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Author Topic: Probably-Borderline Ex, Need Support  (Read 6081 times)
MapleBob
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« Reply #30 on: November 20, 2015, 02:42:43 PM »

Can anyone help me come up with a Yale Communication-styled message that I can send her asking her to give some thought to developing a goal that we can reach together, and methods of reaching that goal? I think that part of the intensity of this situation for me lies in feeling like we're not moving *towards*, but *away from* any kind of functional connection, be it romantic or friendly or otherwise. It's the powerless/limbo/estranged feeling that gets to me.

I want to give her some time to think about it, maybe talk to her therapist about it if she decides to.
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« Reply #31 on: November 20, 2015, 02:53:01 PM »

ill wait for others' input, but i dont necessarily recommend that approach, or contacting her at all, at the moment. it sounds like you are (understandably) feeling quite anxious. i literally cant recall a time that ive acted on my anxiety and had good results. she could feel cornered. if you want to push for resolution, that is your choice and its not a bad one, but it may not end well.

lets start small: if you contacted her right now, what do you want to say?
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« Reply #32 on: November 20, 2015, 03:35:20 PM »

ill wait for others' input, but i dont necessarily recommend that approach, or contacting her at all, at the moment. it sounds like you are (understandably) feeling quite anxious. i literally cant recall a time that ive acted on my anxiety and had good results. she could feel cornered. if you want to push for resolution, that is your choice and its not a bad one, but it may not end well.

lets start small: if you contacted her right now, what do you want to say?

Oh believe me, I feel VERY cautious about contacting her right now. But I also feel cautious about talking to her in a couple of weeks, asking her about having a goal, and then waiting out another limbo month for any kind of answer or non-answer.

What I *want* to say and what I *would* say are, of course, two different matters. 

What I *would* say would be something along the lines of:

"Hi, hope you've been well (etc.) ... .I've been thinking a lot about the current state of our relationship, and things are feeling pretty stuck. I don't think that either of us are entirely happy about the way things are right now, or about the difficulties we've been having in communicating with each other and feeling a safe sense of calm about each other. I intend to continue giving you space for now, but I wanted to ask you to give some thought to setting a goal(s) that we can work towards together that might allow us to get to a better place in our relationship. I think that this has been a problem for us - anxiety about the future, and not being on the same page about where we're going, or why. I'm thinking something along the lines of having a day of the week where we text and check in, or having some kind of ongoing thing that we talk about or do together (writing letters or making playlists or something, like we discussed last summer), or maybe working towards a visit. I think we've spent a lot of time going over past issues - and I'm sure we'll continue to reference those as time goes on - but I agree with you that it's time to start looking forward. You may not wind up being ready for that, but I'm at a loss as to what else to do. I'm reaching out to you now so that you can have some time to think about that specifically, or get support about it, or do whatever you need to do about it. I would ideally like to talk about this the next time we're on the phone together, and I'd also like to catch up and hear about your life and how things are going with you. If you have other ideas or other thoughts I'd be happy to hear them. Have a good couple of weeks and a good Thanksgiving and I'll talk to you soon."

But that maybe feels dramatic, I don't know. It's probably not the right move. I'm tempted to say something like "If you feel like you just can't have a relationship with me where things are open and moving forward then I need you to tell me that."

I fully anticipate that if I send that, I'll wind up hearing that that's too much pressure, she's not ready, she doesn't want to talk about anything serious, etc. But then we'll get on the phone and she'll get serious and then spiral and that will be that for another month. I do recognize that I need to lead the way on this, but I don't know how.
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« Reply #33 on: November 20, 2015, 04:31:09 PM »

I fully anticipate that if I send that, I'll wind up hearing that that's too much pressure, she's not ready, she doesn't want to talk about anything serious, etc.

yes, id bet on it.

