Recover From Emotionally  abusive relationship

emotionally abusive relationship,borderline personality disorder,emotionally abusive relationship,emotional abuse

Recovering From Emotionally  abusive relationship often involves a person with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Emotionally Abusive Relationships often are with a person who has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).  The main characteristic of this kind of personality disorder is  that the person  becomes very controlling in an attempt to avoid being rejected.  Rejection is the greatest fear of someone with BPD.

Emotional Abuse Relationships have these characteristics:

  • In the beginning the person thinks you are perfect and professes love for you that they have “never felt before for anyone” They alternate between this state and rage at you.  When they are in the rage state you rationalize their behavior by telling yourself how loving and adoring they can be and your longing for that keeps you in the relationship.  They will give you just enough of that to keep you around.  That adoring behavior is very powerful and addictive because they have an uncanny ability to read you and therefore can make you feel “seen” maybe for the first time in your life.  As good as this feels, it is a sign that you are with a person with BPD.
  • The other person demands that you to put aside your needs to tend to their needs and no matter how much you give, it’s never enough. Then they criticize you for not doing enough to fulfill their needs using verbal assaults belittling, screaming, threatening, humiliating you.  They use fear to control you threatening to end the relationship .  You start to feel helpless and trapped.
  • Being constantly put down and accused of doing things you never did, yet when you try to leave the relationship they will try to keep you there by declaring love or threatening you.
  • You can never plan or count on social engagements because the person will change the plan or refuse to go at the last minute.
  • The other person reacts differently at different times to the same behavior that you exhibit.

The one thing that a BPD (border personality disorder) person needs the most is for their partner to set clear and definite limits. When a partner enforces these boundaries, it helps the partner to become more confident and the BPD person to feel safer, by knowing how far they can go. The limits actually help people feel safe because it teaches them how to behave so that they aren’t rejected.  An abusive relationship cannot continue when the partner maintains clear and strong limits as to what is acceptable behavior.

In order to know if you are in an abusive relationship, one must first be aware of these warning signs.

 Stages of an Abusive Relationship

1)  The honeymoon stage- you experience limerence which lasts 3 months to a few years.  In this stage you are obsessed and infatuated by your partner.

2)  The obsessively controlling stage- the BPD will cut you off from family, friends and hobbies (anything you enjoy on your own).  This is because the BPD’s biggest fear is being left.  She/he will see all your friends and interests as competition for your attention and love.

3) The BPD will become more desperate to control you and will make threats, both to commit suicide or to harm you or your family members, if you threaten to leave.

Abusive Relationship Recovery for the partner

Treatment for partner recovery is best initiated by trauma work.  I use EMDR  which is very effective to get the victim connected to their resources again.

The partner of a person with Borderline Personality Disorder is  traumatized from living with the behavior and manipulation techniques used to attempt to control them and keep them form leaving.

Emotional abuse is like brainwashing- it systematically wears away the victim’s sense of self worth, and trust in their perceptions.  If  this feels like your relationship, please get the help of a therapist or life coach who is experienced in dealing with an abusive relationship.

There is Hope for moving forward

Many people rind themselves involved with a BPD because they are very charming and make you feel very desired and loved …at first.  It is natural and healthy to want to be loved.   They have an acute ability to tune in on the very things a person is most vulnerable about.  They use this in the beginning to get close to you and then later to threaten and control you.

In the Meantime the best thing to do:

In order to protect yourself from abuse you  must set and maintain clear boundaries.  Tell your BPD partner that you will not tolerate a particular behavior and that the next time they try it you will leave the house . The leaves the BPD with 2 choices,  either loose you or get help.  If you are afraid of inciting violence when you do this, then you need to have a heart to heart talk with yourself asking yourself why you are there.

Another effective approach is DBT…

There is  now a therapy modality that is very effective in helping a person heal from BPD.  It is called DBT and I work with several therapists who get excellent results in healing a person with BPD if the person is willing to make a commitment and do the work in therapy that is involved.

If a person is willing to make a sincere commitment to therapy and stick with it for at least a year, there is a very good chance that healing can happen.  I have a colleague who specializes in DBT and has had much success working with BPD.  Let me know if I can help in this way.

Common questions people ask me are:

Am I crazy or sick to be with a BPD?  The answer is NO.  You are probably just a nice and trusting person (maybe co dependent).  BPD’s are drawn to trusting people because they know that they can be more easily manipulated.
Although you are not the sick one you do need to learn to nurture your inner child self so that you are not so vulnerable to flattery.  When you have a strong inner self you can more easily see and resist manipulation and flattery.  You are also able to be objective about other people because  you don’t need them to be a certain way.  You will start to notice when people lie or have no empathy for other human beings.  These are the major signs of a BPD.

