Dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder in a Poly Relationship

BlazenBurn

New member
My SO's girlfriend has Borderline Personality Disorder. I don't know how to deal with her. Everything that SO and I do together is percieved as a challenge to their relationship. She has huge meltdowns. SO will drop everything and run over to help her. I am so tired of the constant drama that I am just giving in and letting her get her way to keep the peace.

Anyone else dealt with BPD? What can I do?
 

BoringGuy

Banned
I've heard of this sort of thing happening, but i've never experienced it myself. From what i understand, this is what you have to look forward to as long as your SO is involved with this other person. There is no cure, no medication for BPD and it is often accompanied by other conditions, including but not limited to bipolar and social anxiety.

If I were you, i'd look deep within myself and ask myself if this person is so worth being with that you would put up with basically being involved with the borderline metamour. Then make a choice based on your personal priorities.
 

redpepper

New member
Drama is number one for people with BPD. If you decide to have firm boundaries, which I suggest you do for your own sanity, you will be the bad guy to them. There is no winning unless she decides to get help. Does she have help?
 

MusicalRose

Member
As someone who has dated someone that (I'm fairly certain, but not officially diagnosed) had borderline personality disorder (e.g. had all traits but the suicidal ones listed in the DSM) I personally wouldn't want to be involved with someone who was like this again.

The current though of those that put together the DSM is that personality disorders are lifelong and unchanging. (There are some more fringe or newer schools of psychology that think fundamental personality change IS possible, but it is worth noting that it is still difficult and the current official position is that it can't be fixed.) That being said, borderlines are notoriously the most frustrating of the personality disorders even for psychologists and psychiatrists to work with.

From my personal position, I would state to your partner what you need from her. If you need a certain amount of her time or energy, and she is not providing this to you because of her borderline partner's drama, then she is not being a good partner to you and is not meeting your needs. As someone who knows better than to reason with a borderline or to expect them to show maturity in their relationships, your partner needs to learn this lesson.

Unfortunately, it took three tries at romance and then another at friendship with my borderline before I finally learned my lesson. He would vacillate between being my best friend and my worst enemy, and my fiance and I were constantly having to drag him out of his own mess during the last try at friendship. We had to call an ambulance for him when he though he overdosed on a drug, and then two weeks later his girlfriend (who wasn't going to help him at all with the drug thing) got mad at my fiance over something really stupid and then he flew of the handle and told us that we were terrible people in his life and he never wanted to see us again. A few weeks later, we were all friends again, that is until he got mad over another something small and then threatened to call the cops on us.

Basically, unless she is actively in treatment and making progress toward healing herself and learning better habits, she is never going to be capable of having a healthy or stable relationship. I understand better than anybody how addictive their personalities can be for someone who isn't experiencing it. She isn't being disingenuous. She means everything she says and does. But she is a human wrecking ball and she will probably continue to be one for the rest of her life.
 

Prudence

New member
Drama is number one for people with BPD. If you decide to have firm boundaries, which I suggest you do for your own sanity, you will be the bad guy to them. There is no winning unless she decides to get help. Does she have help?

Therapist here. There's no winning even if they do get help. BPDs are the worst patients. >.>

100% agree with everything MusicalRose said.
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
Dad is BPD -- one of his many conditions.

My full plate with eldercare stuff is made that much wackier with the up and down moody. I would not date a person with BPD because of it. I can only take so much, and Dad is IT. I'm at my limit and I can't take more on board -- for my OWN well being.

Sigh. :(

GG
 

Prudence

New member
I can only take so much, and Dad is IT. I'm at my limit and I can't take more on board -- for my OWN well being.

Amen. My quota is all used up by work. I am exceedingly patient with mood and anxiety disorders outside of work (provided people are, you know, TRYING to get some help... I have one friend who, I swear to god, LIKES being depressed, because he sure likes to whine but doesn't ever DO anything about it... argh!!), but personality disorders are more than my sanity can handle if I'm not even getting paid for it! ;)
 

AnnabelMore

Active member
Why is your SO comfortable being with this person, and why doesn't he have strong enough boundaries, or enough respect for your relationship, to not let it be sabotaged by her disorder?
 

BlazenBurn

New member
She has been in therapy for years and takes a variety of medication. I spoke with her yesterday. Basically she says that she wants to get better and doesn't want to see my relationship with SO end. I told her that I was done caretaking her. That is she wants to be be able to handle life she is going to have to experience it. No more coddling, no more hand holding. Then I talked to SO and he was in agreement that she is not going to control things and is willing to do the same. He doesn't want to lose me and understands that he might if this continues. Next time she has a meltdown no one is running to her. Next time she is whining we will walk away. We will no longer chnge our plans to suit her desires. This is going to be a real eye opener when she is no longer the center of our universe.
 

