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Looking after ourselves

Senior Contributor

Supporting my wife who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder while maintaining self care.

This thread is a follow on (or starting over) from my previous thread Caring for a wife with borderline personality disorder – sequel to diary of wife's hospital stay, I wanted to start over and in order to leave all the trauma and negativity of last year behind me and start fresh.

Those of you who have been following our family journey will know that after a number of hospital admissions for my darling I was encouraged by my councillor to implement some boundaries (lovingly implemented guidelines, not rules to be enforced) as well as self-care for myself as what we were doing was clearly not working and my health was /still is being affected.

Well after a smoother than expected start the boundaries and self-care were forgotten with my darling having a complete melt down and further lengthy hospital admissions due to high risk of self harm and a genuine attempt to leave us. The last 6 months particularly have been quite difficult for us all. S2 particularly had a lot of issues at school during this time and is currently seeing a councillor.

The purpose of this new thread is to again document our journey of healing, working on implemented boundaries and commitment to self care. As with the previous thread this is so that I can have a visual plan for myself with some accountability to follow through with plans in place and in the hope that it may help others in similar situations to ours. And so that I can track our progress. This was especially helpful in the last thread leading up to Christmas when I was feeling down about our current position to review what I had written and see just how far we have come.

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Re: Supporting my wife who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder while maintaining self care.

Our boundaries:

While these seem harsh when I write them down, I don’t want them to appear as a control thing, but my desire is to make life more consistent and easier for my darling and our children. I am sensitive to the fact that sometimes this makes my darling sound horrible but that is never my intention, it is the illness not my darling that is horrible. I worked on framing these boundaries with my councillor to ensure I was not over reacting or being unreasonable. These boundaries are based on our  family dynamic and things that are not working/ not healthy for us

So our boundaries are:

  1. If you (my darling) talk to me disrespectfully I will not engage in the discussion, if you do not settle down I will leave the room. (Verbal abuse is not ok, particularly in front of the children).
  2. If you (my darling) engage in any self harm you will need to go to the ED, if you don’t go freely  I will call for an ambulance.
    -Last time we had an ambulance come (MIL called in a panic during a melt down when she was present) the ambulance arrived with 2 police cars for all the neighbour's to see, very embarrassing so no a decision made lightly).
    -(There is now also the option to contact pdoc 7 days a week for admission to private ward if necessary subject to availability of beds).
  3. If you drive off in the car during a melt down I wall call the police and report you as a danger to yourself and others. (This is based on past events).
  4. When I am at work/ Uni I am not to be contacted, my phone will be diverted to voicemail before I leave home. (Alternate contacts during this time are, Mum, Mum in law, church pastor or lifeline).   This is based on consistently being called with threats of self harm particularly before exams while at uni.

Re: Supporting my wife who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder while maintaining self care.

My self care:

  1. Continue attending a men’s bible study when it resumes at start of school year. (This will depend on as yet unconfirmed work roster). 
  2. Exercise. I had a goal of 5000 km on my bike for 2017, that seemed reasonable at the time but I managed only 150 outside. This year I am aiming for 2000km. (That’s only 40 km or 2 hours a week)
  3. Investigate joining the local photography club. (This will be hard having to go out and meet new people)
  4. Resume another sporting activity that used to excite me.
  5. Continue with counselling sessions. I was going to  give up but gp wants me to continue either with existing councillor if she is happy to continue to see me (last visit she raised the concern that she felt she was not helping me) or find a new councillor.
    -This is all dependent on having back up supports in place at home ... work in progress...

These are not new year resolutions as such, not big on them, but re committing to existing areas of self care that I have been discussing with my councillor over the last couple of months.   

Re: Supporting my wife who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder while maintaining self care.

Joint self care:

  1. We have just started relationship counselling and need to follow through with this.
  2. Regular date outings without children, at least once a week.
  3. Regular family outings in our boat or just to the beach or park or somewhere the children would like to go.

Re: Supporting my wife who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder while maintaining self care.

A short background for our family,

Apologies to those who have seen this already, don't mean to bore you: and it is mostly a duplicate to the last thread but I wanted to keep it together for the benefit of any newbies as well as update it for relevance... The last thread got off track to what I intended when things fell apart. I was going to just add a link to the previous thread but seems neater to keep it together here, I certainly do not think we are unique in having family trials, this is simply to give some context to some of our trials.

