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Author Topic: Part 2: Help me stay grounded in sanity over filing.  (Read 419 times)
Wilkinson
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« on: August 13, 2019, 02:24:32 PM »

*mod note: this thread was split from this discussion:https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=338287.0

Wow, so a lot of good questions came through while I was traveling and gave me a lot to think about.  I guess I'll share my thoughts for more feedback, but more for me to organize them.

The limbo was mentioned as a bad thing.  I guess I'm inclined to agree.  Right now, I want drastic separation.  My work is suffering, my mental ability is suffering, my sleep is suffering.  Being around her at all is just stressful.  I'm just perpetually waiting for the other shoe to drop when I'm around her.  I'm afraid to get involved in working on something because I'm going to get interrupted with phone calls and texts from her.  I just don't have the energy required to maintain healthy boundaries.  She just has more fight in her and works to break them down.  I'm exhausted.  If the health of my marriage rests entirely on how well I can hold boundaries while she works to break them, I'm out.  I just can't do that for the rest of my life.  It's very questionable on if our marriage can be salvaged at this point, but I know I can be productive at work again.  I know I can work on my relationship with my kids.  I'd rather put my effort in those things.  

That doesn't mean I want a divorce necessarily.  I've mentioned to her before that I want to get to a 50% custody agreement and then put it on hold.  I will live off of less than what I would get in a divorce.  I'm not worried about splitting assets right now.  I just want to be able to breathe again.  Maybe a year of separation and individual work we could try again.

As far as seeing a therapist, the last one we were seeing made things worse.  He kept acting like when she would misbehave we both had to take responsibility for it.  If she flew off the handle and would trap me in a room to berate me for hours, she was wrong for reacting badly and I was wrong for upsetting her.  However, it wouldn't take much for me to upset her.  I could text a new number, like someone I met in a men's group.  She would see it, monitoring my texts on our provider's app and then get suspicious and upset.  Or she would just fly off the handle over something that happened months ago.  It was just too unpredictable.

Going back to your question formflier about dichotomy, I guess I could give up the acknowledgement of her behavior for better behavior.  I guess I'm really struggling to know that she has gotten better.  I mean what worries be now is how fast things deteriorated and how correct she felt she was.  She still doesn't think she was that bad.  If she improves, I would never feel comfortable that she wouldn't revert back to the way things are.  I'm also afraid that if she did and I try to point it out, it wouldn't matter because she would think I was wrong and she was right in her wrath.

Referring to another question about how good things really were when they were good, I can think of some bad times where the criticism was constant and tearing me apart and I was ready to get out.  Then something would happen to make things good for a while.  Like moving into another house.  I have recently been visiting my family more since we separated and I have been enjoying my family immensely.  I was always avoiding interacting with my family because if I said the wrong thing to them in front of her, she would fly off the handle.  So in essence, I've basically cut off my family of origin for over a decade. My oldest will start high school and barely knows my family of origin.  I went to my Grandmother's funeral last year and my second son didn't know I even had a brother.  My kids have missed out a lot by not having contact with my family of origin.  My grandfather is getting more frail and my kids love him and they should see him more often.

So, if I try to sum up everything, short term, I just can't imagine being around her any more.  The abusive behaviors have tore me down and I'm finding happiness in not being around her and reconnecting with my FOO.  Every time I have to interact with her, it is stressful because I'm always on edge wondering how she will behave.

I'm willing to try again with her, but not for a long time.  I need to heal and I need to see evidence that she has improved.  Quite honestly, I don't know how to even feel safe around her any more, so I struggle to try to imagine how I would know.  
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 10:41:03 PM by I Am Redeemed, Reason: Split from OP for length » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2019, 02:48:27 PM »

Excerpt
I've mentioned to her before that I want to get to a 50% custody agreement and then put it on hold.  I will live off of less than what I would get in a divorce.  I'm not worried about splitting assets right now.  I just want to be able to breathe again.  Maybe a year of separation and individual work we could try again.

