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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: Birthdays  (Read 1828 times)
joeramabeme
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« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2016, 03:09:26 PM »

Exactly! Yes, me too. I mean, I guess we already did the classy "let's try to stay in touch and do special occasions" thing for a year (or ten months, or whatever). I was civil, I tried to put my feelings aside to be her friend while she spun out about things for a while, I was validating (eventually  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) ), and she just kept flipping out at me with little provocation. I don't need any more of that, for sure, but a card or message would have been nice. That's all.

Like you said, I'm just disappointed.

Confusing, isn't it!  They love us, we love them.  We know they care, they know we care.  So, what is the problem? 

MapleBob thank you for this thread.  It really captures the anguish we have to work through in detaching and reconciling what we believe/know is true versus the manifestation of the same.  Your feelings are very valid and dare I say "normal". 

What is out of balance is, IMO, not so much our feelings towards our ex's, as much as our belief that our expwBPD traits can maintain a steady-state of emotional intimacy.  I like to think of it all as a ship on a stormy ocean that is listing from side-side; at some point, in between the back and forth, the ship is in balance, but it can't stay that way.  But we see the ship can do it and keep trying to run from one side of the boat to the other to counter-balance the storms wind and waves. 

The analogy extends to our pwBPD with one side of the listing being; I love you and this is awesome - then listing to the other side; this does not feel safe I better get away.  And us taking emotional positions to counteract the runaway part.  The longer the r/s goes on, the more stormy the sea becomes until everyone on the ship is to sick to stay on-board and then it is off to re-chart a "better" course or board a new ship.

I suspect their "black" memory is of the listing ship; scary - out of control - nothing kept it stable.  The memory of the co-captain working their tail off to balance the boat may be present - but cannot overcome the bigger picture of the out of control boat.  They are unaware that the listing is created, in good measure, to their emotional imbalance.  And we are unaware that our counter-balancing the same listing adds to the imbalance as well.


Excerpt
She said that we were family, but we're not.

My ex said the same, I am sure she meant it, but cannot get back on board with me . . .
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MapleBob
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« Reply #31 on: April 01, 2016, 03:25:52 PM »

Exactly! Yes, me too. I mean, I guess we already did the classy "let's try to stay in touch and do special occasions" thing for a year (or ten months, or whatever). I was civil, I tried to put my feelings aside to be her friend while she spun out about things for a while, I was validating (eventually  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) ), and she just kept flipping out at me with little provocation. I don't need any more of that, for sure, but a card or message would have been nice. That's all.

Like you said, I'm just disappointed.

Confusing, isn't it!  They love us, we love them.  We know they care, they know we care.  So, what is the problem?  

MapleBob thank you for this thread.  It really captures the anguish we have to work through in detaching and reconciling what we believe/know is true versus the manifestation of the same.  Your feelings are very valid and dare I say "normal".

Yes, it's very confusing! She basically laid it right out for me in our last conversation: "I have a lot of anger and I can't hurry up the process of letting it go. It's just a slow, slow thing ... .I'm stuck on the bad things. It's what I obsess about and run over in my head. I know that's not fair, but it affects me. And it hurts just as much on my side, I promise ... ."

And "I like and love you, and I'm sorry that I don't have what it takes to know you right now. I don't know if you'll hear from me again, but I will reach out if the timing feels better some day. I hope this year is good to you, and you get the things you want in your life.   "

That's textbook BPD, right? "I love you SO MUCH, but my negative feelings and reactions are literally beyond my control." You kind of have to throw your hands up in the air about it.
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MapleBob
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« Reply #32 on: April 02, 2016, 09:02:25 AM »

This whole thing has got me wanting to break No Contact with her, though it will probably be a disaster. It feels like giving power away, but I'm thinking about it... .
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MapleBob
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« Reply #33 on: April 02, 2016, 09:36:24 AM »

This whole thing has got me wanting to break No Contact with her, though it will probably be a disaster. It feels like giving power away, but I'm thinking about it... .

Does breaking No Contact ever go well?
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« Reply #34 on: April 02, 2016, 09:39:14 AM »

This whole thing has got me wanting to break No Contact with her, though it will probably be a disaster. It feels like giving power away, but I'm thinking about it... .

Does breaking No Contact ever go well?

sure it does. but whats the motive and whats the goal?
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MapleBob
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« Reply #35 on: April 02, 2016, 09:47:15 AM »

This whole thing has got me wanting to break No Contact with her, though it will probably be a disaster. It feels like giving power away, but I'm thinking about it... .

Does breaking No Contact ever go well?

sure it does. but whats the motive and whats the goal?

