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Masang M

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« on: July 02, 2019, 05:24:00 PM »

My husband of 28 years was recently diagnosed with quiet BPD. Im trying to work through anger and resentment. He has just started treatment and is open to listening, I need help to be more supportive.
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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2019, 11:25:22 PM »

Hi and welcome.  I am glad you are reaching out for help.  Youa re in the right place to get support and learn tools that will help you cope and mange in your relationship so I hope you settle in and read and post.  We get it here.

What sort of therapy is your husband receiving?  Are you in therapy?  Can you tell us what your greatest challenge is?

I hope you share more, as we have many members who are in similar or who have worked through situations and can help guide you.

Welcome
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Masang M

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« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2019, 11:00:12 AM »

He has started weekly therapy and group therapy with a clinic that specializes is DBT. We are both excited that he is willing to do this.
My biggest struggle is finding support for quiet BPD, my husband has never raged outwardly but has shut down emotionally for long periods at a time. At times I thought I was the one that had something wrong with me. I feel I am starting to be less angry and resentful but I am having a really hard time trusting this will work.
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« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2019, 11:20:46 AM »

Hey Ang M,

Welcome to BPD family. In many respects this is great news for both your husband and yourself, it's certainly something that you can both learn about and learn to cope with. I found learning about BPD was like discovering an enigma machine, all the weird unexplained nonsense suddenly made sense if you put it in the framework of the disorder. It's good also that he is willing to listen, some people aren't.

As I mentioned above, learning about the disorder and trying to put myself in their shoes really made a difference... "ah... that's why you reacted like that". Simple things like, I understand that my W has an allergy to guilt and shame... these are 2 painful emotions that as healthy(ish) adults we probably don't feel too much when we experience them... for someone with BPD and core shame, guilt and shame can be debilitating.

What problematic behaviour do you experience with you H?

I look forward to hearing more about your very long 27yr journey, especially how you got to this point.

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Masang M

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« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2019, 12:42:12 PM »

The biggest problem throughout our marriage has been him shutting down completely. The phrase the lights are on but nobody home describes him completely. I now understand that his emotions are so overwhelming for him his body shuts them off as a result he becomes very distant to everyone in the family. I have been responsible for all the emotional heavy lifting in our family.
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2019, 09:52:55 PM »

Hi Ang. I'm just learning about this idea of "quiet BPD" but I think it also fits my husband. He never overtly acted out. I knew he struggled with depression, but did not know about his lies or manipulations. We've been married for almost a decade before I found out what the problem was, and that was a very expensive lesson financially and emotionally.

He's also in DBT and found it helpful really quickly. Medication for depression helps too, I think. I hope your husband also finds it to be helpful.

Are you doing any therapy for yourself?
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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2019, 12:32:23 AM »

Hi Loneranger,

Thank you for sharing your common experience. Are you finding that during his DBT therapy he’s becoming more or less emotional? I know the obvious answer might be less, but DBT and other one on one therapies the he might be doing are likely to bring up acknowledgement of the pain he’s caused others, as well as maybe acknowledgement of his own pain, potentially a core childhood wound.

Ang M, ‘numbing out’ can last for really long periods of time. My W is prone to it. It seemed to go in very large macro cycles with smaller cycles in the middle and then daily spikes up and down. I’m not sure that’s going to make a lot of sense. The numbing out tends to coincide with when she’s painting me black.

What do you do with yourself during these periods? Until I found BPD I was very frustrated with this behaviour, I couldn’t see why she was trashing our marriage and wanted to shake her out of it. My contempt just made things worse. The behaviour was so alien to me, it seemed so self defeating and unnecessary. It’s VERY hard to have sympathy for someone who seemingly does this to themselves.

How has learning about BPD changed you ability to have sympathy? How you getting on with being able to empathise with such a different mindset?

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« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2019, 10:08:39 AM »

Hi Enabler.

My BPD husband told me right away that he found dbt skills helpful and was eager to share the meditations he listens to and talk about some of his skills from group. I think he was already pretty entrenched in guilt due to events that led up to it. Even recently when we talk I can sense some of the difference. He'll say things like "I know all this is my fault" when he gets frustrated during a conflict. This morning he started getting defensive during a conversation and I walked away. When I came back, he apologized and acknowledged my feelings.

