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Skills we were never taught
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Author Topic: Accusations and false memories  (Read 2271 times)
thisagain
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« on: September 16, 2015, 05:14:26 PM »

What do you do when your pwBPD literally remembers you saying something that you didn't? My partner has gotten really fixated on me "admitting" or "owning up to" having said things that I just didn't say. I have a very good memory and am 110% sure I didn't say it, and can recite back exactly what I did say that she's mis-remembering.  I get that her memory is distorted by feelings=facts, but how do I respond?

She's made similar demands before but these have been so specific (literally demanding that I admit I said it, word-for-word, and that I said it because "I have a problem". And she's so dysregulated lately that she's inventing these accusations out of next to nothing, or things we've both said a hundred times before without incident (then one time I say the same thing, she twists my words and flips out). So I'm not sure I can even avoid it in the future by validating better or otherwise being more careful.

Thanks in advance. I'm feeling like maybe I should just barely say anything until she's more under control, but that's no way to live.
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2015, 07:40:32 PM »

hi thisagain,

My partner insists I have a rotten memory.   Smiling (click to insert in post)

Which bothers me and she knows it.       It's one of our hot button topics.   I understand that she lives on thin ice all the time.  That her world is one of precision and exactitude.   She gets very specific about what exactly was said.  Its probably the one single area I would like to improve in our r/s.

The best I can do is say "that is not how I remember it" and "I understand you remember it differently"   which doesn't validate it her at all.   

When it's something I absolutely didn't say,  I say "I wonder if you are confusing that with another conversation."

and I hold on to the "less is more"   theory.  The less I say the more likely I am to get a better response...

or don't JADE.

if you figure this one out be sure to let me know.   Smiling (click to insert in post)

'ducks

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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2015, 08:27:18 PM »

I just think that kind of stuff is projecting by them in order to get out of having to face up to some crappy behavior.

My boyfriend has done that over and over. A lot of times I can tell he is playing a game with me. Like a broken promise... he said how could he have broken the promise when he didn't remember making it. And 10 minutes before he told me his reasoning for having broken the promise.

He has also accused me of doing things I know I didn't do. Then he reacts on me based on the accusation being true.

It all feels very confusing and unfair. Gaslighting? I think sometimes, yes.

I don't even know much of a solution, except to try and see the underlying problem causing the symptoms of accusations/false memories and validate that.
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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2015, 04:33:20 AM »

Yes this is terribly difficult to deal with when those false memories of the grievances you have been responsible for are brought back out of the kit to use in the next rage. Prior to understanding my wife has BPD I would try to point out when she made false claims, even prove they didnt take place which only made things escalate.

From what I have read I now understand this to be part of the delusion process she goes through at an emotional crisis point, generally in a rage attack. From what I read its about making sense of the emotional overload and bringing structure to its cause (being me of course), even if not logical.

On a few occasions I have been able to prove something didn't happen which has only confused her and more often escalated the rage. Now that I know about the BPD I probably would not try to take this approach again.

After advice with a psychologist and my research, the best way to deal with it is exactly what ducks said. "That is not the way I recall it." This does not validate her delusion but at the same time is less confrontational than calling them a liar, crazy or pointing out that they are wrong. They can't accept that their memory of the situation is false because its a reality which supported their emotional overload and behavior. They fully believe it and can not be convinced otherwise even if illogical.

Personally I also generally find that these memories are brought up as a bait and deflect method which would allow for an alternative approach.

For example with me I might be dealing with my wife in a rage on one topic, but then she will bring up some time when I was verbally abusive towards her (the delusion). The result is you take the bait and try to point out that it never happened and they have successfully made you feel bad about something you need to defend yourself on and the original issue of the conversation is forgotten.

If this happens then try to forget the delusional comment made to bait and deflect, dont fall for it! No easy task as my wife is very very good at it and it sometimes takes me to see that Ive fallen for it. I guess if you see thats whats happening, rather than argue the false memory the best approach may be to say "I don't recall being verbally abusive, but that is not really relevant to what we were talking about".
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« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2015, 04:53:12 AM »

Hi Daniell85,

Our partners do suffer from a mental illness and their behavior is difficult.   That is why we come here to talk our boundaries and our reactions.

I just think that kind of stuff is projecting by them in order to get out of having to face up to some crappy behavior.

My boyfriend has done that over and over. A lot of times I can tell he is playing a game with me. Like a broken promise... he said how could he have broken the promise when he didn't remember making it. And 10 minutes before he told me his reasoning for having broken the promise.

He has also accused me of doing things I know I didn't do. Then he reacts on me based on the accusation being true.

It all feels very confusing and unfair. Gaslighting? I think sometimes, yes.

I don't even know much of a solution, except to try and see the underlying problem causing the symptoms of accusations/false memories and validate that.

In these situations, where are you boundaries?   How do you enforce them?   

I like your statement about to try and see what is the underlying problem causing the accusation and false memories.   What specifically do you think causes you bf to do this?

What validation statements work for you?

