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Author Topic: I'm finally standing up for myself and I'm disgusted with my behavior  (Read 832 times)

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What is your sexual orientation: Gay, lesb
Posts: 20

« on: June 16, 2018, 10:13:50 AM »

I have been in therapy for a few years and have been slowly changing my behavior. The situation with my dBPDw has been rocked a lot in the process but has improved significantly. But things took a turn for the worse a couple of days ago when my adult daughter needed support. In the past, I would have been very torn about whether or not to even go. I would have been afraid to say anything to my wife. I would have tiptoed around, trying to avoid any blow ups. Maybe lie about where I was going. But lately I have been stating what I need and want and, despite some pretty rough patches, it has gone surprisingly well.

So, without much trepidation, I told my wife that I was concerned about my daughter and was going to go see her for an hour or two. Not unexpectedly, she replied "I need you here." I told her I was very concerned about my daughter and needed to be there for her. I said that wasn't fair to put me in a position where I have to choose between her and my daughter. She shouted "F*$# you!" and "don't come back!" I shouted back at her and left. When I returned home, she had gone to bed in the spare bedroom. The next morning she didn't get up and do the usual routine with me. Silent treatment.

Later in the day I emailed her from work and said I didn't like the way she treated me. I was not angry. I just wanted to say it and document for myself that I felt I had been mistreated. She replied that she did not say those things. I told her I didn't want to connect with anyone who lived in a completely different reality than me.

When I arrived home from work she screamed in my face so loudly that it made my ears ring. She raged and raged. She said all kind of terrible things, trying to find the most tender spot to strike. She finally found it when she said that my parents and siblings don't like me because I'm mean, that they left my life because I'm awful (the reality is that they have been shunning me because I'm gay... .or, maybe she's right... .?) and she said that my kids would be the next ones to exit my life. It hurt me to my core. Then she asked if I was still planning to drive her to her workshop she was giving the next day. I couldn't believe it. I said no, of course not! Why would I do something nice for someone who treats me so cruelly?

Overnight, my pain turned to anger. And from anger to rage. I have put up with so much. I have tried so hard to think of her feelings, bite my tongue before saying hurtful things. I have forgiven, and forgiven, and forgiven. So much forgiving over the course of our 8 year relationship. I forgave her for showing up at my job and terrorizing me there. I forgave her for pulling my hair, for taking my phone, keys, bag, throwing my possessions, for jumping on my car to stop me from leaving, for yanking the steering wheel while I was driving 55 mph on the highway. For wrecking all of those family parties. For forbidding me to have people come over to the house. For not allowing me to leave when I had a commitment.

I snapped as she was trying to get ready for her conference presentation this morning, I threw her things. I yelled, I took her bag. I stepped in front of her as she tried to reach for things. I asked her how it felt. I asked if she remembered doing those things to me. I saw the frantic look in her eyes and I thought, "Yes! That's exactly how I felt! She's understanding this now!" It felt fantastic and terrible. It felt evil and good. I felt like I would throw up.  

She was shaking like a leaf when she left. She said she was worried she would get into a wreck. I told her I had felt that way many times because of her. I asked her if she liked it. I felt sick and evil.

That was so, so bad. I am disgusted with myself. Why can't I just end this train wreck of a relationship? Why do I, even now, have this glimmer of hope that things will get better? There is so much pent-up anger in me. No wonder this happened. I'm a time bomb. I'm a thousand ticking time bombs. I'm so, so angry at my wife. I am so, so angry at my ___ty parents. I'm angry that I spent my entire childhood and most of my adulthood trying unsuccessfully to convince people that I am worth loving. Angry at my siblings who have abandoned me. Angry that their cult/church teaches them that I'm the enemy. Angry that they believe it. Angry at society. Angry that I have a mentally ill wife. Angry that I don't know how to make friends. Angry that I haven't done better for myself in this world. Angry that I can't fix any of this.

And as I sit here crying, my sweet cat is trying to console me. Thank God for cats.
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic Partner
Posts: 674

« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2018, 12:41:42 PM »

I cannot speak for you, but I can speak for me.  A couple of times I have pushed back and used the same techniques used on me.   Rather than feel awful, I kept going and pushing buttons I try to avoid.   I watched my SO cycle through an almost mechanical series of emotions from rage to an outburst of tears to pleading.   It looked like an acting exercise.   

It felt good to see something register.  For a moment to have the control.  But I immediately felt ill.  It’s the way I do after every argument, but this felt worse.  Like I’d crossed a line, even though I didn’t yell, didn’t rage, and didn’t do anything physical.  I suddenly wasn’t me.   And it felt good and then it didn’t. 

