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Before you can make things better, you have to stop making them worse... Have you considered that being critical, judgmental, or invalidating toward the other parent, no matter what she or he just did will only make matters worse? Someone has to be do something. This means finding the motivation to stop making things worse, learning how to interrupt your own negative responses, body language, facial expressions, voice tone, and learning how to inhibit your urges to do things that you later realize are contributing to the tensions.
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Author Topic: The seven year *****  (Read 2031 times)
TheBatHammer

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Separated
Posts: 45


« on: July 05, 2021, 09:47:01 PM »

My story of ennui is long and bittersweet...

I was married previously, at 25. I think she may also have had BPD traits. Her mother definitely did. That didn’t end well, for various reasons, divorced at 28. Dated another woman for two years. My current wife and I met through shared hobbies in our early thirties. Knew her for about a year, were fairly casual friends. When I broke up with my post-divorce girlfriend, we started dating a week later. She was also divorced, her husband had been an alcoholic, gambled away their life savings, was abusive, etc. Everything was his fault. She later revealed an incident of sexual abuse as a child.

She was in active solo and group therapy, and I really didn’t feel like I was saving her. She was talented, smart, caring, resourceful, and I thought, resilient. She had a timeline of a few years for marriage and kids which is fair, we were in our early thirties then and the clock was ticking. I was looking for a nice, sweet, decent, fun human being after my previous relationship, someone with a bit of an edge (oh, did I get it). Love bombing took the form of neediness. She always needed to stay over, to be driven home, back to her car, etc.

There were some early, should-have-been-obvious red flags. Text missives over misunderstandings and assumptions. Then rage bombing, once a month or so. Then gradually more often, whenever she was really stressed out or otherwise triggered. She eventually started melting down in stressful situations, backing me into emotional corners, causing me to lash out, then blaming me for doing so. Major communication issues. She misinterpreted things in a negative fashion, interrupted, twisted facts in arguments, anything to not be at fault or wrong. She was also sort of a closet hypochondriac. Everything might be something medical. Everything was a potential threat. Definitely hypervigilant.

We had a few decent years leading into our marriage with the occasional blowup. But she overextended herself, taking on multiple projects at once. Never put much effort into me.

After a few years, she put effort into her tantrums and fights, though. Screaming fits when she didn’t get what she wanted. She was quick to feel threatened. She’s scratched me. Bitten me. Dumped cold water on me. Thrown keys at me. Broken glasses in anger. Made suicide threats. Pretended to call someone and badmouth me. I’ve had to call the police to be escorted out of the house. Stayed with a family member or friends a few times. Sometimes she would leave the house and not come home all night. Then she’d claim she’d slept in her car. She’s jumped out of moving cars. Escalated to rage during car trips, just hours of me being yelled at. Every holiday or important event was a chore. Always someone else’s fault, usually mine.

She stomped around, slammed doors, ran up down the stairs yelling, popped in and out of doors upstairs to scream some more. Locked herself in her room, in the bathroom. Ran from any argument after starting it. Refused to resolve anything.

I started intermittently taping/journaling her more antisocial behavior five years ago when I realized things might not work out after all (Ha!). She found my journal two years in and deleted it. She’s also deleted private emails. In the past, she was able to convince me to delete several years of email texts/videos so we could move forward. I’ve lost track of everything that has happened in part, it’s all just blurred together over the years.

She’s stolen and hidden my phone multiple times. Accessed my phone, Facebook, emails, saved some of my correspondence, deleted others. Turned off the TV while I’m watching, taken and hidden remotes for TVs, videogames, taken my work computer and run off with it.

Everything had to be about my wife. Her goals. Her plans. Her achievements. She was super special and talented and had to be recognized for it. People who hurt her must have done it on purpose. The fear of abandonment was strong. There were several instances of drama within groups/organizations or incidents of her actually being pushed out. I thought this was an issue from various traumas, but eventually realized she had issues with authority and issues with heads of projects. She had lots of acquaintances but relatively few close friends.

She was jealous of other women. I made a coffee friend after a project, and she did everything she could to torpedo the relationship, accusing me of cheating. A year or so after we got married, I brought some of the more serious concerns I had to the attention of her best friend, who confronted her, and when she lashed out at her friend in defensive denial, that was it. She blamed me for fracturing that relationship, though it was her who stopped talking to them. Several of our few shared friends have distanced themselves or remained at arm’s length. I felt very isolated as a result. She was often angry at me for not being on her side, or for siding with others, especially when she was in the wrong.

She denied having any major issues, especially mental illness, and declined couples counseling for years, claiming it didn’t work, wasn’t needed, etc. Finally I made it a condition of continuing the relationship. We have had four separate long term attempts at counseling. Three of them (after marriage) dropped us as clients, mostly because she couldn’t control herself during sessions.

We had a child, a daughter. Sunk cost, I guess, I felt I owed her. Our sex life fell off. She made agreements to try to make time or promised to try things and then wouldn’t. She threatened to and then withheld affection when angry. Little physical touch, kissing, hugging, even hellos or goodbyes were rare, she was always rushing. Little conversation. Always in her own little world.

She had a respectable job when we met, ran her own business, but decided she wanted to be a professional and make more money in a dream job, so she went to grad school while she was pregnant with our first child. Any attempt of mine for attention or conversation during this period, which stretched into three or four years, was treated like an imposition.

Her mother moved in to help when our first child was born. Looking back, I was glad to have the help and I do appreciate many of her contributions, but I didn’t really need her there, and resented her presence before long. She watched our daughter during the day and most nights. It was a struggle to get to spend time with my own kid. She positioned it as “No, you go ahead, I’ll do it”, but really she was just anxious about everything and worried I’d screw up somehow. She had major issues with boundaries, telling me what to do, what not to do, the very specific way she wanted things done, always hovering around.

