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Tears and Healing; The journey to the light after an abusive relationship
by Richard, 21CP 
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Edition: Paperback, 180 pages
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Publisher: Dalkeith Press (2005)
ISBN: 1-933369-01-9
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    What the experts say / readers say about it.   More on detaching, healing, overcoming love, obligation 

Tears and Healing

Living with a  Disordered Partner 

It is painful and confusing to live with a sick partner, whether the disorder is borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, alcoholism, antisocial personality disorder, or whatever, . It might be tempting to think that all the madness in your life is the result of your partner's disorder. But in reality you are experiencing the interplay of you and your partner's disorder. It is only by understanding how you and your partner function, how his or her personality disorder affects his or her behavior, and how you interact, that you can begin to really judge what is happening. 

Borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder all lead to behavior that is abusive. Alcoholics often suffer from these disorders even if it isn't recognized. People who suffer from these disorders have extreme emotions, which lead them to actions that can range from puzzling to brutal. Personality disorders are aptly named, because the minds of people who suffer from these disorders work differently than healthy people. People suffering from borderline personality disorder respond to some events with extreme fear of abandonment - events that would have little meaning to a healthy person.  Similarly, those suffering with narcissistic personality disorder respond with extreme defensive actions to events which they feel threaten their perception as special and privileged.  Those with antisocial personality disorder lack normal feelings of responsibility and compassion and thus have little motivation to restrain their reactions. And alcoholics can show any of these, while at the same time their natural inhibitions from hurtful behavior are suppressed by the intoxication.

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.

All of this leads a lot of confusion for those of us unlucky enough to be in committed relationships with someone with a personality disorder. My own experience was with someone who probably would have barely diagnosed at her worst - and definitely not at her best - with borderline personality disorder. What I have learned, as I have begun helping people with broader experiences, is that much of what I learned about abuse and borderline personality disorder also applies to narcissistic personality disorder and even antisocial personality disorder.

Another thing I've observed over time is the link to alcoholism. AA and Al-Anon have a culture that treats alcoholism as a disease alone and apart. Thus, people getting support through these channels tend to think that there is nothing more to learn beyond alcoholism. At the same time, this approach leaves some things unexplained. They talk about "dry drunks" and problems that persist long after alcoholics get sober. Why is this so? If addictive use of alcohol is the problem, why don't things improve when the alcohol abuse stops?

The reality is more likely that alcoholism and other addictions, like pot/marijuana, prescriptions drugs, cocaine, etc, are the result of a personality disorder. In the case of my ex-wife, a mixed addictions to alcohol and prescription psych meds was the result of self-medication to deal with the emotional pain of her disorder. Addiction is extremely toxic, and greatly worsens the effects of a personality disorder. But if the substance abuse stops, the underlying personality disorder is still there.

Thus, understanding how a partner borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, alcoholism, and substance abuse will interact with us is essential if we are to get a handle on our situations and our own lives.      


Chapter 3 - The Disease and You</p>
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tempting to think that all this is the result of your partnerís disease. But
in reality you are experiencing the <b><i><span style=
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© 2004-6 Richard, 21CP and Dalkeith Press