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 on: June 05, 2023, 11:31:01 PM  
Started by grootyoda - Last post by grootyoda
Just a few questions to get me reoriented to where you're at now:

Is this an official legal document? I.e. filed with the court, spells out specific parenting times, etc?

And do you currently have a lawyer (or did you during the custody agreement process)?

Is anyone in leadership in your church aware of your custody and parenting time situation? If not, if it were me, I'd probably do a proactive "Hey, just want to give you a heads up about our situation, it's XYZ and I'm happy to share paperwork with you if you need it" type email. No blame, just a "hey, both parents are here and our child is here, so here is the legal framework we're working with, if you guys need documentation"

Yes, it was filed in agreement and signed into order by a judge before I started going back to church. The staff are fully aware of the custody situation, they have a copy and worked with me on making sure childcare is handled appropriately while we are there. I've talked a good bit about the situation to a pastor who is bound by confidentiality, and they've been good about making sure I know what all they can and can't do to make the situation work for all involved.

I love my privacy, and I'd also feel violated by what she did. You know her best, so you can think about what all is going on in your life (legal stuff, etc), and decide if a "one and done" email with your L cc'ed could be worth it. Something like "Hi Ex; Just a heads up that I do not consent to you filming me or D at church. Thank you; grootyoda"

You have a custody agreement -- it's OK to stick with it. Something simple, like "Sorry, that doesn't work" or "thanks for asking, that doesn't work" is fine.

What's trickier is what you're noticing, which is the impact it has on your D.

Does your W try to get D "amped up" about seeing her, and then "get her sad" when she can't go with Mommy right away? Or is it more like I think I'm reading, where it's less about W manipulating D directly, and more about W making sure that other adults see her with D?

I think you may be able to use validation with your D to navigate this --

maybe in the car after church, having some kind of conversation like "you were happy to see Mommy at church, huh?" (if D's body language seemed happy), followed with "and you seem sad now, right?" (again, only if that is what's going on). A validating approach could be: "Lots of kids are happy when they see their mom and sad when they don't. How do you feel about getting to see Mommy after lunch?" That could normalize that sure, she was glad to see Mom, felt sad to see Mom go, and you are helping her remember that she is seeing Mom again soon.


So much good stuff in this response. I'm not sure I'm ready to send that email just yet, but I've made my attorney aware of the activity and I am more or less letting them guide me on what is or isn't warranted until this becomes a frequent occurence.

Regarding insisting on sticking to the agreement - I am still working on not feeling like a jerk every time I insist she stick to terms she agreed to, and yours is a good reminder. I also really appreciate the recommendations about validating D's feelings. I do a lot of asking her how she's feeling, but I could stand to use more "I'm noticing" statements. W definitely leans into the "amp up" side of things - she doesn't exactly try to make D sad about goodbyes, but she does draw out goodbyes a good bit and show her disappointment when D isn't reciprocating her goodbyes. It's not super over the top, but I'm aware of it as a recurring issue.

 on: June 05, 2023, 11:27:17 PM  
Started by zachira - Last post by zachira
I keep working on my boundaries and am having occasionally some bad experiences with people who I never should have continued to be around. Red Flag number one for me is that if there isn't reciprocal communication than I will usually eventually get mistreated if the contact continues. Lately I am walking away from people who I enjoy learning about when they do not ask a single question about me after a long conversation. Tonight I was insulted out of the blue by a married man I have known for a long time who I see in the park and often chat with. He never has asked a single question about me.Tonight when he saw me, he immediately insulted me, saying that he had seen this man on the bicycle (whom I talk to occasionally) and that meant he was going to run into me. He said he had seen me two days in a row and implied that I was stalking him. He told me you live here (in the park).  He told me to get away and leave him alone. I had not seen this man much in the last few months. I did run into him at the Farmers Market last week and yesterday, and briefly spoke to him observing he really did not want to talk to me. Tonight I just said hello and than he went on his rant and walked away. The odd part about his referral to the man on the bicycle is I saw the man on the bicycle leaving the park 30 minutes earlier about 2 miles from where I ran into this man. I am guilty of ignoring this man's boundaries, being way too friendly and intrusive. Usually when I do this, most people get more distant with me, and I respect their distance; I had been doing this with this man lately so none of this makes sense, and it probably won't. He did tell me when I saw him at the Farmers Market that he has not been to work for over two weeks because the union is on strike. I think I am upset because this reminds me of how my disordered family members treat me: suddenly angry and making false accusations out of the blue. Thank you for reading this and listening. The triggers are always there, and I usually manage them pretty well. Getting yelled at and insulted for no reason, does bother me, and I think this is probably normal. Got lots of meditation to do to calm down.

 on: June 05, 2023, 09:48:07 PM  
Started by Monkeybranch - Last post by Monkeybranch

My relationship has ended and i'm still confused of what happened.

 on: June 05, 2023, 09:47:29 PM  
Started by ConflictedWalrus - Last post by Turkish
I think you're on a good path of self awareness and analysis  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

Mine left me for a young boy-toy and married him 1.5 years later. The kids' new step dad was 20 years younger than me. To say I was angry for a long time is an understatement. When she started calling and apologizing (in a self- centered BPD way) after cohabitation and huge fights, I was more angry... warning to those who need closure. Similarly, when she asked to come back... while still married to the other guy though separated. Surprisingly, that one didn't anger me as much.  