She stayed off and on, at least several days a week, for almost a year and a half. When she moved in, I started to recognize behaviors in my wife that I saw in her. Anxious, obsessive things. An inability to cede control. We got in a fight, Mommy would fly to the rescue, badmouth me, and then she and her mother would “gang up” on me. Once my father and sister came over to try to de-escalate one of these fights and her mother openly mocked them for trying to calm things down.

The house, which she bought with her prior husband and struggled to keep while single, was deemed hers. It was her house, and I signed a prenup over it. She would fly into a rage if any damage happened to the residence or furniture. She wasn’t a hoarder, exactly, but nothing could be moved or changed. There are random everyday items sitting on surfaces that were there from before we met almost a decade ago. I received no space in the master bedroom’s walk in closet, got some space in the dresser and the closet in the guest room. When our second child was born, that space became half the closet and half the dresser.

She worked several jobs. I did most of the chores, or her mother did. Dishes were my duty, changing litter, mowing, most of the bathing, letting dog in and out, walking her when she forgot. I cooked what homemade meals we had. We almost never ate at the table, always on the couch, watching TV or a movie. She was the planner, and she did some laundry, and criticized me when I did it.

She was kind of indirectly controlling with the household, especially with finances. I made most of the money and ended up turning over every dollar for bills. She refused to sit down and go over finances with me many times. Had no ability to save money because of how we were living.

I realized about 3 years ago I was making excuses about her behavior, writing her meltdowns off as too much stress from school, pregnancy hormones, stress from this that or the other. Just because she was stressed or anxious or overextended didn’t make any of her behavior or its frequency OK. I told her that I wasn’t giving into tantrums anymore and laid out the things I wouldn't tolerate and started standing my ground, and things naturally got much worse.
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TheBatHammer

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Separated
Posts: 45


« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2021, 09:54:20 PM »

During this time, knowing I wasn’t willing to move forward the way she wanted, she more or less lied about an ovulation test, and we ended up with a second child, a son. Her pregnancies were an absolute nightmare. She was completely unable to control her moods, which I guess is normal, but this was beyond extreme. Huge shrieking fits of violent rage, almost daily.

She finished grad school in 2019, an accelerated program, at the top of her class. The only reason she wasn’t Valedictorian is she had a family and two jobs and three projects at a time and no time to do all the extracurricular stuff to beat out the competition or spend with her husband.

She couldn’t get the dream job she wanted right out of school (who does?) and initially refused to take an entry level, though well-paying job when they came available. We had power struggles over those kinds of things. She withheld affection even more and brought out the real insults and demeaning comments. Stupid. Ugly. Bad in bed. Worthless. Monster. Demon. Abusive. Threats to tell my friends or family or her family or my job this, that or the other. She contacted my boss about a scheduling issue at one point.

Then a few years ago, she started to try to get sympathy from others and creative a narrative. We were fighting a lot at this point, and she told a few people, including acquaintances, that I was actively abusing her physically and otherwise. She befriended some older women, started labeling me a narcissistic abuser and they ate it up.

The last year or so, she was especially moody and quick to anger. Often sounded angry or like she was snapping. When asked to consider her tone and volume, her response was that there was nothing wrong with the tone of her voice and to stop insulting her voice. And then of course, she would escalate from there.

In early 2020, she had employment issues due to the pandemic, which added stress. During an early pandemic argument about whether to visit her elderly parents or not the following week, she freaked out about me saying no due to health concerns, woke the kids up from their naps and basically ran off with them, yelling to any neighbors outside that she was escaping abuse. I contacted my family via text while it was happening, tried to appeal to her sense of shame, and she got into it with them and offended and alienated everyone. She left, took the kids to her parents’ home a few hours away out of state, stayed away for a week or so and then returned. This strained her relationship with my family considerably.

As a result, a few weeks later, there were three days of escalating verbal abuse from her about the situation with them. Screaming, blaming, insults, violently angry, advancing on me, etc. On Day 3, when she escalated for several hours and was violently angry with both kids right there, I snapped and pushed her away. She went off to lick her wounds and came back an hour later with the police, having apparently walked into a police station and told them she was being beaten. I spent the weekend in jail, where I was exposed to various groovy things, among them Covid, and ended up convicted of DV and released on probation.

We discussed in depth with our couples counselor, decided I would spend two weeks quarantining in a hotel and then decide whether to come home. We talked sporadically while I was there. When I got out, things had calmed and we agreed to try to work on things. I felt guilty and that I couldn’t morally object to what she had done, even though I felt she made the wrong decision for our family and relationship.

However, because of what had happened, her ongoing tendency to lash out irrationally and an inability to control herself, and admit to or work on her issues, my immediate family basically disowned her. My parents stayed in touch, but my siblings and their spouses deemed her toxic and washed their hands of her. I asked her to give it time.

Meanwhile I explained that we needed to focus on our relationship, and that if she ever did anything like that again, we would be done. I explained I could not continue to stay on a relationship where the kids were exposed to violence or constant fighting and verbal abuse. She promised it would never happen again, that she would spend the rest of life making it up to me, etc.

She didn’t, though. Same old cycle. She used it if anything, made threats to “out” me to work, friends, etc. More stuff happened. We were hit by a drunk driver on freeway and she blamed me for not following them and getting a plate. And then in November, our family got Covid. I took care of kids mostly on my own for two weeks despite having the worst of it. She stayed upstairs under the guise of trying to get some work issues sorted. We made it through that, but things were very strained.

