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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: How different am I from him?  (Read 517 times)
Escaped 30.Sept.2013
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« on: October 08, 2013, 06:40:11 AM »

It struck me this morning.

The concept of "them" and "us"... .how different am I from my ex-bf?

Not that much, in one way... .total opposite in another.

We BOTH craved love. He mirrored like crazy in his desperate desperate need for love, attention, affection, to feel secure in my love. And I did whatever it took to keep that love, because I was every bit as desperate to be loved and to feel loved as he was!

The difference... .I can recognise that I craved love. I can recognise that it is not natural to crave love so desperately that you will accept appalling behaviour from the one who is supposed to love and cherish you. I can recognise that healthy love does not veer wildly off the scale at each end. I can recognise that, with therapy and friendship, I can rebuild myself so that I am able to recognise good healthy love in the future, and so that I no longer will want that crazy extreme version.

And he, poor soul, cannot recognise any of that, because a four year old child cannot recognise anything much about their behaviour and the effects on others of their behaviour. He is unable to reason forwards in time to see possible results, and he is unable to reason backwards in time to connect results with previous behaviour. He only reacts to NOW, and he only reacts for himself.

I think it's important that I recognise that identical craving for love in us both.

And that it can be reprogrammed to be a normal desire for healthy love in me.

(Not saying all of you had the desperate carving for being loved. Just that I think I was as desperate for it as he was, and that's what enabled him to treat me so badly for so long)
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Blade99d
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2013, 08:13:59 AM »

Escaped,

Good realization here.  I started dating my BPDex literally a couple days after my divorce was final.  I had gone through hell for 2 years, so to say I was craving love and attention is an understatement.  I had met her about 45 days prior to my divorce being final, and I remember how smitten I was with her after just meeting for 5 minutes.  We went from 0 to 160 in the blink of an eye.  As I told my T yesterday, sometimes it feels like a long dream / nightmare that never happened.  I have been missing her a lot lately, as this is the time of year we spent a ton of time together last year. 
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goldylamont
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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2013, 08:18:58 AM »

such a good question Escaped! I did some thinking about this before and I still have a hard time finding out how we were alike in ways. I'll try and be honest to similarities/differences below, which will be a good exercise for me but maybe later on I can think of some better stuff... .


[edited]

okay, so here's the thing, when i start listing ways that we are alike they are all "good" things like: love of art, good literature, good food, enjoy the outdoors, etc. this doesn't sound fair but all i can think of now.

i think it's easier if i think of how we are not alike:

1) i'm very very loyal. she can't be

2) she would get anxious in crowds, was insecure about her looks and what others thought of her. i never really had many issues with this.

3) she'd run away from fear. i train myself to run *to* fear as i've learned this is the best way for me to learn more about life and improve myself.

4) i can be non-committal. can take me some time before i get into a r/s. she pretty much exists only in r/s. however, i did learn from her that i could not be so uptight about things and learned that it's ok to call someone my girlfriend and be open about my feelings... even if i wasn't sure this was my soulmate or not. hope this makes sense.

5) i don't have a tendency to take out anger/frustrations on people--what i mean is there's only one time i remember having to apologize to someone b/c i reacted to them but was angry about something else. i can compartmentalize things, I do apologize often if i don't feel well and perhaps i'm not focused or all the way present, but it's hard for me to remember times that i was mean or angry to a person when they weren't the direct cause of these feelings.

6) it makes me feel better (not worse) when i apologize for my mistakes.

