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Author Topic: TREATMENT: Why marriage counseling so often fails  (Read 6668 times)
united for now
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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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2010, 03:06:46 PM »

In her "Essential Family Guide," Randi Kreger explains the pitfalls of MC with a Borderline.  It is a six stage process, and mine went exactly the way she said it would go (only read the book after the fact).  Someone should post the six stages, and I remember she says they are almost certain to happen, or something like that or as certain as the change of the seasons.  One of the thigs she says, and I had happen, was a MC who wasn't privy to the BPD issue (I really didn't focus on it, but it all makes sense now) could validate and reinforce the pwBPD's blame.  Soo true.  It invigorated my stbxw.  How can you both take an inventory when only one of you has eyes?
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« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2010, 03:15:02 PM »

Reminds me of a cartoon (Bill Eddy gets the credit; it's in his book).  The cartoon features a teenage girl sitting in her bed with her mom, who is standing over her from the hallway, folded arms, looking frustrated.   The daughter says, "So I blame you for everything.  Well, whose fault is that?"

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« Reply #27 on: April 13, 2010, 05:22:02 PM »

Wow, I'm glad this topic was introduced! I'm starting MC next week. I've never been in any type of therapy (went with her to one of her sessions with an old T, and witnessed her sit there, literally like a shy and mad 10 year old, talking only when pried open...[i thought: i'm paying for this?])

Her new T i think she trusts more and opens up to. She also has specific BPD experience and is a DBT group leader/teacher (although not for the group my wife attends). My wife wants help and to improve herself and our marriage too, so I guess I'll report back. Thanks greatdad, I will look into the Essential Family Guide to find out what to watch out for.
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« Reply #28 on: April 13, 2010, 07:15:32 PM »

Yay, my first non-intro post! Smiling (click to insert in post)  Thought I might be able to add something a bit different here.  Since I've never been married and am getting older than most that have, I'm now trying to have complete relationship cycles in 2 years or less.   My second last gf and I were together just under 1.5 yrs.  At around the year mark, we went to CC.  I suspected she might have NPD by that point (only thing I could find online to explain the bizarre things that happened - but now I think she may have had both strong B and N traits).  Anyway, I was actually going sincerely to see if we could work things out, improve our communication, etc (I was also in IC during that time - she had only gone once before on her own for a few sessions to get over some issue she had with her dad) - I didn't need the T to say it was all her fault or that she had a PD or anything like that.  I picked two people and said she'd have the choice on which one we'd go back to after the initial visit.

With the first one (who seemed to be more on her side - and of course who she picked later), I ended up looking crazy right at the end of the session because my ex whispered something that set me off and then claimed she didn't say anything (and the T didn't see/hear it).  My ex (who essentially admitted later the only reason she was going was to find out how the therapist would tell me I was crazy) said afterwards that she was glad the T could see how crazy I really am - and when I attempted to tell her using effective communication that my feelings were hurt, she called me a "big fat crazy baby."  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) (but at the time not very nice ;( )

Anyway, I was prepared for the second round with printouts - the T gasped at some of the incredibly hurtful things I listed that my ex had said to me on the several times I attempted to break up with her.  Then she witnessed us have an argument about a recent trip where my ex harassed me for two solid hours until I finally blew up (and then she gave me the silent treatment all evening/night) - it was mind-boggling, she would say "You did/didn't do [this]" and I would give her an example of how that's exactly what I did, and then she would say "but you didn't say it in [this] way" and I would give an example of that - and it just went on and on to ridiculous levels.  Clearly this time she was the one not looking so pretty.  Funny that after the first session, my ex suggested that we both agree to leave things from T in T and just go on with the rest of our day normally - but after that one she was furious (she rarely got visibly mad - she was quite good at getting her way without raging) and said "how dare you suggest we go to dinner after what you pulled in there?".

So she picked the first T - we went back, tried some effective communication - I went first - was fine.  Then I said some stuff and my ex had absolutely no idea how to reflect, validate, etc - couldn't even start.  So the T bit by bit fed her lines until she said the whole thing - completely unemotionally, like a robot.  That night, after sitting through the second half of dinner under silent treatment because I asked the wrong question, I decided to end things - she agreed (but then tried to get me back many times after).

ANNNYYYWAAYYYY so for my most recent gf (who does know something's wrong, has been in T previously for several years, and had a T who told her that she has strong BPD traits), she actually went to MC without me.  Yep, with her H.  They were separated when we met but that was one of the excuses she gave to give him another chance (and strung me along with) that she had to make sure she tried everything with him to make things work.  He seems to have strong N traits so the 2 or 3 sessions that they went to failed spectacularly (because of him, according to her, of course - but she's probably right - he never really listens/understands/follows-up - btw, I've met him!).  Yet she stays.  And because I'm in lo... I mean, codependent, I helped/supported her - to the point of almost killing myself (several times) - and am now for some crazy reason still considering whether or not we should be friends.  But currently have gone NC and am doing my best to stick with it.

I would really be interested to know how CC with her and I would have gone (if we'd had the chance in the future).  I definitely agree with what UFN wrote in the initial post anyway.  My IC said (with the first one above) that if I'm going to go to CC, (as is said often here...) I should focus on myself and my contribution (positive and negative) to the relationship - and the only thing needing addressing between the two of us would be better communication (although I'm not sure this part is the whole picture if a PD is involved).

Btw, I have a friend who has a (now-ex) gf (who appears to have strong B traits) who tried going to CC - they kinda went sporadically and it didn't really help much with them (although it did a bit, and *he* seemed to benefit somewhat) - they were also having IC with the same person - which I don't believe is really that good an idea from what I understand (and it did seem that there were some things going on that shouldn't have - like the T telling my friend what his gf said in her IC session...)

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« Reply #29 on: April 14, 2010, 07:04:23 AM »

My Husband and i went to theropy like 12 years ago him for his anger me for my codependance at the time that was a must we were separated and we made rules and one of them was to seek help to find out what was wrong. WE each had our own Therapist,

now through his therapist he told me that myhusband had a personality disorder and then through mine we came up with BPD, and that is when i started reading and learning coping skills,.

So in a way this is where THerapy helped it helped me i continued for a year so did my husband blamming me, for everything he couldn't take any of the blame.

during this year like i said i became stronger, and learned alot. i told him things had to change and they did but that was because i started setting some strong boundaries, and using the tools given to me.  after about a year and we got back to gether I beleived the Theapist told him about him having a personality disorder and then he was to never returned, i kept just learning what i could. but THerapy got my husband to see he needed AA again due to he got out, and so i can say THerapy helped but not in the way i would of liked due to my husband sees no proublem.
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« Reply #30 on: April 14, 2010, 08:33:52 AM »

Excerpt
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?

What kind of boundaries are you talking about here?

Ditto...I am wondering if his attempts at 'boundaries' are actually something else.  Many of us, upon our first attemtps to set boundaries, were not really setting boundaries...rather, we confused boundaries w/ trying to dictate the behavior of another person.  Which, usually, doesn't work, and doesn't go over well w/ the other person.

Boundaries, correctly done, may still not go over well w/ the other person...in deed, they usually do not!...but, I would be curious hear an example of one his boundaries.  What was it, how was it communicated (often they aren't even communicated but just acted on).   
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« Reply #31 on: April 14, 2010, 10:19:47 AM »

Actually, he has decided that his work and the things he feels he needs / wants to do WILL come first regardless of anything else planned and he has "enforced" this by just doing it, or by constantly "telling" me he must tend to his things first (to the point that I feel I am lectured about it daily). He feels this is necessary because he believes I am selfish and put myself before any of his needs. The fact is, there was a time when I had issues with him spending a lot of time at work, earlier on in the relationship...and it was due in part to the "activities" that had taken place "at work" before we were married. I have since changed that behavior because the relationship has brown, obviously. However, I still can't seem to get credit for that and he still feels the need to "remind" me he has things to do as well, even when I haven't said anything about it! He lived where he works, if that helps clear things up regarding the "activities" I mentioned. I have even asked to HELP him, and he still goes into his speech about how he has things he needs to do, etc etc etc...