BoringGuy

Banned
This is going to be a real eye opener when she is no longer the center of our universe.

Yeah, an eye-opener for YOU. Be prepared to change your cell phone numbers and file for restraining orders, and other things.
 

redpepper

New member
Therapist here. There's no winning even if they do get help. BPDs are the worst patients. >.>

100% agree with everything MusicalRose said.
I was trying to be positive as I know there are courses of behavioral therapy that are available in some bigger cities.

My experience has been with a co-worker who took me to court because I had firm work boundaries with her the she distorted beyond recognition. She convinced herself I was being racist, sexist and sexually harassing her. I complimented her on how nice she looked in yellow (she's chinese), she told me she is bi and as I am pan I talked with her about her feelings. I helped her find and apartment to rent as she had never lived away from home at age 34. Such as is the culture she came from. She asked me to tell her about living away from home and then said I was racist and controlling.

My "help" and friendship was bastardized beyond recognition by the time three years passed of court dates being moved because she had a sick note. I also miscarried during that time when the papers came to explain why I was being taken to court and what her documented evidence had said... Transcribed from recordings she had of our conversations. The whole time she came to my house to hang out and play with my son, went out for coffee after work to talk about her home struggle she was distorting everything that went on between us and writing it down or recording it. She wasn't diagnosed until after all this. I might of been able to avoid the pain more had I known her diagnosis.

I also have some experience from this last summer when my friend dumped his gf. You can read about it in my blog. I wrote about it lots there.

I worked on a mental health team, at an out reach program for the homeless, at a house for sex trade workers and at a needle exchange. I was a practicing art therapist at the time and was warned about several of the clients we served. I watch several good therapists burn out and leave due to their supporting and advocating for patience with personality disorders.

My personal take is to run the fuck away very fast. I have nothing left to give any more personally. I can see it coming a mile away now and turn and walk away immediately. I don't even want to watch others try as it drives me crazy to be anywhere near the drama that is caused.

I keep positive because there is always room for change and for certain situations to work out with the right fit of people. If you are emotionally and mentally healthy and have a life ahead of you that can be matched with someone else that is similar to you. GO! Just go to them. Don't waste your time on rationalizing and trying to figure out how to fix or trying to understand why or believing that the promises of working on it are true, because they just aren't at the end of the day. Calm, relaxed, everyday, stress free, drama free days are just never going to be the norm and unless you love that, don't stay. Whatever happens you'll be in it now and there will be no empathy for your part in the situation. Its all about them all the time and until the end and beyond. There might be moments of recognition that they got it all mised up, but the need for drama over takes.

Save yourself before you become bitter and untrusting of everyone like I am with most people now. Lol. ;)

Sorry I sound so absolute here but fuck it. On this topic I have good reason to sound like that, hahaha. *sigh
 

BoringGuy

Banned
I was trying to be positive as I know there are courses of behavioral therapy that are available in some bigger cities.

I've read that Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) can sometimes be useful when it comes to helping people with BPD cope, but they have to WANT it and it's a LOT of work for them, involving both individual and group modalities. That said, DBT is basically a watered-down form of Buddhist meditation and anyone can benefit from it if they make the effort to do so. It's not a "new" thing.
 

redpepper

New member
I've read that Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) can sometimes be useful when it comes to helping people with BPD cope, but they have to WANT it and it's a LOT of work for them, involving both individual and group modalities. That said, DBT is basically a watered-down form of Buddhist meditation and anyone can benefit from it if they make the effort to do so. It's not a "new" thing.
Yes. That is what I have read and heard about also. There is lots about it on line... Videos and such. There is info that makes it out to be la la land when dealing with DBT though and I find it overly generous and unsympathetic to those that have dealt with someone that has it.
 

BoringGuy

Banned
I find it overly generous and unsympathetic to those that have dealt with someone that has it.

Well I've never dealt with it first-hand, but one of my partners had an ex with BPD and that is where i got most of my anecdotes.
 

MusicalRose

Member
One of my professors in college described people with personality disorders pretty well. He said they want to FEEL better and not to actually GET better. GETTING better takes a crapload of pain and hard work and soul searching and most of the time people with personality disorders are too weak willed and inconsistent to be able to effect that kind of change in their lives.

