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Author Topic: Getting Blamed for Child's Accident Because I Wasn't There  (Read 269 times)
EZEarache
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« on: April 29, 2021, 11:27:14 AM »

So, things had improved lately. My ex-girlfriend with undiagnosed BPD and I were getting along pretty well. I managed to avoid a major fight using the strategies I learned in BIFF, Walking on Egg Shells, I Hate You Don't Leave, and currently reading, the High Conflict Couple last Wednesday. We discussed our feelings about that scenario in therapy on Tuesday. My therapist did me somewhat of a disservice by saying that her actions were not the root cause of our conflict, but my reactions. True, I need to manage my reactions better, and I've been doing that. His comments seems to have lead her to believe that she is now infallible and everything is my fault.

So this morning I get a phone call a little after 7 a.m. from miss perfect.  Our baby fell off the bed and bumped his head. She was scared, and taking him to the ER. This lead her to start blaming me for leaving. I won't post the entire text thread here, but it was saying that I made a choice to move out when thousands of other fathers feel the same way as me.

Then started accusing me of gaslighting her, etc., when I presented her with my perspective.

OK, so let's review the facts of my leaving. I I was taken away in handcuffs after our last fight when I was still living at home. My therapist said that he would not work with us anymore, and that any couples therapy he conducted would not be with the intention of us staying together. So somehow, my moving out is the cause of our baby from falling off the bed? This seems like her fear of abandonment talking, right?

The baby is fine, by the way, after the trip to the emergency room. The baby sitter just confirmed, that he's OK. But, man did I get an ear full this morning. I managed to respond using BIFFs, and I did my best to be validating. I didn't even point out that the reason I had to leave was she called the police on me. I felt like that was a road to nowhere.

I'm planning to go over to the house tonight to try and give exGFwBPD the opportunity for a break as mommy. She seemed a little overwhelmed this morning. I'm nervous to do so, but I think it's the appropriate action to show my commitment to our baby.

Am I really being a bad father for leaving? I feel like I didn't have a choice and was following an expert's advice.
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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2021, 04:03:48 PM »

Quote from: EZEarache
Am I really being a bad father for leaving? I feel like I didn't have a choice and was following an expert's advice.
People with BPD or BPD traits commonly blame others for anything and everything.  It's one of their traits. 

Sounds like she is the one who is actually at fault, but I wouldn't argue that point with her. (i.e. leave the baby in the crib, not on a bed) Things can happen, during a moment of distraction.   If you had been there (and were in the shower, taking a work call or doing some work task), she still would be blaming you. Down the road, she will likely blame you for many things, whether you live together or not.

One way to view things is that you may have an opportunity to be a better father, with living separately.  Sounds like you aren't quite owning your decision to live separately. (i.e. "had no other choice"  "was told to")

Maybe you might want to have some further discussions with a therapist, or perhaps do some journaling.  I think that early on, most people will question their decision to move out.  Revisiting the reasons why you moved out can be helpful.  Could you have endured things, the way they were, for 18 years - until you child grew up?  Would both you and your child be better for it?  (have to assume ex gf would stay the same).



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EZEarache
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2021, 04:11:58 PM »

One way to view things is that you may have an opportunity to be a better father, with living separately.  Sounds like you aren't quite owning your decision to live separately. (i.e. "had no other choice"  "was told to")

My first response didn't get posted somehow, but man we're still in a full swing BPD episode. It actually got worse this morning.

I totally agree that I haven't been owning moving out. I really didn't want to leave. I wanted to be able to work things out with her. Lately, though, I've been really glad to have my own safe space to retreat to. I'm realizing this is really important for me.

My return visit the other night, went pretty well. I was prepared for the worst, but she pretty much just left me to take care of the baby. His head was sore, but overall he was his usual happy self.

Yesterday, I put together a PDF of our text thread and sent it to the therapist and scheduled a solo appointment for Tuesday. The interaction while the baby was in the ER really started to make me question whether I wanted to try and salvage this relationship. One of the things she was throwing at me was our conversation about having an abortion when we found out we were pregnant. She actually had an appointment scheduled, but I asked her to cancel it. I thought it was really hurtful and strange to bring up abortion while we're worrying about the baby in the ER. It seemed pretty contradictory. However, I managed to glance over it and write a bunch of BIFFs about wishing she didn't have to go through it alone, etc. I was doing my best to be validating and acknowledge her feelings, even though she was off her rocker.

So this morning I went over for my scheduled visitation. I picked up some local eggs and bananas to feed him for lunch on the way over. It's a beautiful spring day and I was expecting a nice visit. I was totally optimistaken.