Additionally, it was HE who decided he wanted to spend every waking moment of the day with me and then when he figured out that the things he needed to attend to were falling apart because of this, it became my fault that his things were not getting the attention they required, of course.

No win...
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« Reply #32 on: April 14, 2010, 11:30:16 AM »

hey...are you married to my fiance?

It sounds like there were some fairly signifiant trust issues caused by past behavior?  There certainly was in my case, too.

Excerpt
Additionally, it was HE who decided he wanted to spend every waking moment of the day with me and then when he figured out that the things he needed to attend to were falling apart because of this, it became my fault that his things were not getting the attention they required, of course.

No win

ughh...This sound very familiar, too.   Before DBT therapy, and especially the first year of the relationship, my finace did the EXACT same thing.  He overextended himself in requiring he be w/ me all the time...to the point where it actually felt werid to me, and I actually was verbally encouraging him to back off and to get back to work (he owns his own business) but I had to do that very carefully becasue I had already learned how hyper sensitive he was to any perceived critisizm.  :)espite the gentle proding to quit gloming onto me and to get back to work...he usually wouldn't...he had all sorts of excuses why not including that he'd been in a horrific 16 year long marriage and now that he'd found me (his perfect partner) he was more intersted in making the most of our time together and work could always wait.  And work did wait.  Until, finally some kind of crises would ensue (cause he'd not been engaged in work for so long).  Then, he'd grow extremely anxious, and would withdraw abruptly and almost completely, which would stimulate alarm in me especially when just days earlier I couldn't even get him to leave me alone...and when I'd try to check in to see when he was ever going to be availabe again, he'd speak to me in blaming terms about how he'd sacraficed his work to be with me...w/ a tone that suggested I had REQUIRED this of him.  It did feel like a no win...and it was crazy making.   We repeated this cycle on and off for the first year or more.

Over time and w/ therapy...his communication skills became better...he takes more ownership now of his own impulses and decisions.  Part of the crazy- making stuff was really crappy communciation skills, and part of it probably was a desire to off load the anxiety he was experincing by finding someone who 'caused it' who he could blame his bad feelings on.  That was really a bad habit and he is not so quick to do that anymore, but it took quite a while becasue in his FOO...that's how people operate...there's always someone or something outside of 'self' to blame, and no one takes any responsibility for their own lives/decisions.  

Now that he's been in DBT...he 'gets' that if he drops the ball on an aspect of his life, there will of course be consequences, and he is the one in charge of creating balance in his own life, not me, and not anyone else.  His first attempts to try to do this...were also...clumsy...and to me, his style was pendantic and abrasive.  I think he is less so now.  

To be honest...this, and all the other crazy making stuff, and the trust issues...did make me act out in a way that looked very borderline.  I gave him an article about BPD so that he might see himself...he probably saw me...I don't care...it got him into DBT therapy where he has learned skills that make him soo much easier to live with!  If he thinks all his learned skills were necessary to handle MY borderline traits...that's fine by me!  There's more than one way to skin a cat!  I don't even CARE anymore who the BPD is...I'm just gald this crazy making b.s. no longer permeates our lives!
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« Reply #33 on: April 14, 2010, 04:29:41 PM »

We've just been to our fourth session of MC. My BPDh is loving the attention and he is getting something out of it. I am not really, but am conscious of taking a back seat to allow H to explore himself. Yesterday he actually broke down and cried in our MC session. This was about his sister who died 40 years ago. Obvious he had never been able to grieve before. However, this self revelation has made him very anxious and he's now in a blue funk and picking on me for all kinds of stuff - mainly to do with money. I have poured myself a large brandy and have gone to bed in the spare room. Smiling (click to insert in post)

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« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2010, 09:37:25 AM »

I suggested MC just to start somewhere.  My H responded why, I wouldn't listen to anything that they would say I needed to work on.  So when he did his little song and dance on how I was the one with the problem and continued to tell me why.  He opened the door, I took it, made my own T appointment.  I will say he did try to sabotage me making it..didn't work.

Am so glad I went to my T, and luck had it that I found a good one.  When I repeated that my H wants to do joint..she said not in mine or his best interest and because of the problems of black and white he would have to see a different T.  She recommended another T and he has an meet and greet appoint friday with a new T..who does at least work with personality disorders.

Even now..I shudder to think, what MC would have been like..especially after a session.

The worst part out of it all...I have worked with mental health clinics in the past...but the realization on the time frame encompassed with setting appoints, waiting, referring to another..my heart really goes out to those seeking help.

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« Reply #35 on: April 15, 2010, 11:00:32 AM »

dsnutt: I can tell you exactly what it would have been like - disaster after disaster. Your T is exactly right - and mine came to the same conclusion after meeting with us jointly for a few sessions. We've stopped that. I'm doing my individual now. I'm NC with my W but I think she was going to continue with the same T. He actually asked if I thought that would be ok, which I thought was nice of him. He did mention that she needed a "higher level of care" than he might be able to give.

In short, seems like you are on the right path and your T did you a big solid.
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« Reply #36 on: April 15, 2010, 11:11:24 AM »

My T was going to see him.  I told her that it would not bother me but she had to know that he had already brought up that I probably poisoned him against here.

Although I really wanted a T for him that is as good as mine.. I had previous read some post on this, I did not hesitate to bring it up. 
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« Reply #37 on: April 15, 2010, 12:24:58 PM »

Excerpt
Missinterperted for what it's worth...IF you are accused of being BPD...it's not a bad thing...IF your mate is truly convinced, then HE should be the one reading up about how to deal with you. And at the same time, you learn about how to take care of yourself and recognize some of your own bad habits and fix them.

Couldn't agree more! I guess it is just so frustrating that they can't take a look in the mirror because they are too busy looking at us. My husband won't ever look at himself in a BPD light and that is just a shame. I am certain he reads up on BPD because he uses little "treatments" and "tricks" that he learned and they frustrate the hell out of me because I feel like I have to play the game just to keep the peace. I am truly not happy at all because of this game...it only makes me feel that as long as he has me to work on (and fix, and blame and "treat" that he will never try to fix himself (because in his world, he requires no fixing).

I will agree that I had MANY BPD traits back in the day but I have worked very hard to change those things within myself that even I felt were unacceptable. I am a better woman for it too. I love me!   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

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« Reply #38 on: April 15, 2010, 01:34:17 PM »

Excerpt
Missinterperted for what it's worth...IF you are accused of being BPD...it's not a bad thing...IF your mate is truly convinced, then HE should be the one reading up about how to deal with you. And at the same time, you learn about how to take care of yourself and recognize some of your own bad habits and fix them.

Couldn't agree more! I guess it is just so frustrating that they can't take a look in the mirror because they are too busy looking at us. My husband won't ever look at himself in a BPD light and that is just a shame. I am certain he reads up on BPD because he uses little "treatments" and "tricks" that he learned and they frustrate the hell out of me because I feel like I have to play the game just to keep the peace. I am truly not happy at all because of this game...it only makes me feel that as long as he has me to work on (and fix, and blame and "treat" that he will never try to fix himself (because in his world, he requires no fixing).

I will agree that I had MANY BPD traits back in the day but I have worked very hard to change those things within myself that even I felt were unacceptable. I am a better woman for it too. I love me!   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

Wow! The commonality of many of the post's on this forum are eerily similar. I simply can't comment confidently because I am so new to all this, yet I will say this...take heart, if your husband is interested enough to read and learn, he will learn in short order that this IS about him, and not you. The content of this site at least, has little to do with who's who, and what's what...as much as it is taking personal responsibility to improve oneself...that's what I've learned at least.

