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Author Topic: How to discuss issues  (Read 206 times)
Nurse Liz

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« on: August 13, 2019, 04:31:25 PM »

Hello

I am in a relationship with a man for two years that I believe has BPD.   I try to read what I can how to deal with him and am learning how to defuse his rage but I have difficulty with how to approach issues with him in the first place.    If I raise any concerns I have with communication ( our biggest issue) he turns it on me that I am asking for too much from him and the rage starts and all my fault.  He on and off will not respond to me in text or phone within a timely manner.  If I bring it up that it is rude not to respond to time sensitive questions he goes off.   How does one bring up topics that are difficult but necessary to discuss.   
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2019, 01:18:21 AM »

Welcome

When you are trying to discuss issues with him, are you talking to him over phone, text, or in person?

RC
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Nurse Liz

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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2019, 08:00:46 AM »

  Most of our fights occur through texting.   I have texted him  or called him asking about getting together  and left a message to get back to me about something and I hear nothing for sometimes a couple days.  I have tried backing off with expecting a response but when  a response is needed such as can you come over for dinner tonight or can you look after my dog while I am at work.  Is it too much to expect a response or should I just accept he is like this and gets angry if I ask how come no response.    If I do say anything about this it becomes my fault and I am the one to blame and I am expecting too much and a lot of name calling and twisting things that I am the bad one.
I have discussed this in person with him too but nothing changes.  I pick and choose my battles and this is one I find extremely rude to leave me hanging.  
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No-One
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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2019, 11:58:49 AM »

Hi Nurse Liz:

It's best to NOT argue over text.  It never goes well.  Things can easily be taken out of context. If this has been a pattern, he may just not respond because he doesn't want to JADE (justify, argue, defend or explain)

One way to look at this is "he is who he is".  You can choose to radically accept that he isn't going to be a spontaneous person and respond to a last-minute dinner invitation or be there for you for anything that isn't planned well in advance.

How is he about things that he commits to?  i.e. if you have something planned well in advance, does he sometimes just not show up?  If he is running significantly late, does he call or text?

One possible explanation is that he wants to be independent and doesn't really want the degree of involvement that you desire.  It could be a control thing on his part or perhaps he just wants more alone time than you do. 

Some people don't want to be tethered to a phone.  Those who walk around like a Zombie and glued to their cell phone will have a hard time fathoming that.  Before cell phones, people just had to accept that they just couldn't reach people so readily.  Some people have an expectation that they should get a rapid reply to everything, while others see it as as annoying.

I think he has shown you who he is.  You aren't likely to change him for the long run.  Try pulling back a bit and let him initiate invitations for dates, dinner and quit the spontaneous invitations for awhile. (a little reverse psychology).  You might be surprised that if you pull back a bit, he might make himself more available. 

If you pull back and you start seeing less and less of him, you may be way deeper into the relationship than he is.



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Ozzie101
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2019, 12:11:04 PM »

Hi Nurse Liz!

I'll echo No-One in saying arguing by text is a bad idea. My H and I had to put a rule in place: no important or serious conversations or discussions by text. It's SOOO easy for things to be confused or misunderstood. Still, we'll have that happen with run-of-the-mill stuff.

Pulling back and letting him initiate is also a good suggestion. Some people (like me) aren't really good at last-minute stuff. Some people are really bad about getting back to people (my H's ex is like this and it drives him nuts). I agree that it's usually rude to not respond to people. But sometimes you just have to accept how someone is and alter your expectations accordingly.
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Nurse Liz

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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2019, 12:20:35 PM »

Thank you for your response.   He is a person that is tethered to his phone so I know it is just he does not want to respond. So perhaps I should do as you suggest and just back off and not text or call and if it happens in the future this ignoring situation happens again just not say anything and not contact him and wait to hear from him? This feels like letting him get away with bad behaviour. Should I not bring this up in person either? 
He is usually good about long term plans but he has on occasion cancelled last minute and has never just not shown up.


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Nurse Liz

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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2019, 12:26:33 PM »

We used to fight quite a bit over text and I did make my own rule not to get into serious issues over text.   I will have to do better at that.   The latest issue was asking him in the morning about dinner and him responding he would be back from whatever he was doing early ( I took this to mean yes I am good to get together). I texted him saying ok let me know time and that is when I got no response.  So just ignore this?   
He is who is he as said so I guess accept or move on.  I do agree people rarely change.  so hard to change yourself so chance of influencing someone else to change next to impossible. 
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Nurse Liz

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« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2019, 12:33:29 PM »

One last thing.  So this fight happened over text and it was left with him asking me to be understanding as he was  " on the edge" and " barely hanging on" and that this could push him over the edge.  I texted him and said he needed to get help if he was feeling that way to call me and I would come and get him and take him wherever he needed to go.  I got no response.   He does suffer from depression and I know this.  He has years ago attempted suicide and was hospitalized and nothing since. I had bought tickets to a concert Friday night for us should I ask him if he still wants to go or leave him alone?
Thank you so much for input.  I have been struggling with this for awhile with him and want to do whatever I can to be a help to him and not a hinderance. 
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Ozzie101
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« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2019, 12:39:48 PM »

I see what you're saying about letting him get away with it. But, then, it's not really your job to teach him better manners about it, right? Better to just let natural consequences take over.

