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Author Topic: Noob to the group  (Read 149 times)
Slartibartfast

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Very married
Posts: 6


« on: October 26, 2020, 01:52:35 AM »

Hello, newbie here. Giving this a try. Hoping I can learn something and get to a better place.

I never took borderline seriously as a diagnosis because of the name, figuring it was somewhat of a catch-all. And literally never read about it.

Wife is a fine enough lady, holds a job, but she's real hard on people around her. Her life story  and what I always assumed was just a set of picadillos reads like the symptom list on the wikipedia page on BPD. She's not officially diagnosed, but I read than some clinicians don't tell patient about this diagnosis for fear that they'll be kicked to the "bad person" list. She's seen plenty of therapists. I'm husband No. 2, but we have kids. We rushed in to kids. I was 34, she was 37. I'm 40 now and it's been rough since really early on. Lots of stuff which I suppose is typical. I just looked in to this a few days ago but when I started reading it was like getting hit by lightning. Can you believe I waited this long to even investigate? We've seen couples therapists, one session she went on about her abandonment fears and her perception of being abandoned and neglected by her parents. I started to sweat, and the therapist asks me "how does hearing this make you feel?" And I said "Well it worries and scares me, I worry about how I'm going to help fix this." And he said in front of her "it's not yours to fix." Which yeah, I felt that it was unfair but "It's US and not ME now, so it IS my responsibility!"

Never once was BPD mentioned, nor did I think about it.

Fast forward a few years, and I'm burned to a crisp. I'm emotionally abused. Her family is emotionally abused, our kids are yelled at because when she's angry at me (about anything and nothing at any moment for any reason) then that's why she's nasty to the kids. That's the excuse out of her mouth. If I would just value her more she wouldn't scream at the girls. At work they seem to have better boundaries than I do at home, but there's been turmoil and a lot of people labeled as pigs, dirt bags, chauvinists, etc. She got let go from a temp job for getting into it with the nurses and telling them they were all lazy (she's a doc)

She's got a string of friends she's broken contact with for reasons I'll never fully understand, and an aunt that seems to have BPD too. Before we moved we were thrilled to have this Aunt when we landed, but as soon as we got here, there was some misunderstanding about the Thanksgiving invitation and now they haven't spoken in 5 years. I literally don't know. She goes back and forth about her parents too. One moment she loves them, next mom is a narcissist and a drunk and dad is a womanizer. I don't know what the facts are, but they're not the labels I would have picked. Her sister (diagnosed bipolar, variety unknown) is definitely on the naughty list, but she's unpredictable and cut herself at our house after one particular break, so I'm ok with not having her close. On that note, yes wife also has suicidal thoughts and has scratched her arms to bleeding on occasion.

She's woken me up at night to yell at me about god knows, and recently I left town to be with family after the death of my grandfather, who was like a second father to me, and I couldn't even grieve with my family for the phone calls and wanting to start an argument over how she was feeling empty and hopeless. Completely hijacked.

Wife is attending 12 step Al-anon meetings as she's labeled her mom a drunk (she drank briefly after some financial trouble) and was often going to two meetings a day nearly every day... and I don't think it's helping much, aside from having her occasionally giving pause before she lashes out, but it's given her license to inappropriately assert  herself (be rotten and mean) to those she sees as problematic, as one ought to do when you're being run over roughshod by an alcoholic... except there at no alcoholics anywhere, but everyone is getting treated with those inappropriate tools.  We're also doing a 12 step couples thing called Chapter 9, but again it's for people with histories with addiction, although there may well be a great deal of crossover with BPD. I personally loathe 12 step, but it's become a real important thing in my wife's mind, and it's not really hard to participate in the zoom calls, so I attend, to maintain the peace. Which is the theme of my life. I'm always developing the "best practices" guide to work with the ever changing decrees and rules to keep things copacetic around here.

Parenting is rough from my end. I'm lead parent, always have been, and full time dad as of the pandemic, having been let go from a very nice job. I don't resent the job, but I find it really hard. She was on this philosophy for some time that we needed to put our relationship and each other ahead of our children. I'm like " that's terrific, but first I need to change this turd, all the baby's poop covered clothes, the fitted sheet and warm up a bottle, but I'll be right with you, just after I clean the kitchen." I get why the housewives went nuts and maybe still do. There's definitely gender role reversal, which more often than not I find really satisfying and I handle it well, except for the part when the breadwinner comes home full of rage for unknown reasons to tell me that I need to fold the laundry. Having collected, washed, dried and placed it all in a basket, I'm keenly aware, thank you very much.

