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Skills we were never taught
98
A 3 Minute Lesson
on Ending Conflict
Communication Skills-
Don't Be Invalidating
Listen with Empathy -
A Powerful Life Skill
Setting Boundaries
and Setting Limits
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Author Topic: Eyes Open, Weight Shifted, More Confused Than Ever, What Now?  (Read 81 times)
Guts42

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 10


« on: May 04, 2021, 04:23:41 PM »

I've suspected there was something more going on with my wife for awhile now- so I'm sorting through some guilt about not figuring this out sooner.  Ever since we met, she's been very attached, expecting me to spend every waking moment at least texting with her.

I am at a loss about what to do now.  I'm about 3/4 of the way through "Stop Walking on Eggshells."  It's both liberating and heart breaking.  The book could have been written about us.  It wasn't until the last "fight" that I started digging deeper.

It was my breaking point and now I don't know what to do:

Not sure if this is right place to post it but basically I tried to point some inconsistent behavior that was really a double standard.  It was perfectly fine for her to be gone for hours without telling me an appointment with her therapist was running late because I could see where she was on our shared location app.  I texted her and eventually she responded, about half an hour after.  However, for me to be 10 minutes late with a therapist was not okay as she started texting and calling.  My phone was in the other room (physical therapy appointment) and I didn't get to my phone until 15 minutes after my appointment was originally supposed to be over.  When I did answer, she was livid.  I tried to call her on my way home (a ten minute drive) and she refused.  When I got home the accusations were harsh and rapid.  "How could you make me think you were dead!?  You NEVER think about anyone else!!  What if the kids were hurt and I needed to get ahold of you?!  You're so selfish!!"
I asked if my location share wasn't working- just trying to understand.  I never yelled, never raised my voice, I was just genuinely confused.  "Oh I'm an idiot!  Gee, thanks!  You're right, I'm being CRAZY!  Wow asshole I was in a pretty good mood and you've just ruined it- good job!  PLEASE READ you!!"  I talked her down by agreeing, like I always do, that it was my fault for being inconsiderate.  I thought of the situation a few days before (when she was late without telling me) but it was clear that wouldn't get me anywhere.
I tried to let it go, but something just didn't seem right.  Once she had her validation, it was like it never happened- the name calling and rage were justified and I shouldn't be upset about it.
I should have said something sooner, but I let it mull around in my head.  She could tell I was thinking about something and became increasingly agitated.  A day or two later something happened and she was back to being in a bad mood.  I was trying to make dinner and she bulldozed her way in, telling me I was doing everything wrong.  I got flustered and made the silly mistake of putting something in the blender without draining it first.  Since it was the first thing in the blender, it was an easy fix but to her I was being unforgivably stupid.  I never yelled or snapped back at her.  However after she yelled at me for the third or fourth time, she ran into the living room crying, "why are you being so mean to me?!"  Baffled I apologized and we went on with our evening.

That night she said she didn't want to fight but that if I had something to say just get it over with.  In a calm voice I started with "okay, I know there's way to say this without being abrasive, but I'm genuinely just confused... you were really late with your therapist-"
"Oh PLEASE READ you!  You're right!  I'm a piece of PLEASE READ hypocrite, you're right!  You win!  Congratulations!  FINE!  I'll just leave, is that what you want?!  PLEASE READ YOU!  I don't want to be do this anymore, I don't want to be with you!  I just want to take the kids and leave you PLEASE READing asshole!"

This went on for a while.  As usual, I calmed her down by agreeing with her.  She had me almost convinced that there's something wrong with me- that I've got a form of Asperger's that make tone impossible for me to regulate or understand.

As she started to calm down her tone shifted to "why don't you love me anymore?  What did I do wrong?  Why are you being so mean to me?  Okay, I'll starve myself!!  I'll wear makeup all the time!  I'll be pretty and thin and you'll love you again... please just don't leave me!"
"I do love you and I've never said anything like that- never even suggested- that's not the issue here-"
"THEN I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO, I'M OUT OF PLEASE READING IDEAS!"

She gave me the silent treatment for days while laying on the over-the-top happy attention to the kids.  She went to see her therapist and all she said was, "we talked, you're the asshole, so can you please stop fighting with me?"  And just like that it was like things were back to normal.

I felt like I had the wind kicked out of me.  Looking back at all of our 'fights' I started to realize that this always the pattern.
She picks fights or reasons to explode at what seem like random triggers- even me agreeing with her will do it sometimes.

I started playing 'Dr. Google' and stumbled across "Stop Walking on Eggshells" and then this place.

