BPD makes her feel like a monster

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

9 years ago I was diagnosed with BPD at the time I was 22 and didn’t understand. Therefore I decided the Doctor didn’t know what he was talking about and went on with my life. Recently I was doing searches on why I want to hurt myself and I came across BPD and read about it. I admit that I do have lots in common with the disorder. I was abused as a child, raped as a teen and my parents were never there for me. I remember feeling very unloved by my mother and my father had wanted a boy not another girl. I also am very wary that my husband will leave. (though he says he is in it for the long haul.) I scratch myself with sharp objects ( though sometime I think I don’t have the guts to really cut myself) and sometimes hit my head or arm hard against a wall. I want to die but don’t really want to. I feel empty and confused. I have a death wish and will drive fast when I am alone.

So I can see that I do have a lot in common with the disorder. BUT I do not gamble, Smoke, Drink, Do Drugs or sleep around. I am 100% faithful to my husband.

So I presented this all to my husband because I wanted him to understand how deep my insecurities are and how much my emotions fluctuate.

Now I feel like I am a MONSTER. Every time I want to express my feelings to him he says I am exaggerating things. That I am making mountains out of mole hill. He just wants to live life. But he seems to have forgotten that I am still here. I don’t think he understands that I am not capable of handling emotional separation. I know that this is a lot for him to stomach but it is a lot for me to stomach too and it would really help if he would let me know that he supports me and that we can make this better. That I have a support system for when the going gets tough not someone who is afraid of what I hold within. (Let me be the one that is afraid not him) . I want him to know that I am not a monster that I am his wife and I don’t know how to remind him of this.

How can we still go on living and deal with a mental illness?

A: Thank you for writing. Not everyone who has BPD has the impulse control disorders that you list. The hallmark of BPD is emotional dysregulation and fear of abandonment. These often lead to unstable relationships. Yes, it is hard for you to live with. It is also hard on your husband. If you feel that he is withdrawing from you, you are likely to get anxious and demanding. If your husband feels that you are using the diagnosis to control him or to dictate how he should feel, he is not likely to stay sympathetic.

Your diagnosis is only useful if you consider it a starting point for getting the treatment you need so that you can manage life more happily. Rather than focusing on what your husband should do, it would be more useful for you to decide what you will do to help yourself. A DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) group will teach you skills you need to quiet your fears and manage your emotions. Once your husband sees that you are doing what you can to make some progress, he may be more supportive.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Jan 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). BPD makes her feel like a monster. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/01/10/bpd-makes-her-feel-like-a-monster/

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