If there's one singular fact that I have learned here, and CONTINUE to learn...is that from all the research I do, and this site also, is about ME! It's not so much a label of BPD, and who has it, or not...the sypmtoms are so complex and varied it's vuirtually impossible to accurately diagnose...that's the not the point for me here...for me it's recognizing how I can be a better person. In that regard, it's EXTREMELY been helpful.
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« Reply #39 on: April 15, 2010, 08:01:13 PM »

My borderline wife and I have been going through counseling for a couple of months now. After a few sessions, the counselor told me privately that he detected that she has BPD. His awareness of this does help with the counseling, because it enables him to treat it as a "BPD situation". He told me not to tell her that she has BPD, but to let him gradually work towards the possibility of reccommending medication to her in one of the upcomming sessions without even mentioning the words "BPD". He says that eventually, no matter how carefull he is, he is sure to do something or say something that will trigger her anger towards him. My wife does a lot of the talking and the marriage counselor asks a lot of questions... If only my wife could see how ridiculous some of her "thinking" is - she would be embarrassed. It is truly "nuts" how she takes and interprets things. The counselor told me in private that I need some stress relievers like working out and taking walks. That is for certain! I almost feel like I need to be hospitalized after dealing with years of my wife's abnormal thinking, intense fits of anger at me, and verbal abuse. If I could only get someone to "babysit" my wife for one week, so I could get one week to detox from her, I'd be greatly relieved. Her secular job is a blessing, because it is about the only think that gets her out of my hair, so I can have a little space and sanity!
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« Reply #40 on: May 01, 2010, 05:16:50 AM »

If I could only get someone to "babysit" my wife for one week, so I could get one week to detox from her, I'd be greatly relieved. Her secular job is a blessing, because it is about the only think that gets her out of my hair, so I can have a little space and sanity!

Why don't you just take a break of a week? No need to babysit an adult. She is more functional than you think and she is likely to be more functional without you. You don't need her permission to do that...
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« Reply #41 on: May 01, 2010, 10:20:56 PM »

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. They don't have the skills to self regulate or soothe themselves, so they blame us to make themselves feel better.

My SO is a hypochondriac and uBPD.  I read the bits above from UFN and thought... wow, this explains my SO's hypochondria and why it consumes them to the point that they don't realize how it impacts others.    It also explains why the pain never goes away for them.   

I've connected the two issues for years now, but it's interesting to read these BPD traits and see them as feeding the hypochondria.    It's tough to feel better if you have no mechanism to psychologically make yourself feel better. 

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« Reply #42 on: May 04, 2010, 06:37:12 AM »

If I could only get someone to "babysit" my wife for one week, so I could get one week to detox from her, I'd be greatly relieved. Her secular job is a blessing, because it is about the only think that gets her out of my hair, so I can have a little space and sanity!

Why don't you just take a break of a week? No need to babysit an adult. She is more functional than you think and she is likely to be more functional without you. You don't need her permission to do that...

I think a ligh bulb has been lit over your head here.  Idea

Being trapped in this relationship comes from not understanding the mental illness. At least for me, gaining clarity and then dettaching has brought some much needed rest and freedom. I have begun to take responsibility for me and my stuff and have let go of thinking i am also responsible for her stuff. I ran on empty for a long long time. I had nothing to give because the tank was empty.

I have a picture in my head af a force field or shield around me that protects me from the verbal attacks and F.O.G. (fear-obligation-guilt) tactics or staying trapped in a very unhealthy relationship.

Your T is right on the money. Take care of yourself. Have fun. Eat well. Enjoy the company of others. Take a week away... or more.

Be prepared for the counter-moves! Decide what you are willing to allow in your life and set boundaries.

Stay strong and flexible.

God Bless you,

Enoch
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« Reply #43 on: May 04, 2010, 06:47:53 AM »

As a follow up to my last response: Adressing the idea of taking care of yourself.

It cannot go without saying that your BP mate is not going to take lightly the changes that you make. They have lived with you for a long time and are extremely perseptive. The slightest change will set them off. They will try all kinds of things to suck you back in to their comfort zone. To hell with your comfort zone!

Trust: My wife used her lack of trust in me to manipulate me for years. Of course, she did have some reasons to "not" trust me... I made mistakes. But I have been paying the price for mistakes that I made 20 years ago. (who wants to live that way?)

Well, let's put the shoe on the other foot. I think we trust our BP mates too much. We let them control us with their anger and their threat of punishment. We dance around issues for fear of rage ... etc etc ad-nauseum.    We actually tink we can fix them or keep them happy. Now that is just plain wrong!

Take care of yourself. I am not advocating harsh treatment, but on the contrary a very strong stance that will not allow fear obligation or guilt to control you... in  grace filled state!

Back to therapy question: Getting individual therapy ios taking care of yourself... get healty and understand your role. Make those changes and your world will take on a much brighter glow.

Love and peace,

Enoch
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« Reply #44 on: May 04, 2010, 09:57:08 AM »

How did MC work for those who did try it?

This is a great topic and couldn't come along at a better time.

We have been seeing a MC for a few months. Things had started to get better.

Then a week ago my SO did something small but the context it occurred in undid all the gains. Even our MC said that.

So it seems taht we now have to start over ... again. The truth is I don't know if I can or want to go back to ground zero. I'm also beginning to wonder if there is a point anylonger.



What went wrong?

I think that some of my expectations where to unrealistic and that contributed to some issues.

However, my SO doesn't open up in therapy. He doesn't open up much anywhere. But I am finding I do all the talking in therapy. I might as well be there alone.




What went well?

I developed a better understanding of myself. But right now, I can't claim that our relationship is better for therapy.




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

Yes, he goes to individual therapy and has homework he is supposed to do. But he's really bad about doing his homework. The longer he goes not doing the work the more likely he is to start BPD based issues again.



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« Reply #45 on: May 04, 2010, 10:27:01 AM »

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

- It helped me - not the marriage.  It was the first counseling I had and after 20+ years living with a person with no empathy and very invalidating it felt good having my feelings finally validated by someone.

- At the time I went I didn't realize (was in denial really) that husband had BPD and was pretty much at the end of my rope and loosing it with him big time.  MC helped me get back in control of my emotions.  I was so lost for a while there.

>>What went wrong?

- My husband's version of reality was very different then what reality was. 

- he would not admit to his actions.  He was physically abusive to me and completely denied it in counseling.  Can't work on the problem when they don't own up to it.

-He would tell the counselor what he felt looked good and said he would work on communications and stuff and when we got home he didn't try at all.  We would go back and he would say he tried doing what she told him and I was the problem - totally not reality.


>>What went well?

- between us - not one thing.  When we came to a list of actions we would try he would not do a thing when he got home.  Nothing changed at all.

>>:)id/Is your SO going to any individual T sessions?

- He was going to individual T all along and has gone for years. 
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« Reply #46 on: May 04, 2010, 11:06:43 AM »

My wife and I are separated and we've had a few MC sessions at this point.

It's been interesting. She is already long since diagnosed, and we are both already in individual therapy, so the whole "will this lead to her getting diagnosed/treated?" thing is not going on. And also because of that, the MC will absolutely not comment on whether anything is healthy or unhealthy in itself (outside of the most obvious "communication issues", anyway) - the MC will focus only on "so can you work that out, can you both be OK with that, can you both agree to a change".

My internal jury is still out on whether this will be helpful in the long run ... we'll see.
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« Reply #47 on: May 04, 2010, 02:00:13 PM »

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

- It helped me - not the marriage.  It was the first counseling I had and after 20+ years living with a person with no empathy and very invalidating it felt good having my feelings finally validated by someone.

