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Author Topic: Trying to cope with loss of BPD partner - doubting myself  (Read 496 times)
darkwhiteknight

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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Broken Up
Posts: 7


« on: November 02, 2020, 08:22:05 PM »

I've recently had a 3.5 year relationship end with my ex-fiancee. I wasn't familiar with BPD characteristics until after the breakup.

The story:

My ex (41) and I (46) met in March 2017 and it was intense from the outset. We met online and within days spent both weekend days together. I was recently separated and she was recently out of a relationship. She made it clear she was looking for a man to become a stepfather to her two boys (8 and 5 at the time) who unfortunately have significant emotional issues.

Things were great for the first few months. We exchanged "I love you's" a month in and began our intimate relationship. That was rocky at first due to my anxiety issues. She was not too pleased and showed it but we worked it out.

Three months in I witnessed the first troubling event - I took her to a poker game my friends run and she wound up binge drinking about 10 beers in 2.5 hours. She wasn't even falling down drunk but very confrontational. She threatened to storm off down a dark street in an area she didn't know because I expressed my concern and  disappointment with her behavior.

We had a great summer. I met her kids, attended weddings, concerts, took vacation weekends...thought this was it. 6 months in she had a birthday party for her younger son which ended with her passed out drunk before guests were all gone. I didn't have the means to lock up. When I did finally wake her, she was very confrontational and when I expressed my displeasure with how she was acting  again under the influence, she told me "if you don't like it you can get the **** out of here". She had never been this dismissive or mean to me before. My gut told me that should have been the end right there, but I am a rescuer and I don't give up on people easily.

Things got rockier from there. We started to argue - a lot. I didn't understand why we had to have so much conflict. I grew up in a home with an alcoholic father so I tend to want to avoid conflict at all costs. It seemed like I was not living up to her expectations. I kept telling myself the next time we had a major conflict I would end things, but I kept relenting. She could say such horrible things to me - once I wasn't in the mood she told me "if you won't **** me I'll find someone who will." She knew I had been cheated on in the past too. To be fair she could often be a very loving and compassionate person. She is very selfless at times and generous when she can be. She made me feel more loved than any previous partner.

She was angry I wasn't in love with her children yet (they are a handful to say the least - not all their fault). I tried to be rational and explain that takes time but she couldn't accept that. She would tell me letting me be in her kids' life was a gift to me. I didn't feel the same though I did everything I could - attended parenting workshops, did a couple extended weekend vacations with just the four of us, and just about anything else a single mom could ask for from a man without kids.

After several more alcohol-fueled major conflicts, I did finally break up with her in September 2018. But predictably, I found myself scared to be alone again. I campaigned to get her back and promised her and her father I would become the stepfather she wanted. I promised to propose in the near future and we would start to look into living together. After about a month the shine was off and we were arguing again. She wanted to know why I hadn't gotten a ring in time for Christmas. I explained I had some bills that were ending and I would have money to do it in the spring.

In January 2019 she started having more acute issues with rage and emotional control. At first it wasn't all at me but eventually most episodes were directed at me. She blamed it on hormones. Nevertheless out of a sense of duty I pushed ahead with us moving in together. She was renting from her parents for about 1/2 market value and told me they needed her out to get more money since they had their own financial issues. She's an independent teacher and doesn't make much either. So it was presented to me if we weren't going to move in she would find a place for her and the boys and they would not move again for a while. So basically an ultimatum. I later found out her father had not said she had to go right then but rather she took it upon herself to get out to help them. I wanted to help them all and I make good money so I pushed ahead.

To be safe I wanted to rent first but there were not any rentals that would fit our needs in the specific area she insisted on staying in for school district purposes. So we bought a house. I was uneasy about moving in with the kids after only two years and a lot of conflict. We got engaged before we moved in (she wanted this) and we agreed to do couples counseling to make sure all issues we had could be worked on before marriage. This is where things started to get really rocky.