She still couldn’t get the job she wanted. She was working two jobs, still being squirrely about money and living beyond our means. I ended up taking kids to school, working all day (sometimes with them at home because pandemic) and then watching them after work until bedtime. If there was a doctor or other appointment, I took time off work to do that. At the time, I was footing somewhere around 85% of the bills. She finally got a job, which turned out to be more or less part time. She would get up early and crash at night after working two jobs. Never any time or energy.  Still, she bought a brand new SUV I’d been strongly against the purchase of. So things had been stressful. Therapy continued to go badly. Counselor paused therapy, almost dropped us several times because, you guessed it, she couldn’t control herself in sessions.

By 2021, The Disowning became a constant, pervasive issue. She picked fights over it constantly that escalated into screaming and insults. Not a real man. Not doing enough to fix things. Etc. We had several of those late night berating sessions, where she called me every name she could think of and wished that I and my family would die horrible deaths, burn in Hell, and so on.

I stopped looking to her for any significant source of comfort or happiness, because she didn’t seem capable of it. Midlife crisis ensued. Since she’d bought an SUV, I spent some decent money on stuff I wanted and started a new hobby. She went ballistic, threatened to kick me out, divorce me, etc. Threats of kicking me out and divorce became common and her go-to in an argument. She didn’t need me, couldn’t wait to get rid of me, deserved a man who treated her well because she could get any man she wanted, was going to sleep with someone else, etc.

Toward the end I started to just try to get the sex I wanted. That’s all she had provided on a semi regular basis, and even then not so much. She would pretend to be excited about sex, but then, right before go-time, we "had to talk”. I didn’t want it bad enough to be baited into lectures and arguments and blame sessions.

In April of this year, she started threatening to call the police in attempts to control me for various reasons. Claimed she felt unsafe around me, that she wished I’d go back to jail. I started putting in apartment applications, packed a go bag, prepared myself mentally as best I could. I'd been seeing a solo counselor for a while as our couples counselor had dropped us recently, and it appeared permanently.

Then in early May, a verbal argument between us escalated around the kids. She got flooded and actively threatened to call the police several times. I taped the exchange, involving my parents for documentation. She escalated, called 9-1-1 and started telling the dispatcher about my “history of domestic violence” and I got my stuff and hightailed it, telling her we were getting divorced.

I led the police a merry chase (Ok, drove to another county and called them).The police had come to the house (this would be the fifth or sixth time in seven years), told me she hadn’t said anything violent had happened, so nothing legal had to come of it. I stayed in various hotels for two weeks and tried to figure out the future. She tracked me down and spent the night a couple of times, but by this point, something was just broken. My parents helped me get set up in a two-bedroom apartment, the first application I'd put in and the only one not to decline to to DV conviction, and I told her I would no longer be supporting her financially and moved out in late May.
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TheBatHammer

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Separated
Posts: 45


« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2021, 10:11:45 PM »

Her initial reaction was rage. Angry voicemails. Textbombing. She claimed I was overreacting because nothing happened. How dare I abandon my family, be so selfish, reckless, and so on. We had a family trip to the beach (with her family) that was scuttled, and she took the kids 12 hours by herself, and I was right now to go, because she kept trying to lambast me on the phone, until I discovered the magic of hanging up.

On one of my first brief visits home, she stole my personal data files, work computer and phone, which led to some blackmail type allegations from her. I got the important stuff back, still navigating the fallout of that.

Then came emotional, clingy appeals. Please come home, but no reason why that was a good idea. "I need my best friend and my husband", but no recognition of me as a person beyond those descriptors or my issues or what had actually happened. Promises to do better, that we just needed to work hard at counseling. And those answers simply weren’t good enough anymore. There’s no plan of action there. No recognition of her/our many failings, the reality of her mood disorder, or even of the depth of our problems.

Since I moved out, her mother has moved in five days a week to basically enable her; to clean, watch the kids, make snarky comments about me being a real father and to give me lists of things that need purchased. I still take the kids to school and pick them up almost daily, but I’m not comfortable over there anymore. I was never really comfortable over there. I certainly don’t want to be around her mother.

Our kids have been over to my apartment a few times and spent the night twice so far. They seem to like it. She insisted on being there for their first night. She's said otherwise, but the kids seem to be doing ok in general. My daughter asked me where I was and if I would stay with her at her house a few times, but seems to understand I’m at the apartment now. Things have calmed down for the moment.
She’s been asking for money every few days. I can’t give her much and have told her so.

I’ve explained that I want a separation with a 50/50 custody agreement, and we will see where things go from there. I’ve told her I’m willing to go to counseling, even if its just for mediation or closure, and to listen regardless of what happens. She managed to alienate an online counselor immediately on the first attempt, and we’ve had two sessions with a fairly reputable counselor so far, but I haven’t heard anything promising except vague emotional appeals and promises, which don’t mean anything to me at this point. I don’t see a scenario where this works at all. I don’t see how I could safely stay with her. I don’t know what machinations that would require. Emotionally, not just in terms of actual physical safety. Being outside it, I've had a lot of time to think and put things in perspective.

It's not about one or two incidents, though that's mostly why I feel unsafe moving forward. I read through the list of things she’s done and that I dealt with and I don’t know why I stayed in this situation for so long. Sunk cost fallacy, a desire not to fail a second time at marriage, a desire not to fail a friend and lover. My needs were not being met on pretty much any level, but for some reason, that didn't move the needle. I assume it must have had something to do with low self esteem, even though I didn’t really feel that way about myself, and generally felt confident in my ability, decisions and reactions. Some of it was not wanting to leave her alone with whatever disorder this is, with two kids, with no money, with no emotional support, etc, especially during pregnancies and the pandemic.  So probably a codependence streak. It does run in the family.

