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When Your Dream Relationship Turns Into Your Worst Nightmare Many men have had the experience of entering what they thought was their dream relationship only to find out months down the road that their dream had turned into a nightmare. This woman may have appeared to be the dream partner that you had spent your lifetime looking for, someone who truly understood you the way no one else ever had. The bond that you formed with her may have been the strongest you have ever felt for another human being, and you may have very quickly been convinced that this was the person you wanted to spend the rest of your life with. But what you might not have known is that the woman you were dating probably started out in the relationship by idealizing you. You also might not have known that she chose to only show you the qualities she believed you would like and may have hidden the qualities she feared would cause you to reject her. Hyde You were probably caught completely off guard when one day you found that the love of your life had abruptly changed from your best friend into someone who now acted like you were her worst enemy. Whether it happened slowly or it was an overnight transformation, you probably eventually realized that the woman who was once in love with you had turned against you, and unless you fixed the problem, you were going to lose what you may have felt was the most important relationship of your life. You may at first have tried to ask her about her personality change only to hear from her that it was you who she thought had changed overnight. In fact, you may have found that the more you talked about her new negative behaviors, the more she turned around and accused you of the very same behaviors. If you are like most men, you probably felt completely helpless to reestablish any kind of communication that could allow you back into her good graces. Despite everything you did, chances are you were forced to come to the conclusion that although you had no idea what could have caused this transformation, you were not going to be able to resolve it. You probably eventually found the courage to end the relationship. You may have at first thought you must be the only one taken down by this crazy-making cycle of false accusations and endless circular arguments. But at some point you went on line just in case there was anyone else who had been through the same kind of emotional war zone. If you are like most men, your Internet searches landed you in the middle of a discussion about borderline personality disorder. At that point you may have seen words on your computer screen that described in uncanny detail every negative behavior your ex engaged in after her Dr. You may also have read that this type of personality transformation is one of the telltale signs of borderline personality disorder. Qualifying For The Diagnosis There may have been an eye-opening wake-up moment of realizing that you finally had an explanation that made sense out of all of the confusing and painful behavior you experienced from your ex. The answer was clear, that your ex must have borderline personality disorder. After all, her behaviors were being spelled out right in front of you on a borderline personality disorder website. And you would have been correct in one aspect. Those behaviors that you experienced in your relationship are the same behaviors individuals with borderline personality disorder engage in when they are in a romantic relationship. Borderline personality disorder is actually a very serious and complex condition that can only be diagnosed by a mental health professional. The behavior of idealizing and then devaluing a relationship partner does not necessarily mean that your ex has this personality disorder. So how can a woman engage in the same behavior patterns and not have borderline personality disorder? The Traits Of Borderline Personality Disorder If your ex was reasonably functional in her life before she met you and these behaviors only occurred within your relationship, the chances are she does share some character traits with people who have the disorder. But just having character traits does not mean she necessarily has the disorder itself. The truth is, we all possess one or even a few character traits of various personality disorders. It is only when these traits are present in such a pronounced way that they actually impair the functionality of everyday living that they qualify for diagnosis. Assessing The Extent Of The Damage Even though you may have been wrong about your ex having a personality disorder, you are not wrong about the damage you suffered from being in a relationship with her. Because the behaviors of women with only a few traits of borderline personality disorder within a relationship are often the same as those who have the actual disorder, you may have suffered in a very similar way. The psychological damage that women who idealize and then devalue in relationships can inflict on their partners can be very difficult to heal from. The environment that your ex created in your relationship probably caused you to walk through a psychological minefield on a daily basis. Because there are very few resources available for men who have experienced this type of psychological stress, many men suffer in silence taking years to heal from these emotional battle wounds. The Stages Of Recovery As with many forms of psychological trauma or stress, one of the most important steps in recovering is understanding that you are not at fault for what happened, nor did you do anything that could have contributed to or stopped the idealization and eventual devaluation by your ex that destroyed your relationship. It is also important to realize that the commonly-held belief that in romantic relationships both partners always play a part will not always hold true in relationships where one of the partners has traits of borderline personality disorder. Making Sense Out Of The Wreckage So how do you recover from having been pulled deeply into love by your ex and then ripped out of it only to find yourself being hurt and in some cases even abused by the person who you had placed all your trust in? There are several components to recovery from a relationship with a woman who has traits of borderline personality disorder. You may first need to get a clear understanding of why women with traits of borderline personality disorder act the way they do. Each of the crazy-making behaviors that you have experienced does have an explanation, and finding out why she acted the way she did can help you sort out the confusion. Although your ex may not have the disorder, she engaged in the same destructive behaviors, and the answers to why she treated you as she did can be found by reading about the disorder. A Very Hard Landing In order to recover from this painful experience, you also may need to come to terms with the manner in which you were rejected. Most men after their breakup with a woman with traits of borderline personality disorder eventually realize that they lost the woman they fell in love with when the transformation from idealization to devaluation took place, not when the actual relationship ended. One of the reasons so many men stay and keep trying to fix what they know is a broken relationship is that it often takes a while for them to finally shake the feeling that the woman they were in love with could still be somewhere inside of the person who has turned against them. Others experience the abrupt personality reversal as the actual loss of the person they were in love with. They may find that they cannot recover unless they go through stages of grieving that are similar to those who have lost a loved one. One more important aspect of recovery from a relationship with a women with traits of borderline personality disorder can be understanding why it happened to you. Just as there is a specific profile that we can use to identify a women with traits of borderline personality disorder, there is also a profile for the kind of man these women choose to be in relationships with. In Part 2 of this blog series Women With Traits of BPD-Why Men Stay we will be looking at why men who give can often get taken advantage of by women with traits of borderline personality disorder.
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