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What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

"I end up asking myself... Why me? Why me? I only truly loved her and cared for her. There is nothing in the world humanly possibly that I would not have done for her. I cherished her so much. She made me happy, She made me feel important and complete, she filled the missing pieces of my heart. Was I just attracted toward her? Was I just having a mere physical attraction towards her? NO.. She was as beautiful as beautiful can be, and she was as low and horrible as she could be also. When she showered me with love there was nothing more beautiful than that. When she hated me there was nothing more painful than that."

"And they sure move on, move on to what? I don't know... Nobody knows. Everything in their lives is all of a sudden alright, new friends, new parties, new romance, and everything is better than it was with you. Nothing once mattered when she was with you. What is it supposed to mean anymore? Anything?"


Did you ever love someone who appeared sweet as an angel at one moment only to change into a raging monster at the next? Did this person see you as all good or all bad, with nothing in between? Did you feel manipulated and lied to? Did this person rush into a relationship based on a fantasy of some perfect love? Were you accused and blamed for things that you haven't done? Did you feel as if you were walking on eggshells, trying your best not to trigger an angry outburst from your partner? Do you know someone with borderline personality disorder? Did you ever love someone with BPD? Here's an excerpt from the book The Siren's Dance by Anthony Walker, a memoir by a psychiatrist who had a tumultuous year-and-a-half marriage to a woman with BPD:

"I know that you love me because you still make love to me even after we have a fight." She was right. Her sorrow and embarrassment at her outbursts were real, and her attempts to control her anger so earnest that I knew she was trying for me, for herself, and for us. I had to remind myself that I had known that she was intense to the extreme in her experience of life, and that her struggle was my struggle. We would share anger, but we would also share love.

No one could ever love Michelle enough. Not her family, not her friends, and certainly not the men (and women) she so easily attracted, like moths to a flame. But when a final-year med student falls for her while she's recovering from a suicide attempt over her latest breakup, they both may be in for more than they bargained for. Hoping to help cure her of her debilitating fears and explosive rage, Anthony marries Michelle in a secret ceremony that alienates him from his family, and ultimately from himself. Initially mesmerized by her seductive smile, her surprising sensuality, and the why behind her wildly unpredictable behavior, the author comes to realize that he will have to sacrifice his career--and more--in order to be with her. This achingly honest and true account of Anthony and Michelle's whirlwind year-and-a-half together provides a window into the emotionally intense world of someone suffering from borderline personality disorder, a condition seen in an estimated 2 percent of the general population and 10 percent of mental health outpatients. It also offers the perspective of those most affected--the sufferer's loved ones, whom despite all the upheaval are still compelled to care. So concludes the account.
--from The Siren's Dance

Borderline personality disorder can be a living hell for everyone involved. I had a very painful relationship with a woman in 2003 and I couldn't make sense of what was going on with her at the time. She was in her late 20's and has been going through many relationships with different guys and had a 12 year old daughter and a 5 year old son -- both kids by different men. She had her daughter when she was 15. As I learn more about BPD, I recognize that impulsiveness is one its characteristic features. This woman was very impulsive and was ready to have sex or get married to someone, who she just got to know for a very short time. And her emotions were fluctuating from one moment to the next, triggering an outburst at some minor thing. She could be very sweet and seductive at one moment and then turn into someone cruel and vindictive -- a complete 180 degree change from an angel to a monster. If I ignored her, she'd say I didn't love her enough and if I showered her with gifts, she'd accuse me of smothering her. She lived in another state and I went to visit her for a week, and her moods would change from appearing very happy at one moment to crying the next. She also had paranoid delusions about people trying to hurt her. I didn't know what to do. I tried to be patient und understanding. I went back to Connecticut, hoping we could continue seeing each other. And then I started learning about her bisexuality and her sleeping around. She would always lie to protect herself and I couldn't tell at one point what was truth and what was fiction anymore. She would also accuse me of things that I hadn't done. And the more I tried to understand her, the more I saw that she had no real sense of self -- she was like a chameleon, being different things to different people. I learned from her that she was belittled and humiliated by her mother and molested by her stepfather. That could well explain her lack of a real self.

Anyway, she ended up cutting all contact with me and marrying another guy, who is nine years younger than her. It was a nightmare that led to my depression and hospitalization for two weeks. I finally understand that it's not my fault. Borderline personality disorder is destructive for everyone involved. I studied psychology in college and I'm now beginning to appreciate some of the insights that I gained. BPD is very real, and I think people can recover from it if they recognize the problem. It was only after a lot soul-searching, therapy and studying that I began to understand her behavior. Here's an excerpt from Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified by Dr. Robert Friedel, et al.:

Over six million Americans suffer from borderline personality disorder (BPD), a chronic, disabling psychiatric condition that causes extreme instability in their emotional lives, behavior, and self-image and severely impacts their family and friends. But despite the devastation it can cause, borderline personality disorder remains largely overlooked by the medical community, misunderstood by the public, and many people continue to go misdiagnosed or untreated. In Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified, Dr. Robert Friedel, a leading expert on the disorder and a pioneer in its treatment, turns his vast personal experience into a useful and supportive guide for everyone living with and seeking to understand this condition. Friedel sheds light on all the intricacies of borderline personality disorder, such as the course it takes, the difficulties in diagnosing it, and the types of treatment available, and offers effective advice on the best ways to cope with it. Filled with wisdom and encouragement, Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified is essential reading for everyone diagnosed with BPD, those who think they might have the illness, and friends and family who love and support them.
--from Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified

So what exactly is borderline personality disorder? There is a lot of online information about it and a lot of excellent books on the subject. BPD Central is an excellent web site for people who care about someone with borderline personality disorder. You can read about the basics of BPD by going to this link.