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Author Topic: Losing it / Does he have BPD (II)  (Read 3780 times)
Taz

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« on: February 06, 2007, 11:32:09 PM »

Hi All, this is a continuation to my earlier post, "Does he have BPD? Please help save my relationship".

A few days ago...

Quote
He threatened to commit suicide.  He walked out of the apartment, went to a higher floor and attempted to climb up on the railings.  I was barefoot and trying to block him by standing between the railings and him.  I don't know if he would have done it.  It looked like a weak attempt.  He wasn't trying very hard to push me out of the way.  He just kept saying how even though he was afraid of heights, that for the first time, it didn't look so scary. 

I kept trying to persuade him to fight for himself but he said there was nothing for him to fight for in his life.  I said I would support him, but I needed him to help me by getting help for himself.  Then more crying and I kept asking him to come back down with me to the apartment.  He said he couldn't jump in front of me, so he'd spend a last day with me, then he'd do it when i wasn't around.  I just kept trying to talk him down, until finally, his better sense kicked in and he decided to go back to the apartment.

Then once there, he took a pair of scissors and tried to get me to help him hurt himself.  I resisted and took the scissors away from him.  He tried (but not very hard) to get them back.

He said I wouldn't miss him and that I would just forget about him.  But I said if he hurt himself, it would haunt me forever and I would feel that I didn't do enough to stop him.  He said he didn't want me to blame myself, that it was all him.  And he was sorry that I was crying so hard and was so sad.  But I said that was nothing compared to how sad I'd be if he hurt himself. 

I asked him to promise me that he would not hurt himself.  He said he couldn't.  After a long while, and seeing me cry myself silly, he finally relented and said he would not hurt himself because he wanted a future with me.

I am worried as hell that in spite of the promise he made to me, he might hurt himself when I'm not around, if he gets agitated.  Or is this just attention seeking?  Should I tell his parents?  I am so angry, and frustrated and sad.  I kept telling him to please seek help, but he kept saying he was fine.  Huh?  No way. 

He says I don't love him or care about him.  He is so sad.  I wish I could make him get help.  I am ill now, and so tired.  I feel so manipulated. 

I want to help, but it's so hard to watch him cry and disparage himself.  Must I resign myself to the fact that he might hurt himself one day, whether or not I'm with him, and that it will hurt me forever?

Wrote yesterday...

Quote
Just to clarify, my partner has not hurt himself...yet.  He did not cut himself or anything.  And as far as I know, he never has.  Part of me doubts if he would have gone ahead to jump off or stab himself with the scissors if I hadn't intervened.  I don't know why, but I feel like it is attention-seeking and also to release the emotions he is feeling.  It's not that I don't take it seriously - I do!  It worries me.

Bewildered, I have read SWOE and am re-reading it all the time.  It gives me strength but I also feel frustrated that despite what I know, I seem to fall into the same situations again and again.

I can't take time off even though I'd like to as it will trigger him.  But I spoke to the counsellor on the phone last night.  This is the counsellor my partner's mum had approached and suggested that I talk to for a one-off session.  The counsellor said he was very concerned as the events I had described were indicative of a serious problem that would likely need both medication and psychotherapy; that it's no longer a Level 1, more like Level 10, in terms of seriousness.  I said that I was hesitant to tell his parents because I was afraid they would force him into therapy.  He is not a minor, but his parents have more power than me, in this respect. 

More than that, he would know I said something, that I had betrayed his confidence.  In his emotionally fragility, I'm afraid that he will not be able to take these blows.  It would make him feel so ashamed that others knew his darkest secrets; that there was no one he could confide in or trust in anymore, and confirm in his mind that he truly is all alone; and that there was no bastion of goodness left in his life to fight for.  Because of this, I fear he will be more likely to hurt himself.  What might seem like attention-seeking before might actually be given a push to turn deadly - and I am so afraid of this happening.  It will just take one really hard blow...

I know a part of him is bitter and cynical.  Sometimes I wish that part of him would absorb the pain instead of letting it batter at his fragile side.  I would rather he hate me, than suffer the anguish of feeling betrayed and abandoned.  It would crush him...

His parents have not seen overtly agressive or depressive behavior from him so they have no reason to insist he goes into therapy.  He will know it was me.  And he will cut me off, and lose the only person he trusts enough to confide in.  I think it's important that he always has someone to confide in and I would like to support him through therapy if he allows me to. 

How can this be done?  How can we get him help, without implicating me in the process?  Also, I'm afraid his parents will turn on me instead.  They have been really nice to me thus far, but i do worry.  As his partner, my natural inclination is to protect him, and I don't know that I have the strength to practise tough love should the need arise.  What to do?

The counsellor told me he's worried about me too, because he said I'm being stretched far beyond what a person can take, and it will wipe me out emotionally.  I said that's already happening, it's not an eventuality.  Because of it, I want to start getting counselling on my own, to support myself through this.  If I want to help him, I have to take care of myself first.

