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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: Please help me end this  (Read 3684 times)
Narkiss
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« on: March 30, 2016, 03:29:10 PM »

Someone, please, help me stop. We are long distance. Last week, he promised yet again to come visit and said wonderful, beautiful things. Today, he says he doesn't know, will check his calendar, will get back to me... .Like I am putting him on the spot or I don't know what. Why do I want to believe what he says? Why do I set myself up (even thought a couple of days ago, I kind of shrugged to myself and said, let's see if he actually comes this time), why do I bend over backwards to help him when it is not reciprocated? Why do I feel so rejected?

I'll begin feeling more rational and know that even if it works, it won't work, that he will not change, that I will be miserable. Then the strong feelings come again and wash over me and I feel pulled under... .
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bunny4523
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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2016, 04:12:53 PM »

I'm so sorry you are in such a desperate place.  It's really hard to tell you what to do.  You first have to decide you want to end it.  I feel like you are still in the middle and haven't made up your mind.  Have you tried writing things out?  pros/cons maybe even a letter to your ex.  It helped me.  Once I had it all on paper, I could see what a mess it was and I really didn't want anything to do with it anymore... .helped me to decide this isn't something I want anymore.

I hope that helps.  If not, keep posting... .write more about how you are feeling and maybe someone will be able to identfy with that place you are in and offer some encouraging words.  My heart goes out to you. 
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HurtinNW
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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2016, 04:55:37 PM »

I've been there, I think most of us have! It gets better, I promise.

One thing I keep reminding myself is detaching is agony that will end. Staying in the relationship is agony that will never end. I think once you get to that sad realization you can detach a little easier.

If you've been through numerous recycles and lost faith in yourself it is tough. I would often fib to myself that I could handle it. I remember once a friend asking me if it was smart to reengage with my ex after one of his numerous breakups, and me telling her I wasn't going to let myself get hurt. Ha.

You feel rejected because he engages in behaviors that are rejecting. If you haven't read From Abandonment To Healing I really recommend it. Her chapters on how it is normal to respond to abandonment with panic, flailing and bargaining helped me a lot to realize that I was responding to my own inner panic and confusing that with love.

The huge, strong emotions you are feeling, the panic, the hopelessness, the hurt, the pain, all of it is perfectly normal. One thing I am doing is coming here a lot and posting to process my feelings. It is really helping, especially working on my part of the relationship, and getting insight into my own behavior.

It gets better, promise!
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Narkiss
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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2016, 07:43:47 PM »

I don't even know what I'm doing. I think I do, and I think I accept it/him, and I think I'm ok with it. But I'm not. At all. Until I do not feel the pain and only feel the pleasure. I would never let anyone get away with this. But I am in this so deep and I'm scared that if I say anything it will all dissipate -- which is probably what I want. I do need to write down pros/cons and the emotional resonance of each. And I will read Abandonment to Healing.

One more question... .i am on the board of an arts organization. I just stuck my neck out to get him on the board because it could help him professionally. It is not too late. Should I pull the plug?

Second question... .Am I overreacting? He did tell me he is applying for jobs where I live and spoke lovingly to me. When someone says they're coming to visit, it is normal to call and ask when -- right? I should feel bad for it or for feeling anxious as I sensed he was becoming vague and wiggling out of it... .
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HurtinNW
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2016, 10:57:26 PM »

Are you getting what you want out of the relationship? Is he communicating with you in a way that reassures you? Do you feel safe? Do you feel loved? Trusting?

I think in these relationships we start second-guessing ourselves. Should I feel this, was it right to feel that. Instead of stepping back and asking if the relationship is right for us. Set aside all the soul mate stuff. Is this really what you want?

My ex could be very loving. One moment he'd be talking marriage, and it seemed sincere. It was sincere because he believed it at the time. The next he was raging and breaking up with me. That was also sincere. He meant that too, at the time. He probably still does. My ex toggles between abject self-pity and anger... .there isn't much in between.

My point is to try to step away from what you think you should think and ask yourself if this is what you really want. If you could remove the pain and fear of losing him, what would be left?