Have you talked to him about it in person, at a normal calm time? Non-accusatory. No anger or frustration. Just a simple "I notice I'll text you about plans and a lot of times you don't respond." See if he has a reason for it. He may not. And he may just get defensive.

Sometimes people don't respond because they're trying to control, test, or punish another person (no idea if that's what's going on here). The best way to respond, I think, is to just not play along.

One thing you could do is rephrase things. Instead of asking him what time or opening the door to planning, maybe say something like "That's great. I'm going to go to X for dinner. I hope you can make it." Then you go regardless of whether he answers or shows up or not.

As for the concert, I think that's probably a conversation to have in person. If he's struggling a lot right now with depression, a lot of empathy is needed. It's so hard to know what to do in these situations, I know. You don't want to enable him. But accusations (or words that sound accusatory) will not go over well at a time like this.
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isilme
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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2019, 03:11:02 PM »

Excerpt
If I raise any concerns I have with communication ( our biggest issue) he turns it on me that I am asking for too much from him and the rage starts and all my fault.  He on and off will not respond to me in text or phone within a timely manner.  If I bring it up that it is rude not to respond to time sensitive questions he goes off.   How does one bring up topics that are difficult but necessary to discuss. 

Others have already stated to not discuss anything important over text, so I'll leave that be, just adding that it's best to use text for non-emotionally charged conversations.  "Do we need eggs" "I'm free for lunch" "I have a meeting".  Boring, dull things that can't leave too much room for misinterpretation.

Otherwise, pick your battles.  If he has BPD, he will push-pull as the need takes him.  So he will respond or not, as the need takes him.  Remember, he has an emotional disability.  Even working to be a kind, loving person, his BPD will mash up his internal feelings and he can't deal so he will expel them onto you - it's the only way he can process them. 

Excerpt
Sometimes people don't respond because they're trying to control, test, or punish another person (no idea if that's what's going on here). The best way to respond, I think, is to just not play along.

Yes.  If you ask a question and he doesn't answer, do your best to go about your day as if you'd never asked. 

Concert - in person, very simply, "Hey, I bought some tickets for a concert Friday.  If you feel up to joining me I'd like to have you come."  See where that goes.  Do you have a plan if he won't go?  Do you plan to go anyway?  Take a friend?  Sell the tickets?  He may both choose to not go but see taking a friend as abandonment. 

Also, remember that concerts are loud, crowded, and chaotic.  Lots of people milling around, lots of potential triggers.  And if he is anxious, he will be on edge. 

I will warn you another quirk about my BPDH.  He never looks like he's having fun.  I bought him tickets for floor seats to his favorite rock band from the 70s, they were touring one last time (they are getting up there in years) and all he did was complain the whole trip.  Our hotel wasn't fancy (I was saving money, the tickets were pricey), the venue was in a city he thinks it ghetto, the seats were too close and not close enough. too many people, too crowded, etc.  I felt like crying, I'd thought this was an awesome experience he'd enjoy and all he did was say things that made me feel terrible.  But now, like 12 years later, he swears he enjoyed it.  Sigh. 
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Nurse Liz

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« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2019, 04:15:26 PM »

Thank you for your response.   
This is tough at times.  Time will tell if I am up for it.  Seems like the relationship needs to be on his terms if I want it to continue for now. 

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No-One
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« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2019, 05:28:13 PM »

Quote from: Nurse Liz
It was left with him asking me to be understanding as he was  " on the edge" and " barely hanging on" and that this could push him over the edge.  I texted him and said he needed to get help if he was feeling that way to call me and I would come and get him and take him wherever he needed to go.  I got no response.     
Are there things going on in his life that could be stressors?  Perhaps you could have a face to face discussion (during an approachable moment) about him possibly taking an antidepressant for awhile?  If he is currently on an antidepressant, perhaps he needs to change meds. 
Quote from: Nurse Liz
I had bought tickets to a concert Friday night for us should I ask him if he still wants to go or leave him alone?
If you already talked to him about the concert, you should follow up on it.  As others have suggested,  you might want to make a back-up plan. If he doesn't want to go, perhaps you can take someone else with you to the concert.

