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CuriousSeeker

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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Single
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« on: October 11, 2020, 04:43:38 PM »

I was very recently dating a woman for three months, and it was intense and thrilling. She was clearly a bit troubled, but I felt like I could accept that. She is so warm and affectionate and smart and generous and funny, and I fell in love with her. I felt very loved.

The more I learned, the more drama I realized there was in her life. I thought the drama wouldn’t affect me.

Then she had a very bad day, and suddenly everything about the relationship was wrong, I learned in a series of harsh text messages, some in all caps. She wanted a break. She needed her life back. The frequent FaceTiming (which she initiated!) was bad. The sex was wrong. It was a mistake for her to tell me she loved me (or something — that message was a bit incoherent). I got voice memos with her screaming at me that I’m pretty sure were recorded in public.

A few hours prior it was “I love you dearly” and “I’m so lucky I found you” and all the rest (which I was saying too, because I believed it).

Over the next day, the texts went from rageful and hurtful back to affectionate, then to rageful again, then begging. Since then I’ve blocked her, but she emailed me saying she wants to stay together and have a kid. This was a bit out of the blue, to say the least.

She’s a walking checklist for BPD, I see now. Suicidal thoughts, turbulent family relationships, turbulent friendships, alcohol troubles, mood swings, fear of abandonment, etc.

I have no tolerance for the way she treated me. I told her it was over. I don’t know what was real now. I don’t know if I handled this well. Zero tolerance, yes, but it’s not her fault, right? She’s sick and obviously in agony. She hated herself that day and she blasted me as a result. I sympathize. But I will not be treated that way. But I don’t know if I threw away something that could have been good if she got the right help.

I’m so confused. This really hurts. And I’m afraid she’s going to kill herself, or show up pounding on my door at any minute, or something. I think I’m still in love with her, but, again, I don’t know what was real.

Ugh.
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Lucky Jim
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2020, 11:21:22 AM »

Excerpt
I have no tolerance for the way she treated me. I told her it was over. I don’t know what was real now. I don’t know if I handled this well. Zero tolerance, yes, but it’s not her fault, right? She’s sick and obviously in agony. She hated herself that day and she blasted me as a result. I sympathize. But I will not be treated that way. But I don’t know if I threw away something that could have been good if she got the right help.

Hey CuriousSeeker, I like what you are saying about not allowing yourself to be treated that way, which to me shows good boundaries.  I suggest you stay the course and move on.  No, I doubt that it could have been good if she got the right help.  Who says she wants to get help?  Those w/BPD are highly resistant to the idea of treatment, because they can't admit that there is anything wrong.  In my view, you did the right thing by detaching.  It doesn't get better, my friend.  I should know, after 16 years of marriage to a pwBPD.

LuckyJim
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    A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
George Bernard Shaw
HopelessBroken
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2020, 11:51:41 AM »

I appreciate what Lucky Jim said and I’m actually jealous you were able to set a boundary so early on. I dealt with similar behavior and never put up a firm boundary until the 9th discard. It took 3.5 years for me to stand up for myself.

I hear you struggling with the back and forth thoughts that happen when you withdraw from a relationship with such intense passion.

A lot of times they do come back so let’s talk about what you would want to handle things that happened. What are your thoughts?
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CuriousSeeker

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Posts: 6


« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2020, 12:43:23 PM »

Hi both,

Thanks so much to both of you. I’ve had help from a friend who is a mental health pro (and a veteran of a relationship with a pwBPD) and my therapist. So I share the credit for the ability to set a boundary!

Hopeless, I’m not sure what your question is but I think you mean what will I do if she comes back? I guess it would depend. I think the boundary would stand firm unless she’s gotten some serious help. So, I couldn’t even consider a relationship for a while.

If it’s in the short term but things seem to have cooled down I could imagine a phone call to wind things down a bit more gently. I hated to break things off so abruptly and with no explanation. I mean, duh, she knows what she did! But still.

Of course if I hear that voice I could imagine really, really wanting it to work out, and missing her so much I make the mistake of seeing her, and then being weak and getting involved again. So, maybe not a good idea.