(im not pushing you to split, far from it.)

if this is the case:

Excerpt
Being around her at all is just stressful.  I'm just perpetually waiting for the other shoe to drop when I'm around her.  I'm afraid to get involved in working on something because I'm going to get interrupted with phone calls and texts from her.  I just don't have the energy required to maintain healthy boundaries.  She just has more fight in her and works to break them down.  I'm exhausted.  If the health of my marriage rests entirely on how well I can hold boundaries while she works to break them, I'm out.  I just can't do that for the rest of my life.  It's very questionable on if our marriage can be salvaged at this point, but I know I can be productive at work again.  I know I can work on my relationship with my kids.  I'd rather put my effort in those things. 

then is the above possible?
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2019, 03:02:03 PM »

if this is the case:

then is the above possible?

As of right now, no.  I guess I need to accept that.  I'd like to offer her time to come around.  Since we have four kids, we will never have a total separation, so it leads to believe I'll always have a pulse on where she's at.  However, for right now, I'm more afraid of being with her for the rest of my life than I am of being alone for the rest of my life.
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2019, 03:07:52 PM »

Oh wait, you were asking of sharing custody and just living as minimally as I could is even possible based on how she is.

That's another good question.  I would say definitely not without a court order. We've been trying to work out two week visitations with nesting and it just doesn't go well.  The plan might be there, but then something makes her upset and she feels justified to renege.

I don't know what I'm going to do.  I guess I just need to prepare for being divorced.  I can hold off the final filing for a long time, but I need to move in that direction because I just can't tolerate things they way they are anymore.  Her talk of change all centers around me changing the most and her changing very little and that is not the problem.
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2019, 04:03:41 PM »

As of right now, no.  I guess I need to accept that.  I'd like to offer her time to come around.  Since we have four kids, we will never have a total separation, so it leads to believe I'll always have a pulse on where she's at.  However, for right now, I'm more afraid of being with her for the rest of my life than I am of being alone for the rest of my life.

What makes you think she might come around, given time?
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2019, 04:06:26 PM »

Only the fact that she wasn’t always this bad and maybe blind hope?
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2019, 08:52:03 PM »


Stinkin..thinkin...alert!!!

Big exhale and inhale.

Nobody is asking you to do anything for the rest of your life.  She has asked you to do some joint counseling to work on the relationship. 

Within 4-8 sessions you will know for sure if there is anything different.  Perhaps that takes 1-2 months.

Much different than the rest of your life.

Please work on some self care, likely especially more sleep and perhaps this will look a bit different to you.

Tough stuff..hang in there. 

Best,

FF
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« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2019, 08:30:14 AM »

Nobody is asking you to do anything for the rest of your life.  She has asked you to do some joint counseling to work on the relationship. 


You're right.  No one is.  Do you think I'm being unreasonable asking for some time where we act divorced rather than married?  Like I just want to keep contact as little as possible for me to try and build my sanity back before I try again.  I think she's worried that I'll get used to being by myself and even start to enjoy the freedom and I won't come back.  However, I just want to be alone for a while and alone with my kids. Once I feel like I have a strong hold of my sanity again, and I know I've broken free from whatever world she was creating for me, I'd be willing to start counseling again.
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« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2019, 09:17:49 AM »


OK...here is what I suggest AND it's what I have done (several years ago)

There is a term called "therapeutic separation" (TS on these boards)

You live apart and come together (usually weekly) to talk about things.

Very likely you would talk some together and talk some independently.

Also likely this might be called "family therapy" or that might be an element of it. 

My wife and I would have some sessions focused on parenting an her relationship with the kids and my relationship with the kids...and our relationship with each other.

Those are three separate things.

I suppose there could be a fourth which is how the family operates when all are together.

You can see how the building blocks go together.

Wilkinson

I'm not trying to tell you how to run "the rest of your life".  I am trying to show you a pathway that will do one of two things.

Either you become convinced you have left no stone unturned..and feel as comfortable as possible going forward with divorce....and perhaps have a "better" divorce/coparenting relationship as a result.

Or

There is repair and some sort of romantic/marital relationship  stays intact.

