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Posts: 5

« on: March 03, 2012, 12:55:37 PM »

My husband of 1 1/2 years has two distinct personalities:
1.Loving- fun, talks, calm, safe to a point (although I am always nervous to have expectations of him).  This is generally the personality that comes through when family and friends are around.

2.Mean- verbally abusive, says very hurtful things, rages, or withholds any real talk/intimacy (which can have longer lasting wounds than physical abuse).   He denies these things happen.

When this happens, I feel as if he hit me. I feel scared that he is going to attack me, ignore me, or not do what he says he is going to do.  I always feel conscious of his mood, which affects my ability to just be myself, and feel safe.  I often read that if you feel that you are physically in danger, you should leave immediately, and that is part of why this is confusing.  Why is emotional abuse given less concern?  I think this is partly why I doubt myself, and am confused about what to do.  We are in marriage counseling, but I feel like our counselor minimizes the verbal abuse, and claims the attacks to be “my perceptions”.  I think that is odd, and not helpful when REALLY being abused.  It feels like she is calling me the crazy one.  Sigh.  I do not want to underreact or overreact. I am looking for advice on my list of "what I need to do", below, and how to approach my concerns with him. 

I know I cannot change him. If he continues to deny that he rants and says mean things about me, is there any hope?  I am planning on discussing my concerns on Monday, at marriage counseling.  I am planning on approaching "things" in a supportive way, but am guessing that he will still deny his inappropriate actions.  I guess at that point I could tell him that I am seriously concerned about these memory lapses?  Take things from a concerned perspective.  I really do love him, and am concerned about him, but do not want to put myself self in a position of being hurt anymore. 

Here is my list of what I know I need to do:   
1. If I ever feel unsafe, I will leave.
2. I will not stand there defending myself and my character, while he is yelling at me.
3. I will demand that he stick to all of the rules of fair fighting.
 4. I will expect that he does the big things that he says that he is going to do (e.g. get a job this summer) and if he does not, I will be angry.
5. I will not accept being “shut out”
6. I will not live in fear, or act like a victim.

Any thoughts/advice would be much appreciated! Thanks!
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Posts: 6737

« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2012, 04:58:08 PM »

Here is my list of what I know I need to do:   
1. If I ever feel unsafe, I will leave.
2. I will not stand there defending myself and my character, while he is yelling at me.
3. I will demand that he stick to all of the rules of fair fighting.
 4. I will expect that he does the big things that he says that he is going to do (e.g. get a job this summer) and if he does not, I will be angry.
5. I will not accept being “shut out”
6. I will not live in fear, or act like a victim.

Any thoughts/advice would be much appreciated! Thanks!

Peace-seeker  Welcome!

Your safety is of course paramount. Safety First

When your husband (H) is yelling, raging, withholding - he is most likely emotionally dysregulated ~ which means that whatever you say is not being heard and he is not actively listening. Its best to say “I will talk to you when you calm down” and remove yourself from the house. Issues will not be resolved during this time. You don’t need to defend or explain – if he is dysregulated its not the time to try and communicate.

Communicating with a person with BPD requires a new set of skills. Using a mix of validation, S.E.T and boundaries are important to not only protect you, to also have your own needs met. Using S.E.T may not defuse every situation, it can minimise it.

Peace-seeker, correct me if I am wrong - there appears to be a conflict cycle happening at the moment and you have reached crisis point?


GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Are you on the right board?
This board is for analyzing and making the decision to either continue working on your relationship or to leave it. If you have already please advance to "L3 Leaving" or the "L4 Staying" board.
All members living with a pwBPD should learn to use the Stop the Bleeding tools - boundaries, timeouts and other basic tools - to better manage the day to day interactions with your partner. If you have questions on any of the tools, feel free to go over to Staying: Improving a Relationship with a Borderline Partner and ask for help. :-)
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Gender: Female
Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 1118

« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2012, 08:11:38 PM »

Hi there Peace-seeker   Hi!

I'm sorry to hear of what you are going through  Empathy

I can relate to everything you are saying, having just broken up with my uBPD/NPD bf of 3.5 years.

Like you, my ex was never physically abusive, but verbally and emotionally.   I felt like I was living on a ticking bomb, and found it very hard to relax around him.  When he took one of his rages/turns, his eyes changed and it was like having another man in the room.  I could clearly recognise which of the two men in him had come down to visit me on a weekend, and usually without him even saying anything!

My advice to you would be to go with your gut feeling on everything.  I agree that your counsellor sounds less than useful, and it would seem that you would benefit from counselling alone, to address your concerns.  I wish that I had acted during the first couple of months when I realised what I know now, and not waited for so long, gradually being worn down.

If you feel unsafe, then I'd say you should go with that feeling.  If it feels wrong, then that's yourself waving a big red flag in front of you, and you need to pay it attention.  I don't have the figures at hand (perhaps another member will do) but I believe a very significant number of verbal/emotional abusers go on to inflict physical abuse.

I would say that if your H is totally in denial, then no...things are not going to improve.  You can use coping tools/methods from this site to better handle his rages and other BPD behaviour, but without his willingness to improve himself, that will most likely be as much as can be done.   Some people find that improves things to a level that they are happy enough with, but I suppose it depends on what outcome you are hoping for.  For me, I wanted a partner who could give me empathy when I needed it, and who respected me enough not to keep yelling at me.  I knew that just wasn't going to happen in my case.

Memory lapse/selective memory is a feature of BPD, and it is very possible that in his mind, he hasn't done some of the things you try to tell him he has.  I was actually at the point of carrying a Dictaphone around with me at all times, to try to prove to my ex what he was doing, and saving all computer correspondence! 

Were you together for long before you married? 

A year into my relationship and I knew something was very wrong with my ex.  3 years into the relationship and he was convincing ME that there was something wrong with me!  The longer you are in the situation, without the knowledge of coping methods, or a therapist, or a partner willing to change, the more you end up having things twisted, being enmeshed and co-dependent, and generally being stuck in the FOG:


I would suggest that you read-up on the many workshops and articles on this site, get your own therapist that you can talk to without your husband being present, and then you will be better placed to decide which direction you want to proceed in.

Whatever you decide to do, you will get amazing support from the people on this site.  Joining the site was the best move I ever made, in dealing with the aftermath of my relationship (I did not know about BPD or NPD when I was together with my ex).

Here is the link to the coping tools.  You will most likely find those useful, regardless of which path you choose, as there are good methods of defusing situations in there.


I look forward to reading your future posts.

Best wishes,
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