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Experts share their discoveries [video]
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Caretaking - What is it all about?
Margalis Fjelstad, PhD
Blame - why we do it?
Brené Brown, PhD
Family dynamics matter.
Alan Fruzzetti, PhD
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Ivan Spielberg, PhD
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Author Topic: Becoming Exhausted  (Read 208 times)
OneMoment inTime

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
What is your relationship status with them: Married for 52 long, exhausting years
Posts: 4


« on: January 14, 2020, 10:30:56 PM »

My spouse of 52 years was diagnosed as bipolar many years ago.  One therapist after the other says it is a complex situation, doesn't truly fit any diagnosis.  When I saw the 2 videos on this site,  bpd is the most accurate I have seen.  I am 76 years old, he is 80.  I am in good health, he is also, in spite of having Type 1 diabetes.  He just stopped working 3 months ago.  And we have a small farm - so we both stay active and busy.

My challenge is dealing with these episodes. He will be fine for several days and suddenly he becomes very different.  The last Psychiatrist suggested it might be dissociation. The "different" state is immature, irresponsible, angry, overly sensitive, insentitive to me, talking of suicide, incensed, outrageous accusations toward me, not being able to function and make good decisions that he could and does make otherwise. 

His brother was the same way.  His wife called him Jekylle and Hyde - that was 30 years ago, this is an accurate description of both.

I am becoming more and more worn out from his rages. I'm an optimistic person and have lived around this problem and tried not to let it dictate my life.  He has improved with group therapy in the past couple of months but not enough that we can go anywhere for a short vacation and not be at risk for one of his episodes happening.  This is disappointing.

One suggestion, I heard on the video that might help....to validate what he is feeling if it there is any legitimate basis for it.  I hope I'm expressing it correctly.  I know I have been focusing on the exaggeration of his emotions and overlooking that there may be some truth to what he is reacting about.

I'm very analytical ~ if given an understanding about this, I can manage my part of it in a better way.

Thank you for this place of refuge.


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2Loyal2Long
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
What is your relationship status with them: Married and Separated
Posts: 78



« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2020, 01:55:20 AM »

Welcome, glad you made it here!  It sounds like you could definitely use the support.  So many on here can relate, myself included.

Giving as much background as possible helps others to see your situation more clearly.  If I may ask . . .

How long have you noticed the behavior, the raging, the Jekyll and Hyde switch?

How long ago was he diagnosed with bipolar?

The reason I ask is because my uBPDh was diagnosed with bipolar six years ago and his behavior has not improved with medications.  I’ve always felt it was ‘something else’.  I’m here for the same reasons.

Also, is this new onset with his emotional dysregulation?  Or has it been ongoing for a longer history?  I ask due to age.  My father’s behavior got unpredictable and violent in his later years (even though he was angry most of his life) and it turned out he was having mini strokes (TIA’s).  Not trying to give you anything more to worry about, I’m just trying to consider any other possibilities.  For all practical purposes it does sound like BPD.

You mentioned:
“One suggestion, I heard on the video that might help....to validate what he is feeling if it there is any legitimate basis for it.  I hope I'm expressing it correctly.  I know I have been focusing on the exaggeration of his emotions and overlooking that there may be some truth to what he is reacting about.”

Excellent work on your part already!  The learning tools on this site are great.

I know you must be exhausted from what you’re saying.  How are you doing and how can you provide for self care to nourish and rejuvenate yourself?  This disorder is draining physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to caregivers.

So grateful you’re here amongst friends!   Virtual hug (click to insert in post)
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Ozzie101
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2020, 08:23:41 AM »

Hi OneMomentinTime! Welcome new member (click to insert in post) Welcome to the family!

I don't have much to add right now but 2Loyal2Long has asked some really good questions and I hope, when you feel like it, you'll answer.

We're a supportive community here and we have a lot of skills and experience we can share with you. And, who knows, you may be able to help others in turn!

Welcome and keep posting! Virtual hug (click to insert in post)
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OneMoment inTime

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
What is your relationship status with them: Married for 52 long, exhausting years
Posts: 4


« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2020, 09:02:01 AM »

I hope I'm responding in the correct place to keep the thread going...
Thank you for your responses and supportive comments.
He has been this way "forever".  Quick courtship, he was madly in love with me, engaged in 4 months.  I pushed the marriage time out but we were married 6 months after we met.  The honeymoon was wonderful.  The night after returning home from our trip, he went into a angry, seething attitude towards me.  He ate supper in silence, angry, got up wadded his napkin up into a tight ball, threw in hard into his empty plate, slammed his chair into the table, went over and turned on TV, sat down with his arms across his chest, angry and would not speak.  This was the beginning of our marriage.

After 3 months I talked with my mother and told her this was not working, I needed to get out.  He had been slamming me into the walls etc. when he was angry.  My mother was furious with me and told me I could not come home.  I'm sure her focus was on not being embarrassed to her friends.  I had no money, so I stayed.   I had been physically abused for years by my parents so, as with them, I kept trying to figure out what I was doing wrong and try to prevent it. 

