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Think About It... An individual’s overall life functioning is linked closely to his level of emotional maturity or differentiation. People select ... partners who have the same level of emotional maturity.
Emotional immaturity manifests in unrealistic needs and expectations. ~ Murray Bowen, M.D.
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Author Topic: Losing it / Does he have BPD (II)  (Read 4081 times)
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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Married w/children 21 years ubpd/unpd H, separated in 06, back in 07
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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Felicity
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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. 

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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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Taz
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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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Felicity
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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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