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Poll
Question: How long did you spend in each stage of grieving?  Think carefully - especially between Denial and Bargaining.  If you repeated a stage, just add the time of each cycle together.
Denial: 0-3 months
Denial: 4-9 months
Denial: 10-18 months
Denial: 19 months or more
Anger: 0-3 months
Anger: 4-9 months
Anger: 10-18 months
Anger: 19 months or more
Bargaining: 0-3 months
Bargaining: 4-9 months
Bargaining: 10-18 months
Bargaining: 19 months or more
Depression: 0-3 months
Depression: 4-9 months
Depression: 10-18 months
Depression:19 months or more
Acceptance: 0-3 months
Acceptance: 4-9 months
Acceptance: 10-18 months
Acceptance:19 months or more

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Author Topic: SELF ASSESSMENT | The Five Stages of Grieving a Relationship Loss  (Read 42014 times)
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« on: January 26, 2011, 07:38:38 AM »

The breakup of a marriage or long-term relationship can trigger similar grieving responses to the death of a spouse.

There are 5 common stages of grief that a person goes through.  These stages were first identified by the late Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. when she spoke at the The Ingersoll Lectures on Human Immortality at Harvard University in 1970.

Where are you in the process?  
What have you struggled with?  How might you have approached it differently?
How has your perspective changed as you have gone through the stages?
What have you struggled with?

Skippy


The five stages of grief are:

Denial
This is when we and our partner are on different page about our commitments to the relationship. This stage is filled with disbelief and denial.  
In the Kübler-Ross model, if your partner has died you still expect him to walk through the door.  The equivalent in a relationship breakup is that your partner is drifting away or has broken-up and you still think that he/she doesn't mean it - that it is a ploy or a reaction.  
Often in this stage we are engaged in relationship struggles and are expecting our partner to respond in the way that someone in a relationship would respond. However, they are in a very different, less caring place.  We are confused, hurt, put off by their behavior.

Anger/Resentment -
Anger often the reaction to being hurt and/or fearful, and helpless to do anything about it. The greater the loss, the greater the reaction.
In the Kübler-Ross model, you might feel anger at your deceased partner for dying (Kübler-Ross model).  In the relationship, you may feel anger at your partner for asking for a divorce and breaking up the family. You may feel anger at your friends or family for supporting her and not you. You may be angry for being betrayed.  You may be angery for not being idealized any longer (ego wound).  
Anger is a very complex pat of grieving - many of us stumble in this stage with either unhealthy anger (misdirected, trapping) or no anger (no release).
We need to determine why we're angry and focus our feeling on the true issues - if not, anger can imprison people.  

Bargaining
You try to negotiate to change the situation.
In the Kübler-Ross model, if you've lost a spouse to death you might bargain with God, "I'll be a better person if you'd just bring him back". In a relationship, you might approach your partner who is asking for the break-up and say "If you'll stay, I'll change".  
Bargaining is that stage of the break-up when you’re trying to make deals and compromises. It’s when you start talking about how an open relationship might be a possibility or a long-distance thing could work. It’s when you say to your partner, “if you just did this then I could do that and it would work”. It’s when you say to yourself that you’ll do x, y, z to be a better spouse so that the relationship doesn’t have to end.

Depression
The is the "it's really over" stage.
After all of the denial and the anger and the bargaining have been done and we realize that things really are starting to end and we become depressed. We fell helpless and powerless and overwhelmed with sadness about the loss that we are experiencing.  We realize the situation isn't going to change. The death or break-up happened and there is nothing to bring the other person back.  Acknowledgment of the situation often brings depression.
Acknowledgment often starts the serious process of us trying to understand what happened.
Acceptance – The "This is what happened" stage.
Acceptance is a final stage when we have finally sorting out what happened, accepted it and are more interested in moving forward than looking back.  
Acceptance can take a lot of time and a lot of processing. It involves understanding the situation, understand our role / understand their role, understanding what can be learned, and letting go / moving forward.  

Note: Each person mourns a loss differently.  You may not experience these stages in one fluid order. You may go through some of the stages more than once. Sometimes during the bargiaining stages we recycle the relationship. Or an event will trigger us to experience one of these stages again - like hearing your ex-partner is to remarry.





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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2011, 07:58:48 AM »

ACCEPTANCE




Staff only

Please start your posts by putting the name of the stage you are in in the upper right corner in bold.
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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2011, 09:16:06 AM »

ACCEPTANCE

I struggled the most with reconciling who I "thought" he was (who I fell in love with) with who he really is.  Accepting that the bad was as much apart of him as the good.  Understanding that it was a serious disorder, with little hope of substantial change.

Once I navigated through who he was, his diagnosis, prognosis, etc., I still felt stuck, because I was dwelling on he, him, his... .ALL about him and "his" problems.  Through counseling I was forced to accept my role in this.  Focus on "my" problems.  Examine my actions, motivations, illusions, fears, etc. 

When that happened, I really turned a corner, and the pendulum swung in the opposite direction... .me, me, me.  During the course of therapy, self analysis, awareness, control, discipline, forgiveness, etc.  I now see it in a more balanced light.  It took two people to create that fiasco.  I've accepted each of our roles in it, properly looked at failures on each side, and taken responsibility for the ones that fall on my side of the fence. 

It's been a challenge, a valley and mountain to navigate, but I no longer harbor resentment for either of us.  Like most life changing experiences, it either changes you for the better or for the worse.  That outcome was totally within my control and my choice.  I'm glad I chose the first one.   Thanks to all those here that made that choice easier.   

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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2011, 09:25:22 AM »

DEPRESSION


Where are you in the process?

I think I'm in the depression stage, although it changes from week to week or month to month right now. I can see part of why it hops around is when I allow myself to get re-engaged and then the grieving cycle doesn't necessarily start over, but it falls back a few steps.


What have you struggled with?  How might you have approached it differently?

What I've really struggled with is not having any idea what was going on. This didn't follow the "normal" pattern of past relationships I've had. I didn't know what was going on in many ways, to the point of not being able to recognize which stage I was in for the grieving process--and that's something I previously felt I was able to see, at least a lot better than I did this time.

Honestly, without knowing what I know now, I don't know how I could have approached it differently with what I knew then.

Knowing what I know now, about personality disorders and what I know about myself, I would look at signs that I am acting radically different and try to be more attentive about that.

How has your perspective changed as you have gone through the stages?

Since I haven't gotten to Acceptance yet, I'm not sure I can accurately describe that. I've changed from denial->anger->depression->bargaining so many times that I don't even believe I've followed the normal progression of the changes of grieving.

One thing that has changed is how I'm not turning a blind eye towards many things I ignored or wouldn't/couldn't believe in the past. Many things that I'd dismiss as "she's having a bad day" (that go well beyond a bad day) to "if I'd been more perceptive, this wouldn't have happened" - I'm trying to see them more objectively. Not always successful, but... .

