Divorcing a Vampire, Err, Borderline

Are you divorcing a Borderline–and the Borderline wants custody of your child(ren)? According to Dr. Nathan Schwartz-Salant, Borderlines are represented in modern literature as vampires. Nathan Schwartz-Salant ,The Borderline Personality: Vision and Healing ©1989, Wilmette, IL, Chiron Publications at 48–50. People who have never been in an interpersonal relationship with a Borderline find this comparison laughable, but are nonetheless fascinated by vampire books and movies. (They might well ask themselves why.) For those who have been in an interpersonal relationship with a Borderline, comparisons with vampires ring eerily and unerringly true. The “initiated” understand how closely the legends about vampires describe Borderline Personality Disorder.

For example, as any non-Borderline spouse will attest, Borderlines suck the life force and joy (blood) out of their spouses, children and other people who love them as well as their employees and others who cannot escape them (victims/hosts).

Similarly, you can describe Borderline behavior to the Borderline and he or she simply will not recognize the person or the behavior described; that is, a Borderline’s psychic force has no identity and, therefore, is simply unable see its own image in the mirror of Self. This is because Borderlines lack a fully formed identity. Not surprisingly, another term for Borderline Personality Disorder is Mal-formed Identify Disorder.

Likewise, you can hold up a cross (representing Truth) to a Borderline and the Borderline will be repelled because the only Truth Borderlines comprehend is their own false inner sense of perfection, which necessarily causes them to mis-perceive events whenever reality conflicts with their deep-seated belief in their own self-perfection. The descriptor “Borderline” was chosen, in part, to describe a person who experiences this (false) inner sense of perfection while living a life marked by every form of verbal and behavioral deceit ever conceived by the human mind. To reconcile the conflict between their inner and outer worlds, Borderlines unconsciously re-write history “as needed” so as to preserve their inner sense of perfection. In so doing, reality is thrown to the wind.

For this reason Borderlines work very hard to keep investigations into their behavior and the psychological dynamics underlying their actions (the rays of the sun/the light of day) off of them and, instead, on their spouses (victims/hosts) so as to prevent others from discovering (bringing to light) what they really are. Bringing something hidden into the light of consciousness provokes feelings of abysmal despair in Borderlines. To assuage their despair, Borderlines feed on their spouses’ and children’s happiness and joy..

Once you have fallen under the spell of a Borderline, it is almost impossible to free yourself without very skilled help. The Borderline continually feeds off of your life force and joy and keeps you lingering between life and death. This is represented in vampire legends by the victim whose complexion is alabaster (death-like) and who lives a confused, purposelessness, aimless, listless existence and who, over time, retreats ever further from “human” contact until the vampire decides he or she has no further use of the host and sucks the last remaining blood from the host. The non-Borderline spouse knows this state of death-like numbness and suspended reality.

Make no mistake: Borderlines are every bit as dangerous as the vampire, Vlad Dracula, depicted in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Columbia Pictures, dir. Francis Ford Coppola. This movie sums up metaphorically the Borderline’s modus operandi as well as the challenges one faces when attempting to curtail the destructive power of a Borderline.

We are not in the business of healing Borderlines. We are in the business of trying to save the spouses and children of Borderlines. Unlike most other personality disorders, Borderlines beget Borderlines. Children of moderately severe to severe Borderlines are at grave risk and early intervention is absolutely essential if the children are to be saved from being psychologically maimed. It is beyond the scope of this article to delve into the “heredity versus environment” debate over the cause(s) of BPD, but what is important to know is that we are not willing to assume children of Borderlines are born doomed. We believe children of Borderlines can grow into adulthood and experience normal, healthy adult relationships if given the chance. By chance, we mean if the Borderline’s power over the children and the non-Borderline spouse is broken. Nothing less than this result works.