She was in therapy and as far as I knew it was helping her with her impulsivity and emotional control to a certain extent. But the stress of establishing a new home together really ramped up and as a result there was much more conflict. The mortgage and all credit accounts to furnish the house were in my name only. She put up some savings for the down payment but I held all the big debt. It became clear this was not even good enough for her. Within months of being in the home she would frequently pepper our conflicts with "I hate you", "this is over", "I am done", "I don't want to marry you", "you're an m'fer", etc. I was reeling. By October 2019 I was already dreaming for a way out. The stress and anxiety was immense. She insisted on getting the house ready to host her big family for all the holidays. We successfully did so even though most people take more than a year to settle a new house. This still didn't make her happy.

She is an operatic soprano and was very jealous of me joining a successful band which performs at big theater venues. My first show in October 2019 she acted like a petulant child and ruined the whole night. She was jealous of me being in the limelight and also that I had several female singers in the band. Your typical BPD insecurity I realize now in hindsight. Twice that fall I left and spent a couple nights at my mom's house because of how bad things were getting. I started taking notes on the worst of our exchanges so I could remember. I even audio recorded an hour long argument as a sanity check as I was repeatedly told after the fact I said things in arguments I knew I didn't say. I was bewildered by how often she distorted what I was saying mere minutes later.

Her parents are constantly involved in her life and they were firmly on my side. They tried to intervene as much as they could but she didn't want to hear anything might be her fault. The holidays provided a welcome respite but when January of this year came, the wheels really started coming off.

In January of this year, the tantrums started. Crying, screaming in a ball on the floor kind. My anxiety was through the roof. Even on days that weren't severe,  it was clear she was never content. I'd find myself often asking her if anything would ever be good enough for her. Meanwhile I was accused of being abusive and nitpicking everything about her. It was hard living with her as she is very absent minded and can be quite inconsiderate. I would point out things that needed attention and get immediate pushback. Now I'm no picnic to live with either and I do like order in the house, but I would always try to bring things up in a matter of fact way. That wasn't soft enough. Her father would even tell me "you need to be very soft and loving with her". I wondered why she couldn't be that way about my anxieties. Our intimacy had waned quite a bit due to the conflict. She couldn't understand why I didn't want it as much. She was always ready to go.

She was getting more and more angry I still wasn't in love with her kids. I explained it's a process. Some stepfathers take a long time to get there. She responded once by telling me I only look out for them and try to keep them from getting hurt because it would inconvenience me if they did get hurt. At that point I told her **** you and she shoved her fist in my face ready to punch me as if I had said the worst thing, not her.

At the end of January, all hell broke loose. She would routinely interrupt my work day at home to fight with me. She was in complete meltdown. I was admittedly pissed off and fighting back because my work time was constantly being compromised. Before I could even calm things down, she had grabbed a knife from the knife block and started coming down the hall toward me with it. I was recording audio at this point. I was screaming at her to drop the knife. She wasn't coming to hurt me but I didn't know that at the time. She rushed past me and locked herself in the bathroom with it. Eventually she came out when I got her dad on the line and he tried to talk her down. I thought for sure we'd have to get an ambulance and she'd wind up inpatient for a bit. She told him I was constantly mean to her which of course he believed to a certain extent because that's his little girl. I told them we were separating and stayed at my mother's for a week.

I knew I should be ending things, but I can't let go of people. And we had a house together. So we setup an intervention with her parents and my mother. My mother and her loved each other so it was not confrontational from our end. Her parents were on her case a lot during it. She was very defiant and didn't want to accept responsibility for much but she relented when dad really got on her ass an explained everything I had done for her and her kids. We ended by making up and I really thought we had turned a corner.

Our therapist was trying his best with us but every week was triage mode. We never got through our exercises. And within less than a month all the same crap was happening again. At one point she pulled her kids out of bed at midnight and told them they were leaving me which resulted in all three of them screaming and crying. I'm surprised I didn't have a heart attack by then from stress.

