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Author Topic: TREATMENT: Why marriage counseling so often fails  (Read 6744 times)
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« on: April 12, 2010, 04:37:29 PM »

Over the years, quite a few members have tried to do the marriage counseling route, hoping that they would see some progress. From most reports that we get, it often doesn't go well (with a few exceptions). Why is this?

Because marriage counseling is based on the premise that both individuals are willing to discuss the issues and that both are willing to make changes. When one person has BPD though, they aren't able to accept any blame. They aren't able to do any self evaluation. They don't have the skills to be compassionate or offer empathy, since they are so often in self defense mode that they can't take their eyes off their own internal pain. When a MC tries to work on communication skills, which they believe to be at the root of the couples problems, they miss the elephant in the room - the BPD sufferer's inability to accept any blame or responsibility. If the pwBPD can't see the need for change or accept their part in things, then how will change occur? It won't. It can't.

The pwBPD has so much shame and self hatred at their core, that they are a bubbling cauldron of resentment and anger. While we like to say that we live our lives walking on eggshells - they often describe the very same thing. They worry that we will say or do something that will set them off, creating more anger and more shame. They blame us for getting them mad, for making them lose it, for pushing them too hard. They don't have the skills to self regulate or soothe themselves, so they blame us to make themselves feel better. Working on communication skills isn't going to solve this.

Does this mean that MC is doomed to failure before it even starts?

Research from the experts strongly recommends that partners who have any history of violence avoid family therapy... The abuser first needs to take responsibility for their behavior. It is important for the victim to build up their own sense  of power and control..

UNLESS  you find a skilled therapist who is certified and has extensive experience working with couples AND who understands BPD. The average therapist won't haves the skills. Do your homework first before scheduling an appointment. Don't be afraid to ask questions of the receptionist, or to request that the T call you ahead of time so that you can question them yourself.

The best thing for couples is to each seek their own T (someone who practices DBT {dialectical behavioral therapy} is best) so that each person can work on their own issues first, before they begin to delve into why the relationship is failing. That is where change will occur.



How did MC work for those who did try it?

What went wrong?

What went well?

Did/Is your SO going to any individual T sessions?

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GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENT

This board is intended for general questions about BPD and other personality disorders, trait definitions, and related therapies and diagnostics. Topics should be formatted as a question.

Please do not host topics related to the specific pwBPD in your life - those discussions should be hosted on an appropraite [L1] - [L4] board.

You will find indepth information provided by our senior members in our workshop board discussions (click here).

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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2010, 05:02:14 PM »

I know when I did marriage counseling a couple of years ago, it was a bit of a waste.  I spent a lot of time mentioning my issues, while my BPDw clammed up and didn't say a word.  She just made noises like she was going to change, and we were back to the same ol' crap after we did.  The second go-round was interrupted by my wife's hospitalization (and subsequent diagnosis of BPD), but it was just as unproductive.  She tried to make everything look like my fault, and she didn't take responsibility for the stuff that she did.
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« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2010, 05:04:56 PM »

We tried it a couple of times. We agreed to certain terms & she broke them when we got in the parking lot.

Here is a sample of the conversation. I let her go first.

"He drinks beer, smokes cigars & urinates outside" That was her opening salvo. Kaboom
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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2010, 05:34:34 PM »

First time in '08 we tried MC and it brought me here and got the tenative diagnosis of BPD traits but in reality all that happened during sessions was the disordered thinking he had was thrown all over me and the T really thought she got it but instead she tried to get us to communicate better.

Very recently after almost a year of boundaries, validation and building trust on our own (besides individual T) we decided to go back to MC.

We have had a few sessions and they are SO different than before.

This T tells my H that he is spinning and getting no where when he is looking at my stuff. He tells us to focus on ourselves and try to do better for ourselves and then decide if this is ok for us to live with.

It totally works. My H really listens and then will talk to be about it. When he starts to be critical he will stop himself and apologize and say he will concentrate on his stuff. It is bringing us closer together now.

