Surviving Manipulation - the Unholy Gaslight
By A Borderline Personality Blog

Three months ago, my marriage ended.

I know what you’re thinking, right? A diagnosis of BPD and a marriage breakdown is a catastrophic mixture? But the truth is, I ended my marriage.

Surviving Manipulation - the Unholy Gaslight

For the past three years I have struggled mostly with crippling anxiety and agoraphobia (on top of BPD, joy.) For the first half of this year I knew I was stuck in a rut. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. But what I know now is that I’d been stuck in that rut for two and a half years.

This was the end

I took a spontaneous trip to London in June to surround myself with friends, and I felt liberated and cared for. Also, I felt supported and nurtured. One particularly warm day, whilst drinking cans of warm cider in a park in London with my friends, I got the whatsapp message that would change my life forever:

‘I’m not sure whether I love you or not anymore.’

I felt like my arsehole had fallen out.

This was it. This was the end of the life I had known for over five years. Can I continue to be married to this person? Abso-fucking-lutely not.

What proceeded was a rather angry phone call where I ended it right then and there. I knew I was worth more than my own husband second-guessing his feelings for me. And I don’t think I would have had that power if I hadn’t spent four days previously surrounded by the people I love the most. Especially being in completely shock of how little anxiety I had. Not only because I was away from home, but I was in CENTRAL LONDON.

Small town anxiety

I’ve always had BPD. Looking back, it’s so obvious. And I am getting more and more at peace with my diagnosis. I’m getting so much better at having a handle on it all. Anxiety was always the one that kicked me in the stomach and disabled me.

Why did I not suffer with such anxiety before I moved away from home?

Looking into my life the past few years, it’s pretty clear that the minute I moved to a small town where I was an outsider was when my anxiety problems began. The minute I committed my life to a man who didn’t have basic communication skills and lacked basic empathy, my anxiety began.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a complete shock to me that the relationship ended. For maybe close to a year it was going south. I was ill and he made no effort. His concerns lay everywhere other than with me. Also, he resented me because I couldn’t work and he had to. He resented my illness. I believe he ended up just seeing BPD and not me. Which probably explains why he allowed a lot of behaviour that he and others were committing to go unnoticed.

Small town mentality

The one thing I have learned about living in a small town, is small town mentality. It becomes so much more obvious when you have grown up in any other setting. Small towns bring boredom, and small towns bring low self esteem. I struggled to find a friend. When you are surrounded by people who openly bash their friends and family in front of others, it’s no wonder that eventually that behaviour would turn around on me.

All my life I have always enjoyed the company of men more. Men are quite simple, upfront and honest creatures, and I see a lot of myself in them. I lost count of the number of lies I heard about myself. Having to cope with a new diagnosis while also being hit with the barrage of passive confrontation was a recipe for disaster. At first I was furious. Then it became so ridiculous that all I could do was laugh and see what was coming next.

All the while I said nothing and remained silent. I withdrew from everyone, but still I was upsetting people.

Years of sadness

Being chronically ill means it’s a struggle just to live. That’s why they call it a chronic illness. It impeaches on every aspect of your day. Your capacity to do simple tasks means it’s impossible to have the energy to engage in the level of conflict some people crave. All whilst my supposed life partner did nothing. It was much easier for people to gaslight me whilst trying to puff out their own chests. That’s the problem with talking about mental illness, you’re never quite sure who’s going to blame their behaviour on your illness.

The only emotion I feel about the last few years of my life is sadness. Not just about my relationship breaking down but for my life in a small town. I’ve learned people’s own boredom and insecurities would get too much to take. So they create chaos and conflict. It is the only way they can give themselves an ounce of self esteem.

But I’ve only been able to learn this after leaving my relationship and moving away. By living a life again. I’m not sure where this new life is going to take me, but it sure as hell will be better than the last few years.

Reproduced with permission, originally posted on

iam1in4

aborderlinepersonalityblog


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