I had 15ish good (wonderful) years with my wife.  3ish really bad.  3ish so so.  1ish good again (with momentary spikes of weird that I by in large ignore and don't "engage" on)

I'm a very religious guy and can't imagine divorcing, so I wanted to make sure I gave our marriage every opportunity.  My understanding is you are religious as well..do I have that right?

Best,

FF
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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2019, 09:25:24 AM »

My understanding is you are religious as well..do I have that right?

Yes.  Thanks for the good information for thought.
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« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2019, 10:54:23 AM »


Hey Wilkinson

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=338823.new#new

Answers to some of your questions.  I'm sure you will have more..ask away.

Best,

FF
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« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2019, 11:24:59 AM »

About Therapeutic Separation (TS)...  I didn't try it, by the time I separated it was High Conflict times ten.  My understanding is that one reason thise sort of separation might work is usually without in-person triggering and confrontations the distance apart allows the relationship problems to cool down.  The problem is that if your spouse refuses to work through the issues and keeps blaming, blame shifting and denial of her impact on the relationship then how can there be progress?  The attempt, though noble, would be delaying the other options.

Hopes don't fix things, actions do.
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« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2019, 11:52:03 AM »

About Therapeutic Separation (TS)...  I didn't try it, by the time I separated it was High Conflict times ten.  My understanding is that one reason thise sort of separation might work is usually without in-person triggering and confrontations the distance apart allows the relationship problems to cool down.  The problem is that if your spouse refuses to work through the issues and keeps blaming, blame shifting and denial of her impact on the relationship then how can there be progress?  The attempt, though noble, would be delaying the other options.

Hopes don't fix things, actions do.

Mine moved far away and refused everything in that vein, but the life coach I was seeing after separation outlined how they handled therapeutic separation. No more than ninety days, with weekly separate appointments, homework, and joint sessions only when progress had been made separately. And they strongly discouraged any significant geographic distance. She said that accountability and written goals were included. This was a faith-based group.
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« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2019, 12:22:07 PM »


So...let's circle back to Wilkinson and his decision.

How can he know if she will be different this time in counseling/TS? 

Only one way to know the future...give it a try.

My guess is that within 2 months he would know.  We know...we know she will go off the rails in a session or two. Whether or not she can make progress otherwise..we'll just have to see.

Best,

FF
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« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2019, 07:38:43 AM »

So...let's circle back to Wilkinson and his decision.

How can he know if she will be different this time in counseling/TS? 

Only one way to know the future...give it a try.

My guess is that within 2 months he would know.  We know...we know she will go off the rails in a session or two. Whether or not she can make progress otherwise..we'll just have to see.

Best,

FF

For me personally, I had hope in the face of everything to the contrary for a very long time. During this last separation, the life coach, the therapist, and various friends commented that this looked like it was leading to divorce. Well, maybe I thought. Even when I hired a lawyer, I asked him if people sometimes reconcile or at least remain friends. He was polite and said sometimes that happens. Or sometimes the partner really shows their hand as a last ditch effort to punish.

I really am too nice. LOL.
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« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2019, 10:18:21 AM »

I really am too nice. LOL.

Sometimes I have felt this way.  I've had my counselor, a friend, and my lawyer both suggest that I get an order of protection at one point or another and I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  I thought it would be too hard on the kids.  She also does a good job of controlling the narrative in our community so that everyone seems to think I'm just a deadbeat who got bored being a family man.  People who actually know about my abuse allegations, have accused me of making them up to give myself a better position in a divorce, mostly because that's what she told them.

As I keep thinking about all the comments posted on this thread, and recent interactions with her, I really don't have any reason to believe she might be capable of making a turnaround.  I still can't explain why things deteriorated so fast, but my family is not surprised by it.  They've tried being supportive, but they are now starting to share how they have been treated the way she is now treating me.  The things she has done are not just erratic BPD behavior.  It was abuse. 

I'm willing to keep doors open and someday try to work on TS, but I can't wait two months to see if it's working or not.  I need to get a custody plan in place, because I'm not waiting two months of seeing my kids whenever she feels like it, or constantly having to work it out with her.  I want my kids, at my place, without her interference.  Once I have a legal plan in place that I can work on my relationship with my kids and I can concentrate to accomplish my job, I'm very open to TS, but as of right now, I have many other areas of life I need to work on like work and kids.  Those areas have definite hope of restoration if I can work on them.  My marriage is iffy and I don't want to sacrifice salvaging my job and my relationship with my kids for the improbable event that I can salvage my marriage.