I recognize that she has a problem, and that her rages are perhaps not her fault. When this thing doesn’t have ahold of her, she’s a genuinely decent person on many levels. Incredibly intelligent, many talents, a good mother, cares deeply about her kids, her friendships and her family, even strangers in need. But at some point, I became the enemy and stayed the enemy. There’s no splitting me white. I know she probably doesn’t really mean the things she says, and that she probably regrets the things she does. But the kids don’t know that. And I can't be a part of that anymore. I’ve known it wasn’t good for three years now. I’ve communicated that. I’ve asked for the specific things and changes that I need, worked on my reactions, tried to avoid triggering and escalating and sat through being badmouthed in counseling and ignored the secret character assassinations going on. I got tired of communicating effectively and being told I was a bad person, a bad husband, father, that it’s only my own depression making me unhappy, etc. I got tired of her being in denial and defensive all the time.

For a a few years, I felt like issues with effort were partially mine. I know I have my issues. I tried validation, but she would still escalate on her own. I know I didn’t handle certain things well, especially in the early years. When I realized what I might be dealing with, when I discovered the scope of it, especially having been exposed to it before, it pretty much triggered panic reactions and fight or flight whenever we fought. I was meaner than I should have been when backed into a corner, though it’s somewhat relative looking at it now. And I was conscious that I was not giving all I could to the relationship. There was about six months total mid-gaslighting where I thought “Am I a bad boyfriend/fiancée/husband?”  But I’m too logical a person for that to have stuck for long, and so it’s just been a joyless slog most of the time. I just didn’t have the drive to put any more effort toward the relationship. I realize now that much of my energy went to emotional survival. That, and to caregiving someone who didn’t want to be.

Since I moved out, I do feel relief I haven’t felt in a while, not having to be there, to take it all the time, to have the pointless fights, to listen to her berate and insult and endlessly praise and defend herself. I’ve lost about 20 pounds, probably in part due to not stress eating.

I've cut my financial contributions to her by almost half. After seven years of basically supporting her, I feel some guilt over the financial impact this has had on her and my family, like I could have eased us into this, maybe gotten a room somewhere and toughed it out, and there’s some stress over my own finances as well. While I don’t think she went wild, we have some pretty significant debts. No savings on my end, so my parents and extended family are helping with deficits, attorney fees, etc. I haven’t felt the need to ask them for help for a decade plus and it’s difficult for me to do so now. I'm embarassed on some level. Disappointed in myself. It's hard not to feel like a loser every so often.
 
Her health went South almost immediately when the stress of me leaving kicked in, and I felt bad about that. She had a sore throat and lost her voice, probably from screaming and shrieking and crying so much the first few weeks of our separation. She claimed she was hospitalized for it and was referred to specialist to rule out cancer/thyroid issues. Asked me if I’d still leave her if she had cancer. Part of me wonders if a thyroid problem might have been the issue all along. I don’t think so. She also got in a car accident a few weeks ago and talked me into staying the night with her in case she had a concussion.

She may or may not be jobhunting. She had a dream job fall through after I left, I suspect because she got overwhelmed and didn’t bother to follow up effectively after on what appeared to be a really good interview. I’m told she could get a solid job in her field and support herself pretty easily. She claims otherwise.

I’ve spoken with a family law attorney several times since getting out of jail in 2020. He may not be an expert, but he says he’s familiar with high conflict stuff. I’ve asked her to work me on a separation agreement. She initially agreed, but wanted full custody, then 75/25, and now claims it’s too stressful and that she doesn’t want to think about it until a project she’s doing is done next week. So much for my pseudo deadline. But I don’t see what other choices I have. As is tradition, she has not given me any. I've told a few friends what is going on. I suspect she's told more than a few, but it's not public right now. We're the couple everyone probably thought was rock solid (we're also actors).

I’ve mostly stayed at the apartment, have slept over there a few times, begrudgingly. We took the kids to July 4th activities, pool and two nights of celebrations/fireworks this past weekend. We’ve always parented well together, and I spent two nights at home, was quickly reminded of her general aloofness toward my presence. We’ve tried a few meal dates over the last few weeks and had lunch today. She tells me “We want you back”, but it’s very vague and there’s really not much effort there. And I don’t feel any real pull to return right now. I dearly wish she would get help and commit to getting better for the sake of our kids and our family, I would love to believe that reconciliation is possible, but then I’ve always wished for and asked for that.

I’m sometimes very lonely, though I soon remember that I was lonely for several years already. And though my new place is several steps down from the house we “shared”, its quiet, and its comfortable, and seems safe for my kids. I can work during the day and do things that need done and spend time relaxing without stress.

She’s slowed down on the push-pull and dangled sex and tried to bargain with sex acts, but only if I’m willing to definitively work on the marriage or delete certain incriminating files. She thinks I’m doing nothing but sleeping around here. Nothing could be further from the truth. I don't have any desire to at the moment.

Every time I start to think about going home, this little tiny failsafe process in my head goes ”Yeah, but…see paragraph above”. I’ve taken to calling my place The Batular Pad, and have filled it with mementos of the mid life crisis, cheesy 90’s Batman toys to remind me what this has been and is all about; recovering the simple joys life has to offer without feeling guilty that I'm doing something for me. It helps to read the accounts here, there are definitely common experiences here. It helps to know other people have dealt with, survived and thrived despite going through the wringer, and that there are healthier, more peaceful ways to live to look forward to.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2021, 10:25:30 PM by TheBatHammer » Logged
worriedStepmom
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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner’s ex
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2021, 11:41:33 AM »

Wow, you've had a rough few years.

