Once in a while I do a search for “borderline personality males” using Google, just to see what comes up. BPD is mostly thought of as a condition that women develop. In fact, about 2/3’s of BPD patients in out-patient care are women. That makes borderline men a slightly rarer group, although recent research is pointing towards the existence of more borderline men simply because they were never diagnosed properly during initial mental health reviews. Further, BPD men tend to be more physically violent and confrontational, and this inevitably lands them in jail. Once incarcerated, their BPD is ignored as inmate behavior.
So after typing “borderline personality males” and hitting enter, this interesting page came up: “Borderline Males I’ve Known, and Almost Loved; Surviving the Crash after your Crush“, by Shari Schreiber, M.A. The author takes a lengthy and extremely stern look at past relationships with borderline men. Her article begins with some didactic prose about the cause of BPD and its narcissistic qualities. Then, it delves into the meatier matters of male BPD and how she perceives it in relationships. The following is a quote from her page:
Some of these males present as little boys, ambivalently in need of rescuing or care. Their vulnerability comes across in a way that has you seeing them as open and genuine–but watch out! Don’t believe the hardship stories they feed you, while asking for a “temporary” loan or place to sleep. This type of fellow is discussed (below) in; THE BOY WHO CRIED WAIF. Don’t think for a moment, this guy can’t screw up your life, just because he seems so pitiful. A ‘victim’ type Borderline will resent/harm anyone who tries to be his savior; you’re just kidding yourself, if you think that You’ll be the exception.
This passage pretty much sets the tone for the rest of her article: don’t trust BPD males, don’t love BPD males, don’t even waste your time with them. As a BPD male myself, I find Ms. Schreiber’s language a bit insulting. Additionally, if she is indeed right in her analysis, NO BPD males should have ANY sort of romantic relationship, simply because it will ruin the life of the female involved.
Taking a step back, I can honestly agree with some of the points she makes. I can’t argue the science of BPD, the way we act, or the way in which we approach love. I do, however, strongly disagree that we are unlovable. After wasting nearly a half hour trudging through Ms. Schreiber’s article, I almost thought male sociopaths or those in a permanent state of psychosis were somehow more deserving of love than BPD males. Ms. Schreiber continues:
If you’re a caregiver/codependent type and you think you can help this fellow heal, get out now. This guy had very disappointing and painful relationship experiences with Mother, and you’re not gonna change that for him. Besides, no man wants to fuck his mommy–and if he does, he’s way more screwed-up than you think he is. He left home to get away from her, and he’ll do it to you. A Borderline’s nature is paradoxical; the better you treat him, the faster he has to find fault with you, distance himself or push you away.
She leaps from rightfully defending a co-dependent personality to suggesting that BPD males look at sex through a quasi-incestuous lens. Not once since I’ve been diagnosed with BPD (after 11 years) have I ever considered having sex with a woman as a means to mend relations with my mother. She’s right that BPD males do have problems with their mother, but these are the fault of the mother, not necessarily the borderline male. Her bombastic and dramatic use of inaccurate language is a bit disturbing, to say the least.
Love is blind. When you’re with a Borderline, you’ll see only what you want to see about this guy–and you won’t begin to wake-up until he drops you on your head, and you’re drowning in so much pain and shame, you can barely breathe. Even then you won’t leave, because you’ll keep hoping for the good times to return–but beware! This male can turn your world upside-down and inside-out, to where you can hardly remember or recognize that woman you used to be, before he came along.
Love is definitely blind, everyone knows that. This axiom of human existence is part of the attraction process and affects everyone, whether they are mentally ill or not. To suggest, however, that a BPD male with good intentions is out to ruin his partner’s life is hyperbole at its worst. It takes two to tango. If you think your life is becoming unbalanced by your BPD partner – or any other type of partner – you should leave. To suggest that a BPD male is pining to destroy his partner’s existence and exploit her for sex or one sided companionship is a horribly pessimistic sentiment. Personally, I think it’s over-the-top and cruel.
One day I hope to have a mutually beneficial relationship with a woman, and when that happens, I will do everything in my power to make sure it works, not self destructs.
Your borderline lover is hypersensitive–to well, just about everything. This guy will have you feeling just horrible about hurting his feelings, even when you know you didn’t mean a thing by that silly, offhand comment you made about one of his relatives. He’ll sulk, become distant, or angrily bust your ovaries over some stupid little oversight, to where you’ve begun walking on eggshells around him, just to avert these agonizing occurrences! Molehills become mountains, and no matter how careful you are, you’re gonna step on a land mine–and there isn’t a darned thing you can do about it. It won’t be long, before the joyful parts of yourself (like your sense of humor) die off.