I get there she's feeding him a bottle and talking to me about all the crazy changes at work. The baby is in a really good mood, and making me laugh. I have to admit, that I was much more interested in the baby, than what she was telling me. I was actively thinking, "I'm not that interested in what she is telling me. I mostly just want to spend time with this boy right now."

I pick him up and change his diaper.  Take him into the living room to sit on the couch with him and try to get a sense for what he wants to do this morning, standing, bouncing, chewing, etc.

ExGFwuBPD comes in and sits down near by we start talking about my plans for moving out and my parents upcoming visit. It's a tough scheduling situation, because the movers are coming on Saturday which is my visiting day.  She has plans the next day, and I have to get vaccinated so switching days was not an option. I volunteered that if she wanted to my parents could take care of the baby on Saturday. She hates my mother and said that my parents could not come around the house while I was moving. That she would just watch him and leave the house.

This was a little hurtful, but I let it roll off my back and said while we are on the subject of moving, I need to finish packing. I would like to come over on Monday and Wednesday, and my focus would need to be on finishing packing and not the baby. She asked who was helping me move, and I told her I hired a moving service. She broke down in tears at that point. Then started dragging up all this stuff from months and years ago. Telling me how hurtful I was, etc... She cornered me into some direct questions, about these past events, and told me how, I was so hurtful how could I expect us to get back together.

My response was what I have really been thinking for the past two days, that "I'm getting to the point where I don't want to get back together."

Her response, "You should leave." Then she started screaming at me who knows what. I got my lunch out of the fridge and left.

I called my parents, and had a long conversation about it. Then I discovered a bunch of texts she had sent me in the meantime. She was suggesting I come and take the baby to the park.

I responded that I appreciate the offer, but due to our last interaction, I thought it was best for us to spend the day apart.

She comes back with we have an agreement, etc. I'm supposed to watch him on Saturdays. I told her you asked me to leave and I respect your boundaries. I am not risking any more conflict today.

Anyway, I'm owning leaving more and more. I am really glad I have a space to retreat to right now. It's a beautiful day, but I've spent it in bed. This is not the outcome I wanted. I would like for us to be a family. However, I can not accept having things dragged up from months, and years ago on a daily basis. I have my own mental health issues to content with. I am exhausted from trying to defend myself and second guessing all of my actions.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2021, 04:26:00 PM by EZEarache » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2021, 05:26:15 PM »

Quote from: EZEarache
I totally agree that I haven't been owning moving out. I really didn't want to leave. I wanted to be able to work things out with her. Lately, though, I've been really glad to have my own safe space to retreat to. I'm realizing this is really important for me.
Work in progress.  Telling yourself that you could always move back, should things improve satisfactorily, might make the transition to living separately easier.  

As your son ages, you will likely enjoy having your own place more and more.  Since you share a son, your ex will be a part of your life for several years to come.  Being able to hold to your boundaries, and staying away from the ex, when she is in a volitle state, could reduce you anxiety and give you some peace.

Quote from: EZEarache
Yesterday, I put together a PDF of our text thread and sent it to the therapist and scheduled a solo appointment for Tuesday.
Is this your couples' therapist? Her solo therapist as well? Some therapists, who do couple's counseling, won't do individual sessions, unless it's something they recommend, i.e. getting to know each person early on.

This could be a conflict of interest for the therapist, if done on an ongoing basis.  Something to think about & perhaps discuss with the therapist.

Quote from: EZEarache
Anyway, I'm owning leaving more and more. I am really glad I have a space to retreat to right now. It's a beautiful day, but I've spent it in bed. This is not the outcome I wanted. I would like for us to be a family. However, I can not accept having things dragged up from months, and years ago on a daily basis. I have my own mental health issues to content with. I am exhausted from trying to defend myself and second guessing all of my actions.  
It's up to you to decide what is best for your emotional health and that of your child's.  Some people will hang in at all costs.  Constantly being blamed for things over and over and over, is kind of like revisiting judgement day in hell, over and over.

It's a healthy choice to take the actions needed to manage your own mental health. 