I'm glad you have a therapist.  I'm glad you have a safe place to live.

What is the alternative to waiting for your wife to feel like working on a separation agreement?
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TheBatHammer

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Separated
Posts: 45


« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2021, 12:52:56 PM »

Spending more money on toys.

Or alternatively, just moving forward with separation.
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worriedStepmom
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2021, 01:41:08 PM »

Are you ready to move forward with the separation without her involvement?  (There is no right or wrong answer here.)

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TheBatHammer

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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Separated
Posts: 45


« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2021, 02:35:13 PM »

Financially and logically, yes, if just to protect our respective interests and move toward some version of stability.

Emotionally, no. Not yet. I'm still wearing my ring. We've been in counseling again recently.

She came over today and asked me point blank whether I wanted to work on the marriage or not. I gave her the same non-answer I have been, because that's how I feel right now. I would like to, but based on our track record, I don't realistically see a good outcome. I told her if she's pushing for a clear answer, than it's going to be no because I haven't heard anything concrete from her, just vague promises to be/do better. I told her the words aren't enough and she needs to demonstrate an awareness of the specific issues at hand and work to improve them.

She claims she's been working on things, but wouldn't provide any specific examples, acknowledges that she's been part of the issues, but then immediately brought up some of the bad or mean things I've done, whether or not they had much to do with the current Catch-22...which is the issue that I feel is nigh insurmountable in the first place.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2021, 02:41:41 PM by TheBatHammer » Logged
worriedStepmom
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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2021, 03:37:12 PM »

It's normal to be emotionally in a tailspin.  It is hard to end a long relationship.  It is even harder to extract yourself from an abusive situation.

It might benefit you to work with your therapist to figure out what you would have to see from your W (and yourself) to be willing to take a chance on a relationship again.  Set concrete goals.  Otherwise, you may leave yourself in this limbo where you have one foot in and one foot out of the marriage and a whole bunch of anxiety on what the right decision might be.

From my own experience, I will caution you on doing "family" activities together.  My exH (who does not have a PD) and I did some of these when we first separated.  Our kids were 1 and 4.  It reallllly confused the 4 year old.  She knew that mom and dad weren't living together and she was going to have two families, but then we acted like one family.  She got stomach aches and had major tantrums and ended up in therapy.  Your kids may not react the same, but watch for that type of confusion.
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Relationship status: separated 2005 then divorced
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You can't reason with the Voice of Unreason...


« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2021, 06:37:25 PM »

Many experiences you'd had with your spouse I had with mine.  And predictably the worst is in private scenarios in the home or while driving.  Throwing and breaking things. Cycles of endless screaming and raging.  Moaning and groaning.  Demanding apologies over and over.  Rejections and then luring you back, over and over.

Legal Separation (LS) will likely be a waste of your time, effort and money.  She has deep, deep issues and officially maintaining a marriage (separation = in name only) will be impractical.  Will you get her compliance on legal issues such as tax filings?  My lawyer told me (some 15 years ago) that he had only done two LS in nearly two decades of practice and neither involved high conflict.

Sadly, neither courts nor the professionals around the courts will try to force-fix her, they will deal with her as she is.  Since you no longer have any meaningful influence on her, you would do well to do the same.  She is what she is, not what you wish her to be.

The others are correct, they will have more concern for the kids than for you, an adult.  I recall my local CPS agency told me they didn't care that my preschooler was exposed to rants and rages, but they said to call back if the focus ever shifted to him.

I spent the weekend in jail, where I was exposed to various groovy things, among them Covid, and ended up convicted of DV and released on probation.

Meanwhile I explained that we needed to focus on our relationship, and that if she ever did anything like that again, we would be done. I explained I could not continue to stay on a relationship where the kids were exposed to violence or constant fighting and verbal abuse. She promised it would never happen again, that she would spend the rest of life making it up to me, etc.

She didn’t, though. Same old cycle.

Ask your experienced proactive lawyer to be frank with you.  Is separation realistic and even worth a try?  At what point should you cut your losses and switch to divorce?  She's already gotten you jailed once, can you risk it again?  I saying I learned here many years ago and have often repeated about allegations... If it has been threatened or even just contemplated, it will happen given enough time.

About negotiations...  Typically they are long and tortuous.  Beware of starting with "fair" offers.  That is your/our weak spot.  We start with conciliatory and "fair" but the disordered person starts with entitled and demanding.  Negotiations will not turn out well when one can truly negotiate but the other can't.  If you start with a "fair" condition then don't let her whittle it away.

For example, starting with "I think equal time is best."  She responded with "No, I want full custody."  However, she did negotiate and met you halfway with 75%.  Do you see how that's not really fair?  Stick to your condition, or even reconsider and state you need more than half.  For example, after 8 years in and out of court — going in minimal increments from Shared Parenting to full custody to majority parenting time — I ended up with majority time during the school year and remaining with equal time during the summers.  That's when, after a decade, the conflict and entitlement finally reduced sufficiently.

In my case I was in a two year divorce because she had a default mother-preferred temp court order.  She had been arrested at the start for Threat of DV.  But when we finally got to trial and she admitted making death threats (I had recorded) the judge declared her Not Guilty because she didn't have a weapon in her hands.  He cited case law where a guy had come home drunk and told his wife he'd shoot her, though they didn't own guns.  Whether the judge felt this was her first time before the court or he had a default preference for women, I doubt he would have ruled favorably if I, a man, had been the one vociferously threatening life.

