Tina pulled something amazing out of me that I didn’t know existed and then she killed it. And when that special something was killed, so too was my capacity for love, affection, trust, faith and optimism.
It’s as if my affection was an organ, bloodied and battered from abuse and it was raw and hurt to be touched. I didn’t want to be touched by anyone. I didn’t want to be close to anyone. It hurt.
I have a mental disorder. I was raised in an on-again-off-again broken home with an alcoholic father. I suppose I was inadvertently raised to be somewhat codependent. My mental disorder made me kind, patient, helpful, accepting and accommodating. It also made me very tolerant to abuse and my memory of distressing events susceptible to suppression. It apparently also made me far more gullible than I thought I was.
My nice-guy, codependent personality made a match with a cluster B personality type like Tina seem supernatural in it’s power.
My whole sense of reality and faith in my own ability to reason was then destroyed by years of gaslighting, lies and manipulation. My faith in my fellow humans was lost. I didn’t trust anyone or believe anything.
My understanding of morality was compromised. My whole world had been turned upside down and inside out.
I know people wonder why I couldn’t just get over it and move on. I asked myself that. A lot. I was used and abused by a terribly sick person. Just leave her in the past and move forward, right? The damage Tina and her mom inflicted on my psyche didn’t merely linger, though. It affected me through and through. It was emotionally and mentally crippling.
I was suffering a form of post traumatic stress disorder. I was angry and sad and most of all disappointed in myself – for being so fucking stupid as to allow all of this. At the same time, something like Stockholm syndrome haunted me. I could still feel a pull towards her!
Through study, I discovered that the debilitating symptoms that plagued me were at least partly (if not mostly) physical. Long-term narcissistic abuse causes chemical and physical changes in the brain. The actual, physical shape and function of the brain’s hippocampus and amygdala regions become damaged from constant exposure to stress hormones like cortisol. The trauma bond caused by such an emotionally manipulative and abusive relationship is a powerful addiction, which is also a physical phenomenon.
After I’d finally settled into my own place, I found I had a dilemma. What to do with Tina’s sparkly diamond and white gold engagement ring? It was tainted. Poetically, I considered disposing of it in a septic tank, since I’d be better off marrying an actual piece of shit than a selfish lying addict doing her best impression of one.
When we broke up, I was wondering aloud why I’d put up with so much shit from her for so long to that point. “You’re not worth it,” I said as I packed my things. She later said that I had I called her “worthless.” I don’t remember saying that and I don’t believe I called her that, but she said she felt worthless. I was sure she misheard me. She’s not worthless, but the way she’d chosen to avail herself has no currency in my world. Her chosen use to humanity, it seemed, was as a fuck hole for dirtbags and as long as she goes untreated, that’s all she’ll be.
On more than one occasion, Tina said “sometimes I feel like the only way I could make a living is on my back.” She also spoke of “considering” stripping as a vocation. I didn’t take her literally on any of that, but perhaps she was telling me a truth I preferred to ignore and perhaps she was exactly correct.
She was completely unable to hold a job in the three years I knew her. She was full of excuses about why, but the one she used most often was that she had a compromised immune system. She said she didn’t want any job working with the public because she was afraid of falling ill, but she had no problem hanging out in crowded bars, where hygiene standards were probably not much superior to clinic reception areas.
In general, I’ve found tattoos vulgar and distasteful, but in a way I also appreciated face and neck tattoos because they so clearly mark a person as someone for me to avoid. I wished Tina carried an obvious mark, along the lines of a scarlet letter, not to mark her as an adulteress (which she is), but to warn good people away from her evil.
There are stories, things I’ve been told, things I’ve figured out, that I was hesitant to write because they could cause collateral damage in the relationships of others touched by Tina’s wake. Perhaps deservedly so.
As I learned about borderline personality, narcissistic personality disorder and other “cluster B” disorders, I was amazed at how other people’s experiences mirror my own. My emotional connection to Tina was more intense than anything I’d experienced before. I thought there was something cosmic about it, that it must have been meant to be. We were a perfect fit, drawn together like magnets, connected like complex puzzle pieces and inseparable.
Now I see that in a way, we actually were made for each other, but it wasn’t a match made in the stars. Our personality types, each shaped by childhood trauma made a “perfect,” irresistible match that (lacking treatment) was psychologically preordained to play out in exactly the way it did for us. We fit like a key in a lock and it could only open the one door. It was like we were each only half a person, emotionally, but together, we felt complete. I know that cheesy sentence calls Jerry McGuire to mind, but I actually did feel that way. I couldn’t say if Tina did. Maybe. She said she did.