At this point, I am 'monitoring' the situation.  After a slew of hearfelt apologies yesterday, he is now behaving nonchalantly, as if nothing had happened.  I sms-ed him today to express concern and to tell him I care about him, and that I'd like him to talk to me if he ever felt urges to hurt himself.  He brushed it off, telling me that I was getting worried for nothing.  Exasperating!


Does anyone have suggestions how I can speak to his parents?  I had always been hoping that he would go into therapy voluntarily.  And now that it is a possibilty that he may be arm-twisted into doing it (even if it is for his own good), I don't feel good about it. 
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Lagrizzly
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2007, 11:48:53 AM »

Just my opinion of course...

I thought his Mom had talked to you before about some of this ?
If you fell that he should be in therapy (I think that's a given),
then just call them up, tell them some of the story of what he has been up to,
especially the suicide threats, and then back off and let them worry about it.

If you are truely concerned about his safety, why are you worried that he will
cut you off ? You don't seem to be getting the point of all this ! You cannot help him.
You are his enabler. That is what BPD is all about. As long as you are in the picture he will just continue
to play out the drama. There is no solution but to tell the parents, back off, and let them do what they will/must.

Taz, the longer you try to hang onto this, the more dangerous this becomes for you and him. The threat of abandonment
is a way a life for the BPD. he will continue to push, threaten, lash out, ad hurt you and him, until you leave. All of us
here have tried the path of "I'll just be the best GF/BF she/he has ever had, the best supporter they have ever had, the most
loving they have ever had... and then they will know and relax and everything will be ok.."   NOT ! It never works, it is the exact
opposite of what they need. They talk about needing support and love and not being abandoned, but it DOES NOT WORK !
In the end, now, or later, or much later, you will either run screaming to save your life, or you will crash and burn in maddness with him.
They fullfill their own worst fears. They make us leave them, or leave us suddenly. They are mentally ill, and you cannot help him directly.
you have got to accept this. read everyones postings here again. Find me a single example where your approach has succeded, where the story has a happy ending. The happy endings are all about a Non escaping and saving his/her life. read them again...

If you are truely in love with him, and truely fear for his safety, tell his parents, and back off.
It is all you can do. Staying in the middle of this Oz adventure will lead to nothing but sorrow. Save your own life,
and back off.


Just my opinion of course...

Lagrizzly
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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. :-)
Taz

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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2007, 08:06:01 PM »

Lagrizzly I hear you..  But I'm struggling - I really am.

I know I am enabling the situation to continue.  It may have been borne of good intentions, but I know (and it saddens me) that I've put my partner in a place where he is increasingly viewing me as the only thing that can provide comfort.

The counsellor described my situation as one where I have moved from the centre of the room into a corner and I feel trapped.  If I continue to help this way, it will not give him an incentive to seek an alternative.  But if i try to move, my actions will cause my partner's behavior to spiral further. 

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that a big thing that is keeping things together for him at the moment is the thought that I'm still there for him.  NO matter how much he gets angry at me, and how his perceptions of my actions hurt and upset him, he keeps coming back to the idea that there is still goodness left in his life and there is still a reason to be happy, even if it is fleeting.  If I leave him alone, it will push him beyond his emotional limits.  I have a strong feeling that abandoning him might turn what I saw as acting out, into an actual suicide attempt.

On the flipside, Im losing it too.  I cannot care for him this way while dealing with my own problems. 

I have been advised by the counselor to arrange a session with my partners parents so I can share my concerns with them.  He said it is up to me whether I want to disclose the suicide threats.  I dont know if I can say it.  It seems so irresponsible not to, but it is so hard to tell them, nonetheless.

I know I have to relinquish control of this situation and let the parents handle this.  But it is entirely difficult for me to do this.  I am curious to hear how they have handled it in the past, as my partners sister had depression also.  And I think she was treated for it. 

Its hard to reconcile what I feel about all of this.  I asked the counselor if I should just resign myself to the idea that I should walk away, because Im making my partner dependant on me.  He said even though I am enabling the situation, it would do nothing good for my partner if I were to leave like that.  In fact, it might make things worse. 

But he thought it was a good idea when I told him I'd like to go for counseling on my own (not with his counsellor).  And he suggested perhaps I try to see if there are support groups that I can go to.  Then when Im comfortable, I could actually try to bring my partner along, a sort of ice-breaker for him to open up to the idea of counseling.

I had good intentions, but I have trapped myself into a Catch-22 situation.  I only thought to care for my partner and love him the best way I could.  Even though, Ive seen for some time that my partner is over-dependant on me, it wasnt until recently that I saw the analogy of me functioning like medication to his troubled life.  All along, Ive asserted my need to be independent from him and do my own things and there were many times when it caused me to be seen as being selfish.  And lately, Ive been trying to get him to take care of himself more, emotionally.  But as expected, Ive met with so much resistance because it is normal to him that I care for him this way.