- At the time I went I didn't realize (was in denial really) that husband had BPD and was pretty much at the end of my rope and loosing it with him big time.  MC helped me get back in control of my emotions.  I was so lost for a while there.

Yep ... its me doing me more individually rather than "us"


>>What went well?

- between us - not one thing.  When we came to a list of actions we would try he would not do a thing when he got home.  Nothing changed at all.

I am finding a similar situation. My SO may make some minor changes but it doesn't "stick" ..
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« Reply #48 on: May 05, 2010, 12:37:22 AM »

DBT is like emotional kindergarten for those who suffer from BPD. They need to go back to the very basics and learn emotional management 101. It ain't easy for them, since for all their lives they've trusted their defenses to take care of them - and now they are finding out that their defenses were actually destroying those around them.

What they thought was real, is being proven to be fake.

What they thought was fake, is being proven to be real.

It takes time to integrate and accept those kind of major changes.

Regular counseling just can't do that.

Marriage counseling just can't do that.

Neither of them explain things in ways they can get.

Neither of them helps them build the skills they are missing.

Having someone who suffers from BPD go see a marriage counselor is like essentially asking them to build a rocket and then not giving them the plans on how to do it...they don't know how to do what is being asked of them, so they rebel. We see it all the time in schools with children who can't read. They act up to shift the focus off the fact that they can't do the assignment. They would rather get in trouble for bad behavior than risk having anyone figure out they can't read and possibly believe they are too dumb to do the assignment.

pwBPD need more than regular therapy - they need more than assignments from a MC... they need emotional tutoring that only DBT provides... 
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« Reply #49 on: May 05, 2010, 02:32:48 AM »

Ironically, CC helped me end the relationship...

After an hour listening to her spin events, make things up and outright lie to convince the counsellor I was crazy, I finally saw her for what she was and realised I had to get out. I still didn't know about BPD, but I knew this wasn't something I wanted to be a part of.

Oddly enough, after an hour of vitriol, accusations and stating she 'didn't feel safe' with me around, she waited at the bottom of the stairs for a hug/kiss. What she got was "I'm sad you think those things about me" and 13 months (and continuing) of no contact.
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« Reply #50 on: May 05, 2010, 12:47:47 PM »

Books on BPD (like Walking on Eggshells) and this site is my T-sessions (no kidding).  I've learned more tools here than in months of T-sessions.  When the T gets close to a dx, we leave.
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« Reply #51 on: May 14, 2010, 05:55:36 AM »

DBT is like emotional kindergarten for those who suffer from BPD. They need to go back to the very basics and learn emotional management 101. It ain't easy for them, since for all their lives they've trusted their defenses to take care of them - and now they are finding out that their defenses were actually destroying those around them.

What they thought was real, is being proven to be fake.

What they thought was fake, is being proven to be real.

It takes time to integrate and accept those kind of major changes.

Regular counseling just can't do that.

Marriage counseling just can't do that.

Neither of them explain things in ways they can get.

Neither of them helps them build the skills they are missing.

Having someone who suffers from BPD go see a marriage counselor is like essentially asking them to build a rocket and then not giving them the plans on how to do it...they don't know how to do what is being asked of them, so they rebel. We see it all the time in schools with children who can't read. They act up to shift the focus off the fact that they can't do the assignment. They would rather get in trouble for bad behavior than risk having anyone figure out they can't read and possibly believe they are too dumb to do the assignment.

pwBPD need more than regular therapy - they need more than assignments from a MC... they need emotional tutoring that only DBT provides... 

When I went to MC, as we discussed issues, the therapist immediately zeroed in on the way that my SO was handling some things in our relationship and had me admit some things that probably wouldn't come as a shock to anyone who has watched a sitcom over the last 40 years (for example women are often less interested in sports than men, guys aren't as into clothes shopping as women).   The MC's basic point was that a marriage is a give and take, and what my SO sees as bad is a part of who I am, and how I'm trying to show my love.   

Of course, this is the point in the sitcom where the couple hugs and says sorry until the next episode when they mess it up again.   

Instead...   SO's reaction was to completely miss the point because the MC was "attacking them."

The upside was seeing someone who barely knew us so easily cut to the chase about the issues and have someone validate ME for a change.       
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« Reply #52 on: May 22, 2010, 03:18:33 AM »

my bf of 10yrs is uBPD and i'm only just accepting the reality of this.  i know counselling wouldn't work for us because he is 110% convinced that all his feelings are my responsability.  there are no BPD counsellers in the uk that i know of either.  but i know going would be another drama, listening to an inexperienced therapist assume that he is 'normal'.  it would be very damaging to me to have another pity party for a BPD at my expense.
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« Reply #53 on: June 05, 2011, 11:19:09 AM »

We tried couples therapy.

I spoke my own truth. My uBPDw did not.

From her point if view I  got labeled as being angry( by her, projection) and in need of anger therapy and she came out smelling if roses. It made ni sense to me as she was the one raging at me.

I have since met up with this therapist who said he could see it all way back then but there was no way to begin to explain. " besides you were not in a place where you might listen".

He was amazed that we got another 6 years out of our relationship.

pwBPD tend not to be totally honest during therapy. They hold a lot if stuff back and are overly concered with what others might think of them. So the show only their therapist what they are comfortable revealing.

MJJ
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« Reply #54 on: December 17, 2011, 07:24:27 PM »

My BPD partner and I each started individual therapy last summer. She has since stopped going stating she doesn't "trust" the therapist - or anyone else for that matter. I have literally been begging her to go with me to couples therapy for months. She always comes up with some reason to delay it into the future.

My question is am I just wasting my time by trying to get her to start couples with me? I've read on other sites that NPD/BPD people usually don't do well in these settings because they lack insight, can't handle or express feelings, and refuse to take responsibility for their part in the problems of the relationship. I can see this might be so since my SO accuses me of being the crazy one. 
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« Reply #55 on: December 17, 2011, 07:42:15 PM »

The fact that your wife(?) always has a reason not to get therapy is not exactly a good sign that counseling would be effective.  If she does go then it may likely to get you fixed as she doesn't need fixing.  Don't be surprised if she views it as an opportunity to rage at you and try to get someone on her side.  One upside is several T's and MC's were willing to testify in my divorce and custody battle in ways that favored me.

While this was my experience your mileage may vary considerably. 
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« Reply #56 on: December 18, 2011, 02:46:14 AM »

HA!

I remember when I brought this up with my partner.

I had told (ex bf of 2/3 days ago) Josh about how I believed that to solve many of the co-dependancy issues with my mother that we would need to see a professional. explaining that the experiences my mother and i had shared were pretty huge so we were going to need something huge to get as out. i explained that our issues are similarly very massive and that we would need something massive to get out. i asked would he like to do therapy? his response - i think your issues with your mother are bigger.  |> I wish I had taken that red flag there... but I didn't know then what I do now. If he doesn't want to seek help for our relationship there was not much I could do. I simply brought up what I was doing with my mother to demonstrate that I was taking ownership for my problems. i was also disheartened because i had really been sensative to his feelings. i made the suggestion more as a question rather then telling him what to do.

colt, I am curious as to how the discussion to do therapy was brought up?

however, the work you have done in therapy i am sure has been very real.. and it's good that perhaps you sought help for yourself as an individual. Currently I am reading the Buddha & the Borderline by Kiera Van. Gelder.. it mentions something about Internal Family Systems Therapy. I am looking at doing it myself as an individual.. because I am always an individual in a relationship too. IFS might be worth googling, I am getting get the opinions from others on here about the subject. I found it a struggle to read some of the books of therapists at the start.. and have half-started most of them.. Josh found it difficult to express what he was feeling so to read a book by someone with BPD helped me to understand the pain that he was in. I also delighted and got addicted to watching some people with BPD on youtube. Once I came to understand the pain that he was, I also recognised the pain I was putting him in by staying in the relationship. Ultimately, I sought help for my self because I was able to have compassion for him. But yeah Kiera's book is awesome. I can't put it down.
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« Reply #57 on: December 18, 2011, 11:06:12 AM »

Don't be surprised if she views it as an opportunity to rage at you and try to get someone on her side.

