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Think About It... Acceptance doesn't mean you approve; it doesn't mean you're happy about something; it doesn't mean you won't work to change the situation or your response to it, but it does mean that you acknowledge reality as it is--with all its sadness, humor, irony, and gifts--at a particular point in time...~ Freda B. Friedman, Ph.D., LCSW, Surviving a Borderline Parent
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Author Topic: Husband Depressed From BPD Wife, Not Coping  (Read 1036 times)
pecosdew
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« on: August 25, 2012, 04:25:39 PM »

I have BPD traits.  I am here to seek support for my husband who finds it difficult to seeks it for himself.  I am on this board, rather than one for BPD'ers in part because I am so close to being well and in greater part because I would like to hear some thoughts from people in my husband's position.

I am better, healthier, happier, more productive, "in the moment," and in control of my emotions than I have ever been.  Paradoxically, as I have improved, his mental health has declined.  He is depressed. His willingness to be physically or emotionally close has declined.

He indicates that there has been a buildup of depression, of emotional fatigue from all of my past episodes.  I have episodes much less frequently, and they are shorter now and end in my "spilling the beans" so to speak, about what is really motivating the anger.  I used to live in a state of "episode."

I do slip into thought patterns where I think he's a jerk, the classic splitting thoughts of the BPD. Again less frequently and resolved much better and more quickly.  These days, every time I slip up and decide he's a jerk, he slides into a deep depression and tells me he hates his life, that he wishes we never met.

I am in therapy with a wonderful therapist, and especially considering the trauma in my early life, I am moving along really quickly.  I work on it constantly.  This is all I can do. 

My husband seems unable to recognize my progress on an emotional level.  When I have slip-ups, his response is that it's more of same, he's stuck and he's never going to get out and things are hopeless and awful.  If I slip up, it's like my progress doesn't matter.

BTW, I don't scream, I don't break things, I don't threaten suicide, I don't harm myself.

I do get mad at him (less often, less severely with better resolution) in ways he can't understand, because it has to do with things in my distant past rather than our shared present.

He is not friendly to seeing a therapist, though he will accompany me sometimes.  He won't talk to any friends or family.  He seems unwilling to seek out support of any kind.  He does not read books about it.  He rarely seeks out activities that might lift his mood.

On my part, I feel a lot of empathy.  I'm sure my behavior is difficult and stressful to deal with. But I feel like he places the state of his mental health squarely on my shoulders and I'm not sure that this is appropriate.  As difficult as i have been and am still periodically, I feel that there are still other ways to respond apart from being depressed and refusing help. I feel helpless to help him and burdened as I try to recover as quickly and as well as I can. 

I'm committed to our marriage.
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Blazing Star
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2012, 10:23:19 PM »

Hi pecosdew,

Great that you are on a path to recovery!

I am a little unsure what you are asking us here - has your H asked you to come on here and get some support for him? Does he know you are here? What do you imagine getting for him/giving to him in terms of support?

What is your ideal in this situation, given that it sounds like he is a bit stuck?

I don't believe we can force anyone to change, or to do something they don't want to. This board is a place for people who are wanting to make changes, we focus on ourselves, yes it is hard and there is resentment and depression and emotional fatigue that your H talks of, but we here have come to a place when we are ready to work on changing that - in the ways we can.

I guess what I am trying to say is you H has to be the one, it has to come from within him. Can you detach from it a little, and perhaps point him in the direction of this forum - however this is complicated given that you are on here now and he might not feel comfortable posting knowing that, but at least he could read about it?

Not sure if that helps?

Love Blazing Star
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betterorworse

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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2012, 11:49:25 PM »

On my part, I feel a lot of empathy.  I'm sure my behavior is difficult and stressful to deal with. But I feel like he places the state of his mental health squarely on my shoulders and I'm not sure that this is appropriate.  As difficult as i have been and am still periodically, I feel that there are still other ways to respond apart from being depressed and refusing help. I feel helpless to help him and burdened as I try to recover as quickly and as well as I can. 

I'm committed to our marriage.

You say he should find other ways to respond apart from being depressed and refusing help. You can't dictate that, the pain is his. Depending on the level of emotional strain or abuse, that which took years to manifest can't be undone in a short amount of time. His ability to love and trust is now impaired. Every time you "slip up" he is driven right back into the hopelessness he feels. What you see as improvement, he most likely sees as the same old game. He may never respond the way you wish.

I think it's fantastic you recognize your condition and I admire your efforts to improve. You are the exception. Don't make the mistake of failing to recognize the extent to which this condition has negatively affected your husband.
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waverider
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2012, 07:04:14 AM »

What is happening here you are experiencing overlapping drives. To you it is a new beginning and life is looking great, and you can overlook little hiccups. To him it is like the end of a long marathon, only to find there are a few more laps to run, it saps the last of the strength.

Nearest experience I had with this is when after years of alcoholic drinking and associated behavior, I became numb to it. Then when she got serious about recovery was in and out of rehabs, each time she was due to go in each day, each hour, as it approached it just got so hard. It felt like those last few steps to the top of Everest where far harder than the thousands of feet climbed before. I dont know why but it is.

It is always darkest before dawn, and the dawn is coming he just has difficulty believing it. Probably needs time and space more than anything else.
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  Reality is shared and open to debate, feelings are individual and real
baconninja

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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2012, 01:38:15 PM »

With all due respect, the spouse of a BPD is an abused person. They have likely experienced many periods where the pwBPD "seemed" better, or promised to do better, only to find out later that nothing actually changed.

My spouse has had years of furtive behavior, inappropriate "friendships", and hidden substance abuse. He "SEEMS" to have been doing better now for a month or two, and can't understand why I can't "see the change in him". The thing is I do, but how do i know its for real this time?

As I'm sure you know, BPDs cycle through periods where their spouse is the best person in the world, and periods where their spouse is the source of all evil, and thus the justification for acting out any and all destructive impulses. How is your spouse supposed to know that this isn't just another short-lived "all-good" cycle?

How long has this period of improvement lasted vs the length of the period of dysfunction?

Is your husband getting therapy? No offense, but he needs to work through the issues that have compelled him to initiate/continue a relationship with a BPD. IMO, one of you can't do all the growing for this to work out, you both need to work on your issues.

Quote
Don't make the mistake of failing to recognize the extent to which this condition has negatively affected your husband.
^ This. A thousand times, this. Since you have BPD, you've probably been abused, too, and know how difficult it is to work through the pain. It takes time.

 love  BN
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