Well, the motive is that I miss her, first of all. I feel her absence, and I'd like to reconnect. I guess not hearing from her on my birthday made me realize that. The goal? I don't know, catching up? Seeing if there's an open door?
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« Reply #36 on: April 02, 2016, 09:53:36 AM »

This whole thing has got me wanting to break No Contact with her, though it will probably be a disaster. It feels like giving power away, but I'm thinking about it... .

Does breaking No Contact ever go well?

sure it does. but whats the motive and whats the goal?

Well, the motive is that I miss her, first of all. I feel her absence, and I'd like to reconnect. I guess not hearing from her on my birthday made me realize that. The goal? I don't know, catching up? Seeing if there's an open door?

You know Bob, I want the same because I also miss my ex.  Yet I cannot and won't reach out because even if she replied, which I doubt she would, I know anything she has to say to me will hurt me even more than I already have been hurt. 
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MapleBob
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« Reply #37 on: April 02, 2016, 09:56:18 AM »

You know Bob, I want the same because I also miss my ex.  Yet I cannot and won't reach out because even if she replied, which I doubt she would, I know anything she has to say to me will hurt me even more than I already have been hurt. 

I guess I don't know that. I don't know WHAT would happen. Her way is to slam a door and harrumph about it, and I've had success in the past with her from knocking.
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joeramabeme
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« Reply #38 on: April 02, 2016, 09:58:51 AM »

This whole thing has got me wanting to break No Contact with her, though it will probably be a disaster. It feels like giving power away, but I'm thinking about it... .

Does breaking No Contact ever go well?

sure it does. but whats the motive and whats the goal?

Well, the motive is that I miss her, first of all. I feel her absence, and I'd like to reconnect. I guess not hearing from her on my birthday made me realize that. The goal? I don't know, catching up? Seeing if there's an open door?

So, you are checking to see if there is an "open door"?  What about her point of, "I'm trying to let it go, but it takes a really long time and a lot of space for me to do that... ." and "... .she finally shoved me away"? 

I am not going to advocate for or against NC but will point out that if you were to break NC that it should be with understanding and acceptance of her words foremost in your mind.  Based on what you have said, it does not sound like she is ready... .
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« Reply #39 on: April 02, 2016, 10:06:01 AM »

This whole thing has got me wanting to break No Contact with her, though it will probably be a disaster. It feels like giving power away, but I'm thinking about it... .

Does breaking No Contact ever go well?

sure it does. but whats the motive and whats the goal?

Well, the motive is that I miss her, first of all. I feel her absence, and I'd like to reconnect. I guess not hearing from her on my birthday made me realize that. The goal? I don't know, catching up? Seeing if there's an open door?

So, you are checking to see if there is an "open door"?  What about her point of, "I'm trying to let it go, but it takes a really long time and a lot of space for me to do that... ." and "... .she finally shoved me away"? 

I am not going to advocate for or against NC but will point out that if you were to break NC that it should be with understanding and acceptance of her words foremost in your mind.  Based on what you have said, it does not sound like she is ready... .

i agree. your motives and goal sound fine. hers should be understood and respected as well, for the time being. things can change. it sounds like the birthday and her lack of acknowledging it are triggering this reaction/urge which is understandable, though likely to pass. theres healing to be done on both sides. allowing the space between you both to do that will be more conducive if/when contact comes.
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MapleBob
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« Reply #40 on: April 02, 2016, 10:43:23 AM »

This whole thing has got me wanting to break No Contact with her, though it will probably be a disaster. It feels like giving power away, but I'm thinking about it... .

Does breaking No Contact ever go well?

sure it does. but whats the motive and whats the goal?

Well, the motive is that I miss her, first of all. I feel her absence, and I'd like to reconnect. I guess not hearing from her on my birthday made me realize that. The goal? I don't know, catching up? Seeing if there's an open door?

So, you are checking to see if there is an "open door"?  What about her point of, "I'm trying to let it go, but it takes a really long time and a lot of space for me to do that... ." and "... .she finally shoved me away"? 

I am not going to advocate for or against NC but will point out that if you were to break NC that it should be with understanding and acceptance of her words foremost in your mind.  Based on what you have said, it does not sound like she is ready... .

i agree. your motives and goal sound fine. hers should be understood and respected as well, for the time being. things can change. it sounds like the birthday and her lack of acknowledging it are triggering this reaction/urge which is understandable, though likely to pass. theres healing to be done on both sides. allowing the space between you both to do that will be more conducive if/when contact comes.