What have you struggled with?

How my ability to gauge people could have been so wrong. Maybe it was arrogance, but I always have felt I had at least a good ability to read people. Not seeing through the public face and seeing the core, shook me a lot. Made me doubt myself and my people skills in many ways.

Trying to admit to myself that I couldn't help her. I've long been one of those persons that people go to when they need something done, whether it's advice, or work, or simply knowledge. It's been tough to get past that ingrained characteristic that I can see answers and can explain them to people, and then see them succeed or at least move on to the path towards success.

Except... .with her. Things that are/were readily apparent to me, when I'd try to explain them over and over, would end up in a black hole. It goes so much against my nature to not try to "teach" until someone gets something. Accepting that I simply can't help, and my offers of help are of minimal help or actually hurt her--that's tough.
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2011, 09:52:35 AM »

ACCEPTANCE

2 areas of grief for me: 

the relationship is over & ex is BPD, thus mentally ill.

I notice that after contact (still divorcing), I find myself go back through a short stint of bargaining, anger, depression - usually about 24 - 48 hours depending upon how much other stress is going on in my life.

My bargaining, is not about the relationship being over actually - it is about ex actually being BPD.  Although T's & MC told me a list of her issues, nobody  actually said BPD.  It has been a struggle to fully grasp the mental illness quality as ex was officially never diagnosed.
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2011, 09:53:25 AM »

ACCEPTANCE

I really didn't have the opportunity for two steps of the grieving process.  My pdexbf abruptly slammed out of our home in a rage.  There was no warning, no discussion, nothing, just a shocking turnabout where he moved out.  The day before we'd been out grocery shopping, planning meals, life as normal.  I never saw it coming.  It was a very ugly two days and communication between us was pretty much completely cut.  I think I went into sort of a shock.      

So Denial and Bargaining were pretty nonexistent, other than glimpses of them earlier in the relationships where I rationalized and justified the red flags  |>  that were there.  But at the end there was no denying what was happening, and I couldn't bargain for the relationship.  I was given no opportunity for either.  

I did attempt to email, first the day after he moved out (no response) and then maybe 3 more times in the months afterward.  I was trying to find some explanation, some decency, something that could make sense of it all.  

He responded once about 2 months after he left.  Cold and ugly.  It was a real eye opener to me.  I'd given nothing but love and devotion (and plenty of my personal resources), and I was just appalled at the person he'd become and how he could treat me the way he did, how he could talk to me the way he did.    

I've often said that I would need DNA evidence to believe the ugly person he had become could possibly be the loving, wonderful man of less than a year earlier.  It just didn't seem possible.  

Anyway, my grieving process turned very quickly to ANGER.  Even when he was moving out, I was shocked by my own anger... .an emotion pretty new to me.  I don't know if it's something I picked up from him  PD traits  or if it was my own response from having lived in a rather confusing world for the two months we were together.  

Normally I would have been devastated (and I was this as well), but I was so so angry.  I did lash out at him verbally, called him a POS and trash, told him he was hateful.  I regret that because it's not in my nature to be like that, but I was unbelievably shocked and hurt and that was my response.  I did apologize for it in my emails.  Not once has he offered a word of apology to me.  

I think I've been angry enough to feel loathing and disgust for him.  I've felt used, violated.  I've said that I felt raped on every level... .physically, emotionally, financially, psychologically.  And my anger stems from that feeling of being used and violated.  

I loved him, I trusted him and I was devoted to him.  I gave to him in good faith, believing the words and promises he'd told me early on.  I helped him in ways that have cost me dearly, used my resources to help him that I could have used to help myself and my children.  

I have been through hard times and difficult relationships before in my life, but I have never felt more hurt and betrayed.  For having given nothing but love and devotion I have suffered serious losses on many levels.  Yes.  I am angry.  

My anger has abated somewhat as time goes on, and with a lot of prayer and seeking, but it is not gone.  I don't think it's unhealthy, how is one supposed to feel when one has been raped?  

I have been working my way to forgiveness, but it has been an uphill battle.  My only peace has been found in giving it up to God, and letting it go, and taking responsibility for my own life, in the here and now, as is.  I know that many have lost more than I, so as they say "it could always be worse".  

Next, DEPRESSION, absolutely.  :)eep, serious depression at a time in my life when I needed it least.  I had just graduated school when things geared up with my ex.  At a time when I should have been roaring into my career, I spent months helping him, dealing with him, moving him, settling him in... .and then basically getting totally trashed by him.  It derailed me on every level, especially career wise and I've been struggling since.  Pretty tough to be "up on your game" when your life and your legs have been kicked out from under you, by the person you loved and trusted above all others.

The depression and accompanying exhaustion, feeling utterly drained both physically and emotionally, have made it very hard for me to pull up and do what needs to be done.  I have been, have been fighting for it every day, but the costs to me have been huge on every level.  At a time when I just needed to just take care of myself and heal, to cry it out, to sleep, to seek comfort, I have had to fight every day to survive and get back on track.  

The only things that have helped me through this have been my children, my other family and friends, and ultimately my faith.  If I didn't believe in God's care and will I don't think I would have made it.  

ACCEPTANCE:  Guess I'm sitting on the fence here.  I've absolutely accepted the relationship is over on that basic level.  He wigged out, was incredibly ugly, hit me, left, is gone, isn't coming back, wouldn't want him back, end of story.  

But there's another part of acceptance... .getting past *disbelief*.  Every time I go over it in my mind, I'm still stunned.  The totaly Jekyll/Hyde turnabout is really just so shocking to me still.  The loving, wonderful, caring, good, honorable, Christian man of the earlier days v/s the cold, ugly,vicious monster (and this word comes to mind again and again) that he became... .how do I reconcile the two?  

So acceptance is here on some levels, and a bit stalled on others.  

Acceptance is reality based, and I get reality.  It's also got a component of forgiveness, and as I said, the only place I can find that is in giving it to God... .releasing it to his will.  It's not my forgiveness then, but His justice that I seek, and whatever that justice is, I abide by.  I can't do it alone.  I've not had a problem with forgiveness in the past, but this time the betrayal was too deep.  

So I guess that's where I'm at with the grieving process.  Working my way through it.  Not there yet, but surely better than I was on day one... .

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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2011, 10:02:56 AM »

Acceptance

I went through the denial, anger, resentment, bargaining and depression during the course of the horrible 17 year marriage I was religiously stuck with, "My lot in life."