Instead of me crying and him being upset we are talking and getting to the real stuff. Keep your side of the street clean and don't try to control the other person, then decide based on what your SO does if you still want to stay with that person.
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2010, 05:36:33 PM »

I'm in it now. So far I can't see anything happening. The T seams to be good, but working under the idea that it's a normal relationship problem.
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« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2010, 05:37:57 PM »

I think what you say is true for many people with BPD, UFN, but not for everybody, and certainly not for everybody who has been in treatment before, as many people with BPD have. Just important to remember that what the majority of people here report about their relationships does not necessarily apply to all people with BPD. For instance, my partner still has BPD, but if she'd been like this for our whole relationship, I wouldn't have needed and sought out this message board, so I imagine in general that most people who have partners who are in treatment and doing well do not post here and so are not included in our ideas of who people with BPD are. Sorry if that was too off topic, but even before my partner began DBT I'm sure she would have been introspective and accepting of blame in MC because she already was doing so in our relationship and in her own T. Anyway... Smiling (click to insert in post)

Excerpt
How did MC work for those who did try it?

We've been in it like a year and a half now and it's done a lot of good. My partner is like any partner in MC who feels they've done their partner wrong, and feels their emotions more intensely than others. I'm emotional too, so sometimes we get lost in negativity together, in MC, but when we work on specific things, it goes well, and overall it just feels good to be working on our relationship together in that way, and know we have a place to talk that's safe for us both.

Excerpt
What went wrong?

Mostly my own triggers from my BPD stepmother's therapy cult thing can make it hard at times for me to believe everyone isn't trying to learn what my emotions are so they can use them against me.

Excerpt
What went well?

Generally being able to sit together and talk, to be face to face with another person who actually knows what our relationship has been through and how tough it's been. Knowing my partner will always try her very best to be calm and communicative while we're there is great.

Excerpt
Did/Is your SO going to any individual T sessions?

She took an intensive DBT course last year, and right now is going to T twice a week, once with our MC for psychotherapy, once with a T who's doing CBT/DBT, weekly trauma survivors group run by therapists, and couple times a month peer-run support group. My SO has been in T on and off since she was a kid--she had BPD and got in some trouble with authority figures at school. Smiling (click to insert in post)


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« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2010, 05:39:53 PM »

What didn’t work (and by the way, I would say WE failed at MC…not that just my partner who has BPD failed at it, in m any ways...I think the couples conseling we did was easier for him, than for me)

Basically, the communication skills mentioned above by UFN were not there…along w/ a lack of empathy/compassion, on my partner’s part, and in return…I was not especially feeling empathetic/compassionate toward him,  either.  The T was trained in Gottman style couples thx.  This focuses a lot on communication styles, things like how ‘contemptuously’ you speak or act toward your partner, for example, and learning to NOT do that.  

I came to couples therapy with him at a time when I thought  his inappropriate EAs w/ other women was no longer an issue..and that one thing we were would be working on in joint therapy is continuing to build trust and healing all the trust issues that had been created in the first part of relationship.  I recognized that after so many lies and manipulations in the past, I has an almost ptsd type of fear regarding trust where it concerned him.   I went with an open heart in trying to work on my part toward building trust and learning to self sooth and relax a bit,  but I also started couples therapy assuming that the women from the past were now out of our lives for good, otherwise, I would never have agreed to therapy (if I thought there were still other women lurking around).

After about 3-4 initial sessions that were going very well with both of us concentrating on learning new skills etc….I saw that he had kept a recent email from one of the women he had had an EA w/ behind my back about a year prior.  I saw email…and it really alarmed me, because he has promised that this woman would be out of our lives 100% forever…no chatting, no texts, no calls…and if she tried to contact him, he promised he would tell me.  Well, he didn’t tell me, this email had sat there for a while based on the date received, and had also been moved into a folder where in the past, he had kept chit-chat and dating correspondence from women he liked when he was single, and where he had in the past kept all this particular woman’s tons of emails to him.  So, in my mind, she was still in our lives, and he had not discussed it with me, and he even saved it to a folder where he historically kept  correspondence of a romantic nature from women he was smitten with.

