person with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder
famlies should set boundaries about rages
bipolar disorder rages
borderline personality disorder rage
Mental Health
Today Menu
Mental Health Today Home
Suicide Info
Fun Stuff
Links & Webrings
Free Medications
Mission Statement
Site Map  


Replies to Family Member Letter about Rages

Person With Borderline Personality Disorder

Dear family member of a sufferer of borderline personality disorder,

Your letter will no doubt hit home with many readers of the newsletter.

You ask whether there is hope. My personal experience as a person with BPD is "yes". Absolutely yes. However, recovery from the abusive behaviour that you describe is only possible if the afflicted individual, in this case your partner, has committed to making the getting the necessary changes that will be required in order for improvement to come about.

My own story is also one in which I was subjected to rage and the targets most often were my loved ones --lovers, children, brother, sisters--; the closer they were to me, the harder I was on them to the point all were withdrawing from my life.

And it wasn't for a lack of trying (to change my ways) that my rages continued. Over a period of more than twenty years I saw several psychiatrists and psychologists and other therapists without any improvement whatsoever until the day I saw a psychiatrist who made the diagnosis of BPD. For years and years, I knew something was gravely wrong with me but no one knew what it was that was causing me to short circuit and blow up and even less as to what might be done about it --until that proper diagnosis--.

Within days of receiving my diagnosis, I got my hands on everything I could that was written on the subject, stuffed the books and literature in a suitcase, and jumped on a plane, by myself, to a quiet resort in Mexico, where I could absorb what information there was on the subject, and thought about how my life was being ruined by the disorder, ultimately drawing up a plan for my recovery.

In order to make this happen, I realized two things would have to change right away. No booze or inappropriate use of drugs or medication as every single rage, interestingly, had occurred under the influence of some substance or other.

Secondly, I would immediately adopt a policy of what I coined a "zero tolerance of bad behaviour" --something I demanded from myself as well as those around me--. This would mean not seeing many of the people from my old entourage, as abusers tend to attract other screwed up people, who often will themselves also misbehave in turn and make use of substances in their attempt to escape their mental torment; as well, my siblings, raised under the same abusive conditions by our parents as the writer was, also were unknowingly suffering from borderline personality disorder, and each of those relationships (two sisters, one brother, and both parents) had to be let go. I no longer see any of them. 

And so, not only did I have to cease from having any contact with my immediate family (who by the way also happen to be substance abusers with the exception of the parents), it also would mean changing all of my friends as they were all boozers, or social drinkers as they liked to call themselves in polite society. Same difference... at the end of the day, no matter what you call it, a drunk is a drunk is a drunk. It also meant changing other behaviours, such as no longer frequenting establishments where the sole purpose is to drink. 

Guess what? My formula worked like a dream. It was quite literally, an overnight success story of winning over the disease. Even my psychiatrist was amazed at how quickly my "condition" was brought under control. Not surprisingly, my marriage just as quickly improved, and my partner and I re-found one another, and in the process, developed a deeper bond and commitment, also finding some new meaning of our life experience as we were suddenly able to refocus our lives on other things that have been much, much more rewarding.

Best of all, the entire transition was easy, once the decisions of what I would do were made. But you're hearing from one guy who was terribly motivated. I WANTED TO BE WELL. And once I knew what the problem was, I immediately chose to do something about it.

How hopeful can you be your situation can also get better??? That's a big question no one but your partner can answer. And from what you say, there is no reason --at least not at this point-- to think things will get better for your partner and in turn for you. As Patty says, everybody is an individual with their own unique personality and set of circumstances. Also, there is your own role in all of this, and from the sounds of it, you have been more than tolerant of your partner's misbehaviour. You may need to get some help in order that you can not only try to help your partner but save yourself in the process. Remember, your first responsibility is towards yourself. 

Meanwhile, by tolerating the partner's bad behaviour as you say you have, you inadvertently have served to "enable" your partner's disease process to be further expressed. What price has he paid for his bad behaviour when you are still there, offering! yourself up as a target for his misdirected illness-driven aggression? And why are you staying in a relationship that you admit risks driving you to self destruct??? It is my opinion you have some serious issues as the abused mate here that would need to be addressed by a competent professional with significant expertise in abusive relationships. Only by helping yourself and learning what you need to know about taking care of yourself first will ever you have a chance of offering some support to your partner that might be of some benefit to him.

In summary, my advice to you is threefold: [one] - determine a criteria that would keep you in this relationship (a set of demands of concrete steps your partner must take in terms of getting professional help, and a commitment to changed behaviours (examples: not allowed to rage, no drinking, etc.) that will facilitate a quick and complete end to all rageous and abusive behaviours); [two] unless the inappropriate behaviour stops and specific actions are taken to bring about the necessary changes as said, GET OUT of this relationship and RUN, don't walk, RUN!!! --and don't look back--. Remember, talk is cheap. And abusers quite typically talk a good talk and will say they are sorry and that they will never do it again, often blaming their own bad behaviour on others, a stressful event or what have you, and so on... failing to make the necessary changes of themselves that are the only things that can actually and effectively make things better; [three] consult a psychiatrist or registered psychologist specializing in abuse victimization. 

There's a good reason you find yourself in this situation and so vulnerable you have allowed the bad behaviour of another person to affect your own mental well-being (and quite possibly your own physical health and personal security, as well). Unfortunately, all too often the victims of abuse eventually believe their abusers and begin to accept the bad behaviour as something they deserve, believing they must have done something to deserve it; also, issues of low self esteem can be severe, after years of being denigrated, a pattern that often began in the original family home as a child. There is good treatment available for this sort of problem now. 

Good luck and here's wishing you all the best. 

Permission by Anonymous

MH Today Attention Deficit Bipolar Borderline Personality Depression
Gender Identity Narcissistic Personality PTSD Schizophrenia Suicide

Visit Mental Health Matters for information and articles. Get help to find a therapist or list your practice; and Psych Forums for message boards on a variety of MH topics.


Related Books

The Othello Response: Dealing with Jealousy, Suspicion and Rage in Your Relationship

How to Deal with Emotionally Explosive People

It's Not Personal! : A Guide to Anger Management

Stop Walking on Eggshells; Coping When Someone You Care about Has Borderline Personality Disorder

The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know