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« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2019, 10:23:57 AM »

I didn't try it, by the time I separated it was High Conflict times ten. 

This is the problem I keep facing.  My daughter had surgery in a big city two hours from home a week ago.  She and I drove up together with our daughter.  While she was in surgery, she got upset and said she was not taking me home.  She bought me a train ticket and said I need to leave the hospital now if I'm going to catch my train.  When I refused, she bought me a bus ticket and tried to make me get out of the car and take the bus home.  Later that week, she asked me to come over and talk to her in our room.  When things got bad I tried to leave, and she blocked the door so I couldn't get out.  She later blocked the front door, she later blocked my car, a second time I tried leaving, she sent one of the kids to stand behind my car so I couldn't leave.

Thanks for your suggestions FormFlier, but I don't think she is at a position for TS.  like I said, I'm open to trying again someday, but right now, I have more urgent things that feel like they can be saved.

This is why I guess I wanted her to take responsibility for her actions.  I just can't keep going on short term or long term wondering when she is going to do something like this.

I'm open to hearing opposing viewpoints if you see it differently.
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« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2019, 10:32:32 AM »


  but I don't think she is at a position for TS.  

Do you want to "think"...or make educated guesses about things, or would you like to know?

How would you move to the next level of certainty?

Please don't here me saying the things she did are excusable or that she should not accept responsibility.  I'm AM saying that setting preconditions for attempting counseling is almost never a wise decision (I'm struggling to think of if it is ever a wise to set preconditions)

Why do I say this?

You and she, for whatever reason obviously lack the tools and skills to effectively communicate.  I'm not aware of how to understand and solve problems if two people are not communicating effectively.  Involving a professional that may be able to improve communication would seem like a wise step.

Best,

FF 
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« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2019, 12:38:52 PM »

You and she, for whatever reason obviously lack the tools and skills to effectively communicate.  I'm not aware of how to understand and solve problems if two people are not communicating effectively.  Involving a professional that may be able to improve communication would seem like a wise step.

There is a difference between communication issues and mental health issues, and fixing one often still leaves the other.  It's certainly possible that working on communication problems could help one partner learn how to communicate so as to minimize some of the triggers or to deescalate some of the meltdowns.  However, if one partner's mental health has degenerated to a certain point, working on communication alone isn't likely to have a measurable impact. 

My non-pd ex and I had gone through marital therapy for six months, and it ended when the therapist shifted from focusing solely on communication to the work and introspection my ex needed to do.  When we separated, he refused to try counseling again.  He was probably right - all the marriage therapy in the world wouldn't have helped, and all the work I've done on myself since then wouldn't have helped, because he wasn't willing to do the work on himself.  (He's now on his third marriage.)

Some people with PDs do have happy marriages.  On this board, we mostly see those that don't.  It's certainly okay to work on communication and be willing to walk a spouse through the difficult times of trying to get to a mentally healthy place, but it's also okay to walk away - to save yourself and/or your kids from the turmoil.
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« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2019, 01:28:04 PM »


This is why I guess I wanted her to take responsibility for her actions.  I just can't keep going on short term or long term wondering when she is going to do something like this.
 

The unpredictability will not improve unless her thinking is changed, which is a long process. To some extent, they can't control themselves in high-emotion situations. They may also say outrageous, hurtful things and then claim not to remember them the next day. Usually dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT) is recommended for BPD, and it requires bi weekly appointments for around a year, if they stick with it.

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« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2019, 02:02:50 PM »

Excerpt
I really don't have any reason to believe she might be capable of making a turnaround.

i think its less a question of her capability, and more a question of whether you are done, or holding out hope. both are specific paths.

i say this gently, but it seems as if youre trying to have both ways, the best of both worlds. i think that approach may do more harm than good. it keeps both of you hanging on, kicking the can down the road, but forgoes the work that it would take (if possible) to rebuild the relationship or the hard choice of ending it; things will probably deteriorate in the mean time, with that approach.
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« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2019, 02:19:14 PM »

There is a difference between communication issues and mental health issues, and fixing one often still leaves the other.  

