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Think About It... A person with Borderline Personality Disorder often presents with a characteristic relationship pattern over time. This pattern usually evolves through three stages: The Vulnerable Seducer, The Clinger, and The Hater. This evolution may take months, and sometimes even years to cycle through. In the later periods, the personality often swings back and forth from one phase to the next. ~ Roger Melton, M.A..
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Author Topic: husband's revelation about lashing out  (Read 1165 times)
Mystified and Tired
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« on: October 30, 2006, 04:48:17 PM »

My BPD husband and I had another of those sick, terrible fights last night.  To recap, he's generally sane, smart, fun, and loving, but freaks out and rages every couple weeks over things as small and insignificant as my asking him to save me some of the leftovers.  Last night it was over his hatred of my best friend (small slight blown hugely out of proportion).  But from the fight... 

The only potentially good thing to come of it is that he gave me some insight into why he yells and says hurtful things to me during the rages.  He said he desperately wants to be understood, and when he's not, he feels incredibly alone.  He feels like he felt when he was young, that no one really loves him and the only one who will care for him is himself.  So at that moment he sees me as yet another person who doesn't really love him, and who will leave him sooner or later, like everyone else in his life.  At that moment I seem to represent one of the bitterest, most painful losses of yet. 

Now, I have no idea what to do with this information, how to use it constructively.  If he can stop raging, I know I'll be with him and love him forever.  I've told him I'll always be with him, but it's getting harder to say because a person can't endure rage forever.  I don't know how to say, "I'll always love you, but that's not blanket permission for you to torture me." without it sounding like a threat, or like I have plans to leave. 

He's resisted my urging that he go to therapy.  I see a therapist, but feel like all I do there is describe the most recent fights and, well, what else is there to say? 

I love him so much.  I sympathize with his awful childhood.  I want to make things soft for him in the future, but sometimes feel like I'd have to sacrifice myself to martyrdom in the attempt.  And despite my love, it doesn't seem like he feels anymore secure with the world.  He's just got someone new to fear losing, and I can't always give emphatic "I'll never fall out of love with you"'s when he needs them most, when he feels terrified of losing me, when my face is smeared with snot and make-up from crying over my own pain from his yelling. 

WTH can be done?

Mystified
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l6blue
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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2006, 05:11:45 PM »

Mystified,

I am so sorry you are going through all this.

I hate to be a downer, but there really wasn't much positive in his revelation to you, from my perspective. In fact, from your last statement I think you realize it. He gets to strike out and hurt you as much as he can, and he gets you to want to make him feel better afterward. He also seems to be trying to make his behavior be about you not giving him understanding.
Don't get sucked in to that codependent behavior. You can feel sorry for his crappy childhood, but that doesn't mean he gets to try to make your life crappy, too.

I think you do need to state flat out that he does not have, in your words, "blanket permission ...to torture me." Whether or not he takes it as a threat is his issue (okay, I know he'll do his best to make it your issue, but you know what I mean). You need to define some boundaries of what kind of behavior you won't accept, and stick to them.

You already said it, "despite my love, it doesn't seem like he feels anymore secure with the world." No matter how much love and reassurance you give him, it will not help him feel better when he is in one of those moods.

WTH can be done? It's up to him to take care of him. The only thing you can do is take care of yourself. You can't "make things soft for him."

Good luck.
Lisa
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sadbunny
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« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2006, 05:47:19 PM »

Hon,

My X had similar levels of awareness...not quite as developed as that..he didn't verbalise the connection your diid, but close.

It doesn't matter if they wont get therpay.  There is nothing you can do.

I'm sorry to say it, but I say it because I thought that my X having this level of awareness, plus ASKING for help repeatedly meant he would do something about it- not the way he was treating me, but to resolve his own pain.

give him this, it might help

www.livinglifetothefull.com

it is free anonymous CBT on line.  Maybe if he sees he doesn't have to tell secrets or be embarrassed and just familiarizes himself with the therapy process so it seems less intimidating, it might be a step in the right direction.

Good Luck.

Know there i s nothing you can do to make him beleive it is possible to get help or that he deserves it.  he has to beleive it.

The best thing you can do is to not enable him.

Bunny
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Mystified and Tired
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2006, 01:32:32 PM »

Hi Happybunny and l6blue,

Thanks for your responses.  They say some things I'd had a creeping suspicion of (that I can't make things better, that it's up to him to help himself, and that I need to let him know his behavior isn't acceptable, no matter what it stems from).  Happybunny, thanks for the CBT link.  I may try it out myself! 

After thinking about the situation with my husband, his explanation doesn't fit situations where he's gotten angry over something accidental and not emotionally-charged (the dog scratches him accidentally, I ask for some leftovers, I forget to water his garden).  I wonder how he'd excuse himself from those? 