To continue my divorce experience, eventually she couldn't extend the divorce case any longer.  When I arrived at the court house on Trial Day I was greeted with the news she was ready to settle.  We already knew the Custody  Evaluator, an experienced child psychologist, had recommended we attempt first Shared Parenting (predictably it failed within a couple years but that's another story).  I was concerned that if we were on a totally equal footing that she would still be entitled and controlling (she was).  Facing that predetermined framework, I decided to set a Boundary... Either I would be the parent in charge of school or we would proceed with the trial.  Even my lawyer insisted it didn't matter.  (Little did he know, it did did matter.)  So I managed to walk out with equal time and equal authority but I had the decision Making or Tie Breaker authority with school - and had to use that authority just weeks later.

No one can predict precisely how things will turn out for you in the months and years to come.  But the pattern is somewhat predictable.  Your marriage is dysfunctional, unhealthy, failing and essentially has already failed.  Can you accept that?  Slapping a 'separated' sticker on it is a half-measure.  Very likely you'll recognize that divorce (with as firm and as good boundaries and terms as possible) is the eventual outcome.

Meanwhile... Behave as best you can, as though family court were watching over your shoulder.  Don't let her rattle you or frame you into any lousy scenarios as she did last year.  Essentially, live your life applying your own principles and positivity, she will do whatever and that's largely her life choices.  She will refuse to accept boundaries of course, but your boundaries are for You!  In other words, "If you do or don't do ____ then I will do or not do ____."  See?  You can't tell her how to live her life but you have the power to respond as appropriate.  The word for that is... consequences.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2021, 06:56:36 PM by ForeverDad » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2021, 09:50:40 PM »

It's normal to be emotionally in a tailspin.  It is hard to end a long relationship.  It is even harder to extract yourself from an abusive situation.

It might benefit you to work with your therapist to figure out what you would have to see from your W (and yourself) to be willing to take a chance on a relationship again.  Set concrete goals.  Otherwise, you may leave yourself in this limbo where you have one foot in and one foot out of the marriage and a whole bunch of anxiety on what the right decision might be.

From my own experience, I will caution you on doing "family" activities together.  My exH (who does not have a PD) and I did some of these when we first separated.  Our kids were 1 and 4.  It reallllly confused the 4 year old.  She knew that mom and dad weren't living together and she was going to have two families, but then we acted like one family.  She got stomach aches and had major tantrums and ended up in therapy.  Your kids may not react the same, but watch for that type of confusion.

I figure we're going to be co-parenting regardless, at least as things stand now. Confusing them is a concern, to be sure. I feel awful depriving them of special outings and so on, though. I know soon enough I'll be able to manage them both, maybe with some assistance from time to time, but right now he's a new toddler, and she's still in full on run into traffic mode. Taking them anywhere public currently requires the two of us. I'm keeping an eye on them, watching for any signs of distress, confusion, etc.
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« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2021, 09:59:53 PM »

Many experiences you'd had with your spouse I had with mine.  And predictably the worst is in private scenarios in the home or while driving.  Throwing and breaking things. Cycles of endless screaming and raging.  Moaning and groaning.  Demanding apologies over and over.  Rejections and then luring you back, over and over.

Legal Separation (LS) will likely be a waste of your time, effort and money.  She has deep, deep issues and officially maintaining a marriage (separation = in name only) will be impractical.  Will you get her compliance on legal issues such as tax filings?  My lawyer told me (some 15 years ago) that he had only done two LS in nearly two decades of practice and neither involved high conflict.

I don’t know if this state even has legal separation as an option. There’s just dissolution and divorce, from what I understand. All legal roads lead to splitting up.

Excerpt
Sadly, neither courts nor the professionals around the courts will try to force-fix her, they will deal with her as she is.  Since you no longer have any meaningful influence on her, you would do well to do the same.  She is what she is, not what you wish her to be.

The others are correct, they will have more concern for the kids than for you, an adult.  I recall my local CPS agency told me they didn't care that my preschooler was exposed to rants and rages, but they said to call back if the focus ever shifted to him.

Ask your experienced proactive lawyer to be frank with you.  Is separation realistic and even worth a try?  At what point should you cut your losses and switch to divorce?  She's already gotten you jailed once, can you risk it again?  I saying I learned here many years ago and have often repeated about allegations... If it has been threatened or even just contemplated, it will happen given enough time.

That’s the problem. She’s done it, she’s threatened to do it, and she’s almost done it again.
I don’t know that there’s a failsafe that trumps that.

Excerpt
About negotiations...  Typically they are long and tortuous.  Beware of starting with "fair" offers.  That is your/our weak spot.  We start with conciliatory and "fair" but the disordered person starts with entitled and demanding.  Negotiations will not turn out well when one can truly negotiate but the other can't.  If you start with a "fair" condition then don't let her whittle it away.

For example, starting with "I think equal time is best."  She responded with "No, I want full custody."  However, she did negotiate and met you halfway with 75%.  Do you see how that's not really fair?  Stick to your condition, or even reconsider and state you need more than half.  For example, after 8 years in and out of court — going in minimal increments from Shared Parenting to full custody to majority parenting time — I ended up with majority time during the school year and remaining with equal time during the summers.  That's when, after a decade, the conflict and entitlement finally reduced sufficiently.

Yeah, I'm fairly familiar with the negotiation process. I hate to treat this situation as a typical "Start high, end up in the middle" negotiation, but if the court system views it through that lens, I may have to adjust my thinking on that front.