I also dealt with DV in the other house which was a tough time. I was on the verge of reporting her. Even so, by being kind, and my Christian therapist reminded me that there was nothing wrong with being kind, my ex trusted me for guidance, not her enabling friends.

Remember who you are and your values, put the safety and well- being of the kids first, even if certain things at the other home you don't agree with, and parallel parent as necessary.

This is your life now, even though your old life may have been taken away from you beyond your choices. I think trying to control outcomes is the biggest hurdle for most Detachers. I know I think a lot differently than I did even 5 years ago and certainly 9.5 years ago when I first landed here.

 on: June 05, 2023, 09:34:56 PM  
Started by Joaquin - Last post by thankful person
I feel you. I definitely struggle with FOG when it comes to just doing something that I know will be perceived as an abandonment without her “permission.” But how do I enforce something more conceptual (like not accepting excessive blame/ownership) without explanation? She’ll keep pushing for me to take ownership and apologize until I do it no matter how much time I buy. The best I’ve been able to figure out so far is talking about these things when she’s calm and feeling safe, then I can kind of get through if I use the right language.

Tbh this is exactly why I’m still struggling. For some reason my wife responded really well in the beginning to all the communication strategies etc, but has split on me since our 3rd child arrived last year, and blames me for her feeling unloved, undesired, unwanted, and unsupported. Some days she seems to feel (a bit) better about me but then I’ll be “selfish and thoughtless” and wake up the baby by “making so much noise” (example) and then the accusation is, “you haven’t even worked on us today!” I’m supposed to be making her feel desired through words not actions because she doesn’t trust me enough to want me to touch her (or something). This is very hard for me. I’m good at written communication like messages but far less at spoken. I used to be very affectionate but now I’ve been trained to keep my hands to myself. And of course she doesn’t want messages either, in fact one of the accusations today was that I’d wasted her time sending messages she’d prefer me to have said in person. But I still haven’t got a clue what she wants me to say and I feel like everything I say is always wrong. Plus it’s hard because a lot of the time it’s hard to feel loving towards someone who is so critical of you. I do believe this is just another trap because, were I to write out a message then say the first line to her then she attacks me for it. For example, “it’ll be nice when the kids are older and we have a bit more time for each other..” “what’s the point in talking about the FUTURE??? I want you to talk about NOW!” Obviously now is a hard time when we’re always supervising the children and she sleeps with the baby and I sleep in the spare room. I’m sorry I don’t have more answers. It’s been a tough year.

 on: June 05, 2023, 08:50:38 PM  
Started by AlleyOop23 - Last post by AlleyOop23
My wife has twice had changes that challenged her view of herself. The first was attending graduate school. It was highly stressful for her. She was just awful and I moved out. She begged me to come back and finally agreed to counseling. I came back and we had two kids. That was 15 years ago.

The second was quitting her stressful health care job. It was dragging her down, she had major compassion fatigue. With my full support she quit, the idea being she would figure out what was next. She’s been angry ever since. When I pointed this out she said i was making it about the money. I told her to go find something even if it didn’t pay. She said only now without the distraction of work did she truly see how unhappy she was, mostly with me. COVID and at home school poured gas on all that. It’s really been awful for 3 years now.

She started talking about perimenopausal symptoms shortly after she quit. So that too.

 on: June 05, 2023, 07:55:59 PM  
Started by Joaquin - Last post by Joaquin
I feel you. I definitely struggle with FOG when it comes to just doing something that I know will be perceived as an abandonment without her “permission.” But how do I enforce something more conceptual (like not accepting excessive blame/ownership) without explanation? She’ll keep pushing for me to take ownership and apologize until I do it no matter how much time I buy. The best I’ve been able to figure out so far is talking about these things when she’s calm and feeling safe, then I can kind of get through if I use the right language.

I think Kells makes some great points here and Kells also helped me to understand that boundaries don’t need to be discussed or explained in advance. In my case my wife had many crazy rules like feeling resentful if I had more showers than her (this was during the covid lockdown Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) what else was there to do?!) To keep the peace I was trying to do things by her rules but then I slowly started breaking all the rules. I found if I could execute it confidently sometimes she didn’t even question it. It is a lot like dealing with a child. Your child asks for a cookie and you say no. “But whyyyyyy???????” They whine and you respond with an explanation “it’s dinner time soon so you don’t want to be too full up to eat”. They repeat, “But whyyyyy??????” “Because it’s healthy to eat a balanced diet not just a ton of sugar.” “But whyyyyy???” This could go on for hours if you keep trying to explain and justify to them the many reasons you said no. There is no point in the discussion. I was stunned to somehow realise I’d missed this when I have worked with children for many years. But of course my wife always had far more control over me..

 on: June 05, 2023, 07:51:35 PM  
Started by Joaquin - Last post by Joaquin
This is a helpful reminder of the difference bw doing and explaining, especially bc my instinct is to do what I did in past (healthy) relationships, which was healthy communication to resolve problems.