And then the pandemic started. I felt trapped. I have health anxiety too and some pre-existing conditions so I admittedly wanted to keep a pretty close eye on things. Her kids were notoriously bad with personal hygiene which their father didn't bother to work on it when they were with him. The arguments got more frequent from the heightened stress. She eventually dismissed our couples counselor (who had also become my personal counselor with her blessing) because she accused him of not helping me enough. So he said he couldn't counsel us as a couple anymore. I couldn't blame him. During an argument over this she punched herself in the face. I was horrified - I'm a big guy and I felt for sure someone would assume I did it.

Then our basement flooded in May which had my home office and man cave - my only respite from them. I was completely despondent. That room helped me stay sane. She hated that I had it even though I made it clear it was a requirement for us moving in together since I had never lived with kids before. Her kids fight ALL THE TIME. She would tell me I acted like a king opening his door to the peasants which was ridiculous - they all hung out with me in there many times.

So in June when I was at my absolute lowest - pandemic fatigue, power outages, work stress, loss of my sanctuary, etc., she decided to start really pushing to work on our relationship issues. Instead of trying to comfort me at my worst, she started tearing me down and telling me everything I've done wrong in my life. I told her I wasn't going to work on the relationship at this moment and I wasn't sure when I'd be ready to do so. All she heard was I wasn't going to work on it. She takes the engagement ring off and and tells me to stick it up my ***. I should note two things - one I had told her that was a line she could not cross and if she ever gave me the ring back I wasn't sure I'd be able to get over it. Two, she had pulled at it every major argument we had all year like she wanted to but knew better. One time she did take it off but took it back before I got to it.

At this point I considered the engagement over. Had there not been a pandemic and I had somewhere else I could stay, I would have left right then and there. But instead we found a new counselor and kept trying to work on things. I would hear from her mother how my ex regretted giving me the ring and wished she could take it all back, but all I'd ever hear from her were the reasons why she felt she "had to" do it. We were all going stir crazy in the house and I admit I was very strict with the kids going out during  the pandemic. But none of them can be trusted to be conscientious.

In late August it became clear her ex was going to send his stepkids to school in person, which meant my ex's kids would be around them half the month while they were around many other children. I started talking about her moving out with the kids which of course had me painted as the devil by her whole family. I made it clear I would have never even dreamed of doing something like that, but with our engagement ended by her and the house my financial responsibility only, I didn't feel it was right for me to have to leave or isolate in our basement to protect my health. If I got sick and couldn't work she couldn't afford the house anyway.

So it all blew up in September and I finally told her it was happening whether she liked it or not. Ironically she had been doing better with her behavior since the engagement ended, but she was also being given Wellbutrin most of the summer. I also believe based on past comments she was desperate to not have to uproot her kids and wanted to leave me but didn't want to do it to them. So I offered her a very generous buyout since she was on the house title, and she took it pretty quickly. Within 2 weeks she was out of house.

This is where my present difficulties start. I feel like my whole world is shattered. I made many overtures both pre- and post- move out to get her to stay, but she was resolute. I know it's for the best, but I can't let go. I finally blocked her on social media so I didn't keep checking her public profile incessantly. I feel all the typical things - we had a special bond, no one will ever love me like she did, etc., etc.

My therapist is in the unique position of having treated us as a couple and me individually. He was witness to several of her meltdowns in session. He was hesitant to even tell me his thoughts on her but he could see me looking to get back with her. And he dropped the bomb - he told me a 1/3 of his practice is treating NP/BP and that she fit all the criteria. I began to read up and was stunned. It was all right there. I wished I had known earlier but only because my rescuer instincts kicked in and I would have surely sacrificed even more of myself for her. But it would never be enough - I know that. He literally told me he is "glad and relieved" I am out of the relationship. I said don't BPD people deserve love too? His answer - let someone else love them. Wow. It's hard for me to be that callous but I know I have to look after myself now. But it's so hard. My ex and I have been on no contact except for a couple minor household things for about 2 weeks which is also the last time I saw her in person. I feel so empty. I cry for her every day. I've never had a breakup do a number on me like this one even though I've dreamed of getting out of it for almost 2 years.

