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Author Topic: 2.09 | Stopping Circular Arguments  (Read 49355 times)
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« on: May 03, 2010, 11:22:26 AM »

We've all been in them - those horrible arguments discussions. You know, the ones that make you want to

They go round and round and round.

Your SO doesn't even make sense half the time.

You're not even sure what you are arguing about  

They can go on for hours and hours.

No one ever wins them.

Both people get hurt by them.

You want to pull your hair out  

Why do they happen?

Cause our partners are mentally ill and have difficulty expressing themselves in clear enough fashion for us to understand.

Cause our partners are mentally ill and feelings = facts to them.

Cause our partners are mentally ill and they need to control what they can - us.

Cause our partners are mentally ill and can't stand to lose.

Cause we like to "be right" too.

Cause we can't let it go either.

Cause we need to prove our point.

Cause we are too afraid to walk away from the argument.

Cause we want to hurt them back.

Cause we feel trapped - either literally or emotionally.

Cause we hope that we can change their minds.

Cause we hope that we can get them to understand.

Cause we are co-dependent and need to "fix" them and their flawed way of thinking.

How do we stop them?

By taking control of the only thing you can - yourself.

That means that you recognize what is happening - a pointless argument that is going badly and that needs to end - then finding the courage/strength/attitude to  take action and take a TIME OUT .

~ You don't wait to win or lose. It's not a competition.

~ You don't worry about how they will respond. This is about protecting yourself - not them.

~ You don't hope that it will end soon. You are not a helpless victim.

~ You don't fear their anger. You have a right to protect yourself from harm.



Write this on something and read it 10 times a day till you firmly get it.

* Don't argue

* Don't defend

* Don't justify

* Don't explain

* Don't counter attack

* Take care of yourself and take a time out.

<br/>:)o you feel strong enough to stop the argument?

What do you fear if you don't?



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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2010, 12:15:12 PM »

most of the time... if R and i get stuck going round and round... its bc hes trying to get validation... so he keeps saying the same thing... phrased different until that happens... sometimes... or adding more and more reasons why he feels hit

i think... validating is just a skill that takes a lot of practice... and a lot of willingness to use... not willing to learn to validate... probably not going to be a real fun relationship for the person w/BPD or the person with them...

we dont have to many 'discussions' like that tho... hes getting a lot better at saying if he needs a minute to figure out how to explain what is going on... and what is happening
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« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2010, 12:27:37 PM »

UFN I wanted to say how lucky we are you have remained to guide us.  I love the wisdom that you give in your post.

Excerpt
That means that you recognize what is happening - a pointless argument that is going badly and that needs to end - then finding the courage/strength/attitude to  take action and take a  TIME OUT .

~ You don't wait to win or lose. It's not a competition.

~ You don't worry about how they will respond. This is about protecting yourself - not them.

~ You don't hope that it will end soon. You are not a helpless victim.

~ You don't fear their anger. You have a right to protect yourself from harm.

Write this on something and read it 10 times a day till you firmly get it.

* Don't argue

* Don't defend

* Don't justify

* Don't explain

* Don't counter attack

* Take care of yourself and take a time out.


Do you feel strong enough to stop the argument?

What do you fear if you don't?

I am taking it a step up, I am no longer leaving to take a break.  He can work with this with his T.  I don't know if it is the right way but I have been doing these tool and it works... if I leave.  He knows after the fact this what he does is not right... .time to step it up... .your talking to a T... if he can't help you find someone who can.  

I don't leave my house when others have their panties in a wad... .I am not doing it anymore because my H does.  If I have to leave because I fear that he can't control himself or leave me alone when I no longer want to participate in a conversation than I don't need to live here anymore.

D*mn... guess I am back to my old self.  But I wouldn't be at this point were for working on these tools.  Taking breaks and disengaging as released me of my fog.  

I

* Don't argue

* Don't defend

* Don't justify

* Don't explain

* Don't counter attack


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« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2010, 12:33:37 PM »

Write this on something and read it 10 times a day till you firmly get it.

* Don't argue

* Don't defend

* Don't justify

* Don't explain

* Don't counter attack

* Take care of yourself and take a time out.

J.A.D.E. =

don't need to:

Justify

Argue

Defend

Explain

Thank you for the reminder UFN.
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« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2010, 12:36:54 PM »

most of the time... if R and i get stuck going round and round... its bc hes trying to get validation... so he keeps saying the same thing... phrased different until that happens... sometimes... or adding more and more reasons why he feels hit

i think... validating is just a skill that takes a lot of practice... and a lot of willingness to use... not willing to learn to validate... probably not going to be a real fun relationship for the person w/BPD or the person with them...

we dont have to many 'discussions' like that tho... hes getting a lot better at saying if he needs a minute to figure out how to explain what is going on... and what is happening

An excellent point dados  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

Validation can make a difference... .I've seen it happen time after time.


I just worry that people tend to stick around thinking they can validate their way out of an argument and taking abuse the whole time. Validation is one tool that can build closeness and trust - yet it should never be done at the price of abuse  :'(


Auspicious has a great saying I like to use:

Excerpt
Boundaries protect us - but validation connects us. 

Both have their time and place... .sometimes in the same conversation.

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« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2010, 12:51:08 PM »

Excerpt
I just worry that people tend to stick around thinking they can validate their way out of an argument and taking abuse the whole time. Validation is one tool that can build closeness and trust - yet it should never be done at the price of abuse 

true... if things get too heated... then its time for a break... most of the time... things dont get to that point... between us... both R and i are pretty good about taking time out to cool off now... before things get too intense... definitely dont think anybody should stick around to get abused... validating usually happens before theres a argument... good prevention...

Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) helps kind of... english aint my first language... so i get that... sometimes it takes a few times using different words to get your point across... even when speaking the same language out loud... sometimes emotionally... takes a few tries to get the point across...
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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2010, 01:52:52 PM »

I no longer worry about right or wrong. I no longer worry about entitlement. I gave up on self-righteousness a while back.

I hate to argue. I hate it with a passion a pointless arguement.

So, I just walk away now. Even have a boundary in place to deal with this one.

"I will not allow my self to be dragged into pointless conversations/arguments that go round and round and never get any where."

I think I used to worry about being falsely acccused of something. I really do not like being told I've done something when I haven't.
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2010, 02:23:52 PM »

I had to walk away this weekend for a bit.  She is just so angry at everything.  Though I understand why and I understand she has every right to be, a lot of the anger is misdirected square at me.  For asking the wrong question, for thinking the wrong thought, for caring about her wellbeing... .and then minutes later for not being around more.  We started to get into it about a question I asked.  She interpreted it one way, I meant it a complete other.  I stated one time why I asked it and she continued to get very angry and repeated why she was upset.  I made one attempt at validation and didn't even get the sentence out.  And that was it.  I just let it drop.  We sat in silence the entire way home.  I haven't talked to her since because she has gone silent/invisible.   

On the one hand it is good to not be triggered into defending myself anymore; on the other, it is hard to walk away when I do feel like any form of self expression for her right now may be healthy.  I know fully why she is on edge and upset - it's hard to balance knowing that and allowing her to get some of it out - and my own health.  I just don't want to be the punching bag though. Everytime I allow it it just seems to fuel her negative view of me.  She both believes what she says and sees me stick around.  It's just not ok from any persepctive.  Ugh.   
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2010, 02:30:06 PM »

Write this on something and read it 10 times a day till you firmly get it.

* Don't argue

* Don't defend

* Don't justify

* Don't explain

* Don't counter attack

* Take care of yourself and take a time out.

OK - I see what the ":)on'ts" are.  But, what do we do?  My wife baits and tries to force me into arguments all the time.  When I get accused of things I didn't do, what do I do?  When she sends me an email with a dozen different accusations, or questions posed to start an argument, what do I do?

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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2010, 02:36:17 PM »

ignore it... if you know its bait... dont bite... do something else...
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2010, 03:45:04 PM »

this is just a great thread here and im glad i came up on it, because this is exactly where i seem to be stuck all the time, im always getting myself caught up in arguing, and defending, and wanting to make my point accross, but all that does is making my wife more and more distent and not able to trust that i can ever be there for her which is what i really want, but just the other day she expressed to me how each and everytime she tries to communicate her feelings to me, then i always somehow end up making her feel worse because usually i end up missing those opportunities to validate her.
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« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2010, 12:58:05 AM »

OK - I see what the ":)on'ts" are.  But, what do we do?  My wife baits and tries to force me into arguments all the time.  When I get accused of things I didn't do, what do I do?  When she sends me an email with a dozen different accusations, or questions posed to start an argument, what do I do?

What you've been doing hasn't helped things get better. It's actually made them worse, since by allowing her to verbally abuse you, she has lost a lot of respect for you. To change things, you need to make some changes in what you can control - YOU>

Your wife has trouble controlling her emotions. To her, feelings = facts.

So if her emotions get out of control, she can't cope with them, so she needs to find something to blame it on - typically we are the fortunate ones in the line of fire   What she is doing is abusive to you -  and - it is an unhealthy way for her to cope with her emotions. She needs to feel her emotions, instead of avoiding them and dumping them all onto you. Growth only occurs when you learn, and the only way to learn is to go through it, not avoid it.

So, when she starts, you can try to validate her emotions and offer some empathetic understanding. If that doesn't work, then you take your time out and allow her to deal with her emotions on her own. Be a mirror, not a sponge  Being cool (click to insert in post)

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« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2010, 08:39:53 AM »

Something that has helped me recently is to decide if m BPDh is dysregulated and truly stuck in a circular argument about nothing OR if he really has a feeling in there somewhere and is pushing to be heard.  At least in my experience of my h, there is a difference.  BPDh started a circular nagging nit-picking thing recently (it's most often a tangent that makes no sense) and I just walked away.  That ended it. 

Other times recently I notice BPDh tries to say something and I feel myself getting angry.  I will acknowledge he said something, then get some space.  Often, after a chance to process my initial reaction/feelings, I can get clarity about what he said (or tried to say).  Then it works to send him a quick email-writing helps both of us if it's short and only about one point.  I have also decided that it is never too late to assert my own boundary or state a feeling-this has worked well via email maybe the day after a "conversation" from dh.  The email system is not about my h hearing it, it's about me having a better chance to either keep my boundary OR validate what he was feeling under all the verbal mess he puts forth and make some attempt at communication.
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« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2010, 01:32:02 PM »

This is a situation I often find myself in.  I used to try and defend myself... that was pointless.  I used to argue back... that only escalated the fights to atomic portions.  Now, I just sit there quietly... tell her I am sorry and I love her.  She gets mad that I have nothing else to say, but nothing I say ever helps. I realize this now.  I just need to keep my head down and pray for the storm to pass.
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« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2010, 01:37:16 PM »

This is a situation I often find myself in.  I used to try and defend myself... that was pointless.  I used to argue back... that only escalated the fights to atomic portions.  Now, I just sit there quietly... tell her I am sorry and I love her.  She gets mad that I have nothing else to say, but nothing I say ever helps. I realize this now.  I just need to keep my head down and pray for the storm to pass.

Or you can tell her that you will be back soon (an hour, when she is calm) and take a time out. No need to listen to rant or rages, it only damages both of you.

You can try SET or DEARMAN once things are calm to try to have a better discussion but any abuse happens take time away. It really does make a world of difference
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« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2010, 01:46:42 PM »

The tragic thing for me is that many of the circular arguments we get into are from my desire to be loving.   I can start trying to help my SO by offering assistance for problems and soon we either argue about why my ideas aren't right or helpful, or my SO brings up some reason why I do not care about them. 

