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How to communicate after a contentious divorce... Following a contentious divorce and custody battle, there are often high emotion and tensions between the parents. Research shows that constant and chronic conflict between the parents negatively impacts the children. The children sense their parents anxiety in their voice, their body language and their parents behavior. Here are some suggestions from Dean Stacer on how to avoid conflict.
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Author Topic: When you apologize to them......  (Read 127 times)
LeftBehindGuy

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
What is your relationship status with them: divorced
Posts: 19


« on: December 03, 2019, 11:53:06 AM »


 Hey BPD Family,

 Just something I was mulling over in my head today.....and I could use some input.  I had an unexpected 2.5 hour long phone conversation with my ex wife two weeks ago (married a year and divorced for 2 months).   She ended up screaming about how terrible I am, and as always I ended up apologizing for things that I had done during our marriage (of course she never does).  For the most part I only apologized for things I generally feel regret or remorse for.  I think that is an adult and honorable way to handle things.....so I don't feel too bad that I apologized for things that I should have (despite the phone call being abusive).

  Here is where I am struggling to understand if this is a BPD thing.  In my view apologies should be sincere,  they should take responsibility for our actions as well as the hurt / pain they caused for other.  They should also be never be disturbed once they are given (I.E. 2 weeks later you shouldn't say I didn't really mean it).  That is a true apology.  I won't get into the fact my ex rarely apologized, was always insincere and often took them back (that has BPD written all over it).  In our latest call (and I don't plan on doing it again or talking to her again if I can help it) when I apologized for things I was clear to accept responsibility for my actions and the hurt they caused and I made no excuses.  She then would ask well then why did you XYZ....  I would answer honestly with explanations like "I was angry that you did XYZ or I was hurt that XYZ happened."  I would always quickly follow that up with but I take full responsibility and I am not excusing my actions.   

  She would completely lose it and tell me I wasn't apologizing.  I don't get it.  If someone gives you a sincere fulsome apology and then you demand to know the motivation for their actions you should expect an explanation.  They aren't likely to say....well there was no reason that I left the house after our argument etc..... That doesn't mean that they didn't give a sincere apology, especially if you ask for an explanation.  It's like she feels that if there was any motivation for my actions (even if it was a poor one and I admit it) that I am not apologizing to her.  It's almost as if it's impossible to apologize because unless she is looking for an explanation like it was demons or witchcraft that made me do it.....any explanation given will just piss her off further.

  I feel like I am the crazy one here....and maybe I don't know how to sincerely apologize to people and accept responsibility.  Is it me or is this a BPD trait? Help!!! 
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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2019, 02:06:38 PM »

Excerpt
Is it me or is this a BPD trait?

its a "left over resentments/conflict from the relationship" trait.

think of all the thousands (millions?) of high conflict divorces throughout history.

the relationship is over, but the resentment, the conflict, the power struggle, the need for vindication, to be heard, or to "win" something isnt. it can last for years.

im a big believer in apologies, and ownership when we have wronged someone.

im also a big believer that this is not always possible or constructive with everyone (especially an ex romantic partner). sometimes it is. probably most of the time, it isnt.

it sounds like your ex is more interested in validation than laying down arms. apologies are validation - she perceives your explanations for them as invalidation, and shes more interested in right or wrong than listening.

what do you think?
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     and I think it's gonna be all right; yeah; the worst is over now; the mornin' sun is shinin' like a red rubber ball…
LeftBehindGuy

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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2019, 02:20:56 PM »


 OR

  I think that's fair.  Also you have read most of my posts.  So you know my history.  She definitely is extremely interested in validation and being heard (she even posts lies about our relationship on Reddit...I am assume just to be heard and validated).  She doesn't know that I know she has a Redditt account. 

  She clearly didn't listen to a word I said during that prolonged conversation.  Out of the blue she texted me 3 days later to say she didn't think meeting up was a good idea (we had no plans to meet up) because she felt "tapped out" after the conversation.  It seems like she is just interested in blaming me and punishing me for the state / situation she finds herself in right down to the house she bought needing a new roof. 

   I guess I am just confused and I don't know how to deal with this (other than the obvious of ignoring her).  I am not sure it even is worth dealing with.   I guess the good news is that I haven't heard from in almost two weeks (longest period since she left in late August) So maybe she got what she wanted and is done now...…. tough to say with BPD right?
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2019, 03:01:31 AM »

Excerpt
I am not sure it even is worth dealing with.

my ex and i were together just shy of three years.

there was scarcely a day that went by that i wasnt accused, or questioned, or argued with, about some other girl, or the possibility of me cheating, or...for hours on end.

i realized some time after we broke up, with significant evidence, that she had probably cheated a number of times.

remarkably, i wasnt that hurt. maybe i would have been had i known at the time. there was just a sort of "ARE YOU KIDDING ME"/"well, it figures". but man, i wanted her to know i knew. i didnt even want to have some conversation about it. just some way to let her know i knew, so she didnt think shed gotten away with it, or something.