I'm tempted to say something like "If you feel like you just can't have a relationship with me where things are open and moving forward then I need you to tell me that."

this is why your goals need clarity. it almost sounds like you are tempted to push for resolution whatever the outcome, but you are expecting her to do that; thats very unlikely to happen. it also keeps everything on her terms. if the above is the statement you want to make, try something like "If we can't have a relationship where things are open and moving forward then I need to move on." and mean it, and do it.

if that is not what you want to do, then i recommend keeping things incredibly light. just reaching out. "hey, how are you, ive been well, ive been working on blah blah blah". no mention of feelings or relationships. this could be a step to more frequent, smoother communication - it could not.
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« Reply #34 on: November 20, 2015, 04:59:37 PM »

this is why your goals need clarity. it almost sounds like you are tempted to push for resolution whatever the outcome, but you are expecting her to do that; thats very unlikely to happen. it also keeps everything on her terms. if the above is the statement you want to make, try something like "If we can't have a relationship where things are open and moving forward then I need to move on." and mean it, and do it.

I think that's a very good point, and good advice, and thank you.

That's something that I feel like I should say on the phone, and something that I can wait and think about until then. You may be right about keeping things light from my end, and probably my best move is to just continue no contact on my end. I'd probably benefit from starving her of reasons to become upset at me. She's supposed to be in touch within the next two weeks to set up a time to talk to me in early December - I'm tempted to ask her then if anything is going to change or be different this time if we talk, and maybe just not talk to her without some reassurances or intention-setting about things not going as badly as they did last time.

Does anyone else find it relatable for her to expect time and space to such a degree (and in such a way) under these conditions? I try to validate that, but it's a struggle for me. To reiterate something I said earlier: dysfunctional or not, you have to show up and DO a relationship to HAVE a relationship. Right? Is that unreasonable of *me*? She acts like she's really stretching it, or doing me a favor, by talking to me a mere once a month, though she apparently thinks about me (and us, and this) all the time.
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« Reply #35 on: November 20, 2015, 06:46:40 PM »

The mixed messages really mess with my head. I feel foolish (again) for not taking the hint. She has said straight up that "I'm wasting my time" and that "this is 100% friend zone for me" and that she "really doesn't care if I like it or not." But then there's the "part of me wants to be allowed to love you" and "I care about you" and "this is just for *right now*" and the  's at the end of her texts.

    :'(

There's just no escaping it: it's "settle for less, or settle for none."
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« Reply #36 on: November 20, 2015, 07:39:22 PM »

Does anyone else find it relatable for her to expect time and space to such a degree (and in such a way) under these conditions? I try to validate that, but it's a struggle for me. To reiterate something I said earlier: dysfunctional or not, you have to show up and DO a relationship to HAVE a relationship. Right? Is that unreasonable of *me*? She acts like she's really stretching it, or doing me a favor, by talking to me a mere once a month, though she apparently thinks about me (and us, and this) all the time.

her conditions would not work for me personally. i understand though, where she is coming from, when i consider that it pains her on a psychological level to be in contact with you (not your fault). it is what it is; its acceptable to you or it isnt. there are things you can try, or not.

you say the relationship basically concluded nine months ago, and has since carried on at this level, correct me if im wrong. there is no indication that she is going to show up and do a relationship to have a relationship. that doesnt mean it has to be that way, but it is that way at this moment and without change, will continue.

it works for her. you are there in the event she wants contact. why should she change anything?

shes fickle, and she can be. telling you that you are wasting your time is pretty honest, though. i had a girl once tell me she was bad news and that i should basically run. we did continue the relationship briefly, we both wanted to, but she was telling me the truth.

i think though, that youre right. you have time to sort this out before you speak again. your mind may go back and forth rapidly right now. use the time, embrace the space, and sort out what you really want to do or not do.
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« Reply #37 on: November 20, 2015, 08:21:16 PM »

Oh no, actually, contact has been all over the place. First we did maybe six weeks of no contact, then lighter contact, then full contact for most of the summer, then she bailed to the once-a-month plan after we wrote those letters to each other. So it's been rollercoaster-y all along in terms of her presence/absence. She even sent me flowers in August! (I was *really* fed up with her sabotaging behaviors and was talking about making an exit.) I still have the card:

"I love you and I am sorry for how hard it is to love me sometimes. I want to figure out how to know you and keep you. I am still here fiercely!" This was also around the time that she wouldn't agree to see me, but swore that if I needed it she would give me a kidney! 

