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Author Topic: Partner has immediate and uncontrollable frustration and rage  (Read 151 times)
123abc

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« on: January 09, 2019, 11:16:13 PM »

I read something a while ago about how you only get what you allow.

My partner gets set off over the smallest things. The slightest inconvenience sets him off on a major freakout.

Here are three things that happened in the past 5 hours:

1. A coffee mug he really likes was found broken in his car. He fumed and sulked for around 30 minutes.

2. Hours later he attempted to hot glue it together, got frustrated within seconds began throwing his hands up and down, glue going everywhere, and yelling obscenities. He then sulked for another 30 minutes.

3. There is an ad that won’t go away on his phone. More swearing, then he screws up his face and starts smacking the phone and pacing between the kitchen and the backyard. 

Now that the ad is gone, he has found something else to complain about since he is still angry even though the problem is solved. He’s tearing at his hair, rocking back and forth and throwing his hands in the air because they changed the settings on a music app on his phone.

His explosive behavior puts me in a bad mood, therefor I am constantly in a bad mood with him.  My house feels negative and volatile every day. Whether he is telling himself what an effing piece of effing s he is and punching himself in his face from the frustration of a video game that he for some reason refuses to stop playing regardless,or something as simple as biting into a food that is too hot (he got up and left the dinner table and did not return because he burned his mouth), everything is a dramatic crisis.

If I am in a bad mood because of his negativity, then I am being cold and mean to him. He does not understand how my moods cannot shift as quickly as his. I can’t watch him rip chunks of his hair out because he didn’t want to feed the cats and then 2 minutes later want to have sex with him.

How do I get him to stop having temper tantrums while also not trying to fix his problems or coddle him? I do not want to be an enabler and I do not want to put up with childish behavior.

What’s the best way to respond to a person with BPD when they are raging over inconsequential things? What should I do when he shuts himself in his room and I hear the disgusting thud...thud...thud...thud...thud...thud sound of him punching himself in the face or thigh rhythmically every 3 seconds for an hour?

Should I just pretend he is not doing it? If I ignore his negative behavior am I enabling it or making it okay since he is not suffering consequences?

If I am being honest, after two years of this, his self-harming elicits no sympathy from me anymore. It simply disgusts me. I feel physically revolted by it.

His abnormal outbursts and weird, dramatic behavior used to elicit much coddling and babying from me. Now it makes me feel like I am watching a 2 year old pitch a fit because he didn’t want to go to bed. I see it as pathetic and childish.

I do not want to feel this way about my partner, who has many good qualities. But I also do not want to be at the mercy of his rollercoaster emotions, and I do not want to enable his behavior.

Please help me. What’s the appropriate response from me when these issues arise? How can I distance myself from his behavior so that it doesn’t affect me without also distancing myself from HIM?

Thanks in advance.
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WitzEndWife
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2019, 01:19:34 PM »

I totally understand the frustration with dealing with someone who expects your moods to flip as quickly as theirs do. My husband also flies into rages, breaks things, self harms, and then expects me to be loving and/or want to have sex after he just acted like a maniac.

If we think of our BPD partners as using their rage like a child would, I think it's easier to be compassionate and handle our own emotions around it. We expect them to behave as we would, as adults, and we expect the ability to process emotions like adults. Without proper treatment, like DBT, they are unable to develop the skills to cope with their emotions like we do. Therefore, fear, anxiety, frustration, anger, sadness, all get bundled together as explosive rage.

Of course, we can't control the way they react to situations. All we can do is mitigate our emotions and reactions. I find my H is more dramatic when I'm around. Like a toddler, they need an audience for their performance. Ever see a toddler throwing a tantrum, and then the adult leaves the room, and they stop, or even chase the adult into the other room, tantruming? Our loved ones often react like this to get attention.

So, what do we do? Completely ignoring them can cause escalation, but playing into the behavior enables it. Validate, but detach with love. Don't be afraid to speak your truth in how the behavior is making you feel. Something like, "It really troubles me to see you this upset, but I can't watch you hurt yourself. I'll be back later," and take off and go for a walk, or go run an errand. Or just remove yourself and go into another room and close the door. You do NOT have to sit around and witness your partner throwing a tantrum. Remember, you can't control what they do, but you can control what you do.

