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Author Topic: exBPD fiance diagnosed a month ago and wants another chance--I don't know  (Read 317 times)
WindofChange
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« on: August 27, 2018, 10:54:06 AM »

I had a six year relationship with my now-ex fiancé with BPD, lived with him for nearly two years, engaged for just over a year. During the last year, things became really bad. He was angry about something I had done the first year we were together, and was dealing with a job loss and other personal loss, and he alternated between rages and ST, sometimes shutting himself in the bedroom for 8 hours at a time on the weekends, leaving me bewildered and hurt. There were a couple episodes of head banging and punching things (though he never physically hurt me in any way). He lied to me about going to work, along with several other things, which convinced me he was involved with another woman (though he swears that isn't the case). I had to cover the bills during the time he was unemployed, which led to some resentment on my part. All during this time, I did a lot of WOEand JADEing. I was in such a state of anxiety I kept making mistakes at work and my job was in jeopardy for a while. I think I was close to a breakdown for a while.

After our separation a few months ago, we were still seeing each other and initially things seemed better, but he lost his job in May, and spiraled down. He kept accusing me of going out with other men whenever he couldn't immediately reach me on the phone. Finally, he messaged me one weekend and said he had taken a bunch of pills. I called 911, but before that I had to contact his best friend and ex-wife trying to get the exact address of his apartment complex to direct the emergency personnel. He was taken to the hospital, treated, and released at the end of the day, at which point his friend took him home. He was angry with me for contacting his ex-wife because he said she wouldn't let him see his daughter because of the incident. At that point, I couldn't take it and told him not to contact me anymore.

A few weeks later, he messaged me saying his ex-wife got the police report and was going to use it to take away his rights to his daughter. He told me he hated me and wished he'd never met me. I told him I would not feel guilty for trying to save his life and that I couldn't control his reactions. I told him I hoped he'd continue therapy and get better, but that I was going to block his number, which I did.

Later he emailed me and apologized for what he said and told me he didn't mean it and that he still loved me. Things ended on that note. A few weeks later, he contacted me to tell me his therapist had diagnosed him officially with BPD (no surprise to me--I had told him a year before I thought that was the case).
In the meantime, a month after this, I decided I needed to move on with my life and started casually dating someone. Another month passed, and then my ex contacted me asking if we should tell each other if we started dating. I told him I was seeing someone, which prompted him to tell me he didn't want to move on, he missed me, and wanted to try to work things out.

I met with him, had an emotional reunion, and we decided to see each other occasionally and see how things go.

So here's another part of the issue. My mother hates him, and my young adult sons don't like him either (I'm 50). My friends don't really like him, either. They saw how unhappy I was and my sons told me they didn't like how he talked to me when they were around. I am willing to give it a chance as long as I see that he is actively working on getting better, but no one else thinks I should. I haven't talked to my son about the fact that I've seen him recently, though I did tell them he was officially diagnosed with BPD and had started treatment.

So, is there any chance this can work? Especially when I have family members who don't like him? I want it to work, but I don't want to alienate my family--especially my sons. I just don't know where to go from here. Any suggestions?
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WindofChange
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2018, 10:55:46 AM »

I should add that I've been in counseling for over a year dealing with my own depression, anxiety, and (recently) codependent and self esteem issues. I'm continuing with that, but even my therapist has expressed her concern over my getting back into this relationship.
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WindofChange
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2018, 01:35:33 PM »

It sounds like you're asking two questions.

One is if you can be in a relationship with someone your family hates.

The other is if you can be in this relationship.

It can be very challenging to love someone your family does not approve of, although in your case it sounds like their protest behaviors are based on wanting to protect you and keep you safe.

What does it mean to you that he is actively working on getting better?

Can you set limits for yourself when it comes to him?

Not being willing to tell your son that you've been seeing him again suggests that setting limits is a challenge. Maybe we can help you work out how to do that so that your family isn't so worried.