Editing to add: I'd back out of the arts board thing or get him off. Your future is way too uncertain for that. And the sticking out your neck thing may be co-dependent. I know I stuck my neck out several times for my ex, connecting him with job resources. Let him help himself.
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Jazzy
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2016, 12:30:04 AM »

Narkiss,

If he really loved you like you think he does, he would not have to check his calendar  ,as being with you would be a priority and not something for which he would have to find the time.

My ex did the same to me in the last few months we were together. Each time he promised to visit me, he would cancel at the last minute, There would be no reasons , just a "I cannot make it".  Every time he did that I would make up reasons for HIS behavior, just to console myself, as my heart refused to reconcile with the fact that I was no longer the most important person in his life as he had led me to believe for 6 years.

It was only when he slammed down the phone as he could not speak to me in the presence of my replacement, did I finally understand that I would never be the one and only woman in his life, that being with him would mean a life of misery, pain, and uncertainty, that I would never be able to count on him being there when I needed him.

It was after that, that I stopped all contact with him. He has not contacted me either. He is still with my replacement. It is very painful for me to see the posts she puts up about finding her soulmate, but at least I have freed myself from the false hope that he would always be there for me .I still love him ( I doubt if I will ever stop)and somewhere deep in my heart I keep hoping he will contact me sometime, but I understand how miserable I would have been if I had continued to give him the power to control my happiness. I am trying to move on. It is very very  hard , but I know I have to do it if I have to find some peace.

Whatever you decide Narkiss, I hope it makes you very happy . Good luck. Hugs. 
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WoundedBibi
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2016, 12:46:49 AM »

One more question... .i am on the board of an arts organization. I just stuck my neck out to get him on the board because it could help him professionally. It is not too late. Should I pull the plug?

Pull the plug.

If he has BPD there is a big chance he will not live up to whatever he is supposed to do on this board (not showing up for meetings, not doing the tasks he is asked to do, or not doing them properly, acting inappropriately etc) and that will damage your reputation. "What was she thinking proposing him to be on this board?".

If things are uncomfortable between the two of you and you're on the same board... .I had to work with my ex... .you don't want to be in that situation... .

Or worse, and very BPD so not too far fetched, he gets involved with someone else on the board...

Pull the plug.
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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2016, 05:36:23 AM »

Yes , pull the plug.

I bent backwards  to help my ex when he was out of a job.It meant asking people for favors which I normally would not have. I also refused a promotion because it would mean moving away from him . Ultimately the refusal cost me my job.

When I brought this up at the end of our r/s all he said was"  I know you did a lot ,but you shouldn't have ."
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patientandclear
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2016, 07:25:37 AM »

I feel for you, Narkiss.

I found that the slightest pressure from me or expression that I wanted something caused resistance. Only when I stopped communicating any need, might the need later be met. He would do the things I wanted, relationship building things, often, but they had to be his ideas. It was a deep seated response to his parents' controlling ways, I'm sure.

For a long time I dealt with this by not communicating what I wanted. It "worked" but it was unhealthy as I've gradually learned from these boards. And eventually it did not "work" because he did some things that I just could not go along with without expressing hurt or dismay, and that was not permitted under the tacit terms of our dynamic. He liked me a lot because I did not ever communicate that I wanted anything from him. When I had to, or felt I should, he punished that severely (through withdrawal, silence, withholding) and certainly did not do what I wanted.

I have a lot of internal struggle over how I "ruined" things by communicating how I felt and what I wanted. That is my own need, addiction, internal wounds, talking. I just want to underscore that you are right--when someone you care for says they are planning to come see you, it is normal and reasonable to want to discuss when this might happen.
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Narkiss
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« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2016, 08:26:01 AM »

Without the pain and fear? There would be not very much... .Sporadic bursts of love and affection. Long silences. Selfishness. A not-very-nice person who takes advantage of people and situations. Dysfunction and chaos. Someone whom I cannot trust. A married man who for all I know is seeing someone else. But he writes well and has deep emotions.