I learned a tremendous amount about borderline personality disorder and the psychological fallout survivors of BPD relationships invariably suffer. These excerpts from an article I came across do a better than decent job explaining what occurs in a romantic relationship with a personality disorder in the mix:
Borderline Personality Disorder: Is believed to occur due to neglect and/or sexual abuse suffered by the BPD as a child, resulting in the emotional development of the child being halted at a young age and unhealthy coping behaviors being formed which leave the borderline struggling to maintain relationships, in particular romantic/intimate relationships in adulthood. There seems to be a genetic component as well, and debate is raging as to whether someone needs to have both: a.) the genetic predisposition, b.) suffered trauma via neglect and/or sexual abuse to trigger the BPD disorder.
- Borderlines are only victims until they enter intimate relationships then in most cases they become the abuser and should be treated as such.
- The Phase 1 Lovebomb/Idealization phase with a Borderline is arguably the most intense of all the Cluster B Idealizations which makes the borderline the most dangerous predator of them all. This is especially intense if Histrionic is included in the mix.
- Each disorder may have different internal dynamics but for their victim it always results in some version of the Narcissist Abuse Cycle (Idealize/Devalue/Discard/Replace/Hoover).
- Recovery for their victims takes years and affects them for life which is why Cluster B’s especially Borderlines must be labelled and treated with such extreme caution, to protect the general population.
- A Cluster B with Histrionic in the mix is the hardest of all to recover from as they have the most powerful allure/sexual magnetism which is intoxicating to men and impossible to forget.
- Borderlines can ONLY be judged from their actions, NEVER their words!
- Regardless of what you may have read or heard elsewhere, Borderlines do not“get better” with age, unless they’ve entered into (and stuck with) core trauma focused recovery work. The longer these core issues go untreated/unresolved, the more entrenched they are, and the deeper and more habituated the one’s defenses and acting-out behaviors become. I have read and seen personally how the acting out behaviors can mellow with age to be replaced by Paranoia and Jealousy. Age can’t heal the borderline disordered personality, but hard inner work can.
- Untreated Cluster B’s are the closest thing to the Vampires we see in our popular fiction. They don’t feed on Blood. They do feed on their victims souls and on a particular form of energy called “Proximate energy”.
- Borderlines and Narcissists attract each other like magnets. In most cases the Borderline will eventually tear the Narcissist apart, so you can imagine what that means for a relatively normal, loving human being.
- Cluster B apologists will usually try to re-frame victims stories as a normal relationship that went bad and the victim is just a bitter ex.
- Cluster B apologists will usually try to minimize victims stories by arguing that the bad ones are a minority and that each case is different. The reality is there are clear, measurable and quantifiable patterns of abuse which are consistent with the Narc abuse cycle and concur with the majority of survivors stories.
- Cluster B apologists will always ask for statistics. This is a ruse. BPD is the most complex of all the Personality disorders, one most trained councilors don’t even want to deal with. There are few reliable statistics. Therefore examining this disorder is best done by reading Victim and Survivor accounts to look for patterns which once again are consistent with the Narc abuse cycle and concur with the majority of survivors stories.
- Cluster B apologists will argue that only highly trained professionals are qualified to diagnose a Cluster B. The reality is that >90% of Cluster B’s will never step foot in a councilors office. The partner of a Cluster B is therefore the most qualified person to diagnose the condition, having been put through the Narc Abuse Cycle.
Triangulation: Creating some form of drama or chaos, with the Narcissist in the middle, generally involving two rivals, and manipulating them into a conflict with each other. This either done for the entertainment of the Narcissist or as a way to deflect blame/accountability from themselves.If you finally get the strength to leave before you’re truly broken as I did a whole new horror unfolds as in the stage 4 Replace phase they replace you with a new target/victim before you’ve even packed your bags… They’re literally sleeping with someone new within hours as they can’t bear to be alone as it means they would have to self-reflect, something a BPD/Narc just won’t do. If covert BPD/Narc they may wipe all trace of your existence. If comorbid you can expect a mixture of the two tactics.
BPD sufferers essentially grow up to be emotional toddlers in the physical bodies of adults… who will make adult decisions based on a 3–5 year olds understanding of consequences, responsibility and morality.
“It’s crucial to understand that the partner or friend of a BPD individual is typically core-damaged in precisely the same ways a Borderline is. They share the same vibrational frequency since childhood, because they’re core traumatized in the same ways. This is what initially magnitizes them to each other, and keeps them trying to ‘get it right’ with one another, against all odds.”
- Even a short relationship with a Borderline can cause permanent damage to their victim’s emotional and spiritual well-being.
End Result: They leave their victim unsure of what is real and what is not… (Councillors call it “The Fog”, a mixture of Stockhom Syndrome and Cognitive Dissonance) (FOG is an acronym for Fear Obligation and Guilt, which is how personality disordered individuals manipulate others), and you’ll be conditioned to accept things you would never in a million years accept if you were thinking clearly, and your friends and family will be scratching their heads in amazement.
Adrian O’Paicigh is the survivor and author of the above excerpts. He has written and compiled an extensive library of information about BPD. I recommend exploring his articles for anyone interested in or having a run-in with the disorder. It’s very insightful.