My wife and I have been married for 18 years. We have 3 beautiful children (boys) aged 2, 10 and 12 years old.  My wife was diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder shortly after we were married, post-natal depression after the birth of our first child (5 years later) and Borderline Personality Disorder around 5 years ago.  Her mental illness took a dramatic turn for the worse after I lost my job due to stress related illness (burnout resulting from a lack of self-care) around 4 years ago. In the last 12 months we have had 6 hospital admissions ranging from 1 week to 4.5 weeks over 4 months in total, (that sounds like a lot, had to check my numbers to make sure I was not exaggerating).

I am still not totally convinced about the pnd diagnosis, I believe that the added stress of having a baby simply uncovered a bigger problem that we had been hiding, along with other significant family complications (my family) adding stress. My Dad passing away a week after bub arriving being a significant contributor.

Son 1 (12) has a verified intellectual disability and requires significant additional care and attention. Starts high school this year and will be attending a special school. (I am having some difficulty accepting that he actually needs special school).

Son 2 (10) is exhibiting similarities in personality to his mum and didn't cope overly well with her recent time away resulting in significant altercations at school. He often feels left out as S1 and bub required a lot of extra attention and he is more self-sufficient so doesn’t get the same amount of attention. Something I need to continue to work on with him. He is currently seeing a councillor.

Son 3 (bub) is currently being monitored for potential genetic issue but all is looking positive at this early stage. overall a happy and content little person. The genetic concern is same as contributing factor to S1’s ID.  It won't be until 4 or 5 years old before we begin to understand how he will go as he gets older, something I am anxious about but thankfully my darling seems oblivious to my concerns at this stage.

Re: Supporting my wife who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder while maintaining self care.

Identifying my own barriers and relationship barriers to implementing boundaries... 
(this is also an updated duplicate to the previous thread in order to keep it all together and provide some context for anyone new reading our story). 

This is something that I have reflecting on over a number of years but simply accepted as it seemed too hard to change. With the value of hindsight this issue could have been addressed early in our relationship and potentially we could have built a more healthy relationship.

As a foundational complicating issue to managing my darlings bpd behaviour  (through boundaries) is our relationship role modelling through our parents - both sides. (And I mean no disrespect to our parents, I especially have a good relationship with my in-laws). Even through their shortcomings (both of our parents) they modelled love and commitment, probably a key reason my darling and I are still together. For this I am grateful.

For me growing up my mum was always (and in a lot of ways still is) emotionally unstable and dad until the day he died was walking on eggshells and submissive to keep mum happy. (This he did out of love not fear).  So basically mum ruled through emotional blackmail.

Because my darlings dad worked away a lot mum made all the decisions and dad basically did what he was told when he was at home out of consistency. The family joke it that mum sold his favourite car (his baby) while he was away 'because he wasn't using it anyway'.

So the foundation for what we each thought was normal in a relationship was for me to submit (out of love) to keep my darling happy... and for my darling was for me to 'do as I was told' and for her to do whatever she pleased and for me to simply accept that.  I responded by giving my darling what ever she wanted and hiding at work. This has clearly not worked for us.  This became more obvious after I lost my job and I no longer had ‘somewhere to hide' or some form of distraction.  

Re: Supporting my wife who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder while maintaining self care.

I was very happy when this afternoon my darling asked me to help set up her bike again on the indoor trainer. She wants to get back on her bike again to `burn off some anxiety`. much better than lying on her bed with a pillow over her head. A very positive step forward for us :-) I am hoping she can get back into it again only at a more healthy pace than previously. 

Re: Supporting my wife who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder while maintaining self care.

Found you here @Determined.

New thread, new beginnings, better things!!! Glad to hear the first day back at school was good.

Re: Supporting my wife who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder while maintaining self care.

Quick hello @Determined

hello @soul

I read the whole post even though knew most of your story..

I actually can see you in a different light as a result..

brilliant thread..

I can hear..determined is a very important part of the family too...equal footing for all.

I will follow your thread as I feel that this is almost a model for many others with different symptoms.. and everyday struggles with boundaries...loved ones

I apologise in advance..unable to express myself effectively at the moment..

be proud have come a long way through a difficult journey

you demonstrate..courage and grounding in moving forward with your family in an ever changing world

cheers mohill


Re: Supporting my wife who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder while maintaining self care.

A great thread . @Determined.. especially with the added ... "while maintainng self care".

Your descriptions of boundaries is helpful for me .. always been one of my big issues.

It helpes me reflect on the past too ... being reasonable about what can work when mi is at play in a family dynamic.

We definitely need men who care and go through the processes and share with us. 

The children need it too.

Woman Happy



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