6 signs that your partner may have borderline personality disorder
As a licensed therapist, I have worked with women who have borderline personality disorder (BPD), mostly in psychiatric hospitals. In a more personal facet of my life, I also help facilitate a local men’s group that focuses on empowering men through fellowship and a positive self-image. After so many years of working with these men, I have started to hear the same stories repeated often. One that I continue to see, time and again, are men who come to the group feeling lost and broken because they have been in a chaotic and prolonged relationship with woman who has BPD. This article is intended to be a quick reference for behaviors consistent with BPD, not a diagnostic tool. If you are seeking a more detailed and accurate diagnosis of BPD, please consult a mental health professional.
1. She’s rarely happy and usually angry
Women with BPD are well known for their angry and highly volatile moods. Their angry outbursts usually seem out of proportion to the situation. And it seems as though they are always angry about something. They seem to have learned that they can use their anger to control others, they live in a society that often shies away and avoids conflict or confrontation. People often give them what they want to avoid their temper and conflict in general. People who know women with BPD are usually all too familiar with their outbursts of anger.
2. You walk on eggshells around her
The men I talk to always report the same thing, when she’s around they feel tense and anxious, they don’t want to set her off. When she’s not around, they feel relaxed and calm. It’s simple, you know how you feel when you’re around her, are you anxious and worried or do you feel calm and safe?
3. She’s impossible to please
I had a friend once tell me that he spent three hours making the kitchen absolutely spotless and when she came in the kitchen, after watching TV, she was upset because he hadn’t covered up the pie. I’ve heard men report very similar things, no matter how hard he tries to make things perfect for her, she seems find something to be upset about; she always seems manages to find a flaw and points it out.
4. She’s abusive
Women with BPD can be quite nasty and mean, especially to partners and family members to the point when they can be emotionally abusive. They may call you names, they might tear you down or degrade you. I once heard a guy say that his wife with BPD often made rude and nasty comments about how small his penis was. When it became apparent that it was hurtful to him, she used this as a weapon to win fights. They often justify this abuse by telling people that the nasty things they say are true and that makes it okay. This is flat out emotional abuse. They usually do this with their children too. Physical violence isn’t uncommon but it usually comes when they are very angry.
5. She’s unfaithful
Women with BPD are notoriously unfaithful. Even when they are married they tend to sleep around, go on dates with other men or flirt online. They do this because they believe their partner is going to inevitably leave them and they need backup plan. What they fail to realize is that when their partner does leave her, it’s because of behaviors like these, he leaves her because of the things she did. Women with BPD often approach relationships like monkey bars. They don’t let go of the one they have until they are holding onto the next one and if they are only holding onto one, they are reaching out to grab onto the next.
6. She’s jealous and untrusting
Men tell me all the time that they get accused of cheating over seemingly small and trivial things. For example, she may call him at work and overhear a female coworker laughing in the background. She may hear you mention another female name, even if it’s a family member or someone from your past, suddenly she’s angry because she thinks you’re stepping out on her. She doesn’t even like it when you have male friends and spend time with them and as a result, men often let all of their other relationships fall by the wayside so as to avoid a jealous rage.
Despite all the dysfunctional behaviors, women with BPD are seeking the same thing that everyone else is. Love, acceptance and validation. They just don’t seem to know how to get it in a productive, loving way. They need and deserve compassion just as much as anyone because they are truly struggling with severe mental illness. Women with BPD are usually highly intelligent, her ability to learn, achieve and be successful is quite high even though she is usually inhibited by her emotional problems. Women with BPD are usually much more stable and successful when people in their lives set firm boundaries and stick to them.
For more information on BPD visit my website for a list of additional resources and download my free report which is designed to be a more comprehensive report about BPD.