« Last Edit: May 02, 2021, 05:32:49 PM by Naughty Nibbler » Logged
EZEarache
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2021, 07:59:22 PM »

It is my couples therapist, but he sees me by myself. He's done at least one solo session with her when we first started seeing him in October. She doesn't do solo therapy with him, or anyone else. I wish she would, but she hates therapy and claims she doesn't need it. She believes that she already worked through all of her issues after mother died from alcoholism.
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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2021, 09:20:41 PM »

It is my couples therapist, but he sees me by myself. He's done at least one solo session with her when we first started seeing him in October. She doesn't do solo therapy with him, or anyone else. I wish she would, but she hates therapy and claims she doesn't need it. She believes that she already worked through all of her issues after mother died from alcoholism.
Sorry, seems that those who need therapy the most, don't want it.  Is she still participating in couple's therapy?  If so, do you anticipate talking about the blaming problem?

What issues does she think she resolved, after her mom's death?

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EZEarache
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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2021, 12:06:32 PM »

Is she still participating in couple's therapy?  If so, do you anticipate talking about the blaming problem?

Yes, she is still participating. She started on another episode this morning, regarding how hurtful it was that I suggested she should attend Alanon. She said she was trying to decide if she should bring it up in therapy on Thursday or just drop it. This Alanon thing was something my past therapist suggested for her, that she said was a terrible idea. I really don't know one way or the other, I was just relaying the information at the time. Somehow it was brought up again on Saturday, I think by her. I mentioned that one of our agreements about children was that she see a therapist, too. She couldn't find one for some reason at the time and signed up for some sort of online text  messaging service. She stopped going, apparently because I said that I thought the online therapy would not be as useful as in person. I sort of remember this conversation. I guess that was an out for her to stop altogether.

Blaming is something I guess I should try to address in couples therapy. Thank you for the suggestion.


What issues does she think she resolved, after her mom's death?

I'm not really sure. I guess just generally the fact that her mother was alcoholic and never really there for her.

Definitely not her fear of abandonment, which I don't think she realizes she has. Her chief reasoning for wanting a child was, not wanting to die alone. This always struck me as odd. It was why I suggested therapy for her in the first place.

Now I understand it's actually a personality disorder. I'm not judging, I have my own to contend with.

When we first started dating, I wanted to be the first man in her life, that did not take off on her. I feel I am failing at my mission. I hope that she can get some help, if our therapist is willing to give her a diagnosis. I will stand by her if she does. However, this morning's text thread went from, "I'm not looking forward to seeing your face tonight or any night this week;" to "Minimizing and or avoiding contact is not what I asked for," in under five minutes.

I personally can't take the abusive statements much longer, and will do what I need to protect myself from her erratic, behavior.
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2021, 08:58:38 PM »

Quote from: EZEarache
I'm not really sure. I guess just generally the fact that her mother was alcoholic and never really there for her. 
People with addictions are generally using substances to deal with unmanaged mental health issues. 

 
Quote from: EZEarache
Definitely not her fear of abandonment, which I don't think she realizes she has. Her chief reasoning for wanting a child was, not wanting to die alone. This always struck me as odd. It was why I suggested therapy for her in the first place.       
Is her father alive?  Does she have any siblings or family that she is close with?

It's understandable that most people want to have someone who cares about them, when they are ill, elderly, close to death, etc. But disordered people are more apt to take things to the extreme, and perhaps expect a child to become a caretaker.

Children should be free to live their own lives, reside where they want, etc. - without FOG (Fear, Obligation & Guilt).  You might put this subject on your list, for things to discuss at some point down the road. (maybe in therapy)

Quote from: EZEarache
I hope that she can get some help, if our therapist is willing to give her a diagnosis. I will stand by her if she does       
If a diagnosis is needed for insurance purposes, then it may serve a purpose. If you are paying out of pocket, It could be best to focus on the behaviors & issues. Sometimes, when people get a label, they run from it.

It can be easier to just work on the issues and improving behaviors.

Quote from: EZEarache
When we first started dating, I wanted to be the first man in her life, that did not take off on her. I feel I am failing at my mission.       
It's not realistic to commit to that mission, and be a knight in shining armor, before you got to know her issues. You need some time (and some difficult situations), to see who a person really is.  The best relationships are those where a couple has faced some difficulties and were able to work things out.

Quote from: EZEarache
this morning's text thread went from, "I'm not looking forward to seeing your face tonight or any night this week;" to "Minimizing and or avoiding contact is not what I asked for," in under five minutes.       
That's the downside of social media and texting.  Emotions fluctuate for all of us, but more rapidly for her.  Maybe, she could be coached on a new habit.  If she could first draft her thoughts into some writing app on her phone, then wait for a designated amount of time. If she retains the feelings, after a period of time, she can then copy & past the words into a text message and send it.  Something to discuss in therapy?  Something for her to try to reduce conflict? 