I decided to finally ask him about it one evening just prior to our counseling session.  When we talked alone that night, we almost did better than later when this came up w/ the couples counselor.  With the audience of the couples counselor, he was actually less sympathetic/empathetic about how hurt and confused this made me feel.  And, in the presence of the counselor, he also seemed more ‘confused’ about how he really felt about this woman than when we had discussed it alone the night prior…the counselor asked him very direct questions…like, why do you think you kept this email, what does this woman mean to you?  All he could say is…at first…”I don’t know”…then he began to say things like this woman obviously was or maybe still is important to him otherwise why would he have kept her email?  This was not the message he was giving me the night before.  It seemed in therapy, he was actually extremely conflicted about this woman…all brand new info to me…as he had spent the entire 12 mos. prior assuring me that this woman means NOTHING to him and I have NOTHING to worry about.  It were these assurances that kept me IN the relationship with him.

I was so shocked to be discussing yet again this ‘other woman’…whom I thought was out of our lives forever and had been led to beleive had been put to rest over a year ago…that I grew very alarmed and upset.  To me, I’d just been duped…yet again…for over a year….into believing he was fully committed to us, when he was, again, apparently NOT.   Now, out of the blue, it seemed like this OW from the past was looming large again in his mind, putting all the work we had done to waste and reinstituting all the past hurt and trust issues that had brought us to therapy in the first place!  My attitude toward him upon learning that he seemed so totally conflicted about a woman he told me meant nothing to him…caused me to feel very CONTEMPTUOUS toward him.  I was totally PISSED OFF.  I felt I’d been tricked once again, and I was really, really pissed off.  

Problem is, the therapist wanted us to talk about this in ways that were not dripping with contempt.  That is the whole point of Gottman style therapy.  Or at least, one of the main themes.  And here I was…feeling TOTAL contempt for my partner, feeling ripped off, and expressing it right out there…in front of him and the therapist.  But she kept wanting me to express myself in softer, Gottman syle formats…which comes naturally to  me normally, but not when I feel like I’ve just been lied to over a year!  At one point…to point out how used and betrayed I felt, I made an accurate albeit sarcastic comment that the day he chose to save this all important email from this OW, is likely a day he no doubt indulged himself in having sex with me, too…although I did not use the work sex, rather, in my contempt for how exploitative I felt he had been…I used the F word.  

The Gottman therapist looked at me like a stunned school teacher whose student had just blurted out the F word in class…. and said “oh, now that’s just NOT helpful”.    Okay, that kind of thepay was not working for us…I think some basic issues need to be resolved before a therapist spends an inordinate amount of time trying to teach a certain kind of communication skill.  Like…hey….how many people are in this relationship?  Cause if other women are still looming large…then we really don’t even HAVE a relationship.

She did try to get him to learn to use empathetic listening skills so he could really understand how hurtful this behavior must feel to me…but he just couldn’t do it.  I would be practically curled up in a fetal position in my chair weeping…out of sheer frustration and utter hurt and confusion that he could be doing this to me YET AGAIN…and he would just sit there and tell the therapist he didn’t know what he could possibly say to make it better or to help me.  

Finally the T suggested he take the reins and assertively end it w/ this other woman once and for all.   When she did that, I felt that was probably the smartest thing she could suggest…because it was starting to address the real elephant in the room…meaning…is there even really a relationship here to save and who is that relationship with?  That turned into a huge nightmare consisting of his half-assed watered down attempts to get this woman out of his life and torturous discussions regarding how to block email etc., all of which was insulting and humiliating as he knew PERFECTLY WELL how to block email etc., and it all just became a big power struggle/game.  

So, I finally just said I can’t take this anymore, I did not sign up to be in therapy w/ a man who is still in love w/ another woman,  and  I broke up with him, moved out, and called the T to tell her I wouldn’t be participating any longer.   I felt absolutely NO empathy or compassion for his need to keep leading me on while dallying about behind my back w/ OW…and he felt no empathy/compassion about how hurt I had grown based on him behaving this way.

Later, after he’d been in DBT…and he saw he had lost me….I saw some change in him, and now, a lot of change, and we are together.  But at the time, couples counseling was extremely stressful and acutely painful, kind of like repeatedly pouring acid on an already open wound for no reason at all.

