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WisconsinFamily

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« on: November 21, 2020, 10:16:41 PM »

I need tools. My wife has traits. I’ve learned to detach but I need better tools to communicate. We have 3 little girls ages 4, 2, 1. I would love to get involved in a support group where I can learn how to better communicate.
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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2020, 11:34:48 AM »

Hi WisconsinFamily, welcome to the group. I'm usually over on the Family Law board, though I saw from your post that you have kids, so I thought I'd say Hi here  Welcome new member (click to insert in post)

Asking for help and skill building is a good thing -- so glad you could reach out for support; kudos for that. This is a great group for talking through new skills, how to apply the skills, and how things might look in your life short term and long term as you make some healthy, positive changes. Many tools for dealing with pwBPD (people with BPD) and people who have challenging traits (like my husband's kids' mom, and perhaps like your kids' mom) are non-intuitive and take some practice. I used to think that "explaining" or "offering more information" was helpful, but oh boy, it sure wasn't!

As we wait a bit and see who else comes along to show support, what would you say is the key or main conflict point for you and your W (wife)? Is there a "moment" in conversations you can usually look back at and say, "Yeah, things sort of went off the rails there, and that was just like most of the other conflictual conversations we have had"?

You're in a good group here with people who TRULY get it. And you deserve recognition for reaching out, because you are taking steps to care for your daughters this way.

All the best;

kells76
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WisconsinFamily

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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2021, 09:25:04 PM »

Not sure if this will get read by the person who replied to my OP. The things I’ve been bad at is when she is extremely escalated and I know the kids feel the deregulation, I start to get anxious and want to stop the conflict so the kids don’t witness how irrational she is being. This results in me invalidating her.

Also, I have trouble validating her with proper verbiage. I resort to “I understand you feel like that.”  She sees this as robotic and patronizing.
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2021, 02:30:23 AM »

Also, I have trouble validating her with proper verbiage. I resort to “I understand you feel like that.”  She sees this as robotic and patronizing.

it is.

but i promise you its happened to all of us!

there are two big rules of thumb i like to refer to when i think about validation.

1. its easier to think in terms of "dont invalidate" than "validate". if youre avoiding the first, youre likely doing the latter!
2. you cant validate someone if you are not being real and authentic. validation is fundamentally about making someone feel heard and considered. there are a million ways to do that that are not about agreeing with them, or magic words.

but you have to start somewhere. i always liken it a bit to learning a new essay format, like when i was in school. it was incredibly awkward at first, and i hated it. eventually, you learn to do it in your voice, and even excel at it.

what was the most recent argument about? what was said? lets walk it through.
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WisconsinFamily

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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2021, 08:12:11 AM »

I’ve come a very very long way. I’ve learned to radically accept reality and I’ve learned to take care of myself. I’ve grown quite a bit. Used to have low self esteem with a lot of toxic shame at my core. Just learning now how to heal. So I’ve learned not to stuff it and “fake” like I’ve got it all together (which would explode in cruel behavior back at her eventually). And I’ve learned not to take things personally.

Latest: she is real estate agent. I own rental properties with a friend. He is 75 percent owner. I’m 25. He decided we are going to sell 4 duplexes. She is sooooo hurt that my friend didn’t decide to go with her and she is so hurt that I am not angry enough at this decision to not go with her.

I told her I understand it’s hurtful but it wasn’t my call. Tony thinks you’re capable but he didn’t want to get his partners wife involved in case there would be conflict.

She has gone off the rails on this one. Took 25k from our personal bank account and put it her private account she opened yesterday. “You guys took my commission so I’m taking it from our account.” 

I’ve simply detached at this point. Taken care of myself. Etc
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2021, 09:07:24 AM »


Ugg...the sense of entitlement is shocking.  "her commission"....double uggg.

Yet, you are wise to not "argue" with her about it.

Is this the first time that money has been "raided" and a money solution "imposed" on you?

 Virtual hug (click to insert in post) Virtual hug (click to insert in post) Virtual hug (click to insert in post) Virtual hug (click to insert in post)

Best,

FF
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2021, 09:39:20 AM »

No. She’s filed for divorce twice already and took 20k out both times to “protect herself” as advised by her attorneys.

Currently we are separated.  We are both in individual and couples therapy. Our therapists have told us the separation is to disrupt the system and it would both allow us to work on ourselves.
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2021, 09:43:26 AM »

Yes, and this sense of entitlement. Always using possessive pronouns. “My house.”  “My kids.”  I guess who cares. I’ve learned that I am at my most efficient in problem solving when I never try to ask “why” is she behaving this way. Simply just accept. It just is.
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2021, 03:25:02 PM »


So..why on earth do you still have joint money with her?

