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Women in Relationships with Borderline Personality Disorder

Updated on July 13, 2014

Your girlfriend picks fights with little or no provocation. She acts irrationally over the most trivial reasons. She lies constantly and you don't know why. You say she's just overly stressed from work. It's time to wake up because you may be dating a woman with BPD or Borderline Personality Disorder. This personality disorder occurs more frequently in women than men, and because this is a personality disorder, it is difficult to treat; however, one of the best things for women with this disorder to do is receive Dialectical Behavior Therapy and possibly medication. In the meantime, you can protect yourself and learn about certain traits or red flags that will tell you whether your significant other has BPD.

1) She will be overly sensitive- borderlines will cry at almost everything and will take offense to almost everything as well. Even if you try to save yourself and say that you meant no harm, they will cry and complain that you were trying to hurt them. borderlines sometimes display paranoid behavior. Beware of that too.

2) She will manipulate you- The reason for the manipulation stems from a great desire to have their emotional needs met, but they don't know how to ask to have their needs met in a healthy way. They feel that people are no benevolent enough to simply offer unconditional love so the only way to receive love is to manipulable their environment and the people in it.

3) They tend to create drama- Borderlines tend to create drama, discord, and arguments. It's not that they necessarily want to create drama, it's just that they don't have the necessary coping skills to deal with life's stresses, and this can come out in the form of arguing and dramatic displays of emotion.

4) Borderlines fear abandonment- Within a borderline, deep down, they fear abandonment above all else. If your girl has expressed this to you or wrongfully accuses you of abandoning her, look out. This leads me to my next point.

5) No concept of object permanence- What is object permanence? Basically psychologists say that a healthy person understands that when a person cannot observe a particular object, that person still knows the object will not change. For children object permanence takes time to develop; that is why you will see some children cry when their parents leave the room. Borderlines, like these children, still do not understand that lovers can remain the same even when the lover temporarily leaves. This is a deeply pathological way to view relationships. If you catch yourself defending yourself about going to the store, seeing friends, or spending time alone, lookout.

6) Borderlines feel tremendous emptiness- This feeling usually leads them to form unhealthy attachments. As a result, they become clingy and obsessive. A classic example of a borderline is Glenn Close's character in the movie "Fatal Attraction."

7) Suicidal Thoughts- Borderlines will often threaten suicide and will cut themselves. If your girlfriend talks about suicide at all or cuts herself, seek professional help immediately.

8) Splitting- To a borderline everything is black or white. A person is either all good or all bad. Psychologists call this splitting. One minute a borderline will love you with an all consuming passionate love because they worship you, and in a split second they may hate you with a consuming passion because they view you as a bad person. Admittedly this is confusing behavior and one of the reasons borderline usually don't sustain long-lasting or satisfying relationships.

If you are in a relationship with a woman who has BPD, understand that help is available. More importantly, she must recognize that she has a problem and is willing to seek help. You alone cannot change her; she must decide to change on her own. If she is in denial about her mental health, you may want to consider moving on. If you decide to call off the relationship, try to be as delicate as possible, because borderlines have severe abandonment issues. Otherwise seek professional help for her and hope that DBT or Dialectical Behavior Therapy and possible medication help improve the quality of your relationship.

Abuse can happen to men too.
Abuse can happen to men too.

Borderline Personality Disorder

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    • pmesler profile image
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      Paul L Mesler 2 years ago

      I suggest you reread the DSM IV and DSM V for Borderline Personality Disorder which states : "Emotional liability: Unstable emotional experiences and

      frequent mood changes; emotions that are easily aroused,

      intense, and/or out of proportion to events and

      circumstances. " So I didn't put it in those terms; instead, I wrote it in terms in which men and women in relationships could immediately relate. What do you think "out of proportion to events and circumstances" entails? Usually this means there is a lot of crying and or yelling. Again, not judgement, just facts.

    • pmesler profile image
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      Paul L Mesler 2 years ago

      I only write the truth. If a BPD had never manipulated anyone in the history of mankind, then I wouldn't have written it. To quote Aldous Huxley, "Facts do not disappear simply because we choose to ignore them." They do manipulate, have manipulated people and will continue to manipulate people because that is a symptom of their disorder. It's not a judgmental statement. It's simply a statement of fact.

    • Sarah Kessler profile image

      Sarah B 2 years ago from Klamath Falls

      "She will manipulate you- "

      That's not only judgmental, but it is actually harmful to women with BPD who are in relationships. I would encourage you to take into consideration the actual people your articles might affect, and whether it's a good effect or a potentially harmful one.

      And with that, I won't be commenting again. Best of luck.

    • Sarah Kessler profile image

      Sarah B 2 years ago from Klamath Falls

      "She will be overly sensitive- borderlines will cry at almost everything and will take offense to almost everything as well."

