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Living with wife with probable bpd



I have been having difficulties with my wife for about 2.5 years now, we have two wonderful young boys, and been separated for the last 6 months. I at first thought that she was experiencing extreme pms, things were ok for about 2 weeks, then out of nowhere she would switch for the next two weeks (irritable, picky, aggressive), about the end of which she would get her period. We would have arguments which would often end with me sobbing as I had no idea what was going on and the content of the arguments was often highly irrational. I started leaving the house to get away and to keep this away from the kids. Getting away became more common, and ended up in us being separated. I have had conversations with people who are familiar with bpd and they have said that its highly likely my wife has bpd (although stressed that it was not a diagnosis). I had never heard of this before and so did some reading, all of a sudden the last few years made sense.


I want to return to my family, but I don't know if I can cope with the intensity of her anger and emotions, her inability to accept responsibility for her actions, and general refusal/disregard for my opinions. I have tried to get her to help by suggesting she sees someone about her stress levels but she refuses. I have also asked her to see someone because I'm asking her to, as I have been to three counsellors over the last two years because she wanted me to, but she refuses. Her GP has given her a referral, but that ended up being cancelled. The counsellor I am seeing at the moment has been incredible and helped me understand the way that people with these characteristics function.


I am thinking of returning to my family as I dearly miss them all, but know that I first need to establish boundaries for her behaviour and have some form of guarantee that my opinions wont be disregarded. I have all but given up on her getting help, so I'm thinking I need to learn how to manage (not control) her behavior.


Does anyone have any experience with and/or advice for these situations at all?


Re: Living with wife with probable bpd

hello @wombats and welcome to the forum

in the search bar if you put in the words like "BPD" all the threads will ome up withthat word in there

also I will tag @Determined , may be able to help you and I will tag you in his thread for you too

remember you are not alone my friend

Re: Living with wife with probable bpd

Hi @wombats  and welcome

I see that @Shaz51 has already tagged you in a thread where I share about the ups and downs in our family. I have also added some comments there. If you look in the top right corner there is a bell. Click on that and you will see a link to threads  where you have bee tagged or commented in. Hope this helps. 


A lot of what you have talked about resonates with ohr family and my wife (aka my darling) in so many ways. We have been married 19 years and have 3 children between 3 and 14. 

I have many times been reccomended the book stop walking on eggshells but have not read it yet. I did get an ebook version from booktopia but it was difficult to navigate so would reccomend a hard copy. (I have used ebooks a lot quite successfully so I think it was particular to that book). 


My wife also refused help early on and our diagnosis came when she was in hoapital with our first baby. Midwives came to me with concrens about pnd and when I told them 'umm this is normal' they arranged an evaluation. Not sure what would have happened without that. 

Boundaries have made a big difference in the life of our family, this is explained in the thread you have been tagged in. This will be different for everyone but i have explained our boundaries and the basis for them.   Hope this helps. Happy to answer any questions. 


Re: Living with wife with probable bpd

Hi @wombats and welcome to the forums.


It is clear from your post that you are missing your family and this has been a very difficult and confusing time for you.


You have already received some wonderful support here and I want to reiterate you that you are not alone in what you and your family are going through. Although we cannot speak for or compare the specific circumstances, some carers have also been through difficulties associated with the cyclical nature of a partner with premenstrual dysphoric disorder.


Learning how to manage, and take care of your own wellbeing, is really important for both of you moving forward. How are you going with establishing boundaries, have you had any additional thoughts about this?


Re: Living with wife with probable bpd

Thanks for getting in touch Determined,


sorry for my slow reply, work has been very busy.


I can't find the bell - is it on my account page or the forum main page?


I found a copy of the eggshells book, it seems very helpful.  I have also had a bit of a read of your thread, you have been through a lot, I feel for your situation.


I'll have another look for the bell and the thread I have been tagged in, do you have any advice on how to go about actually communicating with someone and establishing boundaries? I'm nervous about it and I'm pretty sure it is going to be difficult due to no idea on my wife's part that some her behavior isn't acceptable

Re: Living with wife with probable bpd

Found the bell - it was right under my nose!

Re: Living with wife with probable bpd

Hi Ali11, thanks for your thoughts


I have had a (quick) read about premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and that might be part of what is going on.


I'm honestly nervous about trying to establish boundaries. My requests are often either ignored or start an argument, so I've been somewhat 'trained' not to voice them.


As an example - we were at marriage counselling a few weeks ago and I put in the request that she considers me in her decisions and doesn't disregard my requests. I also said in the session that I would head to the house the next day (Saturday) to see the kids. I am staying about 30 minutes from the house. I sent a text saying I was on my way on Saturday morning as I was leaving. When I was about 10 minutes short of getting there, I recieved a reply that she was going out with the kids and would be back about 10:30 (this was a liitle after 8). I got to the house before she left, and was told they were going to look at puppies (to put in context - we have a dog, who I started looking after when she took the kids interstate over the last school holidays over my birthday and easter, I have kept him with me as his company has been irreplaceable. I have been called all sorts of cruel for doing this).  I said that we have a dog, we don't have the money to buy a puppy and associated costs, and its a puppy - they take a lot of work. Please don't get a puppy. Anyway, the kids wanted to hang out with me, and she went to look at puppies. She returned with a six week old Kelpie (he is a lovely dog, but I'm the only person who has taken him for a walk/to the beach when I have been back at the house. 


So, I have absolutely no idea how to try and establish boundaries with someone like this, or the kinds of consequences to put in place for pushing boundaries. If she doesn't like what I say it is either ignored or creates an argument

Re: Living with wife with probable bpd

Hey @wombats,


That's really tough to have plans changed rapidly. When you requested during your counselling session that you be considered when making decisions, how do you think this was received? Is the counselling environment a place where you would feel comfortable trying to establish boundaries together?

Re: Living with wife with probable bpd

@wombats  did you find the thread where I explained our boundaries? These are quite specific to our situation so would be different for everyone. 

For us boundaries were first introduced while my darling was in hospital (private hospital mental health unit). This was done in consultation with and a fair bit of encouragement from my councillor at the time.  I also discussed the  boundaries here on the forums for feedback as I was concerned about being perceived  as a control freak.

I have often clarified that I see boundaries as loving guidelines  not rules to be enforced.   Anyway I first raised it on the phone while she was in hospital and emailed the 'list' and justification to my darling and encouraged her to discuss it with her assigned nurse.  Sounds a bit lame doing it over the phone but I was more than a little fragile at the time and nit up to the anticipated reaponse in person. Thankfully the nurse was most supportive of what I was trying to do. For us anyway that was a big help. 

I have found that in times of crisis the boundaries go out the window but their intention is to try an avoid times of crisis. 

And they do work a lot of the time.

Only in the last week I gently reminded darling that if she drove off in the car in a rage I would call the police (one of our boundaries and out of safety concerns) and she actually listened and did not leave. That was a big win for our family. 

A bit long winded but nope it helps.

You mentioned you were seeing a councillor. I would really reccomend working through something with them as I know I could not have done it  alone. 


Re: Living with wife with probable bpd

'Im pretty sure it is going to be difficult due to no idea on my wife's part that some her behavior isn't acceptable'


Lack of insight is also a big issue here. Darling honestly believes that most if her problems are because I am angry and unreasonable 😒  



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