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Before you can make things better, you have to stop making them worse... Have you considered that being critical, judgmental, or invalidating toward the other parent, no matter what she or he just did will only make matters worse? Someone has to be do something. This means finding the motivation to stop making things worse, learning how to interrupt your own negative responses, body language, facial expressions, voice tone, and learning how to inhibit your urges to do things that you later realize are contributing to the tensions.
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Author Topic: OK Leaving Board, soul searching time  (Read 4588 times)
PDQuick
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« Reply #60 on: March 31, 2011, 05:35:17 AM »

pdquick,  do u ever see the kids?

I do. Im very close with the oldest daughter. She lived with me for a while when she was in college. The youngest one was forbidden to speak with me after the breakup, and I had to honor that because she was under the age of 18. They are now 22 and 19, I met them when they were 2 and 5. I love them both.

You all are having some good output here. I wanted to talk about this so that we could see that we all had a responsibility to ourselves in these relationships. When we saw the red flags, we chose not to take them to heart, and we chose to stay.

When I first started therapy, I spent my entire first session depicting all of the horrors I had endured. I played the victim, talking about what she had done to me through the relationship. My therapist just sat and listened.

The next session tried to start the same way, but I was quickly stopped. She told me that my ex didn't do anything to me that I didn't allow, because I stayed through it all. Because I stayed, I sent her the message that it was OK for her to treat me like that. After the first day of meeting her, she didn't do anything to me, I subjected myself to everything, because I knew what she was capable of, and I validated her behavior by hanging around. I enabled that very behavior that I was trying to curb. I, in a sense, helped contribute to her illness by not standing up for myself.

Once you gain that perspective, you definately have a change of thought. I immediately shifted gears, and wondered what my issues where, because my therapist was right. Had this been any other person treating me this way, I would have fought, and then not had a thing to do with them the rest of my life. But she filled a need in me, one that I was willing to sacrifice my soul to have filled. I had to find out and remedy what that need, or needs were.

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Fish
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« Reply #61 on: March 31, 2011, 06:16:10 AM »

PDQ, your post directly above points out a very good direction to take my thinking now although I am pretty much sure I know why I have stayed in for so long - the kids (all boys, 17, 14, 12, 6). If it ever comes to the point where we are divorced and she has custody, the kids almost certainly will enter either a) a downward socio-economic death spiral that will hit bottom before a year is over or b) she will move them in with her mother and step-father who live 7 hours away and I will hardly ever be able to see them. In either case, they are certain to be emotionally abused, neglected, and materially deprived. As long as I stay, I am sure they will be taken care of properly (by me). I would rather the nightmare be visited upon me and endure it than see it thrust upon the kids without me to support them.

Recently, though, I have been computing the minimum number of years that I need to continue with this. I am figuring four. Only two of the boys will still be at home and both of them will be at ages when it makes more sense for them to live with their father rather than mother. It may take a little longer, but what holds me together is the hope and determination that I (and the boys) will be free of this unending BPD s--t storm and at least in my case I know that whatever years I have left will not be spent locked in a cage with a monster.
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« Reply #62 on: March 31, 2011, 06:24:21 AM »

My first red flag was about 2 months into the relationship. She'd already told me she didnt get on with her family. Then, one night, she phoned me, crying, hysterical, saying her brother had been harassing her, leaving abusive voicemails for her. She wanted to meet me, wanted to stay at mine that night, appeared scared. I wasn't going to turn her away.

I did ask her why her brother was doing this. He's bad, hates me, I'm the only one that tells the truth about what my parents are like and he can't handle it, was what I got. The reality of what really happened I'll probably never know. And I don't even care anymore.

Why did I ignore the red flag? Because i felt, wanted, needed, and I was naive enough to believe what she told me.
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PDQuick
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« Reply #63 on: March 31, 2011, 06:39:42 AM »

Fish, that is definately one way to perceive the effect on the children. It's the same one I had through my relationship. The kids weren't mine, but I was mostly responsible for them being there.

Allow me to expand your mind some though to my current take on my past relationship.

What would be more beneficial to a child? To have a mother and father who had a completely dyfunctional relationship, or a mother who had a dysfunctional relationship with whomever, and a father who had a healthy relationship with whomever. You see Fish, you can't teach a child about healthy relationships while you are in a dysfunctional one. Their mother will always have a dysfunctional one because of her illness. You, however, have the opportunity to heal yourself, and have a healthy relationship to show your children, and set an example of what one looks like. Children are led by example.

Just some food for thought.
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Fish
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« Reply #64 on: March 31, 2011, 08:44:13 AM »

I understand your reasoning about the kids living in a dysfunctional marriage, PDQ, and have thought long & hard about that. I've concluded that every situation is different and the best that one can do is make a prudential decision based on the facts at the time.

In my case, I judge it better that the kids have me as a constant presence in their lives v. the alternatives I listed. Plus, there is more than one relationship going on in the household. The relationships with me and between the kids themselves among them. I count those as extremely important to the kids (and me) and they can learn a lot about healthy relationships from them.

The kids may see a rotten marriage in which their mother is emotionally out-of-control and their father is hammered, but they also may grow to have life-long healthy relationships with their father, brothers, and perhaps eventually in a limited way with their mother IF a bad situation is not made worse. UBPDw/mom with custody would be just that in my predictions.

You know as well as any man on here that the odds of the father getting custody of younger kids in a divorce are vanishingly small if the mother is not a certified lunatic, child abuser, or in prison. I can't risk it right now. When the younger two are older, yes, I almost certainly will play the hand.