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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2010, 06:23:59 PM »

Having previous individual therapy will make a HUGE difference in whether or not MC works, since those who are willing to get individual treatment are the ones who recognize - at some level - that they need help and are willing to seek out and work towards getting healthier.

Sadly, a great many of the members here don't have partners who fit that criteria. They have partners who are deep in denial and blame, leaving the non the focus of everything that is wrong. Without the ability to self analyze, then progress is pretty much doomed from the start.

Adding to those poor statistics is that so many nons feel like helpless victims too, so they wind up feeling stymied and unable to enact any changes on their own.

And round and round you go 

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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2010, 07:25:10 PM »

I know, UFN, I know.

I just still feel the need to remind everyone that not all BPDs do whatever it is, because those folks who do get into therapy early and do admit they need help are BPD just as much as those in denial--often moreso because they get diagnosed so we know for sure they have it, unlike those who aren't diagnosed. Because sometimes I think it's easy to blame *more* on BPD and not on the specific person--the diagnosis does not require being cruel to your partner all the time, for instance. Anyway. Smiling (click to insert in post)

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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2010, 08:08:59 PM »

We have been in MC for about 10 months now and that is where my bph got his diagnosis. We have gotten NOWHERE! We spend the whole session explaining the chaos of the week that past since we had been there. Today he started an individual intense day program. but we plan to continue MC at the same time.

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« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2010, 08:23:05 PM »

When MC turns into he said, she said type of thing it really doesn't help much. It can add to the pain.

A more helpful approach is looking at only your own stuff and knowing what you want out of a marriage and watching the other to see if changes are made and if things get better over a peroid of time.

My MC said this the other day when my h was going on about how I don't go to the gym in the morning with him instead I walk the dogs and so on ,

"ifsogirl's hubby - you are spinning right now - you are like a dog chasing its tail until some point you will jump up your own a&& hole, we can never control another person, we can change our own stuff and decide if the other person is someone we even like to be around but we can't change our SO, so stop!"

But it is a great thing to have going on once you are strong enough and have good boundaries in place.

I think telling what happens makes it more real for the non and brings out things that are unhealthy to light.

I didn't really get how twisted my hubbys thoughts and accussations were until I started to talk about them. Even now I get teary eyed talking about the years of trauma we both went through.
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Who I really am can never be lost, I choose to live in the moment, I choose to be happy


GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENT

This board is intended for general questions about BPD and other personality disorders, trait definitions, and related therapies and diagnostics. Topics should be formatted as a question.

Please do not host topics related to the specific pwBPD in your life - those discussions should be hosted on an appropraite [L1] - [L4] board.

You will find indepth information provided by our senior members in our workshop board discussions (click here).

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« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2010, 09:49:44 PM »

I feel like the poster child for "MC with my BPD spouse."  He was diagnosed by the MC who was also his IC, with the lovely addition of strong narcissistic traits (NPD for all practical purposes). We have attended joint sessions for almost a year, with my H participating in individual sessions prior to the "us" part (and during MC as well).

So...bottom line for me?  Unless and until a person of ANY "type" or diagnosis actually recognizes the need and has the desire for change, all the counseling in the world isn't going to change a thang.  Our therapist is very well-versed in personality disorders and in fact, speaks at a local community college to people divorcing these types of individuals.  

Excerpt
How did MC work for those who did try it?

We attended weekly or bi-weekly joint sessions.  He would profess his desire to spend more time together, to work our way "back to each other", etc., and the therapist would give him suggestions on how to accomplish this.  

Every week, the target changed...

Right from the start, I expressed my basic needs ~ stop lying, stop vanishing and start taking initiative/responsibility for the state of the relationship.  Big list for what I was dealing with, huh?   Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

I liked that the T had a solid background from working with my H in individual counseling. They had also built a certain amount of trust, which is important to my H.

However; there WERE times that I felt like a 'third-wheel'...because she was HIS therapist, there were times when she would ask for permission (from him) to talk about certain topics (always granted).  This, and other little things, tended to make me feel like I was just not QUITE in the loop all the time.  But all in all, it worked well for us.

