Think DH has borderline personality disorder - seeking advice(18 Posts)
After many years of putting up with VERY erratic behaviour, I have realised that my DH (or not so DH!) has BPD. He is a classic case: addictions, erratic actions, falling out with EVERYONE.
However, prior to our marriage, he knocked drinking on the head and apart from a few lapses over the past 15 years (usually on business trips) he has abstained from alcohol. He stopped cutting years ago though had self-harmed often from his teens to his early 20s.
So, he's made some big efforts to change over the years and had long periods of 'normalcy'.
However, since we've had children, he has become a nightmare and he is getting worse. We are now at a point where we have lost many friends, and he has no relationship with any of his family members.
Our daughter does sport and he is awful if she does not perform as he thinks she should. It is this aspect that has led me to push back (ie not walk on eggshells any longer). I cannot let him bully the children.
He is very aware of his behaviour but he is also a bit in victim mode. "Friends took and didn't give blah blah." I can see why people run away, I'd stop being his friend in a heartbeat. Sadly, I'm married to him and have two kids so I HAVE to deal with it.
He WILL NOT want to seek a diagnosis. He has a high-paying job and he will fear any impact on his career.
I'm at my wits end, and feeling very alone.
Hi OP - I broke up with my P a few weeks ago & having done tonnes of reading I'm now convinced he has BPD. He hooked me in with the charm & kept it up for about a year, then practically overnight he became erratic, hostile & to be blunt I was scared of him. The final straw for me was when I told him that he scared me & he went bananas at me. Which made me even more scared! So I finished it. According to the reading I have done it takes ages to detach from BPD partners, & boy are they right! I'm still aching for him, despite knowing he's wrong for me. I'm going to see a hypnotherapist on Friday to see if that helps! Just wanted to say I understand how horrible it is & you definitely aren't alone.
Thanks ohlamour. You are doing the right thing. Stay strong! He is not worth it - sadly, the chances of you changing him are very low. I have kids and a mortgage and it definitely gets trickier when children and money are involved. I should have ended it years ago before marriage and kids. But it seemed so hard at the time (when it would have been so easy - relatively). Hindsight, eh?
I know! I'm 5 weeks NC & honestly there hasn't been a day when I haven't wanted to call him... I still cry. BUT I have two DC (not his) & I certainly didn't want them to be tainted by his behaviour - I worked so hard to give them a stable life when their dad left three years ago. And we didn't live together. So it was 'easy' to leave him (practically!) but emotionally much harder. Try & google 'Romeo is bleeding - when Mr Right turns out to be Mr Wrong' - it's excellent. Also Shari Schreiber has some very insightful articles on her website if you look under the BPD section. They never change...! Let me know what you think if/when you read them. Xxx
Hmm. I've skimmed them both. They seem to paint the BPD as a 'bad, evil person'. Don't get me wrong, my DH's behaviour is bad and evil when he is bullying my child but I do get that he is ill/has learned behaviour from his past. I'm not so sure it is all as calculated as these articles make out.
Having said that, I recognise how he sucked me in and how I then didn't run a mile initially. He made himself a very sympathetic character and life circumstances (his mum died) meant some of his extreme actions had some emotional justification.
I left him once and wish I'd stayed away from that point. I should have just walked away with my bag of stuff, quit my job and left the country (i'm not originally from the UK). But I went back and here I am 18 years later regretting that move despite my two lovely kids.
You are sad because you are alone. You will look back and think about your lucky escape.
Thanks Imfine - I guess I am lucky (even though right now I don't feel like it!). I hadn't even heard of BPD til recently & I couldn't believe how perfectly my P fitted the description - it WAS a whirlwind romance, he did sweep me off my feet & promise me the world. Then as soon as started to believe him & reality hit him he started to withdraw. Very subtle at first, doing the push-me, pull-me thing. I just kept giving more & more & got less & less from him. By this point I was hooked & totally taken in. It was only the fact he lost it a few times & really showed his true colours that I thought 'you can't do this to my children' - guess I was lucky to gave them around to keep me grounded. I wish you lots of luck though, and hope you make the right decision for you & your children.
I have BPD. Aspects of it can be challenged with DBT, but that generally would have to accessed through the GP (if available). Otherwise he could seek help through a private therapist. He would need a proper diagnosis though, as a lot of these conditions share common factors. As to whether you can put up with it, that is up to you. His behaviour does sound very extreme, you have your own and your children's health to think of; if he is not willing to seek a diagnosis then his behaviour will not change.
There are a lot of online articles that paint us as monsters, it's very upsetting reading them sometimes. It's a quite hellish condition, but no-one has a right to bully and damage someone else's life, whatever their condition.
Without psychiatric assessment you have no idea what's wrong with him.
If he went to a private GP and was referred to a psychiatrist privately, and he didn't claim on his health insurance for it (assuming he has some) his NHS GP would be none the wiser.