This is all brand new, mind you.

How does this all strike you guys?
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HopelessBroken
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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2020, 04:16:20 PM »

Yes, sorry...I have no idea what happened there with my sentence structure. Smiling (click to insert in post)

What I meant to say is, how would you want to handle things if you did hear from her?

I never had a plan, so despite my attempts at breaking off contact I always ended up back in the relationship. Each time the relationship failed it did more damage to me.

You are very lucky to have the help of a therapist and a friend who understands BPD. People  who don’t understand BPD don’t truly get what you are going through.

Right now it sounds like you are doing all the right things. Talking to others who understand, including a therapist who can help you understand how you got into this relationship in the first place. Also keeping the boundary you set and knowing that the relationship wouldn’t be an option again without her doing some major work. As LJ highlights, treatment is tough for someone with BPD.

You’re in a good place here, we understand. Smiling (click to insert in post)
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Lucky Jim
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« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2020, 10:09:07 AM »

Excerpt
Talking to others who understand, including a therapist who can help you understand how you got into this relationship in the first place.

 Agree with HB:  An important inquiry is figuring out why you got into a r/s with a pwBPD in the first place.  Hint: usually it has something to do with one's FOO or other childhood trauma, which makes us particularly susceptible to the BPD dynamic.  Most others would probably run for the hills at the first signs of BPD, but not us Nons; we are loyal and hang in there, often at great personal cost.  Yet you seem to have grasped the issues at an early stage, CuriousSeeker, which gives you a leg up.  I suggest you continue to do what is right for you.

In the meantime, get ready for an influx of F-O-G (fear, obligation and guilt), which is how a pwBPD manipulates a Non.

LJ
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    A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
George Bernard Shaw
CuriousSeeker

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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Single
Posts: 6


« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2020, 11:50:13 AM »

Oh, believe me, I have been in therapy about my family of origin stuff for years. There is plenty of trauma there.

I’m *living* in fear, obligation and guilt at the moment—and I haven’t even heard from her since I sent her the message saying (for the second time) that it was over! I’m afraid she’s killed herself especially. The other day she told me she’d been suicidal all day. She’s had suicidal fantasies her whole life thanks to *her* incredible family trauma.

I’m so afraid and I feel so guilty, I want to hurl. I’m going to have a good long cardio workout today.
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Ragdolllover

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« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2020, 12:00:13 PM »

That's really hard...

I went through this just a week ago with my ex, the anxiety of worrying he was suicidal was driving me crazy. It was around the time he stopped messaging me too, deleted Facebook completely and other social media.

I confided in friends and family, and decided that the best thing was to contact his doctor to raise my concern for his health....

I still think it was the right thing to do, but long story short, he found out it was me (turns out his Dr told him even though I asked for anonymity). He flipped on me and called me interfering and manipulative.

It was s*** that he reacted like this, but it almost certainly helped my anxiety. He also told me he would never do "anything silly" like that.

So yeah, his reaction was bad and hurt me a lot, but overall, I think reporting my concern was the best thing to do for me and my anxiety.

I don't want to suggest you do the same, you need to do what's right for you and your ex, but maybe you should look into it.
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CuriousSeeker

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« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2020, 12:30:14 PM »

Thanks, ragdoll. I think it’s just my fear. I don’t *really* think she would do it...she has been in some therapy and come around to how those thoughts are just about wanting to escape the pain. I think it’s about my family trauma and having lost some friends to suicide, more than about the possibility of her actually doing it.

But thank you so much for sharing your experience.
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Ragdolllover

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Relationship status: Broken-up
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« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2020, 12:43:56 PM »

You just need to hold on to that feeling then.

It's horrible isn't it, this fear and worrying about someone who doesn't think about us and our feelings, or their impact on our feelings.

I know my ex has moments of clarity where he does, but most of the time, his actions are selfish.

Who is looking after you and your needs Curious? Have you got a good support network?