This is what happened to me. He succeeded. It was a horrible experience. I was verbally abused in therapy, with the therapist's support and approval of that abuse -- therapist insisted that I was the one misbehaving because I kept pointing out that black-painting/projection things he said were simply not true. (for some reason it became more important to validate his feelings about those things than validate my feeling that I am not the devil) He broke the 'rules' of the therapy and punished me for things I said in therapy, kicked me out of our home in response to something I said in therapy, and the therapist was blase' about it and in fact I had to tell her that this was against the rules she'd set out for us at the first session.

The marriage counseling, and (I very strongly suspect) the individual therapy he does now have had very negative effects. All they've done is teach him more ways to justify his behavior and blame me, and frame abusing me and being crazy controlling as self-care.

It's not much different from DBPD MiL. It took several years for her therapist to figure out it was BPD. And during that time there was a fair amount of "I described this to my therapist, and she says you're (insert psychobabble for "bad" here) and I should (insert psychobabble for "treat you like dirt" here)."
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« Reply #58 on: December 18, 2011, 11:53:22 AM »

My question is am I just wasting my time by trying to get her to start couples with me? I've read on other sites that NPD/BPD people usually don't do well in these settings because they lack insight, can't handle or express feelings, and refuse to take responsibility for their part in the problems of the relationship.

When my uBPDh raged that he was "sick and tired of competing for my attention with our 5 year-old son," I made an appointment with a counselor the next day.  I was 6 months pregnant and couldn't reconcile bringing another child into this situation. 

All told, I think we have seen at least four different therapists, been to Marriage Encounter, and done twice as many group sessions as our Kaiser insurance plan allowed. At our last (and final) meeting with a (very, very good) therapist, he was asked to describe the traits he would want in an "ideal" wife. His answer was to say that I (his current, and actual wife) have a drinking problem, he would love to "help" me lose weight, and that he has always seen me as the type of person who picks up a friend, gets what she needs, and then drops the so-called friend.  He’s waiting for me to drop him.  (We’ve been married for 37 years.)

To say that counseling with him is hopeless is a bit of an understatement.  He defended his horrible, horrible comments by saying that he thought the purpose of our seeing the therapist together was so that he could help me.  ! 

A)   I don’t want or need his friggin’ help.

B)   You can see that counseling will only help a person who is open to needing help, and willing to face his/her own issues. 

My stupid soon-to-be-ex is an adult child of alcoholics.  In counseling, he feigned ignorance of Al-Anon.  Claimed to be unable to find a meeting to attend.  (There’s one in our neighborhood, about 10 blocks from our house.) 

I’m not telling you not to try.  There are people who actually claim to have recovered from borderline personality.  And I have no reason not to believe them.  But they absolutely must want to change.  More than anything else. 

If you decide to pursue couples counseling, my advice to you is to keep an open mind, and watch and listen carefully.  Clarify everything that is said, and make sure that the conversation is about the relationship.

Oh, and make sure that you have a really good therapist.  That means that the therapist should not ever take sides with either one of you.  The therapist’s role is to facilitate clear communication between the two of you about things that you cannot talk about on your own. 

Good luck.  There’s hope, but  IMO, it’s a long shot. 

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« Reply #59 on: December 18, 2011, 01:00:58 PM »

colt,

I have been on these forums regularly for four years. In that time I have never seen a post reporting that couples therapy was successful in any way. The posts above are pretty typical of what to expect. I've read one where after couples therapy, they went back to individual therapy, and the T told the Non that she was the one with BPD, not him!

Read the success story currently in the Staying board. It starts with you focusing on YOU. Keep your therapy separate.
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« Reply #60 on: December 18, 2011, 03:25:35 PM »

Thanks for your responses so far. And Puglover, you asked how I started the discussion of couples therapy. To be quite frank, I have had the discussion and asked so many times I can't even remember how it actually started. It probably was when we were in the heat of anger and craziness and it was brought up as something to try and "save" us.

The more I hear the more I think it will not work now. She takes no conscious responsibility for our issues. Everything was caused by me - I invalidated her, I abused her, I am the cause of her lack of self identity and her feeling of disempowerment. It's the "I hate you, don't leave me scenario." She tells me she's not sure if our relationship is going to work out on a regular basis while at the same time she is talking about us moving together to California where we have a second home. I realize I'm being controlled and manipulated - as well as lied to regularly about both big and seemingly insignificant things. One days she's hating me, the next she's telling me how sweet something I said to her was.

I thought a neutral 3rd party might act as some sort of buffer so we can straighten things out. But I also know she is a master manipulator and can charm the pants off of anyone so I understand the posts about the T accusing the Non of being crazy or abusive. I guess I'll just continue my own therapy for now and see where all this goes.
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« Reply #61 on: December 18, 2011, 04:34:27 PM »

If you've never tried it, Colt, it might be worth a shot.   ?  I don't want to appear to be talking out of both sides of my mouth. 

If you've seen that she never takes responsibility for anything, you may be able to save yourself the  trouble... In my case, the last time we went to "couples" therapy, he told our daughter that we were in therapy again.  He was all happy about it.  Then, when he blurts out all the things that were wrong about me, his claim was that he thought we were in therapy to help me.  As Bugs Bunny used to say, "oh, bruddah!" 

My other suggestion is to talk to you T about it.  S/he should be better able to advise you, as s/he has heard stories about your pwBPD, and must have some inkling about whether or not you two might be able to work it out.  Good luck, Colt.   
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« Reply #62 on: December 18, 2011, 04:37:09 PM »

Thanks for your responses so far. And Puglover, you asked how I started the discussion of couples therapy. To be quite frank, I have had the discussion and asked so many times I can't even remember how it actually started. It probably was when we were in the heat of anger and craziness and it was brought up as something to try and "save" us.

The more I hear the more I think it will not work now. She takes no conscious responsibility for our issues. Everything was caused by me - I invalidated her, I abused her, I am the cause of her lack of self identity and her feeling of disempowerment. It's the "I hate you, don't leave me scenario." She tells me she's not sure if our relationship is going to work out on a regular basis while at the same time she is talking about us moving together to California where we have a second home. I realize I'm being controlled and manipulated - as well as lied to regularly about both big and seemingly insignificant things. One days she's hating me, the next she's telling me how sweet something I said to her was.

I thought a neutral 3rd party might act as some sort of buffer so we can straighten things out. But I also know she is a master manipulator and can charm the pants off of anyone so I understand the posts about the T accusing the Non of being crazy or abusive. I guess I'll just continue my own therapy for now and see where all this goes.

Yeah I grew sick of the begging and decided that convincing him to keep trying in the relationship was massively degrading and completely unsexy. I won't be seen as the nagging wife anymore if when I ask to my partner if he wants to see a therapist to work on the relationsio and he says no and can't think of any healthy alternative.. i'm out. wow, i think i have discovered a standard. nice :P now to stick to it. congratulations for taking responsibility of your issues.. you deserve to have someone who can do the same in the relationship. i'm so sorry that he was so hurtful and could not do this for you... it must be a massive whack to the head and disappointing. The thing is I have learnt that I cannont validate my ex every hour like he needs it is draining. most people have like 2 moods a day.. and i only have to validate those. but he has like 10 moods. people are unable to always validate you all the time.. also because not all of them have time.. eg. the bus driver has a job to do! learning self vaildation is key. This is very important for me because I did not receive that as a child and have grown dependant on the constant validation of others of my feelings. this is very dangous. it is nice to have somebodie's validatin but consider it a bonus to understanding in the communication rather than a need. but at the same time rememember how good it feels when others do it for you so you feel motivated to do the same. best of luck sounds like you are doing great.
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« Reply #63 on: December 18, 2011, 04:40:23 PM »

I thought a neutral 3rd party might act as some sort of buffer so we can straighten things out.

