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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: Confusing friendship - I need help to understand what has happened please  (Read 276 times)
Gerontius

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Friend
Relationship status: Estranged
Posts: 3


« on: August 19, 2020, 12:42:41 PM »

Hi, I am so pleased to have found this site and really need support to try to understand what has happened.

Almost 18 months ago I met a man through my work - he seemed interesting and we shared lots in common. On reflection our initial communication was too intense. I haven’t dated for a long time (widowed young with children) so I wasn’t sure of dating etiquette in the age of WhatsApp! We met and had a lovely day in a gallery but the next day he raged at me on the phone - ranting about the breakdown of his marriage. The next day I explained calmly and carefully why that wasn’t acceptable. So began our push/pull relationship. I realise I should have walked away but I felt compelled to try because he had shared with me details of a painful childhood. He decided that we should be friends instead of trying to form a romantic relationship. He began to tell me about his struggles with sex addiction. Just before we met he had been for intensive therapy in the US and he was attending 12 step meetings - he told me he was celibate. I tried to be supportive but I found his conversations extremely difficult at times - he was over sharing far too much information and it caused me real discomfort. Several times I walked away but we always ended up reuniting. I tried to communicate sensitively, calmly and clearly at all times. His texting habits also caused problems - he would ignore texts and phone calls sometimes. Whenever I questioned this, he insisted that it was his right to choose whether to answer or not because of his mental health problems - the problem was that he had mentioned suicidal ideation and I sometimes became anxious if he didn’t reply. I began to experience symptoms of anxiety. That is when I started to Google his symptoms. BPD seemed the closest to my experience of him - I asked him and he laughed and said “Of course I am borderline” - it was never mentioned again. He frequently described himself as insane or mad. There were many good times as well - he was very supportive when my friend died, always interested in my artwork and listened sympathetically when I had a flood in my house. He said he wanted me to always be part of his life. He could be funny and warm - excellent company. Then, one night last October, he rang me - he had visited a prostitute and was having a panic attack. I tried to help but I was very shaken.
I tried to be the best friend I could, in the face of failed plans and the other issues I have described. I often gave him little samples of my art because I knew he loved my artwork. I think communicating with him through my art became a coping mechanism - it seemed to shine light on an increasingly dark situation. At the start of this year we had a long and honest discussion and he decided to seek help. He started taking prescribed medication and tried rhythmic movement therapy (for childhood trauma) His mood seemed to improve, he took an interest in hobbies and our friendship was calm and happy - he told me he loved me. I noticed that he began to mention his RMT therapist’s name regularly in conversations and she seemed to have a big influence on him - at this point he stopped taking prescribed medication and began to use homeopathy on her advice. During the pandemic lockdown he became agitated and anxious again. I discovered that his therapist had been visiting him at home even though that was against lockdown guidance. I now suspect they were having sex. One evening we were chatting on the phone when, out of the blue, he asked me not to give him any more of my artwork. I was really hurt and our friendship began to unravel. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t want it anymore - he even accused me of trying to take over his house. It was extraordinary. In the ensuing argument I asked him about his therapist but the story he told me didn’t make any sense. A week later he contacted me to fix the friendship but it emerged that his “friendship” with his therapist had ended. I asked why and he said “I will tell you when you are older.” Finally I had had enough and I walked away. I see from Facebook that he and his therapist are now a couple. I have gone no contact and left Facebook.

After an initial sense of relief, I am now in a state of trying to explain to myself what happened. I would be grateful for any insights you can offer. I understand that I need to work on my own boundaries so advice would be welcome too.

Thank you for reading - it feels better to have written it all down
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brighter future
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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: 209


« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2020, 01:14:12 PM »

I am sorry to hear about the trouble that you are experiencing. You situation definitely sounds like what most of us in here have experienced in past relationships.  I'm almost 4.5 months out of the relationship with my
uBPD ex-g/f, and I haven't made sense of most of her behavior at the end of the relationship. However, I've written most of it off as behavior that's typical of this disorder. I believe I'd drive myself mad if I obsessed about trying to make sense of her actions and behavior. Research the disorder as much as you can, read as much as you can in this forum, seek therapy from a professional if you feel you need it (I have been in therapy for a little over 3 months), and focus on yourself and your needs.

I find it highly disturbing that a therapist would get intimately involved with a patient/client. That is highly unethical, and I would think behavior like that could put their license to practice in jeopardy. I would also highly question the therapist's mental health as well.

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Gerontius

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Friend
Relationship status: Estranged
Posts: 3


« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2020, 04:39:38 PM »

Thank you for replying - I can see that this site will be very helpful. I am considering counselling too. I just want to shake off the feeling that I should have known better. I feel foolish and vulnerable.
His therapist has an interview on YouTube in which she claims to have helped him to make a fundamental shift in his life - I doubt that somehow.
I realise that our friendship would only have caused me more pain in the future.
I wish you all the best with your journey - it is still very early days for you too.
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brighter future
***
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Broken up
Posts: 209


« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2020, 11:18:24 AM »

Thank you for replying - I can see that this site will be very helpful. I am considering counselling too. I just want to shake off the feeling that I should have known better. I feel foolish and vulnerable.
His therapist has an interview on YouTube in which she claims to have helped him to make a fundamental shift in his life - I doubt that somehow.
I realise that our friendship would only have caused me more pain in the future.
I wish you all the best with your journey - it is still very early days for you too.

This site and counseling has been a huge help to me. My counselor helped me identify my personal issues and the issues with the relationship I was in. She is getting me pointed back in the right direction. This forum put me in touch with people who've gone through similar issues, which has been so helpful to me.  I no longer feel alone in my thoughts, and I don't sit around questioning my ex-gf's behavior and why she did what she did at the end of our relationship (and during the relationship, also). After spending over 3 months with the counselor and two months reading the forum, I learned that all of her behaviors are typical of people that have BPD. My biggest issue right now is loneliness and getting used to being single again, but that is getting a little better each day. It was also very hard to see her latch right on to someone else so quickly, however, I'm getting over that more and more each day. She's just repeating the same unhealthy behaviors, and this relationship won't be much different more than likely.

It's good to see that your conscious of the issues in the relationship with your friend and that keeping him in your life would have probably resulted in more heartache for you. I have a similar mindset towards my ex-g/f. Best of luck to you in the coming weeks. Take care of yourself and keep us updated on your progress.  Smiling (click to insert in post)

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