I think that when she gets in touch to arrange our talk I probably need to say something to the effect of: "I'm not happy with the ways things are. If this isn't going to be a productive conversation about moving forward in a way that is satisfactory for both of us, then I need to not talk to you until you feel like you can have that conversation with me."
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« Reply #38 on: November 20, 2015, 08:42:28 PM »

"I'm not happy with the ways things are. If this isn't going to be a productive conversation about moving forward in a way that is satisfactory for both of us, then I need to not talk to you until you feel like you can have that conversation with me."

are you planning on responding this way no matter of the nature of her contact? if so, thats fine; again it depends upon your goals. its forcing the issue. if you want to improve things, i reiterate keeping things light, no talk about the relationship or feelings. clarity is important to you, i understand.

if you want to force the issue, that approach still leaves things on her terms, and will be received as a demand. "im not going to talk to you until you say what i want to hear" is what she will hear.
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« Reply #39 on: November 20, 2015, 09:14:21 PM »

are you planning on responding this way no matter of the nature of her contact? if so, thats fine; again it depends upon your goals. its forcing the issue. if you want to improve things, i reiterate keeping things light, no talk about the relationship or feelings. clarity is important to you, i understand.

if you want to force the issue, that approach still leaves things on her terms, and will be received as a demand. "im not going to talk to you until you say what i want to hear" is what she will hear.

Sigh. You're right. Keeping it light and breezy requires a lot of zen right now. And I'm not sure where that's going to get me. It's "stop the bleeding" stuff, right?
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« Reply #40 on: November 20, 2015, 11:35:30 PM »

We almost certainly WILL be having some kind of "what happens now?" discussion, and I'm not sure how to lead that. She expected me to have some insight about that last time, and I think I only spoke very generally about it, because she was fairly amped-up at that point. I'd like to be more prepared this time - more clear on achievable goals and methods of reaching them.
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« Reply #41 on: November 21, 2015, 07:26:22 AM »

Being in limbo is the worst place to be. OVer the past 9 months she has dragged you through this foggy relationship, kind of break up but yet still in contact - which is very confusing and UNHEALTHY. 

To me, being friend (after intimacy phase) is another NICE word for "WE ARE DONE".

Like I wrote before, what have changed that make you think this relationship (if you get back together) will lead to a happier and long lasting relationship and perhaps ultimately marriage ?

So far, I have read about your strategy of trying to get her to commit again but I have not heard about what she needs to change and what you need to change. The change I am talking about is not about SET, what to say to appease each other but really the fundamental change of one's thinking and behavior. The change that would sustain a relationship not just 1 but 5, 10 to 30 years.

Do you know what it takes from both of you to make a r.s last for the rest of your life ?

The reason I bring this issue up is because this NC or LC time is a good time for you to go inward to learn from what had transpired and come up with a plan so as to NOT repeat the same mistake again.
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MapleBob
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« Reply #42 on: November 21, 2015, 09:35:49 AM »

Like I wrote before, what have changed that make you think this relationship (if you get back together) will lead to a happier and long lasting relationship and perhaps ultimately marriage ?

Do you know what it takes from both of you to make a r.s last for the rest of your life ?

Okay, well, first of all, you make a valid point here about "what has changed, really?", and I'll address that. But I do want to say that if we all waited until we had the perfect relationship skill set and the perfect conditions under which to have a relationship, or to do a relationship, or to want to be in a relationship with someone, then NO ONE would ever be "qualified" to have a relationship! That's not me being contrary or argumentative, it's me stating the very first thing that would need to change here: she would need to get clear about her willingness to re-engage with me, and at what level. Because, as you've said, things are pretty foggy and I'm sure that you see the mixed signals that I've been given.

She is not friends with ANY of her exes, except for her only-recently-divorced-after-five-years-separated husband (and that was mainly for the sake of her daughter), and I'm not friends with any of mine. This is a new thing for both of us, attempting to be friends afterwards, and I'm not sure why we bother, honestly. It's pretty rough, and it feels unnatural, and it's probably just neither of us being willing to let go (that's what I guess the "nostalgia" part is for her). The word "family" gets bandied about quite a bit by both of us, and I think that's telling. I'm here in the "Undecided" forum because I'm ALSO trying to make a decision about MY willingness to engage with her, and at what level. So for starters, we need to pick a damn relationship TYPE already, and start WORKING on it again. It probably needs to be getting back together -OR- no contact, frankly. And it's looking more like the latter, and I hate that, and it sucks, and I'm going to be sure that I've given it a fair shake before I go that route.