7) i don't think friends/neighbors/other ex's of mine would ever describe me as being toxic, a whore, manipulative or a liar

8) i'm a *terrible* liar. i once tried lying to my roomate a few years ago about not forgetting to feed his cat and he laughed in my face and called me out i got so nervous. not to say i'm a pillar of truth! Laugh out loud (click to insert in post). i can leave out details here and there :-) but i don't just go around lying about lots of things, because the vast majority of the time i prefer truthful conflict rather than passive slights of hand.


so, of course i have some bad traits that i need to work on (like being aloof, learning to express love in words more, being laser focused on one thing but ignoring other things), but these are all still ways we were different, not alike.

so, i'll do some thinking--all of this by the way for me comes down to the idea of your "shadow-self", or your other-self which is there, a darker reflection of yourself that you tend to hate when you see it manifested in others. i keep thinking about what my shadow-self might be--what dark side of myself am i not expressing? and i just keep coming up blank. for the life of me the things i hated about her behavior i just don't see in myself...
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Escaped 30.Sept.2013
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2013, 09:16:56 AM »

such a good question Escaped! I did some thinking about this before and I still have a hard time finding out how we were alike in ways. I'll try and be honest to similarities/differences below, which will be a good exercise for me but maybe later on I can think of some better stuff... .

[... .]

so, i'll do some thinking--all of this by the way for me comes down to the idea of your "shadow-self", or your other-self which is there, a darker reflection of yourself that you tend to hate when you see it manifested in others. i keep thinking about what my shadow-self might be--what dark side of myself am i not expressing? and i just keep coming up blank. for the life of me the things i hated about her behavior i just don't see in myself...

Obviously I don't know you Smiling (click to insert in post)

But I am a very very timid and easily anxious person in RL, and several of the traits you list as positive about yourself... .well, I tried to imagine knowing someone that forthright, direct, straight to the point... .

... .and realised I've known several women my age like that. And I find them very intimidating, verging at times on aggressive... .I tend only to see them when I have a trusted friend with me for comfort and reassurance that it isn't personal!

NOT that I find you intimidating online - I'm much more assertive online, and you seem a nice person from what I've read. Smiling (click to insert in post)

But maybe how you remind me of those women I avoid seeing on my own... .maybe that might help you to look more deeply for that shadow-self? That you admire the traits you ahve worked to gain, but possibly they are not universally positive?

Oh dear - I hope this doesn't come over as really critical - I'm trying to be helpful, honest!


I thought my extreme honesty was a positive trait until someone sat me down and explained about tactfulness and social white lies and that actually if Jane is really pleased with her new haircut then it isn't for me to give her my own negative opinion on it - it's her haircut... .

So even something as seemingly clearcut as "honesty" isn't always a positive trait... .

Does that help? It was intended to help?
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Escaped 30.Sept.2013
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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2013, 09:22:10 AM »

Escaped,

Good realization here.  I started dating my BPDex literally a couple days after my divorce was final.  I had gone through hell for 2 years, so to say I was craving love and attention is an understatement.  I had met her about 45 days prior to my divorce being final, and I remember how smitten I was with her after just meeting for 5 minutes.  We went from 0 to 160 in the blink of an eye.  As I told my T yesterday, sometimes it feels like a long dream / nightmare that never happened.  I have been missing her a lot lately, as this is the time of year we spent a ton of time together last year. 

God that does sound bad... .I was six weeks out of a 15-month (what IS it with 15 months and me and men?) relationship with a much, much younger man who for the last year of it walked all over me.

And along came this wonderful man from long ago, who at college nearly 20 years earlier had literally saved me from attack by two guys, and who had always been in my mind ever since, even though what we had at college was only a series of evenings together and two nights, both too drunk to really do much. But up from my past came my Knight in Shining Armour, all keen once more to rescue me and save me and be my hero... .

... .except I now understand that his version of rescuing me would be to break both my legs so I have to be carried always by him and controlled by him and dependent on him, and any time he liked, he could just drop me in the mud and go off without me... .

... .so now I'm learning to rescue myself, and to walk tall... .
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Ironmanrises
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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2013, 10:37:06 AM »

The difference... .

They have a mental disorder... .

And... .

We do not.

That very difference... .

Placed in the context... .

Of having an intimate relationship... .

With that very person... .

Has destructive... .

And catastrophic... .

Consequences... .

On us.