Leaving me and filing for divorce is absolutely the nicest thing the man ever did for me.  I have not grieved the loss since he left.  Grieving over the marriage was finished years ago.
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« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2011, 11:14:23 AM »

DEPRESSION / ACCEPTANCE

Mixed with depression, so perhaps somewhere in the middle. Part of the whole process, I know. Way too much to deal with at first, felt like being in shock, couldn't sleep, couldn't think of anything else but 'Why?' and 'Where are you?' All the times it seemed like she was really going to stay here, and have a life together, and then the next day moving out again? There were a handful of times where this occurred, the back and forth, make ups and break ups, rages, silent treatments, she'd never apologize... .I never knew about BPD, but as soon as I started reading about it, all of the 'symptoms' just seemed to fit her behavior. It really wrecked me in a lot of ways to find that this may be what is going on with her. Such a good hearted person but she's mentally ill? This isn't about her loving me or not, she's just ill and can't help it? The illness itself causes her to NOT seek real help, just more superficial, short-term, selfish types of aid? Finding out she most likely does have BPD has made me very sad, as she probably really does love me, she just can't handle it or really trust that in her life. Knowing there is nothing I can do, especially now that she has cut me off completely, is very hard to take. Even just as a friend I'd like to help her somehow.

So, I am in the 'acceptance' stage, because I have come to see the relationship is over, we would never be together again without her getting some real help. She's turned herself against me so much, how could she ever face this again? So I have been reading up on dealing with the fallout from this situation, finding a lot of help here on the boards, a lot of good suggestions and positive energy being shared, which helps to not feel so alone. I have been talking with some friends, and, perhaps not so surprisingly, finding they have similar stories of some of their own ex's. Have been working on art, meditating, trying to keep busy to help think of other things... .Having to accept that I did do my best, and I did love her, and despite the times I yelled back or whatever, I have forgiven myself because it was just situational and not a part of the 'bad' patterns I see in myself. I'm not an angry person, not looking to fight with anyone, especially not the woman I'm in love with. So i knew all along that the arguments were not really due to me. She kept telling me they were, so I questioned everything there was to question, talking it out in therapy, too. The therapist said I am just dealing with the stress of a hard relationship with someone who sounded very much BPD, and that I was going through depression from it, especially after the break ups occurred. It's good to find I wasn't the main problem between she and I, but it still hurts knowing I'd played a part in it. I have been working at uncovering my own underlying issues, working on sweeping them clear if possible.

One of the hardest parts about this situation has been the feeling of helplessness, of trying and trying to help her and help the situation but not being able to when it came down to it. It seems no matter what I tried, things just got worse. That she'd then blame it all on me, and I knew it wasn't like that, just made everything seem crazier and more out of control. There was just no pleasing her, not in any lasting way. To go from such Love to telling me she Hates me now, we're never going to be friends again, leaving extra wounds behind, gone forever now... .I still don't get it, and probably never will. I am at the stage where accepting means I'm letting go of things, the bad feelings, the hope of reconciliation, the relationship itself... .My heart does not ever want to be without her, but my brain says it's time to move along. The advice and things I've learned from reading so many other stories here is to 'let go, move on'. It's hard, but it's in progress. Does this grieving ever end? Do these questions ever stop? That's to be seen, I guess. I feel I'll always think of her as the best I ever knew, the one that really could have worked, but also as the one that was the most complicated and painful to be with. The one that I never could have had a truly good life with, due to the effects of this mental illness. Which does stem from rotten childhoods and so much previous pain, I do believe, which just adds more sadness to the pile... .

Don't see how I could have done anything differently. I was at my best with her, trying everything I could find to try. Kindness, sweetness, cooked and cleaned and all of that, paid for most everything, had her living here, held her when she was upset or hurting, listened, loved her unconditionally... .I read self-help books, went to therapy, talked with friends, strangers, anyone I could find. I really went out of my way, trying to help her and our relationship. I held my tongue, and I spoke up, too. Not sure what else I could have ever done. She wouldn't even admit that she was doing anything against me, or doing anything wrong between us. Didn't ever really reach out for the help she needs. I was her lover, partner, friend, not her doctor or some miracle worker. I didn't even know about BPD until after she left this last time.

My perspective has changed in ways that leave me more clear headed and sure about myself, but also sad and distressed about what she is going through. Like a lot of people here, I thought, she's just having a bad day/ her period/ or maybe it's something I did wrong... .Even though, the more I got to know her and her story, I saw there was so much there that was full of pain and resentment. She held long-time grudges against people for the smallest slights, said she never could trust anyone as the world is full of 'idiots and perverts'... .Every one of her ex's, friends included, had done her wrong... .My perspective has changed lately into one of looking forward more than looking back. I felt frozen, at first, thinking she'd return, thinking she'd write once she cooled down, thinking she still loved me and the silence would not last. Well, she never did. She's Gone. I find that it is better this way, overall, and my view on that gets clearer every day. I'm still in love with her, just can't see us being together the way things are. My perspective has gone from one of being with someone, a real partner to share this life with, to one of being single and alone, dealing with this breakup and trying to dust myself off and move on. I feel like i let myself down as far as following my instincts and being aware enough to not be in an abusive situation. It's taken a while to even admit that that was going on, which was part of the denial/ grieving process for sure. It hit me hard one night, realizing just how bad she had treated me, how those hurtful words really got in there and helped to break us up. How could such a sweet woman ever act like that with the one she said she loved? It's still hard to get my mind around that concept, but in looking forward, it seems to matter less and less. I have to accept, for whatever reasons, she made her choice to go be somewhere else, and can't be with me anymore. I honestly look at myself and can say I didn't make this happen, but will always have a bit of doubt as to how much I did play into it. It's something to continue looking into, if only to not have it happen again should there ever be another chance to be with someone in love. My perspective now is more hopeful, yet there's a profound sense of sadness and loss still very much attached. Still have a way to go... .

I struggle with missing her. Not hearing her voice, not holding each other, being in the bed together, her smells, her ideas, her laughter... .Just sitting here together, smiling, feeling in love. I miss being there for her when she's down, as I could find ways to comfort her and help her through her pains and such, some of the time. It's a struggle knowing that she's out there, telling herself and whoever else, that I am just a bad person and she's better off without me. Hard to know she's really just hurting even more now, feeling alone in the world, that someone else has not been 'trustworthy', telling herself that all the good memories she has of me are really something else... .I struggle with the loss of the 'dream'. The plans we made for marriage and family and a life together. Struggle with feeling there may never be another woman I ever feel that much for, or even anything close to it. Never find someone I'd have so much in common with (although how much of that was her just mirroring me? That's a complicated subject, and extra confusing when the disengaging process is occurring. How much of who she said she was is 'real'? How much just an act? How deeply did she really love me, or not love me? Etc.) It's all a struggle, and it makes me question just how much actual progress I am making, when I feel better one minute and consumed in doubt again the next. One thing I've seen with this BPD situation, and many others would agree: It seems to be an illness that both people in the relationship end up being afflicted with. She may be the one who has it wired into her very being, but it got into me as well. It affects everything. She and I became so close, how could it not? Well, I'm still confused about a lot of this stuff, so... .Still processing.






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« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2011, 12:01:49 PM »

Acceptance

What have you struggled with?