I *do* see changes in her. She finally got *actually* divorced, she's back in therapy and seems pretty serious about it. She's working on getting her life to a place where she's emotionally regulated, has enough self-esteem to ask for what she needs, and she's working on getting to where the bedrock parts of her life are capable of sustaining themselves so that she can move forward. Our conversations have mostly shifted from her blaming me for our woes into her being angry about the situation and exploring/taking at least some responsibility for her part. I'm very proud of her for that, I wish that she had done it sooner, and I do have some resentment around the fact that she couldn't see the necessity in doing that when she was still with me - but at the end of the day, it's immensely positive. And I *do* understand and validate her need to take some time with those things, I really do. But on the other hand, you don't have to exit your relationships in order to do your therapy work. That's destructive and counter-productive. When I read between the lines, that's what she's really saying: "I'd like to feel like I could be with you again because I miss what we had, but I'm still angry and my energy is going elsewhere right now. So maybe later I can give some of my energy to you again, but I'm not making any promises and it's an awful thing to ask of you to wait, and I'd be an awful person to ask that of you, so I won't lead you on, but you can go ahead and lead yourself on if you want to, that would be awesome." 

On my end, I think I have a more clear vision about what mistakes we made, and I think that I have the ability to not make the same mistakes again. Our relationship EXACTLY followed the classic "relationship with a borderline" template: intense beginning with high valuation on her part, she tried to be what she thought I wanted her to be instead of just being herself and asking for what she needed, put me through a lot of childish testing/mindreading games to see if I could figure it all out FOR her, got super clingy, then starting splitting me black when I couldn't intuit or understand what was happening, breakup/make up cycle, then everything that happened over the last nine months. Despite being a very capable, intelligent, and beautiful adult woman, she's been a child in her relationships, and thinks that someone will magically and romantically meet her impossible standards and overcome the impossible obstacles that she's set against getting what she needs. She's learning, and I'm learning that the girl I thought I was dating doesn't really exist, but that I still love and care about the woman who DOES exist. I just want a shot at making things work with the real her - because the real her, despite the borderline tendencies, is pretty amazing actually. And I'm willing to learn and experiment and make mistakes and be accountable and grow into that. And I'm reading TONS about borderline and relationships (I love Al Turtle's website), and I think I have some new skills already to bring to the table.

I think that's a pretty good place to be working from, IF WE'RE WORKING ON IT. We *do* have a relationship right now, it's just a garbage one, and I want to start taking out the trash.
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MapleBob
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« Reply #43 on: November 21, 2015, 02:24:07 PM »

I'm still not sure what my strategy for getting her to re-commit even is, honestly. I guess I'm going with the "give her as much time and space as she needs" pre-/validate her as much as possible, and keep it light and breezy without forcing the issue. Let the relationship breathe, and grow if it's going to. Let her miss me, let her wonder about me, let her continue doing her work, hoping she'll come around... .Does that sound about right?
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« Reply #44 on: November 22, 2015, 08:05:27 AM »

Hi MapleBob,

Here is how I read her message.

Here's a literal quote from her: "I am allowed to ask for space!

My needs are important.  I am afraid they won't be acknowledged.   I am afraid that I will be overwhelmed and overpowered.  I don't have mature coping skills.   I am afraid of the intensity of what I am feeling.

And yet it's always wrong and insensitive and disappointing!

pwBPD understand at some level that they process life differently than most of us do.  they have had a life time of hearing why can't you just calm down?   why can't you act more like other people?  they suffer from a disorder that has tremendous amount of shame inherent to it and when they act ~differently~ and pick up the subtle or not so subtle messages that it's disappointing the shame becomes self perpetuating.

 

And somehow surprises you! When I ask for it every time ... .I feel like a failure, do you get that?

to me this is the most telling sentence in her message.   Wow.   She is being very brave here and laying it right on the table for you.   Looking at this through BPD glasses this is pretty big statement.