However, if he turned out to have BPD then he would have some tough decisions to make as regards disclosure at work, and realistically ongoing private treatment not using health insurance would likely cost too much.
On the other hand, he may just turn out to be an arsehole - those may be bridges you never have to cross.
If he's bullying the children then I think you need to make getting assessed and receiving treatment as a requisite for staying together.
MIND is probably the best place for information and support, if you haven't tried them already.
Fwiw, I have never had the impression of BPD sufferers as 'evil' or 'monsters' - simply people whose personalities have been destabilised by internal and external factors.
Ok so, I used to think my exH had BPD and then I started to read the Lundy book - Why does he do that? and I came to the conclusion that actually he was probably just a bastard. Have you read the book? Its an interesting read one way or another. And it may challenge your idea of him being ill - which might not be a bad thing one way or another. If it helps set you and your kids free - it might just be rather a good thing.
My husband was diagnosed with BPD back in Nov of last year. He has been having DBT and it seems to be doing wonders for him, he is finally allowing himself to feel emotions openly, rather than cooping them up until they damage him.
We have been through many ups and downs since his emotional affair almost a year ago which brought all of this to light and made him get the diagnosis, but I do think we may be slowly coming out of the other side.
However until the EA I had never had any abusive or erratic behaviour from him, (he has been diagnosed as a 'high functioning' BPD sufferer) so I don't have any advice on that I'm afraid. Looking back over our relationship with hindsight I can see that his clingy behaviour has made me into a different person than I would otherwise be.
He really does need to get a diagnosis one way or another, then seek help. No matter what 'condition' he has he doesn't have the right to make you uncomfortable and upset your DCs.
I left my H who had BPD..He was far worse after I had my DS and to be honest when I was pregnant too.. I was desperate to keep the family together...He wasn't.. I also struggled to leave because of Debt but both my Ds and I are much happier alone.. I have no idea how he is as not seen him in 4 years
He is very aware of his behaviour but he is also a bit in victim mode.
It's good that he recognises his behaviour is at fault and that does give some hope that he could change. But as others have pointed out, it's not an easy job and would require him to put in some very hard work.
I would guess that the children hitting the age when he started to be traumatised (probably by abuse?) has triggered things off again. I have seen this happen many times with abuse survivors (not just those with BPD.)
Is he drinking again? The fact he gave up before you married again seems hopeful - he was able to make that change.
However if he won't look his past full in the face and accept that what he went through has warped him, and he's in danger of doing the same to his children, then you will have to put them first and find a way to leave.
Good luck OP - it's not going to be easy either way
My ex h had a severe personality disorder with psychosis. I stayed for 22 years of misery and regret that I didn't leave with my son at 3 years in, when I first wanted to do so. I was promised everything...how he would change etc. He was under medical care but you cannot really change what is !! I left and his family cut me off even though we had been close. Within a few years he was permanently hospitalized. None of his family could put up with what I tried to deal with. I have no guilt at leaving, I tried for 22 years. My own sanity was at stake.
I'm no psychiatrist but if he was an alcoholic he probably has other issues. Does he attend AA, because alcoholics often find that they need to work on a lot of their other behaviour even though they no longer drink.
But if you don't love him anymore and he is mean to your children, maybe it is time to call it a day
The only way he can be helped is if he gets a diagnosis and commits to years of ongoing therapy.
He seems not to want to do this despite recognition on some level that his behaviour is not acceptable to you and that he has alienated your friends. He is in victim mode so he seems a long way from willingness to engage with the idea that he is the problem here.
So you have some questions to ask and some decisions to make, based on the fact that you have choices, and the fact that the only person you can change is yourself.
What do you need and what do your children need from family life? How does the family as it is currently constituted meet those needs?
Are you going to put yourself through ten or fifteen more years , or even twenty more, and are you going to put your children through childhood and adolescence with a PD parent for the sake of a mortgage?
Or even twenty years or childhood and adolescence with a husband/parent who is basically a bully and a jerk? (Please read 'Why Does He Do That" Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men' by Lundy Bancroft). It actually does not matter all that much if he is a common or garden jerk or someone with a PD if he refuses to take responsibility, and the effect on his family is going to be the same. And what led to it is not yours to try to heal either. Please do not think staying will accomplish that.
I am speaking as the former wife of a man who has Cluster B PDs -- mainly NPD and BPD, with major depressive disorder thrown in. I have five DCs. We have been happy since splitting up. Poorer, living somewhere else, our lives are materially different, but happy. No more of the constant walking on eggshells. The full extent of the effect on the DCs became apparent to me once we had separated, and my only regret was that I had ended it sooner.
A good site on personality disorders.
Fear, Obligation and Guilt
100 traits and behaviours of people with personality disorders
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