If you have a partner with borderline personality disorder (BPD), it’s likely that you have experienced times when your partner has said things that were extremely hurtful, maybe even cruel. A person does not have to have BPD (or any other mental disorder, for that matter) to know just how to push their partner’s buttons, but for the partners of those with BPD, the emotional outbursts tend to be more frequent and, ultimately, more harmful, both to you as the non-BPD partner and for your relationship as a whole.
“Emotional abuse” is any kind of behavior that is meant to control another person through the use of fear, humiliation, or physical assault. It can range from verbal attacks to more subtle forms of manipulation, intimidation, and the inability to be pleased, no matter what you do for them.
People who are emotionally abused have a slow erosion of self-esteem, self-confidence, and sense of self-worth. They begin to question their own thoughts and ability to judge a situation accurately, because their abuser is constantly telling them they are wrong. Eventually, the person being abused feels so worthless that they decide no one but the abuser would want to be in a relationship with them, so they stay. Their worst fear is being alone.