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Before you can make things better, you have to stop making them worse... Have you considered that being critical, judgmental, or invalidating toward the other parent, no matter what she or he just did will only make matters worse? Someone has to be do something. This means finding the motivation to stop making things worse, learning how to interrupt your own negative responses, body language, facial expressions, voice tone, and learning how to inhibit your urges to do things that you later realize are contributing to the tensions.
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Author Topic: Decided to divorce BPD wife  (Read 1616 times)
utnapishtim428

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« on: January 07, 2018, 08:34:22 PM »

Wow. Where to begin? I've been with my BPD wife for 10 years,  but only married for the last 2 years. I decided to marry her after we went to therapy together after I had a major depressive episode that resulted from the stress of our relationship... .I had NEVER been depressed like that in my life (I'm ~40). Things were so good... .until about a month after we got married. After another year or so of the emotional roller coaster (she recently threatened suicide multiple times, told me she hates me, threatened to leave me etc.), I decided I couldn't handle this anymore. I made a plan over the last several months using online guides/consulting with my therapist and today I told her that I want out. The guilt that I feel is absolutely crippling, but I've thought of getting out for so long that it's hard to think it's not the right decision, no matter how terrible I feel. Does anyone have any words of wisdom for dealing with the aftermath emotionally? Also, if anyone has suggestions for finding short-term housing while the divorce gets sorted out... .that'd probably be helpful too (my plan was good, but a lot of things happened along the way that were out of my control, and now my soon-to-be ex has threatened that anyone that helps me "will be sorry."
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utnapishtim428

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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2018, 09:56:25 PM »

As an update... .I'm currently staying in a hotel. part of my exit plan was to not tell her anything about where I was going. She called me... .and I answered (mistake, I know). She said she's been driving around for 7 hours and has found where I'm staying. I told her I was getting off the phone and I hung up. She called me 9 times in rapid succession before I could block her number.

I really hope she was lying about knowing where I am... .I will probably call my lawyer in the morning before I leave the hotel room in case they have some advice... .
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ForeverDad
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2018, 10:32:05 PM »

Welcome, though we also commiserate with you that you were forced into seeking peer support.  We all wished a different future for our relationships.

A very important question... .do you two have children together?  A lot of the high conflict in our divorces is attributed to the custody and parenting schedules having children requires.  If no children, then it's basically splitting up the assets (money, retirement accounts, vehicles, residences, etc) and debts (mortgages, vehicle loans, credit cards, etc).  Our ex-spouses typically fight tooth and nail to come out on top even over the littlest things.

Courts do have patterns and procedures they try to follow, sadly, it doesn't make much common sense to newbies in court.  You'll find out that court isn't guided by fairness, may even have an unwritten default preference for the female gender or spouse that isn't working.  However, we here have "been there, done that" and so you can pick our brains for what usually works and what usually doesn't work.  Collectively, we survivors have a lot of hard-won wisdom and experience.

I don't know whether the court in your state will consider it a short marriage (2 years) or a long one including the prior time together (10 years).  Hopefully you've also sought out some confidential legal consultations.  You'll need more than the usual forms filer and hand holder who can only handle simple settlements.  Yes, most divorces, even our intractable ones, do end in settlements but getting there takes a very experienced, problem-solving, proactive attorney... .and a lot of money and time.

We encourage our members to get their ducks in a row, so to speak, before informing the disordered spouse about the marriage's end.  A truism quoted here is that when your relationship is ending then you can't volunteer information that would probably be used to sabotage you. Well, you've made plans and have already told so the next few days will give you an idea of how conflictual she will be.  Or it's possible she will play the waif or hermit and beg you to stay.  You'll know better than us which direction she will go, after her initial reaction, especially since you were there a couple years ago.

I too faced your dilemma, "Is this the right step?"  So have thousands of other members here.  The fact is that our distress is situational, caused by our dysfunctional and unhealthy relationship.  If the other spouse isn't in therapy and making solid strides toward improvement and recovery, then the solution isn't with the spouse who won't change, it's up to us.  We tried appeasing, even retreating, but nothing worked to make the relationship healthy.  We can, and did, choose to take action and end the troubled relationship.  Basically, we had no choice but to do that.  The alternative was more suffering and distress.