You are great and you try harder and are nicer and more patient and more dedicated. I am constantly disappointing. It's not fun being that person either! The one dad is always wishing was different ... .and of course THIS is why I can't talk to you often. Because I am incapable of not starting a fight. Just give me a month or tell me to go away. I'm sorry."

I'm on the same page with onceremoved here,   the comparison with her Dad is not something you particularly wish to see in a BPD relationship.   from my perspective this is a  Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #45 on: November 22, 2015, 08:20:45 AM »

Does anyone else find it relatable for her to expect time and space to such a degree (and in such a way) under these conditions? I try to validate that, but it's a struggle for me. To reiterate something I said earlier: dysfunctional or not, you have to show up and DO a relationship to HAVE a relationship. Right? Is that unreasonable of *me*? She acts like she's really stretching it, or doing me a favor, by talking to me a mere once a month, though she apparently thinks about me (and us, and this) all the time.

my experience has been that conversations about the "state of our relationship" never ever go well with my partner.  they are wildly triggering, put her on the defensive and generate circular arguments.

my partner and I developed ways of stopping conversations that became too fraught or emotionally loaded.  we would come right out and say, I can't discuss this any more right now lets talk about something light and easy.

and build the relationship by doing, by talking about the book I am reading, current events, the movie she saw.  dialing down the level of emotional reactivity.
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« Reply #46 on: November 22, 2015, 08:52:59 AM »

And somehow surprises you! When I ask for it every time ... .I feel like a failure, do you get that?

to me this is the most telling sentence in her message.   Wow.   She is being very brave here and laying it right on the table for you.   Looking at this through BPD glasses this is pretty big statement.

She *does* sometimes get vulnerable, usually after acting out on me. There's a lot of "I feel like a failure", "I felt SO PATHETIC for loving you like that the first time", etc. I wish that I could have gotten more clarity from her about exactly HOW she feels like a failure. SHE left, not me. A big part of our breakup/makeup period was me trying to break down her negativity and distorted perspectives, because she had some really really out of whack assumptions that she was basing her decisions on that were as far from truth as they could have possibly been.

I remember her telling me about a very telling dream she had about me recently: We were in a public pool, but it was like a maze within a pool. We got separated for a minute and when she found me I was laughing and hanging out with a bunch of "hot girls" and she got upset and jealous and when she tried to talk to me about it no words came out so she started vomiting and apparently I laughed at her. 

You are great and you try harder and are nicer and more patient and more dedicated. I am constantly disappointing. It's not fun being that person either! The one dad is always wishing was different ... .and of course THIS is why I can't talk to you often. Because I am incapable of not starting a fight. Just give me a month or tell me to go away. I'm sorry."

I'm on the same page with onceremoved here,   the comparison with her Dad is not something you particularly wish to see in a BPD relationship.   from my perspective this is a  Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post)

Why is that?

my experience has been that conversations about the "state of our relationship" never ever go well with my partner.  they are wildly triggering, put her on the defensive and generate circular arguments.

I feel pretty hopeless after hearing that, honestly, because conversations about our "state of the relationship" are exactly what *I* need to be having with her right now. Again, should I be just keeping it light with her right now, hoping that we get a break in the clouds soon so that we can have some real talk?
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« Reply #47 on: November 22, 2015, 08:53:38 AM »

So for starters, we need to pick a damn relationship TYPE already, and start WORKING on it again. It probably needs to be getting back together -OR- no contact, frankly. And it's looking more like the latter, and I hate that, and it sucks, and I'm going to be sure that I've given it a fair shake before I go that route.

I'm still not sure what my strategy for getting her to re-commit even is, honestly.

let me toss this idea out for you to think about.   you can't get someone to re-commit.   you can't coerce someone into picking a relationship type and working on it.

you can only change your behavior.   and hope that eventually she chooses, voluntarily to follow you down a more healthy road.   

my experience is there is a huge difference in doing something because it expresses my own deeply and sincerely held emotions and doing something because I am hoping for a particular result.   

you can validate that yeah, it sucks to always feel like a failure so why don't we put this aside for now and concentrate on positives.   accept what you have right now.  keep coming here and working on things by yourself.   you don't necessarily have to share with her that you are changing your approach to the relationship.

you can ask for a definitive plan for working on things, or you can even try to suggest one.   chances are that would be difficult for her to hear and embrace right now.

you can make the decision to end your efforts in the relationship.   Onceconfused is correct that being stuck in limbo is not a good place to be.   its hurtful to both of you.   

