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Family Court Strategies: When Your Partner Has BPD OR NPD Traits. Practicing lawyer, Senior Family Mediator, and former Licensed Clinical Social Worker with twelve years’ experience and an expert on navigating the Family Court process.
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Author Topic: Causing her to have a fit this AM  (Read 559 times)
Cole
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« on: April 02, 2019, 06:15:15 AM »

W started on it for the second morning in a row. She is demanding that I go tell my mother W is back and it is her house, profess my love for W, etc., and that I am to report back to her what my mother says in reply.

This high school crap is nothing new. December 2017 she wrote out a script for me to deliver to my brother and sister-in-law complete with instructions that I was to record what they said, their body language, etc.and report back to her. Of course I didn't. I just told her I would consider it or already did it, knowing that a week later she would forget about it or be on something new.

But yesterday morning I took a different approach. I told her I am done being emotionally bullied to go do her bidding. If she wants to tell my mother something, she knows the number.

As one can imagine, she did not take this well. She tried everything: saying I don't love her, threatening to leave again, accusing me of being afraid of my mother, name calling, saying I only want her for sex, etc. She, like most pwBPD, has quite a big bag of tricks and she pulled out all she had. But I held my ground and told her that if she cannot deal with my boundaries around her trying to bully me into doing her bidding she is free to move back out. Two hours later she was texting me from work as if everything was fine and she was quite pleasant last evening.

This morning she tried the exact same thing. And I held the exact same boundary that I will not be emotionally bullied into doing her bidding. Boundaries are not something that can be held part or most of the time.

They will test. They will throw tantrums. But they will slowly change their behavior as long as you power through the extinction burst and hold your boundaries 100%.



« Last Edit: April 02, 2019, 06:25:25 AM by Cole » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2019, 06:50:36 AM »



Cole,

I'm interested in how long the "discussion" took about not being emotionally bullied.


I see two sides of this. 

1.  Holding the boundary/explaining the boundary...very good.  Especially for first time.  And of course consistency when she wants to test it again.

the other side

2.  At some point...I would imagine that your holding the boundary AND engaging her in debate might fuel her to keep testing it.  Basically that she may start using that as a dysfunctional tool to keep you engaged/talking to her/proving you care...etc etc. 

I have to say...asking you to record it is over the top.  Has she done this type of thing before (notes on body language and all that).

Last for now:  Part of "dealing with pwBPD" involves staying in the lead and keeping them off balance/knowing their dysfunction won't work.

I'm wondering if next time she brings it up...you call your Mom..put her on speaker phone and set up a time for Mom (and others) to come over so both of you can update (fill in the blank..Mom/sisters...etc etc) on status of your relationship. 

Two things:  It keeps her off balance and it reinforces the notion of you two as "together" and "doing things together". 

FF
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Perdita
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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2019, 07:03:06 AM »

Last for now:  Part of "dealing with pwBPD" involves staying in the lead and keeping them off balance/knowing their dysfunction won't work.
Formflier,

How does one do this though?  I've tried but find it almost impossible.  Sometimes it works but usually it doesn't.  I struggle to keep up.
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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2019, 07:28:19 AM »

I'm a military guy...so I (no duh)...put my relationship in many of those terms.

OODA loop.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_loop

Instead of waiting for them to act..pick something and act before hand.  Get them to react to you..vice you reacting to them.

This is something that "generally" works for me...a goal..vice a tool that works every time.

Perdita

If you want to start a new thread with a couple of ideas or things you want to do...perhaps we can figure out a way for you to grab the initiative.

FF
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Perdita
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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2019, 08:39:12 AM »

Thanks, FormFlier.
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« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2019, 09:36:59 AM »


Cole,

I'm interested in how long the "discussion" took about not being emotionally bullied.

Me too. I used to stand around for an indefinite time and engage in these sorts of "conversations".  But now when I see it begin to take a "turn" I quickly exit and go do something else.
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« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2019, 09:58:19 AM »


I did this very thing this morning.

What started as a simple discussion/question about where some burgers were in the fridge turned into a wacky discussion (attempt on her part) about me not having a job..not caring..(and a good 1-2 minutes of content that I have no idea what she said..because I made sure I wasn't where I could hear.

She had been berating me from the other room (or attempting to)...then she figured out I could hear..chased me down and accused me of making sure I could hear her.

I agree 100% with her that I made sure I couldn't hear her when she spoke in such a manner...and I would be available to talk..kindly...later.

Honestly I shouldn't have "accused" her of bad speech...but I was still waking up and frankly didn't care much...I didn't want to listen.  So..perhaps I get a C+ or B for how I handled it.

