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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: Deflection, boundaries called "stonewalling"  (Read 189 times)
glittercheetah
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What is your sexual orientation: Other
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: living together
Posts: 1


« on: June 10, 2021, 10:56:59 AM »

Hi everyone,

I'm glad to have found this site and hoping to find support and understanding from others who may be in similar situations, or have advice to share.

Essentially, I love my girlfriend and there is a tension between wanting to understand she is human and mental illnesses like BPD aren't chosen, but also needing to self-protect. She is wonderful and funny and amazing on "good days," but can turn into someone accusatory, irrationally jealous (frequent accusations that I care about an ex x10years more than her, untrue accusations of talking on the phone while she's in the shower, etc.), and seemingly unreachable by any sort of logic.

I wouldn't say she is abusive, but her actions are. I recognize that...

And... the tension comes from the fact she is my best friend and partner, so it's hard to reconcile.

What I'm hoping for some advice or shared stories on is her practice of deflecting and starting to question my own status. (Don't worry... I see a counselor regularly!) Essentially, we often get in fights these days over petty things (e.g., she accused me last night of talking to someone on the phone while she was in the shower; two nights ago, a lawyer called around the same time to talk about my grandfather's will and she got suspicious about that too... "What kind of f**king lawyer calls that late?") that seem to center around her insecurities.

But, when I try to set boundaries (e.g., we can't talk about the ex until we see our couples counselor and it's a safe space, I won't talk to you if you are being condescending/telling me to kill myself/etc.), she says I'm "stonewalling." Admittedly, I grew up in a traumatic household and *am* conflict averse, but I do feel like a)I've done a lot of work on this and attempt to have hard conversations even when uncomfortable until they get to a point of escalation that I shut down, b)never had these kinds of conflicts in past relationships(they were discussed pretty civilly) and c)am providing opportunity to still discuss, but in a safe space.

Does anyone have experience with this? A partner or someone you love with BPD who says boundaries are "stonewalling" or "gaslighting"? How do you deal?

I think this is also part of a bigger picture of her denying that things are mostly her fault (or is that just my perception?? She would have you convinced...) and deflecting back. Saying *I* am the abuser, not her... that I never meet her halfway, she has not control, etc.

I don't want to complain, but I would love some perspective. Everything seems grey because she seems to have a totally different take on the conflicts and honestly, I truly believe she believes this and there may be nothing I can do to convince her otherwise.

In that end, it's year 1.5 and while I want to hope for a healthy relationship, I know I can't do this for a lifetime. It's exhausting and she can't seem to see that... does it get better over time, with better boundaries set, etc.? There aren't many stories of hope out there on the wider internet (or among therapists/mental health professionals I've talked to...)

thank you so much!
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Naughty Nibbler
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Sibling
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2021, 01:19:41 PM »

Hi glittercheetah:
Quote from: glittercheetah
But, when I try to set boundaries (e.g., we can't talk about the ex until we see our couples counselor and it's a safe space, I won't talk to you if you are being condescending/telling me to kill myself/etc.), she says I'm "stonewalling."
It is your responsibility to establish your own boundaries and enforce them.  You don't expect your partner to like your boundaries, agree with them, or to willingly comply.  You leave the conversation, after indicating you won't engage in a further discussion at that time.  If necessary, you leave and give your partner some info. about when you will be back in touch. Perhaps you go for a walk, take a drive, visit a relative.  You DON'T continue to engage in trying to JADE (Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain). 


Quote from: glittercheetah
I wouldn't say she is abusive, but her actions are. I recognize that...

e.g., she accused me last night of talking to someone on the phone while she was in the shower; two nights ago, a lawyer called around the same time to talk about my grandfather's will and she got suspicious about that too..   

I'm not in the camp of those who say that a jealous, controlling and abusive person is not responsible for their behaviors.

Does you therapist tell you that people with BPD can't be held responsible for their abusive behaviors.  If you believe that she is not responsible for anything, then you would have to accept that she will never change & what you see is what you get.  Additionally, you can't change anyone who doesn't want to change.


The common statement is that "My BPD person is just the most wonderful person in the world, until they are abusive, jealous, controlling, etc."  If your partner can't recognize that they are jealous and controlling, and that they want to change that, then what you see is want you get.  It's hard to change jealous & controlling behaviors, even when someone honestly wants to work on those issues.

You mention seeing a counselor.  Are you in individual therapy, as well as couple's therapy?  Is/are the therapists experienced with BPD? 

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pursuingJoy
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Inlaw
Posts: 1055



« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2021, 01:32:37 PM »

I echo everything Naughty Nibbler shared.

After setting boundaries, I've been told I'm ridiculous, petty, selfish, self-absorbed, conflict-averse, narrow minded, insecure, scared, proud. (Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) i've never listed all of these words out before and I'm laughing. The things we endure for the sake of boundaries, am I right?) I don't see the terms stonewalling and gaslighting any different than 'selfish' or 'insecure.' They're popular terms online where you can learn just enough psychology to sound informed and become dangerous.

The important thing is to recognize that she responds to your boundaries with attacks, by minimizing you and what you need. This is par for the course, very common for pwBPD.

How do you feel and what do you want? Work hard to find your footing there and let the rest of your decisions flow from that place.
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