He was diagnosed about 25 years ago.  Put on heavy medication - it did not help.  No medication has helped.  We did counseling many times, I think we've counted 8 different mental health professionals.  No one can really find a diagnosis that fits.  Our daughter who is a Psychologist PhD thinks Reactive Attachment Disorder could be a fit.  His mother went to therapy one time with him and the therapist thought she was schizoid.  When I heard this, it was like adding another nightmare into my thinking.  If she was, then it was the neglect and suspected sexual abuse that she did to her two sons.   That sexual abuse was brought up by my husbands therapist and his brother's therapist independently.

With all the chaos that my husband has caused - to everyone around him, I can only imagine how he must be suffering inside for all of this behavior to manifest itself.
Right now, things are improving because he is going to groups at our local VA,  he goes 4 days a week and that constant support and reality check is helping a lot.  Also, I think it is giving him a sense of identity in a positive way. At work, he was around men who griped and complained about their wives and the bad situation they were in.  He is very susceptible to joining in with anything like this - very susceptible to whatever is around him.  I have noticed that in a profound way.

Again, thank you.
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Ozzie101
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2020, 09:17:51 AM »

I'm so sorry you've had to deal with all this, One. Virtual hug (click to insert in post)

I, too, am an analytical person who always tries to figure things out and understand. That can be difficult with BPD. Have you read the book Stop Walking on Eggshells? It gives great insight into the BPD mind and it was a real eye-opener for me.

Validating the feelings (without validating the invalid), understanding what's really going on behind the rage -- those are both key things.

Is he still physically violent with you?
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OneMoment inTime

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
What is your relationship status with them: Married for 52 long, exhausting years
Posts: 4


« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2020, 02:29:36 PM »

No, nothing physical towards me.  And no threat of it.
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Ozzie101
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Posts: 1635



« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2020, 07:26:09 AM »

Very good. I just wanted to make sure you're physically safe. Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

That's also a very positive thing that he's going to a support group and getting positive reinforcements. Many people here really struggle to get their loved ones to seek help.

When he has these episodes, how do they usually go? Are there any regular triggers? How do you usually respond? If you could describe a recent one in detail (a sort of play-by-play) that would be great.

Sorry for all the questions! But when we have details, it's easier for us to see what tools and advice might be most helpful in your situation.
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OneMoment inTime

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
What is your relationship status with them: Married for 52 long, exhausting years
Posts: 4


« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2020, 10:37:12 AM »

Ozzie101,

Thank you.
For sure, triggers can go from a  "hint" of criticism", any confrontation, any accountability, "holding" him to something he said.  Pushing him up against reality, when he wants to continue with his own private thinking - like he knows I would be angry so that is why he is reacting to me this way.  And expecting me - that I should know that.....

We see a marriage couselor on the 28th.  At the top of my list is to have her help formulate a plan - so he has a pre-determined place to go where someone can make sure his diabetes is under control - a safe place for him to spend a day or two until he can settle down and return home.

Yes, a recent episode...
For 8 years, I have been breeding a certain breed of chickens that are exceptional and I am known for having bred these birds back to excellent quality. I used to sell 3,000 chicks per year.

He has been complaining intermittently about them - that we have too many.  So, I agreed, he is getting older and it's work. I told him I would problem solve it by the end of the weekend, which I did. I found a farm to take them.  And he knew this, Then last night he came inside around dark and opened his conversation with "If, in a couple of months, I'm too tired to ....I can't remember what it was.....It's because of these birds - I told you...and you said you would make a decision by the weekend ...
I asked him what is this all about - you know I already gave them away.  Why are you complaining about something that isn't going to happen.   Well, he just wanted me to know.... ( he was angry) 
Seems like when he gets on something, he can't get off of it, even if things go his way.

It was painful for me to give the birds away. They were just ready to lay and beautiful young chickens.

Then he said this morning, "You can keep them if you want to."

This impulsive behavior is not uncommon.  He accuses me of running everything and yes, I do.  If he made all the decisions, we would have moved to 3 different places in the past 2 years.  Moving/relocating is a big thing with him.  He has harassed me about selling our house and moving.  About 6 months ago, he had 2 realtors looking for him - one was looking for a small house for him to move into alone because he was going to divorce me and the other was looking for a house for both of us.

While I was out of town a couple years ago, he had a realtor come over and look at our house to sell it.
Luckily, my name is one the deed also.

Yes, I run things - I have for quite a while because I started to understand how erratic he was.

Recently, he was put on Gapapentin and as they slowly increased the dose, I see improvement....but my tolerance is at the lowest it has ever been.
I do react in anger at times, ignore his commands at other times.   It's difficult to respond therapeutically.  And I don't know if it would help since he needs someone to be the other side of his equation.

I'm pretty spent emotionally right now.
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