It's different than some other people on here because he does not have an explosive temper. His conflict was always internal in the past and the behavior manifestation was self neglect and avoiding responsibility. I do see him taking care of himself more in terms of grooming. He also is eager to show me that he wants to take on responsibilities and complete tasks (though his follow-through takes longer than I would like, often).

Individual DBT did bring up more childhood abuse than he ever acknowledged before. He certainly got more depressed while doing trauma processing. His new pain symptoms came up not longer after this and a visit with his family, which makes me wonder about a somatic connection. It's hard to not diagnosis or jump to conclusions about what is going on with him.
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« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2019, 11:17:39 AM »

Given what you’re learning about BPD, how does your own changing behaviour plug into his improvement?

Good work for walking away, you can sense that reflection time gives him time to think through being triggered.
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Masang M

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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2019, 07:02:25 PM »

Yes I am doing therapy too. It does get frustrating at times much like enabler because I don’t understand why someone wants to be closed off. In the past when he shut down I would get very angry because I didn’t understand what was going on. He told me about his childhood trauma over 10 years ago but I had always felt I was the surrogate for his anger because the people who hurt him are family and a priest. While he was never explosive. He was completely shut down emotionally.
He is happy to have answers to why he has acted the way he has, and has taken full responsibility for his behavior. He’s  been going to therapy for a short time and starts group this week but there have been some nice changes already for both of us. When he starts using old behaviors instead of getting mad I tell him I’m getting upset and he needs to use his mindfulness skills, this usually resets his behavior and we can continue the conversation. I think the more he gets into his therapy and the more I come to terms and understand how he thinks the better things will be. At this point I’m hopeful and am glad this site exists.
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« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2019, 05:20:09 AM »

It does get frustrating at times much like enabler
Ha, I'm sorry I'm frustrating   

Have you found any good resources regarding childhood trauma? I read a great book a few years back called Toxic Parents:
https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Toxic_Parents.html?id=5Oe-YMeCKA8C&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

There may be something better and more specific books, however this goes through a very logical path and I found it very useful in calibrating my empathy for those who'd suffered severe and mild forms of childhood trauma. The book also looks at the typical 'bugs' that are implanted in individuals minds and illustrates the techniques for overcoming them. Some of the accounts are ummmm pretty gritty. One thing I liked about the book is how it looks at the way that the whole family dynamic is set around 1 or more disordered people. It finds an equilibrium that works to balance each of the players out. Your H's recovery could well mean that he upsets this balance significantly and certain predictable things happen.

I was always confused why our bridesmaid who was sexually abused by her father still had regular contact with him despite attending significant amounts of therapy. I kinda get it now.

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Masang M

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« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2019, 07:29:10 AM »

yes I have done a lot of research into child trauma as I grew up with an uBPD mother although I didn't realize it until I discovered BPD among other traumas. Anyway, I could never figure out why I was more resilient to my trauma but my husband was not, so the research. Reading up on BPD has been helpful, but there is not a lot on the quiet form so it can be at times unrelatable. When my H would shut down and become unemotional has been the hardest especially when I needed him the most. For example, our oldest went through some really really challenging times when he was younger and it was like being a single parent or when I would see him empathize with someone else just never me. He just recently told me he talked to his therpist about it and it came down to having nothing to lose if he empathized with them and everything to lose by empathizing with me. He understands it didn't make sense but I guess that's BPD. I am coming to an understanding about my husbands dx, I still struggle with some anger and resentment, which is getting better. I think it helps that he is willing to work really hard to heal.
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« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2019, 09:09:14 AM »

I think the more and more we learn and can rationalise the irrational the less and less the anger gets and more and more our empathy grows. The thing is, you need to be able to source these types of emotional outlets for you as well..... do you think he'd understand if you had someone else for this emotional flow..... I'm not talking affair FWIW. I too really struggle that my W could be just the person I fell in love with with other people.... just not me. It's very lonely...... if she could just be like that with me, maybe we'd be happy!

