Now overall, the thing that weirds me out is how different communication by text versus sound was.
@Auspicious: Good question. Usually? Pardon the wall of text...some people think by typing a lot.
Toddler - love the little bugger - like playing, teaching, setting up a home. Bit frustrated - because BPDw is negative help and I'd like to play more indoors - but BPDw tends to sleep until 2-3 on weekends.
Work - I'm blessed to have an opportunity to actually save lives and do fun stuff at the same time. Mind you, at the moment, the research I'm most enthused about looks like the application I'd hoped for is a complete f*g failure. And, my boss nixed the proposal I planned to put in, that was the reason I joined the group, because it wasn't close enough to his research. But, I'm working through endless arrays of tables and analysis, hoping there's an error somewhere...and the only proposals I can seem to get funded are the ones where I expect to have no impact. But, eh, I'm well-balanced and experienced enough to know that very few people can actually predict which research will pan out...so on I go. And, I don't mind the endless arrays - though I don't love them either.
I'm having a few doubts about this position long-term. I'll most likely be raising a toddler solo - and that isn't going to work. (Professors travel a lot.)
Exercise - I like walking through the local park. (And, honestly, enjoying the scantily-dressed ladies common to this culture.)
Games - I'm actually kind of into LOL at this point - games are pretty fast and I can usually fit one in before bedtime.
Books - Just got a Kindle - and found out that Baen has reduced pricing and a bunch of Glen Cook novels that I'd never seen. (Apparently, because several of them were low quality...sigh. Sung in Blood - thumbs down. Kind of like Doc Sidhe without the fun.)
Family - The relatives are local and fun - we see mom most weekends.
Friends - Urgle. That's been a challenge. Mix child with travel distance and BPD. I'm a bit hopeful there - as we actually had a party recently that didn't suck. Okay, it sucked...but that was poor planning rather than BPD. Next time will be better. Main trick is that most of my friends are at least half and hour away, and I'd prefer doing at least some stuff on the weekdays. Note to self...if you schedule 2 weeks in advance...reconfirm the night before...especially if you're setting someone up.
Exercise: Local f*g pool finally reopened. We were planning on going tonight (Friday is family swim), but apparently the Sushi King movie is opening and I really do owe BPDw a movie. (Actually, I wasn't fair to her and skipped out on Being Elmo even though she watched Green Lantern, Captain America, and a couple of others. That rage I earned.)
Dunno. I doubt it - I'm mostly trying a couple of experiments. (And...um...operating under a motivational tool*.)
Experiment 0: (not so relevant) involves moderately stricter boundaries (insulting==no discussion, long monologues on how I'm messed up are insulting.) Probably more important, commencing after MC tomorrow most likely.
Experiment 1: involves trying much blunter and more invalidating communication - both verbally and by text.
Huh? Isn't that a bad idea? I do read these forums. So, that was my original thought...but only crazy people try the same thing over and over and expect different results. And, there've been a few hints.
(a) MC: Grow a backbone. And she can't hear you if you're not perfectly direct.
(b) Therapist: Y'know, your emotional affect is kind of low - please try to show your emotions more - particularly the negative ones - she probably feels abandoned when you close off like that.
(c) FIL: Y'know, one day, that guy's just gonna ask you for a divorce - and you won't even know why.
(d) BIL: So, BPDw isn't here right? (phone) Didja hear about this diagnosis called narcissistic aspergers? I think my GF has it.
(e) BPDw: F*g tell me when you're upset. Half the things you're upset about - you haven't f*g mentioned.**
(f) Friend: I'm from (small Asian country). We're 'frank'. Yes, that translates into calling engineer X a lazy f*g incompetent. I mean, am I wrong? And telling the VP of Sales that he's wasting my f*g time on a useless application.
(g) A: Now that I think of it, overall, the times where I showed significant negative emotion, BPDw responded better. Mind you, I can count those on the fingers of one hand...um.
(h) MC: (to BPDw): Shut up. And sit down. You're not listening again. Now sit back and repeat what I just said. Do you actually understand the magnitude of what I just said? BPDw: Yes. You have a point. MC: I was just incredibly mean to you. How do you feel? BPDw: Fine. You're correct.
A: Y'know, validation, on average, has had negative effectiveness. The typical validation attempt becomes: Shut up. You're confusing me. This is not about emotions. Answer the d*n f*g question. Give me a straight f*g answer.
BPDw: I f*g hate Mr. Smiley. Stop being nice and tell me when you're p*d off.
Summarizing: BPDw seems less receptive to emotional validation than an average person. She does seem to require factual validation (like...validation that her reality is the correct one and is highly sensitive to shame).
A: Y'know, every written conversation we've had has gone like clockwork. Every verbal conversation confuses the MC. Realistically, my aptitude for translating incoherence is probably lower than theirs is.
Plan: Y'know, WTHeck, polite conversation doesn't get through to her at all. And, given that my evening schedule is usually home-eat-toddler-sleep, maintaining decent boundaries will mean that I basically don't talk to BPDw about R/S stuff during the week...maybe I should open another channel. I'm not willing to be abusive, but I am willing to be frank. Let's see if she can hear it. I'm also not willing to subject toddler to this. Um...well...toddler is hard to put to bed early.
