Partner with pwBPD - engulfment?


I’m seeking some advice around the topic “fear of engulfment”. I understand “fear of abandonment” and ways in which you can respond etc. And I understand that engulfment is the fear of losing oneself because a pwBPD doesn’t really have an identity and in relationship yours becomes their etc.

My partner is struggling with this. He’s been trying to just push it under the rug so we don’t argue. Instead, he’s just endlessly saying how bored he is, wanting to take drugs again and snappy.

We had a disagreement last night, where he started with blaming me for the reason he doesn’t have friends. In truth, the one friend he does have I dislike (he brings weed to his house and doesn’t care that weed impacts his mental health and could get fired and this friend is arrogant, and has behaved incredibly inappropriate towards my partner in the past), in terms of other friendship, he has made pretty awful friends because they’ve all been focused around drugs. But he believes that it’s the relationships fault - in part he is right, without me he’d be using, and therefore around those friends.

I’m trying to be understanding, and he did start taking some responsibility saying that he finds he feels like he’s a bad person if he does go out, or doesn’t text me when he’s out. But it reached a point where he started accusing me of cheating in the past, and that this isn’t really my home. He went into the kitchen and started saying how he wanted me gone etc. I did leave - in the past I haven’t left but the next time we’d argue he’d shout that I never give him the space he needs.

I just need advice, we live together so I can’t really be leaving every time it’s not fair. But I don’t know what’s best when the person is fearing engulfment?

He is trying, more than he ever has. He’s waiting for DBT too so he’s on the right path. I read that really both parties should do thr DBT together so the partner can support them and learn healthier ways to communicate.

Hi Elanor,
I have read your post, didn’t want to leave it unanswered, but don’t have sufficient knowledge of mental health to answer your question. Have you read up on fear of engulfment at the library/ online? Perhaps if you contacted the Mind helpline, they could signpost you to the advice you need.


Hi Eleanor,

Unfortunately I don’t have any advice for you yet as I’m looking for the same advice!
But I had to comment on how similar our partners are… When I read that yours has accused you of cheating and then said the house wasn’t yours etc, that is the exact same argument in my house. Exactly the same wording with a bit of ‘It’s my name on the tenancy!’ added in.

I hope you find some help and support on here and if you find the answer to all of this let me know as well!

It takes a lot of time and work to get rid of this. It is better to use a psychologist or a psychotherapist.

This is an old thread, locked.