At least, the only thing Im clear about at this moment, is that the idea of marriage cannot figure into this situation.  As much as I wanted to, and still want to, it would do me in.  We dont have a chance of making this relationship work, without him taking steps to heal himself.  He cannot be there for me, until he is there for himself.  And he cannot begin to do that for himself, unless he learns to stop expecting me to do it for him.  Sigh, too much to think about.
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LDL
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2007, 08:24:34 AM »

Taz,

Call mental health or the crisis line, you can't deal with this alone unless you want to continue to live with him and save you marriage this way or just leave.  My husband moved all of his pills out of his box this week its something every day.  These people make you go crazy I have been saying bad things and thats not like me. 

Search the post for  suicide see how others handle it
Call Mental Health
Call a crisis line
Do what these people on the board tell you
I got hurt bad and is trying to recover (head injury)
I had to look up suicide two times, got lost in my own neighborhood yesterday, I don't want this to happen to you.
You love him more than you love yourself - I see myself in you


Let me help you -- IT IS MENTAL ILLNESS, HE NEED TO GET HELP, HE HAS TO WANT TO GET HELP, THEY ARE ADDICTED TO DRAMA AND YOU WILL BE TO IF YOU CONTINUE TO STAY IN IT.  IT WILL MAKE IT HARD TO MOVE ON AND HAVE A NORMAL RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER PEOPLE.  I AM VERY PARANOID NOW.  WHEN PEOPLE ARE ABUSE THEY PICK UP MENTAL ILLNESSES THEY DID NOT HAVE BEFORE.  IT IS BORDERLINE PERSONALITY STOP ASKING IF HE HAS IT.

HE HAVE YOU IN A CIRCUS, I DON'T THINK I COULD EVER BE IN A NORMAL RETIONSHIP AFTER THIS.  IF SOMEONE TRY TO HELP ME I THINK THEY ARE TRYING TO HURT ME AND I SEEK HELP IN THE WRONG PLACES YOU DON'T WANT TO BE LIK ME.
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Taz

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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2007, 08:12:18 AM »

LDL, I am so sorry to hear what happened to you. 

Even after being in this emotional whirlwind for so long, and having heard from so many, I still find it difficult to rationalize how I feel.  I'm coming to grips with things step by step...I know it's hard for those who have been in my situation (or far worse ones) to see me still here, still wanting to be with him.  But I still see the person I fell in love with and I find it hard to see him as a lost cause. 

I've read some of the stories here that are terrifying in comparison with my story.  I do worry that something worse will happen.  But this is someone I care so deeply about, I don't have the heart to leave.  I wanted him to help himself so much.  I never wanted it to be that others would have to intervene.  But I also can't shoulder this alone.  I'm going through a gamut of painful emotions and I don't know how to come through.  I hate what he is going through and that I haven't been able to help him get the help he needs; I hate myself for being on the verge of betraying his trust in order to get him help; I hate how he may spiral into greater depression if he doesn't get help; but I also hate how his life may be messed up even further if he is forced into therapy.

I am afraid that any decision I make from now on will make his life more painful and difficult than it is.  I don't want to contribute to his pain.  He's had far too much pain for one lifetime...

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sucker_no_more
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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2007, 05:49:33 AM »

Taz,

That must have been a terrifying and confusing experience for you.  Suicide attempts are awful things to have to witness.  I've been there.  I know what it's like.  But then this bit really stood out for me:

Quote
Then once there, he took a pair of scissors and tried to get me to help him hurt himself.  I resisted and took the scissors away from him.  He tried (but not very hard) to get them back.

This is the point that, for me, marks this out as not a serious suicide attempt but, rather, a serious attempt at emotional terrorism.  Truly suicidal people do not, as far as I can gather and based on my own experience with depression, need or ask for "help" to hurt themselves. 

I strongly suspect that this whole little pantomime came about not because he really was feeling suicidal but because of the effect it would have on you.  It's about control.

And then there was this:

Quote
He said I wouldn't miss him and that I would just forget about him.  But I said if he hurt himself, it would haunt me forever and I would feel that I didn't do enough to stop him.  He said he didn't want me to blame myself, that it was all him.  And he was sorry that I was crying so hard and was so sad.  But I said that was nothing compared to how sad I'd be if he hurt himself.

I know you were telling the truth here but you have now exposed a vulnerability to him - you'll be hurt if he hurts himself, and so you would forever blame yourself that you didn't do enough.  That's a warm, empathic and human sentiment.  Unfortunately, for the emotionally disturbed that can also be read as "If you threaten to hurt yourself I'm going to bend over backwards to do anything you want me to if it means you won't follow through."  Again, to me this reeks of being about about control, and it's about getting you to have all your attention focussed on him.

The bottom line here is that he may be depressed, he may be suicidal, he may just be playing mind-games, or possibly a combination of all of that.  Let's leave aside his inner motivations for now and just concentrate on how to react to what he does.  If he ever threatens suicide again, I think the best approach is to ask him if he's serious.  If he says he is, then the best thing you can do for him is to call the emergency services.  He will probably say he doesn't want you to but, let's be realistic here - if he's so out of whack that he thinks that killing himself is a good idea then he's in no fit state to judge whether trained professionals will be able to help him or not. 

