borderline personality disorder
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Q. I have been in a difficult relationship with someone who I now think may have borderline personality disorder. I knew something was wrong and others, including my counselor, have said he has something very wrong. I thought all along it was the drinking. Then, I picked up the book "Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder." On the back cover it described my situation. How do I determine if this is "it" or does it matter? Here is what I see: moodiness (I have described him as brooding to others), sudden outbursts of anger, blames others for his problems (two ex wives, other family members and now me), needing to control yet claiming I am attempting to control him, wanting to be close and when I respond saying he needs space, inappropriate relationship with his ex-wife, headaches, psoriasis, poor eating habits yet overly attentive to my eating habits even though I eat a healthy diet, evaluating my hair, clothes, etc., either saying I am beautiful, etc., then criticizing later. He is secretive, tells things one way and then differently later so that I feel like he lies to me. Worried about his privacy and people knowing his business. One thing that has always made me wonder is his playing with himself. He does this often while sitting in the living room or lying in bed. He can be very understanding, loving, wonderful and extremely attentive. In the same day he can be angry, cold, give me the silent treatment. Just when I think I've had it, he turns on the charm and pulls me back emotionally. I have described him as an open wound that reacts to the slightest thing.

A. You've described many symptoms that are consistent with the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. You have also described symptoms consistent with depression and anxiety. It is always difficult to make an accurate diagnosis without an appropriate evaluation and assessment period. Nevertheless, the behaviors and moods you described can have devastating effects on your relationship with him regardless of the specific diagnosis. It is rare that these types of behaviors/symptoms change much without professional help. Therefore, now would be the best time to explain your concerns to him, how you feel when he behaves and acts certain ways, how you see it effecting the relationship, and how you both can work on it together to improve the situation. You can explain that you are supportive of him, that you love him, and want things to get better. Ask him whether he would consider getting involved in therapy alone or with you. You may want to explain that if you were concerned about something physical (i.e., cancer, diabetes, dizzy spells, etc...) that you would encourage him to get treatment. This really is no different.

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