I struggle with several things along the way,  most of them in the acceptance stage.  Me and my ego really had a hard time understanding that it wasn't a personal thing that happened to me.  Once I came to terms with that,  my clarity started to happen.  I could rationalize who I was to her,  what role i played in the relationship,  and the steps I needed to take to prevent something like this again.  It's hard to make yourself believe that what you saw... .the fantasy... .was false.  It was hard to understand that I was only an object to be used for her needs. 

How has your perspective changed as you have gone through the stages?

For me,  going thru all of the stages and now dealing with acceptance has taken me from focusing on her and trying to place the blame there to understand and accepting who she is and coming to terms with MY role in the situation.  At first,  it was very easy to see the "wrongs" she had done and place blame andsee that she was ill and excuse her mistakes and my mistakes with that.  Now,  i've taken a look at me.  Understanding who I am and what i'm doing to change myself. 

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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2011, 12:05:00 PM »

ACCEPTANCE

I am in the Acceptance Stage that the relationship is over; I received the default divorce papers just yesterday. What I struggle with is accepting the notion that he did not feel the same things I was feeling while we were married (3 years). I felt content and secure with him when there was no security in him, nor contentment. He did not reveal his inner thoughts and was secretive and now I think I understand why. I found him to be shallow but was willing to accept that he would develop relational skills if I was patient and loving. I understand the BPD flits from one r/s to another but from his brief description of his history he did not do this. I've come to the conclusion that he avoided intimate r/s due to his fear of closeness. He has a strange ongoing r/s with his EX that may be the substitute for new relationships--he splits from black to white with her, while he has split me black, seemingly permanently. Although his EX is married (to the man she cheated on him with) he claims that he is friends with both and has forgiven them. He won't forgive me though I've never betrayed him. I am finding the acceptance stage to be muti-faceted; accepting the end is different than accepting the dance of deception. I'm still trying to figure it out and accepting the bitter pieces one step at a time as the dance is exposed. I feel I am very gulliable to have been so clueless to the impending tragic ending and still in shock. I am beginning to accept the lack of closure but I am still trying to put the puzzle pieces together---not for his sake, but for my own sanity. This website has been extremely helpful although I feel obsessed in coming here to find answers.
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« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2011, 12:16:11 PM »

ACCEPTANCE:

Depending on one's prior experiences or personal belief, one can move through the 5 stages at different speeds, some moving slower or even stuck at a stage for a long time. The key here is how to remove the obstables of the mind so that one can move quickly to the ACCEPTANCE stage where new growth can begin.

Here are some of the things that helped me move quickly through the stages to the acceptance point.

1. SURRENDER. Instead of fighting the reality of life, I learned to surrender myself to whatever happened. I said to myself repeatedly - everything happens for a reason. Without death, life does not exist.

2. LOOK FOR THE POSITIVES OF WHAT JUST HAPPENED. Even the fierce forest fire that destroyed thousands of acres of trees, stil has the positives - clearing the ground and activate the young seedlings. WHen you see the positives then life and death have so much more meaning now. I was sad to leave xBPDgf because of my own lonelines, but the positives were I no longer endure the abuse, and that I had the courage to do what was right for me, and my motherless children.

3. STAY ACTIVE. Find things or activities to fill the times. AFter my wife's death, I sought out the positive energy of younger yogi by find a yoga studio near the university.


4. DON"T PUT UP WALLS. The natural tendecy is to put up a wall after a death or a separation to protect one's damaged psychee. Once we surrender to what is, then we can open up for the next wonderful experience.
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« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2011, 12:41:47 PM »

ACCEPTANCE

It's interesting, I never thought of this before - these stages.  Why that is I'm not sure, these stages are well known to me, but I guess it's because I went through most of them while in the relationship.  

Denial

I think most of us might have gone through at least denial in the relationship, why else would we be here.  There's not many people here who, when looking back, cannot say they didn't see the numerous red flags.  I ignored them.  :)enial lasted for me the entire span of our relationship (5 years)

Bargaining

This also lasted through most of our relationship.  I tried to do everything I could to make the relationship work.  If that's not bargaining in the face of a mountain of red flags, I don't know what is!

Anger

While hurtful, I always knew his behaviour wasn't aimed directly at me.  I almost always felt sorry for him.  If I had anger and as I write this, I realize I did indeed, it was directed at myself. I'm not sure I regret that, I think that's where it belonged actually.  I continually ignored the red flags, stayed in an unhealthy relationship at my own peril and yet I'm an intelligent, independent woman and I considered myself well-balanced.  I've had to seriously re-think that last part during that time of anger.  I really believe that being honest about that in this way has helped me grow, acknowledge my part in the relationship and take responsibility.  I don't blame him for what happened.  Not nice, for sure, won't put up with it again and in a "normal" relationship the blame might have rested squarely on his shoulders, but it wasn't normal, not at all.  I won't ignore those red flags again and I will care for myself better in the future.  I deserve it.  Oh ya, that last line means I've forgiven myself.  That's been a pretty important part of the anger process for me, forgiveness.

Depression

This was the hard one for me and it was pretty severe.  But really?  This started during our relationship also, how could it not?  I had gone through all the others and I can only lie to myself for so long.  The longer the relationship went on, the farther I fell into it.  If you recognize this in yourself, the only thing that will help is to get out.  Once I did that, the only thing that helped me was to let it ride itself out like a wave.  I'm came close to needing medical assistance to pull me out of it.  There's no shame in that and I would have sought that in a heartbeat had I not been able to work or look after my family.  Those who are reading this - if this stage interferes with your regular responsibilities, be kind to yourself, connect with friends, your pastor, pray, if you can put off some responsibilities (like I did:  I delayed painting my house!), do it.  But if you find you just can't get through the day, doing those things you have to do to respect yourself, talk to your doctor.  Even a temporary reprieve will help you keep active, doing the things you need to do.  Also keep in mind:  this stage does not last forever.

Acceptance

Came gradually with the lifting of the fog.  This is no joke.  I've never gone through this before and I hope I never will again.  It's hard to explain how clearer my thinking is now, how I can see plainly my part in it... .the focus always seems to be on the BPD partner.  That isn't healthy and your mind gets warped.  It's like that story about dumping the frog into the pan and slowly heating the water, I didn't realize how bad it was for me until the depression starting lifting.  Wait that time out!  You'll get there, I promise you.  When the depression starts lifting, you start seeing things more clearly, you'll feel your feet squarely underneath you, you won't be thinking of him or her every single day and your focus can go back to where it should be, your life first and then the lives of those dear to you.  Wow!  Acceptance came for me when I realized how much I had changed to be in a relationship that clearly (now) was so unhealthy, acceptance comes every day for me now by moving forward and looking towards a brighter future.  There is hope Smiling (click to insert in post)

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« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2011, 12:48:47 PM »

ACCEPTANCE

Where are you in the process?  