It's easier for them to just pop some pills and keep doing the "I love you, I love you, goodbye," thing that always seems to happen. Borderlines especially are impulsive beyond belief and you always have the headdesk or facepalm moments around them. It never ceased to amaze me the amount of stupid crap my borderline would get himself into. Then, he would have people around him have to pick up after him. Then a few weeks later, after they bust their bottoms to make sure he is safe and healthy, he throws them out of his life and/or threatens them, telling them they're a terrible person and they've always been a bad influence on him.

And what do you know, lately he has tried to use a mutual friend to be friends with us again. I've finally learned my lesson with him though. I'm being very firm and I will not have him in my life again, friend or otherwise. He's too dangerous and he causes way too much drama and turmoil.

Unfortunately, when BPDs are "up" they can be amazing people to be around. They're intoxicating and captivating. You never see the storm coming and once it happens it is too late. Unfortunately, since most reasonable people expect others to be mostly reasonable people, it takes a long time to figure out that a borderline is never going to change. They will appear to change. They will be very sincere in their apologies. Mine even let me come out and confront him with the fact that I thought he had borderline and he was very receptive and apologetic and said he was going to work on changing and that he didn't want to hurt people anymore.

But then they get anxious or angry, and all that talk of change just goes right out the window and they are just as sincere when they tell you they hate you and that you have no idea what you're talking about and this is just how they FEEL and it is never going to change.

Amusingly enough, he frequently uses the logical/emotional gender stereotypes on himself and his girlfriends, but he is one of the least logical and most emotional people I know.
 

BoringGuy

Banned
It's easier for them to just pop some pills and keep doing the "I love you, I love you, goodbye," thing that always seems to happen.

I've heard it described as "I hate you, don't ever leave me".

ETA: My friend's 19-year-old daughter is probably borderline personality and while my friend loves her daughter, she feels relieved to finally not be legally responsible for the girl's behaviour during episodes.
 
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BlazenBurn

New member
In my situation, I have only had to deal with her meltdowns and temper tantrums so far. The abandoment fears cloud everything she sees. She has a very regimented outlook on what a relationship should be like and wants SO and I to fit her mold. She asked me what a committed relationship is to me. I started talking in terms of feelings. She stopped me and said "no no, how many times do you want to see him a week?" I told her it would vary upon circumstances. She did not like that. In her mind, there is some invisible line we will cross and become "more committed" than they are.

I will be moving soon and might stay with him for awhile while I am getting an apartment. It's not a big deal to us. For her it is huge deal. She wants to know exactly how long I will stay in his house. We've done this a few months ago when my house was being worked on. She freaked out. She could not handle SO and I having more contact. There is a line again, where if I stay too long we become more committed.

She has issue with a lot of things that we do together. I like to cook for him, we watch tv together and I really don't mind doing his laundry if he needs it, for example. She says these are all "domestic" and an indication that our relationship is too committed.

When I spoke to her, I started out telling her that I was stepping back from my relationship with SO. That seemed to be the only way this was going to work because she had so many issues. She went nuts. She told me, "he's going to blame me and resent me", "I don't want to lose you too" etc. I told her there were consequences to her behavior, the biggest being she was pushing people away.

I think that she is going to lose it again. In fact I know she will. What I need to find out is how SO deals with it. I know I'm not putting up with it. Hopefully he will stand by his word and not cave. This will be the biggest indication to me whether to stay in this relationship.
 

Arrowbound

New member
I have a very close friend who has BPD in addition to bipolar disorder, so some of this is familiar.

Thing is, he's one of the most self-aware people I've met in my life. I believe this is due to over a decade of consistently working on his responses and differentiating between what's reasonable and what isn't, seeing a therapist, medication, etc. He'll always have to work with it. But it's being done.

Based on other peoples experiences posted here, it seems a matter of want. It takes work. I don't know how much work your metamour is doing, to be frank.
 

redpepper

New member
"I hate you, don't leave me" seems to sum up everything you've said BlazenBurn. Really, the only way I can see to deal is to have a thick skin and just show you won't be going anywhere. If you can do that and not take any of it that seriously then you might be able to stay in it.

Commitment is inevitable I find. She'll just have to deal I think. Walk through it. You can't be the measurement of her issue with commitment. Only she can and she'll have to adjust. In this case, "going at the pace of the one who is struggling the most" is just never going to end... You'll just have to prove you have integrity by doing what works best for you and continuing to reassure her.
 
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1ofthree

New member
Similar situation.

I am the secondary in a relationship with a married couple. We have been together for 2 years and she has the same issue. She has meltdowns,mood swings
And major jealousy. I have yet to get past it. We all live together and i have broken thing's off several times. I care enough to keep coming back but her issues are such a constant source of turmoil. I have been looking for advice and so far nothing helpful has come along
But i totally understand where your coming from. :(
 
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