Taz, I'm guessing you're not a trained suicide counsellor.  Me, neither.  So if he really is suicidal then the best, the kindest, the most compassionate and useful thing you can do is to get him professional help.  If the only way that can happen is to call out the emergency services while he's in the middle of a suicidal urge, then so be it.  If he's bluffing, though, he'll be outraged that you've called him on the bluff.  But if that's the case it's a deeply sick, twisted and abusive game he's playing with you. 

As for his parents...  you have every reason to be desperately worried about him and his health based on his actions.  To whose benefit would it be to keep this a secret from his parents?  How could it not be to his benefit to tell them?  Or is it that you're scared of his reaction to finding out you've talked to them about him?  I know that feeling.  I covered up for my alco-ex for years.  Because I was scared of her reaction.  But then I asked myself, "how much longer was I prepared to live my life in terror of her reaction to what I did?"

Suicide threats from anyone are scary.  Suicide threats from those that we love are even scarier.  In the face of them, we have to be realistic about what we, as non-professionals, can do to help.  The fact that he seems to eager to forget all about it suggests, again, that he wasn't particularly serious.  But, obviously, you cannot possibly know for sure.  So if he does it again, treat it like he IS serious and call out the emergency services.  It's the only realistic thing to do.

Take care,
  SNM
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LDL
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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2007, 08:59:13 PM »


Will just pray for you all.
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Taz

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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2007, 01:26:30 AM »

Thanks sucker_no_more, that is good practical advice.

I already find myself becoming wary.  I was caught barefoot the last time, and locked out of the apartment (his home, and I don't have the keys).  It was such a vulnerable situation.  If it happens again, I want to be sure I have my cell phone nearby so I can take it with me. 

I think perhaps he did it because he needed to feel and prove to himself that someone cared and that it wasn't going to be a case that no one would bother whether he did it or not.  I believe he doesn't manipulate intentionally, but it still affects me.

Yes I guess I did expose my emotional vulnerabilities.  It's weird but in a way, I think it kinda freaked him out to hear that I would end up blaming myself if he had hurt himself.  I  think he hopes that someone cares more than he expects but he finds it hard to accept when someone actually does, because he has convinced himself otherwise his whole life.

Yes I am scared of both his reaction and that of his parents if I tell them about the suicide threat.  I mean if he were cutting himself, I would tell his parents.  But when I'm not sure what his motivations are, I feel apprehensive about making judgement and passing that info onto others.  Especially if those others will be affected by what i say.

I think it is so important for him to acknowledge that he needs help and to be pro-active about getting it.  It grates at me to participate in anything that might affect his right at deciding if, when, how he will seek treatment.  Such as telling his parents behind his back...
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stockholmama
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2007, 07:46:12 AM »

I'm sorry, but I have to chime in here. My H played the suicide card over and over and over again, and I really believed that he might do it.

So one day I called the police. You should have seen how he was after that. No remorse whatsoever, no desire to get help, lied to the psych ward nurse about what happened, denied he ever really wanted to kill himself. Told the nurse he "just wanted to get my attention." Pissed that the cops took away his precious gun! (357 magnum) Accused me of destroying his life, his family, his reputation... 

Then I disappeared for a couple of days and he started calling me and leaving hysterical and threatening voice mails - threatening legal action. Completely lost the desire for killing himself. No longer in the mood for suicide.

As far as telling his family about his suicidal gestures, they might ignore it as they may have become used to this behavior over the years and no longer pay much attention to it. Perhaps they know he doesn't really mean it, and will tell you the same?  It really makes more sense to call 911 or whatever applies in your jurisdiction. That way he can't use it against you later - he can't attack you for involving his family and "embarassing" him, although it is highly likely the family already know some aspects of his personality better than you and one can't be embarassed when they've already been exposed. What if his family abused him when he was a child and was an indirect cause of his acting out in adulthood? Do you want to put yourself in the middle of all that stuff? 

Now I'm not saying your BP doesn't have what it takes to truly carry out the act and complete a suicide.  No one can ever really know that. But the point is that you might want to consider calling his bluff and check his reaction - and be prepared that it might hit the fan afterward. That may be enough to wake you from your slumber. If it turns out he doesn't think he needs help, then why would you want to continue to try to rescue someone who truly doesn't want it?  Cutting himself with scissors? and telling you to help him?  Taz, you are being played like a grand piano here.

Also I'm not clear as to why you think you might be "contributing to his pain." Just your being in the room is causing him pain, as he is completely unable to deal with the most basic human interaction that life requires. His agony self-replicates like DNA and has little if anything at all to do with you. If there are any ultimatims to be made here, it should be yours - he gets professional help, otherwise you are taking a well-deserved break from his drama. After all, you need time to work on yourself too.

