BPD and Domestic Violence: The Kiss and the Fist

November 26, 2013 Becky Oberg

My sign it was time to end an engagement to an abusive man was, well, a sign. Literally.

I didn't expect to fall in love and become engaged to an abuser, but I think my borderline personality disorder (BPD), as well as his BPD and bipolar diagnosis, played a role in the abuse. I was afraid of being abandoned almost as much as I was afraid of provoking him. I believed his insults and my abuser's promises to change. I thought I was the abusive one. (Read: How Did You Brainwash Me?) That is, up until I saw the sign that said "Taking my money is abuse. Stop it."

The Signs of Abuse

I didn't expect to fall in love with an abuser, but I think my borderline personality disorder and his BPD and bipolar diagnosis, played a role in the abuse.My friend M (name withheld at her request) was a graduate student pursuing her MSW. She had several signs on her door about the warning signs of domestic abuse, including the one about taking money. My fiance had just "borrowed" $100 from me to go to Marion, Illinois, to meet a girl he met on the Internet while I was in the psych ward. He'd been exchanging photos with her and talking to her for hours on the phone. The money was my wake-up call that not all was well.

M and I talked for a long time about the signs of abuse, and that just because there was no violence did not mean the relationship was not abusive. In addition to physical abuse, there is also emotional abuse, environmental abuse, financial abuse, spiritual abuse, verbal abuse, and sexual abuse. Warning signs of each one can be found in the book Shattered by Fay A. Klinger and Bettyanne Bruin. Some more general questions are:

  • Do you fear your partner?
  • Do you change your normal activities to avoid upsetting your partner?
  • Do you feel controlled or intimidated by your partner?
  • Do you avoid certain topics to avoid upsetting your partner?
  • Do you feel you can't do anything right?
  • Do you think you deserve mistreatment?
  • Do you wonder if you're crazy?
  • Are you afraid your partner will hurt or kill you?
  • Are you afraid your children will be taken away?
  • Do you feel numb or helpless?
  • Do you think violence is normal?
  • Do you feel no one else will love you if your partner doesn't?

I could answer yes to almost all of these questions. I decided that for my own sake, it was time to leave.

How to Leave an Abusive Relationship

Leaving is the most dangerous part of the abusive relationship; more than half of all intimate partner homicides were committed at this point. (read: Domestic Violence Safety Plan: How to Create, Implement One) So leaving should be carefully planned (don't do what I did and flee with only the clothes on your back unless you have no other option). Keep an emergency bag hidden somewhere. It should contain clothes, money, important documents and keys. Talk to people you trust and have a prearranged signal to call the police. Go to a shelter; they have security measures that a friend or neighbor won't. Have documentation of police runs to your home as well as injuries you suffered.

The emotional part of leaving is often harder than the physical act of leaving. I don't like conflict and I was afraid of my ex, so dumping him was nerve-wracking. However, once I told him it was over, it felt as if a giant weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Although I had to relocate and get a protective order (which he violated), it was as if I had awoken from a long nightmare. So brace yourself, and know it will be easier once it is over.

A Survivor's Bill of Rights

If I had my way, everyone in the criminal justice system and mental health system would have proper training to deal with survivors. For now that's a dream. But I will contribute my part with my Survivor's Bill of Rights:

  • We have the right to be believed when we say we've been abused.
  • We have the right not to have the abuse downplayed.
  • We have the right to be heard.
  • We have the right to be treated equally, regardless of whether or not we're married to our abuser or our sexual orientation.
  • We have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • We have the right not to be judged for being with an abusive partner.
  • We have the right to confidentiality.
  • We have the right to treatment for physical injuries.
  • We have the right to mental health treatment.
  • We have the right to a support system and an advocate to navigate it.
  • We have the right to be afraid, angry and confused and not to be judged for these feelings.
  • We have the right to divorce without shame. We are neither selfish nor homewreckers; our abuser is responsible for the end of the relationship.
  • We have the right not to be considered masochists who provoked and/or enjoyed the abuse.
  • We have the right to be safe.

More articles on domesic violence, domestic abuse.

You can also find Becky Oberg on Google+, Facebook and Twitter and Linkedin.

APA Reference
Oberg, B. (2013, November 26). BPD and Domestic Violence: The Kiss and the Fist, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 22 from

Author: Becky Oberg

Self respect
December, 27 2017 at 3:45 am

After our conversations about what was said about the 14 yrs we were together which I brought to your attention was in fact less than 10 yrs in which you agreed is correct while we we're having a cup of coffee togeather at my place tonight not to mention a few more outlandish claims that you had posted i will not accept the excuse that you where just angry at the time and not thinking strait en
Even to point of false information in regards to the placement by police and the court's of a domestic violence order this is an absolute false and misleading statement as I respectfully put forward to you i think it's best for both parties to visit our local police station separately and put it all on the table I'm not going to lay down and be intimidated disrespected and manipulated by your untruths the accusations of a sexual relationship with the neighbor there's a lot more i could point out you have always been so quick to pass judgement and voice your opinion on anyone and everyone quite the opinionated drama queen you have my number you call or txt me at least 15 to 20 times a day so let me know when you would like to report these crimes I've committed against your person regards self respect

Beverley Roelandts
March, 13 2015 at 9:02 pm

I hav suffered sexual mental physical and emotional abuse over 14 years , kicked out over 18 times this time he found someone else after 20 days but rumour has it he wad sleepin with neighbour last 3years.i kept in contact for the first month as gad to finalise busines injurin more abus then I blocked spamed him then his girlfriend stsrtef do I blocked her then he started ringin my parents then I got dvo on him then his sister stsrted do spamed her so she rings my mum they hsv dropped some of my stuff off but not all so I know this constant contact is still hurtin me hus just using other people I want to know how long do u think he will start on new victim his new girlfriend

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 27 2017 at 12:50 am

Maybe it's best that you take the time to get over the anger before any remarks about this issue are being posted we all say things out of hurt It would be nice if only the truth could be more freely spoken even in anger

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Beverley Roelandts
December, 27 2017 at 1:20 am

This was written at a time i was totally and mentally distroyed and i regret i wrote this jealously is a bad curse .dusreguard this post .I truly love this man and i wish to reyract all of this blog.

Leave a reply