Ah you were thinking of relying on logic.

If you W is prone to splitting and b/w thinking there is no such thing as a neutral 3rd party in her mind.  As I noted above my X always tried to get the T or MC to see things completely her way.  Often it worked for a little while and X was happy.  Then they all tended to see things my way the X always determined the were incompetent and fired them, often in a rage.
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« Reply #64 on: December 18, 2011, 04:55:33 PM »

What is your goal with couples therapy?  If your partner is BPD, you are both better off learning skills individually before coming together.  MC with an untreated pwBPD is not recommended - a pwBPD naturally will triangulate the therapist and unless the therapist is using the High Conflict Couple approach, the results are not great.

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« Reply #65 on: December 18, 2011, 05:43:07 PM »

What is your goal with couples therapy?  If your partner is BPD, you are both better off learning skills individually before coming together.  MC with an untreated pwBPD is not recommended - a pwBPD naturally will triangulate the therapist and unless the therapist is using the High Conflict Couple approach, the results are not great.

I'm realizing that. I guess my concern is that she is now not in ANY type of therapy and is placing ALL blame on me. At the same time she is taking advantage of my wanting to save the relationship by playing into my own issues (FOG). I realize I also need to adress my own issues individually. I thought that if we went to therapy together at least we were working on our relationship instead of avoiding the things between us that need to be discussed.
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« Reply #66 on: December 18, 2011, 05:57:33 PM »

What is your goal with couples therapy?  If your partner is BPD, you are both better off learning skills individually before coming together.  MC with an untreated pwBPD is not recommended - a pwBPD naturally will triangulate the therapist and unless the therapist is using the High Conflict Couple approach, the results are not great.

I'm realizing that. I guess my concern is that she is now not in ANY type of therapy and is placing ALL blame on me. At the same time she is taking advantage of my wanting to save the relationship by playing into my own issues (FOG). I realize I also need to adress my own issues individually. I thought that if we went to therapy together at least we were working on our relationship instead of avoiding the things between us that need to be discussed.

Perhaps pick up a copy of High Conflict Couple - it doesn't mention BPD and it might help give each of you some tools.

My experience with MC was...it prolonged the inevitable. The goal of MC was to keep us together; as such, my pwBPD would change the rules there just like at home.  I spent a lot of the time lost and feeling somewhat defensive with both of them. What MC did do for me was give me the peace of mind that I did everything that I could to save the marriage.

Keep practicing the staying board lessons, it does help. 
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« Reply #67 on: December 18, 2011, 06:12:45 PM »

Hey!  I just had an epiphany, Colt.  I am reading an ebook called The Other Side of BPD.  It's written by A.J. Mahari, who was BPD, and successfully completed therapy so that she can now say that she's recovering.  I'm finding this ebook to offer me some really important insights about ME -- why I bought into this r/s in the first place, how I've been walled in, and why, as a non, I have the ability to walk OUT.  It's been very freeing. 

Here's a link to the book: www.phoenixrisingpublications.ca/item.php?itemId=39&category=13

(I think I'm allowed to do this here... If not, mods, sorry!)
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« Reply #68 on: January 06, 2012, 07:58:56 PM »

I wasn't married to my ex, but I certainly intended to be. In every (emotional) respect I was as committed to her as if married and fought to the bitter end.

We attended relate (an MC service in the UK.) It was just after my Mother had died, she set the first appointment for the day of the funeral as she didn't think we'd stay long.

During MC (or rather RC) I heard so much changing of history and projection it was overwhelming. I was virtually speechless, I fell back into confusion and shame.

After the meeting she told me how much of her personal history she had deleted since it would have taken far too long (she has a very long history or anorexia, PD, drugs and general experience with mental health services)

I think if it ever reaches the point that things have become so disregulated that MC or RC just won't work under the traditional model.
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« Reply #69 on: January 07, 2012, 02:37:58 PM »

Well, I don't know if this is is good or bad but my BPDSOgf has finally agreed to go to couples therapy. For over 6 months she has refused (passive aggressively rather than overtly). Suddenly she agreed to one of my frequent requests. It actually caught me off guard. This is not going to be traditional weekly couples therapy. It's a workshop given over the course of a 3 day weekend. I proposed going to one they offered in July hoping to get her used to the idea but she said, "Why wait? They have one the end of January so let's go." It's supposed to be the equivilent of 3-6 months of weekly therapy. Also the focus of the therapy is not blame. It's a form of therapy called Imago. I know DBT would be preferable but, at this point, I am hopeful that she has agreed to ANY type. And, so far, she hasn't wavered. She still wants to go.

I am cautiously optimistic for the first time in a long time.
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« Reply #70 on: January 16, 2012, 06:02:49 AM »

I'm the daughter of a uNPD/BPD mother. I'm mostly on the 'Coping with relatives' Board. 

At 39 I have a lot of BPD fleas myself and have found it really difficult to enter and sustain healthy relationships. I've spent 2 out of the 3 years I've been with my current boyfriend in couples therapy. It has been incredibly expensive but we both work full-time and we have pooled resources to afford this. I feel incredibly lucky and privileged that he has stuck with me through my recovery from a lot of BPD-like behaviours and an anger management problem.

We don't yet live together, I had too many issues to exist with that level of day-in, day-out intimacy. We are working towards that. I could not have coped with marriage when I was younger, it would have ended in divorce. I am glad we have done all this work living mostly apart. I had a very abusive childhood and easily feel crowded and claustrophobic.

I'd say what has been key to saving our relationship is a therapist who doesn't fall for my cr*p but, at the same time, she has allowed me to cry and rage in therapy and given me a safe space to do so. She has also given my boyfriend the space to have his say and air his own feelings - which I was not giving him the space to do, nor was I listening to him.

Maybe what is different about me and many full-on PD'd people is that I desperately want to change, and I am totally committed to making my relationship a healthy one. I was just well enough to respond to couples therapy but only just. I am also forking out money for my own therapist as well. There is still a lot of damage from my childhood, adolescence and young adulthood to fix.

I think marriage counselling often fails as marriage itself is such a massive thing to enter into if your emotional health is not good. My BPD mother should not have got married and had kids, she was not fit to do so. Counselling cannot make a silk purse out of a sows ear.

If one of you has a serious mental illness (and full blown BPD is a serious illness) how can you expect an intervention to work that is designed for relatively healthy people?

Annie
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« Reply #71 on: January 17, 2012, 09:41:15 AM »

After I meet with his therapist.

Her words, "What was I wanting out of this relationship, because SO is unable to give anything to the relationship.  He is not capable of being part of the relationship, and he has quite a road ahead of him."

Marriage counseling is for the marriage, but they have to be ready to have a relationship, most BPD's aren't.
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« Reply #72 on: February 08, 2012, 01:41:55 PM »

Well believe it or not, my SO wife, would like to try "intense/private marriage counseling" as a last resort.  She knows things are ugly, but she still refuses to look at herself for one minute.