What have you struggled with?  How might you have approached it differently? I've strugged with how did I get in this situation.  What was it that pulled me to this individual.  It wasn't just the individual, but it was the mentality of the person that gave me comfort.  I desperately wanted to find out why was I hear, what was the message.  Once I understood that then I knew I would break free.  What has holding me I knew I could understand to break away from.

How has your perspective changed as you have gone through the stages? My perspective changed because I understood self much better.  I understood what happened in my childhood... .which is why I seeked comfort in a particular mentality.  Those with BPD have no borderlines... .they do everything with intensity.  What I craved was something intense to make me see things better.  If I needed love, I needed to feel love with intensity.  But soon the question turned into why did I need such intensity.  That question and others were answered for me.

What have you struggled with?  I struggled with finding the answers.  I struggled with accepting things about self.  Rather than blaming someone for what they did to me, I had to figure out how I was an enabler.  The reality was that we fed off each other.  This relationship was very different from previous relationships because I received answers.  My ex was needed to bring clarity to my life.  I might not have liked the pain that came with the relationship, but I have learned so much about self that I feel so happy that I'm blessed.  Now I wake up beyond happy.  I feel better about life.  Now when I select a partner I have a better understanding of self and why I want them to compliment my life.

I don't see any negatives in this... .I see how beautiful I truly am.  I see where I'm in a much better place today.

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« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2011, 01:20:40 PM »

DEPRESSION

Where are you in the process?  

As above at the moment, im on meds and in therapy, i am mentally and physically worn out still, its been 3 months and yet it still feels like yesterday

What have you struggled with?  How might you have approached it differently?

Struggled with every bit of it since the NC, even denial creeps back in and i sometimes think the bargaining will start again... why because that is what i was used to, that became my normality for 5 years... now there is a new shiny present all that as stopped... .Its like the brakes have been slammed on and are now jammed.

As for approaching it differently, that at least is easy to answer, if i knew about the begining what i learnt in the end then i would have never gone anywhere near the woman end of

How has your perspective changed as you have gone through the stages?

I dont think we would be human if we didnt feel all or at least some of the stages working to acceptance stage... I believe i need to go through these stages to learn lessons and realise who i am again and or infact who i maybe wasnt... .I think the biggest plus for myself is that i learnt i was codependent, if it wasnt for the r/s i wouldnt have known i dont think, i would have thought its just me but at what cost... .so really i ought to say a little thankyou to the ex for allowing me to look at me.

What have you struggled with?

Knowing someone as just taken my place in a blink of an eye, thinking i can unravel the truth from the lies but i just cant, the way she ended it, the fact i loved her so much and gave every little thing about me and it was torn up and dropped in the gutter, thinking i am a failure, no face to face closure despite my attempts, feeling all i was for all those years was used as just some sort of security when there wasnt a better offer on the table for her, allowing myself to believe her picking our wedding date was what she wanted with me, the fact she works in the same damn building as me , never seeing her little boy again and how i was ripped from his life... .the fact she never truly loved me and never said goodbye!
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« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2011, 01:26:53 PM »

Denial

I was in denial for about six months. How could I not be?  I was his 'everything' and his 'other self'.  This was about a year ago and that's when I began looking for answers.  At first I real a lot of articles about controlling or manipulating partners. We fought several times about his trying to control things that I said or did. They were minor insignificant things, silly really. But for some reason, he had the need to be in control of those things. I was passive and allowed that.

Bargaining

After searching for information on control and manipulation I happened to see a website about BPD.  I read it and was a bit startled. I couldn't accept that, so I kept digging for more information. I needed to be 100% convinced that he actually had a mental disorder. I researched for weeks. I kept notes and compared his behavior to those mentioned in articles. I compared the criteria for diagnosis with his behaviors. I started getting a very sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as I realized he indeed was suffering with BPD. I actually sat and wrote him a long letter. In that letter I spelled out what I would do for him. Basically I told him that I would change for him. I would never disagree with him, I would be here all the time with him. Basically I told him that I'd go along with him on anything, and not 'make waves'.  Even that wasn't enough.  He wasn't happy with me saying that I would change myself for him, for us. I was afraid to ask him to change, I was afraid he'd deny he needed to change. All I wanted was peace and his happiness.

Anger/Resentment

I still don't know how he did it but he made everything my fault. I am not a fighter, I am one that runs from confrontations.  He was the opposite, he liked that challenge. I only wanted peace. He made it impossible. After a year or more of 'sucking it up' and trying not to let his sarcasm and verbal cruelty get to me, I couldn't do it anymore and began to fight back. That's when the relationship began to deteriorate.  He would push me to limits beyond my own control until I blew up in rage. Yes, rage, I mean red-faced, crying, swearing full blown rage. OMG I have never in my life felt that before. It wasn't me. It was killing me. I began to hate myself for such a reaction. And there he'd be, cool as anything telling me I had anger management issues. I begged him not to draw me into arguments, I told him that we were beginning to lose respect for each other. I think once respect for each other is lost, it can't be recovered, and the relationship is too corrupted to repair.


Depression

I'd been depressed over what seemed inevitable, the demise of our relationship, for months before it finally ended. Just the idea of not being with him sent me into near despair. It's almost better after our breakup, the depression is still here, but I know that will get better with time.

Acceptance

I'm about 25% on my way to acceptance. But I know that if he tried to contact me in any way, or showed any sign at all that he wanted me back, I know that I would. But with stipulations this time. He'd have to change for me, and I know that wouldn't and couldn't happen. I left him in the only way I knew that would end him permanently. I damaged his ego. I told him I was erasing him from my life.

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« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2011, 01:57:57 PM »

ACCEPTANCE/DEPRESSION

Where are you in the process?

I have accepted the demise of the relationship and the rejection.  I still have bouts of depression because the whole thing dragged me into a hole.


What have you struggled with?  How might you have approached it differently?

I struggled with accepting the fact that I had been rejected and my wife left me for another man.  I spent some time trying to "get her back" and spent time with her in the first 6 to 8 months after she left, trying to win her back, bargain, etc.  I wish I would have had the strength to just cut off ties right away.  It would have made things a lot easier.

How has your perspective changed as you have gone through the stages?

I have come to realize that I am much better off without her in my life.  I got past only remembering the "good times".  This took maybe 8 to 10 months.

What have you struggled with?

I still struggle with the feeling that I have been damaged by the relationship.  I was left without any friends because of the years of isolation.  Occasionally, I'll have a good memory of her and wish I could have that feeling again.  But it isn't really about the relationship anymore.  It's about the feeling that I am buried in some kind of hole.
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« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2011, 02:13:20 PM »

REFLECTION/PAYING IT FORWARD

I personally resist categorizing anything except maybe the table of contents in a book. Definitions, though helpfull in offering some direction, often steriotype individuals and can misinterpret and then misrepresent a persons place or progress in any conflict or struggle.

