A very dear Reader of mine has graciously agreed to open up her life a little and share with us some of her experience living with BPD and Codependency. So without further ado, here's what she has to say:
I think my codependency issues started in childhood with my mother. She was very unhappy in her marriage and my brother had many issues stemming from his brain damage and I was her perfect, beautiful princess. The light of her life. My entire purpose in childhood was to keep my mother from slipping into madness. She has told me, in therapeutic adult conversations recently that she never intended to make me feel like I had to be that. She was praising me, telling me that was what I was. I get it. I had similar talks with my dad about his verbal abuse and the tension from his neglect and having to care for my mother. Talking with them both, separately, six months ago helped clarify a lot of stuff and a lot of forgiveness was spread around. I have felt so much freer since. If you can talk to your parents without fear that they will kill you (anything else you fear might happen isn’t actually that bad!) then you should. Forgiveness and understanding have many health benefits for both parties, including lower blood pressure. Talk to them before they die and it is too late. I digress.
I moved around. A lot. We moved on average every 2 years from my infancy on. I never developed attachments to anyone my age until junior high school, when I fell in love with someone I met on a pre-internet communications service (I am not a spring chicken lol). I was 13. We had a long distance, fantasy driven relationship with about four actual in person meetings. Granted I would stay for a week or more or he would, but it was mostly a virtual romance. I spent all my time locked away writing to him, talking to him on the phone, writing emo poetry and fantasizing about our future. He raped me to break up with me and I never heard from him again (I tried to contact him because I was confused and hurt and abandoned). We did talk briefly years later, but it wasn’t real closure.
After that, I made friends with the other outcasts and had a semi normal teen hood. I was a juvenile delinquent but I never really got in trouble. I always had a female friend who I was totally codependent on. I had never had friends and my only model for female relationships was with my histrionic mother. I would spend most of my time doing random teen stuff with my gal pal and sport fucking the boys. I literally saw myself as a damaged whore, so I played the part.
College came; I did more of the same. Teamed up with my fellow BPD gal and we ran wild. She was one of the few people I have met who made me feel retarded. She was brilliant and I adored her. I had a big breakdown and returned to the nest and met my ex-husband. We were both early 20s and he had a codependent relationship with his mother. We loved each other intensely in our childish, selfish ways. Our relationship died when his mother died, a year after we were married. The rest of our marriage was our codependent need to stay together, despite making each other miserable. We both even were violent with each other at times. I punched him (unprovoked) in the gut full force one time.
Last year, I finally got the nerve to leave. I knew he wouldn’t let me go without someone else to take my place, so I opened our marriage and he found a girlfriend. Next time I asked for divorce, he agreed.
I was so determined not to be like him and have to jump immediately into a new relationship for safety. I wanted to. There were opportunities. I am attractive and professional and men adore me. I decided to go back to my sport fucking ways and just have fun and be independent and kill my codependent ways for good. That’s when I met my friend.
I hadn’t really had a lot of BPD symptoms during my marriage, partly because I had no privacy for self-harming or self-reflection or anything, also because I was in such a depression. I think I just dissociated most of the time. I didn’t have impulses. I didn’t have much of anything. Except the occasional violence, like punching my husband. My BPD really came back upon the divorce. I was suicidal all the time. I couldn’t take a bath because I ideated blood filled water. I had to toss out the razor I used to trim my bangs. I scared myself. I didn’t think I could live alone. Completely alone, no roommates, only my dog. I made it through, though and then started to enjoy my freedom.
Until I started seeing my friend. We started out on fire. Spent an entire weekend together at a hippie festival. Then we took road trips and went camping. We spent way too much time together. I fell right into my codependent ways. I suddenly felt like I couldn’t live without him and he was the key to my happiness. I texted him incessantly, constant fear of abandonment. If we weren’t together I was worried he would disappear forever. It got bad and I got really nutty. He left me for a less crazy woman. That didn’t work because in a totally manic delusional state, I sent her a stream of messages and told her way more about him than she needed to know that soon. She kept him at arm’s length while they dated for a month or so and she dumped him. He blamed me, but came back to me.
So now we have been riding this rollercoaster of distrust and emotion and we have come to a place where he admitted it is my BPD that stands between us. My acting out. My abusive texting. I can be quite vicious. I am not allowed one "freak out" (his words) for two weeks. April 9 will be two weeks. I have been good so far. I don’t feel bad about him requiring this of me. I really do deserve it. I always paint the other guy as the bad guy, but in this situation, much of the fault really falls on me. Can you imagine getting 20 texts over the course of a couple hours, getting progressively more hostile, then coming out of a meeting and reading all 20 at once? That’s the kind of thing I would do. Sometimes a couple times a week. Not good.
Therapy is helping immensely. Living my life is helping. Having a person who forces me to take time alone and won’t let me give into my codependent tendencies is helping. My ex enabled me by allowing my abuse unchecked (I did for him as well). Having someone call me on my shit is so great. Yes, it sometimes leads to me beating myself up, but my coping is getting better and I can appreciate him for still being there for me, despite my nutty behavior.
I am breaking the BPD and the codependency. I want to be able to have a healthy relationship with myself so I can with others. Focusing on me over the last year has helped. All my energy for ten years was focused on the marriage, not me. I am making up for lost time.