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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2021, 10:21:53 PM »

So somehow, my moving out is the cause of our baby from falling off the bed? This seems like her fear of abandonment talking, right?

no. and more than likely, this is not what she is saying.

she may be conflating two things in the heat of the moment...that is a common part of conflict in a high conflict couple.

what shes really saying is "im scared, i need you, i dont know how to handle this, i feel helpless". and when you have bpd, that, and any neediness really, tend to come out as blame.

Excerpt
Then started accusing me of gaslighting her, etc., when I presented her with my perspective.

one of the steps to changing the way we handle conflict is not to react with defensiveness or present our perspective, but to listen. and not just literally listen, but actively listen with empathy: not to the words she is saying, but what is behind them.

think about it. surely youve been highly emotionally aroused before...distressed, angry, helpless, afraid. and if someone responded to that, in a sort of "telling you how it really is" way, all you would hear is them telling you that youre wrong.

Excerpt
I'm planning to go over to the house tonight to try and give exGFwBPD the opportunity for a break as mommy. She seemed a little overwhelmed this morning. I'm nervous to do so, but I think it's the appropriate action to show my commitment to our baby.

this, by contrast, is a strong move.

Excerpt
One of the things she was throwing at me was our conversation about having an abortion when we found out we were pregnant. She actually had an appointment scheduled, but I asked her to cancel it. I thought it was really hurtful and strange to bring up abortion while we're worrying about the baby in the ER. It seemed pretty contradictory.

underneath it all, this tells you that she feels very strongly about what happened. theres a deep level of resentment in her toward you, and while its certainly inappropriate and would seem unrelated, it colors your relationship, and the conflict youve had ever since.

i get the impression that there is an enormous level of entrenched conflict and resentment between the two of you, and that there has been for a long time; this is no longer about any given conflict, as important as any given conflict may be.

likewise, i get the impression that you are pulling away from the relationship.

whichever path you decide upon, staying or leaving, the style and cycle of conflict will be necessary to change. if you want to stay, its going to take an enormous investment, and a radically different approach. if you want to leave, then the two of you share a child, and youre going to want to nurture that relationship, at least as much as possible. an ugly breakup could amplify the resentment the two of you have had, for years to come.
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EZEarache
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« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2021, 01:40:00 PM »

Is her father alive?  Does she have any siblings or family that she is close with?

Yes and no. Her father is alive, but he also had serious substance abuse problems and ended up in jail. Apparently his crime was for molesting children.  Her parents split when she was 3. GFwuBPD claims he never hurt her. I'm not convinced, because she's mentioned that when she was young she refused to communicate with people. She could talk, but wouldn't do it. In elementary school counselors tried to get her to discuss her feelings about her parents divorce. She claimed it was because she was introverted and shy. I suspect there is something else at play that occurred in her formative years. We'll really never know.

Ultimately, she has no contact with her direct family. There has been some sort of falling out with all of them. She has an uncle who is still alive, but he doesn't want to have anything to do with her for some reason. She has some cousins and aunts and uncles on her fathers side, but they are all No Contact as well. She accepts no blame for this, and her stories about it have always made sense as to why she is distanced from the family aside from with her uncle on her mother's side. I think she comes from a fairly dysfunctional background. 

If she retains the feelings, after a period of time, she can then copy & past the words into a text message and send it.  Something to discuss in therapy?  Something for her to try to reduce conflict?

I think this is a great suggestion, thank you. I read BIFF on the advice of my therapist and have put those practices in place. It was really helpful. It actually was what lead me to figure out about the possibility of BPD in the first place. She's been sending me nastygrams almost every morning, since Thursday. I literally wake up to my phone buzzing multiple times between 6 and 7:30 am, wondering what I'm getting assaulted with this time. I wrote the best BIFF this morning. She was hating on my mother as usual, today. I managed to make my response completely complimentary and validating, yet I didn't end up as her doormat. She never bothered to reply. If I could do it that well everyday, I think I could turn this ship around.
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EZEarache
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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2021, 02:41:39 PM »

one of the steps to changing the way we handle conflict is not to react with defensiveness or present our perspective, but to listen. and not just literally listen, but actively listen with empathy: not to the words she is saying, but what is behind them.

think about it. surely youve been highly emotionally aroused before...distressed, angry, helpless, afraid. and if someone responded to that, in a sort of "telling you how it really is" way, all you would hear is them telling you that youre wrong.

So, I've definitely read BIFF, Stop Walking on Egg Shells, I Hate you Don't Leave Me, and I'm currently reading "The High Conflict Couple." Before I even figured out what the problem was, our couple's therapist promoted active listening. She f$#$ing hates that! She's said so much as, "I think active listening is Bull$&*%!"