I have spent years trying to defend not just because it hurts me, but because I can't imagine truly thinking that nobody cares about you.    I've always hoped that my SO would have a magical movie moment where it all clicks into place.   Of course, we know that won't happen without them getting help, if ever.
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« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2010, 03:41:51 PM »

THis is a good topic because for the longest time this was where i was stuck trying to prove my point, or justify my reason alot steam from i knew my husband was mentally ill but i don't think i accepted it.

once i did things started changing i did start walking away from those round and round arguments .

and adventually my husband knew this was just not up for dicussion, and when i came back it now isn't brought up again due to i will leave again, i realized you can't validate in the mist of  my husband being disregulated all i can do is leave...   and this usually don't last long. this is a good topic thanks UNF i think many of us get stuck on this, and forget they are mentally ill , or we have a hard time accepting it we expect a normal argument. which makes it hard to remember not to do the don'ts as you say... Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)  good topic again
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« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2010, 04:42:06 PM »

This is a situation I often find myself in.  I used to try and defend myself... that was pointless.  I used to argue back... that only escalated the fights to atomic portions.  Now, I just sit there quietly... tell her I am sorry and I love her.  She gets mad that I have nothing else to say, but nothing I say ever helps. I realize this now.  I just need to keep my head down and pray for the storm to pass.

ifsogirl got a point, this is really a boundary question after running a circle once or twice.

Now telling her you love her while she is angry is damaging as she is angry and expressions of love will obviously not be in sync with her emotions. This means your words will be perceived as invalidating and will make matters worse in the short as well as in the long run. Invalidation contributes to her emotional confusion - the very problem her DBT is supposed to fix.

https://bpdfamily.com/content/communication-skills-dont-be-invalidating
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« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2010, 05:57:41 PM »

Ah, ... .the conflict cycle.  My H is especially skillful in this area... .it's one of his best "tools".  It takes a finely-tuned radar to tell the difference between a "set-up" versus an attempt to constructively discuss an issue.  If it smells funny... .I may nose around a bit... .but generally, I leave it alone.  If it's legitimate, he'll usually bring it up again w/o the "odor".      However, it takes a lot of restraint b/c  he knows I just love to explain... .instruct... .and lecture. 
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« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2010, 11:47:04 PM »

We aren't - and shouldn't be - our partners emotional caretakers.

When they become abusive - our only responsibility is to walk away and take care of ourselves. Abuse should never be tolerated.

When they become upset and abusive - is their responsibility to find healthy ways to cope with their emotions that isn't abusive to others. If they are feeling suicidal due to feeling overwhelmed and flooded with fears, then it is their responsibility to find the appropriate help for themselves.

Think of it this way, if she's upset - does that give her the right to burn the house down? Smash all the windows on the car? run down the street naked? Being upset doesn't give you the right to do whatever you want. It isn't a license to harm others.

She is responsible for her stuff - keeping her side of the street clean.

You are responsible for your stuff - keeping your side of the street clean.

If she is trying to make you responsible for her stuff - hand it back to her and mind your own business.
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« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2012, 11:01:37 PM »

this is a great thread. i admit ive gotten sucked into a million circular arguments, with my ex, and other romantic interests. i know to walk away when it just gets ridiculous, but its damn difficult. you come up with those bullet proof succinct arguments, and watch it sail over their heads every time, and yet youre still surprised. i ALWAYS found things to go better and be more manageable when i would force a time out, and stop responding.
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« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2012, 03:26:42 AM »

I would have to agree. Great thread.

feeling = facts was hard for me to get my head around for so long. I used to make the mistake of thinking that I was dealing with someone who was rational (despite all the irrationality I experienced).

When together I never though of my ex as being unwell or having a serious mental health disorder. I never saw that it was this that affected her perception and her thinking to a degree that she sees the world entirely differently to me.

Knowing what doesn't work is key. I have over the years we were together spent so much time and energy just trying to have a reasonable chat about our relationship or or any differences we had. She would avoid these at all cost but then would explode like a volcano. This I came to realise was her comfort zone. High conflict, circular arguments, blaming and gaslighting. The latter were her favorite weapons. More often than not I would eventually back down (failed to set another boundary) and she would have succeeded in her mission which was to control me. In time I learnt to walk away. I did this to give us both space but I made the mistake of not telling her I was comming back (even though it was obvious to me). Simply walking away without explaining triggered all of her abandonmnet fears. To her I was gone for good, never to return. To me I had just stepped out for a hour or so for things to cool down.

Now that I am out of the FOG I see all this much more clearly. It is easiest not to engage in arguments with her. In fact any dialogue with her is usually a mistake. As we divorce and as we struggle to agree anything regarding property, Money, Children. Conversations, Text messages and emails are kept short, to the point and if longer than a sentenance are too long. Now the relationship is over I find that keeping an air of calm indeifference works best for me.

If you are still in an active relationship with a pwBPD is is not about winning the arguement. This type of closure will only invalidate your partner.

Walking away and taking a time out. I couldn't take a time out in another room without the door being kicked down so I would have to leave the house. Setting firm boundaries that you hold. Maintining a calm demenour and not reacting to having all your buttons being pushed is so important.

When you are in a relationship and in deep you will have invested so much of yourself just to hold things together that your own judgement and your own perceptions cannot be trusted. Only once you are out of the FOG do the reality of the situation reveal itself and the fantasy of what you think you are in begins to disapppear.

Thank you for this thread. I wish that I had read and understood it years ago.

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« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2012, 06:25:11 PM »

This is a situation I often find myself in.  I used to try and defend myself... that was pointless.  I used to argue back... that only escalated the fights to atomic portions.  Now, I just sit there quietly... tell her I am sorry and I love her.  She gets mad that I have nothing else to say, but nothing I say ever helps. I realize this now.  I just need to keep my head down and pray for the storm to pass.

ifsogirl got a point, this is really a boundary question after running a circle once or twice.

