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I Dated Two Women With Untreated Borderline Personality Disorder. Never Again.

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Sinora was a gorgeous 26-year-old woman with multicolored hair, a California lilt to her voice, and constantly dancing hips. She bathed me in compliments, put me on a pedestal, and treated me like the hero in a fairytale. I was drawn in and smitten completely.

We moved in together just a few months after we started dating. I didn’t see the signs of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) because I was ignorant and unaware. What began as a quirky, ecstatic, and fun relationship turned into a roller coaster of anger, violence, and insanity.

Sinora would gaze up at me in the morning with a giant smile, dance around the living room delighted, then become miserably depressed and stay in bed all day. The night would be filled with tequila, great sex, and then a sudden outburst of jealously followed by yelling, slamming doors, silence or apology.

Her moods flipped in an instant. I started to feel more and more on edge, second-guessing myself and wondering when Jekyll would be replaced by Hyde.

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BPD can be caused by a number of things, but trauma at a young age is one of them.

Sinora’s father had died from cancer when she was nine, then she was raped at a party when she was a teenager and virgin. That caused her to become pregnant and she had an abortion. Three years later, her brother, the person closest to her, was killed by a car while skateboarding. 

It had all built up inside her but she had no idea she suffered from mental illness. Sinora didn’t believe there was anything wrong. Having been in therapy for many years myself, I implored her to see someone. She went to one therapist visit, and immediately stopped but continued to tell me she was going. 

People suffering from untreated BPD can be the best gaslighters in the world. She had me convinced that I was going crazy and despite my career going well, my home life was an erratic place of total chaos.

Lying to me became part of her reality as she began to twist the truth and rewrite history. I was always at fault and became the cause of all her woes. According to her, I was the one who needed help.

We went to two different couples counselors, my friends and family began to distance themselves from me, and after Sinora lost control and began screaming in front of a visiting friend, I knew it was over. But I was scared. I had no idea what she would do when I left. 

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One afternoon, I arrived home and she was in a ball on the couch crying into a pillow. I walked over, put my hand on her shoulder, and said, “Sinora, I really believe you need help.”

I was walking on very thin ice. Shivering inside. Waiting for an explosion. She said nothing.

“If you can’t get help, I really need to be in a healthier environment. For me. For us.”

She fell off the couch and screamed at me, “Then, what?! Are you going to leave?! Just leave then! LEAVE!”

“Sinora, I think I have to leave. Do you see? This isn’t healthy.”

She laid her full fury into me, “I can see that you’re an a-hole!”

I started to pack a suitcase in the bedroom. My hands were shaking.

Her emotions flipped from anger to sadness. I heard her whimper from the doorway, “What are you doing? Don’t leave. Don’t leave, Gentry!” Then, she fell to her knees and pleaded.

“I have to go, Sinora.”

   

   

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She got up, ran to the kitchen, and pulled out a large kitchen knife. Her eyes were spinning with fury, misery, and panic as she began hacking at every piece of fruit on the counter, thrashing bananas, peaches, and kiwis. Then, she pointed the blade at me and threw it.

I ducked when the knife sailed across the room. It bounced off the floor and I picked it up, put it in my suitcase and closed the lid. Then, I picked it up, stepped lightly to the door, and left. 

As I walked down the sidewalk, I heard her screaming and smashing things in our cottage. My heart was racing as I glanced behind my shoulder. In many fights before she had run after me crying, screaming, begging, and swearing. This time, I got away.

After it was over, I was shattered. I continued to replay scenarios over and over in my head and fell into a deep depression. My therapist explained that she felt Sinora had untreated BPD, so I went down a rabbit hole trying to find out what that was. 

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In my search, I found the book Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Paul T. T. Mason and Randi Kreger. The book was instrumental in helping me understand what had happened in my relationship.

Despite what I learned, I met Jackson and started the entire cycle again.

Jackson was remarkably similar to Sinora. She was 26, beautiful, sexy and she also sang wonderfully. I met her when we were both backing up an artist for a video shoot. Again, I was smitten immediately. 

She gave me many of the same things Sinora had given me. Praising me as a musician, placing me on a pedestal and we had incredible chemistry. Jackson was also an expert in taking away intimacy. Offering affection and then pulling away. That was the hook that caught me. 

What I didn’t know then is that I was the perfect unhealthy partner for someone with BPD because I was a codependent love addict. According to author, love addiction and trauma specialist, Pia Mellody, I was in “The Dance” with someone new. 

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When Jackson told me she had BPD, my denial was so strong that I refused to believe her. I was grasping for something and someone. We broke up and got back together three times in three months.

Our rollicking relationship ride came to a head when we visited her family for Christmas. We were five hours north of San Francisco in Redding and planned to spend three days with her mom, Margot, a generous, older woman in her 60s. 

During our visit, Jackson was on a roller coaster. She would go from wanting to make love in her car to wanting to be left alone for hours. I normalized this in my mind and did my best to remain calm.

On Christmas Eve night at midnight, after an evening of presents, holiday food, and movies, I said, “Well, I’m heading to bed. Goodnight both of you.”

Margot said cheerfully, “It was a fun night.”

Jackson glared. Her anger was burning and it come from nowhere. She had been relaxed and happy all night.

She leered at her mom and snarled, “I know what you’re going to do.”

The room was tight.

Margot said gently, “I’m going to go to bed, Jackson. Is that what you mean?”

“I know that you and Gentry want to have sex. I know that you’re going to wait until I go to bed and then you’re going to sneak into your bed.”

Disturbed and shocked, I said, “Jackson, it’s been a really nice night. Let’s just go to bed.”

“No!” she turned to me and yelled. “I know you want to have sex with my mom! Why don’t you just LEAVE!? This is MY family. LEAVE!”  

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Her mother said quietly, “It’s midnight and it’s snowing outside. Gentry can’t leave. You drove him here, honey.”

Jackson went into the guest room, grabbed my suitcase, opened the front door, and threw it out. Snow was coming down heavy.

My suitcase wasn’t closed completely and clothes flew all over the snow-covered ground. I went outside barefoot, gathered my clothes, stuffed them back in my suitcase, and retreated to a corner of the living room. Jackson slinked off to bed slamming the door behind her.

After sleeping on the couch, in the morning, I was driven to a Hertz rental car and left there to find my own way home. I was a husk. I was empty. I just wanted a safe place to be. 

I took my time driving back home, exhausted from the holidays, Jackson, Sinora, and myself.

I had made these choices and I was suffering the consequences. It was my fault. 

It took several years to come out of the hole I dug for myself then and figure out the part I played in the relationships with those two women. Now, I am very aware and I have developed boundaries for unhealthy behavior. I believe I have developed BPD radar, too, because I can recognize it from a mile away.

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The advantage of being in those relationships is that my boundaries are now well-defined.

   

   

I recognize when I’m in healthy or unhealthy situations fast. I also recognize when I’m the unhealthy one and do my best to change my own behavior as rapidly as possible.

If someone’s mood changes rapidly to anger, I don’t tolerate it.

If people yell at me, I ask them to stop, and if they don’t, I end the conversation immediately. If they rewrite events and try to rationalize their irrational behavior, I end it. Screaming, violence, and erratic behavior are not allowed in my world. 

I have deep empathy for people affected by BPD. But I no longer allow people to mistreat me. I strongly encourage anyone being mistreated to walk away, no matter the reason. If that takes driving five hours through a snowstorm on Christmas Day in a rental car, so be it.

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Gentry Bronson is a writer, editor, media producer, creative consultant, and founder of the Gentry Bronson Media & Creative agency.

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