Have we all gone out with variations of the same person? Why is it that we cannot communicate any need to them? Why don't they accept that we have needs? Pure selfishness or something else? I don't have a problem expressing what I need to others (not always the case, though), but not to him. When I do not communicate needs, then he loves me and showers me with gifts of attention. When I do, he feels pressured and disappears. Mine likes me a lot, too, when I don't -- and for the most part I have learned not to. Which feels pretty crummy, like I don't matter.
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WoundedBibi
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« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2016, 08:47:23 AM »

Have we all gone out with variations of the same person? Why is it that we cannot communicate any need to them? Why don't they accept that we have needs? Pure selfishness or something else? I don't have a problem expressing what I need to others (not always the case, though), but not to him. When I do not communicate needs, then he loves me and showers me with gifts of attention. When I do, he feels pressured and disappears. Mine likes me a lot, too, when I don't -- and for the most part I have learned not to. Which feels pretty crummy, like I don't matter.

Afraid so  Being cool (click to insert in post)

I puzzled together that me having needs was proof for my ex that I didn't really love him. Because if I really loved him I wanted the same he wanted, like I was an extension of him instead of a separate person. That's also why he flat out refused to talk to me whenever I asked him to explain what he meant with his one liners; if I really loved him I would be able to read his mind.
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HurtinNW
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« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2016, 10:09:44 AM »

This is one of the hardest things for me too.

My ex rebelled against me expressing any needs or wants. He hated expectations. He got angry at the idea he "owed" anyone anything, or that others should be able to expect anything from him. He has this very idealized belief that love was about people doing what they wanted for each other, not having any expectations, and certainly not having any hurts or disappointments with his behavior.

Everything was based around his perceptions and standards, from how often to have sex to how much time a couple should spend together. Negotiating was not possible, because at heart he was convinced he was right. About everything. Early in our relationship we got into big arguments about these things, and he would get furious, adamant there is only one right way. It never occurred to him there could be more than one right away, and perhaps he was not all-knowing.

Eventually I realized he was incapable of communicating around needs beyond either silence, resentment or anger. He wasn't able to say, "you know, I'd rather not do that, and here's why."  My ex came from a family where his very narcissistic father cheated on his wife and treated his children like they were objects he could discard. He came and went without any regard to their feelings. As long as the father bought groceries sometimes it was like he had a free pass. So how does my ex end up? Very much the same. My ex also had a mother who literally carried him around until he was four or five, babying him, as his family describes. I think in our relationship he was acting out his imperious, cold father and demanding to be that babied mama's boy.

Over time I stopped trying to communicate my needs and wants as much. I was shell-shocked from all the rages. But you know what? It didn't keep him from getting angry. He just got angry about different things and he continued to interpret me through the same lens. No matter what I did, I realized, he was going to devalue me, and if not over my wants then something else.

I think for my ex it is a very immature idea of love. In his mind love is about getting his wants met, like an infant. He wants unconditional approval.

Writing this out, I can see it is not okay, but like patientandclear I wrestle with feeling I ruined the relationship because I kept trying to communicate my wants and needs, and since I didn't often do this perfectly I am at fault. I struggle with those feelings that I failed, that he was right about the awful things he said about me. I'm working hard on that stuff.
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WoundedBibi
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« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2016, 10:23:23 AM »

This is one of the hardest things for me too.

My ex rebelled against me expressing any needs or wants. He hated expectations. He got angry at the idea he "owed" anyone anything, or that others should be able to expect anything from him. He has this very idealized belief that love was about people doing what they wanted for each other, not having any expectations, and certainly not having any hurts or disappointments with his behavior.

Everything was based around his perceptions and standards, from how often to have sex to how much time a couple should spend together. Negotiating was not possible, because at heart he was convinced he was right. About everything. Early in our relationship we got into big arguments about these things, and he would get furious, adamant there is only one right way. It never occurred to him there could be more than one right away, and perhaps he was not all-knowing.