This set of preferences, among others, "defines" me as an existentialist, though in other arts I am far more conservative in theory.

But enough baloney. I meandered amongst these categories of pain resolution for years and even now find myself in one or another from time to time. Life triggers are infinite and situations of any personal kind can cause a wide variety of emotional responses and mental pictures. And then I remember. I don't believe any of us will ever forget.

Even though I have accepted the morass of this experince, I am always tempted to wonder if I could have done more. That is the most difficult part to accept. My own limitations. Not due to narcissism, but that I was able to Love someone to such a degree that my life, literally, was in the balance. Even with all that Love, it wasn't enough to turn the tide of Fear.

Today, I reflect, read, share a few stories, and politely offer my experience and advice where I feel it might make "some" difference. It seldom does for recovery from these events takes the time it needs regardless of any shorcuts one offers. It is more a process of slowly putting it in the back of your mind. Things do go there when enough time mercifully puts us farther and farther away from the cliff.

If I was to have created these categories, I would have certainly included "Reflection" and the giving back it allows. It surpasses acceptance in that it now has formulated itself into action.
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« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2011, 03:34:40 PM »

I'm in deer in the headlights fear, sometimes,

sometimes I feel it's going to be ok.  Sometimes I think he will get better in therapy.  Then I think he won't stick with it.  I think I can't stand not know what the future holds.  Ok, I'm rambling.

I accept he is very sick.  I accept that I have huge issues.  I'm depressed that he can't be there for me.  I'm depressed that being there for him will impede his progress.  I worry that my daughter will choose men like him in the future.

Therapy is a must, researching how to help me is a must.  Learning about his illness is very helpful to understand the trainwreck that just happened.

A kitty that purrs and snuggles up to you when you cry is priceless.  Anyone that doesn't have a kitten, run, don't walk to the nearest pound/petcity/craig'slist ad.



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« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2011, 05:20:04 PM »

ACCEPTANCE

Where are you in the process?

I totally accept that it is over, that I did my best with the knowledge I had. I made poor choices, but they were the best ones I knew of at the time. (enabling).  I forgive myself for those failures, and I forgive him for the abuse.  I'm not angry, or even disappointed.  It was a long road (20years) and there were beautiful moments and also horror, and a lot of every-day life in between. I have 4 wonderful children from this marriage, and I don't regret having them.  I feel sorrow for their pain, as they experienced a dad with BPD, and the conflict of the marriage, and even abuse at his hands.  I also feel sorrow for my pain, and even the pain that exBPDh had.  But there is growth from pain, and I feel gratitude for my growth, and the growth my children have experienced. (I don't know if ex has had any growth yet. But that is not my concern.)

What have you struggled with? 

I struggled with the denial, it lasted years. Then the bargaining, more years.  I was briefly angry, then I really focused on forgiveness, which was a blessing. The acceptance finally came after recycling through denial and bargaining over and over and over again.

How might you have approached it differently?

I wouldn't have done anything differently, because I did my best, every step of the way, mistakes and all.  All those mistakes brought me understanding, and finally to the acceptance I have today.  I was ready to leave when I finally reached that point.  No, no regrets.

How has your perspective changed as you have gone through the stages?

I finally started to see things from a bit of a distance, rather than trying to examine it so closely that I was blinded by the confusion.  I mean, it looked awful, right? So I tried harder and harder to make sense of it by scrutinizing it further.  Finally I realized, hey, this is awful! I'm outta here!  If it looks awful, duh, it IS.


What have you struggled with?

Worry that I have harmed my children's futures, that they will be 'damaged'.  That they won't be able to have happy marriages in the future, cuz I ruined them.  But then I remind myself that they have learned, and they are fortunate to have such knowledge.  Very expensive knowledge. They paid dearly for it.  And I trust that God will bless them, and they'll be ok. Cuz none of this was their fault.

P.s. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS WEBSITE!  Hi!

THE PEOPLE HERE ARE WONDERFUL, THE SUPPORT HAS BEEN PRICELESS.   

THANKS TO THOSE WHO SET IT UP, AND THOSE WHO GIVE THEIR TIME TO KEEP IT GOING.

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« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2011, 05:32:55 PM »

Acceptence

Where are you in the process?  

I have accepted the relationship is over. I have accepted my role in it. I am trying to understand why I made such poor decisions and improve my emotional health so I can move forward with my life in a positive manner.

What have you struggled with?  

Cycling through the first four stages of grief. Reaching out to my SO to help me and receiving scorn and anger. I never felt so hurt in my life. She seemed to enjoy it. Knowing I was in pain. It seemed to validate her feelings. I did not know about BPD until 3 months after the relationship ended. Finding this site was a life saver. I thank God for leading me here. I struggled accepting that she was mentally ill and I struggled with forgiving her. After much research I know what kind of pain she is in and that she might never get better. It was easier to forgive her after that. I struggled to understand my role in this and I still have difficulty understanding how I was such an easy target for her to use as a tool to relieve her distress for a short time.

How might you have approached it differently?

As it became obvious she was not going to show me empathy or help me understand why our relationship wasn’t working I should have ended contact. I thought about it but couldn’t bring myself to do it. It wasn’t until I found this site and started reading how others disengaged that I saw the need to go NC for a time to get my mind back together.

How has your perspective changed as you have gone through the stages?

As I cycled through the stages it became easier just to embrace the feeling and accept the loss. I thought I would never get over her at first. I thought I might lose my sense of self and confidence. As the pain began to subside I saw that she had been making my life worse not better. That our attachment was not a healthy one. That my life was indeed better before we ever got involved and that it can be even better now. I have been shown flaws in my character that I didn't know existed. I can now work on those and become a better man than I was.

I am not ready to date yet but I have found that forcing myself (at first you don’t feel like but then you look forward to it) to go out and be sociable helps to get your self esteem back and stop ruminating. Spending time with new emotionally healthy friends is very encouraging.

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« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2011, 06:58:20 PM »

Acceptance

Maybe mixed with a bit of sadness... .but the depression has lifted with time and perspective.

I knew for quite some time before the relationship ended that it was doomed... .but I hung in there. I went through Denial, Anger/Resentment and Bargaining during the final 6 months we were together. I had so much invested emotionally that I kept on trying... .I was 'spinning my wheels', 'beating a dead horse'... .that was the denial I suppose. I tried all I could to get things back to the way they were... .or rather, they way I thought/hoped they were... .that was my bargaining. I then became angry... .no matter what I did... .the relationship became worse and worse until it was completely unmanageable.

When it finally did end for good... .I KNEW it was over for good... .but I was very depressed even though I accepted it.

