breakups with women with traits of bpd

Breakups With Women With Traits of BPD:

Five Misconceptions That Keep Men
From Letting Go and Moving On

A breakup with a woman who engages in behaviors associated with BPD or borderline personality disorder during a romantic relationship may be one of the more painful experiences a man can go through. Many men report spending months and even years recovering from the fallout from this type of relationship.

For men whose romantic partners do not engage in the behavior pattern associated with BPD until after marriage, the going can be even tougher. Men who have attempted to navigate through divorce with a woman with traits of BPD, particularly with children involved, have reported being subjected to acts of retaliation so extreme they could strain anyone’s credibility.

For people who have not experienced the extraordinary path of destruction these women leave in their wake, even a reliable and accurate historian’s account of his experiences can come off as the incoherent or exaggerated ramblings of someone who may have anger or even mental health issues of his own.

Because of the difficulty many people have in understanding the true nature of these relationship breakups, many misconceptions about this disorder can arise. Most of these perceptions are based on our common belief system of why people behave the way they do. But they don’t take into account the unusual nature of BPD.

These assumptions, as understandable as they may be, if left unchallenged can easily lead someone trying to heal from one of these relationships to wrong conclusions. Without clearing away these misperceptions it may be more difficult to gain the kind of understanding necessary to recover from this type of relationship.

In this blog post we are going to address five common mistaken assumptions about the recovery process from a breakup with a woman with traits of borderline personality disorder. We’re going to start by taking a look at a general misassumption about BPD that may give you an unrealistic idea of how many women suffer from this condition.

Misconception No. 1:

All Women Who Engage in Behaviors Associated With the Disorder Have BPD

Many people believe that women who only engage in behaviors associated with BPD in their romantic relationship but who are otherwise able to function in their daily lives are eligible for the diagnosis of BPD. Borderline personality disorder is actually a very complex and serious condition that affects many aspects of an individual’s life.

We tend to toss around psychological labels fairly casually. But it is not really accurate to label a woman who is capable of functioning in her everyday life as having the disorder, even if she engages in some of these behaviors in her romantic relationships.

Because the personality traits we are born with can be weak, strong, or anywhere in between, the severity of the genetic component that causes susceptibility to this disorder can vary. Therefore it is easiest to use the concept of an imaginary scale or spectrum when referring to BPD behaviors.

Women who have weaker traits may engage in less extreme behaviors associated with this disorder. For this reason they won’t qualify for the diagnosis. But there is one very common presentation of behaviors associated with BPD in women who are not eligible for diagnosis. It is common for women who possess weaker traits of BPD to act normally in every area of their lives except in their romantic relationships.

In this blog post we will be using the term “women with traits of BPD” or “women who engage in behaviors associated with BPD” to include all women who engage in this behavior pattern.

Although it is important that we don’t label all women on the spectrum of BPD as disordered, it is also equally important to note that the effect on you as a romantic partner may be the same regardless of whether your ex had the disorder or was on the less extreme side of the spectrum. The information you read in this blog post will apply equally to ex-partners regardless of whether their partner was diagnosable for the disorder.

The next misassumption we will address can not only keep a man trying to recover from one of these breakups from progressing but may also cause him to mistakenly think that he needs years of therapy before embarking on another relationship.

Misconception No. 2:

We Only Pick Partners Who Are As Healthy And Stable As We Are

One of the major misleading assumptions about BPD is the belief that the partners of women with BPD are as sick as the woman they broke up with. This assumption is somewhat understandable. After all, there is an observable correlation between our mental health status and the status of those we pick as partners. However, BPD is a very unique and unusual condition that actually creates an exception to this rule.

When we look at the reasons why countless men have been breaking their silence about these types of relationship experiences we find that the usual motivation that compels them to tell their stories is the alien and bizarre nature of the behaviors they witnessed. Most of these men are reaching out to try to find another person who might be able to explain the behavior to them. They are usually very surprised to find out that there are other men who went through an identical experience.

Another observation that seems to contradict this assumption is the fact that many of the men who tell their stories report having had perfectly healthy and productive relationships before and often after their BPD relationship. To further refute this assumption, if we closely examine what women with traits of BPD are looking for in a man, we will find that it is the healthy men who are actually at the highest risk of entanglement.

Men with a healthy level of trust may have had little experience with the toxic combination of extreme love followed by extreme hatred in the same person. And it is often the inability to come to terms with the two opposing parts of their partner’s personality that causes them such difficulty letting go.

The next mistaken assumption we are going to address is the belief that men who are in relationships with women with traits of BPD suffer from codependency or have problems with self-sacrifice or people-pleasing.

Misconception No. 3:

Men Who Get Involved With Women With Traits of BPD Are Codependent

There certainly are a number of men who struggle with codependency, or putting the needs of others in front of their own. Their personality may be quite attractive to a woman with traits of BPD. After all, a woman with these traits is looking for a man who wants to take care of her needs.

But to categorize the difficulty so many men have in first identifying and then moving on from one of these relationships as a problem of codependency minimizes the very real psychological toll that going through this ordeal can take on an individual.