I have seen on the boards that marriage counseling often doesn't seem to work with BPD. We tried briefly, but shortly thereafter she admitted herself to a women's substance and abuse facility that did absolutely nothing for her/us except making things worse.  She is not an alcoholic and doesn't touch drugs, and they told her "nothing is wrong with her."   She found the place herself, didn't consult with me, and just left the next day for 30 days.  Oh, and somebody stole her wedding ring to boot.   She left for this treatment center because she didn't know what was going on with her and she was "beating her husband."  (After many rages including spitting, yelling, breaking my finger, my ulna (on diff occasion), other physical abuse, screaming, tantrums, breaking a few computers, mirrors, the usual BPD stuff, etc, etc).

Anyway, are there any resources that may combine marriage counseling with a BPD specialist?   Is this common? 

Once she found out I was looking at a BPD specialist at Hopkins and she had a complete fit on me (I said I was thinking of this person for me...).    It would love for a counselor bring these issues out and talk to her/us about them and address them together.  I feel this is the only way this marriage will last and even if it doesn't, I feel she will continue on with life with the same patterns of broken relationships, mistrust of everyone, and never address the real, unresolved issues from her childhood and young adult life.




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« Reply #73 on: February 10, 2012, 02:00:23 PM »

Hi PA_Someday,

a possible plan and in order for it to work I would seek out someone specializing in CBT and/or DBT who also offers MC. But please forgive me for being skeptical. It may pay to follow me here closely as details matter, attitudes matter, expectations matter and ability to cope matter a lot and knowing where the challenges are may help to overcome them...

Well believe it or not, my SO wife, would like to try "intense/private marriage counseling" as a last resort.  She knows things are ugly, but she still refuses to look at herself for one minute.

So this is going to work - "intensive"? Refusing to look at herself and counseling? PwBPD are very sensitive and the challenge to look at themselves usually overwhelms them. You also have the attitude that she needs to look at herself. Which if it happens leads to dysregulation and if it does not happen soon leads to your disappointment. DBT starts with validation and building a relationship between T and pwBPD which does encompass validation of the pwBPD and their reality - a fairly distorted one. Not sure you have, with your opinion of her having to look at herself, the distance to stomach that (besides what good would it do to you or the relationship).

I have seen on the boards that marriage counseling often doesn't seem to work with BPD. We tried briefly, but shortly thereafter she admitted herself to a women's substance and abuse facility that did absolutely nothing for her/us except making things worse.  She is not an alcoholic and doesn't touch drugs, and they told her "nothing is wrong with her."   She found the place herself, didn't consult with me, and just left the next day for 30 days.  Oh, and somebody stole her wedding ring to boot.   She left for this treatment center because she didn't know what was going on with her and she was "beating her husband."  (After many rages including spitting, yelling, breaking my finger, my ulna (on diff occasion), other physical abuse, screaming, tantrums, breaking a few computers, mirrors, the usual BPD stuff, etc, etc).

Did nothing? During that time did you get beat? Did things not calm down a little? Distance can sometimes help.

Anyway, are there any resources that may combine marriage counseling with a BPD specialist?   Is this common?  

Once she found out I was looking at a BPD specialist at Hopkins and she had a complete fit on me (I said I was thinking of this person for me...).    It would love for a counselor bring these issues out and talk to her/us about them and address them together.  I feel this is the only way this marriage will last and even if it doesn't, I feel she will continue on with life with the same patterns of broken relationships, mistrust of everyone, and never address the real, unresolved issues from her childhood and young adult life.

Talking and being sensible does not help much. The pwBPD is running into problems when she is not sensible i.e. dysregulated. To deal with that one needs intensive training and time. We can help a little with regulation by validation  and we can make sure with boundaries that their problems stay where they belong. Sounds hard but helps them to see who has caused them in the first place. And by this often help them not to project their problems on us and enable them to regulation. Boundaries are absolutely key when it comes to DV. Not just to protect yourself - and it sounds like you have a real need here - but to improve emotional regulation on the other side and preventing the worst from happening.

Working together sounds find until you realize that it can easily, very easily lead to blurring the boundaries. Working together on your respective personal boundaries is not a good idea - how can you discuss with your wife what your values are and where you should draw the line in the sand and how you will protect yourself if she steps over? Undermines the exercise (note: I not saying boundaries should be secret here, but the process is private).

You have a DV problem which is almost always a sign of weak boundaries. Separation of stuff is very important for you. Please check out this workshop: US: Dealing with Enmeshment and Codependence and this workshop:    

BOUNDARIES: Upholding our values and independence
.



Of course you can play tactical game, find a T who has a clue about BPD and does MC and then you get totally upset about the T and dropping out leaving your wife the trophy of a T  Smiling (click to insert in post) and getting your own one to get back to her (validating her feeling there are conflicts   ).
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« Reply #74 on: February 10, 2012, 02:15:47 PM »

High Conflict Couple is a book that uses DBT skills without bringing up BPD.  If you found a MC that has some experience with working from that model it might be helpful.

The workshops suggested by An0ught will be quite valuable.

Peace,

SB
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« Reply #75 on: February 27, 2012, 03:33:26 PM »

MC for us was quite frankly a waste of $250-$500 every month, depending on how often we went.

My BPDH wouldn’t usually try to blame me, b/c he found out early on he could not get away with that one.  But, he would blame others from his past, as well as past uncontrollable incidents of unfortunate fate that were traumatic.  Even though he finally stopped doing that, he never took any responsibility for himself regardless.  I think b/c internally, he still blamed his past, even though outwardly, he wasn’t expressing this.  He learned in some respects what to say and what to avoid saying (mirroring).  All I can say is that he still fails to take responsibility for himself.

I would let PDH do most of the talking at the start of each session, but it would get to the point where it sounded as if we had no problems.  He would try to paint this picture of an ideal that in reality did not exist.  I would finally have to step in and fill in the gaps where he failed to do so.  If I wasn’t there, the therapist would have only heard half the story, if that, and would think that other than a few little occasional snafus, everything was honky dory.  As if!

The last therapist that we saw together was always validating of me and clearly understood what I was going through, so that part helped.  But I could have gotten that from an individual therapist.  I guess what helped – rather, what was supposed to help, b/c I don’t think it ever really did – was that H was there to hear the validation.  In other words, he couldn’t argue that I was in the wrong with my perceptions, b/c the therapist generally sided with me (though not in a way that made H feel ganged up on).

Yes, the gist was working on communication, though the couples counselor felt I had that part down pat.  It was BPDH who didn’t, and still doesn’t.

BPDH recently fired our couples counselor, and I had also been seeing my own therapist anyway, and still am.  BPDH just started seeing therapist #4 for him in as many years.  I have no hope that anything will change from his end.

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« Reply #76 on: March 16, 2012, 11:55:22 PM »

In my 26 year marriage to uBPDxh, we were in counseling off and on from year one. I was encouraged that my ex would go to counseling, though frustrated and confused at why it did not produce lasting changes. I kept depending on counselors to have the answers.  Multiple counselors did not pick up on the BPD piece, and my ex seemed to enjoy trying to charm the women therapists--or getting them to feel sorry for him. His early wounds were from his mom, and it makes sense now how he looks for connections and nurturing from female relationships. The several male therapists didn't last long---ex got upset and refused to go back. It wasn't until I read SWOE's that it all started to make sense.  It's my opinion that the vast majority of counselors are not educated on high functioning BPD's---and only look for low functioning symptoms for BPD consideration. So it was missed---and that was the elephant in the room all along.







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« Reply #77 on: April 24, 2013, 05:10:49 PM »

Hello everyone.  My first post here.  I am currently in marriage counselling with what I believe to be an uBPDw, I think that's the right abbreviation.  So many of the posts in this thread resonate with me.