My difficulty is this: I get how this works for something like taking a temporary time out. What’s harder to understand is how to enforce a more conceptual limit (like not accepting excessive blame/ownership) in the larger context. I can get myself some time to think, but when I come back my wife will keep pushing that she needs me to accept responsibility for making her feel unloved etc and that I have to change to make sure she feels like her needs are met. How do I enforce that boundary without explaining it?

Hi Joaquin,

Glad that disengaging temporarily sounds do-able. It can be nice to find something do-able when we're coping with a pwBPD.

Good question. I'll share my perspective.

Sometimes we have a perception of boundaries/limits, that the way to get a limit to work is to clarify it to the other person, or to share our new views on it with the other person, or to find a better explanation of it to the other person, or to remind them of our limit.

I have found that trying to operate at that level with a pwBPD (explaining emotional health topics to them / reminding them of an agreement about what's healthy) rarely goes well.

pwBPD have intense emotional limitations. It sounds so normal to plan out -- "OK, so I have reminded her NOT to blame me or give me ownership of her emotions, so that should help her remember, so she should have some awareness, so we can move forward". I suspect that the emotional limitations connected to her mental illness do not allow her to operate that way, even though you and I could probably mostly operate that way.

I think it may be frustrating to you to hope that you can remind her about what you can handle, and that that will go okay or be effective. Maybe it could, though  I think there could be a more effective path forward.

We can get a better handle on limits/boundaries and what's in our control if we understand that our boundaries require no announcement, explanation, or clarification to others, and require nobody else's participation, memory, or agreement.

I hear you bringing up your emotional limitations in a few threads. It's good that you're seeing that with clear eyes -- you can't emotionally carry it all.

You don't need her to agree with you, remember anything, participate, cooperate, or agree, for you to carry out your own boundary. And it won't require explanation.

It could look like:

"I'm overwhelmed right now; I'm going to take a shower [take a walk, get a drink, go to the store], and I'll be back in 45 minutes."

I also hear that you would like to include empathy and/or validation. So, if those are your values, it could look like:

"This sounds important to you and I want to be at my best to listen to you. I feel overwhelmed right now, so I'm going to take a break and check back in with you by text in an hour."


"It means a lot that you would share XYZ with me. I want to give that the thought it deserves, so I'm going to take some alone time to think about it. I'll touch base with you at 5pm tonight."

Notice that none of those approaches require that you explicitly clarify "what you won't accept". They're about you doing your boundary, not discussing your boundary, and I think that's key. Raising the topic of "what you won't accept" can inadvertently frame your boundary as something that's up for discussion... when it's not.

What do you think it'd be like for you to try refraining from clarifying/explaining, and moving towards doing?

 on: June 05, 2023, 07:31:09 PM  
Started by musiceveryday - Last post by musiceveryday
I am new here, hi! My therapist has often suggested I research BPD based on stories I’ve told her about my mom and sister. I still have some work to do, but my impression is that they both have undiagonosed BPD.

This week, I am really struggling with anxiety around my sister’s upcoming wedding and would love some tips.

My sister’s wedding plan set some pretty high expectations for the guests. Every guest has to stay at the $1000 hotel or no one will get the group rate. The event is multiple hours away from airports, etc. I was really proud of how I communicated boundaries. In particular, I’ve learned that simple statements “I can’t afford that” or “I am only able to stay one night” don’t open the door for her to argue until she wears me down.

Recently, I gave another short response to a big ask I genuinely couldn’t do  (“I’m sorry, I’m not available”), and she launched into  a long tirade about how I am so selfish and don’t care about family. She even said that she looked up my Venmo and wished I cared as much about my family as I do about spending money out with friends. Not that this needs to be said, but it’s particularly wild because I have done like 6 Venmo transactions this year. It’s a weird card to play. Since then, she has given me the silent treatment.

At this point, I’m worried about two scenarios that fit patterns in my sister’s behavior and my family’s response and would love advise on how to respond:

(1) Scenario 1: she has lied to family members (including kids) about what happened and they are ignoring me or uncomfortable at the wedding

(2) Scenario 2: she makes a mean joke about my appearance or  reveals something mean I said years ago about my husband at the wedding that my family will excuse

For context, my family all recognize that my sister can be difficult/manipulative/selfish at times, but that hasn’t changed any of the patterns. I’d love any advice so I can rehearse responses or bring tools with me.

 on: June 05, 2023, 06:57:00 PM  
Started by NarcsEverywhere - Last post by NarcsEverywhere
I'm going to write a letter to you, but I really need to send it and deal with it after my appointment on Wednesday, so either Wednesday or Thursday, I plan on giving it to you, via messages if you're okay with that, don't want to put it on here. Until then I am going to try to give us both space, because I think it's best for us. Is this good with you?

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