Divorce is never easy, even when the couple agrees to an amicable split. The challenges become even greater when one spouse suffers from borderline personality disorder (BPD). The emotional instability, mood swings, and behavioral patterns associated with BPD up the stakes when the other spouse finally has enough and decides to end the marriage.
Read This Before Mentioning Divorce
My Dallas-Ft. Worth law firm frequently handles divorces involving mental health issues. We have put together detailed information to help spouses understand what to do when they are ready to end a marriage with a BPD sufferer. Read that information here.
How Common Is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Recent studies have concluded that about 4 million Americans suffer from BPD. Some researchers think BPD affects more than that because the condition is often misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder.
In the US, roughly 75 percent of those diagnosed with BPD are women. Researchers say they don’t know whether women are truly more predisposed to developing BPD or whether there are gender-based flaws in the diagnosis process. Some experts believe men are equally likely to have BPD but are more often misdiagnosed with PTSD or other depressive conditions.
Relationships Are Critical to BPD Sufferers
Relationships deeply affect BPD patients’ self-image and ability to function. This is why breaking the news that you want a divorce can be so difficult—and even dangerous. Hearing that you want a divorce could lead the BPD sufferer to threaten self-harm or suicide or to lash out in anger at you or others.
Fear of these threats and behaviors cause some spouses to stay in relationships with borderline spouses. At the Law Office of V. Wayne Ward, we have represented several clients who endured psychological abuse, manipulation and even physical abuse from borderline spouses, and it took them years to finally say enough is enough. We encourage you to remember that your own mental health should be your priority.
Does My Spouse Have Borderline Personality Disorder?
It takes a trained professional to make a genuine BPD diagnosis. However, knowing some of the signs can help you deal with a spouse who hasn’t been diagnosed. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Statistic Manual (DSM-5), a person may have BPD if they exhibit five or more of the following traits:
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Intense anger or difficulty controlling anger
- Temporary, stress-related paranoid ideation or dissociative symptoms
- Desperate efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
- A pattern of unstable relationships switching between extremes of admiration and hatred.
- Unstable self-image
- Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (such as spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving or binge-eating)
- Repeated suicidal behavior and threats or self-harm
- Erratic mood swings
Reach Out to a Trusted Dallas-Ft. Worth Lawyer
You’re not in this alone. I have more than 30 years of experience in Texas divorces and I’m a certified family law specialist. I know how the challenges you’re facing when considering a divorce from a spouse with BPD, and I can help you get through it. Please call 817-789-4436 or contact my firm online to schedule a consultation.