Best,

FF
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WisconsinFamily

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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2021, 03:44:57 PM »

Not sure. I guess I’ve always understood that these are just threats and this is simply an attempt to suck me into conflict. But I suppose you’re right that it may be time to have separate accounts.
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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2021, 03:55:13 PM »


Oh..I misunderstood.

So she has put the money back..right?  Each time she took it...she put it back after threatening you?

Best,

FF
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2021, 04:16:37 PM »

Yes. She puts it back.
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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2021, 03:25:18 PM »

Update: I came home and she traded in our Honda Odyssey for a Volkswagen suv. I’m guessing she spent 15k of the 25k she took. I gave no reaction to this behavior. My therapist told me I need legal separation and I need to stop stuffing my reactions to this behavior. This is confusing. Fine line between stoicism and stuffing? Can someone please help me with this tool? Detaching and stuffing? Help me with the distinction.
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« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2021, 10:14:34 AM »

My W Therapist just called me on the phone and told me that she is happy that I’m taking steps to protect our assets. She told me that I am doing all the right things but my W Is so consistently escalated and triggered that she herself is having a hard time with her. She said that I need to make sure that I have enough boundaries and enough support around me that I will not lose my personhood if I stay. Thought this was alarming that she would call me. I am thankful for all she does. When does one know it’s time to leave the relationship?
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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2021, 10:18:29 AM »


Why not ask her about the cars and the money...rather than assuming?

Best,

FF
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WisconsinFamily

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« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2021, 11:24:00 AM »

I did. She said she deserved the money and deserves the car when I told her she took that money from our family account.
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« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2021, 12:52:09 PM »

At this pount, you can protect yourself by separating your assets and accounts -- just do it. This is a situation where the actions of protecting your boundary speaks louder than words around the topic.

If you move 1/2 of your assets (before she took the $20k) into accounts in your name only, you don't have to close the joint accounts -- just tell her afterward that she is now free to do as she pleases with her half of family assets.

Document it thoroughly in case of future legal action.

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« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2021, 01:41:44 PM »

Thank you. Will do.

Think I’ll discuss this with her.  Anyone ever establish firm lines like this as kind of a ultimatum measure? How did it end up?

I want to stay in the marriage for many reasons. However, I have a couple of very firm lines:

1.) Kids are not leveraged.  Kids stay in house. No more “I’m going to keep the door locked and not let you in take the kids to your parents house etc..”  personally I am ok with her being in her room while I spend time with the kids but I will leave the house if she is not comfortable if it’s her time with them.
2.) assets are frozen. Legal separation.  We each have weekly allowance that we are to adhere to strictly. Money she took is returned to bank account. (10k she spent on the car???? Not sure what to say about this....)
3.) weekly therapy for both of us.

If any of these 3 agreements are broken, I will get a divorce and I’m strong enough at this point to follow through.


Thoughts here?
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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2021, 03:41:05 PM »


It appears much more like an attempt to control her...than to establish boundaries.

She gets to do what she wants with her half...zip zilch zippo control from you.  Same applies to her, you can escrow your half...or spend it only by using quarters on Wed, dimes on Thursday...etc etc  That's your decision.

Much better to ask her if she is willing to discuss a financial arrangement you can both say yes to.

If she is not...you have your answer.

Best,

FF
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« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2021, 05:08:43 PM »

It sounds as if you are well past a rational financial discussion with her. She has wrapped finances into her emotional life. And even the therapist is having difficulties unraveling her emotional life.

You will make more progress toward a future life (whatever that may be, which you are leaving open) if you focus on what you need. She will have a few extinction bursts, but you'll have a clear idea of her investment in the family future.

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« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2021, 07:54:49 PM »

Makes sense. Yes, focusing on what I need has been the ONLY way.

I’m not following you form flier. I understand what you are saying about my ultimatum seems like an attempt to control. I get it. Not productive for problem solving to go that route. What I am unclear on is when you just told me “she gets to do what she will with her half.”  We are still married and not legally separated. Her rational behind taking half of what was in our emergency fund was that she was entitled to it since she didn’t get the house listings. It wasn’t because we are legally separated and the assets are divided in half.
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« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2021, 09:25:13 PM »


There is a base level fact that all of us have to deal with..when it comes to boundaries.

We con't control others..we control ourselves.

So...if you don't want to write checks you control your hand and your hand doesn't write checks.

If you don't want your wife to write checks..you can make a request.  She may or may not agree and even if she agrees...she may later decide to abrogate.

See...she controls her hand.

So...attempt to control/protect yourself are "boundaries".

Trying to control the behavior of others is not. 

Taking action to protect yourself from the actions of others is "boundaries".

Best,

FF
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WisconsinFamily

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« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2021, 10:04:05 PM »

I understand boundaries. I’ve heard it explained to me many times. I’ve read about it many times. This is the most clear definition of boundaries. Thank you. I will reference this often as I need to revisit these new concepts and new way to think often.