I know this is a massive amount of info and thank you to anyone who read it all. I just needed to get it all down before I start with the rose colored glasses again. I feel like it's going to take me years to get over this. Please tell me it gets better.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2020, 08:35:14 PM by darkwhiteknight » Logged
grumpydonut
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Broken up
Posts: 163



« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2020, 08:21:50 AM »

That's a very, very difficult story, Darkwhiteknight. I'm sorry you had to go through all of that. I'm sure others will have good insight for you. And you're definitely in the right place.

I have a question that may surprise, but may also prove helpful moving forward. When you were a child, did you feel unloved and inherently flawed / bad?

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darkwhiteknight

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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Broken Up
Posts: 7


« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2020, 09:54:48 AM »

I don’t recall feeling that way a lot but we didn’t have a happy home. My mom had to do everything for me and my brother since my father was either working, at the bar or sleeping.

She never cracked or showed us her pain but I’m sure it was there. That’s part of the reason I could never muster too much sympathy for my ex. She would constantly cry about how hard it was for her as a single mother and yet she had more support and a bigger place than we ever had. I would find myself constantly telling her to grow up and act like a 40-year old mother of two, not a child.

My paternal grandmother was a very hateful and volatile person so there definitely was some feeling of being bad and unloved from her. We spent a lot of weekends with them and that surely took its toll.
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grumpydonut
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« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2020, 05:16:20 PM »

Okay, the reason I ask is because you identified yourself as a rescuer, and put up with things that you knew you shouldn't because you didn't want to lose love. Both are understandable, but ultimately led to additional hurt and allowed someone to emotionally abuse you. The concern is, if you don't deal with the roots that caused these behaviours, you may fall into a similar relationship again. While if you do find them, you will learn and grow, and a negative situation will turn into a big positive.

I myself am a rescuer, and have a high tolerance for drama and instability. It comes from my deep-rooted belief that I am "not enough" or "flawed" and thus I must prove how I am good by trying to stay and help. Then, once I've done enough, I will be loved. My BPD showered me with love at the beginning and then took it away. It brought up subconscious beliefs and emotional attachments, and thus I worked to undo childhood events through my BPD partner. When I failed, I fell back into familiar emotional attachments - helpless, worthless, unlovable. And the strange thing is, that felt comfortable...

I believe a lot of us on this board do / did the same thing. It's not a bad thing. It's just something to note (if it indeed applies).

Edit - and in terms of a way to help get through some of the pain you're experiencing re. your situation, I highly suggest going into the archives and searching for "2010"s posts. This person was a member from years back, and her / his knowledge of BPD is extremely helpful.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2020, 05:21:49 PM by grumpydonut » Logged
darkwhiteknight

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Broken Up
Posts: 7


« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2020, 09:52:35 PM »

Thanks for the info. I have been discussing this topic with my therapist. He's made me aware that when I am healthier I will attract healthier partners and won't be drawn to those who need to be rescued.

I never had a long term relationship until I was 24 and it lasted way too long. We were together 15 years when it should not have lasted more than 3 due to infidelity and growing apart. She wasn't BPD but still not right for me. Problem was I was so afraid of being alone when I did finally leave her, I jumped right into another relationship barely two months later with a very controlling woman who caught me at my weakest mentally and physically due to some health issues. We were together 2 years and I don't believe she was BPD either but she had many issues from her past and was very secretive. I was also her third marriage and she was 36. She is on her fourth now.