Detaching is about letting go of all of those things, because the relationship has ended.

easier said than done, of course. our exes struggle with it. we often struggle with it. sometimes these relationships end so badly, and theres so much left unsaid. and we are left to resolve it all, without a strong sense of how to begin to do so. and as hard as it may be for us, sometimes our exes are even less equipped than we are. or sometimes, what they are equipped with is blaming as the very coping mechanism.

i think thats probably what youre seeing as the case here.

her difficulty letting go. of you. of resentment. of the conflict in the relationship. her difficulty moving on, detaching, learning the lessons.

i think that its noble, and not just noble, but i would argue crucial, for you to look at your role in the relationship conflict/demise and to own it, and to learn those lessons. i even think that strategically, letting her blow a little steam can mean more peace in the long run (she said shes tapped out and you havent heard from her). it sounds like that took some steam out of you, and it hurt...and that may also be left over from the old relationship dynamics. but it will pass.

we often look to the people we feel hurt by to fix our wounds, to help us heal. probably, because at one time, we loved them, and that was a major part of our connection to them. in reality, as we transition to ex romantic partners, that is no longer our role.

your apologies have not, and most likely will not, heal her, or give her closure, or satisfy her. likewise, her acceptance of your apologies, or her own apologies, will not heal your heart either.

in a perfect world, that sort of thing happens very rarely, much like exes transitioning into good, close friends. not unheard of at all, but rare.

Excerpt
7) Belief that if you say it louder you will be heard

We often feel that if we explain our point better, put it in writing, say it louder, or find the right words ... we will be heard. People with BPD hear and read just fine. Everything that we have said has been physically heard. The issue is more about listening and engaging. When the relationship breaks down and emotions are flared, the ability to listen and engage diminishes greatly on all sides. And if we try to compensate by being more insistent it often just drives the interaction further into unhealthy territory. We may be seen as aggressive. We may be seen as weak and clingy. We may be seen as having poor boundaries and inviting selfish treatment. We may be offering ourselves up for punishment. It may be denial, it may be the inability to get past what they feel and want to say, or it may even be payback. This is one of the most difficult aspects of breaking up - there is no closure.

https://www.bpdfamily.com/content/surviving-break-when-your-partner-has-borderline-personality
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LeftBehindGuy

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Posts: 19


« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2019, 02:50:48 PM »


 OR

  Once again I appreciate your kind words and thoughtful counsel.  After speaking with my T this morning, I think I am at a crossroads.  I can either continue to let my ex wife drag me down and keep mired and the same misery she is feeling or I can chose to put her as far and as quick in my rearview mirror as possible and start to taking advantage of all the opportunities that life has to offer me (I am only 40 years old).  I am trying hard to chose the latter.   
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WindofChange
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2019, 07:33:08 PM »

Hi, LBGuy. It sounds like you did all that you possibly could to make things work, and when they didn't, to own your part in it and to apologize for it. That she chose not to accept it is upsetting but, in the end, you know you did the right thing. Sounds like you did all that you could to make amends. I know it would be infinitely more satisfying for her to say something like, "Thank you. That means a lot to me." Probably because we know that is what WE would say in that position. But they aren't wired that way. I know my ex punished me for 6 years of a 7 year relationship for something I did that hurt him. And in the end, that's all he talked about. It didn't matter that for 6 years I did all kinds of things to make up for it, put up with all kinds of hell from him, apologized and begged his forgiveness many times...and supported him, encouraged him, lifted him up when he was down, hell, cleaned up his apartment when he was too depressed to do it, loaned him money when he was out of work...none of that mattered. I could never make up for the thing I had done wrong, he would never let it go. I did all that I could, but he would not forgive. So I have had to work on accepting that fact, owning my part in the failure of the relationship...and then try my best to move on. Put him and the relationship in the rearview mirror "as far and as quick...as possible", as you said.  Not sure if my story is helpful to you, but at least you know you aren't alone. Smiling (click to insert in post)
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Be kind always.
WindofChange
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What is your relationship status with them: Together since age 17. Married since Y2k.
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What dreams may come...


« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2019, 10:45:58 PM »

She ended up screaming about how terrible I am, and as always I ended up apologizing for things that I had done during our marriage (of course she never does)....She then would ask well then why did you XYZ....  I would answer honestly with explanations like "I was angry that you did XYZ or I was hurt that XYZ happened."  I would always quickly follow that up with but I take full responsibility and I am not excusing my actions.   

She would completely lose it and tell me I wasn't apologizing.  I don't get it.  If someone gives you a sincere fulsome apology and then you demand to know the motivation for their actions you should expect an explanation....Is it me or is this a BPD trait?

I'm going to go straight to it: (In my experience,) IT IS TOTALLY A BPD TRAIT!!!

I get told that I don't know how to sincerely apologize to people or accept responsibility all the time. *shakes head*

Sometimes - and yes, it is as disturbing as it sounds - she will say, listen, or do nothing except repeat to me "Say I'm sorry that I did XYZ" until I say exactly what she says. Then she tells me that it's still not a real apology because of my facial expression and/or tone and/or body language and/or not looking directly at her and/or not touching her and/or...

Dude...it's not you.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

 - MLC
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Thank you for every kindness. Thank you for our children. For your guts, for your sweetness. For how you always looked, for how I always wanted to touch you. God, you were my life. I apologize for everytime I ever failed you. Especially this one...
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