Eventually I realized he was incapable of communicating around needs beyond either silence, resentment or anger. He wasn't able to say, "you know, I'd rather not do that, and here's why."  My ex came from a family where his very narcissistic father cheated on his wife and treated his children like they were objects he could discard. He came and went without any regard to their feelings. As long as the father bought groceries sometimes it was like he had a free pass. So how does my ex end up? Very much the same. My ex also had a mother who literally carried him around until he was four or five, babying him, as his family describes. I think in our relationship he was acting out his imperious, cold father and demanding to be that babied mama's boy.

Over time I stopped trying to communicate my needs and wants as much. I was shell-shocked from all the rages. But you know what? It didn't keep him from getting angry. He just got angry about different things and he continued to interpret me through the same lens. No matter what I did, I realized, he was going to devalue me, and if not over my wants then something else.

I think for my ex it is a very immature idea of love. In his mind love is about getting his wants met, like an infant. He wants unconditional approval.

Writing this out, I can see it is not okay, but like patientandclear I wrestle with feeling I ruined the relationship because I kept trying to communicate my wants and needs, and since I didn't often do this perfectly I am at fault. I struggle with those feelings that I failed, that he was right about the awful things he said about me. I'm working hard on that stuff.

I don't know enough about my ex's FOO but I would almost think we dated the same guy...

Hang on. You didn't communicate perfectly? Measured against what? That you didn't seem to get your point across because he didn't listen? He wasn't going to listen anyway whether you would have communicated more often or more 'perfect'. Every relationship is about him and his needs so he won't listen to anybody.

Besides, what is perfect communication?

I get it, my ex's behaviour made me clamp up; I have said less than I would have with anybody else. His anger and disapproval and him observing me and analyzing my every word to whomever (to see if I 'passed' and was 'the one' made me so nervous I said things I normally wouldn't have. But I refuse to feel bad about that anymore. I know how to communicate with someone who let's me be me and I will not get myself into a relationship anymore with a guy than cannot or will not communicate.
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Grey Kitty
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« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2016, 10:42:50 AM »

I don't even know what I'm doing. I think I do, and I think I accept it/him, and I think I'm ok with it. But I'm not. At all.

Ultimately, you can only make yourself crazy and hurt yourself by not accepting him as exactly who he is, the good, the bad, and the crazy-making. ... .This kind of radical acceptance (and detachment) is really hard work, and until you do it, it will keep tripping you up.

The important wrinkle here is that accepting who he is doesn't mean that you need to be OK with being in a relationship with him.

Being "OK with it" can mean being OK with not being a relationship with him... .instead of being OK with staying in a relationship with him.

That sounds like where you are going.
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HurtinNW
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« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2016, 10:50:13 AM »

I don't even know what I'm doing. I think I do, and I think I accept it/him, and I think I'm ok with it. But I'm not. At all.

Ultimately, you can only make yourself crazy and hurt yourself by not accepting him as exactly who he is, the good, the bad, and the crazy-making. ... .This kind of radical acceptance (and detachment) is really hard work, and until you do it, it will keep tripping you up.

The important wrinkle here is that accepting who he is doesn't mean that you need to be OK with being in a relationship with him.

Being "OK with it" can mean being OK with not being a relationship with him... .instead of being OK with staying in a relationship with him.

That sounds like where you are going.

I don't want to thread-jack, but do you have advice on how to get there, Grey Kitty?

I think part of the challenge for me is accepting my ex for who he is means having confidence in my own appraisal, and after four years of chaos I lack faith in that. I found this quote in an article on BPD which really rings true for what I feel I experienced: "Invalidating someone else is not merely disagreeing with something that the other person says. It is a process in which individuals communicate to another that the opinions and emotions of the target are invalid, irrational, selfish, uncaring, stupid, most likely insane, and wrong, wrong, wrong. Invalidators let it be known directly or indirectly that their target's views and feelings do not count for anything to anybody at any time or in any way." I feel like that is what happened to me.

I am trying hard but today I feel really trapped in the morass of my own self-doubt, hurt, and pain.

Sorry for the thread-jack Narkiss.