As for her seeking you out tonight, what would that accomplish?  It's possible she might have changed strategies and will try to woo you back.  But you know that won't last, it won't fix the core issue highlighted above.  So distance is your friend, also not being alone with her.  Have you decided to record future encounters?  (Quietly, perhaps in a pocket, because waving around a recorder can trigger incidents we're trying to avoid.)  Recording can be viewed as a form of insurance, appropriate self-protection in case she makes allegations against you that you were abusive, aggressive, controlling or whatever.  The fact is that women seem to get better results claiming to be victims when they seek restraining or protection orders in court.  Many of our ex-spouses felt that a divorce could make them look bad — their sense of public image is heightened and they are determined to Blame Shift the marriage's end onto us — so allegations are often made to make them look less worse than you.

I recall in my own failing marriage my spouse would periodically demand we not sleep until she fixed the problem.  And of course I needed to work the next morning but that didn't matter to her.  Well there was no way to fix our deep relationship issues in a high conflict interrogation into the wee hours of the night.  Same with you, forced contact won't solve anything.  She had two years to get therapy, to improve, to recover.  Promises of change mean little, action long term does.

Edit — If you have children together, then you'll want to find a place large enough or with enough bedrooms for them to stay with you on your parenting time.  You don't want to give her excuses to claim the children wouldn't have enough room to stay overnights with you.  If no children, then for now you might look for extended stay hotels that rent by the week or month.  Despite her threats to cause friends and family trouble, you could turn to them but remember it should be trusted friends (not mutual friends who may be intimidated or even side with her) or your family.
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ForeverDad
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2018, 10:55:54 PM »

BPD has at its core abandonment issues.  Be aware that right now she is feeling abandoned and that is huge for her.  However, there is a risk that if you do get back together then she may very well decide it best for her to preemptively abandon you in a way more favorable for her and much less favorable for you.  Abandon you (very messy) before you can politely abandon her.
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utnapishtim428

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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2018, 01:46:59 AM »

Foreverdad, THANK YOU for replying! This is such a nightmare and I feel so alone in this... .it feels so good to have SOME sort of outlet... .

We do not have children together, thank goodness. In fact, that is one of the reasons I left; I couldn't imagine bringing children into this.

I have already paid a retainer for a lawyer and have been consulting with them along the way. In my state, only the time married will matter. I also asked them about recording and that is apparently illegal in my state unless the other person consents so I can't do that either. Because of that, I did tell my SO that any contact between us would be on the phone. She's already mentioned alimony, refusing to leave the house, refusing to agree to divorce etc. so I guess time will tell if those are idle threats or not.

As for why she wants to see me, I think it's just a reaction induced by the panic she feels about being abandoned. When you mentioned the "No sleep until this is fixed"-business, I laughed out loud because of how familiar that situation is. I work and she doesn't so she sleeps while I'm working, leaving me exhausted on a daily basis when we stay up past midnight to "fix" things. Thank you for the words of encouragement... .I've been worried that I won't be able to stand firm with my decision because of the guilt that I feel. When I hear someone else state the reasonable and obvious truth that "she's had every opportunity" it gives me strength!
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Panda39
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2018, 07:36:32 AM »

Hi utnapishtim428,

I join Foreverdad in welcoming you to the BPD Family 

I wanted to share information on an "Extinction Burst" with you because that is what it sounds like you are currently experiencing to me. I hope it helps you as much as it does me to understand the dynamics going on behind all the drama.  I find this understanding helpful in not taking things as personally.  I was surprised to learn that behind all the chaos and drama there are some common behaviors that can actually be somewhat predictable.  Once you can start seeing some of the patterns I found things easier to deal with.

Extinction Burst

The phenomenon of behavior temporarily getting worse, not better when the reinforcement stops.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=85479.0

Because of that, I did tell my SO that any contact between us would be on the phone.

You might consider changing this to email.  Email does several things, it slows down the interaction and gives you time to think about your response, it allows you time to think about if you respond at all (if she is just venting/bashing you/making threats don't respond), and it allows you to document her behaviors.

