Borderline, Narcissistic, Sociopath, Anti-social, Psychopath, pathological liar, manipulative, high conflict, passive aggressive. They all sound like different personality disorders and there are some differences, but the similarities outweigh the differences.
Eighteen months after I left my ex husband, who I though was a sex addict, he was still using our children as pawns to manipulate and control me and make my life hell. After some particularly bad episodes when my stress level had increased and every time an email or text arrived from him I would get heart palpitations, I sought help. I went back to a counsellor who had tried to help me save my marriage 18 months earlier.
She called my ex a ‘crazy-maker’. I looked it up – yep, that was my ex.
So I went searching for more information. You know how it goes, you follow links on line and find out all sorts of things. This was 4 1/2 years ago, before the explosion of blogs and the mass of information you can now find online. My links at that time took me to information about borderline personality disorders. I read avidly and had so many ‘aha’ moments – I knew I was onto something. This sounded in so many ways like my ex, and even explained the sex addiction – which I then started to believe was due to a personality disorder. (See my post on sex addiction)
I joined an online support group for ex partners of people with borderline personality disorder and my ‘aha’ moments increased. He was behaving in so many similar ways to the other ex partners. But my ex didn’t fit all the descriptions of borderline, there were some things that were different. So I looked at sociopathy, narcissim and various other personality disorders. I found Bill Eddy’s site on high conflict personalities. I knew my ex husband had something – I just couldn’t work out exactly what.
I have recently joined an online group on Facebook for people with narcissistic exes One Mom’s Battle. All their exes do the same thing as mine, even down to writing the same words in emails. In fact there is many a time when I have wanted to write (and even did as a joke – except it is not really funny) are you sure you weren’t married to the same man as me?
The crazy exes seem to work from the same book and all the issues are linked – it’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle. They have the same tactics, the same lies, the same manipulations, the same problems. For example a recent article on pathological lying (see below) takes you to information about various personality disorders, a blog on divorcing a high conflict personality (see below) does the same thing.
Does it really matter what ‘label’ you use? No. Not for me. All I know is my ex has some sort of personality disorder, he acts exactly the same as others with different personality disorders. I don’t really care what his particular label might be. It doesn’t change anything. He still has the same negative effect on me and the children. I have still had to learn to deal with his nasty, passive aggressive, manipulative behaviour.
Narcissistic, borderline, psychopath? What’s in a name?
- Fiddler of the truth (psychologytoday.com)
- What Therapists Don’t tell you about divorcing a high conflict personality (huffingtonpost.com)
- Top 100 Behaviours of Personality Disorders