I'm desperate. Does my husband have a BPD?

Postby agorab » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:12 pm

Hi all,

first time poster.

I've been with my husband for 17 years (married for 14). So this is going to be long, sorry...

I have always known that he was somehow more sensitive than me. There were many things he minded and overtime, I cannot exactly say how long into our relationship, he showed me this other face of his - rage. Violent outbursts. Yelling, breaking stuff. I don't know what I thought it was, but he would always apologize and tried to explain - looking for outside reasons (stress due to the lack of money, lack of a stable job, horrible boss, colleagues...). The worst part for me was, that it was always personal and more often than not, he always found a way to make me the target. If his rage had really nothing to do with me or our life, he would misinterpret something I said or simply conclude that I wasn't being supportive enough or that whatever problem he had was my fault and that's it. His rage would be directed at me.

If I were to quickly summarize his symptoms, as he himself has confirmed, I would list: mood swings, (social) anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, anger management issues...

So far he has been diagnosed with ADHD (and put on Concerta, which had amazing results for a bout 3 months and then he said it mostly doesn't work, but he still takes it when he needs too - for work and when he has big meetings, at work or for family gatherings), social anxiety (he's been put on bromazepam, that sometimes works)... nobody ever mentioned BPD, until he himself did... and all of a sudden pieces of the puzzle started falling into place and I felt that I've been so blind.

But I didn't have all the information at the same time. For instance, I've been with him for over 5 years when I discovered that he has been abusing prescription drugs. His own mother had been supplying him for over 15 years at that point with clonazepam (which he says was the only thing that worked for him when he experienced severe denationalization) and bromazepam.

Later on, I learned that he drinks when he has a stressful event ahead. He rarely drank at home, maybe a beer or two when we were having some guests for dinner, but then it turned out that he used to have a bottle of wine or vodka in our car so that he could drink before some important meetings. He would even put vodka in my tee thermos and take it with him to work. To be blunt, I was married to a drug user and a drunk and I had no idea. And I thought that this would have been obvious. I myself don't drink and have never touched any kind of a drug.

He tried to rationalize that he was using the booze, and pills to relieve his anxiety.

Living with him would for "normal" people be weird. But, not for me, as it turned out. My mother, who was amazing in many ways, had some moments where her otherwise rational personality would fly out of the window. Coming home stressed from work (and her work was incredibly stressful), she would find something to reproach me. And from the earliest age, I would do everything I could to be "perfect" when she came home, so that I would avoid her anger. She never yelled, but she was so critical of me, everyone for that matter. And then, when she wasn't stressed, everything I did or didn't do was fine. Others around me, her own sister, my nanny, my stepfather anticipated her return home so that everything would be in order. She never married my father and later on, my step-father, would retreat and finally leave us.

So, unfortunately I was used to anticipating other people's moods and trying to improve them (not just because I loved them, but because I was trying to avoid the consequences of their bad mood).

My husband has some problems which I put under the label of ego. He needs people to respect him, but not just in a healthy way. He always wants to be able to impress them and control them (to avoid finding himself in stressful situations). Whenever he finds himself in a situation where he's not in the position of control (center of attention?) he freaks out. He projects this fear of his to people for whom he says are the source of his stress. He is describing them as "bad people, manipulative, provocative, ill-intentioned...". What I noticed that these "bad people" are never nobodies. Usually they are successful in their job and/or coming from rich families.

I don't argue that some of these people are difficult. I met most of them myself and have seen that my husband is right. They can ask you a question then turn their heads the other way when you start to answer. They pretend not to hear you when you ask them something and they are sitting right next to you. They can even have nasty comments about how you look, behave, talk, the lack of your finances, your "stupid job"...But, their behavior or words does not destabilize me. I see what they are doing and I wouldn't willingly spend my time with them, but when I have to (like family gatherings) I do... He does everything he can to avoid such situations. Lying for him has become a normal part of my life.

Unfortunately, his behavior has also had serious consequences on our social life as well. At some point, people just stopped inviting us, and what's worse I myself have stopped inviting people over. I'm not afraid that he will make a scene in front of somebody, because he can pretend (if he finds them somehow important, others are a different story). But, later when everybody leaves I would have to go through yet another episode of his ranting or worse, rage. His mother is the only one who knows about his problems. I have never said a word to my friends. Two reasons - my ego and pride, and he always made it clear that this is his problem and our secret. So I couldn't vent about the part that was "mine", without giving out the part that was "his".

Whenever he feels that some people let him down, he uses words like "betrayal". And he is not "betrayed" often, but when he is, he gets depressed for months.

He's not a gambler. If anything, he's obsessed (OCD obsessed) with saving every penny. Sometimes it defeats the purpose and he ends up spending much more. He used to make horrible scenes when I told him that bills had arrived or that we had to pay taxes, as if I had announced that I had spent thousands on shoes.