Excerpt
What went wrong?

It wasn't DBT, my BPD husband didn't have the desire for change and is currently incapable of taking personal responsibility for virtually *anything* that has ever happened in his life.  And I'm not being sarcastic.  

Excerpt
What went well?

I got the chance to be HEARD...finally.  I got validation that there was something *seriously wrong* in the situation...  I gained a LOT of clarity ~ simply from stating my needs (in order to move forward in our marriage), having them translated and clarified by the therapist to my husband, and her asking if he wanted to work on those things.  He would always answer "yes" or that he was willing to "give it a try," but I think there was some kind of poison on her door knob.  Every time he turned it to leave the office, the memory of his 'assignments' completely VANISHED.

Excerpt
Did/Is your SO going to any individual T sessions?

Yes.  Now and one other time during our year-long tenure of joint sessions, the therapist requested to see him "alone" for several sessions.  He is still seeing her alone.


I hung in there for WAY too long, not REALLY demanding change or establishing good boundaries.  I would continue to see my husband on our pre-arranged "date nights", attend counseling and speak with him on the phone when he felt like calling, but nothing really changed.  Because he didn't NEED to change anything ~ I was/am *still here*.  

Disclaimer:  Since he's vanished (again) over two weeks ago (no contact with me), I have made the decision to file for divorce by Memorial Day Weekend.  I'm really not doing him any favors by teaching him how to treat a wife so poorly.  I deserve better, and I wish that he could've stepped up.  But AGAIN, without any reason or desire for change, any *type* of person is fine with the status quo.

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« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2010, 11:07:36 PM »

ifsogirl

Excerpt
"ifsogirl's hubby - you are spinning right now - you are like a dog chasing its tail until some point you will jump up your own a&& hole, we can never control another person, we can change our own stuff and decide if the other person is someone we even like to be around but we can't change our SO, so stop!"

Ya know...about 2 months ago I said almost the exact same thing to my husband.

did your T use that terminology?

It works both ways.
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« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2010, 12:12:48 AM »

We did the couples counseling for all of four sessions.  We never even made it to my issues with the situation.  The first was backround, the second was her naming a lot of what she didn't like and me getting defensive, the third was her saying she didn't want me, she wanted her deceased husband back, and me getting defensive and very very visibly sad, the fourth was me coming in right off the bat and saying ok, I'll back off.  That was the only moment the therapist actually addressed where I was with the whole thing.  She took hold of it and encouraged me and kept noting that she hoped I was doing it for my own good.  I didn't understand what that meant then, I was too upset - but I do now.  Then we stepped outside after that fourth session and she broke down for three hours about how she didn't want it to be over, she just didn't know what she wanted.   I reassured her that I wasn't leaving, that I didn't want for it be over either, but that I was just respecting her wishes.  Two weeks later we were sleeping together again because she was 'happy the pressure was off.'  This pushed me into a tailspin of what the frizzle does that mean...which evidently was pressure.  We lingered but never recovered. 

When she gets mad now, she tells me she could never have a relationship with someone who she had to go to therapy with and reminds me she never had to go with the deceased.  I, probably wrongly, reminded her that he was never in a relationship with a widow and that that could possibly bring up some issues.  This was all long before I even knew of BPD. 

She is and has been in therapy for a long time, but it is all talk and, from what I've seen, just a huge weekly vent.  She literally flipped out when I suggested maybe we both go meet with her therapist...my therapist at the time opined it was because I've been blacklisted there and S has built up a safe place for herself through half truths.  I don't know if it's true or not.  I do know that I seem to be the bad guy wherever 'we' go though, including couples counseling, so I would not be surprised. 