The guilt that I feel is absolutely crippling, but I've thought of getting out for so long that it's hard to think it's not the right decision... .

It sounds like your heart needs to catch up with your head   No one goes into a marriage planning for it to end, but know that the only people we can change is ourselves. You are changing the situation for yourself, so that your life is heading in an emotionally healthier direction.  That is what you can change. 

In terms of your stbxw someone on this site once said... .you didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it... .I think that this is true.  Only she change her behaviors through her own desire/choice, through a lot of hard work,  with support from a therapist.  She has to want to make changes and seek help, you can not be her Therapist that is not your job.

There is also something we talk about here called FOG (Fear, Obligation, Guilt) or emotional blackmail.  Try and be aware of this if you can see it and steer clear of being sucked into the FOG it will help you see more clearly.

More on FOG... .

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=82926.0

I hope you got some sleep

Take Care,
Panda39
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2018, 12:53:24 PM »

I agree -- switching to "email only" communications is the best protection.  Also, you can do what another forum member did and use your phone to record yourself for your own protection -- it's not that you are using a recording of her for purposes against her so much as using a recording of yourself for protection.  You would be surprised how many forum members have undergone false accusations during separation and divorce proceedings (can be part of the extinction burst).

Be careful.
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utnapishtim428

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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2018, 05:34:05 PM »

Wow, I thought I knew a lot about BPD with all of my research but this is the first time I've heard of an extinction burst. Very possibly that is what I'm dealing with here. I hope it's not the kind that never ends... .Reading this stuff is so helpful because I'm just sitting here in my hotel room in a shame spiral until I read this stuff or talk to someone in my family that puts it into perspective.

I did speak to my lawyer again today and discussed a restraining order if things get out of hand (I also told HR at my company and they gave me some resources/advice). The lawyer also said that if I want to go that route, I would have to break ALL contact, including email, and send an email stating that I want absolutely zero contact. For now, I have not received any emails so I'm basically at zero contact now anyway and it's definitely helping me from feeling horrible 100% of the time.

Does anyone have an example of an extinction burst they dealt with and how it went as it was resolved?
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2018, 07:59:01 PM »

Do you have children? The reason I ask is that I've known of other cases where BPD wives have used the kids as a "bargaining" chip in divorce court. Then things get really messy, as you can imagine.
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utnapishtim428

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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2018, 09:23:09 PM »

No, we do not have children, thank goodness. That was one of the reasons that I decided to end things. My mother has some sort of personality disorder, I think, but I'm not sure it's BPD because she seems to be more aware of her manipulating behavior. I spent my childhood in a state of trauma so as things got worse for me and my stbxw I couldn't help but think that I didn't want to put children through the same thing I endured.
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DarkSpearTriant
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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2018, 06:51:49 AM »

No, we do not have children, thank goodness. That was one of the reasons that I decided to end things. My mother has some sort of personality disorder, I think, but I'm not sure it's BPD because she seems to be more aware of her manipulating behavior. I spent my childhood in a state of trauma so as things got worse for me and my stbxw I couldn't help but think that I didn't want to put children through the same thing I endured.

Thank god for that. When children are involved, things are 100 times harder.
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utnapishtim428

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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2018, 07:50:44 AM »

Foreverdad and panda39... .or others.

Do any of you have advice about the pros/cons of being no contact vs. email only contact?

I’m debating opening the door to email contact... .but I want to think through if it’s a good idea or not. I’d rather not have to go the route of a restraining order, so maybe if email communications are reasonable, that can be a way to de-escalate? Her last vm she left on my phone was non-threatening and maybe more towards looking for sympathy. All of our actual conversations have turned accusatory and some were threatening.

One thing my L said was that if I do need to go for a RO, I would have to tell my Stbx that I want absolutely no contact first... .

I realize this could be FOG talking... .
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livednlearned
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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2018, 08:34:11 AM »

Hi utnapishtim428,

I'm glad you found the site, and sorry for what brings you here.

You are definitely not alone.   A lot of us have been through what you're dealing with.

Do any of you have advice about the pros/cons of being no contact vs. email only contact?

First, just want to say I admire you for taking care of yourself. I know it had to take a lot of emotional strength to leave, and to create a respite where you can start to heal and get through this next phase, especially the extinction burst.