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Grey Kitty
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« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2016, 11:06:52 AM »

I think part of the challenge for me is accepting my ex for who he is means having confidence in my own appraisal, and after four years of chaos I lack faith in that. I found this quote in an article on BPD which really rings true for what I feel I experienced: "Invalidating someone else is not merely disagreeing with something that the other person says. It is a process in which individuals communicate to another that the opinions and emotions of the target are invalid, irrational, selfish, uncaring, stupid, most likely insane, and wrong, wrong, wrong. Invalidators let it be known directly or indirectly that their target's views and feelings do not count for anything to anybody at any time or in any way." I feel like that is what happened to me.

I am trying hard but today I feel really trapped in the morass of my own self-doubt, hurt, and pain.

 I wish I had an easy answer for you here.

I guess I'm incredibly lucky, strong, or something. My sense of self, and ability to trust my own judgment wasn't 100% eroded even at my lowest and most abused point in my marriage. I got to a point where I was wondering if the crazy invalidating things my wife was telling me about myself were really true or not... .but wasn't actually believing them quite yet, before I turned myself around.

Despite that, I'm still finding areas (subtle ones, smaller ones though!) where I did kinda believe some part of what she was saying, five years after climbing up from that "hole" and a year and a half into separation.

Healing from all this stuff is hard work, there is no getting around it... .here are some steps to try:

Validate yourself. Let yourself experience whatever you are feeling, and don't tell yourself that it is "wrong" or "inappropriate" or anything. Feelings are ALWAYS valid. See if you can sit with the feelings for a while without acting on them. If only for a ten minutes, or even only a minute.

Build relationships in your life with safe, trustworthy people who can validate you. Your ex isn't that person. Your FOO has very few such people, if any. Look for the best and most supportive people, the ones you admire and like most among your friends and family.

A professional therapist is one such person--being safe and trustworthy in this way is their job. You may have to shop around a bit or try a few to find one that you can work with, if you don't already have a good one.

In short--all that invalidation was a lot of damage done over a lot of time... .and validation and healing will take time too. 
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WoundedBibi
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« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2016, 11:13:58 AM »

I think part of the challenge for me is accepting my ex for who he is means having confidence in my own appraisal, and after four years of chaos I lack faith in that. I found this quote in an article on BPD which really rings true for what I feel I experienced: "Invalidating someone else is not merely disagreeing with something that the other person says. It is a process in which individuals communicate to another that the opinions and emotions of the target are invalid, irrational, selfish, uncaring, stupid, most likely insane, and wrong, wrong, wrong. Invalidators let it be known directly or indirectly that their target's views and feelings do not count for anything to anybody at any time or in any way." I feel like that is what happened to me.

I am trying hard but today I feel really trapped in the morass of my own self-doubt, hurt, and pain.

Sorry for the thread-jack Narkiss.

I get what you mean. In hindsight I have invalidated my ex too. But how could I have validated his emotions if he hardly ever spoke to me about his inner workings and was all over the place with how he felt? Let me give an example. A night at the pub, my ex completely wasted telling everyone there he loves them, hanging around their necks. We leave together. On our way to the tram stop his mood goes 180. He starts shouting at random people they are ugly. As I am afraid he will get himself into a fight (Bibi to the rescue) I try to calm him. He in a kind of desperate and angry way says to me "I hate people!". And stupid me says "No you don't. You don't hate me". I totally invalidated his feelings.

But I didn't realize yet he probably has BPD. He went from loving everybody to hating everybody in 5 minutes. How do you validate both?

Of course this is a personal example but if your ex has BPD he probably went from one mood to the next within 5 minutes too. How do you validate both? Especially if you don't realize what illness someone has and haven't looked into ways to communicate with a pwBPD the right way.

Don't be so hard on yourself.
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« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2016, 11:16:20 AM »

Narkiss,

Pull the plug

2nd question- is yours to answer.  I just saw a therapist yesterday that specializes in personality disorders and she listened to my story and told me something very interesting.  She said that I found myself in this situation because I ignored the signs.  I had told her that my gut was telling me from the beginning that something wasn't right but I didn't trust myself.  I thought that my "picker" in men was off so just because I wasn't initially attracted to my BPD partner, I thought I should give it a chance.  Well, big mistake because as most BPD's do, he listended to what I was looking for and became that person.  