Lastly, whether his manipulation of you is intentional or not is not your concern. The point is, it is happening. And it is happening on a level that it is now affecting you and you're going to end up with your own issues as a result.  Is that fair to you? Does that sound to you like a relationship between equals?  Is it fair for you suffer your own problems because he'd prefer to wallow in his own drama rather than deal with his pain in a more appropriate way? This is not "selfish" thinking, this is survival mode. Your brain is trying to figure out how the rest of you can survive this.

J.
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Married w/children 21 years ubpd/unpd H, separated in 06, back in 07
Felicity
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2007, 09:20:01 AM »

Great post, sleepless!

Taz, it's time for you to set some boundaries.  You are in waaaaaaay too deep.  We can talk all day about his motives and what he might-possibly-maybe thinking.  The fact is, we don't know for sure, do we?  So let's look at his actions and set some boundaries.

Behavior: He makes a suicide threat/acts out in a suicidal manner
Response: Taz dials 911


Taz, you have got to do this every time.  There must be some other consequence to his drama beside you crying and begging him to stop.  If he tries to kill himself, how are you going to stop him?  He's stronger than you.  He can do it if he wants.  So you need to take the extra step of getting police intervention every time.

Behavior: He gets verbally abusive/ calls Taz names/ tells her to leave etc.
Response: Taz goes home and doesn't talk to him or associate with him for a minimum of 7 days.


You cannot let him play with your emotions.  There must be a consequence to his childish behavior.  If he gets verbally abusive, then he looses you for at least a week.  It is not okay for him to abuse you and it's time for him to know it.

Behavior:  He gets physically abusive
Response: Taz goes home and doesn't talk to him ever again


I know this is hard because you are addicted to him, but physical abuse is a deal breaker. 


This guys is like a child.  When my 2 or 5 year old break the rules, there is a consequence.  If I cried every time my 5 year old sassed me, what would be the result?  More disrespect.  If I begged my 2 year old to stop having temper tantrums, would it work?  Heck no! And I have to get on my kids case EVERY TIME they act up.  There is no letting things slide because if you do, you're just reinforcing the bad behavior.  You have to treat this guy like a child.  If you stay with him (and I pray you don't) be prepared to mother him for the rest of your life.
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Taz

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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2007, 08:28:33 AM »

Yes I agree I have to set boundaries somehow.  I have tried in the past, but I think I was too 'weak' about it.

I think that is the thing that is starting to rile me.  I hate acting like the pseudo-parent, even in terms of having to tell on him, to his parents.  Or am I just childish, in feeling that I am the girlfriend, not the guardian.

Today, I found out that two of my co-workers have mentally ill siblings.  One of them has a brother who has depression and is violent sometimes and the other has a sister who has attempted suicide more than once, with the police called in each time.  The sister is married, has a baby and refuses to get treatment.  I cannot imagine what it must be like to be my co-worker, to have to deal with this.  From what she was saying, it sounded very likely that her sister had BPD, or was bipolar.  I guess mental/emotional illnesses are more common that we realise. 

I have been questioning my own sanity in my situation, and I do still wonder if I am the problem.  It makes me sad when people are hurt or sad.  And now the person I love keeps saying I do this to him.  I don't know what to think.  I do know at times, I may trigger a reaction because I get irritated or impatient.  Is it that I am so dense I don't realise that things that don't bother me, shouldn't bother him either, because he should know me better, and he should know that I mean no malice.  That I may have my own eccentricities but I never seek to upset him.  Sigh...

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Taz

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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2007, 09:36:33 PM »

Ok I tried being firmer with my boundaries this weekend.  Only now I feel like a jerk for being so tough on him.
When he called me names, I stepped out of the room or hung up on him, after he repeatedly ignored me calmly telling him to be nicer.  Then later I told him it was unacceptable to me for him to call me names and swear at me.  That it was ok to get angry but not ok to call me names.  When he tried to get us to do things his way, by force, I refused.  I told him we don't always get our way, and that doesn't mean we can force our way to get it.  He was upset and kept asking why I was always scolding him and that he wished I loved him.

And this makes me feel bad.  I don't know how to be assertive without being agressive.  I feel like I'm acting just like him - I don't try to yank him my way, but I let go of his hand and refuse to walk.  Even though I try to explain my position calmly, I feel I'm in a frame of mind where I don't want to listen to any of his nonsense, and I just end up ignoring his needs and feelings in the process.  Which is not what I want to do.  I want him to recognize that my needs are important too, that when I disagree, there is a reason behind it, and I'm not just doing it to make his life harder - cos that's what he feels all the time. 

I told him he needs to start learning how to take care of himself and I can't do it for him.  And he said yes you can save me, you're my angel.  And I said No, I can't save you - only you can do that.  I can stand with you and support you but you have to be the one who helps yourself.  I have my own problems too and I only have strength to carry my own, not his too.  And I'm falling apart emotionally because I've been trying to carry all of our sadness.
And I also said he and I need counselling.  That we've reached a stage in our relationship where it cannot move forward unless we get help to work through our individual issues.

