Partner with BPD physical violence

Hi, I’ve read through some of the topics to save me posting, and wasn’t able to find something similar (maybe I didn’t look hard enough)

My girlfriend has BPD and I’ve tried to be supportive, reassuring we will get through this together because I love her. During her rage moments she’s dug her nails into my chest, side and back which was really painful and then dragged them to leave marks and sometimes bleed. Now I’m thick skinned and can take that, I know it’s not her and when she’s calmed down she will apologies and we’re ok again.

Recently we got into an argument over her pushing my kids to one side, making them go play away from us so she can have my attention, not even allow them in to hug me.

As a result I wanted to get away and clear my head which I know is bad as to her this would feel like abandonment.
I wasn’t able to leave the house she hid my keys and pinned me against the wall with one of our big kitchen knives, point end in my chest (didn’t break skin)
I took it off her and I did loose my temper I admit, she swung for me and punched me in my face, the second time I blocked it and pushed her over into the settee.

She came at me again and, she swung at me and as she did that, I’ll be honest, my knee jerk reaction was to give her a jab to the tummy. I immediately felt guilty, and she went off to the bed room and took a knife with her, saying she has no problem ending her life. I ended up talking to her and put the knife away.

I do love her but I’m really struggling as some days she will be fine and it makes me forget about stuff, then when she explodes I want to get away. I try to remain calm and let her get it out of her system, but it’s starting to take its toll on me.

I’m a 37 year old male, and feel like I should brush it off and focus on the happy times. But I can’t seem to forget about when she explodes.

I’ve expressed an interest in going group therapy sessions with her to try improve things, I’m also racked with guilt about jabbing her in the tummy. Typically raised to never put your hands on a woman, and I feel ashamed to discuss this if we went to a therapist or group sessions.

Are there any tips or help when the rage is a go, I try to listen and reassure, but it’s getting to much, I cabt go out, I don’t see my kids every weekend (it’s every other because she wants some time with me. And we love together), I have them both every other weekend now.

I don’t even know what I’m asking for, maybe what to do when she gets angry?

Appreciate any help

My caring was in a different field, but I do believe you both need professional help now. Your girlfriend’s health team needs to know how she deals with her emotions. This is not letting her down in any way; they can only help her with what they know about. And you have been able to tell us how you respond; now you need to get help for yourself, too. Others will know better than me who to go to, but maybe ask for an urgent appointment with your GP. If it’s hard to actually tell them, you could print out your post here and show it to them. The experts can give you tools to improve things for all of you and keep you all safe.

Hello Lee
My caring was a different situation too.
This may be a personal question, but does your partner’s outbursts coinside with the monthly cycle, or does she have outbursts at any time. I realise she has BPD. What ever the reason, the abuse can not continue. If she loves you she will want and agree to get some help. It’s not good for the children to hear/ see this either. No one would be able to tolerate this and not react so try not to let the guilt monster get to you about the jab in the tummy. You have scars!! You must have felt backed into a corner. I’m certainly not judging you on that. Very brave of you to tell us. There is help for domestic abuse for both men and women.
I don’t think a GP can discuss your partner’s situation with you, but he can take note of what you tell him. I wrote to my husband’s GP when I was frantic about his decline( vascular dementia) and he did take it on board
Others will definitely be along with more experience than me to advise. Really I want you to know I’m listening.

Hello Lee. Thanks for posting in the Forum about your recent experience. I’ve discussed this with colleagues at Carers UK and have just sent you a private message which you can access by clicking on the link at the top right of the Forum.

Wishing you well


Appreciate the advice, thank you.

The outburst happen when ever she feels like I don’t agree with something I.e stuff with the kids I mentioned, or if I don’t agree to cut my family off (she feels they don’t like her. They do)
I just try to keep her happy, I just find it very hard to do when that when I have my kids here, a 5 year old and a 11 year old.
And she wants them to go home early or go play in the room, they can’t sit between us as she feels I’m ignoring her, so things like that with the kids I find hard to have patience.

I’ll check the private message, thank you

I’ll keep you posted

So basically, she wants everything to focus on her or she kicks off??

Is that ever going to change?
Do you want to spend the rest of your life playing second fiddle for her every need, at the expense of the relationship with your children?
Presumably they are yours from a previous relationship?
What are they going to say about their experience of you as a dad when they are grown up?

These are the dilemmas you are facing. Only you can decide what your priorities are. She is unlikely to change, so you can only change your own behaviour when she starts “playing up”. I’m sure counselling would help you sort our your feelings in this situation.


I do have a partner with borderline personality disorder.
I think a great book you should read is “walking on egg shells” and “loving someone with BPD”.

I would suggest a few things now:

  • you need boundaries! It won’t be easy but it’s helpful for both of your.

So when it comes to you children explain to her something like this:
“I understand you want to spend time with me and I want to spend a lot of time with you. I love being in your company. This may seem selfish but I also need to be spending time with my children, I will be doing it X many times in the week” - You need to stick with this boundary because it’s incredibly important! It’s sooo hard, but the sooner you do this the better.

  • difficult times - validate her feelings “I can see you are really angry with me. And this is not a helpful way of listening to each other. I’m going to go for a walk so we can both calm down and I will be back in an hour, I am coming back” and leave. If she makes threats to end her life, then say you will call an ambulance.

  • if you do argue, try and avoid focusing on the topic. Don’t fight your case when some weird accusation is thrown your way. Hard I know.

I read a great explanation once: to be a whole functioning human we have two parts work together, the Mind and the Feelings. With BPD what’s happened is the Feeling has done into hiding to protect its self, leaving the Mind behind. This means the person is functioning as half a person, but they have no idea. So when things go wrong (fear of abandonment, fear of enguflment, general triggers) the Feeling panics, worries about being seen, it takes over and lashes out to protect itself. Then once the Feeling feels safe again it goes away but the person is left with just the Mind again, but the Mind has no idea what has happened, has now hurt a loved one e c and it’s back to thinking the world is just against them or blames it on something random just to make sense of it all.

Fundamentally they are on constant defence mode and not even aware of it.

But the hardest thing for a partner to do is not take responsibility - ultimately the pain and agony they are feeling is within themselves and its only them that can fix it, through treatment. Without treatment, they won’t improve. We just just react a little better.

Please, take care of yourself. See your friends, go for walks if you need a break. You have to meet their emotions with calmness and you can’t do that until you take care of yourself.

  • it isn’t you, it’s the disorder and I hate it.