So we have a new couples therapist, a nice and seemingly qualified emotional attachment focused person, which sounds fine, but I'm worried that we're going to try to end up washing the car with shampoo. No amount of me changing the way I am will make me do right in my wife's eyes. Her condition predates me by a decade, maybe more according to her mom ("She was a tough kid.")

It's just too much to list, and I'm getting worse at coping. I guess... Lately I'm just shut down. I listen, accusations come out and I just barely feel it any more. I've just had to train myself to nod and say that it's all bull and I can't get upset, and that it troubles me and pains me to hear how upset she is.  I used to take blame because it was the fastest way back to baseline. She used to really react well when I'd be crumpled, literally on the floor sobbing and admitting that being a piece of garbage for whatever reason, but I couldn't keep it up, it was getting harder to dust myself off afterwards. But for a while it would bring things back to normal, and often, afterwards, shed want sex. Not even kidding. Some of the accusations have been off the wall. I was accused of being some pervert molester to my own kids, and also two of our other male friends (we don't see them much anymore) were also accused, despise my desperate pleading to not throw this social suicide bomb.  That phase also seems to be over, although there was another time that she kept insisting that one of the kids hair smelled like an adults dirty genitals, so "somebody at the daycare is masturbating and then touching the baby's head." Wow this seems really bananas when I write it down. So I'm running out of coping methods and energy. I told the new therapist privately that I'm just tired of "getting kicked" and yes, resentment builds. And once or twice a year I would scream back, or let my feeling be known, or god forbid, honestly say something like "Well, now that you are asking, I guess actually I do feel a little bummed out that the very first thing you said when you came home was how disappointed you were that the kids ate that banana that you had plans for." Or after being assigned to listen to some Russel Brand 12 step podcast that she found, beit asked about a topic, and having a different interpretation of it precipitating her excusing herself so she "wouldn't have to fight" which I suppose I'm grateful for, but certainly how I interpreted the description of "decision theory" being different shouldn't be a cause for any kind of argument. But it got close!

A frightening (to me) thing that I've noticed is that I'm picking up the behavior of being sensitized to things because I know she'd be sensitive to them. Some may call it a really cute thing along the axis of empathy, but I'm internalizing her triggers, and it gives me the heebie-jeebies.

I'm out of energy. I'm new to this idea of this "thing" bei bg a "thing" and I'm burned out. I'm not coping well anymore and it's not getting easier. I don't know where to start, and I need help. I'm sure I did a pretty through job of saying where I'm at though!

Thanks, I hope this was appropriate.

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Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 11667



« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2020, 10:32:07 AM »

Excerpt
I'm sure I did a pretty through job of saying where I'm at though!

you did.

and now that youre here with people that get it, there is hope.

and thats the good news. ive seen some of the worst of the worst turned around for the better in my time here. the other news (bad?) is that the problems didnt start over night, they are long in the making, and they will require real work, determination, and consistency to turn around.

Excerpt
We've seen couples therapists, one session she went on about her abandonment fears and her perception of being abandoned and neglected by her parents. I started to sweat, and the therapist asks me "how does hearing this make you feel?" And I said "Well it worries and scares me, I worry about how I'm going to help fix this." And he said in front of her "it's not yours to fix." Which yeah, I felt that it was unfair but "It's US and not ME now, so it IS my responsibility!"

there are really three components in a relationship. theres us, theres them, and then theres the interplay, the dynamics between both parties.

i think that what the therapist was saying is that your wife is who she is, that its unlikely that shes going to change at this stage, and that if it is, its going to primarily come from own desire to change it.

understanding and radically accepting the three components is critical. its really the framework from which to change things.

its from there you can see what both parties are bringing to the table in terms of the dynamics. its from there that you can take significant steps to change them. and while that cant fix your partner, it not only can improve your marriage, but it can motivate her to take her own steps.

thats a long way of saying that we all love a very difficult person, and that none of us were born with the skills to face it, but they can be learned, practiced, and mastered. when the unhealthy dynamics in a relationship are reduced, and the healthy, loving ones reinforced and built upon, it creates peace for us, and more harmony in the relationship. over time, it can build trust. the difficulty is very likely to completely disappear, but it can become fewer and further between, and we can better cope. and all of this is the ideal environment for someone with bpd traits to be motivated to support themselves, and contribute in a healthier way to the relationship dynamics.

Excerpt
I guess... Lately I'm just shut down. I listen, accusations come out and I just barely feel it any more.

like i said, things didnt get here over night, and they wont be resolved over night, but this is a good place to start. tell us about some of the most recent conflict, and how it played out, and we can help walk you through it.
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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…
Slartibartfast

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Very married
Posts: 6


« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2021, 11:52:25 PM »

Thanks - A long time coming, but thank you.
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