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Another "Rant" post - BPD carer. - Carers UK Forum

Another "Rant" post - BPD carer.

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Hi all,

I've been lurking about the site now for a while, and I've had a minor moan on the newbies section about difficulty as a carer.

I haven't been on for a while mainly due to a house move just before xmas, and I've been busy looking after our three kids, trying to decorate, clean and tidy a house and looking after my wife who has BPD and Fibromyalgia, another few reasons why I haven't been online much as well.

Bit of a story here, but bear with me.

I learned from my wife's two stays at a local "mental health" (not sure what the proper term is) hospital, that she can sometimes emulate other people's personalities. For example, on her first stay she became increasingly paranoid, telling me that the nursing staff were playing games with her, trying to see if they can get her to crack, messing her meds about, not giving her the right meds at the right time and that this was part of the staffs games.

I know my wife and after 6 years of being together (at that time) she had never ever displayed such traits. She was sharing a room with someone who was always saying similar paranoid stuff, I know that my wife was "feeding" from her in a sense.

The second time she was admitted a year later, she started being extremely depressive, talking increasingly about self harm, by that I mean cutting herself, something she had not yet done, but again she was sharing a room with a girl who was self harming even whilst in the hospital.

Now up to the past few months. We moved to be closer to where her son from her first marriage lives with his father. She has started to display traits of her sons stepmother whom she has gotten very friendly with.

These traits are her language, she is using more foul language than she would normally have done, she speaks with little respect to me, and I don't mean that in an antiquated male masoginistic (spelling!) way, I mean it in that she would now say "ah never worry about him, he'all be ok".

This bits naughty I know, and I could excuse it by saying I do it to try and spot signs of her slipping into a depressive episode, but I know that probably won't cut it with some judgemental people, but I would check her phone, and one day after she had invited the stepmother down for a few drinks (something she didn't check to see if I minded, which again is uncharacteristic of her) and after the girl went home, I saw a message in her phone to the stepmother saying that she (my wife) was in the bad books with me!! Which couldn't have been further from the truth!!

the next day when they were on the phone to one another, and I was sitting right beside my wife, I heard the stepmother say "are you still in the bad books?" To which my wife replied "aye sure, what else is new"!! Which again was a lie. When I asked my wife about it she said that it wasn't what the stepmother had said and that I misheard her.

This lying to me is new too!

Tonight, she was dropping her son off. She text me to say she was asked in for a drink. I told her that she was driving, to think of her meds and the fact she has been having severe migraines over the past few days.

15 mins later I had to text her to say that one of our daughters was in a state and wanted her mummy, 15 mins later my wife barges in the front door, sees To our daughter and then heads to bed.

I asked her if she was cross with me, and she said yes because I was whinging at her.

Again uncharacteristic of her.

I'm at a loss.

I'm sorry for the rant, but over the years I've become isolated from my family, I've no friends and have no one to bounce off
To my very, very inexpert ears, this sounds, from the way you describe it, to be quite 'severe' 'abnormal' behaviour - as in, it sounds like a definite 'psychiatric' phenomenon, and for that reason I would say that you need to get some 'official psychiatric' response on it. I know that carers/family hit walls when it comes to 'patient confidentiality' but since you are her carer, and she has children, surely it would be in everyone's interest if you had some 'professional guidance' from psychiatrists as to how to deal with this behaviour.

Her 'mimicking' of others does seem to be happening - and the key thing is to understand WHY and then WHAT to do about it! But it does, as I say, sound quite 'serious'.

Again, speaking ONLY from a lay point of view, I guess if she has Borderline Personality Disorder, she may have a 'fluid' sense of self, and therefore needs something like a 'template' (ie, other people) to form a self-identity based on 'someone else', because her own mental state is so fluid/inchoate. ??????? (This is ONLY me 'thinking it through' as, I stress, a completely lay person, trying to come up with a reason she may be doing this serial mimicking.)
Part of my problem is I can't speak to my wife about it. She tends to take things like this as an attack or as putting her down if you get me?

If I was to go behind her back and speak to her social worker I fear she would take that bad too.
Why would she know? Ask the SW beforehand if the SW has a legal obligation to tell her client (your wife) that you are talking to her, and if she says no, then you can talk to her without your wife knowing.

If nothing else, I would write a letter, putting in it what you have posted here about the 'mimicking' and send it to your wife's GP and her psychiatrist, as like I say, I would think this is important information for them in dealing with her case and potential treatment.

It's a very, very difficult situation for you, but alas, it so often is when mental illness is in the frame.....
Thanks for the advice Jenny, I'll give her SW (who is also called Jenny lol) a call.
I have borderline personality disorder and also fibromylagia and various mental health issues hope your wife gets the help she needs and you do as well,caring is hard work I care for hubby and mother inlaw I get no support for mental health am just left.
Hi. I'm new to the forum. My partner has been ill for 20 years....long long story with no support or fractured (and harmful in my view) support for much of that time. She was only diagnosed with BPD recently (or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder as it is now). I've struggled with coping with her harshness and messed up logic and inability to cope with anything with an emotional weight to it. So I've been studying like mad about BPD just to rescue myself. Really sympathise with your situation. Bottom line, don't engage with the world she makes for herself. You won't change her behaviour and you have your own life to lead. If you let her she would absorb you into the world of her making and you will end up spending all your thought on what she is doing and saying. It's exhausting believe me. Just accept that her illogical behaviour is her illness. Don't ask yourself how to stop it, or why she is doing that. What she needs is someone with their feet on the ground who is doing the best to engage with their own life.If you are like me, and let yourself become part of the messed up part of her world, you will just be another element in it. I've seen the light recently and now know when we sit there in the evening not speaking in a strained atmosphere, I just find something to do. I'm still nice and caring, but I don't let my head get confused and I don't respond, or even worry about, the mood or sulks. They always disappear. Don't know if that helps.
...and don't ever ask if she is cross with you, or if you have upset her etc. She cannot cannot control her emotions and will interpret neutral, non aggressive responses and behaviour as negative. If she is like my partner she will not know that she is doing this and you will never get her to see that you were not being aggressive, so just don't go there.
...sorry. Last post honest! I too have lost all my social life and friends. For some years my life has only been about my partner's illness. I am changing that now... so must you I suspect. I realised that I had become part of the problem. I was part of the messed-up world she made and that made it more real for her. It validates her behaviour. I'm not saying ignore her. I love my partner lots, and I still get to see the funny, caring part now and then (not often these days I admit), but the more of a life I have, the less her confusing behaviour affects me.

I'll shut up now!
Hi Custardcarer, I am new to the forum and came across your posts on the above thread. I relate to so much of what you have said, and especially about getting sucked into the warped mind and world of someone with BPD. That is what is happening to me and I am sinking. My OH complains about anything I do to ease the pressure on my mind - craft, mainly - and she tries all the time to undermine it and get me to give them up. If I didn't have them, I'd feel like I was in prison. It's tough to resist the constant pressure but you are right, we have to step back and ignore some of it. Thank you for posting.