Much better to just state my value and let her connect the dots.

"I'm not able to have a conversation with accusations between us " (or some such thing)...  It makes my point without doing the "you are doing this" accusation.

FF

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Cole
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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2019, 11:22:27 AM »

The question posed by several above is, "How long was the conversation?"

Yesterday it took all of 5 minutes followed by probably 15-20 minutes of her throwing a tantrum over me holding fast to my boundary. She left for work in a huff but by lunch she acted as if everything was fine.

Today it took all of 5 minutes followed by only a few minutes of her tantrum over not getting her way. She text me 35 minutes later from work as if everything is fine.

This is BPD testing to see how steadfast a boundary is. Once she realizes a boundary she has walked over in the past is now fortified she tends to stop pounding her head on it.

FF asked if holding the boundary and engaging her in debate fuels her to test it. Nope. Because there is no debate. I state my position once and I am done. It is much like FF walking out of earshot. She can keep going if she wants, but it is pretty boring arguing by yourself.

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« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2019, 11:51:40 AM »

Awesome work holding tight to your boundaries , Cole. 
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« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2019, 11:59:54 AM »


I too "fully approve".  Love it!

"Circular arguments" are a similar thing and can turn into dysregulations depending on how far they go.

By definition you have to go around the circle twice...to have a circular argument.

My goal is to verbally identify it by 3 times...and if I am caught off guard and get to "4 times around"...I chastise myself. 

Let's shift gears a bit. 

It appears the boundary holding lesson is being learned/has been learned by Cole and his wife. 

I'm wondering what Cole's perception is about "bridges he is building" towards his wife?  I wonder if she shares the same perception (at least some of the time)?

FF

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Red5
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« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2019, 12:18:46 PM »

99,

I heard the other day, in regards to boundaries… something to the "effect" of…

"I require you to respect, and as well honor my boundaries, my boundaries reflect my values… if you want to reside with me (metaphorically) inside my boundaries, then you have to my respect boundaries, which means in "essence", that you respect me…

I like that,

Red5
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Cole
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« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2019, 02:36:19 PM »

I too "fully approve".  Love it!

"Circular arguments" are a similar thing and can turn into dysregulations depending on how far they go.

By definition you have to go around the circle twice...to have a circular argument.

My goal is to verbally identify it by 3 times...and if I am caught off guard and get to "4 times around"...I chastise myself.  

Let's shift gears a bit.  

It appears the boundary holding lesson is being learned/has been learned by Cole and his wife.  

I'm wondering what Cole's perception is about "bridges he is building" towards his wife?  I wonder if she shares the same perception (at least some of the time)?

FF



It is not about building bridges. It is about building a box. Sound wrong? Follow me here...

With pwBPD, we want to help them by reaching out to build a bridge of understanding. But we end up in circular, never ending conflict because they do not see a bridge. They see a long, ice-laden expanse, and they are scared to death that their next move will be their last.

That is the wrong approach. At least for me. I needed to build a box. That box is constructed of boundaries I set in place and firmly hold up. W seems to feel more secure in that box, as she knows where the limits are for her behavior.

Yes, it seems counter-intuitive to treat an adult as we would a young child. But don't think for one minute that an adult with BPD doesn't know they are unable to use good judgement or that they let their emotions get the best of them. Don't think they don't know at the time they are acting out that it is wrong and they struggle to try to stop. They do know it. My wife has told me so. And that scares them, because they don't want to be that way. By setting firm boundaries on behavior in a loving manner we are giving them a safe space in which to function and they like that security. It may take them a while to determine the exact layout of that space, but they will eventually do so.  

When they test those boundaries they are testing us to make sure we will:
1. Maintain the boundary. It is like checking the door to make sure it is still locked; it gives them a sense of security. Again, it is very counter-intuitive to hold these boundaries for an adult. But it is what they need.
2. See if we will leave them. The fear of abandonment is a key driver to someone with BPD. If they push and we don't leave, it further contributes to their sense of security.

And for a pwBPD, security goes a long way.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2019, 02:46:08 PM by Cole » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2019, 02:42:41 PM »


I don't disagree with the box theory. 

How will you know when she has "grown up enough" that you can start building bridges.

I certainly focus more on boxes than bridges, yet I also am very conscious to build bridges.  If she ignores them..fine.  I only build things that I enjoy.

So..I ask her out to do something...she normally goes, but if she doesn't..I almost always go anyway.  If she declines in a BPDish way..you can bet your azz that I go. 

Something to think about. 

Protect yourself from bad behavior but also reward good.  So..when your "kid" gets an A on the report card...you should be ready.  OK...when they get a C...you should do something too. 

FF
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