I don't think any of this is getting through to him and I don't know how to be more productive at being assertive.  I want to be considerate of his needs and feelings while taking care of my own.  I think I tend to get into Xena-moments where I just steamroll over his protests, some of which I should be paying attention to.  I think I was too bossy and I don't want to be.  Any help here?
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stockholmama
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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2007, 11:17:43 PM »

When he called me names, I stepped out of the room or hung up on him, after he repeatedly ignored me calmly telling him to be nicer.  Then later I told him it was unacceptable to me for him to call me names and swear at me.  That it was ok to get angry but not ok to call me names. 

Okay, this was good. You didn't mention his response, if any, to your later reasoning. Hopefully there was none. He's gonna go think on it for a while. (Hopefully)

When he tried to get us to do things his way, by force, I refused.  I told him we don't always get our way, and that doesn't mean we can force our way to get it. 

Now this generalized assumption is a little shaky - because the BP assumes right up front that whatever BP wants, BP gets. Your assertion that "we" don't always get is immediately invalidated. So I would have put this in the terms of your own desires and wishes. You don't wish to do that particular thing now, at this particular time, you might be up for that later but not right now. That's a perfectly reasonable response.

Always keeping in mind though one thing - this is fundamentally not a reasonable person you're dealing with here. Just remember your script, remember exactly what you said. Because it will be twisted around and used against you later in a different form. Tape recording these exchanges would be a good idea, if you're into that sort of thing.

He was upset and kept asking why I was always scolding him and that he wished I loved him.

This is his fear of abandonment kicking in. It will get worse with each boundary affirmation. "POOR  ME YOU DON'T LOVE ME I LOVE YOU SO MUCH HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME" familiar stuff we've heard it all before. It is okay to feel some empathy at this point, but hold your ground and don't back down from your new boundaries just because it's making him uncomfortable (perhaps even more psychotic). Remember, this is not about him feeling great - it's about your survival.

And this makes me feel bad.  I don't know how to be assertive without being agressive.  I feel like I'm acting just like him - I don't try to yank him my way, but I let go of his hand and refuse to walk.  Even though I try to explain my position calmly, I feel I'm in a frame of mind where I don't want to listen to any of his nonsense, and I just end up ignoring his needs and feelings in the process.  Which is not what I want to do.  I want him to recognize that my needs are important too, that when I disagree, there is a reason behind it, and I'm not just doing it to make his life harder - cos that's what he feels all the time. 

oh, oh, oh, OOOOHH Taz you are acting like a typical non here. Haven't you catered to his feelings and needs and whims and desires all along up to this point? Hasn't that gone on long enough? Isn't this all about getting you to acknowledge your own needs have some importance too? Or are you buying into the BP ideology that it's all about him him him?

Of course it feels like aggression to you when you assert yourself in the smallest most non-violent way. It feels like aggression because this is a new way of thinking for you in this relationship. Hell, it probably feels downright abusive to your BP when you enforce your boundary! The point is this: things got to this point because of your BPs stubborn refusal to acknowledge you as a human being rather than as the mirror that reflects who he is back onto him.

I told him he needs to start learning how to take care of himself and I can't do it for him.  And he said yes you can save me, you're my angel. 

GAAACK! have you read through the material on BPD411.org? Angel, savior, rescuer... it's all the same thing.   This is a micro-re-engagement, a little taste of what's to come should you decide to leave for good. Fortunately, you saw it for what it is and called him on it:

And I said No, I can't save you - only you can do that.  I can stand with you and support you but you have to be the one who helps yourself.  I have my own problems too and I only have strength to carry my own, not his too.  And I'm falling apart emotionally because I've been trying to carry all of our sadness.
And I also said he and I need counselling.  That we've reached a stage in our relationship where it cannot move forward unless we get help to work through our individual issues.

and that's a pretty accurate assessment of what's been going on and how things currently stand. Good that you said "individual" so he can't use joint couples counseling as a platform to attack you in front of a professional and deflect his own responsibility. Any sensible bf would take heart and step up and take responsibility for owning some of this. But, sadly, in BP Land things don't work logically and sensibly at all. As you noted:

I don't think any of this is getting through to him and I don't know how to be more productive at being assertive.  I want to be considerate of his needs and feelings while taking care of my own.  I think I tend to get into Xena-moments where I just steamroll over his protests, some of which I should be paying attention to.  I think I was too bossy and I don't want to be.  Any help here?

Taz, you're being entirely too kind to this person who is slowly but surely sucking the life out of you. He is a soul-sucker. Is there any equality to any of this so far? Is there any attempt on bf's part to validate you other than claiming you're the Angel From Heaven Sent To Save Him?

You're embarking on journey.  The most difficult parts of the trip are yet to come. And the relationship may or may not survive the journey, but what's more important is that you survive yourself. You are not alone - we are here, on the journey with you. Most of us have already been down that road before.