Now telling her you love her while she is angry is damaging as she is angry and expressions of love will obviously not be in sync with her emotions. This means your words will be perceived as invalidating and will make matters worse in the short as well as in the long run. Invalidation contributes to her emotional confusion - the very problem her DBT is supposed to fix.

https://bpdfamily.com/content/communication-skills-dont-be-invalidating

That's one of the hardest things for me to do.

Everytime we had a problem, she wanted to divorce me. Everytime we had a happy news or event, she was in love with me.

Well, obviously, I've been told hundreds of threats of divorce. After a while, she noticed that her threats had no effect on me. Back then, I didn't know about BPD so I would make huge mistakes. I would keep telling her "I love you, I miss you" and so forth while she was insulting me and expressing her hatred for me... .She might have thought that I was making fun of her.

She used to reply : "I don't love you anymore, I want to divorce and you're acting as if I had said nothing. You are delusional, stop thinking that I still love you." And it's true, I was acting as always because, after having heard hundreds of declarations like those, I didn't even listen to them.

Honestly, how is it possible to validate such words ? I have been lost for words for months... .As I didn't know about BPD, I wanted to be kinder and more loving in order to placate her but it would just make things worse. So, everytime I was being romantic or else so she feels less mad at me, it was just adding more gas into the fire.

Regarding circular arguments, it was always about her (imaginary) weight. We spent hours talking about her imaginary weight. It was unbearable but I was sad about such a concern about it from her part. She used to say : "I'm fat". I would reply : "No, you're not !" Then she said : "Yes, I am. So why guys don't hit on me ?" I would reply : "I love you the way you are, why do you want other guys to hit on you ?" Then, a few days later, she would tell me that she was happy because a guy had hit on her. She had turned him down but it had happened. I would tell her "So you see, I had told you that you have nothing to be ashamed about, you're really beautiful !" Then, she would say : "Yes, but that's the only one in months"... .and bla bla bla bla bla bla

She wanted me at all cost to tell her that she was fat, which I never told her (because she isn't) and it infuriated her.

And it was endless like this... .

Please, how is it possible to validate such feelings without giving her the impression that she is fat... .?
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« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2012, 01:58:38 AM »

Have you really listened to her?

She told you... ."I'm fat".

Think about what she is saying to you.

Those are her beliefs.

Those are her feelings.

She truly, 100% completely believes she is fat.

She isn't asking you to agree with her.

She's asking for you to recognize that she feels fat.

That she is feeling undesirable.


Now if you can connect with her feeling fat, then you can connect with her emotions. It has to be painful to feel fat. It has to really hurt to feel undesirable. It would be devastating to feel rejected by others. It would be hard to think about anything else besides how uncomfortable you feel in your own skin.

Can you understand how awful she feels?
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« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2012, 12:30:12 PM »

We aren't - and shouldn't be - our partners emotional caretakers.

When they become abusive - our only responsibility is to walk away and take care of ourselves. Abuse should never be tolerated.

I am curious about this.

When do we validate and when do we leave? What are our reponsibilies?

Seems like abuse would be defined as personal and insulting attacks.

And validation comes when the SO is emotionally charged over an issue, bit not being personally abusive.

Is that correct?

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« Reply #25 on: August 18, 2012, 01:21:10 AM »

Validate often.

Repeat your validation.

Listen for the emotions behind what the pwBPD is saying.

Validation shows concern and caring and will bring you closer.

There is a time and a place for validation, and it isn't while you are being raged upon or screamed at. Validation comes often and early in a dialogue. Once abuse begins to fly then it is time to step out of the argument and allow time to lower emotions.

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« Reply #26 on: November 29, 2012, 03:23:00 AM »

Very illuminating.  Really appreciate the initial/beginning/original post.

I would so get caught up in circular arguments (while feeling greater frustration, greater agitation, deeper perplexity, confusion, disbelief, patience, tolerance, and really really trying to understand... .and really really try to clarify... .) - while realizing i was in a circular argument and not being able to believe i was in a circular argument (well let's just get to the bottom of this... .and who said what... .and how who said it... .yada yada) and I would loose so much time e-x-p-l-a-i-n-i-n-g.   Seemingly never winning (and i am a winner), and seemingly never getting in the last word... .and seemingly never right... .ugg
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« Reply #27 on: November 30, 2012, 11:04:42 PM »

Validating is hard when you hurt!   After reading so many comments on the success of validation, I can hardly argue against the obvious merits of this strategy. 

Yes, I said strategy... .not technique.  You see, for a long time now I honestly believed that my SO was sincere.   To find out now that she was only mirroring me like an octopus in order to establish/create a r/s has made me angry. BUT, I am very desirous of peace in my life, and forgiveness is important to me.  That said, I have (in the meanwhile) developed standard responses for those times when my pwBPD comes my way with a handful of stinkbait for me to nibble on.

Sometimes, I just disappear.  It works for me (or should I say, for my sake).  Avoidance?  Yeah.  I'll admit it.  But, I am up on my hypertension meds and similar physical ills.  I need out of the ring, before I get KO'd.  Now that I know about JADE, I can stay somewhat engaged without sounding insincere re:validation. 

As you know, pwBPD are excellent at detecting insincerity.   So, thanks for passing on this self-preservation attitude guide (JADE).  I will use this to get me through until God gives me the grace to let go of the anger and enable me to validate sincerely.

Also, thanks for all the other help (workshops and such) as my little corner of the world doesn't provide support groups for this issue.  I have gone to the MHMR people who said their hands are tied until the pwBPD hurts herself or another (they refuse to elaborate on what level of hurt would generate action on their part).