 
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WindofChange
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2018, 03:00:51 PM »

Hi, Livdnlearned. Thanks for your response. Yes, I guess I am asking that, in a way. If it were up to me, and I had full support of family and friends(or at least a neutral response, not active opposition), I would cautiously move forward with seeing him a few times a month, and talking more. When he and I separated, I moved in with my mother to save money toward buying a house. She is a very domineering person who believes in one chance and done, basically. She is loving and affectionate to the family, but when she gets angry, look out! I grew up in fear of her. So now, living with her as an adult,  knowing she will give me hell for continuing to see my ex makes me very anxious, as I know it would make my living situation pretty tense. I told her I'd met with my ex, and she was very upset, asking why I would do such a thing. Why wouldn't I just write him off and move on? He hurt me, he lied to me, so he's out. She doesn't understand why I would even talk to him, let alone consider giving him another chance. It's really difficult. I do realize she is protective of me and doesn't want to see me get hurt again or taken advantage of.
As for my two sons (sorry, typo on earlier post), I think they would be more open to giving my ex a chance, as long as they saw that he was treating me better and knew he was actively working on his issues.

It means the world to me that he's actively working on getting better. We had a few conversations where I was very anxious about what I had to say to him, and he has responded in a very calm (radically different) manner to me. Even things about the man I dated, which before would have caused him to be jealous and accusing. He said the first thing he and his T are working on is how to modify his reactions to things, not to be hateful or fly into a rage.

I have (obviously) had issues with boundaries in the past. I'm working on that with my T as well. It's been a lifelong pattern that I've only really started to see in recent years. The codependence thing I only realized a few months ago. That was hard to accept, but necessary if I want to work on overcoming it.

The biggest obstacles for me are:
1. Concerns that he could still lie to me in the future or start up with the rages again, and 2. Fear of alienating my mother (yes I know this sounds ridiculous from a 50 year old woman). My boys would still come to see me and want a relationship with me, and in time would accept him again, I think. I honestly don't know how my mother would react. She seems to think I'm an idiot for not blocking him from my email so that he would have been completely unable to contact me. It's tough. She has no forgiveness in her. I really don't know how to deal with that. I know it's something I need to talk with my T about as well.

I don't want to be blind to his faults and be too willing to overlook his issues and be played for a fool, obviously. But that's what my friends and mother will think if I go forward with him.
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WindofChange
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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2018, 10:13:25 AM »

You're really getting it from all sides, WindofChange  Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post)

It takes a lot of strength to not be emotionally injured in a BPD relationship. That's a statement made by someone with BPD, in a support group for people with BPD. So while this relationship feels like it's about other people, it's really about you. It's about what it means to be emotionally resilient, and strong.

You recognize (and accept) issues with boundaries and codependence. That's a huge first step. In this work, sometimes it better to focus on the immediate step and save the rest for later.

Tiny little changes can help you test your progress, to see if you are indeed building strength.

One is that you retire the urge to put yourself down. Are you ridiculous for worrying about alienating your mother? Her thinking sounds black and white, her opinions are stated in a forceful manner, and she is not shy about sharing them, even if they hurt, and she doesn't forgive. You sound very astute to me, not ridiculous.

It also sounds like she hasn't given you reasons to trust telling her who you are dating. What are your thoughts about that?

About your ex, it's a good sign that he is owning his diagnosis and has the strength and courage to apologize to you. I hope you can connect how calling 911 and getting him help, as hard as that must've been, and as punitive and blaming as he was after, he now has some insight into himself and is trying to make changes. Your instincts were good, and you had the strength to follow through, and there is positive growth because of those actions. That's a good lesson to build from if you struggle with codependent tendencies and setting difficult boundaries.

It's probably hard to hear this, but there's a good chance he will lie to you. And he will probably rage again at some point. That's fair to say, no? He has a lifetime struggling with these behaviors and is not going to transform overnight. He is learning skills, and these take a lot of time, effort, and practice to make second nature.

The key is how you handle these things when they happen. This time around, you may have new strategies that you discuss with him advance. Have you let him know that these are concerns for you?
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2018, 02:29:20 PM »

Hi WindofChange,

It's been a while since you posted.  Thinking of you and hoping you are doing well.  Well or not, the community is here for you as you follow your path.  How are things going since your last update?