So her feedback to me was you always need to follow your gut... .not your heart, not your mind.  Your gut.  When you think about getting back or staying with him, deep in your gut, do you feel "ew" or do you feel "yay".  :)on't listen to your heart and how you love him, how he made you feel at times. Don't listen to your mind because you can talk yourself into anything.

I never thought of it that way but looking back, I think there is something to that.  I remember my body feeling physically sick after a very intense convo with my BPD partner and it reminded me of how I felt when I was in a previous relationship with a physically abusive partner.  My body knew they were the same.  But my heart remdinded me all the nice things he had done, told me he was a good guy and this was just a tough time for him.  My mind told me I have known him for 7 years, he is a successful VP so I must be just panicking, freaking out over nothing. My gut wanted nothing to do with him.  



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WoundedBibi
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« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2016, 11:17:00 AM »

Ahhh... .I got it the wrong way round, I thought you felt you invalidated his feelings. Sorry.
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« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2016, 11:36:26 AM »

I don't want to thread-jack, but thank you Grey Kitty. It really is a struggle for me, and I don't think enough about surrounding myself with validating people. My family is out, and obviously my ex is out too. I work a lot, have my kids, so I need to prioritize spending time with friends. I have a question about my therapist I will ask elsewhere.

WoundedBibi, I am sure there are times I invalidated him! Lots of times. But yes that was about me being invalidated to the point I did start feeling I was crazy, insane, wrong, wrong, wrong. I am still really wrestling with that. I was told so many times over the years I was wrong, deranged, difficult, that it is hard not to believe it. It wasn't just verbal either, but constant eye-rolling, deep sighs, exasperation and other ways that whittled down my self-esteem, which was not so great to begin with.
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Narkiss
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« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2016, 10:35:58 AM »

Hurtin: You are not thread-jacking. I do the same. I also invalidate my own appraisal of him (not to other things/people). I feel guilty, that I am not giving him the benefit of the doubt or maybe just do not accept that someone I have such strong feelings for can be so selfish and deceptive -- and that there is such a gap between what I think to be going on and my feelings. I feel almost as if I need overwhelming, tangible proof to validate what I think is going on. (same thing interestingly with my separated husband. I don't feel justified in leaving him just because he is a rigid, controlling person with OCPD who is a lousy father, but need something ovewhelming like physical abuse or gambling).

Bunny4523: I think from almost the beginning my gut said Ew, there is something wrong. He chased me too hard knowing I was married, was so innapropriately sexual so quickly after we met that I felt really uncomfortable, told me he loved me the first time we spoke on the phone. I disregarded all of this -- and actually felt pity for him. I saw very ugly things in him -- which I disregarded.

I read all over the place about validating their feelings. Why is it ok that they invalidate ours? My pwBPD does not criticize me (although he did somewhat in the beginning) or rage at me. But he does invalidate my needs or wants by disappearing when I express them -- so I feel conditioned not to.  Must I accept that as the "healthier" person?

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Grey Kitty
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« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2016, 10:49:14 AM »

I read all over the place about validating their feelings. Why is it ok that they invalidate ours? My pwBPD does not criticize me (although he did somewhat in the beginning) or rage at me. But he does invalidate my needs or wants by disappearing when I express them -- so I feel conditioned not to.  Must I accept that as the "healthier" person?

No, it isn't ok that he invalidates your feelings. 

It is a subtle form of verbal or emotional abuse.

You cannot make him validate you. (He probably has very limited capacity to do so, even if he wanted to!)

You cannot stop him from invalidating you, either.

Time for some Radical Acceptance--he is who he is, behaves the way he does, and that is invalidating!

In short, yes, you do have to accept him. And as the healthier person, you have to stop trying to change him / control him. What you don't have to do is subject yourself to that treatment from him.

You can enforce a boundary of removing yourself from his presence when he does invalidate you.

If his way of being invalidating is to withdraw, this isn't enough to protect yourself.

Instead of ending the relationship over this (which you don't seem ready to do), Find a way to take good care of yourself.