'ducks
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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2015, 05:01:05 AM »

From what I have read I now understand this to be part of the delusion process she goes through at an emotional crisis point, generally in a rage attack. From what I read its about making sense of the emotional overload and bringing structure to its cause (being me of course), even if not logical.

hi pineapple,

I liked what you said here.   What I am wondering is if these are two separate things,  first something triggers a dsyregulation, and then separately the cognitive process starts to fragment to make sense of the emotional overload?    I wonder if I could address the original trigger would that help with the cognitive distortions?

'ducks
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2015, 06:44:29 AM »

There can be lots of reasons, they may believe it, or they could simply be going into knowing denial/ blame shifting.

Either way it is better to decide how to react to it rather than try to over think why they are doing it. That is just getting dragged into it, which is the point in the first place.

Try this:,

~This is my recollection of what was said... .xxxx... .and this is what my intention at the time was... .xxxx

~If your recollection is otherwise that means our communications must be crossed. .

~I am not going to argue about what may, or may not, have been said,  all that matters is what we do now.

~This is what my intentions are now... .xxxx

Then dysengage if they want to drag you back to he said/she said debates. You have stated your truth and your intentions, without passing judgement on their reality
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babyducks
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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2015, 03:37:11 PM »

great reply waverider.   

this one is going in my "keepers" file.

thanks.
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« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2015, 08:42:27 PM »

Omg I think this is what my boyfriend does that makes me the most upset.  Because I am always questioning myself and my behavior anyway, checking my feelings almost obsessively, and then we have totally different memories of what happened, I sometimes wonder if I AM delusional like he says. Because he can go OFF on me with no provocation, go into a rant, accuse me of any number of things... .and then the next conversation deny that he was upset but was patient and wise while I argued and tried to be "alpha". 

I know, it is very confusing.  But I think that if I could just practice effective communication tips with him, in other words just allow him to blow off without trying to reason or defend myself then he wouldnt feel I was negating what he was saying.  I have to remember that this is a mental illness that he cannot help.  He can't help it that he was born to horrible abusive parents.  I really believe he does not know what he is doing when he goes into one of his "states".   
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2015, 07:47:20 AM »

Thanks for your thoughts and wisdom everyone!   And I'm sorry all of you have to deal with this. Ducks, I think this is also the thing I would most like to change. I've gotten much better at vague accusations of being "controlling" or "making her afraid to go home," but it's really frustrating to be attacked, maligned, and kicked out for something specific that I definitely didn't say.

What I am wondering is if these are two separate things,  first something triggers a dsyregulation, and then separately the cognitive process starts to fragment to make sense of the emotional overload?    I wonder if I could address the original trigger would that help with the cognitive distortions?

I think you're right and sometimes I can see this happening. Or, most dangerously, I come into a pre-existing dysregulation (when I get home or wake up), don't notice or fully appreciate how dysregulated she is, and then am blindsided when she starts railing on me. Or she handles something fine at first, but then distorts her memory of it days or months later when she's in a rage.

All of these responses are good for being true to what I know and protecting myself from the crazymaking effects. Sometimes she is so convinced that it's hard for me to hold onto what I know. Especially when I say something I've said many times before and then she's raging and kicking me out because it was "the worst thing I've ever said to her" and "unbelievably sick and twisted" (projection?).

And I definitely see the advantage of not arguing over what exactly was said. But will any of this help make her feel validated and de-escalate the conflict? This hasn't been the kind of thing where I can just leave for a bit and wait for it to blow over. And the underlying cause of the dysregulation (she's upset about moving) is too much for her to even think about, so when I tried to shift to validating those feelings, she just blamed the bad feelings on me and kicked me out.
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« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2015, 10:31:39 AM »

This is a great thread.  This happens so much in my marriage that I feel I'm losing my mind.  I have always had a great memory but she always makes me doubt myself.  It's especially hard when she brings my stepdaughter in to validate everything she says.  There hasn't been one time that she hasn't validated what my wife said, a couple times she wasn't even around when the incident happened.  She constantly brings up things that "happened" in the past that I recall differently.  I have tried saying, "I don't agree with your version" or "I don't remember it that way" and other things.  She just keeps going on and on, getting more angry as we go.  She then calls me a compulsive liar who lies about everything I "do to her" because I know that the things I do are wrong and embarrassing and don't want to face it. 
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« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2015, 11:08:41 AM »

~I am not going to argue about what may, or may not, have been said,  all that matters is what we do now.

Love this... .

This is going in my file... .and I wish I would have used it in the discussion of the realtor email caper I recently posted about... .

This seems to nicely redirect to something productive... .


FF
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2015, 02:49:13 PM »

I can relate. His memory can often be more fantasy than reality. I've also been accused of all sorts of things I never said or did. Used to get defensive and point at all the actual facts... .kaboom! Even if I won (which was rare) my prize wasn't worth it - usually a full-blown rage or cold silent treatment.

Now I gently remind him of actual facts as calm and lovingly as possible. I have to be careful about pointing out too much reality when he's absolutely convinced of his false memory. For example, lately he's been idealizing something from his past - he wants to move back to an old building - one where he complained endlessly about everything and everyone in it! He doesn't seem to remember it that way at all now. It's suddenly the best place on earth!

