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Does My Husband Have BDP? - Carers UK Forum

Does My Husband Have BDP?

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Beware, first and long post! Been with my husband 25 years (married 15) three children 18, 16 and 13 (we are both 49).

My husband has always been volatile and I have accepted it as "the norm". Over the years my husband has got progressively worse.

I have been on the end of 100s of violent verbal rages (kids just scarper!!). Just for the record, he has NEVER laid a finger on me. Although, during a rage he looks like he wants to. Reasons for outbursts can range from: Me finishing work at 3 and my phone has 5 missed calls by 3.05! Dinner not ready when he finishes work, house messy, I'm working too much (19 hours per week), he can't contact me. Bad day at work. Accused of having an affair when away with my Cub pack, not speaking for 20 minutes etc., I could go on and on.

My family are cricketers and he had fallen out with most of his team mates, at some point, over the last 23 years. Latches onto people, then thinks they are against him He has fallen out with various bosses, so has changed jobs frequently (apparently, they are all idiots and at fault). He spends lots on his credit card. Some things arrive in the post and are not even opened.

Things had got so bad last year, that I wanted a separation. I just knew there was something wrong, but could not put my finger on it. I initially thought it was our flagging sex life, but have realised, it is something much deeper. We both have no where to go, no money and children at vulnerable ages (GCSE, A levels and teenage boy) so jeopardising their well-being was not an option.

He happened to mention to me during one of our "heart to heart" talks that he had very low self-esteem. I looked this up on the internet and discovered BPD! He ticked every box, but not the suicidal/self harming ones.

I believe I have been living with a BPD husband (and my children a father) for the past 25 and 18 years respectively. OMG it has all become very clear now and I feel I am literally "out of the fog"! (Bear in mind, this is MY diagnosis!)

I am an open and honest person and, my husband is (when he's not raging, accusing, sulking etc.,) So, I approached the subject. He was, and is, very open and receptive to my "chat".

We are trying to move on. I have spoken to my eldest children, but getting them to understand is hard. My eldest sometimes thinks her Dad is a w****r (they do lots together, but can be like cat and dog!) and my 16 year old thinks I am a contributory factor (but she's not horrid about it, it's her opinion). My 13 year old can be aggressive and angry. I like to think that I am a calming influence over him and he seems better now he's older.

Our discussions started off (before MY BDP diagnosis!!) along the lines of "I feel you are both emotionally and verbally abusing me"! He was shocked! Since my accusation and to be fair to him, the outbursts are not as frequent as they once were, but they're there alright, just under the surface.

I have the confidence to challenge and ask why are you reacting in this way. He can't help it is the reply. He is a good man, but bloody hell, I think I've done well to come this far. I have not come this far unscathed, my weight went up and up and I now realise I was comfort/emotional eating. I am now at a slimming group and have lost (albeit slowly) two stone. I have a long way to go, and if I don't go to be weighed I revert back, so I still need monitoring.

So what is my next step? I still (kind of) love my husband. He is a good father to the kids (when calm). I'm seeing my GP next week regarding menopause stuff, should I slip this into the conversation? My husband needs therapy (I think) and maybe a proper diagnosis. May be I need it too? I have only spoken briefly about therapy, but don't know if he's even got BPD. I'm trying to hold all this together and wonder if anyone else is/was going through this and how they coped.

This is the first time I've ever written on a forum. I hope it makes sense. Thank you xxx
Hello. Welcome to the forum shu-bop.
Your post does make sense, so don't fret about that.
I'm in a different position to you, as my husband is in a nursing home because of strokes and vascular dementia.
However, I feel for you. I'm not sure how to help, others will though, and will be along shortly. I would, explain to your doctor how you feel , I'm sure it will help. Your husband, must get some help, especially if he values your relationship, because he cannot continue to verbally attack you. He firstly needs a professional diagnosis, to be able to move on.
As stated though, others who have more experience of this sort of behaviour will be along.
You will find the forum very supportive ( I have) and you can rant as much as you need!
I would suggest that your first step was to ask the GP for counselling, so you can talk in confidence about your situation and how to manage it. My own experience of GP's is not good. OK for a physical illness, but for emotional help or support, a brick wall is just as good!!! However, the GP recommended a counsellor for me, and with my permission she has written to the GP about my situation. (Until recently I was a widowed multiple carer with my own health problems). Having someone to "offload" to is a huge help.
First off, great that you are addressing a long-term problem - those can be hard to face up to!

I do know what you mean about 'discovering' a diagnosis and ticking the boxes! When I first married, thirty years ago, the term Aspberger's was hardly known in public, but over the years it got much more familiar. I can still remember reading an article, maybe 15 years ago, in a magazine, about people with Aspberger's and a light bulb going off in my head - boy, did my husband tick those Aspie boxes!!! (Not extreme, but I would say quite distinctively). So I can indeed see why you went 'Bingo!' when you read about BPD.

That said, if you look up Personality Disorders in general on the Internet there is a lot of very useful information and 'categorisation', so you may well find that your own DIY diagnosis could be modified? I must say, to be honest, as you described your husband in his 'dark' mode, I thought 'Narcissistic PD', eg, the demandingness (his dinner!) (The correct answer, by the way is, 'Your dinner is in the fridge - make it your damn self if that's your attitude!'), and the blaming everyone but him etc etc. But maybe that's too harsh a judgement!

The bit about low self-esteem is interesting ,as the last thing he seems to have is that (ie, when he's in his malign/dark mode). Does he think he's overcompensating??

It's good you are frank with each other. Why does your 16 y.o think you contribute (is it because you challenge him?)

As I'm sure you also know, beware of Controllers! Controllers, for whatever reason, play mind-games with their victims (the ones they seek to control), and always 'put you in the wrong' etc etc etc.

However, enough of the DIY analysis! I would definitely agree that trying to sort out what is going on, and why, both in him, and maybe in you too, and then in the dynamic between you, is a good idea.

It could be sensible to start with some counselling for yourself alone, first of all - simply printing out what you've written here would be a start, and getting a counsellor's take. And then moving on to getting him involved too (both on his own, and with you??)

You say when he's not in his 'dark' mode he's fine - so what is the balance of time between the two modes? Is it 50:50 or less balanced than that, and in which direction (eg, mostly OK but sometimes not?, or the other way round!).

Also, can you identify triggers that flip him into 'dark mode'? I don't advocate pussy-footing/pandering around him, but if you know what will 'set him off' and it's not that big a deal to avoid it, then you might as well! (Controllers, mark you, want EVERYONE 'pussyfooting' around them the whole time - that is the point of being 'in control' to kep others quaking - 'Don't make me angry')

(Interesting that he seems to have either total lack of awareness or complete denial of his abusive behaviour ......!)

Two last points for now:

Abusive behaviour - one way of dealing with this could be by 'mirroring' - so that whatever he says to you, you say back - ie, he gets back what he hands out. This might, of course, escalate....??? But in the end it makes him responsible for the behaviour he gets - if he's nice to you, you are nice, if he's nasty, you are nasty back. BUT, can create a very hostile atmosphere about which see my next point.

Your children - never underestimate the patterns that parents' behaviour set up in their children. By and large they take one of two paths - they defy or they emulate. It sounds a little like your youngest is going for emulation???? A stormy household is not a happy one.

It's good, though, surely, that you are willing to start getting to grips with all of this. It's never to late to make our lives happier....and I do wish you all the very best in that endeavour, both for you and your husband, and your children.