I understand that having some type of verbal commitment from her is very important to you.  I understand why that would be the case.   I can sense how earnestly you would like to get to that point.   she is not there with you yet.   those of us who have stayed and made it work love and accept our partners for what they are today, not for what we hope they will be when they are better.

'ducks
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« Reply #48 on: November 22, 2015, 09:06:10 AM »

let me toss this idea out for you to think about.   you can't get someone to re-commit.   you can't coerce someone into picking a relationship type and working on it.

you can only change your behavior.   and hope that eventually she chooses, voluntarily to follow you down a more healthy road.   

my experience is there is a huge difference in doing something because it expresses my own deeply and sincerely held emotions and doing something because I am hoping for a particular result.

Sure, of course. I think that a part of me understands that, and I know that that is where my feeling of powerlessness comes from, and I can accept it. Believe me, I don't want to be over-thinking my relationship with her anymore either. I'd like to have a better understand of where she's coming from, and I'd like to be here for her to choose to re-commit to down the road. She is very vague about the future, really, and very firm about the present. I guess I need to start listening to that.

I understand that having some type of verbal commitment from her is very important to you.  I understand why that would be the case.   I can sense how earnestly you would like to get to that point.   she is not there with you yet.   those of us who have stayed and made it work love and accept our partners for what they are today, not for what we hope they will be when they are better.

I accept her, I just have a pretty hard time accepting her *behavior* of the last nine months. I have a hard time with her not being *present* for me to accept! She's chosen not to be my partner, "for now", and maybe forever. That's pretty hard to wrap your head around, and to let go of control over.

I have an especially hard time with constantly hearing "I don't know what happens with us in the future, but... ." because I don't know if it means "I'd like to be seeing you again when the dust settles" or if it means "I'd like it if we could be friends some day" or if it means "I think we'll probably go our separate ways entirely." Her lability is pretty difficult to feel secure with, especially with only hearing from her once a month, and getting the silent treatment the rest of the time. (Well, not the silent treatment exactly, she replies to my messages if I send them.)

The closest I've come to hearing what she'd like is: "I would like a glimmer of hope that the friend option is even possible, but right now it seems f**king idiotic to me." I asked her why and she said: "Because I'm f**king crying again. And I'm sick of that. I seem to be incapable of feeling that love, so I must be broken. Anyway, I don't need it now. Just give me a month, or tell me to go away. I'm sorry." This was RIGHT after telling me that a part of her "wants to be allowed to love me again"!

God, it's starting to sound like I just need to let this one go.  :'(
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« Reply #49 on: November 22, 2015, 09:14:08 AM »

She *does* sometimes get vulnerable, usually after acting out on me. There's a lot of "I feel like a failure", "I felt SO PATHETIC for loving you like that the first time", etc. I wish that I could have gotten more clarity from her about exactly HOW she feels like a failure. SHE left, not me. A big part of our breakup/makeup period was me trying to break down her negativity and distorted perspectives, because she had some really really out of whack assumptions that she was basing her decisions on that were as far from truth as they could have possibly been.

I am going to focus on this for a minute.  from what you wrote you are viewing this from the perspective of a non.  which is normal and pretty dang natural.   I am going to ask you to put on your BPD glasses for a minute and try to see this from her eyes.  

pwBPD have harmfully intense emotions.  extremely intense emotions.   they automatically assume they will be rejected or criticized and will drive people away to avoid having that happen.   this is not the same fear of failure that you and I experience.   we don't have this disorder of thinking.  like once removed mentioned up stream this is more the thinking of a 3 year old who is afraid of being rejected and not worthy of love.   it's primal.  it's without logical or cognitive controls.   you can't break down her negativity or distorted perspectives.  number one it's not your job to do that.  number two it's invalidating when you try.   number three, this is her reality.   feelings equal facts to her.  