J.
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matthew41
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2007, 12:23:25 AM »

Ok I tried being firmer with my boundaries this weekend.  Only now I feel like a jerk for being so tough on him.
When he called me names, I stepped out of the room or hung up on him, after he repeatedly ignored me calmly telling him to be nicer.  Then later I told him it was unacceptable to me for him to call me names and swear at me.  That it was ok to get angry but not ok to call me names.  When he tried to get us to do things his way, by force, I refused.  I told him we don't always get our way, and that doesn't mean we can force our way to get it.  He was upset and kept asking why I was always scolding him and that he wished I loved him.
You have every right to your boundaries. Remember that he has had many years to develope his methods of manipulation and you are a newbee at setting boundaries. Consistancy is the key. Write them down if you have to and reread it often when you begin to doubt yourself. Clear boundaries are a form of caring so try not to beat yourself up over it. Easier said then done, I know from experience. I felt emotional pain when my BPD friend verbaly abused me and again when I felt guilty for asserting myself. But It got less painful with time and practice. The pitfalls of his BPD are that his needs may be endless and he could be incapable of recognizing that you have needs too. I think you are on the right track when you realized that you can't carry the burden of both of your problems. You didn't make him the way he is and its not your job to try and fix him. Take good care of yourself first and formost. If he can't bring himself to seek help or want to change then let him carry his own burden on his shoulders and leave him. You deserve a better life without the emotional bagage draging you down.    


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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2007, 10:36:21 AM »

<TigerLily raises fists in the air>  YES!  Good job, Taz.  This is exactly what you need to be doing!

One thing:  You are confusing assertiveness and aggressivness. 

This is from the assertiveness training I went to last week:

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Assertiveness - to be assertive is to know you can express yourself without violating the rights of others, especially your own.  It is the synonym of freedom and antonym of aggression. 

Assertive Style
-Know their rights and able to stick up for them
-Defend themselves when someone attempts to dominate them
-Though capable of agression, they do not act aggressively
-Assertive people use aggression defensively, not offensively.  (If someone is trying to dominate you, it is okay to get aggressive while defending yourself.  That is what you did with your boyfriend and it's ok)

Agressive Style
-Aggression is about dominance
-Imposes will onto another
-Invades the other person's personal space and boundary
-Intrusive. Unconcerned about how they affect others.
-Alienate people
-Usually suspicious of others
-Fault finders, critical and parental
-Usually stressed out easily
-Prevents close, trusting and caring interpersonal relationships
-Violence may be used.
-------------------------

One thing the speaker kept saying over and over again is that we are not responsible for other people's feelings.  We are not responsible for their anger, depression, sadness etc.  If we act in an assertive way, then we are being honest with ourselves and with others.  We are not imposing our will on others.

You are doing the right thing, Taz.  He should not be verbally abusing you and withdrawing from him is a rational consequence to his behavior.  That is your boundary. 

---------------------------
Ten commandments of Assertiveness

1. Know your rights.  Be clear about how you feel, what you need and how you can achieve it.
2. Communicate calmly and remain sensitive to the rights of others.
3. Be fair and honest.  Say "yes" when you want to and say "no" when you mean no.
4. Decide on, and stick to clear boundaries - to be happy to state your position, even if it provokes conflict - not violence.
5. Be confident about handling conflict if it occurs
6. Understand how to negotiate if the other person wants a different outcome.
7. Talk openly about yourself and listen to others.
8. Have a confident, open body language.
9. Give and receive positive and negative feedback.
10. Have a positive and optimistic outlook.

-----------------------------------

Taz, you have every right to do whatever you want.  If he wants to hold hands and you don't, it's within your rights not to hold his hand.  You are not dominating him in any way by doing with your body what you want to do.  In a healthy relationship, you'd have the normal give and take, but if someone is calling you a vile name it's important not to reward that behavior by showing affection.  It's good that you withdrew. 
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« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2007, 08:43:33 PM »

Quote
The pitfalls of his BPD are that his needs may be endless and he could be incapable of recognizing that you have needs too.

Sometimes I feel this is the case.  When I disagree to something, and he does not get his way, it looks to me that he feels I am mistreating him.  Like i have wronged him.  When all I have done is to say no I don't want to do this.  There is a thought that keeps running in my head on the extent to which people are willing to do things because they love someone.  I feel that sometimes we get hung up on comparing ourselves to how far others would go; if we fall short, we feel like we don't not love enough.  In my partner's case, he compares my actions to his.  He feels that if he is willing to go the distance, why can't I.  To him, it must mean I don't love him.  Maybe I'm just naive, but I am starting to feel that while I may not be willing to the same things for love, it does not mean I love him any less.  I'm just loving him in my own ways. 

Like when he worked a Saturday night a few weeks ago, he wanted me to meet him after work (which would be past 10pm) just so that I could follow him home and stay over till Sunday.  And I refused.  I live a distance from him (and he lives about 20min from his workplace), and I didnt' want to come all the way out just to go to his house and sleep, when I could just come on Sunday morning.