Would you all say there is one thing you did to become stronger over time? Support group? Books? Coda?  Therapy?  This website? 
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« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2021, 07:14:06 AM »

I've used this analogy many times...but I can't remember who first shared it with me.

I use the 3 legged stool anaology.

1.  Professional therapy for you (me)

2.  BPDfamily and friends and family that are "in on it" (you talk freely about the impact of BPD)

3.  Friends family and life apart from BPD (you are conscious to talk about gardening and music..avoiding "problems".)


What happens if you pull out a leg on this stool?

1.  I can't imagine..seriously can't imagine where my life would be without the guidance of my therapist.  PhD level Psychologist.  I see her weekly...have been for years.

2.  You see my post count..I've been involved her for a while.  Obviously there is value in posting my own problems and getting insight.  I think it was about a week ago someone mentioned it looked like I missed a "bid" from my wife (I have a post about my wife ranting in basement) and I hadn't even considered that angle, since I was still deep in my own hurt/issues.  It helped me get perspective and move forward in a more constructive manner.

3.  Perhaps the most important.  I have friends and family that I would trust with BPD and "deep problems" and perhaps I have been open before.  Yet I make a conscious decision have a big part of my life that is "outside" BPD.  Sure..from time to time one of these people will ask about my relationship..I'll be briefly honest and open and then we move on.

Or perhaps I'll say "FFw is giving me a run for the money...very frustrating.  How about I treat you to some beer and pizza."  Then we talk about any and everything but..."it".

I simply can't overemphasize how important self care and "resilience" is...

Hope this gives you some ideas.

Best,

FF
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« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2021, 07:20:36 AM »


Separating this thought because it is also important.

Early on in "learning about BPD" it is normal and natural to "hyper focus" on it.

Next thing you know it's almost the only thing you focus on.  Realize this..learn your lessons and realize that you "can't keep that up" and "shouldn't keep that up".

I'm not saying that a season where you "devour" book after book is unhealthy.  I am suggesting that "now that you know", you need to take leadership in your relationship(s) and in your own "thought life".  Be deliberate about where you go...leave the door open for your pwBPD to follow (or not).

Best,

FF

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WisconsinFamily

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« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2021, 09:32:02 AM »

My goodness this is so uplifting and enlightening and empowering! Thank you so much. Not sure (guessing no) but is there any way that you are able to take a phone call?

The leaving the door open to follow (or not)....the “or not” part is terrifying. But I’m not going back to enmeshing unhealthy behavior and toxic shame external validation paradigm (if I do go back to it I have learned to see it and pull myself out of it).  Not sure why I’m so terrified of the “or not.” 

If anyone needs help with the toxic shame needing external validation thought paradigm...the book that produced real understanding and a real breakthrough for me was “no more mr nice guy.”  My therapist brought me to the cave (yes he is a PHD psychologist) but my eyes stayed shut to my own issues until this book. My eyes were then opened and I could see my own issues and I have entered the cave. I entered as a boy and am planning on emerging as a man.
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« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2021, 11:29:37 AM »

Terrific nsight!

My best therapy experience was with a PhD clinical psychologist trained in the Humanist school -- "Start where they are."

 One of the most valuable phrases I've learned on this forum is that of being the family's "emotional leader." This is something my husband was eventually able to do with his children -- his uBPD/NPD wife could not abide anyone "telling her what to do" and left the household when the children were older teens.
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WisconsinFamily

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« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2021, 11:52:08 AM »

Love that! The emotional leader.

I’m still a novice and I still get sucked into old patterns from time to time and demand understanding from her and her immediate family of what I’m experiencing (an internal conversation), but am learning to pull myself out. Gotta tell you FF’s post pulled me out! Was feeling extremely resentful towards her parents and sisters. Thank you! I can see what you mean about the 3 legs.

This forum is a wonderful support! Thank you!
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« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2021, 01:35:06 PM »


Hey...can you share your resentment with her family a bit more?  When did it start?  How has it changed over time?

Best,

FF
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« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2021, 01:50:28 PM »

Her sister was married for one year. Her sister moved out after one year of marriage. Everyone loves Her husband. She separated from him for no apparent reason. No infidelity. No gambling. A nice guy who treats her well. My wife’s other sister and husband both decided they were going to cut off the sister who separated from Cody. Didn’t talk to her until things were back to normal and she moved back in. They are now back together and everyone talks to each other.

My wife and I are on the verge of divorce and the same sister and brother in law have not reached out once for support. They gave Cody support but not me. Had him over for dinner etc.

Also, the family doesn’t talk to me much. Nobody reaches out to ask “you ok?” 

This has caused some resentment feelings within me.

I do understand intellectually that these feelings are valid but the thoughts are invalid. Nobody is responsible for meeting my needs. I have not asked once for anyone to give me support. I will dig deeper tonight with my therapist on this. But your post definitely snapped me out of this victimhood posture with my wife’s family.
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