Nothing I do is right if he is not in the right mood. I work two jobs (and still earns less then him), clean the house, cook, get the groceries, do the washing... and still, when he is in a bad mood (which is often), like my mother, he will find a way to see a spot on the wall and have a fit (he hates when things break down and does not accept the normal tear-and-wear life of stuff).

Another ongoing source of his rage is his absent-mindedness (ADHD?). He's obsessively tidy and yet he loses stuff all the time... and blames me for it. When he misplaced his slippers, he insisted I was the one who took them and did something with them. And he would insist on that for two weeks before he finally found them.

The fact that the same scenario repeats over and over again, does not mean anything to him. He will never question himself first. I don't drive, but he always asks what I did with the car keys... you see mu point?

He's never been jealous, but (and this is a big but), ever since we moved to another country, I simply have no circle of friends. Honestly, I don't know if he would be jealous or not, I barely see anyone.

When he feels under a threat he has violent reactions. Especially when driving. Two years ago, a guy punched our car with his hand (I was not in it). My husband got out and when the guy started insulting him, he talked back. When the guy hit him, well, my husband subdued him. Police were involved, my husband was clear of any wrong doing. And later own when the guy (who lied that my husband ran him over) took him to court, he was cleared there too. But we lost a lot of money in legal fees. He kept saying that it was not his fault, but he failed to see how his (re)actions contributed to the escalation of the situation.

What pains me is that he really suffers. he's not just this ball of rage. You see that he's all cut up inside.
Speaking of cutting. At some point in his youth he did cut himself.

His father has abandoned him and his mother too (at some point but she got back). He was always rejected by their families, even as a baby. But that is a long story. His parents are narcissists and his mother is extremely unstable. We've been taking care of her now, in her old age and I got to know her pretty well. She's gullible, hates being alone, is focused on herself, speaks highly of herself and likes being with those less fortunate so she can feel better. Has issues with money.

Another piece of information that may be useful. Our sex life is nil. He has always had some problems in that department, but now, the level of his libido is zero. But, when this wasn't the case, he would try to use sex as means to set things right after he would apologize for his outbursts of anger. I wasn't really clear how can one go from hate to love that fast.

If walking on eggshells is an indications that I'm living with a man suffering from BPD, I wasn't walking on eggshells I was flying above them.

I've been seeing a shrink, but she never raised the possibility of a BPD for my husband. For years she has been talking about patterns (my self-negating patterns...).

Why am I writing about this now, at 42 and not before?
I don't know.

I'm about to hit rock bottom.

My health has seriously deteriorated (and it's not in my head, I was diagnosed with two autoimmune disease, one of which could potentially make me an invalid). I gained weight (I started overeating... I know... food's a drug too, and its' not sugar, I crave salty stuff).

And most importantly, I'm about to lose my full-time job - the one that has been giving me some sense of stability. The firm is going under. I will become completely dependent on my husband and it scares me.

I have noticed that the dynamics of our relationship is draining me of energy on all levels. The job I'm about to lose was not well paid, but it allowed me to organize my tile in such a way that allowed me to accommodate my husband's needs and my own - to find some time to be left alone and recuperate. Because for me everything is a potential source of stress. At some point I stopped looking forward to vacations because nothing ever goes perfectly smoothly and when it doesn't he has a fit.

When he comes home, he doesn't see what is happening *there* when he opens the door. He doesn't care, he simply imposes whatever it is he has to talk about and do. he can sometimes walk in with his headphones on and keep them on, but more often than not, he would sit down and vent. Talk and talk and talk... and I would listen. he is always focused on himself. Always. Nothing trumps his mood. Not even when my mum died and in 24h I had to fly to the funeral alone and then fly back in time to sign some papers for both of us when we were buying an apartment, because he just couldn't bother organizing his work (what will his colleagues think? they will make problems..).

So... could he suffer from a BPD? Or something else?

I know that until he is diagnosed properly he cannot get better... and right now, even if I could just up and leave (I'm not emotionally there yet) I can't. I'm about to lose my job and at the moment there is nothing else on the horizon.

Thank you!
agorab
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:38 pm

agorab wrote:My husband has some problems which I put under the label of ego. He needs people to respect him, but not just in a healthy way. He always wants to be able to impress them and control them (to avoid finding himself in stressful situations).


Including controlling you.

I've been seeing a shrink, but she never raised the possibility of a BPD for my husband. For years she has been talking about patterns (my self-negating patterns...).


Your post is a all about self negating. Your focus is almost exclusively on this other person in life.

To type this post required thousands of hours of reflective thought about him and how you fix him.

So... could he suffer from a BPD? Or something else?

I know that until he is diagnosed properly he cannot get better...


Him getting better will do nothing to make you better.

