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For Family and Romantic Partners

When a loved-one has traits of Borderline Personality

Monday, September 10, 2012

Does the expression "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" remind you of your spouse or partner?

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A member at , writes: "I thought I was with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."  In the 1931 film adaptation, of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Dr. Jekyll believes good and evil exist in everyone. Experiments reveal his evil side, named Hyde. Experience teaches him how to hide how evil "Hyde" can be.

Does the expression "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" remind you of your spouse or partner, too?  Have you ever thought that they were two different people - one minute they are the greatest, most kind and affectionate partner, and then suddenly an awful, mean, frightening person?

How could someone so good, turn around and become so bad, then flip back to again? You may be dealing with someone with a personality disorder or a mood disorder like Borderline personality disorder (BPD).

Borderline personality disorder is also known as Emotional Dysregulation Disorder, and is often misdiagnosed as Bipolar disorder, depression, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  For example a study by researchers at the University of North Texas and Brown University found that nearly 40% of people with BPD in the study sample had previously received a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder.  

I Hate You, Don't Leave Me

"I hate you, don't leave me", the title of Jerold Kreisman's (MD) 1991 book describing Borderline personality disorder has become a a widely accepted short description of the disorder.  What to know more?  Take a look at this video on the symptoms of the symptoms of Borderline personality disorder.

The site contain many articles and information about both Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder and has members available 24 a day to answer your questions.  If you are struggling with a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde relationship, BPDfamily may be a good resource for you.

Write comments
  1. This description is 100% on ... absolutely right about those outside of the family not necessarily being able to see the BPD side of a person. My question, how to get an overwhelmed son (spouse to BPD) w/ 2 young children 4 and under to recognize what is happening ... Our son has aged, appears depressed, is forbidden to call his parents, has been convinced that his mother is terrible and the cause of all their problems. He appears nervous when she is around, withholds comments, bites his nails to the quick, is short when he responds. BPD is so very mean to those who are in close distance to the BPD. He was going to counseling until she found out and now monitors his every call & work computer use.

  2. This article is quite true. Those of us who know a BPD sufferer can sometimes watch our loved ones go from idealizing us to devaluing us. The two extremes of behavior from the sweet, loving person we thought we knew to the raging, angry person we don't recognize is a very confusing ordeal to reconcile with. We are left asking the all consuming question, "Why?" The answer is in the disorder itself.

  3. Mr. Hyde

    Dr. Jekyll

    I never liked strict 'labels' but now I really think my ex may not just have had elements, but could have actually been diagnosed.. It's difficult to detect in different circumstances- you need to look at the disorder holistically. & when I first watched the video on this site it definitely hit home! =/
    It's interesting that I've studied psychology for a number of years and noticed -many- unsettling characteristics early in the relationship though never voiced my thoughts on it. I analyzed it thoroughly while denying the truth. Even if I dismissed it as 'extremely minor'/ 'very high functioning'

    Towards the end everything came together so clearly with some final research. It really put the abusive behaviors into perspective. I never would've imagined encountering something like Borderline PD. I thought he may change but I think it'll be something permanent about him. Can it be "cured"? By maturity, by therapy, by personal commitment, by God, I don't know. Maybe I will find out, maybe not. However I believe it's possible. Life is quite the unpredictable journey! Realizing all this just shed a beacon of light on the whole situation and helped give a little more meaning to my past.

    I encourage all of you who are struggling with a loved one in a committed relationship/marriage to stay strong; you've accepted a long term challenge. Never let his/her emotional issues get put ahead of YOU. With a gentle loving spirit, set healthy boundaries and never give in. Remember: YOU matter. If you want to fully succeed in helping others, you must take care of YOURSELF first.

    :] <3

  4. Yes, BPD can be "cured," according to Dr. Marsha Linehan from Seattle WA who has helped many with BPD using her "Dialectical Behavior Therapy. It can take years, but it has actually helped people lose the diagnosis. I found an excellent article about Linehan's work called, "Minds on the Edge," describing what she does. She is also on youtube.

  5. Thank you so much. Your words ring so true. I have been married to a good man for 37 years (once separated briefly). This sounds exactly what I am dealing with - and I know my past has paved the way to stepping into this relationship. It has been extremely difficult through the years and I could never get a handle on just what the issue was. I think I'm finally figuring it out and realize I may also be dealing with this ????? for a long time. At this point I have chosen to hang in there, but am considering a mental illness support group for families. I DO need to take care of me and stay on top of my boundaries. I loved your last paragraph. It was very encouraging. Thank you!

  6. I really wish that my boyfriend didn't have this. We have been together for 3 years and it nearly ruins our relationship all of the time. I am about to give up. I don't know if he is going to be nice to me or screaming at me at the top of his lungs about something he blew out of proportion and it happens all of the time. It's really starting to affect my health and emotional well-being. He says that he loves me and he wants to get better- but he does not take care of himself at all. Addicted to work as a top executive. :(

    1. Leave while you still can. This is a destructive relationship because of a destructive disorder. It's an illness and unless the person seeks and commits to proper treatment, he will remain the same regardless of how much he loves you. It will ruin your health and take control of your life. You must put your own life first. This is not how a relationship is supposed to work, where one person abuses and the other is abused. That is not love. Putting your own life and health first is a normal, rational and reasonable thing to do. The longer you stay with a person with untreated BPD who is abusing you, the worse things will get, the more distorted your perspective will become and you will lose sense of who you are. You wouldn't expect someone you loved to put up with that kind of treatment, so why should you? There are many ways to love someone, but allowing someone to abuse you is not one of them. Leave while you still can. It is not your responsibility to "fix" this person or spend your days/life trying to make him "ok" again. Don't be afraid to take back control of your life. Someone very dear to me is recovering from 7 years of first hand abuse, only now are they regaining a sense of who they are, feeling safe around people and rebuilding their confidence and life from the ground up. It's ok to leave if you want to.