Same thing when he is remembering something awful that happened... .that either didn't happen or wasn't awful.  

I don't want to invalidate him by hitting him over the head with reality... .so I use a lot of Support/Empathy language, then subtly slip in tidbits of Truth. This version of SET looks more like SE-t-SE.

SE-t-SE - sometimes it's "T" with emphasis - where I rip off the bandaid because the truth needs to be said even if it doesn't fit his feelings of the moment - then follow with empathy, empathy, empathy to slow the bleeding. But most times I try to start with a small "t" to get the truth seed planted, very delicately. Also a good way to gage his reactions first to see how much truth he can handle. Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2021, 07:16:40 PM »

Just out of interest, would it work to say something like:

“I am very sorry that you feel that way and that can’t be nice for you. However, I feel very differently and remember the comment I made to have a different meaning”

Or, if you are being blamed for abusive behaviour towards them:

“I am sorry that you feel that way, and I can understand it’s not nice to feel that way, however I feel that I have only reacted to something that has very much upset me”
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2021, 01:32:39 PM »

This is a great thread...putting all of your suggestions into my file!

I go through this with my boyfriend as well, and like many of you, I tried pointing out the facts and what I KNOW I said/did...which completely falls on deaf ears, and then results in him getting angrier, or storming off, or calling me a liar.
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« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2021, 01:45:11 PM »

This is a great thread...putting all of your suggestions into my file!

I go through this with my boyfriend as well, and like many of you, I tried pointing out the facts and what I KNOW I said/did...which completely falls on deaf ears, and then results in him getting angrier, or storming off, or calling me a liar.

Invalidation is very...VERY powerful.

  Read about invalidation

After reading the above article, I would be interested in how you guys  apply the article to situations discussed in this thread.

Best,

FF

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« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2021, 02:40:33 PM »

Invalidation is very...VERY powerful.

  Read about invalidation

After reading the above article, I would be interested in how you guys  apply the article to situations discussed in this thread.

Best,

FF



Thanks for this, I never realized I was invalidating him by being defensive and correcting him. This reminds me, I work in healthcare and have worked with dementia/Alzheimer's patients, some of who are totally out to lunch. We were always taught to go along with their reality and to not counter them...because it results in them getting angry, defensive, or refusing treatment because in essence, you're telling them they're wrong. I never applied this to dealing with someone with BPD, but its a similar situation.

I would also be interested in some real-life applications of that article! Anything that you guys can share, that works, is super helpful and appreciated.
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« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2021, 03:02:43 PM »


I have almost the reverse situation.  I dealt with BPD first (full disclosure..my wife is more likely more PPD than BPD).

For a long time I "proved" that her reality was wrong and I was not a cheating horndog that impregnated other women.

Yes....you read that right.  It got bad enough that my wife actually knew the address of a family with a baby that she believed was fathered by me.  I had been invalidating her for a couple of years...so each time I "won", the story came back..bigger..and bigger.

I kept feeding the monster.

Once I understood invalidation and stopped it...my relationships slowly got better.

Fast forward to last year.  My Mom has early stage vascular dementia.  I'm lucky to have a memory care group with lots of classes.  Since I was familiar with "dealing with BPD"...the transition to "dealing with" dementia was much much easier.

Basically...focus on the emotions involved...rather than the "fact of the matter".

Tricky stuff...glad you see it.

best

FF
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« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2021, 03:52:15 PM »

What do you do when your pwBPD literally remembers you saying something that you didn't? My partner has gotten really fixated on me "admitting" or "owning up to" having said things that I just didn't say. I have a very good memory and am 110% sure I didn't say it, and can recite back exactly what I did say that she's mis-remembering.  I get that her memory is distorted by feelings=facts, but how do I respond?

She's made similar demands before but these have been so specific (literally demanding that I admit I said it, word-for-word, and that I said it because "I have a problem". And she's so dysregulated lately that she's inventing these accusations out of next to nothing, or things we've both said a hundred times before without incident (then one time I say the same thing, she twists my words and flips out). So I'm not sure I can even avoid it in the future by validating better or otherwise being more careful.

Thanks in advance. I'm feeling like maybe I should just barely say anything until she's more under control, but that's no way to live.

My ex pwBPD did the exact same things. He would try to convince me that both him and I had said things that I was never involved in. I would then get accused of gaslighting him when I said that I didn’t say something or I would say that I am sorry that he feels that way, but I honestly don’t remember being part of that conversation. I even said that perhaps I was busy doing something and didn’t realise he was talking to me. I tried a number of different ways, but only ever got the same results, it would just end up with him in a rage with every last little bit of contempt that he has being aimed towards me.
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« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2021, 01:26:57 AM »

i think a willingness to listen, and hear your partner out is vital.

i, likewise, was accused of saying things i flat out never said.

i dont think people ought to give credence to the idea that they said something they didnt.

at the same time, i think theres a fine line between making someone feel heard, and validating the invalid, and it can go a long way.

it may be less about the words, even though its what they are focusing on, and more about how they felt.
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