Stop wasting what little time you have left focused on other than your own HUGE issues.

Your ship is sinking. You are drowning. But, instead of focusing on what you can do about you and what it will take to learn how to swim to the shore, you are focusing immense effort on another person standing on the shore. You think that if you can just figure out how to fix this other person that you can convince them to throw you a rope and pull you safely to shore.

Stop it.

You work two jobs, you are not healthy, you allow yourself to be controlled, and you waste your time trying to fix someone else.

Fix you first.
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#2

Postby agorab » Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:01 pm

Thank you for you reply!

I did my "extraction" plan, as Joe Navaro calls it:

Getting a driver's licence (I'm learning how to drive)
Looking for a better paying job (but it will take time, since I cannot accept low paying jobs, if I leave my apartment, I'd have to pay rent and a mortgage)
Looking into getting a storage box to safely transfer my belongings that are dear to me (this will help me adjust to the idea of leaving)
Spreading my network to include more people

I just wanted to see if what he's experiencing fits the BPD.

Funny thing is, he's been always very supportive of everything that has to do with my personal progress (pushing me to finish my studies, get a better job, get a driver's licence...).

I did tell him, although I left out the details of my "extraction plan", that I am planing on leaving unless he does something radical to get better.
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#3

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:19 pm

agorab wrote:unless he does something radical to get better.


And what are you doing radical to get better?

Looking into this or that, planning on getting X or Y...those are not radical. I can appreciate you having an “extraction plan” but at this point it isn’t a plan, but just an idea.

If you spent as much effort to radically change yourself rather than trying to radically change another person your life would be much better.

Do you appreciate that your initial post is not a radical solution? Do you appreciate that even if a world expert in BPD was in this forum and said 100% it is BPD that it would not move the “radical” change needle? All it would do is add yet another diagnosis on top of diagnosis on top of diagnosis. It would not be radical and it would not lead this other person down a path of radical change.

Your ship is sinking. YOU need to change radically. When will that happen? When it is too late? When your head is already below water?

Get your license within 1 month.
Apply for 3 jobs within 1 month.
Rent a storage unit within 1 month.
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#4

Postby agorab » Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:28 pm

Thank you again for your reply.

I get your point. I've set the date for the driver's test, it's in 3 weeks (I hope I'll pass, I live in a country where this is notoriously difficult). I have sent out 11 job applications and was rejected for 3 of them. When I said that there was nothing on the horizon, I meant that I have no guarantees. The problem is that I cannot take any job, since I need a certain amount of money to cover all the bills. But I'm working on it. Regarding a storage, well that's another story. I'm looking for one that will accept cash payment for a year. Most of them the don't.

I'm not looking for someone to say that my husband is 100% BPD so that I could leave him. He needs help, that is for sure and until he gets proper diagnosis, he'll just compensate for all the anxiety he feels and stress, thus making my life more miserable, using up my energy I would rather invest into empowering myself. So it's a win-win.

For me, putting myself first is radical :)
I'm learning how to do this. Maybe we're all born with it, but I unlearned it during my childhood.
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#5

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:43 pm

agorab wrote: For me, putting myself first is radical


It certainly can be difficult.

I think you are headed down the right overall path, but not necessarily focused on those things that will actually help improve your life. This is actually more common than we like to admit. It is fairly normal to avoid reflecting on what we need to change. Oddly, it is more comforting to focus our mental energy on trying to fix someone else and believing that it will somehow lead to a happier self.

You have been with this person for 17 years and most likely you have been focused on them for the vast majority of this time. Thousands of hours you have spent. It can be extremely difficult to extract oneself and redefine the relationship.

Good luck on the driving test.
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#6

Postby agorab » Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:10 pm

Thank you, I hope I'll pass. Not just because I need the licence, but because I actually have an extreme fear of driving, bordering on phobia. My shrink helped me work on it, but I still sweat profusely when I'm at the wheal, and some nights before I go to class in the morning, I have difficulties falling asleep. So that will be a big win for me :)

Thank you for your overall support.

My problem was that I thought I was fine, not perfect (far from it), but doing OK, just because people around me were having bigger issues, or at least more obvious ones, to deal with.

Needles to say, with the receptors I have, I have not only only noticed, but tended to attract "high maintenance" friends as well, who (constantly) need some kind of caring and support. Ever since I was a kid. I have a friend, whom I've known all of my life who is like that. But, a few years ago I started setting boundaries, although I must admit that what principally works in my favor is the fact that I moved to another country... But I've been working on my skills nevertheless.

When I move here, I saw more clearly than ever that not only do I feel comfortable with "high maintenance" people, but that I attract them like a magnet. Two neighbors (diagnosed with BPD) have stuck to me like glue... so it was THAT obvious, that something was very much wrong with me and that I have to do something before I give up...
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