This wasn't even her biggest episode.  At one point our 4 year old son, in the midst of 4 year old tantrum, said "I don't love you mommy!  You're mean!"  She packed a bag flipping between yelling and tears.  Both kids were screaming for her to stay.  I kept it together but inside I was terrified.  My daughter clung to me and all I could say was, "I love you honey and it's going to be okay.  I'm not going anywhere.  Mommy will calm down."  I consoled my son by saying "this isn't your fault buddy," as he shrieked for her to stay.  She almost made it out of our bedroom door when she collapsed on the floor crying.  "You can't even tell me why I should stay?!  I'm useless!"

Every few weeks she decides that I don't love her or I'm not doing enough, saying enough, showing enough in some way.
I feel like I do everything:
I'm working two jobs (both from home) and I'm in school (also from home).
I manage the kids in the morning.  I get her up (she refuses to set an alarm).  I get her tea.  I do the floors.  I do the dishes.  I do the laundry.  I bring her vitamins throughout the day and make sure she was water at night before we go to bed.  If the kids or dogs need anything at night- that's my territory too.

I'm beginning to realize that it's never going to be enough.

Things are normal now.  The storm has passed.  She downstairs reading to the kids and talking about emotions.  She's taken a few pot shots at me throughout the day but nothing serious.

Lately I've been finding myself day dreaming about being a single dad.  I've also just recognized that I take any female attention even slightly better than how my wife treats me as flirting- which I know isn't true.  I'm seeing just how lonely and trapped I feel- and guilty.

I read the sample of "Eggshells" before downloading it.  I haven't gotten to this part, but I believe there's a passage about "if they threaten to leave, prepare for a divorce."

So that's basically it.  No idea what I hope to accomplish by running with this cathartic exercise.  Maybe if nothing else it's a reminder.
Trying to hold onto this "something's not right" feeling is tough.  It's like trying to remember a bad dream in the morning.  It's there but over time the details get fuzzy and I start to think maybe the dream wasn't so bad afterall.

I keep telling myself I feel like I'm married to two people: one I'm scared of and the other I don't trust.
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Cat Familiar
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Posts: 5879



« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2021, 11:29:37 AM »

Things can get better if you commit to “managing” this relationship too, in addition to all the other responsibilities you have.

Expecting self awareness and fairness from someone with BPD will lead to disappointment. In their minds, FEELINGS EQUAL FACTS, and no amount of rational discussion will prevail. Double standards are not seen nor acknowledged when pointed out, and as you’ve experienced, just lead to arguments and accusations of abuse.

You are beginning to get the overview of what you are dealing with. It’s not easy, but learning some different approaches can lessen hostility and make life a lot easier. (There’s a lot of great information, videos, and book reviews on this site that will help you understand how not to trigger your partner.)

We will support you whatever path you choose, whether it’s learning the tools to deal with this relationship or choosing to leave.
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“The Four Agreements  1. Be impeccable with your word.  2. Don’t take anything personally.  3. Don’t make assumptions.  4. Always do your best. ”     ― Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
alterK

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: married
Posts: 14


« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2021, 04:41:40 PM »

Looks to me like you and your wife have a long-established pattern where she gets upset and you struggle to smooth things over, and things stay ok for a while until she gets upset again and the pattern repeats itself. Exhausting!

As Cat says, your wife sees things in fundamentally different ways than you do, and trying to reason her into seeing things your way is pretty futile. Obviously, your wife is suffering. It has to be  terrible to feel such betrayal and hurt so continuously, and I suspect you are reacting with the sympathy anyone would, seeing someone they care about going through what she does. But that won't help your pain much more than taking an aspirin will help someone who's being constantly hit on the head with a hammer.

For me, the realization that repeated patterns of arguments, hostility, failed problem solving were going on, with the same words being thrown back and forth, and that I was part of those patterns, was very liberating. Not that I have worked everything out, by a long shot, but that gave me a handle on the situation.

Raising kids together with a BPD person can be extremely tough. My wife has 2 daughters and I have 2 sons. One of my step-daughters has severe BPD and I have tried to help with her, but I have had to give up because my wife can't tolerate anything more than a sympathetic mumble. In the past I was allowed to move my step-daughter's furniture if I kept my mouth shut, but I won't do that anymore. When she's angry my wife uses any perceived fault in my relationships with my sons as a crack into which she can get an emotional crowbar.

I have resolved to take it one step at a time. (See my post on grandson's visit.) If I can make it through one potential crisis, I will try to tackle the next issue. The books will help you learn strategies for dealing with difficult issues. Maybe you can pick one thing to work on. There's risk. Teaching yourself to do things differently isn't easy, and it's easy to get it wrong. Your wife may react to any change you try to make as if you were setting fire to your kids' bedrooms. On the other hand, she may eventually be relieved that something she perceives as terrible may be calming down.
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