We have had three different marriage counselors over the years. My wife regularly dissolves into floods of tears whenever we attend counselling sessions. She is extremely intelligent, and always describes her plight with such great passion,clarity and anguish. Most people who hear her story immediately assume I must be a really terrible husband, including the counsellors/therapists.  She always somehow manages to put spin on everything to make even the tiniest domestic incident seem like it was a horrible slight against her, usually without materially changing the facts too much, which I think is in some ways quite an amazing skill. I usually try to patiently explain to the counsellor that the incident described didn't feel at all like that to me, but because I do not immediately seem to respond to the floods of tears and upset from my wife, I am often labelled as callous, or 'not in touch with my emotions', which just validates my wife's point of view that I am the cause of all our problems.  Over the years, she has tried in turn to label me with things like Asperger's Syndrome, to account for this lack of sympathy with her point of view.  I feel it is very difficult to be sympathetic towards something that didn't seem to actual happen, at least in the way it was described.

Often, as soon as the sessions are over, the tears immediately switch off, and my wife goes back to being her usual, rather detached self.   It seems like a performance to me, but if I suggest this to her, my wife uses that as a weapon against me, and tells the therapist that I am so callous that I even accuse her of trying to manipulate me via her anguish, to which the counsellors usually look duly horrified.   I even got a kiss today after the session, straight after reeling off all the horrible things she claims I do to her to make her feel so terrible that she had to cry throughout the whole session.

The therapists all seem very convinced by her. I pointed out that her crying through the whole session isn't very easy for me to deal with, but was told by the therapist that 'feelings can't be controlled'. If I try to point out the logical inconsistencies in her account of events, which there are occasionally, I am criticised for being "too rational", and not 'engaging on an emotional level' with our problems. 

Another problem is that the same rules don't seem to apply to me as to her.  She will quite happily criticize me for something, and the therapist will agree with her that this is unreasonable or undesirable, but if I then point out that she also does the same thing, this is somehow 'different', or in a different context that makes it acceptable.  The therapist never calls her on it, and says 'But this is just the same thing you claim your husband does, which you say hurts so much'.

The therapist asked us to summarize our childhood experiences.  My wife initially refused to talk about hers - she had a really difficult relationship with her mother, and I think she thought it would prejudice her argument to talk about it.  Even though she glossed over the worst parts, there was still a lot there for the therapist to get stuck into. However, instead the therapist opted to home in on my childhood (which was mostly happy, and I told her so) somehow in a bid to try and 'prove' that it wasn't as happy as I said it was.

We have three children, and the extremely difficult atmosphere in the household is affecting them too.  But according to the therapist, my poor attitude towards my wife is what is really affecting their views.  She essentially argued that because they are children, their views on us as parents don't really count for much, and so I should always support my wife, even if the children complain about how they are treated, and even if I sympathize with their complaints.  She essentially argued that I am teaching my children to disrespect their mother, by my own poor attitude towards my wife.  When I asked how I should behave when my children come crying to me because of horrible things their mother has said to them, she just said I should believe and support my wife.  But my own experience tells me that my wife does say horrible things, and then tries to spin them to seem less horrible - because she does the same thing to me too.

If I express any upset or frustration to my wife at the things she has said or done, she makes it seem like I am the problem, and claims I won't stop 'going on' about things, and have an inability to 'let go' of situations.  She never apologies for anything, never admits guilt, and never seems sorry about what she has done. 

I don't think I will go to another joint counselling session.  It seems a waste of money, and the therapist is so clearly in my wife's corner.  She essentially justified this today by arguing that she didn't want to see my wife go back into hospital (she briefly admitted herself to psychiatric hospital 8 years ago).


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« Reply #78 on: July 08, 2013, 07:10:19 AM »

My BPD wife and I have been married for nearly six years. Back in December I got tired of her constant misdirections, inconsistent messages and telling me that all the mistakes she had made were my fault. I had an affair and ultimately left her for the other woman.

Over an extended period she begged me to come back and said she would forgive my affair. When we went to counselling it was instantly all about her and about my affair. She neatly pushed aside everything she had done and the first three sessions were instantly about what I had done to her. The abusive Facebook post, repeated broken promises and horrendoous debts didn't even get discussed.  It became like a three ring circus. Since then she has hit me and locked me in the house during arguments.

Right now she is telling me that she's changed that she realises she has issues but she still loves me and she wants to put it right. Even so when I raise things like her locking me in or the time she smashed a bottle of drink on my doorstep she seems to say that while she is sorry she did these things surely I must recognise that they were my fault.

She wants to try again and get more counselling but I have to say I am struggling with it slightly. I love her to bits and the chemistry is amazing but I don't know I can get the confidence to expose myself to potentially getting the BPD run around again. I think if you are going to get counselling then you absolutely have to make sure the counsellor will have experience in dealing with any specific underlying issues that either of you suffers from.

Certainly in our first round of marriage counselling the counsellor went straight for the victim act, as a result didn't get all the issues on the table and thus completely missed the broadness of our issuies.
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« Reply #79 on: July 08, 2013, 07:11:57 AM »

I shoudl add we went to marriage counselling two years previously at my request. The counsellor called her out on her behaviour and she decided there was no point going anymore because he didn't get her.
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« Reply #80 on: July 08, 2013, 12:00:16 PM »

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?

How did MC work for those who did try it?

What an utter waste of time for me!  My x IS a therapist, so when we went for counseling, she would put on her own “therapist” face and manipulate the hell out of the situation. 

What went wrong?

I essentially had two therapists ganging up on me.  It was intimidating, abusive, and obviously MY feelings were minimized. 

What went well?

NOTHING AT ALL

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

She said she was / is, but again, her being a therapist herself, I am sure she manipulates, omits, and adds to her stories to play the “victim” role.

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« Reply #81 on: November 18, 2017, 05:44:04 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 



My partner initially sought therapy when we first started dating which made me hopeful.  However, he stopped going, and began to blame me for all the problems in the relationship.  We tried couple's counseling, and that was not helpful.  I was often blamed for his outbursts, I was told by my ex and and the T that I was judgmental, but I was like, didn't you just judge me?  It was very hard, I'm quick to look at my piece and take too much responsibility, and I think my partner took advantage of that, and the two therapists we saw were lazy and also took advantage of that.  That is my piece - I abandoned myself. 

Anyhow, I shared all this to say, that going to therapy doesn't necessarily mean someone is willing to work on themselves, rather that they want to give the impression of working on themselves.
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« Reply #82 on: July 19, 2018, 12:45:00 AM »

I would say MT was a total unmitigated disaster and it has put my marriage on the brink of divorce. I have twin six year old boys so the consequences are not limited to me and my SO either.

I went to counseling with my wife after she attacked me during a fight. I asked her to seek counseling. She made a phone call, after which she decided based on that phone call that she was being emotionally abused. Soon after that she had a panic attack.

I was pretty depressed at this time due to a stressful job transition and our relationship troubles.

We went to counseling and our marriage counselor emphasized that we learn how to really listen to each other and really speak our truth. Quickly everything was based on my depression. We would make agreements in counseling and she would fail to follow them. When I tried to make her accountable, I was belittled. Sometimes the counselor failed to hold her accountable after promising to do so. I became distraught in counseling several times and the MT would belittle me and admonish me. Several friends of mine questioned me about our counselor, but I stayed committed to our process, until one day my wife declared, "I don't want to work on it anymore," as though she had ever wanted to work on it. I din't know about BPD at that point and was very confused. I was taking responsibility for everything.

My individual counselor has been good at helping me get my bearings these last few months. I have also read some good books about separation and BPD. I have worked to create a pretty peaceful home life, but its still pretty rough. I think our MT helped devalue me to the point that I don't know if my marriage will ever recover.

Recently though she has agreed to go to counseling with me again. She has been asking to go to mediation, and I have been resisting, but I got her to agree to go to counseling as a precursor to mediation. I will try hard to find a good counselor. Would appreciate any tips. Its interesting that she says she is frustrated that I wont agree to mediation but is relying on me to set things up. Totally typical.
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