Plugging along in prayer,

H56
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« Reply #28 on: December 01, 2012, 01:46:14 PM »

Following this train of thought -

When do you quit?  When do you decide you can do no more and "save yourself"?  Our friends, our family, our BPD's professionals, our church, they tell us "save yourself".  Our entire family is captive of the "I'm fat" (at 98 lbs you have an eating disorder, actually), controlling, manipulating, tantrums, ER visits, therapist appts, modified school schedules.  There is no money left as I had to quit my job... .the entire family is suffering.  We have had threats of CPS visits due to exaggerated stories before the newest batch of professionals figured the situation out.  Our BPD sees multiple specialists for imagined health issues, weeps sobs and rails about "why me" and when her self diagnoses are found not to be true, the doctors are stupid and missed something.  Thanksgiving she refused to attend and there were $20,000 in medical paybacks for a medical condition she convinced the ER she has - and doesn't.  It was 'gas'.  At what price our lives?  She is 18, knows better than everyone about everything, refuses all advice, all offers of help.  We have paid with our emotions, our financial future is forever altered, her siblings have been traumatized, household members are diagnosed PTSD - the trauma being the experience of living with her - jobs have been lost due to her refusal to quit calling, etc.  You know the story.  I know we are being compassionate, but I am not willing to sacrifice my life and my relationships any more.  I am tired of being publicly humiliated.  I know, it is an illness.  So is addiction and I would advise there is a time when you have to 'save yourself'.

Please respond - We feel terrible about being "those people"... .
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« Reply #29 on: January 07, 2013, 07:02:05 PM »

This is a very helpful topic, but as many have said a difficult one.

I too used to try to reason with my wife, but learned she wasn't in search of a solution or even comfort or validation - she was just raging to rage.

I have learned to step away, but at times it is hard - especially when my 6 year old daughter (previous marriage) is the topic. I simply won't accept any proposals of anything even remotely harmful for my daughter. Even in a argument. Even knowing it may be a product of my wife's temporary unbalanced state.

There I cannot walk away.

It's the one topic that really pushes me to physically walk away forever.
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« Reply #30 on: January 11, 2013, 11:31:06 AM »

My therapist told me that defensiveness accomplishes nothing,  so I no longer defend myself. I have been just ending the conversation,  and go into another room,  and ignore him when he wants to continue. I don't know if this is the right thing to do,  but I feel like the circular arguments are his way of creating drama and proving he is right. I've decided I don't need to be right. He can be right and happy with that. If he would rather be right instead of compromise and get along,  then be right and have at it. I have decided not to participate in conflict.  And if I don't participate,  then there is no conflict.
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« Reply #31 on: January 14, 2013, 07:38:21 PM »

I live in a part of the world where therapists are non-existant.  The nearest one is over 50 miles away.  I have relied on bpdfamily advice heavily to guide my judgement.  My corner of Earth is somewhat devoid of attys specializing in Fam Law.  The "one" in town asked me to fill out a "qualification statement" to see if she would take my case.  Even if I wanted to just walk away, it's not going to happen.  So, I need to practice the peace principles offered on this site. 

I can't emphasize the value of JADE enough.  I also practice NC as much as possible considering that my BPDw and I still share a house.  I have slowly been able to detach myself from her issues and deal strictly with mine.  This is not to say that she has stopped trying to instigate disruption, (e.g. she doesn't get along w/her addict daughter but invited her to live w/her---or fight w/her as they 'get it on' daily), but I just lock up my things and go for a walk when she tries the old stuff.  Sometimes, I repeat the old saw, "There but for the grace of God go I."

I have not had an argument for weeks.  I am anxious to leave this r/s, but in the meantime these strategies/techniques are helping me.  I am not the punching bag and that's a good thing!  I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but I can feel the fresh air coming in from the other end.

Wishing everyone and myself great fortune on this quest,

H56
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« Reply #32 on: February 27, 2013, 07:45:34 PM »

Ok there's all this information on what we DON'T do, but what about what we do?

So we are not doing any JADE things, what ARE we doing?

Oh and I kid you not, I have to walk away as he will be as silly to answer a "I didn't do that" statement with "you did"

and I think--are we little kids going did!-didn't!-did!

Ok so so far I have to just walk away or just stop talking. I'm not JADEing if I'm not doing that, but what exactly am I doing in an argument?

Confused.

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« Reply #33 on: March 09, 2013, 06:18:16 PM »

This is a situation I often find myself in.  I used to try and defend myself... that was pointless.  I used to argue back... that only escalated the fights to atomic portions.  Now, I just sit there quietly... tell her I am sorry and I love her.  She gets mad that I have nothing else to say, but nothing I say ever helps. I realize this now.  I just need to keep my head down and pray for the storm to pass.

This is exactly the way conversations with my uBPDm go. Growing up with that and not having a way to get out of the house or leave the argument, just saying "Yes, ma'am" and "I'm sorry" was the best way to make the situation end. I tried to avoid interaction by staying in my room or reading, but my nonSF always made me stop because I wasn't being a part of the family.

When I became older, we went NC because I just couldn't deal with it anymore. After encouragement from my F, we had CC. Now,  my husband and I are staying with her and its worse than ever. There is a 'discussion' every week where she threatens to put is out or just lays into my husband and I for an offense we didn't realize we had committed. I find myself lapsing back onto the submisive state I grew up in.

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« Reply #34 on: March 18, 2013, 06:04:28 AM »

I get stuck in the exact same situation with my bf all the time. Often when we discuss something, he labels them as argument. I try to justify/explain to make him understand my point but that just makes situation worse. He blames me for going in circular arguments.