      "They tend to create drama- Borderlines tend to create drama, discord, and arguments."

      These are judgments because they're not based in fact, but in personal experience. It isn't up to a woman's boyfriend to determine whether or not she has a mental disorder.

      But yes, I will think what I want--since it is based on communication with psychiatrists, BPD specialists, and people with BPD, as well as loved ones of BPD.

    • pmesler profile image
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      Paul L Mesler 2 years ago

      Sorry you feel that way. You either did not read the article in its entirety or understand its gist. Nothing in the article was judgmental. Everything I wrote was based on documented evidence and observation. Maybe you should reread the closing paragraph where I wrote " If you are in a relationship with a woman who has BPD, understand that help is available." Not really sure how that's "bashing" women with this disorder, but okay, think what you want.

    • Sarah Kessler profile image

      Sarah B 2 years ago from Klamath Falls

      This article is harmful and disrespectful to an entire group of people who you do not know. It's discriminatory and misinformed, as evidenced by the fact that nobody with the disorder relates to what you are saying.

      I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but I am deeply disturbed by the fact that a Hub that bashes a group of people who are struggling with a mental disorder, and all of the comments posted here that insult and seek to warn people away from "borderlines", is allowed to remain posted.

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      CalvinAndHobbes 3 years ago

      I just ended the most horrific 5 months (thank God it was only this long) relationship with an undiagnosed BPD woman. Her symptom began after 3 wks of what seemed perfect (this seems to be the case for all BPD relations from what I have read). I went through at least 8-10 breakups every 3-7 days from her. Each time wondering why she kept doing so. And why I stuck around. We never had a single argument nor did I ever provoke any incident before she would within a minute flip from happy to be with me to hating everything about me. She would make up lies to her friends and mother about how terrible I was to justify her actions and then a day or so later be back with me saying how she loves me and wishes to marry me. She never accepts blames for anything and is always overly critical. She thinks she is the most beautiful, smart, capable, knowledgeable woman to have ever walked on earth. What once attracted me to her faded. It ended to be nothing more than amazing sexual encounters with the nothing else of any worth. I thought anything I tried would help her change. To mature up. To think of others besides her own self. But nothing worked. It was like walking on eggshells. Never knowing when she would explode then try to get me back with great sex. My friends and family hated her. I have never dated any woman who had this effect on them before. My father even stepped in to say this is the only woman he would never allow into the family. I have always wondered about women who are with men who are physically abusive and not just leave...well I can honestly say this is the same but a mentally abusive relationship. I am glad was able to allow my friends and family step in to help permanently leave this worst dating creature from hell. It is sad that her mom and her girlfriends all only hear the lies she created about me. And that some guy will more than likely try to step in to "rescue" her from evil me, just to only become one of the endless victims as well. I hope no one ever dates this woman. Nothing good will come out from it but sex. It is all she is good for. And that is the most honest comment I can say about my time with her.

    • profile image

      Braveheart 3 years ago

      I just went through 11 months of ectacy and pure T hell with a beautiful vivacious, sensual and successful woman. The relationship took this 13 yr recovering alcoholic to the brink of a slip. Everything I've read about BPD seems to fit my ex girlfriend Unfortunately the checking out and observing was so frustrating that this last bout I left a cold message about the disorder and her denial. Not the nice guy I am known for but I needed the chaos to end. I pray this is over forever for a fear games may get played that have terrible consequences

      BPD and a recovering alcoholic. Sounds like a fast and furious sequel Heaven to Hell and back in one delightful evening.

    • pmesler profile image
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      Paul L Mesler 3 years ago

      Thanks Heather for your feedback. It's true that using phrases like "they like to create discord," is rather subjective and therefore not especially helpful especially when describing a psychological phenomenon that should be evaluated objectively. The reason there appears to be some editorializing is that this disorder has affected me indirectly, but I do need to step back and be more scientific about my approach. Thank you for your feedback. It was logical, helpful, and constructive.

    • profile image

      Heather 3 years ago

      I also take offense to some of the language used in this article. Not that it isn't accurate necessarily, just that worded differently could make a difference in the mind of the reader. And I agree that it should state somewhere that not everyone with BPD will display all of these signs.

      They may manipulate, but the connotation of that word is that it is intentional, when in fact it is not, more often than not. They are trying to get their needs met and know no other way to do it. It is second nature to them, they do not say to themselves "I'm going to guilt trip so and so because I want this or that". Just using that word will almost always put the victim of it in a defensive frame of mind, in their effort not to be "controlled" by the manipulation, which is counterproductive to solving whatever is going on. So, yes, it may be manipulation, but by saying something along the lines of "they may try to get their emotional needs met by guilt trips or ultimatums" will give the reader a better idea of why they seem manipulative and take out the bad M word. I also don't believe, as is probably already clear, that they do it out of self-entitlement. They don't necessarily feel like they deserve whatever it is without giving anything in return. Again, it is their way of trying to get their emotional needs met. It is the way wrong way to go about it, and I am not condoning inappropriate behavior, but it's what they do.

