It’s widely recognised that when you’re in a relationship with someone who either has diagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder, or with someone whom has many of the characteristics of this psychological derangement, that you invariably ‘catch a few fleas‘ yourself.
What exactly do I mean by this?
BPD is all about ‘control‘; the person with BPD must control the environment around them, in order to stem their irrational fear of real, or perceived abandonment, and the simultaneous chronic fear of ‘engulfment’. And ‘control’ to a BPD means control of everything, for example from what time the ‘ex’ may be picking up the kids that day, to your own whereabouts and activities. Yes, ‘controlling’ YOU, the ‘non’ in the relationship is number-one on their list of priorities.
This ‘pressure’, and this pathological scrutiny by your partner will, in the majority of cases, eventually impact insidiously and perversely on your own behaviour. This is especially true if you’re a ‘non-BP‘ in a relatively long-standing relationship with a BPD. When your BPD-partner is absent or ‘missing in action’, whilst you may suspect that he/she may be meeting other prospective partners in a bid to ‘triangulate’, then surely it’s OK to covertly access their email account to see what they’re really up to? In the same vein, surely it’s ‘OK’ to follow them to an impromptu ‘PTA Meeting’ when they suspiciously appear ‘dressed-to-kill’? No, it’s wrong! But if you know where I’m coming from, then the ‘fleas’ have already bitten hard and deep. After all the concept of ‘trust’, especially in a relationship with someone whom has undiagnosed/unacknowledged BPD is like ‘fool’s gold'; it doesn’t exist, and it never really did…
In extreme cases, this triage of seemingly-unending ‘battle’ with your BPD-partner can have an unequivocal impact on your own mental/psychological health and well-being. All-of-a-sudden, almost overnight, you’re the one who appears ‘crazy’, as exhibited by your (often irrational) actions in your desperate and seemingly never-ending attempts to maintain this dysfunctional relationship. But these actions can come with a ‘cost'; a cost to your own health and well-being.
It’s well recognised that ‘non-BP’ partners eventually exhibit signs of stress, anxiety and depression in response to the daily ‘battle’ with their BPD-partners. In severe cases, this can manifest itself as ‘Post-traumatic Stress Disorder‘, or ‘PTSD’. By that point, you will undoubtedly have a severe case of ‘the fleas’, and you’ll probably feel almost ‘bitten to death’ by the constant onslaught of pain and suffering.
It’s important that if, or when that point arrives, you seek professional help; recognise that you have your own psychological issues to address, and prioritise these above and beyond those of your BPD-partner. This is ‘easier said that done’ in many cases, but remember that the cost of not addressing your own issues could be profound; not taking action at this point may mean at one extreme the end of other friendships/relationships, and at the other extreme it could mean the possible loss of your livelihood…
In short: Seek medical advice yourself, and follow it.
Although mental/psychological illness still carries with it a certain ‘stigma’, here in the United Kingdom we have the ‘Equality Act (2010)’. This Act proffers certain ‘protections’ to people with a ‘protected characteristic’ such as a mental illness that qualifies as a ‘disability'; and the Act focuses more on the symptoms of any current or past illness, rather than on the categorical medical ‘diagnosis’ itself. However, to confer protection under the Equality Act, you have to be able to demonstrate (among other things) that the symptoms of your illness would be prevalent without the appropriate medical treatment. This is especially important if your own illness/condition is having a detrimental impact on your work, and the provisions of the Equality Act can help protect your future working livelihood.
Please do not take what I say as ‘gospel'; I am not a lawyer, and any legal references I make come with a ‘health warning’. However the key message I wish to impart is that if you feel like your health and well-being is ‘suffering’ as a ‘non-BP’ in a relationship with someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, then acknowledge your own health impairment, seek medical attention immediately, and most importantly follow that advice.
If you fail to recognise, and acknowledge your own health issues that may prevail as a result of the ‘dysfunctional dance’ that characterise your ongoing relationship with a partner suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, then this may well prove to be your own ‘Achilles’ Heel‘; and if you’re unfortunate enough to ‘fall off the dance-floor of life’ in these circumstances, then ‘fleas’ will be the least of your worries. It will be the ‘vultures’ that will now naturally be your next adversaries; and a smattering of ‘flea powder’ will be of no use whatsoever…
Until next time.