It's so odd to think back to where I was at that time.  How totally messed up I was mentally after three months of seeing and hearing things that made no sense.  How that therapist zoned straight in on S like I was a bystander, and how I let that happen.  I was so scared to lose her I couldn't even speak up for myself until absolutely forced to.  And that dynamic just persisted for months.  Really messed up stuff.  I don't think either of us were really ready for change at that moment.  We wanted the other to change, but not prepared to step up ourselves and be vulnerable by trying new things.  Then again, the capacity to be vulnerable in these relationships seems to be hard to maintain so maybe I'm being too hard on both of us...
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« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2010, 05:25:28 AM »

Because marriage counseling is based on the premise that both individuals are willing to discuss the issues and that both are willing to make changes. When one person has BPD though, they aren't able to accept any blame. They aren't able to do any self evaluation. They don't have the skills to be compassionate or offer empathy, since they are so often in self defense mode that they can't take their eyes off their own internal pain. When a MC tries to work on communication skills, which they believe to be at the root of the couples problems, they miss the elephant in the room - the BPD sufferer's inability to accept any blame or responsibility. If the pwBPD can't see the need for change or accept their part in things, then how will change occur? It won't. It can't.

The pwBPD has so much shame and self hatred at their core...

United... I sit and stare at this paragraph, realizing the truth contained within. Your words are direct and accurate. Contemplating how this description applies to my thirty year realtionship is both revealing and devastating. I have wasted alot of time trying to get a duck to sing, haven't I?

The last year has brought so much clarity. You have helped me understand how I need to change and alter my expectations.

The paragraph above could (should) be copied and placed somewhere for a constant reminder. Tragically though, our SO's would probably find it and tear the house down defending themselves.. haha

Thanks for the insight!

Enoch
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« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2010, 08:05:56 AM »

DH and I attended 3 sessions of MC (with a pastoral counselor) about 8 or 9 years ago, before I realized he suffers from BPD.  I did much of the talking, and crying, and DH mumbled a few words on occasion.  It was a struggle to get him to go, in fact, 2 sessions were cancelled last minute because he flipped out and refused to go.  We completed some personality testing that didn't seem very helpful.  I talked about my FOO a bit.  We didn't really get anywhere and then DH decided that we were wasting money (he told the pastor we would pay the highest amount on the sliding scale, just because he did not want to disclose our income) and it wasn't helping.

Looking back, I can see that DH had no desire to become a better person, just to pacify me so that I wouldn't leave.  I had made an appointment with an attorney (and cancelled it) not long before our 7th anniversary and made the blunder of admitting it, in tears, during our anniversary dinner (at home, fortunately).  Anyone wanna guess how that ended?

DH is not in T.  He is without a job and while he is on my insurance now, does not wish to spend money that is not "necessary."  Not sure that he's met himself.

Good thread!

JDoe
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« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2010, 08:22:55 AM »

We did counseling and I thought it was working until we stopped going.

Every time we went he would claim he had a better understanding of the communication issues we had and why I felt the way I did, yet he never really put any of the things we learned into play in our real life. It seems he is so busy being hooked on the fact that he believes I suffer from BPD that he cannot take a look at himself to realize that it may be an issue he needs to recognize within himself as well. Is this normal? It confuses me because he is busy putting up what he feels are boundaries, and because I simply don't wish to argue anymore, I comply and "shut up" in an attempt to have a peaceful relationship because I cannot argue with his circular logic. That makes him feel that it really is me with the probem because now he has put up boundaries, and things have gotten better. I feel that things will never change if we continue this way and I don't know what to do about it except keep doing what I'm doing just to keep the peace. But is keeping the peace enough? I am truly unhappy.
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MissInterpreted
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« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2010, 09:26:54 AM »

Excerpt
That makes him feel that it really is me with the probem because now he has put up boundaries, and things have gotten better. I

And this is a bad thing...? [/quote]
Well, it is only a bad thing because the reason things have gotten better is because I have simply given up...and I ignore much of what "bothers" me and hurts me in an attempt to stop the arguments that spin out of control. So nothing is truly fixed or better, except for the fact that we don't argue as much. It doesn't mean I am happy with the way things are. My needs have again taken a back burner just so the house is quiet and the arguments aren't so brutal.

I am sure I'm doing it wrong, but it's all I have the strength for lately.
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angst
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« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2010, 10:25:28 AM »

Gee, the experience we had with mc was really positive...I mean it was hard because we touched on really sensitive areas, yet it was a very positive experience for me. I learned a great deal on how my behavior contributed to much of our discord, it actually "fed" the dance. I would say that it was even better than this forum has been for me, and that's saying ALOT!

