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Tears and Healing
The Journey to the Light after an Abusive Relationship
by Richard Skerritt

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Is He/She Borderline?- You're not Crazy.
Learn the disease. Stop the abuse.

Is your partner borderline? You may not know how to tell, but even worse, you may be thinking that you are the crazy one. Borderlines work hard to distort our reality to make their reality feel safer.

So what is a borderline? Someone on the border of schizophrenia? NOT! Ask yourself this: does your partner repeatedly accuse you of wanting to leave him/her? Does your partner sometimes express a feeling of being totally unworthy to be with you, while at other times brutalizing you to control you and keep you away from other people? Borderlines have extreme and illogical sensitivities, sometimes connecting the most minute observations with their intense fears that you'll abandon them. Borderlines sometimes respond to these fears by becoming despondent; while at other times they may react like narcissists, doing anything, including brutalizing their own family, to erase a suggestion that they might be flawed. Borderlines move through cycles lasting days or weeks that include periods of despondence, anger, and calm. If you see this dynamic in your partner, family member, coworker, or friend, you are very probably dealing with a borderline.

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by Richard Skerritt

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You're not Crazy

For many of us, struggling to live with this kind of abusive partner, the first handhold we need to grasp is that we are not crazy. People who suffer from borderline personality disorder have extreme emotions, which lead them to actions that can range from puzzling to brutal. (People with narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder/sociopathy, or alcoholism also exhibit this trait.) Living with them is painful and confusing. Personality disorders are aptly named, because the minds of people who suffer from these disorders work differently than healthy people.

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They Spin our Reality: Disordered people can't deal with the reality of their behaviors. On some level they realize how hurtful they are, yet accepting this major flaw in themselves is just too painful. So disordered abusers spin our reality to make theirs less painful. One of the most common defense mechanism they use is projection. In projection, a characteristic of themselves that they find just too painful to accept is projected onto us. And the most frequently projected characteristic is mental illness. "I'm not borderline. You're the crazy one." Another common and difficult defense mechanism is blame shifting. It's your fault this happened because blah, blah blah blah...

After a while it becomes hard to distinguish what is real from what is being projected and what is being distorted. We begin to doubt our reality and question whether we're the crazy ones, or whether our disordered SO's (significant others) are really right about what they say.

The truth is, THEY'RE NOT RIGHT. But they feel better when they can get us to carry the burden of their illness and their behavior.

Borderline Pack
3 Books for a detailed view of Borderline PD and it's overlap with Narcissism
by Richard Skerritt

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What's more, disordered people hide their problems very effectively. People with all of these personality disorders - borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder - have serious maladjustments in coping with life. Thus, they live in emotional turmoil. They seek to present a very together appearance, hiding their disease from most people. It is only when we get into a close and private relationship with someone with these personality disorders that the abusive behavior comes out. And because their lives are wracked with emotional turmoil, there is a lot of pent-up emotion that can be focused on us. Yet those around us don't see it, causing us further confusion.

What is this Disease?

Borderline personality disorder is a "popular" disease. You'll find lots of web pages with information about BPD. There are lists of criteria and there are descriptions and checklists and anecdotal stories. After wading into this, you're positive that you're dealing with BPD. Yet, the most common misunderstanding I encounter is people who think they're significant other has BPD when in reality the problems they face are more narcissistic.

The reality as I see it, is that people considered to be borderline and those considered narcissistic are suffering from the same underlying disorder - a disorder based in fear of others seeing flaws in them. The difference between these two "diagnoses" is a different kind of coping. "Borderlines" cope poorly, falling into despondence, suicide, substance abuse, and despair. These same people, at other times, will build a functioning narcissistic defense.

How Do I Cope with this Abusive Relationship?

Tears and Healing - the Path to the Light after an Abusive Relationship explores the feelings, issues, and decisions that we face in an abusive relationship. Brings out the issues of reconnecting with your reality; detaching from the abusive treatment; understanding how the disorder affects you; dealing with love and attraction; obligation to marriage; and healing the hurt of the abuse. More about this book.

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In this mode, they rely on a stable predictable environment, limiting exposure to new people, where they can perform flawlessly, do all the things they feel they're expected to do, and keep their family "in line" so that they, too, exhibit no flaws. People using a narcissistic defense appear "perfect" to work, community, and extended family, but are brutal to the family in their own home. Borderlines respond to exposure of a flaw with a loss of hope, while narcissists act with crushing brutality to stabilize their defensive facade.

The insight I offer here is that people transition between these levels of defense. At times in their lives they are able to maintain a stable narcissistic perimeter. At other times, because of job changes, relationships changes, illness or other uncontrollable changes, their perimeter breaks down, and they drop into a despairing mode with behaviors that are more borderline. With time and support, they usually rebuild a new narcissistic system.

Meanwhile, those of us living with these people endure verbal, emotional, sexual and sometimes physical abuse, neglect of our needs that can be almost absolute, and brutal controlling treatment that both impairs our ability to resist and clouds our understanding of right and wrong and who is doing what to whom.

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Stop the Abuse

Dealing with this situation is complex, and people need some idea of "What do I do now that I know this?" For most people, there are important values, beliefs and obligations that have to be carefully thought about. Because abuse is so damaging to a relationship, significant decisions have to be faced, then resolved. My first book, Tears & Healing, holds a light up in this dark place. Written from the inside perspective of someone who has been through the hell of being emotionally and verbally battered by a spouse, this book addresses the major issues that we all must wrestle with.

Tears & Healing begins with the most difficult issue: abusive partners constantly work to distort our perception of what is happening and what is right and wrong, until we doubt our own judgment so much we can't make decisions. It then addresses the process of detaching to find safe space and to regain a sense of right and wrong, and searching to understand what we, as people, need in our lives - needs that often must be simply put aside to survive in these brutal situations. It deals with love, and the conflict of being in love with someone hurtful to us. And it addresses the intense feelings of obligation that many of us have, which keep us locked in situations that are beyond what any person should endure. Tears & Healing is an intensely personal and validating guide through this maze of thoughts and emotions. The reader reviews below can give you some sense of how liberating Tears & Healing has been for many, many people.

On top of all this, dealing with feelings of love is a huge barrier for many. We may know that a partner is very harmful to us, yet feelings of love may continue to draw us back to that person. My book, In Love and Loving It - Or Not! , addresses these issues. It explains how and why we fall in love; what we can do to get out of love with someone hurtful to us; how we can make choices so we are more likely to fall in love with someone good for us; and how being in love relates to the different, chosen actions of loving. Many of the people I help to deal with their abusive situations need this kind of guidance.

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 Books on Abusive Relationships by Richard Skerritt 
Why They
do It

Meaning from
Madness - $20
Your Feelings
and Decisions

Tears and
Healing - $24

In Love and Loving
It - or Not! - $14
Seeing the
Big Picture

Tears & Healing
Reflections - $24

Surviving the
Storm - $24
Patterns of

The Hypervigilant
Click a cover for more info...              Get three or more books together in a package  and save.

Selected pages from Tears and healing
TAH Finding Page 1 TAH Finding Page 1
Dimensions of Detaching 1 Dimensions of Detaching 2
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