That very difference.
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goldylamont
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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2013, 03:13:32 PM »

Obviously I don't know you Smiling (click to insert in post)

But I am a very very timid and easily anxious person in RL, and several of the traits you list as positive about yourself... .well, I tried to imagine knowing someone that forthright, direct, straight to the point... .

... .and realised I've known several women my age like that. And I find them very intimidating, verging at times on aggressive... .I tend only to see them when I have a trusted friend with me for comfort and reassurance that it isn't personal!

NOT that I find you intimidating online - I'm much more assertive online, and you seem a nice person from what I've read. Smiling (click to insert in post)

But maybe how you remind me of those women I avoid seeing on my own... .maybe that might help you to look more deeply for that shadow-self? That you admire the traits you ahve worked to gain, but possibly they are not universally positive?

Oh dear - I hope this doesn't come over as really critical - I'm trying to be helpful, honest!

... .

Does that help? It was intended to help?

yes it helps, it's got me thinking. i kind of want you to say more  Smiling (click to insert in post) perhaps what traits that aren't universally positive?

i dunno, my ex tried attacking me on all fronts after we broke up. and i feel lucky that i didn't believe any of it... .i have insecurities but fortunately nothing she tried to attack stuck. but funny thing is the one thing she said about me was what led me a year later to research and subsequently find out about BPD. she told me i was a narcissist who only cared about myself. and this kind of hurt me coming from her--but b/c this did scare me i went and asked friends if they could be really honest with me. i asked them "am i selfish? too bullish? do i not listen to your needs?" ... etc... i asked about three friends and they just looked at me like i was crazy. one friend told me that no he never felt that from me and that he always felt i was fair, caring and stable; i so needed to hear that from him at that moment, that woman had gotten under my skin.

all of this is to say, if you read anything into from what i write, i'm all ears!

and, you should know this--i actually started replying to this thread b/c of some of the things you have been posting. reading your posts made me feel stronger in a way b/c it seems like you are very honest and strong at the same time. it's interesting i didn't pick up any timidness from you--but maybe that's one of my bad traits?  Smiling (click to insert in post) thanks Escape 
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bpdspell
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Relationship status: Married.
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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2013, 10:41:11 PM »

We BOTH craved love. He mirrored like crazy in his desperate desperate need for love, attention, affection, to feel secure in my love. And I did whatever it took to keep that love, because I was every bit as desperate to be loved and to feel loved as he was!

The difference... .I can recognise that I craved love.

Escaped,

I think you touched upon an important part of this healing journey and that's the power of personal insight. It does help to look within for the answers to the "whys" as we soul search for what really motivated us to partake in this toxic dance.

For me it was low self worth, shame, not loving myself, believing that love could only come from others, wanting a replacement parent, running away from myself, wanting someone to care (even if that someone hated themselves), and repeating a cycle of what I inherited from my parents. Water seeks its own level and many of us struggle with the same issues that our ex's struggle with: self-hate, shame, looking for a rescuer or replacement parent, thinking we can fix others to serve us better... .

I too was desperate for my BPD ex's love. And it triggered much of my hidden shame. He was so much like my mother and father that I became obsessed with winning his love and trying to fix a very broken narrative that had been in control of me my entire life.

Like Ironman falls mentioned a key difference is capacity. They are mentally ill and are stuck in a very narrow thought pattern that is repetitive and emotionally stunted. In many ways they are trapped by their own minds and without help they will remain trapped.

Many of us will remain trapped as well if we continue our patterns of believing that it's the job of others to rescue us and make us feel important, loved and validated.

BPD is a mental illness and an attachment disorder which means that their ability to emotionally bond with others is severely compromised. It literally hurts them on a molecular level to feel closeness and vulnerability because it triggers their shame and core emptiness.

They often feel hollowed out, broken, unfixable and this is VERY painful for them.

After the breakup we generally have these same feelings for a period of time but generally our feelings (with personal work of our own) are alleviated; while they feel this way all the time.

Spell
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