Please don't hear that I'm suggestion better communication will fix mental health issues.

My best guess is that in this case it will "clarify" the mental health issues/impact of mental health issues on the relationship. 

It is more likely that mental health issues can be successfully addressed with better communication.  There are many more ingredients needed as well.

Once removed clarifies some really important issues.  I suppose one of the reasons I'm "pushing" for "taking her up on working on things" offer is it will likely clarify the path. 

If as part of therapy she refuses to address her own part(s)..I suspect your path is clear.  Then you move forward "knowing"..vice "thinking" about what she will or won't do.

Best,

FF
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« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2019, 07:39:53 AM »

i say this gently, but it seems as if you're trying to have both ways, the best of both worlds. i think that approach may do more harm than good. it keeps both of you hanging on, kicking the can down the road, but forgoes the work that it would take (if possible) to rebuild the relationship or the hard choice of ending it; things will probably deteriorate in the mean time, with that approach.

I think you're right.  I think FormFlier makes some good points, but I'm at a point where I have a bunch of competing priorities.  I hardly see my kids and our relationship is deteriorating.  I need to get the court ordered custody done.  When we try to work it out, it is inconsistent and she will revoke it if I upset her.  I need to do what it takes to keep my job.  I need to be productive again.  When I'm truly honest with the past, she has been abusive.  The things she has done was not something that was related to communication issues.  The verbal attacks and blocking door ways so I couldn't leave are not due to a lack of understanding and communication.

I don't have an explanation for it.  It could be BPD or some other mental issue, I don't know.  I tried to tell both our counselors about what was going on and her upbringing and my suspensions of a personality disorder.  Nothing ever came of it. 

I guess that is why I wanted her to recognize her behavior and take responsibility for it.  It would give me some glimmer of hope that we could salvage this.  It would give me an indication that things are worth working on.  I still have the ability to save my relationship with my kids, but I might not in two months.  I HAVE to get things done at work over the next two months or I won't have a job.  I don't want to give those up on the slip hope that she might finally recognize what is wrong and work to change it when I have seen no evidence of that in the recent past.

Over the past year, she was abusive.  She did this in front of the kids.  Even when I was in the house, her abuse was damaging my relationship with my kids and sabotaging my concentration at work.  I've done everything I could to indicate her behaviors are a problem and they have continued to occur frequently enough that I'm ready to give up.  It causes serious damage.  I watched this video last night which helped me come to this conclusion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnh07Iqu98s



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« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2019, 08:41:38 AM »


  I still have the ability to save my relationship with my kids, but I might not in two months.  I HAVE to get things done at work over the next two months or I won't have a job.  

Stinkin thinkin alert!!!

This situation sucks.....it's not a catastrophe.

There is NOT a cliff that your kids fall off in two months.  If there is something I'm missing, please specifically walk us through step by step how your kids relationship becomes "unsavable" in two months.

Wouldn't you think that two months of working with a family therapist where a specific focus was improving your relationship with your children would give you "a better chance" of "saving" your relationship with your kids...than court ordered visitation?

Clarity:  I don't think the relationship can be broken in two months...nor do I think it can be completely fixed in the same time.  I'm simply thinking about better or worse.

I don't know enough about your job situation to understand or comment on that.  I get it your outlook matters.

If there was a pathway to "better" with your kids (and perhaps your wife)..wouldn't that improve your outlook...which should improve work.    Is that reasonable?

Here is the thing.  All of these ideas take clear communication and concrete action.

My understanding is your wife has clearly asked you to do some sort of therapy.  What do you believe is a reasonable time frame to give her a clear answer back and then see if there is concrete action?