I met my uBPD ex within a month of separating from my ex wife. I never gave myself time to heal. I essentially got over my ex wife during my first 6 months with my uBPD ex. I have to keep myself from doing it again. It's very hard for me to focus on myself. I definitely have codependency issues. And I routinely don't feel I deserve love. Whenever anyone helps me I get very emotional because I don't expect help from anyone even though I help everyone I can. I still need to get to the bottom of that.

I read through a lot of old correspondence with my mother that reminded me of some of the very bad things that were happening these past 12 months with  my ex. It helped to see my own words and how for months and months I knew I wanted out. The problem is while my ex was making me miserable, she was also doing many things to show me love most days right up until we broke up. She would scratch my back or rub my head every night at bedtime or in the morning to help me relax. Always cooked for me. She would tell me she wished I could see myself the way she sees me. She tried to build me up a lot because that's what she wanted in return. Her Facebook wallpaper states "You deserve the love you're trying to give everyone else".

I feel such sadness for her and what her and kids' lives are going to be like now. They will struggle financially for sure. But I have to remind myself she's the one who ended our engagement and I still stayed to try and work on it. I didn't value myself enough to walk right then or during any of the other extreme events. The pandemic just made things harder. I hope she and I haven't talked for the last time I ever but I know no contact has to be observed now. She's a very proud person so I don't expect she'll ever reach out to me. Time will tell.
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darkwhiteknight

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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Broken Up
Posts: 7


« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2020, 07:26:13 PM »

I know I wrote a massive novel there and maybe not everybody read it, but could some here please let me know if what I described truly sounds like someone with BPD? My therapist seems pretty convinced but I don’t want to believe it. I want to believe this is my fault.
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WorriedHusband
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2020, 09:32:18 PM »

Look at the 9 diagnostic criteria from the DSM5.  They need 5 for a professional to diagnose them.  My wife has all 9.  You have been with her for 3 years.  You know her. Look and see what you think.  My wife is uBPD.  She is a therapist herself and would never allow herself to be treated unless she had no other option.
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WorriedHusband
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2020, 09:37:50 PM »


Edit - and in terms of a way to help get through some of the pain you're experiencing re. your situation, I highly suggest going into the archives and searching for "2010"s posts. This person was a member from years back, and her / his knowledge of BPD is extremely helpful.

I tried and couldn’t find any post by 2010.  Could you link one?
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darkwhiteknight

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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Broken Up
Posts: 7


« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2020, 10:02:26 PM »

Look at the 9 diagnostic criteria from the DSM5.  They need 5 for a professional to diagnose them.  My wife has all 9.  You have been with her for 3 years.  You know her. Look and see what you think.  My wife is uBPD.  She is a therapist herself and would never allow herself to be treated unless she had no other option.

She has at least 5. A couple of them aren’t on the nose exactly. She did lie about trying to hurt herself a few times so not sure if that qualifies as suicidal threats. Certainly a dramatic person though. She claimed the time she pulled the knife and ran to the bathroom she was being intentionally dramatic but in that moment she was really out of control I could tell. I think she lied about doing it intentionally so I wouldn’t think she was that out of control.
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Cromwell
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« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2020, 05:53:28 PM »

darkwhiteknight, welcome.

could some here please let me know if what I described truly sounds like someone with BPD? My therapist seems pretty convinced but I don’t want to believe it. I want to believe this is my fault.

Suppose for a moment, you are entitled to believe it is (your fault)

where would that leave you in terms of making things right. Does it open the door to going back? perhaps to try something new?

but If you were already at fault and have been the cause of this - how do you know that going back would not just simply create more fault, more damage?

weave this together, we are back to the point of what the therapist is doing - trying to protect, damage limitation, thats how I see it.

ive been through these feelings btw, my ex had a pre-existing BPD diagnosis - it did not stop me from blaming myself.