When he withdraws, you can do nice things for yourself. You can validate your own feelings. You can spend time with people who will validate you You can get some exercise, take a hot bath, or whatever is healthy for you.
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WoundedBibi
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« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2016, 11:00:25 AM »

Hurtin: You are not thread-jacking. I do the same. I also invalidate my own appraisal of him (not to other things/people). I feel guilty, that I am not giving him the benefit of the doubt or maybe just do not accept that someone I have such strong feelings for can be so selfish and deceptive -- and that there is such a gap between what I think to be going on and my feelings. I feel almost as if I need overwhelming, tangible proof to validate what I think is going on. (same thing interestingly with my separated husband. I don't feel justified in leaving him just because he is a rigid, controlling person with OCPD who is a lousy father, but need something ovewhelming like physical abuse or gambling).

I don't have kids, but isn't realizing someone is a lousy father and therefore your kids are going to get damaged in their development enough overwhelming evidence? Or does it need to be something radical that you can see the effect of NOW instead of knowing the effect will be there in future? Like people would more likely stop smoking if it was like Russian roulette and 1 cigarette could make you drop down dead?

Excerpt
Bunny4523: I think from almost the beginning my gut said Ew, there is something wrong. He chased me too hard knowing I was married, was so innapropriately sexual so quickly after we met that I felt really uncomfortable, told me he loved me the first time we spoke on the phone. I disregarded all of this

So recognizable... Mental note to self: never ignore gut feeling again.

Excerpt
I read all over the place about validating their feelings. Why is it ok that they invalidate ours?

It isn't ok, but for people who want to continue to be with a pwBPD that is the advice. Validate their emotions. And not to be emotional about your own. You should mention them, to make them see you're putting up boundaries, but you should do it matter of fact.

Excerpt
My pwBPD does not criticize me (although he did somewhat in the beginning) or rage at me. But he does invalidate my needs or wants by disappearing when I express them -- so I feel conditioned not to.  Must I accept that as the "healthier" person?

If you want to be with this person, and you've 'followed the rules' on being clear about what hurts you and what your boundaries are but doing in matter of fact, without getting emotional, then I think the answer is yes. Mind you, the 'rules' as far as I understand are that you DO keep mentioning them, and accept that he then disappears.

By disappearing he's probably punishing you for having your own wants and needs in the first place. You shouldn't have those, you're an extension of him, so what ever he wants you should want. If you want something else you 'obviously' don't love him and you're a mean person setting out to hurt him. So the disappearing is part of the BPD as is the invalidating of your wants, needs and emotions.
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« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2016, 11:51:24 AM »

"The Rules" as taught by the wisest people here would include that, if someone breaks your boundaries in ways you cannot redress yourself by removing yourself from the situation or not allowing access or some other affirmative step you can take, it is NOT good to continue on and continuously allow the boundary violation without consequences. If you do, you are betraying yourself, and telling the BPD partner that the boundary you keep "mentioning" doesn't mean anything.

Behaviors like raging and overt abuse are earlier to deal with with interim boundaries (leave for an hour or a day, say you'll be back) without leaving the r/ship.

Boundaries like "I must be able to express my needs or wants without being punished for it by someone I love" are much harder to enforce without leaving the r/ship, at least for the time being.

But we don't want to do that ... .So we come up with lots of rationalizations and second guess our own needs and also second guess the need to communicate our needs. Because we don't want to face the implications, for a healthy person, of the fact that that is not allowed or is severely punished in our r/ship.
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« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2016, 11:53:47 AM »

Wounded Bibi wrote: "By disappearing he's probably punishing you for having your own wants and needs in the first place. You shouldn't have those, you're an extension of him, so what ever he wants you should want. If you want something else you 'obviously' don't love him and you're a mean person setting out to hurt him. So the disappearing is part of the BPD as is the invalidating of your wants, needs and emotions."

I never saw it that way before. My ex always disappeared and gave me the silent treatment. I felt he was punishing me, but didn't realize it was also another way to completely invalidate me. It is like I no longer exist to him. It's a real gut punch to have that happen to you, and for someone to think it is okay is crazy-making.