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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2019, 09:10:13 AM »

I suppose that's why some refer to BPD as a disorder of 'wasted potential'. It's not like that can't do it period.... they just can't do it with people closest to them.
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Masang M

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« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2019, 12:16:39 PM »

I have felt that way as well, it was the turning point for our marriage, I told him he needed to start using the tools he had to change (this was pre-dx) or I was out. Fortunately he found DNT but tonight is his first group. Currently I’m dealing with manic/panic phase or him living in the past
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« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2019, 04:09:41 PM »

What does that look like?
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Masang M

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« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2019, 08:49:58 PM »

For example last night we were talking in our room with the door open. Our grandson was in the living room where we could hear him and take 1 step forward and see him. My H started freaking out because he was in the living room by himself watching tv, I couldn’t even have a conversation with him. If he is not in this state he is detached and it sucks! He finally realized he was upset with his dad which I knew and suggested he call him before he started to spiral, he didn’t, I became the emotional punching bag instead of the real offender his dad. I’m exhausted by this, I do t know how to not take it personal when I’m so beat down by it.
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« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2019, 03:22:20 AM »

Okay, so am I right in thinking he gets anxiety when people he cares about are "on their own", almost like he worries that other people (children) get similar abandonment fears as he does? Or is it something much more simple like he doesn't truth the grandson to not mess up the living room when unattended?

What had the father done to upset your H? Is his father part of the trauma? Often it's easier to take frustrations out on your spouse and kids than it is to confront your own parents with grievances. Funnily enough I went on a business diner last night and a conversation started about how one of the guys there would bend over backwards and walk on eggshells around his rather domineering father. He told us of how his whole weekend is filled with phoning his mum to see whether his Dad is around and whether they want to see the kids.... yet his father spends all his time working around his older brothers (golden child) house and doesn't seem to give two hoots about him. He keeps all his time available and makes his family stay on hold just to appease his father should want to see him. Rather than ringing his mother to see how she is, he rings his mother to find out how his Dad is.....

Do you have any alternative support? There comes a time in a conversation where you have to say "this isn't working, I'm happy to revisit this conversation when things are calmer and clearer."

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Masang M

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« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2019, 05:47:59 AM »

It’s anxiety that something bad could happen to him.  I know it’s scary to confront his dad, he is former military and was abusive to his siblings, not him but he saw it. I’m just exhausted from the roller coaster. The hardest part for me is I knew what it was, I talked to him about him starting to spiral and he chose to spiral rather then seek help, he can contact his T anytime. Now that he finally talked to his dad his world is right again and I’m still trying to find center. I’m trying not to be angry I know it’s part of his illness but it’s hard. To be honest there is a really big part of me that is tired of having to be “the bigger person”. I know it will get better. What do you do when you W gets like this, how do you not get angry?
As of right now I don’t have anyone to turn to, I’ve signed up to join a BPD support group but it hasn’t started yet. I’m just on this board right now.
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« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2019, 07:24:18 AM »

My situation is slightly different. I have been on the receiving end of contempt at best, silent treatment at worst and a combination of both for the majority of the last 3 years...... every single thing that is wrong in her world, is my fault. My W has always been an emotional vampire, however she's now found other people including another man to suck emotional validation from. She shares almost nothing now. It's like emotional starvation.

It's tough impossible to rationalise with someone who has emotion led thoughts about catastrophic outcomes..... to everything. Could the conversation have gone better had jnr been in eye-shot?

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Masang M

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« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2019, 12:10:11 PM »

I’m sorry to hear about your wife, my mom is very much like that, I haven’t talked to her in 2 years. I’m pretty sure she is ubpd, I watched her do the same things you described to my dad. It was a tough environment to grow up in.
What I have found in regards to my husband is the spiral doesn’t stop until he confronts the cause, I know that sounds opposite of what happens but it seems to be the only thing to stop it. He did call his dad last night and talk to him, he has “come back” for a lack of a needed term. I’m trying to work through my anger and frustration now which is hard.
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« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2019, 02:57:56 PM »

Given what you’re learning about BPD, how does your own changing behaviour plug into his improvement?

I've been mulling this question over. I think for one thing, I have taken myself out of the role of enabler. When I am calmer, I notice that I get more of that back. Even when he is angry or being irrational, I try not to feed in to it. I am also working on being vulnerable with him again about how I am feeling, sort of allowing an environment where he can open up more.

Its hard to let go of my old behaviors--like sarcasm or being over critical. He has a lot of internal criticism, I realize, and that might be something he "pulls" for sometimes.
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Masang M

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« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2019, 06:14:15 PM »

Lone Ranger, I know exactly how you feel! We just had a step back over the last couple of days and I am finding it hard to trust in the process at the moment. I know he just started treatment and I can’t expect miracles and things are better then they were bit when this happens it’s hard not to revert back to the old behaviors. We have talked a bit today and he is at his T now. For me I think it’s the fact that he is trying so hard, I need to start meeting him halfway, I’m hopeful that this site can help me gain that insite. 
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« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2019, 05:42:20 AM »

I think for me the greatest revelation was that it's not "bad" or "cruel" or even "disrespectful" to seriously filter what our nearest and dearest say and do. It all has it's relevance yes, but much of needs and should be disregarded as complete nonsense. I think we have a tendency as humans to look at other adults and believe that they think and feel in the same way as us. Broadly speaking this is a fair assumption and on the whole when not in an intimate environment we probably do interact with most people in a relatively similar way...... and in many ways we naturally filter those we're not in an intimate relationship with. We most likely regard them as idiots rather than believe that the things they say were unintended.