Ive read what you have been through - a lot - I hope that there are moments now to de-pressurise from what comes across as nearly 2 years of stressful experience as well as the heartache. Its tough and even with a lot of learning resources, it still is a highly complex disorder to field questions, takes time.
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darkwhiteknight

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Relationship status: Broken Up
Posts: 7


« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2020, 09:46:07 AM »

You’re right of course - nothing would be different after the initial honeymoon phase.

I had another good session yesterday. My T told me if I can’t trust my own thoughts right now to trust him, which I do.

It just makes me so sad to think of the times recently where she would be crying and literally squealing from emotional overload and because I was so overloaded instead of consoling I would tell her again and again to stop squealing and get a hold of herself. I realize now how extremely cruel that must have felt to her. Even though it’s not my fault she is emotionally dysregulated, it still hurts to think I was causing her pain.

darkwhiteknight, welcome.

Suppose for a moment, you are entitled to believe it is (your fault)

where would that leave you in terms of making things right. Does it open the door to going back? perhaps to try something new?

but If you were already at fault and have been the cause of this - how do you know that going back would not just simply create more fault, more damage?

weave this together, we are back to the point of what the therapist is doing - trying to protect, damage limitation, thats how I see it.

ive been through these feelings btw, my ex had a pre-existing BPD diagnosis - it did not stop me from blaming myself.

Ive read what you have been through - a lot - I hope that there are moments now to de-pressurise from what comes across as nearly 2 years of stressful experience as well as the heartache. Its tough and even with a lot of learning resources, it still is a highly complex disorder to field questions, takes time.
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Cromwell
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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2020, 12:52:38 PM »

Good to hear you are on your way

Sometimes we can over-estimate our usefulness as saviours. I found this only much later post-relationship, studying the disorder that far from being cruel or callous to leave her, it made little difference that I was there with her even though I felt emotionally physically drained trying to 'help'. In other words, hard work really does not pay much back, or the best intentions.

It was literally mission-impossible endeavour ...
but not understanding it as such.

If even highly trained therapists find it a highly challenging client-type to work with - what chance does the average public have?

try not to get stuck in the guilt.

the feelings and thoughts are valid for the moment, go with them accept but I hope overall that you try to find some sense of leaving this guilt, that it is pointless to hold on to.
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darkwhiteknight

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Relationship status: Broken Up
Posts: 7


« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2020, 09:30:16 AM »

Thanks for this. This seems to echo what my T is telling me about her having a “leaky pot” which will never stay full no matter how much you fill it. I’m working on the guilt. Starting to feel more sorry for her and just sorrow in general that someone I still love and care for may be suffering the rest of their life.

quote author=Cromwell link=topic=347190.msg13128745#msg13128745 date=1604861558]
Good to hear you are on your way

Sometimes we can over-estimate our usefulness as saviours. I found this only much later post-relationship, studying the disorder that far from being cruel or callous to leave her, it made little difference that I was there with her even though I felt emotionally physically drained trying to 'help'. In other words, hard work really does not pay much back, or the best intentions.

It was literally mission-impossible endeavour ...
but not understanding it as such.

If even highly trained therapists find it a highly challenging client-type to work with - what chance does the average public have?

try not to get stuck in the guilt.

the feelings and thoughts are valid for the moment, go with them accept but I hope overall that you try to find some sense of leaving this guilt, that it is pointless to hold on to.
[/quote]
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Cromwell
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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2020, 01:03:23 AM »

Hi.

That's a way of thinking about it that I've noticed comes up quite regularly since I've been here (leaky bucket analogy)

Sympathy for her illness is something I conflated with feelings of love towards my ex. I think there can be something of an inter relation, they don't need be entirely separate but in my case the conflation kept me 'stuck'

I suppose im at a tricky part now of having done the 'doing' part {detached} id like to learn what is it that kept me in an unsuitable relationship, find it that hard to let go of negativity and so on. This is where therapist might be helpful.

Hope your well and getting more knowledge as part of coming to terms with what you experienced /experiencing.
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