There is a part of us that tells us we’re doing the right thing.  That part is constantly challenged in these relationships by someone who sees us as all good or all evil.   We have to be on guard constantly.   And when that guard slips, it’s terrible.   When it slips and we feel like we’ve done something that part of us feels isn’t right, we feel even worse.   
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Posts: 109

« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2018, 08:28:55 PM »

Hi Shikai. Please don’t be hard on yourself. Everyone has their limits and you’ve been pushed beyond yours. There really is only so many times you can take that abuse without fighting back.
We train ourselves to be the responsible ‘adult’ in a BPD relationship because we know that we should know better at the times that they don’t. It becomes automatic, that you tell yourself to rise above the rantings and anger of your partner. But that’s a lot to ask from someone and it’s not possible to be a perfect robot every time. You must be very compassionate and patient to have come this far.
Rather than being disgusted at yourself, I would say be proud of yourself for the endless support you’ve shown your wife.
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Posts: 5417

« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2018, 10:22:51 AM »

Well you've crossed the Rubicon now. You've reflected her behavior back to her, and in doing so, it has come at a great personal cost to you. You may be sorting out all sorts of uncomfortable feelings, but think about it from another perspective.

You honored yourself and your own needs, instead of being steamrolled by others, which seems like it's been a lifelong pattern for you, beginning in your family of origin.

Now, you're not exactly pleased with how you stood up to her, but it's a start, so give yourself credit for trying a new behavioral strategy. It's just after a lifetime of being a people pleaser and wanting to comply with others' desires, you finally had had enough. So let's look at how you can stand up for yourself in the future without leaving a toxic residue in your heart.

Being true to your values and doing exactly what you need and want to do--this is the stuff of which boundaries consists of.

For example, you want to support your daughter. So, having boundaries, you tell your wife that this is what you're going to do without JADEing (Justifying, Arguing, Defending, Explaining). You go and visit your daughter and let your wife deal with her issues about that.

I know it's easier said than done. I too, am a recovering people pleaser, aka codependent. And I always wanted everyone to feel OK with my behavior, decisions, choices. Finally, I had my own "Rubicon" experiences and now, I honor my own values and choices and if someone has a problem with that, well, it tells me that: a. maybe this person is not my friend  b. they will have to get over it, or not  c. they're trying to manipulate me  d. I'm OK with them being angry, disappointed, whatever.

It's a tremendous freedom to not be constantly trying to please people. It really doesn't work well for the long run anyway.  Being cool (click to insert in post)


“The Four Agreements  1. Be impeccable with your word.  2. Don’t take anything personally.  3. Don’t make assumptions.  4. Always do your best. ”     ― Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
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Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Living apart
Posts: 94

« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2018, 06:26:33 AM »

My guess is for many years you have been told that your anger is wrong, even when you knew your anger was wholesome, justified and healthy. The inevitable consequence of being told you're wrong for truly letting rip is guilt.

You unleashed the beast... .tame the beast, stroke it like your cat and get to know it. Sit with the guilt, don't let it lead you to re-caging your new found beast friend... .let it guard you, feed it when it shows it's teeth at people who defile your values. Don't let anyone tell you your beast needs putting down because it bit a few people who were trying to break into your house... .they're likely the same people who were bitten for breaking into your house.

You have the ability of self-reflection, this is enough to self-regulate your beast.

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Posts: 2

« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2018, 07:18:12 AM »

I feel compelled to respond to your post as I have spent many hours on here as a bystander on the bleachers and never taken the plunge to contribute. Thank you for that.

I have been in your shoes many times. Standing up for yourself, although liberating in the moment has inherent repercussions on our fragile mind. This is because we are caretakers of the BPDSO in our lives. We feel empathy and compassion, where they do not. We fill this gap for them, always editing our behaviors and interactions with them as not to rock their vision of reality. We live outside of this distorted reality, never giving up hope that one day they will wake from these delusions and distortions and maybe, just maybe be the person who initially drew us into their emotional orbit.

Being a caretaker of someone who has BPD, diagnosed or un-diagnosed is an emotionally taxing rollercoaster we never get off of. Someday's we enjoy the thrill of the ride, others we tire of the relentless effort we put in in trying to keep a status quo we can co-exist with them.