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« Reply #50 on: November 22, 2015, 09:29:08 AM »

God, it's starting to sound like I just need to let this one go.  :'(

if it hurts you too much to watch a person suffer with mental illness than yes you need to let go.   if you can develop skills and coping tools here you can protect yourself emotionally but it is important to understand the relationship you are signing up for it you decide to stay. 
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« Reply #51 on: November 22, 2015, 09:30:17 AM »

She *does* sometimes get vulnerable, usually after acting out on me. There's a lot of "I feel like a failure", "I felt SO PATHETIC for loving you like that the first time", etc. I wish that I could have gotten more clarity from her about exactly HOW she feels like a failure. SHE left, not me. A big part of our breakup/makeup period was me trying to break down her negativity and distorted perspectives, because she had some really really out of whack assumptions that she was basing her decisions on that were as far from truth as they could have possibly been.

I am going to focus on this for a minute.  from what you wrote you are viewing this from the perspective of a non.  which is normal and pretty dang natural.   I am going to ask you to put on your BPD glasses for a minute and try to see this from her eyes.  

pwBPD have harmfully intense emotions.  extremely intense emotions.   they automatically assume they will be rejected or criticized and will drive people away to avoid having that happen.   this is not the same fear of failure that you and I experience.   we don't have this disorder of thinking.  like once removed mentioned up stream this is more the thinking of a 3 year old who is afraid of being rejected and not worthy of love.   it's primal.  it's without logical or cognitive controls.   you can't break down her negativity or distorted perspectives.  number one it's not your job to do that.  number two it's invalidating when you try.   number three, this is her reality.   feelings equal facts to her.  

I can only begin to grasp her perspective, but regardless: it leaves me in this awful catch-22 place of having to choose between refuting her acting-out/acting-in behavior and having it spiral out of control, or having to ignore it and move on to lighter topics while she uses those distorted feelings to make decisions about our relationship!
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« Reply #52 on: November 22, 2015, 09:32:55 AM »

God, it's starting to sound like I just need to let this one go.  :'(

if it hurts you too much to watch a person suffer with mental illness than yes you need to let go.   if you can develop skills and coping tools here you can protect yourself emotionally but it is important to understand the relationship you are signing up for it you decide to stay. 

It isn't so much that it hurts me to watch her suffer with her uBPD, or that I'm unwilling to learn the skills, or that I don't have some sense of what I'm getting myself into here. It's that she needs to make the decision to be here with me, or not, and she has only halfway made the decision.
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« Reply #53 on: November 22, 2015, 10:06:55 AM »

It feels likely that (despite the mixed signals and BPD signs) she's just a girl who loved me, then dumped me, and I'm not taking the hint. On the other hand, it feels equally likely that this could work out in the end. Tough. Is that a BPD thing too?
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« Reply #54 on: November 22, 2015, 12:33:32 PM »

I mean, either way, step one is to get her to stop running and engage enough to make some decisions, set some goals, have a plan... .She needs time/space, I get that, I get why, but this is a lot to ask of me, to leave AND stay.
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« Reply #55 on: November 22, 2015, 03:28:48 PM »

Maple,

I get that you want things to be different.  Can you agree that the only person you can change,  set goals for and establish a plan for right now is you?

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« Reply #56 on: November 22, 2015, 04:08:48 PM »

Maple,

I get that you want things to be different.  Can you agree that the only person you can change,  set goals for and establish a plan for right now is you?

Okay, sure, yes. I recognize that I'm spiraling here myself, and grasping at straws of control, in true codependent fashion.

I'm not 100% clear of my responsibility in breakup or what I could have differently IN the relationship - what I hear from her about that seems to shift based on her mood and level of understanding/compassion in the moment. My goal is to stop the bleeding and be in a position where I am offering safety and incentive for her to move *towards* me, and not continue staying away from me. I have a vague idea of how that works, but I don't have much of an opportunity to demonstrate that (once a month), so I'm in perfectionism about it probably.
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« Reply #57 on: November 22, 2015, 06:20:24 PM »

So, the perfectionism: I feel like I need to be really well-prepared for this next conversation, and even the "scheduling the conversation" text conversation that I know is incoming.
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« Reply #58 on: November 23, 2015, 05:00:00 AM »

what I hear from her about that seems to shift based on her mood and level of understanding/compassion in the moment.