It's also darn unreasonable that I'm supposed to comfort him when he's lashing out.  Where's my comfort at those times?  The only thing that ever seems to make him soften is when I finally break down into sobs.  If I remain calm but have some tears on my face, then I'm "playing the little victim".  I want to remain as calm and rational as possible, but maybe the only way to end our stupid fights is to break down sooner.  That seems sick. 

He says he's afraid that some day I'll decide he's not worth the trouble.  What I'd love to say, but what would probably not be well received is, "Instead of wasting your time and emotions worrying about that, how about working to make yourself less trouble?"  But that would require facing his problems, and we can't ask for miracles...

Mystified
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This board is for members with failed or failing relationships that want to detach from their relationship and relationship wounds. If you are still analyzing the decision to stay, please post on Undecided: Staying or Leaving
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. :-)
sadbunny
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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2006, 03:38:56 PM »


It's also darn unreasonable that I'm supposed to comfort him when he's lashing out.  Where's my comfort at those times?  Mystified


Here is a hug for those times and i felt this way too about x.  i really get this.
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Mr Soul
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2006, 04:13:02 PM »

Mystified,

Quote
The only thing that ever seems to make him soften is when I finally break down into sobs...
I want to remain as calm and rational as possible, but maybe the only way to end our stupid fights is to break down sooner. 
Do you know why he softens ?  I don't think it's because he feels bad for what he has done to you--he's not regretful in any real enduring sense.  He softens because he feels good.  He just won the BPD game of projection.  He successfully transferred/projected his bad feelings onto you.   At this point he's probably hoping for the big bonus of make-up sex.

BPDs have trouble understanding and then dealing with their feelings appropriately.  They only know they need to unload the mess.  Once they see it mirrored in their intimate target, it is "mission accomplished".

Once you recognize a pattern like this, it's much easier to stop enabling it.  Stopping loving him--that's not so easy. 

Wishing you peace and strength,
Mr Soul
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kelleywelleys
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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2006, 04:50:39 PM »

I like what you've said there Mr Soul.
That's how I feel my husband reacts once he's projected his anger/sadness onto me.  Stupid me takes it!  I MUST CHANGE THIS!  Unloading by pushing my buttons.  That's so mean isn't it.
K
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Mystified and Tired
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2006, 05:07:09 PM »

Thank you guys so much for your responses.  I have friends but don't feel I want to share this stuff with them (protecting their impression of him, loyalty to him, belief that if they knew the extent of our troubles they'd advise me to leave, when I'm committed to working this out if possible, and I'm embarrassed to have such big marital problems when married less than 6 months!).  It's such a relief hearing from people who can understand and relate, and who have advice and insight.

Mr Soul--what tactic do you take to keep from enabling your spouse?  Do you find that it helps to remain calm, and withhold strong emotions?  And withhold make-up sex  wink

KelleyWelleys--I think they have no idea they're pushing our buttons, or maybe they blame us for having buttons that can be pushed?  My husband goes out of town once a month to visit his (BPD) mother, and the last three times we've had a fight the night he's returned.  This last time he started yelling at me within fifteen minutes of seeing me.  Today he told me he thought it might be that I resent him for going out of town.  Ha!  I love my husband very much, but sometimes I'm so relieved to have a few days without him around.  They really do find ways to blame us for everything.

Mystified   
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JoannaK
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2006, 05:17:37 PM »

Mystified, are you keeping any log of how frequent the arguments are and whether or not they are getting more frequent or more intense?  You may wish to write this down somewhere where he can't find it...  The purpose of this is to give yourself a reality check.  Perhaps the first month he only went off the deep end once, and then recovered within an hour or so.  And now, six months later, he is going off the deep end every week and it is taking him 12 hours to recover.

I think if you can clearly see the trends, you will be better able to figure out what you need to do... in terms of what to say, what to do when he rages, etc.
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sadbunny
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2006, 06:24:10 PM »

M-

I think the info you are getting here is great.  I have nothing toadd to it for the moment.

I would like to comment on something you said though.  You want to protect his image and all and don't want to tell.

Please read about abuse and abusive relationships.  One thing that happens is isolatio.

We tend to picture in our minds a psychopath, locking away his little woman with no brains and no education in the remote rural areas and taking her shoes so she can't walk outside when he leaves, when we pisture abuse.

That's not really the majority of cases.  Abuse happens with PD's (who make uo the lion's share of abusers) and they have no idea they are actually abusing- they would be mortified to hear that.  It aslo happens to bright people married to PD's, who start by thinking rationally..."I want this to work and when it does, I don't want to create stigma for him and us"...and so on.  That is how you become a willing participant in being isolated from you freinds and family.

many od us beleive that ecause we are ok now and have rich lives and have smarts and sense, that we are unique in that we can give just a little to be able to handle it, ad we can "take the high road" and all that other stuff...it is simply a matter of perspective and how we view the "intentions" of the people we think of as abused and abuser.