What are the outcomes you expect to happen if you begin to email her? You are cautious to do so, it sounds like.

Can you tell us a little about what your wife is like? BPD can vary in its intensity. Bill Eddy, author of Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing a BPD/NPD Spouse, describes three different levels of severity:

*generally cooperative, not dangerous
*not cooperative, not dangerous
*not cooperative, dangerous

She is probably desperate right now, and will do anything to address her worst fear (abandonment). Do you feel strong enough to communicate with her by email?

This is probably the most difficult time that you're in, right now. You want to protect yourself as much as possible, and she wants to contact you equally as much.

Would you feel comfortable directing her to communicate with your L? Having a way to communicate with you that involves some work on her part may redirect things away from you, while giving her an outlet for some of those dysregulated emotions.  

Hang in there.  

It will get better.
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utnapishtim428

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« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2018, 01:20:43 PM »

Hi Livednlearned,
Thank you so much for the kind words! It is extremely difficult for me to put myself first so people here reinforcing that is a huge deal to me.

As far as outcomes that I’m looking for, I can start by describing how I arrived at my current plan. So I did a lot of research online and using the book Splitting, that you referred to earlier. Both of those sources seemed to advocate for a NC policy towards the high conflict personality. However, some online sources advocated for a softer approach of saying to the BPD that “we need some time apart” and then, once they realize they don’t really need you and they start to move on with their lives, you can talk about ending a marriage at that point. The whole idea is to de-escalate their high conflict behavior. It seemed to make some sense to me at the time as it would logically reduce the panic.

I went with something in between and decided I would talk to her on the phone but not in person because I’m honestly concerned for her safety. However, as I executed my plan (keep in mind… it’s only been 2 days), the phone calls became hostile and accusatory, she drove around to find out where I went, started asking my friends where they lived etc.  so I blocked her number to not reinforce that behavior.

My stbxw falls somewhere in between the not cooperative/not dangerous and not cooperative/dangerous. She usually will make a lot of threatening statements but then not follow through with them unless she is triggered really hard. On a couple of occasions, I’ve had to restrain her so she wouldn’t engage in self-harm. When we were at a really low point in our relationship, she did hit me a couple of times several years ago but that was not a recurring theme in our relationship. VERY hard to predict what she’ll do, honestly.

To your questions:
1.   Do I feel strong enough to communicate with her by email? When I hear from her, I feel absolutely horrible; she pours on the guilt and blame. I would prefer email to calls and voicemails where she begs me to call her… I know she needs to cope on her own but she is very isolated from friends and family so I’m concerned for her well-being. We also will probably have to discuss the divorce at some point…
2.   Am I comfortable having her talk through my L? I’m concerned that will be a major trigger for her and may encourage her to be more difficult through the divorce process, but I realize I may not have a choice here... .

The outcomes I’m expecting/hoping for:
1.   She will stop being hostile/trying to guilt me or if she is hostile, I’ll have proof.
2.   She will have SOME form of contact with me so she will stop trying to find me in person and stop trying to call me.
3.   If I get a barrage of emails, I can more easily ignore them than I can phone calls.
4.     I can direct her to a therapist.

My concerns are (I understand there are no definite answers here):
1.   Will I be encouraging her behavior and not allowing her to cope on her own?
2.   Will it just be mentally exhausting for me to deal with?
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livednlearned
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« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2018, 05:42:47 PM »

I went with something in between and decided I would talk to her on the phone but not in person because I’m honestly concerned for her safety.

I understand. It can be very alarming to watch desperate BPD behaviors escalate.

If she tries to self-harm and ends up hurting herself, she is more likely to get the kind of help she needs from people trained to help someone with a serious mental illness. As painful as it is to learn, you are probably not able to stop the high-speed train she is on.

I know that does not lighten the load you are carrying emotionally. Close relationships tend to be extremely triggering to someone with BPD, so even though she may want contact with you, she will need to process her feelings with someone relatively neutral and skilled enough to help her come up with better solutions for managing her pain. What you are going for is to prevent making things worse, and there are times when having a solid boundary is the best way to do that.

