Readers' Submissions

Disorder At The Border





Interesting for you to have highlighted the connections between common Thai girl / girlfriend behavior and clinical symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I think HBO's series "The Sopranos" has done a great service to the common schmuck in portraying this affliction and how it manifests. It's heartening to know that this disorder is quantifiable and simply that there's a name for it, other than "psychotic bitch". In case you don't follow the series, the lead character, Tony Soprano, has a mother who suffers from BPD, which, among other things results in his visiting a psychiatrist. During the course of treatment, the shrink describes his mother's symptoms and explains BPD. I bet a lot of guys that have been through, or who are still going through the Thai BarGirl friend wringer saw a light bulb flash on and made the connection.

The causes of the condition are clearly found in a lot of the backgrounds of Thai bargirls. The poverty during childhood, abuse by older male family members or acquaintances, abandonment by a spouse or partner, children at a young age, when the girl may feel helpless about her future or unable to control her destiny.

Throw on top of this rampant substance abuse, financial instability and pressures, a revolving-door of customers and the emotional roller coaster of relationships that switch on and off and in rapid succession, the need to constantly manipulate those relationships… Sounds like a recipe for BPD.

The real zinger is that the factors that make up such a disorder are firmly cemented well before a such a girl first gets to the bar. Bar life then accelerates and aggravates the personality disorder. It is good for any punters to keep this in mind if or when one starts to cross the line between business and personal with a bargirl. In all likelihood, entering into a relationship with any BG means inviting someone with a serious imbalance to come into your life.

This is why even getting a girl 'out of the scene' early on seldom comes to a successful, happily-ever-after conclusion. More often than not it simply means a guy (who may well be far from stable himself) winds up with a BPD afflicted partner, and as the relationship progresses, behaviors fall into patterns which destructively resonate and reinforce. Not fun for anyone, and downright dangerous or even fatal at times.

The bad news is that although this is a recognized clinical condition, there doesn't seem to be any agreed-upon course of treatment. Substance abuse tendencies preclude appropriate medications, and mental health professionals are loath to treat it, because it's so fruitless and potentially dangerous to the caregiver. In laymen's terms, "She's a psychotic bitch, and there's nothing anyone can do about it!"

I personally have had the privilege to undergo close contact with a number of Thai BarGirl – European Expatriate couples in several countries (take 'European' in the broadest sense to include American) that resulted in marriages, some of which are still in place, some of which have come apart.

Of the couples I've observed, the happiest male partners are the ones who divorced (more so if they were able to secure custody of children, if any).

There are no observably happy female partners.

One couple I know of includes a Thai wife who voluntarily entered a 12 step substance abuse program and a gambling addiction program. This is remarkable in that it's the only such case I've ever heard of. Now I wouldn't describe this couple as well-adjusted or overly content, but they've seemed to have made the compromises and found the common ground on which to get by together. This is also the only couple in which both members are observably monogamous.

Several other couples seem bound together by kids in mutually acrimonious relationships. The male partners tend to buy their way through or have the means to shelter themselves from a home life environment that constantly includes he female partner. This usually entails homes in two countries (one for the wife & kids and another for the male) – a great resource-burner.

Unfortunately, such relationships are undoubtedly commonplace and easily observed across many societies and cultures. What is striking about the Thai Bar Girl wife and European husband is how overwhelmingly unhappy the vast majority are. Is there a lesson to be learned in all this? Doubtful. The people with the sense to see it have no need of it, and the people that need it won't see it. As has been your mantra in this column over the years, don't look for love and happiness in girlie bars, massage parlors or escort services.

Stickman says:

The more I observe farang male / Thai female relationships, the less positive I am about them, irrespective of whether the girl was a bargirl or not. Thais and farang seem to be diametrically opposed on so many issues that it is a wonder that many of these marriages work at all.