Ok, yes, BPD males are hypersensitive and temperamental: this much we know from the DSM-IV. Unfortunately for Ms. Schreiber, these statements somewhat contradict what she concluded earlier on in her diatribe about BPD men wanting to mend relations with their mothers. “Walking on eggshells” – yes; but “the joyful parts of yourself (like your sense of humor) die off” – that’s a bit much. Any woman that allows herself to be a doormat will get this sort of treatment, regardless of the mental health problems her partner has or does not have.
This man-child can’t tolerate any form of rejection. If you’re not in the mood to make love, he’s inclined to personalize your unwillingness to immediately fulfill his libidinal needs. He’ll guilt you for abandoning him, not caring about him or “being withholding”–even when it’s right after he’s been abusive, and you’re trying to recover emotionally and/or physically! This discord typically provokes his rage, which lands you right back into an abusive cycle. The BPD male has unresolved primal needs, due to lack of bonding with Mother during infancy; the only way he’s able to experience closeness, is through sex and touch. Grown adults have the ability to connect intimately in other domains of their relationships (spiritual, emotional, cerebral, etc.) but the infantile Borderline has difficulty with mature interplay, and may rely solely on sex as a means of connecting. You’ll feel objectified in this type of relationship.
Pardon me, Ms. Schreiber, I believe that as a thirty-something male, I fully realize that a female might withhold sex simply because she is tired, had stressful day, or wants to read a book instead. Do I feel rejected? Maybe, but I’m not inconsolable. This type of sexual banter goes both ways. Yes, even we men, the standard bearers of non-stop libido, are not interested in sex. Do we then conclude that a lover’s negative reaction is the result of severe childhood trauma? There are many reasons for the way people behave. BPD is certainly an explanation for many of them, but among those trying to improve themselves, it isn’t ALWAYS the case.
Passive aggression in the Borderline man, means that he usually fights like a girl. Rather than direct verbal expression about how he actually feels, he’ll throw cunty, bitchy, sarcastic comments your way. These are often muttered under his breath–but sometimes, they’re loudly hurled at you during a battle and it’s impossible to defend yourself. Either way, it’s dirty fighting.
I actually laughed reading this. Shreiber really can’t make up her mind about how her men should react to her. On one hand, we could have a physically violent, psychotic, masochist male, or on the other, a “cunty” male who makes sarcastic comments. I don’t really regard making “bitchy” remarks as “dirty fighting”. Pick one of the following: be at the receiving end of one of my insensitive remarks, or be at the receiving end of my fist? I even think Ms. Schreiber would know the better of these two.
As she concludes her article, she makes another point that actually is really more of a statement about a woman having problems, versus the male borderline that she’s met:
If you’re persistently drawn to narcissistic men, there were serious deficits in consistent, nourishing support and affection during your childhood (usually with Mother), that set you up for distressing, confusing relational dynamics in your adult life. Your abandonment issues aren’t about the father who left when you were an infant or small child, they’re about emotional deficiencies in the parent who raised you! This relationship template from your girlhood keeps you choosing the ‘Mr. Wrongs,’ until you’re ready to tackle some inner-healing work.
Now she’s bashing you, her kind reader, after umpteen paragraphs of pyscho-babble drivel. If YOU end up in relationships with BPD males, surely YOU have problems, too! It seems almost impossible to win with this lady! Who does she think she is?
My conclusion for any female in a relationship with a BPD male: keep your guard up, know your boundaries, and be honest. Honesty and true love will communicate your feelings to ANY partner, mentally ill or not. If they do not respect your honesty and committed emotions, than the relationship is over. It has nothing to do with wanting to screw one’s mother, selfish seductive conquests, or passive-aggressive behavior.
If you read Ms. Schreiber’s “About Me” page, she offers a free first consultation over the phone, but does not do email therapy. Hint, hint, she’ll charge you for any further advice. This reminds me of one of those “Make a killing in Real Estate in 15 minutes” info-mercials at 3:00 AM in the morning. First she bullies you over with exaggeration and bullsh*t, then she offers a modicum of hope if you’re willing to hand over your checkbook.
Nice work Shari, I’m feeling great about my recovery as a BPD male thanks to you!