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Family Court Strategies: When Your Partner Has BPD OR NPD Traits. Practicing lawyer, Senior Family Mediator, and former Licensed Clinical Social Worker with twelve years’ experience and an expert on navigating the Family Court process.
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Author Topic: Should I Tell Her I Want NC/CC?  (Read 469 times)
Wimowe
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« on: January 07, 2013, 06:16:36 PM »



Do I have an obligation to tell my uBPDxgf that I can't be friends with her right now?

About three weeks ago, I unilaterally ceased initiating contact with my uBPDxgf without telling her I was doing so or why.  I respond politely to her phone calls and texts and decline her invitations to get together (e.g., she invited me to spend Christmas with her at her brother's).  I haven't heard from her in almost two weeks.  In the past, when someone has broken up with me, I've appreciated being told forthrightly and, although tough to take, it's been helpful to my emotional/ spiritual growth to know the reasons.  In contrast, I've found it very hurtful when someone simply disappears and refuses all contact.

I could initiate contact for this specific purpose or passively wait for her to contact me.  In either case, I envision telling her that we apparently disagree on standards of acceptable conduct in an rs/fs, and that I can't be friends with someone who behaves towards me as she does.  (One hazard for me is adopting a superior and/or blaming and shaming attitude.)  I'm willing to discuss my reasons, if she's interested.

We live in a small community and are in many of the same social circles, so I'm likely to encounter her sooner or later.  I'd prefer to have established an understanding with her about our rs/fs status before that happens.
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cookiecrumbled
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Relationship status: D for three years
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2013, 07:25:49 PM »

Hi Wimowe -

I completely identify with your respect for manners even in this situation.  I strive to live by the Golden Rule and many times it seems to cause me pain.  I still do it.  In fact, what I would do is call her and ask her to come over so that y'all can talk - I would explain that you don't like how you handled something and want to make it right.

When she shows up (and be prepared for her to suddenly be unavailable, in which case you will undoubtedly struggle with no closure and feel vulnerable to her possible return), repeat what you wrote to us "I've appreciated being told forthrightly... .  And in contrast... .  "  The problem I see is that two weeks have gone by without contact... .  you run the risk of her laughing in your face and saying, "So I haven't talked to you in two weeks and you call me over here to tell me your aren't talking to me?"  It looks a lot like you are using this as an excuse to talk to her (which I would totally be guilty of if I were you) rather than altruistic motives.  The truth is that you do not owe this woman the decency of The Talk because she has shown you in the past that she has no regard for how she treats you.  I think it stinks that you will have to see her often.  It will make your recovery that much harder, I'd think.  I suppose I would try to wait passively for her to make contact and jump on that opportunity.  Be forewarned:  you need to make damn sure you can stand by your declaration of NC if you tell her.  Otherwise, your credibility is shot no matter what - and look how many people on this board are regretting the break from NC... .  

Finally, you write well and sound really nice.   Good luck.  I'm sorry this is happening, especially over the holidays.
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seeking balance
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 09:29:52 PM »

Hi,

I understand "good manners", but you contacting to say "I don't want contact anymore"... .  it will pretty much be seen as a mixed message.

Silence is golden right now - simply don't create any unnecessary drama.

Peace,

SB
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Faith does not grow in the house of certainty - The Shack
Wimowe
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2013, 06:09:28 PM »

The problem I see is that two weeks have gone by without contact... .  you run the risk of her laughing in your face and saying, "So I haven't talked to you in two weeks and you call me over here to tell me your aren't talking to me?"

I understand "good manners", but you contacting to say "I don't want contact anymore"... .  it will pretty much be seen as a mixed message.

Thank you OTC and SB for your responses!  I take the point about contacting her to initiate no contact!

I never really decided to cease/minimize contact with my uBPDxgf or tell her I was doing so.  My NC/MC evolved one day at a time.  There was a moment when I shifted to acting from Wise Mind instead of fear.  I started heeding her distancing behaviors and accepting the implications.  I started asking myself, each time she contacted me, do I want this person/ drama/ pain in my life today?  The cumulative experience of a long series of confusing, sometimes weird or creepy incidents precipitated this shift.

One of the later of these incidents involved a "Twelve Step event."  She was abrasively adamant that she didn't want me there.  I felt hurt at being summarily and brusquely excluded with no explanation. The "12 Step event" turned out to be someone showing photographs of their trip to Africa, i.e., it was a social event not restricted to members of the Twelve Step group.  I figured there was either a person she was interested in or else she didn't want someone there to see me -- or us together -- for whatever reason.  I found her secretiveness kind of creepy.

We'd talked about seeing a movie following the "12 Step event."  About an hour before the movie, she texted me that she didn't think she could get away from the "12 Step event" in time.  I replied that I was going anyway.  About ten minutes before the movie, she texted me that maybe she would see the movie with me after all.  I replied that I was already seated.  She arrived at the theater about two minutes before the movie and shared that she had almost brought a male friend of hers but that he'd decided against it.  She left immediately following the show.

