The shock of being threatened with a knife by his twenty-three year old wife Charlene hit Jackson really hard.
He arranged a separation from Charlene to recover, and to begin to feel safe again. The toughest moments came when he wanted to hear her voice that had encouraged him so often. Growing up in a home with a devouring mother who put him down when he wanted to think and act on his own behalf, he was attracted to Charlene’s adoration and constant attention. Sure, she was volatile – calm and caring sometimes but insatiable and stifling at others. But now, he was seeing another side of her, and feeling as abused as he had when he lived at home with his parents.
Not long after the threatening incident that led to the couple separating, Jackson discovered that Charlene had been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). He was furious and felt he had been duped. Yet Jackson couldn’t stop wanting to talk to Charlene and meet up with her from time to time. He didn’t know how to get the more nurturing parts of Charlene that he needed to keep his confidence and spirit up, and how to be safe from her verbal and physical abuse.
Having a relationship with a BPD partner is like living in two worlds at the same time as Jackson discovered. It was heaven on earth when Charlene made him feel like he was the only thing in her world. When she was feeling attracted to and attached to Jackson, he was the ‘good’ guy. But when she was empty and desperate for him to fulfill the promise of being her idol, she would taunt him and nag at him until he focused solely on her. At those moments he was the ‘bad’ guy, withholding from her, making her feel as if she didn’t exist.