Yes.   that's  true.  her understanding/compassion will shift in rapid fire successions. that's BPD in a nutshell.   you don't need to respond to every mood change.   understanding it is good, chasing her emotion of the moment not so much.   when I was first here a member by the name of winston72 told me “twisting yourself into a pretzel trying to shape yourself to match her ability to understand/comprehend ends up with you terribly twisted in your own thinking and overly identified with her thinking.”

My goal is to stop the bleeding and be in a position where I am offering safety and incentive for her to move *towards* me, and not continue staying away from me. I have a vague idea of how that works, but I don't have much of an opportunity to demonstrate that (once a month), so I'm in perfectionism about it probably.

nice goal.   how would you define safety for her?   in another thread Skip (the site director) was talking about the carrot and stick approach.   I'm guessing you would want a lot of carrot (good relaxed comfortable times) and very little stick right now (sense of disapproval or disappointment).   from what you describe she is associating you with stress, pressure, and feelings of failure.   and that is not because of anything you did.   it's just the way feelings got tangled up.   I would suggest looking for small, micro moments of success.   trying to fix the relationship in it's entirety is overwhelming, its like asking her to run a marathon.   concentrate on lowering the level of stress, and having an easy comfortable conversation that does not end in dsyregulation.   

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« Reply #59 on: November 23, 2015, 10:30:59 AM »

what I hear from her about that seems to shift based on her mood and level of understanding/compassion in the moment.

Yes.   that's  true.  her understanding/compassion will shift in rapid fire successions. that's BPD in a nutshell.   you don't need to respond to every mood change.   understanding it is good, chasing her emotion of the moment not so much.   when I was first here a member by the name of winston72 told me “twisting yourself into a pretzel trying to shape yourself to match her ability to understand/comprehend ends up with you terribly twisted in your own thinking and overly identified with her thinking.”

That's funny - I've tried to describe the same thing to her as "Tetris-ing", like I have to twist and rotate and line up all of the pieces in juuuuust such a way, only to have the "rows" of logic disappear anyway!

My goal is to stop the bleeding and be in a position where I am offering safety and incentive for her to move *towards* me, and not continue staying away from me. I have a vague idea of how that works, but I don't have much of an opportunity to demonstrate that (once a month), so I'm in perfectionism about it probably.

nice goal.   how would you define safety for her?   in another thread Skip (the site director) was talking about the carrot and stick approach.   I'm guessing you would want a lot of carrot (good relaxed comfortable times) and very little stick right now (sense of disapproval or disappointment).   from what you describe she is associating you with stress, pressure, and feelings of failure.   and that is not because of anything you did.   it's just the way feelings got tangled up.   I would suggest looking for small, micro moments of success.   trying to fix the relationship in it's entirety is overwhelming, its like asking her to run a marathon.   concentrate on lowering the level of stress, and having an easy comfortable conversation that does not end in dsyregulation.

Apparently at this point time/space equals safety for her, so I've been giving her that, even though it's obviously very difficult for me. Exact quotes from her: "I want to feel independent from you, and then maybe it will feel good. That's all I can see right now. When I'm fighting with you or feeling pressure or back and forthing with you I do not feel good and independent from you! ... .I want to not give a s**t and cry when I think about the stuff I think about with you!"

She also says "I want to move forwards, not backwards", which I take to mean that she doesn't want to return to the relationship we had (which makes sense), but I don't know if that means ANY relationship, or any ROMANTIC relationship, or what. I feel pretty hopeless about my prospects with her, honestly. If I had asked her for a month of space while we were together she would have LOST HER MIND - she's not the type to be done until she's done, and I'm worried that she's done and I blew it months ago. So I guess having nothing to lose means I can't lose anything just trying to keep things chill enough that she can make small decisions about me from a place that isn't horribly dysregulated.

In theory, I'll be hearing from her soon to set up a time to talk. We'll see what happens then. We set a tentative "first weekend in December" plan.
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