A couple weeks later, she invited me to spend TDay with her brother and his family, which I found odd.  Here's this woman who's insisted that she doesn't want to be in a couple with me, yet inviting me to spend a holiday with family ("If you come, we'll have to stay in a hotel.".  She'd even reserved rail tickets for me (a hot commodity around the Thanksgiving holiday in these parts).   I just couldn't understand how it would make sense for me to accept. I thanked her, declined, and spent Thanksgiving with my brother and his family.  I did drop off/pick up my uBPDxgf at the train.

The annual village Christmas parade was on the first Saturday in December.  I had reserved tickets for us to a dance performance following the parade.  Two days prior she said she couldn't commit to going to the performance because she had deskwork and other things to do and was feeling overwhelmed.  (She was once a dancer and loves dance performances.)  She spent most of the following day (Friday) with her arts group and socializing, i.e., no deskwork or seeing to other matters she claimed were pressing. Late Saturday morning -- the day of the dance event -- she vmailed me, "I think I would like to accompany you to the dance performance."

I noted that I felt disrespected and devalued.  I did a thought experiment, visualizing both going to the dance event with her and going by myself or with someone else.  The first evoked pain, anxiety, anger, and agitation; if I went by myself, I imagined I might feel lonely, but I'd enjoy the performance and feel relatively serene and self-possessed.  This time I heeded the obvious conclusion that I'd always disregarded in the past.  I didn't return her vmail.

Early Saturday evening, I went to the staging area for the parade (in which I was marching).  She texted me, asking where I was.  I replied that I was at the parade staging area, but never saw her.  I found out later that she also marched in the parade (with a mutual friend of ours).  I went to the dance concert by myself, felt a bit lonely, but enjoyed the performance.

Next day (Sunday), I went to a coffee shop knowing that there was a small risk that she would be there.  I couldn't believe it when she entered the shop about half an hour later.  She was hanging some of her paintings for an art opening that started about an hour later at a nearby gallery.

She said, "I want to go to my art teacher's opening later on."  (This was an example of how confusing it could get.  To me that sounded like how members of a couple talk to each other; there's an assumption that you plan your time together.  Yet she kept insisting that she didn't want us to be a couple.  In my world, a non-coupled person would ask another non-coupled person, "Would you like to come with me to my art teacher's opening?"

I said, "Are you saying you would like me to go with you?"

"Yes," she said.

I wasn't willing to commit until I'd had a chance to be alone and check in with myself.  I did consent when she asked for help hanging her work.  She waited for me to walk over to the gallery with her.  "I'll be along in a few minutes," I said.  After a few minutes, I walked over to the gallery, helped her, then left to visit another friend's open studio.  About two hours later, she asked via text what I'd decided and whether I would mind if her psychotherapist came with us (she and her psychotherapist take classes with the same teacher).

Although skeptical of my own motives, I somehow felt that going to the event with my uBPDxgf was, if not clearly the right thing to do, also not wrong.  The event itself -- held at a restaurant -- was a strange experience.  We felt ignored and decided to go elsewhere for supper.  As I was going to get the car, she texted me to come back inside.  She had started up a conversation with someone.  We ended up having supper there at a table by ourselves while the rest of the group ate together. The therapist ended up not coming with us.

On the way home, I mentioned the dance concert the previous evening.

"Why didn't you call me back?" she demanded.  "It's all right if you didn't want to go with me, but you could have let me know."

"I just wanted to go by myself," I lied -- I really hadn't wanted to go with her.  "And I was annoyed that you had called me and changed your mind on Saturday morning."

She said I was being "bratty."

I was ashamed for lying, but feared the can of worms the truth might open.  This was characteristic of my behavior throughout the latter part of our relationship.   my baggage

The following two Saturdays we saw each other briefly at holiday parties; both encounters entailed further profound shifts for me.

The last time we spoke was Christmas.  Again she invited me to her brother's ("I'm sure we can find somewhere for you to sleep." again I politely and firmly declined.  An Al-Anon program friend later wondered whether she was trying to keep up appearances with her family.  Another program friend suggested she invited me out of pity.

So that's how it went, one decision at a time.  Rather than decisively committing to NC and letting her know, I mindfully muddled my way there.

This is why I'm wondering if letting her know -- probably by usps -- is the right thing to do.   More important to me than NC/MC is that I can't be friends with her.  As I said, we live in a small community, have friends in common, and frequent the same venues and events, so technically rigorous NC will be hard.

Finally, you write well and sound really nice.   Good luck.  I'm sorry this is happening, especially over the holidays.

Thank you for your kind words!

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birdlady
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2013, 06:27:17 PM »

I would say no. Simply do not respond to communications. When my stbxh started sending ultimatums in emails I simply stopped responding.  I felt no need to explain why. Whether you respond to a query about your lack of response is up to you.  If it were me and I chose to answer that question i would only respond once, briefly and calmly and never again. You don't owe any big explanations about your decision to go NC. Simply state that it is your decision. Initiating contact to announce NC seems to me to be counterproductive.
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bpdspell
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Relationship status: Married.
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2013, 10:09:38 PM »

If it's been two weeks then like Seeking Balance stated: your silence is Golden. If she isn't sure about your relationship status she will make contact and then you can tell her that the relationship is officially dunzo for you. But for now. Let sleeping dogs lie.
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