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How to communicate after a contentious divorce... Following a contentious divorce and custody battle, there are often high emotion and tensions between the parents. Research shows that constant and chronic conflict between the parents negatively impacts the children. The children sense their parents anxiety in their voice, their body language and their parents behavior. Here are some suggestions from Dean Stacer on how to avoid conflict.
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Author Topic: the difference between the silent treatment and breaking up  (Read 6826 times)
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 373

« on: May 26, 2013, 10:25:40 PM »

I was reading that some people think the silent treatment is actually a break up. How do you know the difference? I know in the past when he would contact me after a few days of NC, he never gave me any closure, just vanished. This time after reminding him of a boundry I set, which has caused 2 silent treatments in the past month, he did say I am not going through this anymore. Maybe that means something more final? I know they never really give closure, but I just don't get how someone can fade away without ever looking back. It is a horrible disorder.
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Posts: 726

« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2013, 01:29:57 AM »

my feeling Benny is that earlier, shorter silent treatments were practise runs.

my ex came back often. drunk phone calls telling me they still needed me. But once they find away to get those needs met elsewhere and no longer rely on us for emotional support, the silence will be more permanent. My ex disappeared 18 months ago and I never heard from him again. And yes, it is sad. Just so extreme and unnecessary. The sense of ostracism and banishment really plays with all of the fundamental psychological needs of a social creature like a human being. It goes against our very sense of survival and can be brutal in its message and damage. But only if we choose to believe what they are trying to say about us. After a point, I chose NOT to believe what his silence was meant to say about me. And I chose to believe he has an illness called BPD and that I should only own my parts and not his.

So I worked on me and why I chose him, settled, copped the abuse, gave so much. And that's where the real gift of the borderline can be found: in breaking long-standing patterns and behaviours.

Best of luck to you

Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 373

« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2013, 09:39:29 AM »

I know I need to break these patterns and I honestly do not know why I cannot when it comes to him. I have had no problem putting men out of my life that were abusive and never look back. I guess maybe its because the good times were so good it was like a dream come true. I know it was only temperary but I long for that again and he actually does bring it back to me which makes it even more difficult. I know he only does it to lure me back in and it is getting shorter and shorter in duration. I told him of the disorder now so I'm thinking this may be it.
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Relationship status: single
Posts: 2785

« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2013, 10:48:47 AM »

Benny, it seems like you arrived at a point where you presented him with a choice of getting serious and confronting his relationship dynamics and their impact on you & your relationship -- or discontinuing the r/s.  I did the same, in the gentlest, kindest, most loving possible way.

It truly blew me away that he chose not to confront and deal with those issues, and instead, left the r/s behind (more or less -- we stayed in touch as friends, that's another story).

It feels like a horrible rejection -- "am I not worth the effort?"  I think when we process it that way, we are not taking seriously how immensely painful it would be for them to actually take on those questions and dynamics.  Only very brave people who have lost more than they can stand to lose are going to try to plow that ground.  To most people, it is far too daunting.  Apparently for my ex, perhaps for yours.

The way they behave, that is antithetical to a normal r/s, is a well-entrenched coping mechanism, not just a casual choice.  If you challenge it you are challenging who they are at a fundamental level.  If he were a normal person behaving poorly, he might choose to save the r/s and act differently.  For someone wBPD, it is not that simple.  But it is all cloaked in rationalizing belief systems -- it's not like he is able to explain "I have a personality disorder so I'm sorry, I don't know how to make the changes you're asking of me.  I am bad at relationships and that is likely to continue."

Instead he is likely explaining it to himself in terms of you not being the right person after all.

You should not fall into the same trap.  That is NOT why.  But that doesn't mean he has the wherewithal to make another choice either.  He IS a person who is bad at relationships and hurts the people he gets involved with.  You were right about that.  You set a good boundary that reflects what you want and how you need to relate to someone you love.  He cannot accept that boundary.  This is the outcome.

He may come back and pretend he can accept that boundary or you might regret that boundary and soften it -- so it might not be the end.  But if that really is your boundary, it probably should be the end, because you should believe him when he tells you he is not interested in or able to abide by it.

I know it is very hard to accept all of this. With my own r/s, am really struggling with final acceptance and final letting go of hope that everything I just wrote you might not be true.
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