Best,

FF
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MeandThee29
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« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2019, 05:30:57 PM »

Over the past year, she was abusive.  She did this in front of the kids.  Even when I was in the house, her abuse was damaging my relationship with my kids and sabotaging my concentration at work.  I've done everything I could to indicate her behaviors are a problem and they have continued to occur frequently enough that I'm ready to give up.  It causes serious damage.  I watched this video last night which helped me come to this conclusion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnh07Iqu98s

Here's another one. I don't agree with everything on the web site, but Bob Hamp is good, and she links to his Facebook lectures on abuse: https://flyingfreenow.com/002-how-can-you-tell-if-your-abusive-partner-has-changed-interview-with-bob-hamp-002/

Keep in mind that there can be some changes that are still short of enough change to reconcile. You have to settle in your mind what the absolutes are. In my case, there was some change but a rejection of what I considered a safety net to blunt or prevent yet another blow up and discard. I think I posted earlier that I naively believed that maybe the divorce process would go so well that I would see real change. Silly me.
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Wilkinson
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« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2019, 08:47:50 AM »

Thank you MeeandThee for the podcast, I haven't listened to it yet, but I plan to.  FormFlier, you're right it's not like there is a 2 month time limit with my relationship with my kids.  However, it didn't just go bad.  It has been declining for a while.  It's been over a year of things being really bad in my marriage.  During that time, I've been kicked out the house several times, my kids have had dinner at 9:00 at night waiting for Mom to stop yelling at Dad.  I've been kept out of the house until they went to bed first.  My relationship with my kids is pretty bad right now because of all the fighting that has gone on in our house.

I did my best to not make matters worse.  First, I got real good at not getting flooded with emotion and fighting back when she got into her berating sessions.  Then I tried to enforce healthy boundaries.  All this didn't seem to help.  She is wanting to go to counseling, but she keeps talking about the relationship.  How to help our marriage.  What we BOTH can do.  That's not the problem.  Right now she is the problem.  That's a tough statement to say because I don't like blaming, but when I step back and look at it objectively, the major problems we have are her.  She needs to express anger in a healthy way, adhere to healthy boundaries, and take responsibility for her behaviors.  She does not appear to be doing that.  What she will do, is act nice, but if she doesn't get what she wants, she flies off the handle and feels justified because she was nice and didn't get what she wanted.

Right now, I want to be away from her with as little contact as possible to take some time to heal and regain myself.  I think she should do the same, and work on some individual growth through counseling.  Then after a few months we can focus on the relationship again.  However, I don't think working on our relationship right now is a good idea.  She needs to do some individual work first before we can work on that.

I only have so many hours in the day.  I have work that I've been falling behind.  I have my four kids and their schedules to try and stay ahead of.  I have my second job that is starting up.  I'm tired of my wife separating me from my kids both physically and emotionally and I don't see any evidence that she really does want to make the changes to help herself and ultimately the relationship.  She used the last round of joint counseling with a psychologist who does not know what to do in cases of abuse, to try and get me to change to not make her mad, which is a losing strategy. I get that both people often have a place they start out and want things to change and we often encourage them to meet in the middle.

Like in a healthy relationship one person might be at 0 and the other at 100 and they need to meet in the middle to 50.  In cases of abuse, the abusee  is at 60 and the abuse is at -25 with the goal of trying to get to 50.  I've told her that I'm willing to work on the relationship. I'm not trying to get divorce papers signed.  I want to see my kids and have some physical separation, but I don't want to work on the relationship until she has made some self improvements.  I just can't handle the extreme ups and downs right now.  She has been nice for three days and rather than be joyful, I keep getting more and more nervous waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I can't deal with that anymore.
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formflier
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« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2019, 09:26:07 AM »


So what action will you take this week to move your plan forward?

Has she been served with divorce papers?

Best,

FF
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« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2019, 04:28:09 PM »

People who are manipulative like to switch to new topics.

Oh my gosh, that makes so much sense.  I remember having that feeling lots of times where I felt my head spinning because everything moved around so much.  A couple of times I would want to go back to something because I felt it wasn't addressed and I was accused of being manipulative.
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Harri
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« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2019, 04:30:30 PM »

Staff only

This thread reached maximum length and has been split.  Part 3 is here:
https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=339001.msg13071297#msg13071297

Thank you.
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