What we will find when we closely examine the kind of man that is typically chosen by a woman with BPD is that he often fits the category we tend to call the nice-guy personality type. A nice guy is a label we use for someone whose primary positive attributes have to do with his kind and generous nature.

The nice guy type possess his own common cluster of personality traits. Much like the traits of BPD, the traits of a nice guy tend to be found in combination in a sizeable portion of the population. Because our personality traits drive our behavior patterns, we can recognize the nice guy type based solely on his actions.

The nice guy traits are for the most part very beneficial, particularly in relationships. These traits are shared by both men and women. Although most nice-guy and nice-girl types are perfectly healthy, this particular combination of traits can make them susceptible to codependency if there is a negative past experience in childhood or early adulthood.

Although many people have a habit of mistaking some of the healthy nice-guy traits for codependency, in reality, the only negative aspect that we could pin on a nice-guy type would be his naivete in believing that everybody is as trusting as he is.

It is his willingness to give others the benefit of the doubt and his lack of suspicion that others may take advantage of him that make him the perfect candidate for the woman with traits of BPD.

breakups with women with traits of BPD

Misconception No. 4:

Women With Traits of BPD Need Psychotherapy To Get Better

Let’s now address another mistaken assumption about women with BPD. We are going to examine the belief that women who engage in behaviors associated with BPD in their relationships need psychotherapy in order to stop the negative behavior.

Many people assume that because the behavioral patterns engaged in by women with traits of BPD resemble that of common abusers that women with these traits are acting out as adults because of their childhood mistreatment. It would also make sense for people to assume that their behavior must be treated through uncovering their painful past.

But recent developments in the treatment of BPD have shown us that treating the neurological component of BPD which involves regulating or controlling emotions can supply them with the skills necessary to control their negative behavior towards their romantic partners. Interestingly, this training does not include an exploration into childhood trauma.

Although psychotherapy is a very important component of recovery from BPD, for those with less pronounced traits or who do not have trauma in their background it is reasonable to assume that by teaching them the skills that because of their naturally high sensitivity they have not been able to learn on their own, they can stop their negative behaviors.

But the most important misassumption that we need to address in this blog post is the assumption that you could have seen it coming.

Misconception No. 5:

You Could Have Recognized The Signs of BPD

The belief that you should have been able to tell this woman was going to turn against you at some point in your relationship, like some of the other misconceptions about BPD relationships is fairly understandable. Most mental health conditions really do have warning signs that can alert you to trouble down the road if you know how to recognize them.

But as we have already discussed, BPD presents as a very unusual condition. The only warning sign that you might sense is the feeling that the relationship is absolutely right, or that it might be too good to be true.

Although she does not mean to be, the woman who later engages in negative behaviors due to traits of BPD is an absolute master at deception at first. Unlike most people she has the rare ability to keep up the illusion of being a great romantic partner for an extraordinarily long time. And because she is completely invested in her own performance, there may not be observable cracks that let you see the woman she really is under the surface.

The intimacy she craves is for her a double-edged sword. As long as she is pursuing it, she feels safe enough to forget about the risks and enjoy the euphoria of being in love. However, once she finds herself locked into a relationship, her fear of getting hurt will overpower her enjoyment.

By the time she recognizes her great vulnerability, her level of intimacy will be so high from her drive to get you to fall in love that she will have to employ destructive tactics to ratchet down the intimacy to where she feels safe again. She accomplishes this by demeaning and devaluing you, blaming you for her desperate need for emotional safety.

Understanding that the behavior you were subjected to was influenced by genetics and related to neurological difficulty with emotional regulation can help you accept that although your ex-partner clearly was not capable of treating you as you deserved to be treated, she was not evil, nor was she a common abuser who lured you in with the goal of mistreating you.

This foundational understanding of what causes susceptibility to these behaviors can also allow you to accept that the good treatment you received early on was real, at least in your ex-partner’s mind, and that she did at that point love you as much as she said she did.

The knowledge that your ex-partner did not possess the skills necessary to cope with her high emotionality may also help you accept that she is not in her present state equipped to handle a long-term relationship with anyone. She lacks the skills to manage the extreme form of the paranoid, jealous, angry or insecure thoughts that we all may have to a much lesser degree from time to time in our romantic relationships.

This awareness can help you put to rest the idea that you played any role in her mistreatment of you. It can also help you let go of the notion that she could form a healthy relationship with anyone else in the future without first learning these crucial relationship skills.

Related Posts:

Did Your Ex-Girlfriend Have Traits Of Borderline Personality Disorder?

Women With Traits of BPD – Why Did She Lie?

BPD and the Nice Guy Personality Type

Identifying Traits of BPD In Women Before Relationship Commitment

Romantic Idealization And Devaluation In Women With Traits of BPD

Women With Traits of BPD – Why Men Stay

Note To Readers: I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you who have taken the time to post in my comments section. Your questions, opinions and personal stories form an invaluable contribution to this important discussion.

If you would like to learn the Nicola Method so you can put an end to the high conflict situations you may be experiencing, click on this link to the welcome page of this website where you will find the resources you need.

If you want to try out some of the basic techniques of this method for free to see if this method is right for your situation, you can learn them from an intro guide flip-book here or a PDF version of the intro guide here.

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