We haven't gone for sumtime, and frankly I think it's time I suggest we do again. If I'm perfectly honest about it tho, it's not merely because our lives are so busy, as much as m/c was hard work for me. I mean, I need to change how I do things and behave...often we had to "active listen" to one another, and that was like HARD WORK...even tho it was very productive.

I think with any mc regardless of what exactly the issues are, change and work required from both individuals...my guess is that's why often it doesn't seem to work...because one is unwilling, or feeling they don't require any change. I don't see how with proper mc, some benefit couldn't arise however, since even if the BPD refuses to change, the non learns how to change for themselves and ultimately for the relationship.

With the right mc, the only way it couldn't help is if BOTH refuse to change. That's my feeling at least.
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« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2010, 10:42:50 AM »

I am in T for myself and all that I have to go through with my BDPW.  My T asks how much longer will I be able to put up with the exploitation and the emotional ride.  T when asked for solutions or tools gave honest opinion to run.  Not sure why she said that and wasn't that comfortable with it.  She said that from the very beginning.  My BDPW denies she has any issues and it is all me.  She says I am that her and her kids are walking on eggshells around (exaggerating the kids part to support her BDP).  I have MC tonight with BDPW and I am not sure how this one will turn out.  This MC is different from the one I went with last night and I cannot tell my BPDW that I am still seeing my own T which we started seeing together or she will interrogate me and make me feel like bad. 

Funny thing is what was stated with the original T about our situation is reversed by the new T which my BDPW chose.  That is the story of my life...everything is upside down or backwards. 

I have to account for everything I before BPDW separated due to her insecurities which she stated at T that she has issues with.  Now since we are separated, there is no insecurity she claims and never have been any.  So why would she ask me last night to account for the 2 1/2 hours between getting off work and when she saw me when driving by my house on her way to the store? 

Her negativity and the way she asks questions as if something was already done wrong to her is killing our relationship.  I am working on not being so defensive, but when the questions put you on the spot as if you were already found guilty is hard to respond to in a kind manner.  This especially after years of interrogations and nothing bad being done to her by me.  There is no infidelity or interest in any other person than W.  When are the line of questioning going to cease - never she says and I have to be able to answer her QUESTIONS at all times no matter how 'insignificant' they are.  What a life!


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angst
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« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2010, 12:46:49 PM »



The confusion I have MissInterpreted, is this...Altho boundries can be difficult to respect, they are important...is it that you don't care for his boundaries? I mean from my understanding, boundaries should be reasonable and fair, tho they may be difficult to respect. Why in the world would you merely "go along" with a reasonable boundary? And, why would a reasonable boundary, lead to a "argument that spins out of control"?

I guess this confuses me also.
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« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2010, 12:52:32 PM »

We started with a T/MC and had said we had "communication" and "money" problems. But that was just the tip of a very large iceberg. I think our T saw through it very quickly based on her behavior in the sessions - lashing out at me, screaming, etc. After several sessions it was clear we weren't making any progress. (By way of example, it took us more than 2 sessions to hammer out guidelines for our interaction in the sessions. Something the T said to me should have taken about 10 minutes.) So our T suggested that perhaps our "individual issues" were making it difficult to proceed.

In one of the first sessions with me alone, he looked at me and said "you are in an abusive relationship." To have the said so bluntly was really shocking - even though I knew it to be true. I told him about reading Eggshells and he was pretty definite that I was on the right track.

A couple of weeks ago she asked that I join her individual session - which, against my better judgment I did - and that resulted in a very harrowing experience - having my car rammed by her car, me leaving the house, cop escort to get some things, the whole bit. Getting ready now for divorce proceedings.

In short - starting MC was good for me - but not because of MC; it only opened my eyes to what was happening to me, confirmed my fears about her BPD, and set me on a better path. Things are likely to get a lot worse before they get better, but an end is in sight.
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MissInterpreted
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« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2010, 01:59:15 PM »

Altho boundries can be difficult to respect, they are important...is it that you don't care for his boundaries? I mean from my understanding, boundaries should be reasonable and fair, tho they may be difficult to respect. Why in the world would you merely "go along" with a reasonable boundary? And, why would a reasonable boundary, lead to a "argument that spins out of control"?