I find that if I ignore the tantrums, they often end quickly. H might try harder to get my attention at first, but usually backs off once he realizes that I'm not going to play into the rage. Without fuel, the fire burns out.
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Vincenta

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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2019, 01:48:55 PM »

Hi 123abc,

sorry to hear about your troubles.... Virtual hug (click to insert in post)
I can relate with your troubles very well, as my pwBPD has often very similar tantrums.

WEW already gave very good advice in her post , I just would like to add that you should also take very good care of your own wellbeing, it would help both you and your relationship.
How does your own support network look like? Do you have a T? Hobbies? Friends?

In addition, is there anything relaxing & ' neutral'  you could every now and then do together with your partner?
Do you share similar interests, like e.g. going to concerts/gigs, swimming, exhibitions, hikes....anything you both enjoy, and could take also away some tension?   
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Cat Familiar
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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2019, 12:25:13 AM »

WitsEndWife  and  Vincenta have given some great advice.

It’s exhausting having to deal with these insignificant issues as though they’re the end of the world. Best that you save your energy to deal with more important stuff and detach yourself from his unimportant problems.

You can say things like “I trust that you’ve got this,” if asked for a response. And like others have said, if you don’t pay attention to the tantrum, it’s likely to end sooner.

It’s really unpleasant, but his tantrums are not something that you can control, however you can control your response to them.

My husband used to hit himself in the head and say to me, “You hate me. You like when I do this.” It was one of the most bizarre scenes I’d ever experienced and I felt completely at my wit’s end, not knowing how on earth to respond to such craziness.

Thankfully he no longer does this and partly that’s because I refused to participate in this drama and said something like “I’m really sad that you feel the need to hurt yourself but I don’t want to be a witness to that.”

And the other part is that I’ve tried to improve our relationship by validating him and no longer inadvertently being invalidating. I didn’t realize that my joking, my criticisms, my complaints, my poking fun—all things that a Non could take in a good humored way, were seen by my BPD husband as attacks. So I became more mindful and eliminated any communication that could be interpreted by him as “being unfriendly”, which was a lot of what came out of my mouth.

I have a thick skin and I can enjoy verbal sparring. Him, not so much.

Anyway, improving the rapport between us went a long way toward eliminating the weird acting out.
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123abc

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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2019, 09:15:50 PM »

Thank you to everybody who responded. It feels like this behavior has become nearly constant, as if the person I met has been swallowed by this negative behavior.

It’s very comforting (but also sad) to know that others understand where I am coming from.

This was great advice. Thank you again.
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AskingWhy
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2019, 01:03:08 AM »


If we think of our BPD partners as using their rage like a child would, I think it's easier to be compassionate and handle our own emotions around it. We expect them to behave as we would, as adults, and we expect the ability to process emotions like adults. Without proper treatment, like DBT, they are unable to develop the skills to cope with their emotions like we do. Therefore, fear, anxiety, frustration, anger, sadness, all get bundled together as explosive rage.


I know well the experience of a man who sulks and pouts.  It's really disgusting to watch for me.

The above is great advice from WEW.  I agree that pwBPD are emotional toddlers.  They have only two emotions:  rage and contentment.  Toddlers also blow hot and cold.  One minute they are throwing toys because they did not get a cookie or a toy (and blackmail the parents with tantrums), and the next moment they are happy and excited to watch a DVD of a favourite story.

With my uBPD H (who has NPD aspects) I also don't dignify his rages and accusations with my attention.

We bought a new dining room set last week, which sat in boxes in the garage.  H raged at me for something I don't even recall, then he gave me a veiled divorce threat in the form of, "I am sending back that dining room set!!"

My calm reply was, "Whatever.  Do what you need to do." And then I left the room.

Without an audience to witness the drama, there is no play.  By failing to be an audience to the tantrums and threats, I find my H calms down as he knows I will no longer cry and beg (as I once did), rage back (as I once did), or capitulate to his demands.

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