This post is great and so informative. It's such a relief that I am not the only one going crazy in this world. Smiling (click to insert in post) I am yet to try these tools with my bf. I worry about leaving the argument because he is the one who demands answers from me, validations and keeps bringing back the issues. He would have his own assumptions of my statements and label them as arguments. I am often too confusing for him. I try so hard to be strong but it's not easy to blamed for everything and have your brain function properly.  This forum has been very supportive. 
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« Reply #35 on: April 07, 2013, 11:54:02 AM »

This is a great thread. Talking in circles with my BPD wife is soo challenging. It was even  more challenging when I had no idea what BPD was years ago. By the way, ... . a few posts back someone put an emoticon of a cartoon person hitting their head against a wall... .   I just LOVE that icon. How do I get it?

Because I literally did this while in a heated argument with my wife. I just love this site, bpdfamily.com ... .   I just wish I could have found out what my wife had years ago and found this site so I could have had a chance at my relationship working out 
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« Reply #36 on: April 07, 2013, 11:55:38 AM »

oops, ... . it was the 1st thread by United For Now ... .  
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« Reply #37 on: April 15, 2013, 03:49:41 PM »

In my case my bf refuses to discuss anything. When I would try to get clarification & ask questions so I could understand & he acted as though I was attacking him. This was definetely not the case there wasn't even a hint of it in my tone, expression or my questions, I just wanted to know if I was understanding his point. He just walks away not saying a word to me for a month at a time... .   So I would do the same. I tried it all, now it's just silence.  I am moving soon (for the last time) & stay in the spare bedroom for now. I figure if he won't say a word to me why should I tried to talk to someone who clearly doesn't care.  Tired of trying to have relationship with someone who won't try even a little. He won't go back to T.

Thank goodness for this website!
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« Reply #38 on: May 23, 2013, 11:39:33 PM »

This workshop is helpful, and especially encouraging knowing so many people suffer from these useless arguments. 

Like many of you, I have also laid myself down.  I don't care about winning or losing.  I think it's ok that we don't see eye to eye on certain issues (like he thinks I don't care about him and I am ungrateful, which I know I am not).  I don't need the last word, he can have it.  It's sad that he twists it around.  When I want to steer us away from the argument, he said it's because I'm proud to say sorry.  That's all he's accepting for an answer.

He needs to completely break me down, for me to accept his view of myself, for me to apologise being scum.  In the past I thought that would help and that would show him my sincerity.  I was wrong, and now I won't admit to things he accuses me of, if I know they're false accusations (righteous ones according to him though).    He keeps bringing up the exact same issues over and over again, false realities that he has created for himself.  He wouldn't hear my side, and he wants me to admit that I was wrong.  That is something I can't do again.  In any case, it harms the relationship even more.

So I'm kind of stuck.  So what now?  Do I still walk away (perhaps not able to do that physically, but at least stop talking) and let him accuse me of whatever, or what else?  Seems like nothing I do will get him to stop, even for a while!
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« Reply #39 on: June 01, 2013, 09:15:40 AM »

We've all been in them - those horrible arguments discussions. You know, the ones that make you want to

Cause we like to "be right" too.

**Cause we can't let it go either.**

Cause we need to prove our point.

Cause we are too afraid to walk away from the argument.

Cause we hope that we can change their minds.

**Cause we hope that we can get them to understand.**

Cause we are co-dependent and need to "fix" them and their flawed way of thinking.

**Cause we want to avoid the inevitable next step - their silent treatments/punishments **(added by me)

I've edited this list to accurately reflect why I stay in circular arguments, double starring the most important.

Wow - this sums up the past 7 years of my life.  I'm seeing that as desperate as I was to feel loved, I was equally desperate to save him from his distorted thinking.  And to help him see, for both him AND me, that I was not the person he kept painting me out to be. 

Around and around and around and around it would go. 

Thank-you so much for this thread!  I could not put my finger on what was going on, I just knew that we never resolved arguments, there was no obvious thing that we were arguing about, and somehow I would be accused of thinking/saying/doing things I hadn't done.  Either outright or in his head and find out through his punishing silent treatments. 

That would be another reason I kept going - to try to avoid his silent treatments, since he would explain them as being a result of my behavior.

H4E
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« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2013, 08:35:53 PM »

Someone please help me. My husband is BPD and so stubborn nothing seems to stop an argument. If we take a break we get madder. If I leave the house I'm being childish and I lose. If I explain myself I sound defensive. I  naturally am a little defensive. I hate the silent treatment. My husband is passive aggressive so I feel like not talking is him punishing me.

Should I write him a note or what?

Also, what is validation? How do I do it?
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« Reply #41 on: June 10, 2013, 08:46:25 PM »

This is a situation I often find myself in.  I used to try and defend myself... . that was pointless.  I used to argue back... . that only escalated the fights to atomic portions.  Now, I just sit there quietly... . tell her I am sorry and I love her.  She gets mad that I have nothing else to say, but nothing I say ever helps. I realize this now.  I just need to keep my head down and pray for the storm to pass.

I don't remember joining and posting this three years ago! Same story... . identical, though my internal prayers tend to drown out the venom. Maybe its disrespectful to no longer connect to what she's saying, but she really does not have to repeat the offense... . I got it the 147th time!

Now its much the same. Stare at the floor and meekly repeat every few minutes... .

"I love you and I am so sorry for all I have done"  ... . X 10 to 15.

Then after 30 or more minutes of enduring the theatre, say "I can neither can say or do anything more to change your mind"... . and leave.

rj
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"It's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain."
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« Reply #42 on: June 10, 2013, 09:01:30 PM »

Someone please help me. My husband is BPD and so stubborn nothing seems to stop an argument. If we take a break we get madder. If I leave the house I'm being childish and I lose. If I explain myself I sound defensive. I  naturally am a little defensive. I hate the silent treatment. My husband is passive aggressive so I feel like not talking is him punishing me.

Should I write him a note or what?

Also, what is validation? How do I do it?