She specifically wants school/residential parent rights. I've told her that's a non starter. I want to have a say and I need to be able to make a logical argument if we're deadlocked. Those close to me think I'll end up with full custody eventually.

Excerpt
No one can predict precisely how things will turn out for you in the months and years to come.  But the pattern is somewhat predictable.  Your marriage is dysfunctional, unhealthy, failing and essentially has already failed.  Can you accept that?  Slapping a 'separated' sticker on it is a half-measure.  Very likely you'll recognize that divorce (with as firm and as good boundaries and terms as possible) is the eventual outcome.

I'm getting there. I think the problem is I'm not willing to live in limbo much longer, and she has told me she'll treat any step further as grounds for divorce. Which honestly, I don't care that much about.

Excerpt
Meanwhile... Behave as best you can, as though family court were watching over your shoulder.  Don't let her rattle you or frame you into any lousy scenarios as she did last year.  Essentially, live your life applying your own principles and positivity, she will do whatever and that's largely her life choices.  She will refuse to accept boundaries of course, but your boundaries are for You!  In other words, "If you do or don't do ____ then I will do or not do ____."  See?  You can't tell her how to live her life but you have the power to respond as appropriate.  The word for that is... consequences.

Last year was pretty much my breaking point. I've been a lot more solid ever since. I don't see "snapping" like that again under any circumstances. I'm working on setting better boundaries.
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« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2021, 10:41:10 PM »

Just wanted to say I read every word of these posts. Very relatable with the police, rages, jumping out of cars, pregnancy... So much of it. And it's amazing how much of that can be hidden to outsiders. But it eventually leaks out. Hang in there - you're not alone. TFP
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« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2021, 09:48:39 AM »

Payday, and predictably, she's asking for more money than I can reasonably give her, about 30% more than I expressly told her I had to spare.

I know she has expenses, but I've told her several times this is what I can provide. I did the math, I'm basically paying for half the daycare expenses and enough for groceries for a month for the kids every two weeks in addition to buying groceries for them at my place, and half their extracurriculars. I feel like I owe to put a roof over their heads, which I've done with the apartment, but not to finance her house, utilities, lifestyle, etc, as far as I can tell. I couldn't afford to do so anyway.

She started in about "Well, a few days ago you told me over the phone you would give me X amount come payday". I told her I'm not dealing with hearsay and he said/she said when it comes to money or me keeping "promises", that it was a waste of time to have those arguments, and to get comments like that in writing in the future if she intends to hold me to them or bring them up at all.

Monday is our next counseling session, when she claimed she'd be willing to discuss everything. We'll see.
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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2021, 10:56:48 AM »

Payday, and predictably, she's asking for more money than I can reasonably give her, about 30% more than I expressly told her I had to spare.

I know she has expenses, but I've told her several times this is what I can provide. I did the math, I'm basically paying for half the daycare expenses and enough for groceries for a month for the kids every two weeks in addition to buying groceries for them at my place, and half their extracurriculars. I feel like I owe to put a roof over their heads, which I've done with the apartment, but not to finance her house, utilities, lifestyle, etc, as far as I can tell. I couldn't afford to do so anyway.

She started in about "Well, a few days ago you told me over the phone you would give me X amount come payday". I told her I'm not dealing with hearsay and he said/she said when it comes to money or me keeping "promises", that it was a waste of time to have those arguments, and to get comments like that in writing in the future if she intends to hold me to them or bring them up at all.

We have a joint checking account so I can transfer money to her and for certain direct deposit bills, but she just took the money she'd asked for from there anyway, making the account negative. I told her if it happens again I'm closing the joint account.

Monday is our next counseling session, when she claimed she'd be willing to discuss everything.

We'll see.
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« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2021, 12:01:16 PM »

My own personal opinion is that you need to take control of your finances.  She has a demonstrated ability to not act in good faith.  Her actions are not only harmful to you, but also harmful to herself.  What does that tell you about how she regards her actions if she doesn't even do what is in her own best interest?  I say this without knowing what the law says regarding your obligations, so by all means, get advice from a professional.

Open a new account, put your pay there, and hand out what you're going to hand out.  Done.  Get advice on what your obligations are going forward and then adjust accordingly.  Take back control.  
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« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2021, 08:48:16 PM »

We have a joint checking account so I can transfer money to her and for certain direct deposit bills, but she just took the money she'd asked for from there anyway, making the account negative. I told her if it happens again I'm closing the joint account.

That can be a starter Boundary.  You stated what would happen.  So if it happens, follow your boundary.  It will trigger some extinctions bursts meant to force or coerce you into recanting, so be prepared when that happens.

I see a problem with the joint account.  Evidently the bank allows it to go negative, with a fee most likely.  If that happens then you'll probably have to pay to bring it to zero, but then close it.  You know it will happen again.

She can thereafter open her own personal account and there must be a way you can transfer as much or as little as you wish, but this way she will be the one responsible for it.

It sounds like you don't let her use your credit cards.  Good.  Don't start.
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« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2021, 10:12:11 PM »

Had counseling again today. Our counselor met with us individually, then asked us to talk to each other at the end of the session. I talked about accountability, about taking ownership for my part in our issues, for my reactive anger/abuse and things that made her feel unsafe or mistrustful. I also talked about how any kind of reconciliation between us would have to involve her being accountable for her role in things, and having a concrete plan to deal with her mood issues. Naturally, she only heard the part I said about her taking responsibility for her part in things, which was specifically about her abuse and tendency to lash out. Not getting anywhere fast, and my expectations are probably unrealistic anyway. She wants me to say I will work on the marriage, with no legal activity.