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

Of course boundaries should be reasonable and fair, but if the ones he is using  are not, who is going to tell him that without an argument? It isn't as if we sit down with our BPD partner and say, "ok, here is a boundary I am putting into place..." We simply do it, feeling it is fair and hoping they will voluntarily comply - most times without even realizing it. If we could sit down and rationally discuss the necessary boundaries with them and have them agree to it all, then we wouldn't be here discussing it with each other, because there wouldn't be a problem, right?

The fact is that he is going to do what he does and either I can deal with it or I can argue with him about it. What I meant by things being better, is that we don't argue about it anymore because I don't have the energy, so I "gave up". He will never see it any other way than as it is pictured in his head and we all know that we cannot change them or their viewpoint of the world as they see it.

So to your questions, "Why in the world would you merely "go along" with a reasonable boundary? And, why would a reasonable boundary, lead to a "argument that spins out of control"?" They are not reasonable, they are self-serving, and they lead to arguments because initially I would not agree to allow him to continue to BE self-serving.

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angst
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« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2010, 02:19:47 PM »

Altho boundries can be difficult to respect, they are important...is it that you don't care for his boundaries? I mean from my understanding, boundaries should be reasonable and fair, tho they may be difficult to respect. Why in the world would you merely "go along" with a reasonable boundary? And, why would a reasonable boundary, lead to a "argument that spins out of control"?

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

Of course boundaries should be reasonable and fair, but if the ones he is using  are not, who is going to tell him that without an argument? It isn't as if we sit down with our BPD partner and say, "ok, here is a boundary I am putting into place..." We simply do it, feeling it is fair and hoping they will voluntarily comply - most times without even realizing it. If we could sit down and rationally discuss the necessary boundaries with them and have them agree to it all, then we wouldn't be here discussing it with each other, because there wouldn't be a problem, right?

The fact is that he is going to do what he does and either I can deal with it or I can argue with him about it. What I meant by things being better, is that we don't argue about it anymore because I don't have the energy, so I "gave up". He will never see it any other way than as it is pictured in his head and we all know that we cannot change them or their viewpoint of the world as they see it.

So to your questions, "Why in the world would you merely "go along" with a reasonable boundary? And, why would a reasonable boundary, lead to a "argument that spins out of control"?" They are not reasonable, they are self-serving, and they lead to arguments because initially I would not agree to allow him to continue to BE self-serving.

Ok I see...sorry, it was confusing, still kinda is actually. Then they're aren't boundaries, rather self-serving agenda's...this was off topic a little anyway, was just kinda confusing.
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hendo123
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« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2010, 02:39:57 PM »

Having previous individual therapy will make a HUGE difference in whether or not MC works, since those who are willing to get individual treatment are the ones who recognize - at some level - that they need help and are willing to seek out and work towards getting healthier.

Sadly, a great many of the members here don't have partners who fit that criteria. They have partners who are deep in denial and blame, leaving the non the focus of everything that is wrong. Without the ability to self analyze, then progress is pretty much doomed from the start.

Adding to those poor statistics is that so many nons feel like helpless victims too, so they wind up feeling stymied and unable to enact any changes on their own.

And round and round you go 

I find this topic very interesting, as me and my wife are going to MC at some point. Both of us are already in individual counselling (my wife's appears to be going well, mine less so, due to having a T who can't even remember what I told her in the last session - only had two sessions, but seriously considering looking for another T).

In my situation I am hopeful by your words UFN that those engaged in individual therapy have a greater chance of making MC work. My wife is also, at points, very reflective and shows great insight into her past, her behaviour and her need to change. All of that gives me hope - what I'm worried about is that she is saying it could be up to a year before she feels ready to start MC (i.e. after she has dealt with her own issues). I'm worried that is a long time before you start, especially as she is currently living seperately (though we have very regular contact, every day, only difference being i no longer sleep in the same house as her most nights). Is there an optimum time after individual counselling starts that MC should begin, or is it the same answer to "how long is a piece of string"?
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