Those quotes are from early January, so there HAS been a fair bit of breathing room. No contact since then. On the one hand, I feel like she was very clear about her intentions to move on (as opposed to just "taking some time", but on the other hand she left a window open for later (right?). Maybe you're both right and it's too soon, but I'd rather be rebuffed because it's too soon than hear "oops, too late, wish I would have heard from you earlier!"
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« Reply #41 on: April 02, 2016, 12:01:58 PM »

I've had the same idle thought about not wanting to reach out and find it's "too late." But I think, even if he was somehow single and truly open to a new relationship with me (and at this point it would be a new relationship), well, now I know how he handles relationship problems, and there will always be problems, and I can't be with someone who handles them this way. Also, he's acted heartlessly, and maybe someone else could deal with that and get to the bottom of it and radically accept it, but not me. I'm too wounded myself.

Best to leave it alone.

#selftalk
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MapleBob
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« Reply #42 on: April 02, 2016, 12:40:04 PM »

I wrote an email, but I haven't sent it. Just a general "hey, I'd love to catch up some time if you're game, no pressure" kind of thing. Second guessing.
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« Reply #43 on: April 02, 2016, 01:03:01 PM »

Give it 48 hours.
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MapleBob
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« Reply #44 on: April 02, 2016, 01:24:45 PM »

Give it 48 hours.

That's probably wise, although I feel like I've given it *months* already!  

I guess I'm leaning towards "no" now. It really should be her doing the reaching out; that was basically the agreement we made. I would think I'd see a sign if she was genuinely interested in reconnecting, but then again, she's very good at *pretending* to let people go when she obviously hasn't (lots of ex talk).
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« Reply #45 on: April 02, 2016, 01:49:40 PM »

It really should be her doing the reaching out; that was basically the agreement we made. I would think I'd see a sign if she was genuinely interested in reconnecting

^^^^^ that

Healthy relationships are, amongst other things, about putting in healthy boundaries and respecting boundaries.

She has put in her boundary.

Excerpt
, but then again, she's very good at *pretending* to let people go when she obviously hasn't (lots of ex talk).

You're filling in for her. Is that healthy behaviour?

Would your behaviour lead to a healthy relationship with a chance to survive?

You're thinking of crossing the boundary she has put in.

She had said she needs time. You seem to be wanting to force her hand: "is it time yet?".

It's only been two months... Let her decide when she is ready without you pushing for an answer.

Don't fill in for her what she might or might not think or pretend to do.

If you mean as much to her as she does to you, she will contact you when SHE is ready. Forcing her now will probably make her angrier or you recycle together and it still doesn't work because it is too soon.

She seems very aware of her issues and self reflective. Who knows, perhaps she can manage the BPD enough to be in a healthy and successful relationship. But learning how to manage her BPD is a marathon, not a sprint.

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« Reply #46 on: April 02, 2016, 04:41:07 PM »

I'd give it 48 hours and then not send it. I know how hard that can be and how these feelings can come back to us. I've been there, for sure. But every time I do have contact it comes back to hurt my recovery. And it also makes them feel like what they did was OK. We know what they did wasn't OK.

keep working on you. keep recovering. keep NC.

you got this, maplebob.
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« Reply #47 on: April 02, 2016, 04:47:18 PM »

Mine wished me a happy birthday a month early and then didn't say a word on the day. I was angry too. I will not be wishing him one this year is all I can say. Stay no contact... .it gets easier that way. All you get is hurt more if you initiate it and they don't respond like you want them too.
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MapleBob
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« Reply #48 on: April 02, 2016, 05:15:19 PM »

Thank you all. I think I'm going to wait, but I do think I'll ultimately send her an email. Like I said, it'll be something simple and low-pressure and I'm fully prepared for her to not respond at all, or to respond badly. I don't necessarily think it's boundary-busting to say that I've been thinking about her and that I'd like to reconnect if she's interested - so long as I keep my expectations low, and a sense of calm and openness to what I'll hear. Which I do genuinely feel.

I've come a long way in these past months, and just maybe she has too. I've honestly kind of hit the wall in terms of being in NC intentionally. This feels like one of those times when you go "well, I need to move out of NC into just living, but I've still got attachment, so one last olive branch and then it's kaput." That's probably a bad idea or faulty thinking, and maybe I'll regret touching the stove again, and maybe in a couple of days I won't even want to do it, but I feel like maybe I need to for me. Does that make sense?
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« Reply #49 on: April 03, 2016, 07:01:11 AM »

so one last olive branch and then it's kaput.

For what reason? 