When I hear from her, I feel absolutely horrible; she pours on the guilt and blame. I would prefer email to calls and voicemails where she begs me to call her… I know she needs to cope on her own but she is very isolated from friends and family so I’m concerned for her well-being.

One way to prevent things from getting worse is to make limits you require very clear. For example, if you feel phone conversations are inevitable, let her know by email how you will handle them. You might tell her that being called names or being threatened is too painful for you, and that when it happens, you will take care of yourself by hanging up. Make sure you can follow through on this, and at the first sign she is crossing your boundary, tell her you are exiting the call or hang up. If you feel that this is manageable, you could also let her know by email that you are willing to try again when she is feeling calmer, and that the same limits apply.

Right now, you really do need to take care of yourself and shore up strength. Do only the things that fill your cup first.

In a BPD divorce, you have to be strong enough for both of you -- she will likely sabotage herself just as much as she does you. Sometimes, we can make things easier for them by taking care of ourselves, even though that seems counter intuitive.

LnL
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« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2018, 10:45:31 AM »

Welcome.  Thank you for talking about the guilt you feel, or will feel for deciding to leave.  I get it.  I think one thing that clouds my thinking is that I reason that if I'm doing the right thing, there would be a lack of negative feelings, more good feelings, and a clear direction.

However, I don't think it's going to work out like that in my case, or anyone's case.

It's good to keep your heart and mind open to the feelings of guilt and doubt, as well as the practical concerns like living arrangements and legal protections.  Nevertheless, keep your eye on your compass - and go where you believe to be the right place.

I am drawn to think of the victims in recent flooding from the fire-scarred parts of California.  In many ways, reasonable people got fair warning that there was an imminent deadly threat due to mudslide risks.  In many places, there were evacuation orders telling people to leave.  And yet, people died in the mudslides.  I won't blame victims, and the loss of life is tragic, but, I wonder, in perspective, if we would value different things if we saw how catastrophic the results of staying and/or not heading the warnings could be.  Certainly some victims must have felt conflict, wanting to stay, and wanting to flee.  

As has been said, self-care is now a vitally important job for you.  There is much at stake and you need to be at your best.
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« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2018, 03:39:29 PM »

On a couple of occasions, I’ve had to restrain her so she wouldn’t engage in self-harm.

That was then, this is now.  Once separation is on the table, you you cannot be seen as restraining or hindering her in any way without exposing yourself to legal risks.  Why?  Some members here have reported that their efforts to stop their spouses from self-harm ended up with allegations of DV.  You see, the resulting bruises could be claimed to be abusive acts.  When one claims abuse and the other claims I was protecting him/her, guess who gets believed more easily in a court?  Yes, the one who postured as a victim.  Do you want to risk trusting a judge to have insight into the relationship dynamic and "read between the lines"?

Sorry, but if she self-harms, ponder whether in the future the better action is to exit and/or call 911 for assistance.  Me?  I recall trying to exit one night and she jumped on my back as I fled out the back door!  Just getting away sometimes is hard.  That's why I started recording myself, to have some way to prove I wasn't the aggressive or abusive one.
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« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2018, 03:42:28 PM »

I found that having a secreted recorder running in my pocket also keeps me on my good behavior.  Unintended consequence for the better.
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« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2018, 03:44:21 PM »

Be sure to learn as much as you can about high conflict divorces. Amazon has some good books on this subject. Unfortunately when divorcing a person with BPD, things can at times be worse than when you were living together as a married couple.
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utnapishtim428

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« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2018, 09:40:55 PM »

I think one thing that clouds my thinking is that I reason that if I'm doing the right thing, there would be a lack of negative feelings, more good feelings, and a clear direction.

YES! I do think that's one of the MAIN reasons this is so hard. Usually, seeing the silver lining is not as difficult for me in various things in life; I can make the tough decisions for the greater good when I need to, but not with this relationship. There really is something to the BPD/Codependent relationship that is uniquely suited to making this type of situation very difficult to leave.

I have read several books on the topic of high conflict divorce in preparation for all of this and it was tremendously helpful. I think I would've made too many mistakes and ended up not following through had I not done that (in fact, I think that's why I didn't complete previous "escape" attempts... .that and I wasn't talking to you lovely people  ). 