Time, good friends, supportive family and a terrific T have helped me to claw my way back to feeling ok about myself. As I stated above... .there are still moments of sadness, and why not... .I loved this man and I believed in a future with him... .but the mind numbing depression has lifted.
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« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2011, 08:21:16 PM »

Depression/Anger

  In that order. I had been fine, so I thought, since I hadn't seen or heard from her in 6 mos. One thing led to another and I was picking up her son, age 9, whom I had missed dearly, to spend time with him. He and I had been very close. It all flooded in/back with a vengence. I had no control over what happened in my head for the next 2 months. It was back to no contact but not before I could let this child know and be told by me that I loved him, and I always would, even If at some point we didn't see each other for a very long time. I wana say had it not been for him no contact would have been made again but I can't say that for sure. But I can say I'm only grieving for my son at this point. I was the one that was there for him when his anxiety rose because of her behavior and flat out I loved him as my own. I'm still dealing with the baggage of what I witnessed. I was not accustomed to anyone acting the way she did, ever. Totally out of my element, unqualified to do whatever it was to make/keep her happy. I had no idea being in her life would make her worse. I'm figuring out my role in this now with therapy. First session was today and even though I knew I was co dependant I thought I was doing well with my boundries. I mean I KNOW what not to do with normal people. However I have alot more work to do on myself. I'm extremely happy with the therapist whom is experienced in BPD.

   I'm angry though that she knew she had this problem, not when we first got together but she learned of it later. I'm angry I was left out of the loop, I mean it affected me too, my life was involved in hers, we lived together. See she doesn't want anyone to be able to point a finger at her, she's perfect. Which leads me to believe therapy isn't going that well for her. And she will NEVER change. I'm gona try not to be concerned with her anymore. How this affected me-I will always be on the lookout for people with this disorder. Some of the posts in here say everything was fine for a year. I know I'm definately emotionally invested in a year. It will be wasted energy for me to always be having to pay that close attention. Therapist doesn't want me dating for a while and I'm just fine with that. And she also said people who go through this are emotionally depleated and they can't give anything back until they heal. I have to agree, I FEEL depleated. I'm gona go to therapy, read as much as possible about things that help ME and keep coming here. First line of defense is working on boundries. Therapist also said this site was well known and she recommended it.

   I just wana say thank you for such an informative and well thought out support group site. I've learned so much with the information provided and listening to everyones stories.
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« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2011, 01:22:50 AM »

ACCEPTANCE.

Where are you in the process?

Acceptance. I accept that he is disordered and we can never have a healthy mature relationship.

I've known this man for 20 years and this was very difficult for me to accept. To realise that he has a mental illness.

Do I still love him? Yes. Will I ever be in any sort of contact with him? No. That's the way it has to be. It hurts but being with him is soul destroying and hurts even more. I cannot let him ruin my life or my daughters.

What have you struggled with?  

He discarded me like a piece of rubbish ... .how can you love and care about someone and then they just walk out when you need them most?

Trust. I trusted him with both mine and my daughter lives.

My daughter asking about him and wanting to visit him. She's just turned 6.

How might you have approached it differently?

Within the first month he had a psychotic episode that had nothing to do with me but he abused via text and phone all night. I should have left then. Take note of the Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post)

I had also left him 2 weeks earlier (prior to him discarding me) and I should not have recycled back in for the umpteenth time. I should have had more self respect for myself and my daughter. I should have listened to my head and not my heart.

How has your perspective changed as you have gone through the stages?

I swing through my own emotions but I also swing on a pendulum about how I feel about him. Sometime's I feel sorry for him. He can't help it and as he told me once 'that's just the way I am' and it was the truth. Then someday's I feel angry and want to hurt him back. I think I am past this now as I regain control over my emotions I can logically put it all into perspective and realise that this is the best for all of us including him. My situation could have been much worse than it is this time around. I am proud of myself that I did put some small boudnaries in place and didn't move in with him when he wanted and I also didn't make the financial investments that he wanted - he would have ruined me financially - no doubt. I have worked my whole life to have a comfortable life.

What have you struggled with?

Probably all the stages but being discarded was the most hurtful and acceptance of his PD. I didn't want it to be this ... .I wanted him to be able to be fixed. He can be the most beautiful and funny man on the planet but he can also be the meanest and nastiest person I have ever come across in my life.

Thanks for listening. That was quite cathartic
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« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2011, 05:40:19 PM »

When my best friend started violating boundaries intentionally, I was in denial for at least a year.  I tried to help her get back to "normal"

When she married my brother and spread lies about me I was "angry" for about a year.

When I missed my brother and the rest of my family who all saw me as being the one with the problem, I tried "barganing."  This sent me into several years of repeating this cycle:  denial, anger, bargain.

Last week my therapist suggested my former friend is BPD and it all made sense.  I am now giving up on trying to make things work, which has me depressed because I now know my family will never be the way my parents want it to me.  But, I also have accepatance that it is not my problem to fix.  It is not my burden to bear.  And, I will NOT allow this woman to hurt me any more.

Thank you so much for this board and the help you provide people like me.  I feel like I am getting my life back, but I worry about my brother and what he must be dealing with on his own. 
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« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2011, 07:08:38 PM »

                                                                                           Bargaining/Depression/Acceptance


I find I vacillate a lot.  Perhaps because this is my daughter - part of me can't let go, but I did learn from one of my fellow Al-Anon members who has know me for years and has seen me raise my daughter that I am not leaving her or abandoning her - I am detaching with love from her illness - not from the love I will always have for my daughter. 

I think when I look at the toll it takes on the rest of my family and the love and devotion and support I get from my husband, parents, sister and step-kids I realize I won't be any good to anyone if I'm not healthy... .taking care of me is more important so that I can be healthy for the rest of my family.

The whole process is very difficult.

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« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2011, 07:35:39 PM »

ACCEPTANCE

She's in Denial. I'm trying to navigate that chasm.

I could have her walk out the door today and not have any regrets. I could go NC right now and not care, be/c I've done all I can and it didn't work. I get as close as I can to NC now while still being in the same house.

D wouldn't have any regrets either if her mom left to her own place. She's ready to establish that sort of "new normal".

uBPDw, on the other hand, would have a big crash. Delicate path to navigate.

What have you struggled with?

Trying to finesse things so that she will see its in her best interest to live other than with me. She says often that she feels competitive with me for D's affection. If she had her own place, then the times D is with her she'd be free of that competitive feeling... .such a lovely vision I paint, huh? Ha ha.

She's paralyzed by the thought of having to make decisions for herself, so I'm sure that no benefit is worth the anxiety of having to make her own choices and manage her own place and life. I don't know how to overcome this resistance short of just pulling the plug.
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« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2011, 11:31:53 PM »

ACCEPTANCE

Where are you in the process?   I accept:  he has a mental disorder and that he will not change, that it's "over" and was unhealthy for me (and not to go back).  I also accept my responsibilites and errors in the relationship and put my focus on me and resolving those issues. 