I do not suggest you go around town telling evryone, but I do suggest you get your circle together, educate them about the PD as best you can and tell them you are committed to your marriage, but this is what you go through and what he has.

Keeping secrets is the abusers best wepon against you.  In fact, they count on it.  Read the things that typically happen to abused spouses and keep a list.  make sure you do one thing everyday that counter acts the things ont he list of you are staying with him.  It wlioll help both of you and your marriage in the long run.

Don't let him isolate you.  If he does, it is the things that is most damaging. You lose all sources of reality checks and can actually begin to go crazy.  Be careful because you are being abused and you do choose to stay.  Know that you can not have a regular life plan.  You must adjust your expectations.  No children, and living by a set of rules that a best, can counter balance the tactics of abusers to cause long term damage to your life.  Protect yourself financially as money can be used for control.  Set yourself up to be ready and safe to leave at any moment and you will never lose youself.  That's the most important thing.  And it is thge only chance you have a saving yourself, or your marraige until he gets through recovery.  He will fight and try to get you to enemsh.  Don't.  Make sure you have a life that you are living and can keep living even of he goes rith this minute.

Please take care of yourself.
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Mr Soul
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« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2006, 08:08:12 PM »

Mr Soul--what tactic do you take to keep from enabling your spouse?  Do you find that it helps to remain calm, and withhold strong emotions?  And withhold make-up sex  wink

I want to say at the outset that the tactics involved don't resolve the BPD's problems--the tactics actually tend to exascerbate the BPD's despair to the extent they are left holding onto their emotional baggage that rightly belongs to them.  They get to do the BPD dance by themselves which is really no fun at all. To sum up tactics in a word it's about boundaries.  When my wife begins to rage or rant I state my intention to leave (the room) unless she is able to calmly discuss the issue.  I will not sit there quietly and soak it up nor will I argue with her when the venom coming out of her mouth is fraught with distorted thinking and perceptions based on unreality--it's crazy making.  So, yes remain calm and yes, manage your emotions.

But be prepared to bear an assault on another front as the BPD criticizes the way you treat them simply because you are maintaining your boundary (and your sanity).

I read some of your first posts but didn't see how you came to believe your husband is BPD and what led you to this site.  Also, I assume you've read Stop Walking on Eggshells. If not you'll want to read that straight away.

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Mystified and Tired
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« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2006, 09:40:33 PM »

Happybunny, thanks for your good advice about keeping friends, and informing them (don't know if I can do this yet though) and having a plan should things get worse.  I'm lucky in a few respects--I'm self-employed so I'll always have my business income in my own account, and I bought our house before we met so there's no way I could be kicked out.  Trouble is I also couldn't leave for more than a day or two because I have to keep up with work.  But I guess sometimes things have to slide.  I'm hoping it'll never get to a bad enough state where I'd want to leave, even for a while.  I have been secretly keeping an account of our fights and arguements, in a calender.  I record either F (for one of the terrible, multi-hour fights) or A (bad arguement), and a few words about the reason.  If things get worse I'll keep a more detailed log of it. 

Mr Soul, I'll try working on boundaries, and thanks for your advice.  I've tried shutting down when he yells (becoming silent and ultra-calm, sometimes closing my eyes and lying down on the bed or couch with my face covered in the pillows--that way I'm still present, but I've "checked out" of the conversation), and have always let him be the one to storm out.  Leaving seems like a hostile gesture and I haven't wanted to resort to it, though he does it regularly), but he just keeps working at me until I can't hide my emotions.  Maybe it's because my response seems cold, like I don't love him when I stay calm, and he keeps at me until my response proves I care (it's hard to make someone cry if they don't care about you).

I'm about 2/3 through Stop Walking on Eggshells, and have been learning from it.  I had my first couple posts to The Nook deleted because I was afraid there was information in them that might be recognized by someone who knows us.  I'm not so afraid of that anymore (no one's said anything to me yet), and wish I hadn't deleted them because they're background information. 

Both my therapist and I independently came up with a diagnosis of BPD for my husband (I'd been poking around on the internet, looking up rage), and then remembered my husband told me early in our relationship that one of his parents was diagnosed with BPD.  My husband's symptoms are bouts of rage, extreme fear of abandonment, idealizing or demonizing people, dependency issues (alcoholism and formerly cigarette addiction), and a couple aborted suicide attempts when he was a teenager.  He's always blamed the bad sides of his personality on his bad childhood and combat experience.  He's very high-functioning (high achiever, everything else in his life is in great order), and I've wondered if maybe he's just picked up habits from growing up in a household with a BPD parent.  If it isn't BPD, I haven't found anything that better describes the symptoms, but I've only been looking a couple months.