So, let's try opening another channel of communication. And, let's try not being validating. Actually, let's try being extremely invalidating and see what happens. Newton's method has faster convergence. I mean, she's asked for frank. If it doesn't work, Argyle not going to bother with a wide range of discussion topics except at MC.Trial 1
: Frank, but polite, and very balanced.Results:
Kind of got through, but not that well. A frustrated because BPDw wouldn't hear him. And very tired of of 'well, we could fix this R/S if you just admitted that you're f*d in the head and started being a different person and communicating better.' BPDw: Frustrated, felt abandoned, talking to a robot/wall.Trial 2
: Frank. Honest. And expressing, strongly, my point of view in an emotional fashion.
The blaming, the abuse, your constant attempts to fix me, constantly asking for divorce and staying, most of your unhappiness in the R/S - are all characteristic of borderline personality disorder. Now, sure, they could be something else. But, if someone tells you they're a paranoid schizophrenic and then tells you that there's an invisible flying pink pony behind you - it probably makes sense to check whether or not they've been taking their medication. Similarly, when you come to me and claim that our R/S problems come from the Asperger's syndrome I don't even have...it makes sense to investigate the contribution from your mental illness first.
In either case, I'm done enabling you by acting as a rage sponge. That's on you. And, I'll be taking care of myself and sleeping at a decent hour, as a rule. This isn't negotiable. I'll also be putting toddler to bed and playing with toddler every night instead of plopping toddler in front of the TV while you try to argue with me. (So, on the weekdays, you'll mostly have to send me email unless I can get toddler to sleep earlier...)
Moving on to:
Actually, in terms of the disregulation, while I do share blame for not walking away soon enough - I've checked and the communication issues are 90% you. In mean, our last 2 MC couldn't even understand you. If the whole world thinks you're crazy - you are. Try taking some responsibility.
Trust me, your father is a terrible role model - mentally ill and abusive. Stop trying to paint him white and your mother black. Y'know, given the level of mental illness and abuse in your family, we really aren't equal judges here - if I say something is abusive, it probably is. I'm going to trust my judgement over your own here. Please do the same - if you want to argue - we can talk things over in MC - but I'm done arguing this stuff with you. You don't argue math with me, I don't argue interior design. Stop arguing abuse versus normal behavior - your judgement is impaired.
No. Really. Given that you have BPD and one of the clinical characteristics is high conflict, unstable R/S, claiming that most of the issue is me doesn't even pass the laugh test. Just imagine what a therapist is actually thinking when you spout that c*p. I'm through wasting my time on that BS.
Really. You're b*g because I don't sit you down and discuss stuff with you? Y'know, best case, you sit and nod and then do nothing. More typically, you actively sabotage whatever I've asked for. Why do you expect me to waste time with that?
Seriously. You're complaining because I'm not nice enough when I walk away. Y'know, anyone else comes to me like that, I'd start by verbally humiliating them and then telling them to get out of my f*g face. If they didn't go, I'd pitch them out of the f*g window. Don't f*g expect kindness and a 5 paragraph monologue. You, I'm telling that I need to go to sleep to work the next day. Be grateful. Besides, I've tried the 5 paragraph thing, and you disregulate anyways. I'm not wasting my time.Results
: BPDw: Um. You have a point. Actually, my therapist said the same thing about taking responsibility. And, fine, I'll work on being nicer when I bring stuff up. And, well, I still think DV has to involve serious injury - but I appreciate that toddler could get in trouble modeling that behavior in this country - so I'll stop.
OTOH, y'know the bit about everything being my fault. My other therapist said that was a bit harsh. I'd be grateful if you had a look at some flashcards for responses to stuff I'm asking for.
Thanks - I actually felt like we had a connection there. Please bring up more stuff.
She listened to me? What's going on?
Trial 3: Planned, same as trial 2 except that I'll probably tone down the statements moderately while trying to convey similar (accurate) levels of emotion. My hope is that combining the memory advantages of text with consistent expression of emotion and bluntness will work. Dunno. Topic of discussion will most likely be comparison of time spent fixing Argyle versus fixing herself. Overall, keeping an hour free to talk while I eat will be good long-term.
*Motivational tool? I set a years deadline to make a decision about the R/S - give BPDw time to take a DBT course. Mind you...the course started Septemberish...but I was never too clear about whether the timeline started Junish or Septemberish. I'm pretending to myself that it started Junish to motivate me to try some more changes in a timely fashion...engineers. Always takes a few months to evaluate things.
The problem is that, right now, as things are, considering the general level of volatility, I'm fairly undecided. Toddler's welfare is the main factor and living with someone acting like a mental patient just can't be good. A few nights ago...BPDw tried to grab the cat and threatened to kill it with a plastic sword...fortunately...the cat is fast and smart.
If I was decided...this would be easy. Overall, long-term, I'm pretty sure that BPDw's negative impact on toddler, combined with just the level of energy living with her is requiring renders the situation non-tenable. But, she's been working a fair bit in DBT, et cetera, and there are pretty measurable changes. So, ...eh.
And, the problem is that I'm pretty career-focused. I have 3 possible paths.
(a) If marriage improves a lot: Stay - doing something I like - work my butt off.
(b) If marriage improves a little: Move. Take a job close to family with short commute and low travel requirements.
(c) If marriage stays the same, gets worse: Get a divorce. Move. Take a job close to family with short commute and low travel requirements.
So, for the next 4-6 months, this is a primary project because - for most of the stuff I care about - it is a rate-determining step. The obvious thing I can do easily is more boundary work. So, yep, that's going to happen. As far as I can tell, validation has been moderately useless.
**I have. Repeatedly. In a perfectly calm, empathetic fashion. Which absolutely doesn't go through.