I joined the board a few days ago... . I'd like to take credit, but it was a volunteer moderator that offered up... .

"the only way to win is not to play the game"

Simple but brilliant... . you can never win.

My BPDw often raises the stakes and uses physical violence when direct confrontation and argumentation fails. Sometimes she backs off (when she's exhausted) and uses similar passive-aggressive silence (and mumbling to herself out loud so I can hear). I'm the same... . its agony for me to be frozen out and endure the silence. However, breaking the ice is worse... . starts the cycle anew. And she wins. It's not a fun game, so I try not to play.

I'm new at this, but its worked several times in the last few weeks to defuse the the situation. Eventually she returns to stability as something else distracts her attention and we simply avoid the discussing the latest reasons for her outburst.

rj
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"It's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain."
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« Reply #43 on: June 10, 2013, 09:15:44 PM »

He keeps bringing up the exact same issues over and over again, false realities that he has created for himself.  He wouldn't hear my side, and he wants me to admit that I was wrong.  That is something I can't do again.  In any case, it harms the relationship even more.

I am new here... . but an improtant thing I am trying to claw back to after 25yrs of criticism is ... . reality. I have learned that BPDers tend to create entirely new narratives about the past for those of us on the receiving end. They repeat it over and over and over... . sometimes hundreds of times in my case. And, we begin to question even our own memories.

I once thought she was being dishonest, but I'm now convinced that my BPDw actually believes the narratives she's created to fit the conclusions her feelings were driving her to. Its maddening... . but I now accept that she truly believes these things. No amount of arguing the point is going to change it. So we have to find alternative coping mechanisms.

rj

rj
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"It's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain."
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« Reply #44 on: June 29, 2013, 07:51:00 AM »

Rj,

I understand completely.  My pwBPD told me once that his dad and I must have over bought when we built our first home because we never had money to spend on him.  Like expensive shoes etc.  You know kid stuff they like.  But was never denied a single necessity,  private school, uniforms, any type ball he wanted he wanted to play.  (maybe he's thinking about all the times we let him starve to death)  Smiling (click to insert in post) Smiling (click to insert in post)      it's just unreal how their mind lets them fit in the memory to what they believe.  I call it selective memory.      This is some 35 yrs ago,   still reminding me how awful I was to him as a mother,  never neglects a time to remind me.

Now,   we self contracted out the house,  did all the trim work ourselves and with free help, and put in the bare necessities until later when we could afford better.  The house is a very nice house but no mansion by any means.  I didn't say this to him ,  but I wanted to say,   maybe we could have lived in a shack and bought you $100 tennis shoes.  This is a prime example of how their brain thinks.  

I too have  doubted my own mothering abilities at times.  Could I really have neglected him so badly.   But what about my other child who is everything you could possible want in a daughter.  Loving kind thoughtful and appreciative of everything we did as she grew up.  

I too believe that they say it over and over so many times they begin to believe it themselves.  Sort of brain washing their own selves (if that is possible) to remember it as they want to,  to self satisfy this need to feel so sorry for themselves.  I'm not sure what they get out of it.

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« Reply #45 on: June 29, 2013, 10:51:40 AM »

The unfairness of the streaming accusations is maddening at times as there seems to be no room in their minds for alternative possibilities. Attempting to moderate a cogent discussion (even in a controlled setting) about the past only inflames her to more emotional chaos as she rants that I'm going to h*ll for being an ugly liar and denier. If I did or said something remotely related to a single memory, say 25-years ago... . in her mind; I said and do it "always". So I shut up and let her rage on and off for days until she's exhausted herself. I can take the unfairness of it all between the two of us, but its the third party involvement that she engages in. Many borderlines are incredibly convincing to others as they create new narratives for old memories. That piece of the disorder I can understand and even live with. However, I can no longer tolerate the complete fictions created for others about me and herself. I have begun to speak to others, as in; "please let me know about anything that she says that might be disturbing or off". Its been a relief for some of them and me, and I'm careful not to use it as an opportunity to disparage her. I'm also prepping for a different future that provides for her, me and our children if she does not get into therapy with me again (or alone). The last counseling effort ended in disaster as she fought with the therapist. At my age, I cannot endure the condition for much longer.

I'm sorry for your son, but at 35 I assume he's on his own and you have to deal with the ugliness only on occasion. I would be more concerned for his spouse (if he has one). Its a good bet his own family is on the receiving end as well. Be blessed that your daughter helps you to remain anchored to the truth of who you were and are currently as a mother.
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"It's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain."
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« Reply #46 on: July 11, 2013, 09:17:38 PM »

Thanks for this excellent discussion, and the stuff about J.A.D.E was pure gold.  Crazy-making and circular "discussions" and monologues (by him) were my life for years.  I spent untold hours explaining/justifying/defending to no avail, of course.  Finally, I figured out that I had to disengage myself when the talk got too crazy.  So, I would physically leave... . I used my last shred of self-respect to do it.  Of course, his crazy-bad behavior escalated when I did this.  Now I realize it probably triggered abandonment fears, but I didn't know about BPD then.  And, honestly, by then I wouldn't have cared about that much, since I was fed up... . he was a grown man, after all, and if he couldn't manage my healthy response to his crazy, too bad.

This discussion is illuminating to me especially in helping me to see my part in the craziness of these interactions, and that is what I most want to understand now.
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« Reply #47 on: August 21, 2013, 04:47:20 PM »

Someone please help me. My husband is BPD and so stubborn nothing seems to stop an argument. If we take a break we get madder. If I leave the house I'm being childish and I lose. If I explain myself I sound defensive. I  naturally am a little defensive. I hate the silent treatment. My husband is passive aggressive so I feel like not talking is him punishing me.

Should I write him a note or what?

Also, what is validation? How do I do it?