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CuriousSeeker

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Relationship status: Single
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« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2020, 01:59:54 PM »

Big network, thanks! A therapist, a friend who is a mental health pro who has been in a relationship with a pwBPD, and a friend and a brother who know absolutely everything, and more. I’m making several phone calls a day.
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Lucky Jim
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« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2020, 11:10:20 AM »

Hey CS, I suggest you let go of the need to control something - her mental state - over which you have no control.  I can relate, as my BPDxW threatened suicide at least 10 times.  It's the ultimate manipulation.  I never thought my Ex meant to carry it out, but I also knew that a small percentage of those w/BPD actually commit suicide.  It's scary stuff.

LuckyJim
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    A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
George Bernard Shaw
CuriousSeeker

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Relationship status: Single
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« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2020, 11:13:47 AM »

Again, thanks so much to all of you for all your thoughts and help so far. Anybody who wants to stay tuned in to the travails of the guy who briefly dated a (really, I do think) wonderful young woman who also seems to have BPD, read on. It may start to seem like pretty standard breakup stuff, I don't know, so tune out if you must!

Anyway, I emailed the ex last weekend saying I'm sorry but it's over and I wish you well. Predictably, I got a long email back, including a heartfelt apology, which gives me some relief, at least for the moment.

But she's also back to seeing me as "the good object," I suppose, saying, for example, that she thought this was the relationship that was going to make her whole, how much she loves me, she still wants to send me the presents she got for me and to keep the books and T shirt I lent her so that she has something of me near her (geez Louise). It gets a bit sappy. She also says she saw a future for us but things got so serious so fast that it scared her and that's why she became so nasty. (The texts were nothing short of abusive, but I'll settle for nasty, I guess.)

Of course now I don't know how seriously to take all of this. Is it manipulation? Plus, she's very young (and I am not), so probably any intense relationship seems like it's going to be The One.

I also see a ton of obligation and guilt from the FOG Jim told me about. How can you freeze me out like this, silence my voice, please meet with me, this is destroying me, etc.

I've read it over a few times, and it does break my heart that she's in pain. (I'm going to try to not keep reading it, except maybe to my therapist.) But does she really ask about my feelings or acknowledge how hurtful her behavior was? Not entirely. I mean, she apologizes, yes, but still.

So, I don't know whether to just put the email in a folder and move on, or whether to respond. Maybe one response will get me four more emails, or even a knock at the door.

So for now I've sat down and blurted out everything into a document, then started to edit it down to what I might actually want to say and seems safe to say. I hear you, Jim, about not trying to control her state of mind or her reactions. That's a tough one, isn't it?

IF, and IF, I respond, I'm going to try to be brief, gentle, loving, but firm. I've told her twice it's over, so even though at moments I feel like I want her back, I know I have to honor that boundary or she will probably never respect a boundary again.

I did very abruptly cut her off, and I feel like I can reasonably apologize for that. The moment I realized that, I felt some relief because I spend a lot of time making a case for myself. Of course I was angry and afraid and that's why I reacted strongly! But maybe I could have handled it differently. Would that have made it any less painful for either of us? Maybe not.

Ugh. Breaking up is hard to do, as the old song says.

I'd welcome your thoughts if any of this sounds like textbook BPD stuff and not just sentimental breakup material.

Again, thanks so much to all of you.
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Lucky Jim
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« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2020, 11:50:31 AM »

Excerpt
So for now I've sat down and blurted out everything into a document, then started to edit it down to what I might actually want to say and seems safe to say.

Hey CS, I suggest you put that draft of a reply on the back burner for now.  There's no obligation to reply, unless and until you decide to respond.  It's your call.  In the meantime, I suggest you sit with your feelings and just observe.  Does it feel like she's twisting your arm?  If so, it's likely manipulation, which I recommend you disregard.  When my emotions start swirling around, I find it helpful to take a step back and let the water clear.  When you are ready, take the course that seems best for you.

LJ
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    A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
George Bernard Shaw
HopelessBroken
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« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2020, 12:19:27 PM »

I feel like I hear you going back and forth about whether she actually is BPD versus is this behavior that I would ever tolerate from a partner. Your gut told you right away.....impose a boundary here. Listen to your gut, and like LJ suggested, sit on your feelings and write but don’t send yet. Things will become more clear with time and you will react less out of emotion.
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