Ozzie101's example about dinner was a good suggestion.  You might, also, just make some deadlines. If you want to invite him over for dinner on the spur of the moment, give him a deadline: i.e. I'd love to have you join me at my place for dinner tonight.  Let me know by 2:00 p.m. if you are able to come.  Then, just let the clock run out and don't contact him again.  If he doesn't reply by 2:00 then just make dinner for yourself. 
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Nurse Liz

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« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2019, 07:06:13 PM »

Yes he has other stressors going on in his life.   We have discussed him getting help with therapy and antidepressants/antianxiety meds.   He has excuses why he will not follow through.   I do bring it up every once in a while so perhaps should again.  I expect will be the same story.   

I did get a text from him today.  Was again blaming me  for texting him about his no response and that I hurt him and I do not understand and he is tired of explaining to me and that not  trying to be insulting but I am not capable of understanding and he does not know what to do and he thinks does not matter what he does it will not be enough.     I responded I was not going to have this conversation in text.   I also said to him I did buy the concert tickets for Friday night and if he feels up to it I would like it if he came with me as planned.   It would have been a good idea to put a time line on it as suggested.   I will give him until tomorrow night to respond then I will make other plans. 


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isilme
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« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2019, 12:03:09 PM »

I'd avoid any conversations anymore about text responses, at least not starting one unless it comes up in a more organic way.

Like others have suggested, give deadlines for responses.  Then, leave it.  Do what you want if he doesn't respond.  If he doesn't tell you he's coming to dinner and you cooked for one, you can flatly, non-emotionally state, in person, "I can't know what I'm not told.  I can toss another XYZ in the oven if you want to wait."  The actions SHOW him that he ends to respond, and actions do far more than any combination of words for BPD.    You will go ahead with or without him.  You will try to accommodate him if you can, but it's not guaranteed if he can't be bothered to respond.
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Nurse Liz

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« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2019, 06:42:58 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions. I will definitely put them into use when dealing with him.
 Today I heard from him.  He apologized and said sorry for over reacting.
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Nurse Liz

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« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2019, 04:48:30 PM »

 An update.  Going to concert alone.  Saw him this morning and he was good to go.  Got a call a short time ago asking what consequences were if he did not go.  He is too tired.   Sad thing is I expected this. 
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waverider
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« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2019, 05:04:12 PM »

Always have a default action rather than leave your actions pending on a response. eg I am going to do X , let me know before Y time if you want to come, That way you plan is X unless they respond.

My issue with my partner is she is an impulsive yes, no , yes no, now, later, not all, sort of person. So I get a definite decision straight away, but she changes it often, sometimes within minutes, and the back again. The result is she effectively runs an eraser through your schedule shifting her plans as you try working around them, and you end up doing nothing at all. Only way I can deal with this is to make my core plans rigid and inflexible and she just has to fit around them, otherwise it drives me nuts.

It is probably such an embedded personality traits no amount of "discussing" the issue is going to resolve it. You simply have to have your own strict boundaries to prevent being left hanging and causing you to be dysfunctional and angry. That is all you can control
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Ozzie101
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« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2019, 09:46:15 AM »

How did the concert go, Nurse Liz? How are things with you and your BF?
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ColdKnight
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« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2019, 10:13:36 AM »

This sounds exactly like me upwBPWxg.

She would constantly wait to respond to texts. Sometimes not at all. She is tethered to her phone and has an IWatch so she gets texts all the time.

One particular time I she didn’t reposed to a text to I let it go. Five days later I finally broke down and reached out. I told her that I missed her and she said “I miss your touch” I asked her if she was free that evening. That was at 930am.

By 830pm she had not not responded so I fired off an angry text saying all she had to do was tell me she wasn’t free and to not answer my text felt like games. That did not go over well at all. She fire back with an angry text saying she was busy all day and only just read the text asking if she was free a few minutes ago. (Uh huh) Anyway that lead two about two weeks of silent treatment.

The event that lead to our most recent collapse was similar. She mentioned wanting to go to the fair. All seemed well and we were texting normally. She texted a couple pics and I commented favorably on them. All seemed fine. An hour later I sent “hey you said you wanted to go to the fair. still want to go?”
This was at 9pm.

At 230 PM the next day she sends “I dont think so. I’m not feeling very wanted or that my presence is very wanted. I know you are not doing it on purpose but it still hurts”

This was the beginning of the end of my trying to understand her and work around her issues. 
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Radcliff
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Fond memories, fella.


« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2019, 11:39:11 PM »

It's been a few days.  How are you doing?

RC
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