Hi 12345678 

I see you're new here, so welcome! Have you had a chance to look around the boards yet? I suggest you post this on Staying: Improving a Relationship with a Borderline Partner. A lot more members are reading there so you have a better chance of getting replies.
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« Reply #48 on: December 18, 2014, 03:46:51 PM »

ignore it... if you know its bait... dont bite... do something else...

Yeah, but after a while she starts crying because according to her, not engaging means i don't care about her anymore...  
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« Reply #49 on: October 07, 2015, 05:25:54 PM »

This is a situation I often find myself in.  I used to try and defend myself... that was pointless.  I used to argue back... that only escalated the fights to atomic portions.  Now, I just sit there quietly... tell her I am sorry and I love her.  She gets mad that I have nothing else to say, but nothing I say ever helps. I realize this now.  I just need to keep my head down and pray for the storm to pass.

ifsogirl got a point, this is really a boundary question after running a circle once or twice.

Now telling her you love her while she is angry is damaging as she is angry and expressions of love will obviously not be in sync with her emotions. This means your words will be perceived as invalidating and will make matters worse in the short as well as in the long run. Invalidation contributes to her emotional confusion - the very problem her DBT is supposed to fix.

https://bpdfamily.com/content/communication-skills-dont-be-invalidating

so I see what not to say, any examples of what to say?
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« Reply #50 on: October 07, 2015, 07:21:47 PM »

Hi mikejones75093,

You might want to check out information on validation. As I understand validation, it isn't that you validate something you disagree with (the thing you are arguing about).  It is about validating the feelings the pwBPD is experiencing in a genuine way so they feel heard. 

Below are a couple of links regarding "Validation"

https://bpdfamily.com/content/communication-skills-validation

https://bpdfamily.com/content/communication-skills-dont-be-invalidating;all

Also you want to try avoiding J.A.D.Eing  (Justify, Apologize, Defend, Explain) because they can be invalidating and keep that pesky argument going in circles.  Just something to keep in mind.

Take Care,

Panda39
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« Reply #51 on: May 28, 2016, 11:23:18 AM »

I was copying this to read daily... .or a hundred times a day... .and I was writing notes for the JADE acronym. I could not remember the "E" and decided it meant "explode". Oops!
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« Reply #52 on: June 25, 2016, 01:06:07 PM »

I no longer worry about right or wrong. I no longer worry about entitlement. I gave up on self-righteousness a while back.

I hate to argue. I hate it with a passion a pointless arguement.

So, I just walk away now. Even have a boundary in place to deal with this one.

"I will not allow my self to be dragged into pointless conversations/arguments that go round and round and never get any where."

I think I used to worry about being falsely accused of something. I really do not like being told I've done something when I haven't.

I wish I could just walk away. He won't leave me alone. I tried to set a boundary 2 years ago wherein he is not allowed to keep me from leaving the house if I'm frustrated and need a break (he would physically block my exit). He said he understood that when we get into circular arguments I get very emotionally upset and that I need to go for a quick walk to calm down, and he agreed that this was a good coping mechanism for me. He agreed to it but lately has slipped back into old habits. We were having a circular argument last week and I told him I needed to go for a walk and that we'd continue the argument after my walk, when I'd had a chance to cool off. He tried to keep me from leaving the house. He swears he only does it because he's afraid I'll leave and never come back. But that's a ridiculous excuse. Why would I leave and never come back with nothing but the clothes on my back? Plus, our history has proven to him (and he's admitted it) that I always come back within 20 minutes after having had a chance to calm down. Now he's insisting he is keeping me from leaving the house during arguments because he knows I am emotionally upset and he's afraid I'll hurt myself (though I've never given him reason to think I'd hurt myself). I feel trapped, and that only adds to the problems between us.
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Eightyeight

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Person in your life: Romantic partner
Posts: 5


« Reply #53 on: June 26, 2016, 05:50:47 PM »

When my girlfriend is upset (not with me), she stays quiet. Before she asked me to help her think about things that will distract her, so that's what I do. However she doesn't say anything back, it feels like talking to a wall. I get fustrated because it feels like what she asked me to do isn't working. I eventually say that I'll step out but if she needs me, she can come to me. She then gets upset with me and it adds to her already upset emotion. We start to argue because I get confused with what she expects or needs. And she goes on about blaming me for never trying enough to make her feel better or be there enough to support her.

How should I respond? Validate that she's upset in the first place and leave her alone in a room to cool down? Or stick around and pretend I'm not affected by the negativity?

What I also don't like is that sometimes she tells me I should do this or shouldn't do that to support her, but I don't see that from her when we reverse situations... .
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Lonely123

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Person in your life: Friend
Posts: 4


« Reply #54 on: January 01, 2017, 04:13:10 AM »

I'm worried that my friend views it as him winning and me being in the wrong. Its like he then just thinks he is allowed to shout and argue with me because "it's my fault". I hope this makes sense and someone can help.
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kahlersj

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Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 15


« Reply #55 on: January 16, 2017, 04:18:52 PM »

I don't think I make empathy statements well and they're taken badly.  Until now I would make a comment that "I'm sorry you feel that way" and my gf would only become enraged that I was placating her that way.  Can someone recommend a better way to make a statement of empathy?
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impromptus

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Person in your life: Romantic partner
Posts: 16


« Reply #56 on: June 25, 2017, 12:35:02 AM »

I'm worried that my friend views it as him winning and me being in the wrong. Its like he then just thinks he is allowed to shout and argue with me because "it's my fault". I hope this makes sense and someone can help.
This is exactly how I feel. It seems to be condoning the behavior, in the sense that I can tell her "you don't make sense to me at the moment, I hear you are blaming me and I am going to end the conversation here". She says something like "You see, you treat me like a borderline, this is exactly what I am talking about", and so on.

But maybe it's just that they find another thread to pull, unraveling our self-esteem and triggering our defense mechanisms... .
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