So if I say something like, I understand that you feel xyz about abc, she'll say, "That's not what I said," unless I say it back using the exact words that she said, and don't allude to any of her underlying emotions. Most of the times when I describe her feelings into my observation, both in written form and verbally she ends up responding, "My feelings have nothing to do with it;" or "Don't try to tell me how I feel;" or my favorite recent response, "My feelings for you have nothing to do with raising the baby, so don't conflate the two." 

This makes responding with empathy and validation quite challenging to say the least.


underneath it all, this tells you that she feels very strongly about what happened. theres a deep level of resentment in her toward you, and while its certainly inappropriate and would seem unrelated, it colors your relationship, and the conflict youve had ever since.

i get the impression that there is an enormous level of entrenched conflict and resentment between the two of you, and that there has been for a long time; this is no longer about any given conflict, as important as any given conflict may be.


Yes, you are completely correct. I have been trying to allow us to move past this, but she continuously dredges up things from a year and a half ago or longer. In my conversation with the therapist yesterday, I discussed that I wanted to set a boundary that I would not discuss events or interactions that occurred more than a month prior to the conversation. He agreed that this might be a good boundary to try and set.


likewise, i get the impression that you are pulling away from the relationship.

Again you are correct. After the text exchange on Thursday, I started to have serious doubts that I am strong enough to manage our combined behavior.

In my session with him yesterday, we analyzed the text interaction on Thursday and he agrees that she does have BPD. I feel that for us to move on as a couple she will need to do some of her own personal growth. At this point, based on her messages from yesterday, demanding that I tell her why she should go to Alanon/therapy, the dice have been cast that I have to present her my observations. To date in our therapy, she's screamed at the therapist and written a nasty online review of him. The therapist told me he would be willing to give her a referral if she wants to explore this any further. I never really predicted it would all happen like this. However, I guess this is predictably, unpredictable.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2021, 02:51:34 PM by EZEarache » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2021, 02:15:37 AM »

I guess this comment is to put a little bit of closure on this thread, for myself as much as anything else.

Last night she started screaming at me while I was packing, because she felt I wasn't being respectful of her time. Typically on Wednesday nights I have been taking care of the baby. This week I needed to pack, she was mad at me for going for a hike and getting exercise on Tuesday night. I can see her point. However, when I tried to talk to her about the schedule on Saturday she changed the subject and turned the conversation into another conflict about the past.

So tonight we had a therapy session. It went poorly. We are officially broken up. The therapist does not see any way for us to reconcile at this point. He held me for a couple of minutes after the session to ensure that I recognized it and was alright with it. I am fully painted black.

ExGF seemed to really have no comprehension that she was repeatedly threatening me with custody. She blamed me for looking into attorneys. There were a couple other examples of her not comprehending the cause and effect correlations of her actions. I never even got to discus the things I really wanted to cover which were setting boundaries for her not screaming at me, and not having discussions about the past. I guess the not having discussions about the past is a mute point, now.

I found out the babysitter I've been paying a hefty sum for, was the individual telling exGFwBPD to file for custody because my mother was a threat. I had a suspicion about this. I am so livid. I've been trying so hard to keep the baby sitter out of all of our conflict and not triangulate with her. Only to find out, that she was the one causing a huge amount of the drama.  I'm debating whether or not to address this with her after the move on Saturday. She is really great with the baby, but I can not believe the amount of drama she stirred up for me. Completely unacceptable. I'm going to try and just look at this as what is best for the baby, is to have some stability right now. However, it's really difficult. I want the baby sitter fired. It would also be a lot easier for me with co-parenting, and conducting a 50/50 split if we used day care at this point. The babysitter has to take care of the baby at the exGFs house. This means I would have to drive back and forth, after work around bedtime and during the morning routine to get the baby to and from the exGFs house every day. It makes a 50/50 split basically impossible.

Maybe after the dust settles from me moving out the exGF will become more rational. I think this is really a fools hope. When I've seen her fully split with other people, there is no way to ever convince her to change her mind. I need to accept the things I cannot change. I just wish there was a way for me to convince her to get help. I know that this is not really feasible, though.

I can't believe this innocent fall off the bed ended up being the final blow in the relationship to bring us to this point. She's been completely blaming me for leaving ever since that fall. There's been no way to recover. I wish I hadn't said, "I'm getting to the point that I don't want to get back together," on Saturday, but I did. I suppose I can put a fair amount of the blame on myself as well. My reactions have been a large part of the problem.
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