Reading those books along with help from my therapist has also steered me clear of restraining her again when she threatened self harm btw. In the weeks/month before I left she made  several threats. I would just tell her I'd have the cops there in a matter of minutes and that was enough to put a stop to the threats of suicide... .though, she did still clench her teeth and tell me she hated me... .   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

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« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2018, 12:07:04 AM »

There really is something to the BPD/Codependent relationship that is uniquely suited to making this type of situation very difficult to leave.

Hi, I am in the middle of divorce of BPD after 12 years of marriage, I can relate to the codependent and guilt. I took care of my husband for so long, that when he started getting mean, I took it for much longer than if it had been say, a friend. I kept holding on and trying to fix him being the good codependent that I am. I had SO MUCH GUILT about finally calling it quits. My therapist said I gave him "way too many chances" and I had to draw the line.

Don't have much to offer except, that, my stbxh is still rollercoaster-ing us (I have young kids), one week so nice and working with me and the next he is off the chain and raging again. He is in severe shock that I finally had enough. I am having to keep my eyes open and mouth shut.

good luck to you.
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utnapishtim428

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Posts: 41


« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2018, 07:36:26 AM »

Thank you for sharing so_overit. I can’t imagine how hard this would be if kids were involved. People here seem to generally have had it so much worse than me and I think my situation is bad enough! It sounds like you did the right thing by leaving too, but as was said earlier in the thread, the right thing isn’t always the nice thing or the easy thing and that makes it difficult to tell if what you’re doing is right or wrong.

I think the only way I will truly know is if I’m happier when all of this is over... .

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so_overit
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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
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« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2018, 09:39:09 AM »

I think the only way I will truly know is if I’m happier when all of this is over... .

My stbx left on 10/31. The month of November there was still a lot of aggression and darkness in the air. It's not all gone, but you can definitely feel the air is lighter.

I am in a better position than a lot of ppl as I have a very good job and can afford to make it on my own. I am extremely grateful for that. It's one of the many things he hated about me, that I kept working thru it all, kept going, have been with same company for 11 years... .and he could not do that. Lots of resentment, but in the end, good for the 3 of us.

I am not necessarily "happier" yet but I live in a home where I'm not wondering when the next daily rage will take place. This is a relief for everyone here, which brings a happiness to our home (alongside our sadness and grief). I also feel proud of myself for showing my girls that you do not have to stay stuck in a bad situation. I have been very honest with them thru it all so they know that it is not THEM but something wrong with dad.

No matter how painful, remember that in the end, you will survive, be stronger, and eventually happier... .time to work on YOU!
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SamwizeGamgee
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Separated
Posts: 904


« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2018, 09:45:41 AM »

Don't minimize your pain and suffering just because it doesn't read like some of the "worse" stories here - and there are some really horrible experiences shared. I'm sorry for those who suffer so much.  However, there is no way to quantify your suffering, and a metric to determine when you should quit.  My uBPDw is a model citizen in public, and 50% of the time at home.  But, what hurts and damages is the maybe 10% that is blame, helplessness, emotional blackmail, manipulation, parental alienation, parentification, and the fear that hides inside me of triggering her (something that I am adept at avoiding).  

And yes, I think that I've reached a point at which outside help and advice has been used to its capacity.  I've got to pull the trigger - and see what happens over the next five years.  I think I heard someone say that a happy life, well lived after divorce is the best revenge.
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Live like you mean it.
ForeverDad
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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: separated 2005 then divorced
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« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2018, 09:56:39 AM »

I noticed a change the first night she was gone.

Many have remarked on the impact of that first night away.  I had an ex who was increasingly acting-out, the rants and raging kept getting worse and worse.  I recall thinking that first night, "Wow, the silence is deafening."  Peace at last!

While I did ask her if she wanted to reconcile, we were waiting in domestic court's public lobby, she just turned her head away.  The fact was that I couldn't have reconciled without proven behavioral improvements.  Over a decade later, I still don't see such improvements.  But my crack-in-the-door question back then, so to speak, allowed me to proceed without misgivings.

I admit I have wished things had turned out differently, but I accepted my reality and have never regretted doing what I had to do.
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