I certainly understand still feeling attached but I feel a great deal of anxiety when thinking about reaching out or reengaging with my ex.  In her eyes our relationship is probably like a lifetime ago and that hurts.   For me it seems like yesterday in many ways.   I honestly don't want to know anything about what she is doing because I know it will bring me nothing but pain.
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MapleBob
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« Reply #50 on: April 03, 2016, 10:19:22 AM »

So I did wind up sending her an email yesterday afternoon, and she replied late in the evening (I'm guessing she gave it some thought). It was a courteous response, but she's "not interested in reconnecting", because she finds it "much easier this way". I'm not sure what to make of that, but I'm not surprised - and I'm surprisingly unphased. It's what I expected to hear, it confirms my suspicions that she's decided to just move on, and it's my sign to really let her go. That was the point.

It sucks, but I've suspected for a while that - however much I may care about and love her - she's not the one for me. Not strong enough, not stable enough, not brave enough, and certainly too wrapped up in her own distorted worldview and the dysfunctional ex-husband relationship (ie. she'll never fully be a partner to anyone - or at least not until her daughter is grown, which will be more than a decade from now). And I do blame her BPD traits (and her FOO) for a lot of what we went through together. I'm going to be okay with this, and she will too. I can see the ways in which I changed her life, and that's the point of relationships, right?
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« Reply #51 on: April 03, 2016, 10:49:23 AM »

I'm sorry, Maplebob. And your rational mind is giving you the right answers. This is a litmus test of whether you even want her in your life. She's telling you (again) what she's capable of, and you need/deserve/will get more.
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« Reply #52 on: April 03, 2016, 02:43:23 PM »

Well, at least you have a positive direction now ... .forward.   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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MapleBob
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« Reply #53 on: April 03, 2016, 02:50:43 PM »

Well, at least you have a positive direction now ... .forward.   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

Exactly. Her business-like tone was pretty unlike the way she's dealt with me in the past (and kind of a turnoff, honestly), so whatever. Her loss, for real. I put in SO MUCH work, and she's just going to keep having messy relationships that she quits on until she "probably dies alone, like (her) grandmother" (her words, not long ago).
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joeramabeme
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« Reply #54 on: April 04, 2016, 08:12:39 PM »

So I did wind up sending her an email yesterday afternoon, and she replied late in the evening (I'm guessing she gave it some thought). It was a courteous response, but she's "not interested in reconnecting", because she finds it "much easier this way". I'm not sure what to make of that, but I'm not surprised - and I'm surprisingly unphased. It's what I expected to hear, it confirms my suspicions that she's decided to just move on, and it's my sign to really let her go. That was the point.

It sucks, but I've suspected for a while that - however much I may care about and love her - she's not the one for me.

Hey MapleBob, just want to say that I think it took great courage to follow your internals.  Congratulations for following your instincts.  I am sure that this is not what you wanted to hear from her and that there is some sadness about it all.  I know my sadness has been layered like an onion, tears and all while peeling it back. 

We cannot change others.  This is the hardest lesson to learn, at least for me.  Our analysis and overview of events that transpired may be spot on but has no impact on our r/s' if our partners do not share in that view.  By definition, pwBPD traits cannot share in that view.  It is a true catch-22.  As I have processed through the loss I have come to a greater belief/acceptance of BPD and removed a lot of thoughts such as "she is not BPD that much".   

Keep us posted.
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« Reply #55 on: April 04, 2016, 10:08:43 PM »

Hey MapleBob, just want to say that I think it took great courage to follow your internals.  Congratulations for following your instincts.  I am sure that this is not what you wanted to hear from her and that there is some sadness about it all.  I know my sadness has been layered like an onion, tears and all while peeling it back. 

Well thank you!  Smiling (click to insert in post)

It wasn't an easy choice to make, but I felt like I was at a fork in the road and needed a signpost from her. But it IS sad. I started another thread over here:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=292380.0

We cannot change others.  This is the hardest lesson to learn, at least for me.  Our analysis and overview of events that transpired may be spot on but has no impact on our r/s' if our partners do not share in that view.  By definition, pwBPD traits cannot share in that view.  It is a true catch-22.  As I have processed through the loss I have come to a greater belief/acceptance of BPD and removed a lot of thoughts such as "she is not BPD that much".

My therapist from years back always used to say "the codependent's drug of choice is control" - and that's certainly something that we all wish we could obtain.

She admitted in a moment of clarity months ago that "sometimes you make a really valid point, or you say the exact right thing, and I just ignore it because I'm too busy being mad at you". I can't really work with that, obviously, and there's not much that I can do to change it. I made my share of mistakes too (I'm great at mistakes!  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) ), but I stuck around to work through it. She tried too, it wasn't easy for either of us. It's just what it is.
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