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Author Topic: How to deal with the rage that comes with perceived invalidation  (Read 131 times)
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Posts: 1439

« on: May 05, 2021, 12:43:17 AM »

A few days ago, uBPDh received a message from a person he was trying to contact regarding some work issue, which he perceived as invalidating.  He had copied that message to me (basically instead of agreeing to do something for him, she kind of dismissed him and said she will look into it later) but I didn't find it "very rude" as he mentioned later.  So I didn't reply to him.  Then later on he said I ignore his feelings as usual, he has known he cannot count on me for any support... etc.  I have seen many times before how he reacts to other people invalidating him.  Now this person is "a b*tch", and "very rude".  I think it's because he asked for something and she didn't react positively to him.

Anyway, since he had expressed that he was disappointed I did nothing (I didn't know he was expecting me to react, that he felt strongly about the message), I brought the issue up the next day.  And he blew up at me.  He said I know that he has moved on from this issue, why am I bringing it back up?  He shouted at me down the phone and said I have to keep on bringing back the issue. 

So I feel stuck.  Like, when I said nothing I was wrong, and when I said something, it was wrong too.  I know my timing's not good, but then I honestly didn't feel that the message needs responding to.  If I had gotten such a message, I would've thought nothing of it.  So I didn't know it would invalidate him.  But after he expressed his unhappiness of my failure to say anything, am I also supposed to ignore that and continue not saying anything?  Or do you feel like it would've blown up sooner or later because his feelings of invalidation wasn't resolved, and I was just a convenient target because I happened to make a mistake by ignoring him?

This is a high level discussion board for solving ongoing, day-to-day relationship conflicts. Members are welcomed to express frustration but must seek constructive solutions to problems. This is not a place for relationship "stay" or "leave" discussions. Please read the specific guidelines for this group.

Cat Familiar
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Posts: 5927

« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2021, 01:41:16 PM »

Ugh! In the past, I used to run into similar issues. My husband would feel dissed if someone didn’t respond the way he thought they should. He would then recount the story to me and ask my opinion.  Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post)

Lots of times, like you, I’d see nothing wrong with this person’s behavior and I’d explain my reasoning.   Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post)

Immediately, it would turn into “YOU’RE ON THEIR SIDE!!!” which was ridiculous because often I didn’t even know that individual. Of course I’d amplify the drama by saying that and off we’d go... Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post)

Now I use really non committal responses, “Hmmm...” “Wow” and try to change the subject. If he seems to need more, I might ask him how he felt about their response or I might venture a guess: “I bet that made you feel really overlooked?”

Sometimes if I say something like “That must have really hurt” he will deflect and say it wasn’t so bad.

I can understand how your husband might have felt overlooked by both you and the person at work. You know how pwBPD make a habit of overgeneralizing. And I think it’s likely that some of his anger toward her got dumped on you.

As far as addressing the issue later, remember how everything is in the moment with pwBPD and to bring up something that he had either let go of or perhaps felt silly for having such a strong reaction, could be seen as shaming him. (I know, sounds peculiar since you were just trying to make amends for not responding in a supportive way previously. And to clarify, most people wouldn’t have needed that support anyway, but we’re talking about a pwBPD here.)


“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
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