By the way, how do I select out quotes? I know how to quote the whole post, but when I try to select out one piece it doesn't show.

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« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2016, 02:44:39 AM »

Narkiss the one thing I can assure you of is I CAN TOTALLY RELATE TO WHAT YOU ARE SAYING AND FEELING. Our stories are so simillar it's kind of weird. Mine was married (found out after the last break-up) and we were in a long distant relationship.

After each break up he would love bomb me, arrange to come, give me the dates, talk about meeting my family and spending time with my friends, talk about things we would do together. MADE ME SO HAPPY. As the date was approaching, he would always start getting distant, postponing the date, making me feel bad for wanting to know and always ending it with silent treatments and dissapearing. MADE ME SO SAD. And then I would start thinking that maybe I should have given him the benefit of a doubt, maybe his reasons for postponing it were valid, maybe I shouldn't have pushed so much... .All because I WAS SURE about how much he wanted to come. So maybe if i hadn't pushed so much... .It's crazy! I wasn't pushing. I was scared to hell he would dissapoint me again and not folow up with all his promises. And of course he never did.  

I am so sorry Narkiss... .Please try to see things for what they are at least rationally. Look at things as you are not the one involved. Your heart will slowly start catching up. Mine has made a few baby steps. 


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« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2016, 12:06:29 PM »

Penelope:why do they do that? Last week, he apologized for not coming and told me that he couldn't believe he spent all this time in his home city when he could have been with me. He said he would come in early April. felt so good, that finally he was valuing the relationship AND ME! Then on Wednesday when I called to see if he was coming he started talking about his finances and all the expenses he has. Perhaps I should have "validated" these worries. Instead, I felt triggered and anxious and told him that he would stay with me and there would be no expense. Perhaps part of it is that we would stay in a small apartment I have in the city (instead of at home where my children are -- their father will be with them there over  the weekend. I know he wants to meet my children -- but I feel that it is more to gratify his ego than a sign that he is making a commitment to me and my children)

Should I try to call him and validate him? Or just give this whole thing up? I know he will just do it again. I feel like if he wanted to see me, he would find a way to see me.
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« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2016, 01:26:32 PM »

How you pursue the relationship with him has a wide range of healthy options for you, but dealing with him and your children strikes me differently... .

Perhaps part of it is that we would stay in a small apartment I have in the city (instead of at home where my children are -- their father will be with them there over  the weekend. I know he wants to meet my children -- but I feel that it is more to gratify his ego than a sign that he is making a commitment to me and my children)

So to clarify--your r/s with him is troubled and in flux right now.

And he hasn't met your children, hasn't got a relationship with them (yet)

It seems irresponsible to introduce a man to your children unless you have good reason to expect him to be able to stay in their lives.

So wait until you are sure that his role in your life is a good, healthy, stable one before even introducing him to your kids.

If he cannot deal with that... .that is one more strike against him, a really big one!

Trust your gut--protect your kids from him, at least for now.

If you find yourself breaking up with him or him leaving, then your kids don't lose a father figure (because they never had him to lose)
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« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2016, 01:37:43 PM »

Yes, he has not met them. It would be deeply disrespectful and upsetting to their father, because we are not yet divorced. My person with BPD has envisioned himself as their stepdad but he has also said so much to me because he felt it in the moment (or it made him feel good) -- without regard or responsibility for the consequences of his words.

Yes, our relationship is in flux, but I think it has always been in one form or another. Even when he has appeared committed I don't think he really was or it was a fantasy for him -- like planning a wonderful trip you never quite get around to taking.

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« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2016, 01:42:25 PM »

Yes, he has not met them. It would be deeply disrespectful and upsetting to their father, because we are not yet divorced. My person with BPD has envisioned himself as their stepdad but he has also said so much to me because he felt it in the moment --without regard or responsibility for the consequences of his words.

I think your answer is clear then--keep him away from your kids for a while... .and telling him that you won't disrespect their father by introducing him before you are divorced is a very reasonable statement. (And as I hinted before... .if he goes off the rails, it tells you something about him that you needed to know!)
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