Thanks very much for your thoughts.
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Crystal Ball
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« Reply #65 on: March 31, 2011, 09:22:07 AM »

Fish ~ I found out the hard way the heavy emotional toll being in a dysfunctional/abusive marriage was taking on my kids.  I was also afraid of how the kids would handle being with my xh alone with his 50% custody.  For me, providing a place of calmness, peace and happiness was imperative for their sanity even if it was only ½ the time.  The difference in their behavior since my divorce has been dramatic ~ in a positive way.   Regardless if you stay or leave, I urge you to consider therapy for the kids.  They are very ‘in-tune’ to what's going on and are affected more than you might realize.   
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crystal
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« Reply #66 on: March 31, 2011, 10:29:25 AM »



Like PDQuick, I am a long time member of this board, but have not been around much..but this week marks three years since my divorce was final (and next month I will have been a member for FIVE YEARS!) and I have bene doing a little reflection...

First Red Flags-- We met in HS so I didnt know see them as red flags...

Intense Devotion. Intense need for physical contact.  (These both felt really nice and were flattering at the time and I think it was understandable to just feel like this was "new love" Two real red flags that bothered me even at age 17 but I ignored--and shouldnt have:

1.  he NEEDED to have a GF.  If a girl dropped him, he was in another relationship in days!  Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) .

2. All his woes or non-successes were someone else's fault..his teachers didnt understand him, his parents didnt support him... never him. And never just "oh well, these things happen". the blaming was deeply embedded even at age 17!


Hard to believe but all the traits were there. Way back at age 17...For a long time, I was painted white and generally enjoyed the intensity of attention. I had always felt  like the invisible child in our home.. so it felt GREAT to get so much intense, positive attention.

And  the red flags... I ignored them. Why? 

From an early age I was trained by FOO to accept blame...so I was easily guilted by him.

I had a soft heart, so I felt sorry for him...

And I was afraid of conflict...so I didnt challenge his lies very much and I accepted his excuses..

And the good was really good...  or so I thought...

Fast forward. 15 years, three kids. middle age. He was restless and unsatified. I had allowed myself to become isolated, and demoralized. Our home was ruled by his moods.  We had wildly fun times.  And the kids adored their dad-he was cool and exciting . Except when he wasnt. But I protected them (and him) from his moods.  It was exhausting. Eventually we were all walking on eggshells (even our dogs!) and didnt even know it!   He sabatoged my work successes, dissed all my friends so I dropped them, and as the kids started to become independent thinkers he found them threatening so he knocked them off the pedestal and painted them black. And he took up drinking and drugging. And blamed me.  And I took the blame. Why? Because I always had.  This would have gone on forever except I loved my kids and couldnt stand to see how he was treating them.  And how his treatment was wounding them.  It never occurred to me to do get out for myself...Im not blaming my parents, but the way I was raised made me prone to accept that kind of treatment...

I did a lot of work to understand why I accepted his horrible treatment. And coming to terms with my childhood. And coming to actually believe in myself. I am very successful in a complicated job and never believed in myself. And I didnt think I was worthy of friends...

And now, 5years after finding the board, and 3 years after divorce, I feel GREAT.  I have friends. My kids are thriving.  Work continues to go well. I have fallen in love.. and fallen out of love.. and tried to deal with that honestly.  I have come to understand and accept my FOO- and really forgive my mom for instilling so much guilt and self-doubt in me. 

Bottom line-- I think my childhood made me prone to fall for a BPD/NPD. No self-confidence and guilt prone.  And tough.   And I got entangled with him before I was really thinking for myself and taking responsibility for myself.  I think that is a common story for many of us here on the boards. 

So, for those of you still trying to leave... but slowed down by guilt, or fear or lack of confidence.  Get T. Get strong. and Get out! It is never too late.   Life can be so much better! 

Crystal
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PDQuick
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Don't look outside for the answers within.


« Reply #67 on: March 31, 2011, 07:29:00 PM »

Way to go Crys. I still remember all of those epic discussions we had way back when. Im glad to hear you are doing well.

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Scout428
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« Reply #68 on: March 31, 2011, 08:12:48 PM »

We met in sept after I was only out of a 4 year relationship for 2 months. I was still somewhat entangled with my ex but my new gfbp had no compassion whatsoever. In fact by that Jan on new years eve all he'll broke loose. I had never experienced such drama but she always said that the drama was mine. I started believing all that she told me and it took over 2 years to see that I wad conned. Yes she did seek a doctor to try working on her issues but she used even this against me. I have never experienced such love and hate at the same time. She is moving out this Sunday after just barely moving in and as crazy as it sounds I am heartbroken. I really wanted it to work, I tried to make it work but to be constantly ridiculed and beaten simply becomes too much.
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Scout428
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« Reply #69 on: March 31, 2011, 08:18:10 PM »

Crystal, your story offers such hope.  Thank you.
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crystal
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« Reply #70 on: March 31, 2011, 08:55:10 PM »

Hey scout,  I am glad it offers hope!  If you ever want back to my old posts you will see that I was as deep in the FOG as anyone. And I was soo afraid to let go.  So, if I can do it, you can too.  And really. Life should be good. And real.and when its not good you should be able to fell your feelings and be yourself. And you should be able to relax in your own skin.  And trust yourself.  I have all that now...it was a hread and scary path, that I could not have done without this board and T... But totally worth it.

And you know--the first few steps really were the hardest.  Have hope for the future and faith in yourself and you will do just fine.

Crystal
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