Mystified in Love

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Minky
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2006, 03:19:01 AM »

Sweetie - would he protect your "good image" if you got out of control and raged at him?

By protecting him you are actually protecting yourself.  You know that when you let people know what he's really like - then what does it say about you for putting up and staying with him?  I can say this from experience because I did exactly the same!  I constantly "bigged" him up for others etc  When it ended - no one believed that Mr Kind, Mr Wonderful and Considerate was the psycho I described - therefore I was the crazy one!  Luckily those close to me finally saw him in all his glory - raging, manipulative and narcisstic - I finally got some validation!  But it doesn't help with your own healing process.

Once in a while after ex had had a major tantrum/rage and was sobbing uncontrollably - he would admit that he may have a few problems.  I would ask him what were his plans to get through it?  He would say that he would see a counsellor - never ever did!  He would also say that if I changed X,Y,Z about myself he would no longer rage.

X,Y,Z consisted of - me getting more confidence, not being so sensitive to his rages, getting counselling myself if he was going to, being more sociable, but stop going out with my friends - only his.  Stop spending time with my family and stop buying them birthday and christmas gifts.  Stop doing night school classes, stop gardening, stop going out to lunch with people at work, stop doing my healthy diet (to keep my cancer at bay), start drinking to be more sociable (despite being told by oncologist to not drink), change the way I looked and dressed. 

You get the picture!  LOL!  Basically - if I was a completely different person then he wouldn't rage and wouldn't be screwed up!

If you really love someone you let them go.  I'm not saying for you to leave the relationship but you have to work with what you've got.  He has accepted he has a problem - he won't get help for it.  You need to learn to let him be him - don't try and change him at all.  He is what he is - mental illness and all - you can't do a thing about it - absolutely nothing at all will make a difference to how he is.

You will need to learn to take his rages - that's the way it's gonna be sweetie - confessions, revelations or whatever - just take them and they will probably get worse to. 

So your choices are --------- you just accept him totally and utterly the way he is - don't get hopes up for miracles etc - you get what you see and that's it for the rest of your time together.
or
You go see a therapist and get healthy and work out why you want to settle for so little.  Why do you think that you believe to be treated so badly?  What is it about you and say not your next door neighbour - that singles you out for such rough treatment and lack of respect?
or
You waste this one life you are given by hanging onto the smallest hope that a miracel is gonna happen in your house one day.

Minks
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sadbunny
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2006, 07:13:04 AM »

M-

I think that is good news for you that you have your own home business and seperate acconts and own the house...it must make you feel very secure right now.

I would talk to a lawyer right now about what would happen if you divorce and if you would have to pay support.  Paying support to an abuser for years can really mess with our heads.

I would also, over time, just be mindful of the ways H might sabotage your business- that's a big part of your identity since it is yours.  It is unlikely he will not go after it at some point- and it could start with, why do you work so much...I love you..hang out with me...

And Minky is right too that the more you defend him in public- that's about you- and thinking someone you know would see your posts in BPDFamily? I think you need to talk to your T about self image.  It borders on paranoid or exceptionally insecure- why do you care what anyone thinks about your abusive husband?  Back to Minky's comments please.   The thing is that you are missing the forest from the trees.  I am not saying leave him, because you are not about that right now, but at least know what your situation is and do not live in any kind of denial.  You are an abused wife, living with an abusive husband.  You choose to stay.  You are a woman with issues, who chooses to live with a person with an emotional disorder who can not have a full partnership.  Ouch. I know, but that is what it is.  Defending him, and "embiggering" him (was that the Simpsons who made up that word, I can't recall) in public is dangerous.

It is dangerous because you will actively be constructing your own denial and reinforcing it.  You will create a situation where no one will beleive you.  You are destroying the trust between you and your freinds and family who you will have to call on for help and support eventually.  You are already acting on the weakest and worst parts of your personality in the relationship and you are only 6 months in. 

You will do what is right for you when you do it- I just wanted to expand a little bit so you had a realistic picture of what happens when we are abused.  We are all individuals, but read around here- there are certain conditions in human life that are really not very unique- abuse is one of them, as is thinking we do things smarter and for "good reasons", not like everyone else ;==- look how similar your reasons are to everyone elses.  www.drirene.com - check out the catbox which is their discussion board- the posters there don't know about BPD, but most of them are with a BP probably- read their stories.  And read the main page- it can help you too.

I am scared for you and send you a lot of hugs.  You can make a success of this in whatever way that means for you.  I don't question that. I hope hearing this stuff helps you to do that.
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