He was very upset, saying that I didn't want to make a sacrifice so that we could spend more time together.  I said I understood that we wouldn't have a lot of time if I only saw him on Sunday, but that i didn't want to come over at night, just so we could just wash up and go to sleep.  He was very angry and told me I didn't have to come over at all.  He does that a lot, the "it's all or nothing" kind of mentality.  In the past, I would get really upset and try to convince him otherwise.  But I just let it be.  Then later, he asked if I was coming over or not.  I'm like erm, you were the one who told me not to come over...  Of course, later, we just settled on a time, and I went over on Sunday morning. 

A mini victory, but I feel it's always at the expense of him feeling oppressed and feeling that he has a lousy girlfriend who doesn't love him enough and who isn't willing to sacrifice as much as he is.  He carries this with him and uses it against me a lot.  This feeling that I am not doing enough for him. 

Before when I mentioned about "letting go of his hand and walking off", I meant that figuratively.  That means, when he started to throw tantrums, I refused to participate.  He wanted to yank me a certain way and instead of pulling back, I just let go and let him "bawl".  I don't know if this is a productive move, as it infuriates him further, but I wanted to try not doing my usual - which is going along with whatever he wants, just to keep the peace.

Thanks TigerLily78 for explaining the difference between aggressiveness and assertiveness.  I do know how they differ, but this one point is what I have trouble with:
Quote
2. Communicate calmly and remain sensitive to the rights of others.

For the most part, I do try to talk calmly and explain my position.  I think I am sensitive to his rights and needs, but if you think about it, how far am I being sensitive if I'm telling him I don't want to do things his way - when to him, if he doesn't get his way, he is not getting his needs met.  Like about the earlier example about staying over, he felt he needed more time with me (Sat nite into Sunday, instead of just Sunday).  That is a legitimate need isnt' it?  He had to settle for less (me coming over on Sunday).  Doesn't that make me insensitive to his needs?

SleeplessJ, he did not respond when I brought up how I dislike being called names, and that I want him to stop doing it.  He listened quietly while I gave my spiel on how it is ok to be angry, but not ok to take it out on me like that, that it is disrespectful, etc, and that we need to accept that we don't always get our way, blah blah blah...  Then he just said I'm talking too much and said he had to go (he had an appointment).  He tells me alot that I talk too much.   I do it because I feel that my message is not being understood.  It is ironic, because sometimes when he is angry, he will say that he tells me everything and I don't tell him anything.  Then I will retort, saying that when i tell him tell him how I feel about things in detail, he will say I talk too much.

Last week, he suddenly just brought up how I no longer treat him to meals.  He said this to his father.  Now I have told my partner before why I can't afford to do this.  I used to work at a better paying job and I picked up the tab a lot as he was working at that point.  But I was unemployed for a while and am now working at a job that is paying much less.  I don't have much savings because I spent too much, and I told myself I need to stop doing this.  I have to start saving.  So I told him I would like us to pay for our own meals and expenses individually as he is now working and earning.  I was upset when he brought it up to his father, but luckily his father made a joke of it to diffuse the situation. 

Later I asked my partner if he understood why I couldn't pay for both of us anymore.  He said he did, but he wished I would still treat him.  It sounded to me, like he heard my point, but he didn't want to accept it.  I tried to explain my reasons again, but he kept cutting me off saying he knew what i was going to say.  I said if that is the case, why did you even bring it up that way to your father, knowing that I have my reasons.  I am not deliberately trying to deprive him.  I know he would prefer that we pick up the tabs alternately.  But the reality is that I can no longer afford to do so.  It makes me less anxious when I can concentrate on keeping tabs on my individual spending.  I was upset also because I had told him that I would treat him for a meal now and again, perhaps just after I got my paycheck.

I kept saying please let me finish what I need to say.  He cut me off a few times before he relented and let me speak my mind.  He apologized but the "I'm sorry" almost sounded like he was scolding me, like he was being made out to be the bad guy again.  I mean it hurt my pride when he disclosed such stuff to his father.  And it hurt even more because I felt he was picking on what seemed to be a reasonable request.  I just feel that he gets fixated on the ideal way of how things should be and feels uncomfortable to change them, even for small things.  And this is difficult, because things do change, and we have to change along with them.  Like how I used to be able to spend more time with him, as he wasn't working.  But now he sometimes works late on Saturdays, and I have established that I will only come on Sundays, in that event.  I see it as us adjusting to the current situation.  But I feel he wants to squeeze every last minute he can, to make it closer to how it used to be when we could spend more time together.  I know he does it with good intentions, i.e, he wants to maximize our time together.  But I also feel that when he does it, he ignores the fact that conditions have changed. 
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« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2007, 07:54:42 AM »

I don't think you are being insensitve to his feelings.  He is being insensitve to yours.  If he wants to see you late Saturday night, then he can come to your house after work.  If he can't/won't do that, then too bad.  You don't have to jump through hoops for him. 

As far as treating him to a meal, I'm not sure why he is wanting you to do that.  Once again, he's walking all over you and not being sensitive to your needs? 

This guy is testing you over and over again.  Are you ready to deal with that for the rest of your life?  Ugh. Sounds like hell to me.
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