      Also, to say that "borderlines like to create drama, discord, arguments and disharmony every moment they can." is just not true. They may very well do that, and often, but not because they "like" to. And it is not every moment. It is when their pain or fear is so intense they can't stand it and have no other way of expressing themselves. I believe it was Marsha Linehan who said they have no emotional skin and the slightest touch can cause them immense pain. Again, it isn't that what is said here is wrong, just that it gives readers the wrong idea. Ask yourself if you would enjoy being miserable and causing misery all the time? It isn't something they LIKE, it is just something they DO. To say that they like to do it is again, to say that they do it intentionally, when that is just not the case.

      Other than those two things I found the article fabulous and it is good that object permanence is explained and explored, because the majority of articles that I've read do not mention this.

    • pmesler profile image
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      Paul L Mesler 3 years ago

      Glad I could help,

    • profile image

      RC 3 years ago

      I just got out of a turbulent 3-year-relationship with a woman I deeply loved. I knew her 10 years before we started our relationship, but it wasn't until a few months into our relationship that I noticed something was "off."

      She would constantly break things off with me only to say she missed me a day or later (many times in the same day). She would break out and sob at the drop of a hat. She would rage and start fights for no reason. And she battled deep depression issues.

      It wasn't until about a year ago, I realized that I might be dealing with someone with BPD. She never was diagnosed, but all the signs were there or it felt very much like that's what I was dealing with. This article reaffirms my suspicion...

    • pmesler profile image
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      Paul L Mesler 3 years ago

      Here's the thing: I write the truth. Based on my own personal experience, many Borderlines are manipulative and overly- dramatic. That's not a judgement; that's an observation. It's just a fact. Just ask any of their victims. Also, read Dr. Anthony Walker's book "The Siren's Dance" and tell me that isn't true. You are one of the rare self-aware Borderlines who understands their disorder and hopefully are doing something about it. That being said, your boyfriend should consider him lucky, because you truly are an anomaly, and that's a good thing.

    • QuestionandAnswer profile image

      Bex Walton 3 years ago from Kent, UK

      I just stumbled across your hub looking for advice about my own BPD and relationships. The biggest (and most distressing) thing about every article I find is that they seem to make us out to be terrible people. I'm not saying that your hub does that exactly, but using the words 'manipulate' or 'dramatic' only goes to further the stigma that we face already.

      Not everyone with BPD is exactly the same, we all show different signs and symptoms. As an example, not every single woman with BPD will try to manipulate her partner! Also, not everyone with BPD will self harm. I think maybe you should add some kind of 'disclaimer' to your hub in order to state that these are just some common signs and symptoms, that don't necessarily happen in all relationships. I know when my boyfriend first read anything about relationships and BPD he was ready to run a mile; these articles don't help. Now he knows what it is like to live with me and he would happily put his hands up and say that I'm not like a lot of those things. Unless I've just manipulated him into thinking that I am ;)

    • pmesler profile image
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      Paul L Mesler 3 years ago

      That's a good question flower. As I am not a trained or licensed psychologist I can't give you any professional advice, but I will say this: there's a documentary on youtube about bpd. The documentary follows several women and their struggle with the disorder. One couple seemed to be happy because the woman with bpd admitted that she had bpd, and actively sought treatment for it. Her husband was very supportive because he understood the disorder. Here's some good news for you. Studies have shown that the symptoms of bpd begin to disappear with age. However this is contingent on the borderline's willingness to seek treatment and apply the techniques learned in therapy. So to answer your question, you may have a chance in creating a successful relationship, but it will take some work. If you have not already, I would recommend going to a therapist to work through these issues. If you are having suicidal thoughts and feel trapped by this disorder, then I urge you to seek professional help as soon as possible. Just remember; you're not alone. The name of the documentary on youtube is "Border_: A compassionate documentary on Borderline Personality." I hope this helps.

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      flower 3 years ago

      I have bpd is it possible I can have a successful relationship with a guy?

      Sometimes I wish I were dead cause I hate this disorder I have.

    • pmesler profile image
      Author

      Paul L Mesler 3 years ago

      I'm glad I could help.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 3 years ago from Texas

      Wow........Very interesting and informative hub pmesler, I actually my be involved with someone suffering from this disorder. I always just chalked up the behavior to hormonal imbalance, etc. Now that I'm reading this, it's kind of eerily familiar and scary actually.