There's a lot of mental gymnastics to do here.... like do pwBPD mean what they say when they're dysregulated? Yes, but they also say some things which they don't mean. Are pwBPD 2 different people/personalities? No, but can appear to adopt a completely different persona when emotionally engulfed. Do pwBPD regret what they say when emotions have come back to baseline? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. So why shouldn't we be hurt by some of the things they say? Why should we filter them instead of them filtering themselves?...... well basically because they can't so we have to. As humans we ALL have the ability to get emotionally engulfed and dysregulate..... we all just have different levels for that tipping point. I like to think of it as a glass. The glass is our emotional capacity. Pouring liquid into the glass is things like stress, negative emotions, fear etc etc. At 'baseline' the glass is empty for most of us. It starts filing up and eventually the meniscus breaks and water flows over the top..... that's dysregulation (which we all deal with in different ways). As healthy adults we have developed ways of getting rid of the water to get ourselves back to baseline and STOP us from spilling over.... you might want to think about what they are. Mine is deep deep thought, emotionally shutting off, watching TV and intense solution finding. I then chop the stress into small bits and ACTION ACTION ACTION. The difference between a healthy adult and an unhealthy adult is 2 fold..... firstly, they may have a big fat rock in their glass which is immovable, constant background stress. This could be "I am worthless because my Dad sexually abused me", "I am fat because I have body dysmorphia", "I am hopeless because that's what Mum told me when I was growing up", "I am a victim of everything that has ever happened to me". So, the glass can contain a LOT less water to get to the meniscus. Secondly, they have not developed healthy and effective ways of dealing with 'the water'. So the water continues to rise and then continues to flow over the edge of the glass. They have little or no control of the stuff that comes out of their mouths at this point and in essence feel like they are fighting for their lives. This is their normal. If you spend a long period of time in the red zone it has a long term impact on the way you process information..... you would have a serious amount of sympathy for someone who'd spent significant periods of time in a war zone wouldn't you? Well, it's not dissimilar other than one is a real threat and the other is perceived.

 I talk a lot on the boards about armour:
Knowledge and understanding - Your Helmet to protect your head from distorted thinking
Empathy - Your shield to protect your heart and soul
The Tools - Your sword to defend yourself from attack and cut to the truth

It's not wrong to filter and it's not unloving to discard some of their words as nonsense. This isn't a regular relationship, it's unlikely to ever be a normal relationship, we need to accept this to move forwards rather than reliving a constant disappointment that things aren't how we hoped they would be.

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Masang M

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« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2019, 09:15:16 PM »

This isn't a regular relationship, it's unlikely to ever be a normal relationship, we need to accept this to move forwards rather than reliving a constant disappointment that things aren't how we hoped they would be.

I agree with this statement 100%! I think I need to grieve that. I believe in time with H going through therapy w/DBT it will get better. Now that the spiraling is over we have talked and I did set clear boundaries with him and let him know I love him but I’m not going to spiral with him again, that I would be walking away, not leaving until he works through it. Most of the time I know his triggers and he knows what he needs to do that works. If all fails he does have the option to texted his therapist. I feel we are headed in the right direction, I need to try really hard to stay calm and stick to the plan if/when he spirals so we can continue to move forward.
Thanks for listening!
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« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2019, 02:30:44 AM »

Self reflection and the ability to do so is a huge milestone for you H..... even just being aware of what he is doing, how he is feeling and what that means ultimately means he can take action to help himself, even if that's as simple as communicating it to you. Many pwBPD believe all their negative feelings are caused by their partners or children and therefore feel entitled to punish them.

As you say, it's heading in the right direction. Nothing goes up in a straight line as I'm sure you're aware but watch for the trend. It's great that you feel that you can emotionally decouple from him and not join him on his emotional rollercoaster, that truly is the only way to preserve your own sanity.

Well done

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