Please understand your role in your relationship as the caretaker of this person. Inherently this may be why you are with them. People with BPD seem to seek us out, those that will put up with, take and absorb the endless cycle of their deluded reality and outlandish behaviors. We must look within ourselves and come to terms with why we seek and engage with such people. It truly is in the plainest of forms, a symbiotic relationship, no matter how abnormal it appears to those on the outside world who are involved in a "normal" relationship.

That sick feeling you have when you reflect or "act out" their behaviors to try and illustrate what you put up with from them on a daily basis is the guilt and compassion you feel for their sickness and your desire to "fix" them. Unfortunately you never will, because in my opinion they cannot be fixed. The book "Walking on egg shells" describes this emotional tight rope we walk in not trying to upset the apple cart. It is a daily exercise we do in our interactions and as humans we tire sometimes at the task. This is to be expected.

It has been my experience (over 17 years with my BPDW) that you will never change them. You may tune yourself to different behaviors that will not provoke them to act out, but you will never truly experience a normal "two way" balanced relationship. That is simply not possible, no matter how hard you try.

I wish you luck and hope you attain inner peace. This will help you continue on your path. Think of this each time your partner starts to rage: "If she were pointing a gun at you... .would you escalate or engage the situation? How would you handle it, knowing she could pull the trigger at anytime?"

Peace be with you!
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Posts: 6751

« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2018, 07:34:22 AM »

I'd think we can diminish our enabling/emotional caretaking behavior. It takes a lot of personal work, and the pwBPD may not like it, but if we make this choice, we can work to achieve improvement in our own behavior.

You were human and got pushed to your limits. I think some of us don't have the skills to appropriately stand up for ourselves- and this is why we either go to one extreme ( caretaking, enabling) or the other ( finally blowing up).  If we could learn to diminish our tendencies to enable/caretake- we could aim for middle ground. Sometimes we are agreeable to a request, sometimes not, but saying "yes" when we mean "no" we eventually become resentful.

For the analogy to someone pointing a gun at us. Consider that the "bullets" our our own fears. If we could manage them better, then these bullets become more like little stings, and then Nerf balls. Annoying, but not as much of a threat emotionally.

So you blew up. Yes, it feels good in the moment, but bad afterwards, but - you do have the desire to stand up for yourself. The tools on this board will help you learn ways to do that. With any change, there can be an extinction burst. The behaviors both of you have - have been working for you for a while. If raging works for her and it doesn't work as well, she may rage more. It can get worse before getting better, but you can learn to make these changes.

I think for many of us, the tendency to enable is probably part of our personalities. But we can learn to recognize it and then make choices. Sometimes we will fall back on this pattern, but I do think we can learn to recognize it and work on diminishing our enabling behavior.
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Posts: 305

« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2018, 08:08:20 AM »

OP I think on another thread somebody said - they play the game better than you ever can. It's true - they have inexhaustible energy.

My greatest regrets are retaliation - whether physical or verbal. My spirit goes into really dark places when I think about these times I have lost control - what I said - what I did. When she goes into a verbal tirade against me - it's all exaggerated and designed to hurt. But when I let go - what I say is all the truth - it hurts her and is a very difficult thing to undo/repair. We have a saying - least said soonest mended. It really is better to keep it inside - it costs far more to externalise it to a pwBPD and bear in mind you are dealing with a person with a personality disorder - an illness. So we have to be adults while they take the role of children.

I need to re-read my post and stick to my principles as I have let myself down too many times.
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Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 1796

« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2018, 09:21:34 AM »

The thing is, whilst it might have got out of your system and shocked her, im not sure about it having a long term effect towards changing anything - a pyrric victory, where this event will be just stockpiled as ammunition for retaliation.

I agree entirely with MrRight, the few times that I did respond back, it caused her to be taken aback and it immediately altered her behaviour towards becoming civil, but it was a transient form of success. It just caused a grudge to harbor and an opportunity to raise the ante at a later date.
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Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 17145

« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2018, 09:48:33 AM »

First of all... .be kind to yourself.  You fell short of what you wanted to do... and are disappointed in yourself.  Completely natural. 

It's good to be "hard on yourself", yet I would encourage you to consider if you are "beating yourself up"... .which is too far.

So... .I'll circle back to "be kind to yourself"

Then... .hopefully you can reflect on this conflict and "turning points" where you decided to "go down a path" that you likely shouldn't have gone down.

Can you read your post again and point out areas where you could have fundamentally had  different "kind" of response.

Hint:  Look for places where you tried to "justify" yourself... .and if you find such places... .knowing what you know about BPDish stuff... .what would likely have been a better response.


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