What have you struggled with?  Once my T heard my story, he immediately said it's BPD and recommended I "Run like hell" (my xbf was in the midst of selling his house to move to my state to get married).  T also said that when I broke it off to not argue with him and "take the blame".  By doing that, it'd be easier on my xbf and he'd paint me black so I'd have a better chance of him leaving me alone.  I didn't know anything about BPD at the time, so I followed my T's advice and that's what I did.  I'm an honest and upfront person, so leaving the relationship in that manner feels like a lie, a cop-out, even if it was an effort to make it easier on him.

How might you have approached it differently?  Tell him the truth... .that I think he has BPD and he needs help.  I know they say it's best not to tell a pwBPD that you think they have it, but it sure doesn't feel right to me.   

How has your perspective changed as you have gone through the stages?  That I can see my xbf as a sick, mentally disturbed man instead of the illusion of the 'man of my dreams'.  I've gone from desparately wanting to save him to learning I can only save myself.  Even with all the heartache and pain, I'm thankful for this relationship which made me aware of what my issues are and pinpointed them instead of floundering around in T not knowing what to address.

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Upnorth
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« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2011, 03:38:36 AM »

ACCEPTANCE


Denial

From very early. But I did recognize some red flags, which made me set a time limit of how long I would keep trying before bringing up the matter about the future of the  R/s. I mostly ignored that she seemed very little interested in working on improving the relation - "If it is real love then keeping up the relation should not be a chore".

Bargaining

I tried hard to make it work. I sacrificed several parts of myself that matters to me. But since I fortunately had seen some red flags, I did not totally loose myself. 

Anger

At the end I was angry. That she had not cared about working with the bad signs that showed up early. Angry that she had hurt me so much and even put the blame on me for it.


Depression

I felt so powerless, I had tried as much as I could, but the R/S was like standing on a slippery slope, gradually sliding towards the bottom with no way to stop it. I got depressed by seeing all the good potential in our R/S ruined. Afterwards I missed the all the good things we had. Feeling lost, unable to ever again form a  lasting relationship.

Acceptance

Really came last week. I suddenly did not miss her strongly anymore. Now I only miss our r/s in the same nostalgic way I miss good parts I have had in my other past r/s. That feeling coincided with some other good news. My neck injury I struggled with last year was finally fully healed. A health check showed I was in excellent condition, I got big positive boost at my job and I started to do something I have wanted for several years - take tango lessons. I feel more alive and vibrant than I have ever felt on my own before - it feels just like during the intense phase of being in love.  Smiling (click to insert in post)   

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« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2011, 07:47:13 AM »

Depression   

What have you struggled with?  How might you have approached it differently?

Denial comes to me in waves. I'll sit, in my own head, and think of things as a normal relationship. I sometimes think of my ex as two people. There's the sweetest most loving girl I've known, and then there's the cold-eyed thing that would have done anything to get away from me. I spent a long time in the honeymoon stage, or so it seemed, and I fooled myself into letting go of thoughts of her nasty little passive-aggressive behaviors. I sometimes struggle with perspective in this. I was aware she had problems, but not this severe, and nothing I thought that would cause her to do anything like this. I never imagined a world where we wouldn't be in each other's lives. A break up? Sure. A death? It happens. I was arrogant enough to think that I could handle any eventuality, but mental illness is the one thing I was unprepared for.

Bargaining is a stage that seems to the the stage I have fallen back into over and over. It's very difficult to accept that the person I loved and thought I knew is disordered and isn't seeking, or supported in, seeking help. Reading about BPD has been a double edged sword in this respect. I needed to know why things happened the way they did, but I end up musing over the information, wishing I could make some sort of positive difference in her (and hr sisters) life. I lost both of them in this situation, and I've heard/seen enough to realize that their mom is a pwBPD, who abused them both, but I realize this information will be unwelcome and useless, considering the source and the denial involved. 

I have, without realizing what I was doing, had long conversations in my head with her and her sister about the disorder. I miss them both and I can't do anything about it. That sense of responsibility is hard to get over. My ex made me responsible for her happiness so very quickly, and then pulled the rug from underneath me. I've found it hard to focus on myself.

I think that accepting that the information that I learned about BPD is only useful for my own understanding, and not to help her, is difficult, but necessary.

I have some low burning anger that seethes in me from time to time. Mostly about the unfairness of the situation, sometimes at her mother, very rarely at her. I try not to get stuck here, I think anger is healthy and natural, but I find it difficult to point at a disordered family. I've been attempting to sublimate my anger through exercise. I should have started this earlier.

How has your perspective changed as you have gone through the stages?

The pain is fading in some ways. At least it's mostly bearable most of the time. I started off desperately trying to help my ex, to get her information about what was happening to her, to try to get her in a situation that was more healthy. It was wasted time and energy.

I started off feeling that I couldn't live without her. Now I'm finding that I will live, so I better make the most of it, even if I'm unhappy.

The "thoughts that get you stuck" section of the articles mention that the borderline in your life experienced the relationship in a very different way than you did. I know this to be true, but it hurts my feelings that things I did "for her" may have been for me, and are resented now. It's a very confusing place to be. I can't reminisce about the good times, because I'm afraid that they weren't good for her, that she sold herself into slavery with me and I didn't realize it, and she hated me for it at times. Accepting this is what I'm working on now. I feel like it wasn't so much of a relationship, but a one-night stand with a stranger that lasted a year.   

What have you struggled with?

Everything. Seriously. I couldn't function properly at first, and now, while I feel somewhat better, I'm still lost in feeling like nothing is right in the world without her. I don't find any comfort in human touch. I have a friend that's been trying to help me and keep me happier, and she tries to hold me and it dies nothing to help. My body reacts automatically: that's not her. The same goes with everything else. I shared my life with my ex. When I do get excited or happy these days I automatically want to tell her about it. I tell myself that there's a future without feeling this way.

I cry a lot. I don't think I've cried over anything like this. I haven't cried like this since I was a baby. I've cried almost every day of three months. I don't feel embarrassed over it, but it makes conversation sort of difficult. My friends have been supportive, but no one seems to understand why I'm so slow to recover.
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« Reply #29 on: February 20, 2012, 09:35:02 AM »

Haven't got time to write more fully just now but wanted to make two points:

1. Grief Stages interrupted by repeated reconciliation

I'd find it hard to answer your poll because the relationship has 'ended' so many times that I've been through various stages several times.  This time we're divorcing but even now I'm not convinced that he won't change his mind - is this 'denial' (ie expecting he'll be back) or a belief based on previous experience?

2. 'Permission' to grieve more likely to be given by others when it's a death not divorce

the other point I wanted to make related to the comparision with stages of grief following death - the reason I opened this post was becuase I have felt unable to openly grieve the loss of my marriage because many others seem to think that it should be a relief and find it strange that I would want to read letters before putting them away; look at photos etc.  Yes, I feel hurt and very angry but I still feel a great loss, even it if turns out to be the loss of an illusion, it's still a deep loss.

Looking forward to reading others' responses

Clairedair

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