Love and light x
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2018, 05:43:27 AM »

Hi HarleyQuinn,

I'm doing pretty well. I' m trying to get into an online master's program and am waiting to see if I'm accepted. Work is very busy, as we have someone out for two months due to illness, so often in the evenings, I'm a little wiped out and don't touch the computer (unless it's to watch Netflix). I am still working out, though not quite as much. No drinking, which I feel good about. Attending church more regularly and trying to get plugged in there.
I am seeing my ex some, and he is truly trying to change. He is in regular therapy every week which is good. He is still unemployed, which is not so good, but is getting unemployment so he can at least pay his rent.
I'm still seeing my own counselor, and although she doesn't quite come right out and say it, she has expressed reservations about us being together. She said she feels in the long run it would be damaging to my health and well being. She also says that because we both have some emotional instability issues, we probably should each be with someone more emotionally stable. Probably a good idea, really. I am glad that this time I feel more emotionally detached from him. I enjoy the time with him, but I step back and call him out (calmly) if he starts to say manipulative things or makes innuendos about me seeing someone else (I'm not).
All of that being said, I don't see this as working in the long term. As I've said before, my family doesn't really like him, and my mom is definitely not willing to give him a second chance. I just don't think it's worth it to endure the conflict in order to be with him. But ending things (again) is something that is hard to think about. I do still care deeply for him, but it isn't the intense, desperate sort of love that it was. That obviously wasn't healthy. And I know I want an equal partner long term, one who supports Me when I'm down, rather than me always propping them up. I want mutual give and take. I keep waiting for a time when he seems to be in a better place in his life to gently step away. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that time is going to come very soon. Thanks for checking in with me.  
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« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2018, 10:30:43 PM »

Have things in your relationship with him changed since August?  How much are you seeing him now, and how are things going?

RC
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WindofChange
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« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2018, 05:43:02 AM »

We see each other about twice a week. He keeps asking me to spend the night, which I haven't done. He hates being alone and wants me to keep him company at night, because he has trouble sleeping. He is starting trauma work with his counselor and is having a difficult time with it. While I feel for him and hate that he's struggling, I can't let myself get sucked back in like I was before. I just can't. It consumed me, HE consumed me and I won't let that happen again. He made a crack yesterday that he told his therapist he feels he cares for me much more than I care for him because I won't spend the night with him when he's sad. That really set me off, and I told him so. All I went through over the past six years with him, his rages, his episodes of when he used to take Ativan and then go driving off into the night, or threaten suicide, his depressions and lashing out at me. I stayed through all of that and tried my hardest to help him and support him. Now that I'm setting boundaries and holding on to my sense of self and my own space, he has the nerve to say this. That didn't go well, but I will not give in to that. Typical manipulation. At least I can recognize it and call him on it. I won't tolerate it anymore.
He has to have some surgery very soon. Once it's over and he recovers, I feel that's a good time to end things (as if there's ever really a good time). What do you think?
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« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2018, 01:45:52 PM »

It sounds like you've come a long way in your healing and growth, particularly when it comes to setting boundaries.  As for when to end it, you've talked about when it might be easier on him to end it (after surgery) but not about your needs and emotions around ending the relationship.  You've got quite a bond with him.  It sounds like you've developed boundaries and distance, but the finality of ending a relationship can lead to some yo-yoing as the other person makes a big pitch to keep it, we feel guilty, etc.

What I'm saying is to think carefully through your own side of things.  What does your support system look like?  Do you have emotionally mature friends who you can spend time with?  Are there joyful activities you can throw yourself into during the transition, like hobbies, church groups, etc?  How would you feel about tapering down your contact with him, for example, from twice a week to once a week?  One way to have less contact with someone is to get engaged in many other activities that simply make it harder to schedule time with them.  If you focus on your needs, how might things go?