As part of your recovery you will discover why you attracted this type of person. You will then be able to start to heal yourself fo that you can have the  healthy relationships that you deserve.


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  • Dave

    - 8:22 am

    What is described in this article sounds a lot like my current relationship and how I feel about my girlfriend. Our first year together was like nothing I have ever experienced. She treated me like a king! I was her Hero and could do no wrong. She waited on my hand and foot, which I have never expected or asked for this type of treatment from a partner, but admit I enjoyed it very much.

    But going into the second year together, everything changed. Her responses to my communications went from seconds to maybe the next day. Her availability to do things decreased as well. I would come see her, (invited) and she would hardly acknowledge I was there. It was so different than the way things were before that I began/continue to feel very disregarded in the relationship because she treats me so differently. I long for the way things used to be….I liked how that made me feel.

    When we are together, we can not have a conversation without her bringing up at least a half a dozen things that I could do better, typically the same things in the same order: my finances, my relationship with my daughter and how I should handle that, my church ( we used to attend the same church together every Sunday and that was very meaningful for the both of us, then she suddenly changed churches and insited I do the same, but I did not because I really enjoy my church), My health ( I don’t eat as healthy as her), my excercise regime, ( I don’t go to the gym and work out vigorously EVERY day like her- she claims she spends at least 3-5 hours a day on workout activities, I am comfortable with going ever other day or every three days). Note: she is not in a state of rage when she does this, but feels like more of a state of corrective action mode.

    When I talk to her I get angry, (not shouting angry or raging anger, but more like a “cornered” anger) because I don’t like the way I feel when I’m with her because of the barrage of things I could/should do better. She says only I can control how I feel, she can’t control that…I disagree somewhat. I believe I can control how I choose to feel, but feel that for there to be peace in our relationship, I have to reallign my goals with hers and believe she is causing these negative feelings to surface by continuing to bring these things up, letting me know that I am not living up to her standards in each of these areas and controlling me to live my life different than how I want to live it, to achieve her goals, not mine.

    I feel she is very controlling (reminds me of my father). Whenever we are together, I feel like there is something wrong with me, (I only feel this way around her, not with anyone else). I told her this, she said that was a very hurtful thing to say.

    I have broken off our relationship (or taken a break) a number of times since November of last year. Each time, after a week or two our paths will “mysteriously” cross and she will ask to talk, we do and we get back together (sort of), but it’s been a kinda a “in-limbo” relatrionship. I don’t feel she or I are “all in” anymore and things are certainly not like the first year together.

    I am wondering?… am I exhibiting emotionally abusive with borderline personality traits or is she?

    Also, It might be imortant to note she divorced her 3rd husband because he had Narcisist/Borderline Personality Disorder that she was able to identify/diagnose by working with him and his counselor…which has always scared the hell out of me.

  • Dave

    - 10:20 am

    Just to clarify…when I read this article, I saw statements that might describe how she might feel about me and how I feel about her in just about every other point presented. So I am very confused about whether it is me or it is her and what to do…

    • susan quinn

      - 8:23 pm

      The very fact that you are asking,”is it me or is it her” is very indicative of how a person comes to doubt their perceptions when they have been with someone with BPD or Borderline Traits. The BPD person’s constant criticisms, unpredictiblity, frequent displays of inappropriate anger, proclamations of love alternating with threats and hostility keep their partner off balance and doubting themselves. When the man( it’s usually a man who comes into therapy to get help with how to get unhooked from this merry go round, because about 75% of BPD occur in women) wants to get un hooked from this relationship they come to me for therapy and guidance. I help them understand the hopelessness of trying to be in a relationship with someone who has this disorder and I help them to disconnect inside so that they can stop obsessing. It doesn’t happen fast because BPD’s have an uncanny ability to see into another person and make that person feel “Seen” in a way that is very intoxicating.

  • Pam

    - 5:03 pm

    Neither, and yet, both. The fact is that you DON’T measure up to her standards, what ever they are. Many women (and men) believe that if they shower someone with enough love it will motivate them to change. She keeps hoping that if she just sticks it out you will become the man she wants you to be, but you can’t. This is, frankly, making you both into terrible people. As much as you don’t like being a scolded child, she probably hates playing mom. This is no longer a relationship that works. Move on to someone who is a better fit.

  • Dave

    - 8:27 pm

    After I wrote this, I was thinking about it and yes you are correct…I am not willing to let her dictate how I live my life and she will not accept me for who I am. Niether of us can seem to do anything to please the other and it is making both of us into terrible people. I think it is time to end this relationship permanently, but no I am not interested in moving on to another relationship. I want to concentrate on me for a while and build up my self confidence so I don’t need reassurance from anyone that I’m a good guy.

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