, she puts the blame on me. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even want to have sex with her anymore because she’s just so completely devoid of life. I realize this is rambling and kind of disjointed, but I simply don’t have the room to provide all the details I’d like to. Do any of you have experiences with BPD individuals who are always claiming that they’re sick or who stay in bed most of the time? The reason I ask is if there is something genuinely wrong with her, I’d feel like a huge asshole for leaving her, but at the same time, I feel like I’m being held hostage. Thanks for any help you guys can give me.