RC
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WindofChange
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« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2018, 05:42:30 PM »

Radcliff, thanks for your response. I don't know about my needs. If I'm being completely honest, I'll tell you that sometimes I just want someone to care about my needs, even to be there to take care of me and lift me up when I need it. I have some friends who have been supportive of me in the past--although they strongly dislike him and tell me so. I am attending a church regularly but don't have any close friends there yet. I work out regularly and start classes soon, so there is that... .
Of course, one problem is, after everything, it's so hard to let go. I still hold onto this hope that now that he's in regular counseling, every week, that he will get better and be able to heal his wounds and be the man I always wanted him to be. He had his surgery and is recovering... .but, again, I'm the one supporting (emotionally, not financially) and encouraging him, being his cheerleader... .but when I'm down (like tonight) he can't help me. I know he can't because he's so depressed himself... .but damn, I'm so very tired of that. He had a relapse a few days ago and slid back into his old habits... .and I'm so tired of that, too.
I read this book that said that when in a situation like this, we hold out this hope that if we only love enough, hope enough, encourage enough, pray enough... .that if we only do all of those things, the person will change and things will be different. We do that to protect ourselves from the bitter disappointment of reality. It seems so simple and obvious after reading it, but that is totally what I have done for so long. I have thought if I only tried hard enough, prayed enough, loved him enough, that he would change. And of course I tried (and still sometimes try) to be his counselor and life coach. Stupid. But it's like I can't stop doing it. My calling is to help people (going to school for a counseling degree), and it's hard not to try to help someone I have loved so much for so long. It's hard to let go of that hope, I guess.
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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2018, 03:39:08 PM »

Yes, it is very, very hard to let go of that hope.  For those of us who are caretakers, identifying our own needs and making decisions in order to get them met can feel unfamiliar and selfish.  It's much easier to worry about the other person!  It sounds like you've done a bit of thinking about what at least one of your needs is -- to feel supported by your partner.

We are not going to tell you what to decide about the relationship, but I will advise against continuing with the status quo out of fear of change.  We can let years go by doing that (I have). You could do any number of things in either direction -- try new strategies for getting closer, have an honest conversation with him during a calm time about your needs, see him less or otherwise establish more distance, etc.  What possibilities do you see for a change in your approach?

RC
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« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2018, 05:48:22 AM »

As far as a change in my approach, I think a conversation about what I would need in this relationship for it to continue does need to happen. I have brought up things to him before, short statements about the fact that I need an equal partner, etc. He always says he's trying to do better, and I do feel he's working hard in therapy. But he still isn't working. He's recovering from his surgery, which I understand, to a point. But it wasn't a major surgery, and while I know he still has some pain, there should be nothing stopping him from looking for employment again IMO. I asked him not long ago if he felt unable to work. He said he didn't know (which is usually his answer when he doesn't want to discuss something). I know a first shift position might cause issues with him getting to his weekly therapy appointments. But a second or third shift position wouldn't work because it would interfere with him being able to have his child for half the time like he does now. While I try very hard to be understanding about all of this, there are times when I feel very frustrated because it seems like he's making excuses. His unemployment will run out in a few months. What will he do then?
We have talked a little about him being on disability for his issues. If he decides that's what he has to do, if he feels there is no job that he can do because his cPTSD and BPD are too debilitating, I have to respect that. But at that point, I would not stay. He's on social media or gaming all day long (or sleeping, due to depression and sleep issues at night). If he can do that surely he can hold down some kind of low stress, albeit low-paying, job. Is that wrong of me to say? I get that he had to hit bottom to realize he needs to face his issues and work on healing. And I'm very glad he has a therapist he can see weekly for no cost.   I don't know what it was like for him to go through the awful childhood trauma he did. He is trying, and it is difficult and painful for him.
All of that being said, I just don't think I personally can stay in a relationship with someone who won't, or can't, work. I'm 50 years old. I'm trying to make a career change myself, and going back to school. I can't keep propping up someone else while I work on myself. That sounds very harsh, doesn't it? It's how I feel and I have to acknowledge it, good or bad.
My therapist told me she feels there is someone for everyone. She said maybe he and I just aren't the ones for each other. Maybe there is someone else out there for him who makes a really good living, and who can be endlessly supportive (or who can set firm boundaries while encouraging him in his own growth and healing). Maybe there's someone out there who would be a better fit for me as well.
Sorry for this long rambling reply, just thinking through things as I type. Thanks for your response. Right now my feeling is to get through Christmas and then evaluate the next steps.
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