She stayed over for a bit, as I'm watching our daughter at the apartment while our son recovers from a contagious daycare bug and she wanted to visit her. We talked a few times throughout the evening. Notably, she was being weird about a separated man who was hitting on other women in a project she was just involved in, and why he went for such and such instead of so and so. Finally pried loose that he asked her out, but she turned him down. I guess it was supposed to make me jealous, or make me aware that she was jealous. She asked if I've been with anyone. I haven't.

Late in the evening, she asked me to ask my parents to pay my rent for the next few months so I can have more money to support the children (read: her), claims they are suffering financially. I pointed out that if the kids were at the apartment half the time, she'd have less grocery and diaper expenses. We talked about trimming expenses, including kids extracurriculars, which she refuses to do. She doesn't seem to actually want solutions to any of the issues she raised, claims she is jobhunting, but can't focus on it properly with all the pressure, financial and otherwise. She did say she was trying to be mindful about escalating, and that if I came home she would leave the room or house when she got angry, etc. That has not been the history, and did not set my mind at ease. No discussion about separation details, etc.

Things escalated a bit toward the end, started to become repetitive and blaming, and I told her I was done discussing conflict for the evening and asked her to leave. She called me a couple of times but I didn't pick up. Trying to set some kind of boundaries.
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« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2021, 12:16:08 AM »

Not getting anywhere fast, and my expectations are probably unrealistic anyway. She wants me to say I will work on the marriage, with no legal activity.

Interpretation:  Delay as much as possible.
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« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2021, 08:26:30 AM »

That was my take as well.
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« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2021, 02:18:30 PM »

Domestic or family courts are not there to repair or restore a relationship.  They are there to facilitate and oversee the unwinding of a marriage or relationship.  They deal with the issues as people are, not as anyone wishes them to be.  (Well, at least in theory... there is debate about whether they have a neutral stance... Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post) )

However, while neither you nor your spouse can stop a divorce, it is also true that no one can stop you two from remarrying, if you both so decide.

What I'm saying is that if a divorce has already been started then it is usually best not to pause it since it removes the pressure or incentive for the other to more quickly negotiate in good faith.  Even if things progress up to and including a final decree of divorce, even that can be undone by remarriage.  However, while we have heard members talk about remarrying before arriving here, that doesn't happen after they arrived here.  "Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me."
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« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2021, 04:34:40 PM »

I figure we're going to be co-parenting regardless, at least as things stand now. Confusing them is a concern, to be sure. I feel awful depriving them of special outings and so on, though. I know soon enough I'll be able to manage them both, maybe with some assistance from time to time, but right now he's a new toddler, and she's still in full on run into traffic mode. Taking them anywhere public currently requires the two of us. I'm keeping an eye on them, watching for any signs of distress, confusion, etc.

My kids were 1 and 4 when my ex and I separated.  Both were runners (although the youngest is by far the worst).  I used strollers and baby leashes and managed to handle them myself.  Later, when youngest hated the leash, I gave him constant piggyback rides and had oldest hold on to me.  I have also had to page the youngest at the store when he was 4 and disappeared in the 20 seconds I looked at something on the shelf. [The teen at the customer service desk gave me the weirdest look when I told her to say "<S's full name>, mom says come to the front of the store right this minute".  He came shuffling up, head down, a few seconds later.]

You are a single dad now.  It's time to figure out how to handle the kids on your own.  This will be important not just now (so you can make these kind of special memories with the kids on your own) but also in the future.  A judge is potentially going to look askance if you are struggling with managing both and your W is not.

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« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2021, 04:57:16 PM »

“If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.” BatHammer, you keep wishing things would get better. They don’t, and they won’t. Your W will keep throwing you crumbs. Each time it gets your hopes up and primes you for more victimization. These BPD folks operate from a place of fear. They are terrified of being involved in normal exchanges, because they can’t stand not being in control. So they manipulate, try to control others, try to put people they depend on into positions of very limited choice.

Do you have any reason to expect things to change? I don’t think it looks that way to any of us reading your posts. Every story you have told is that things always go back to being as they were, or worse. Sorry if I sound harsh. Having been where you are, I really do feel for you.

Separation is difficult and lonely. It is hard to admit failure. You are doubtless correct in expecting that your W will badmouth you to anyone who will listen, and you may lose some friends. But prolonging the agony does no one any good, especially your children. At this point they probably don’t know what to think and so can’t begin any process of adjustment. You are anticipating a difficult divorce and you are probably right. There’s a reasonable possibility she may do the DV thing again, and then you are in deep poop. You need to be careful and get good legal advice.

What is the alternative? If you really, sincerely believe your W will change and that you can live together reasonably, then keep working at your marriage. If there is, at best, a one in a million chance, then (switching animals) the sooner you take the bull by the horns, the better for everyone.
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« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2021, 07:24:37 PM »

I appreciate the input from everyone here.

We haven’t done anything legal yet.

About a month ago, during a counseling session, trying to articulate what I wanted, how I wanted to proceed, I ended up breaking down and sobbing and pouring out my heart to the counselor. In the end, I agreed to try a session of couples counseling. A lot of where I was the first few months was anger. I decided I didn’t want to make decisions out of anger, I wanted some opportunity to work through things without just feeling resentment. I felt like I had to try, even though I know I already had. We’ve had three or four sessions since then. I don’t know if they’ve been especially productive, but they’ve been civil.

Have settled into the apartment. I’ve been taking the kids to school every day and picking them up, taking them to extracurricular activities. Her mom has been there throughout the week. I have the kids 1-2 nights a week, and lately, we’ve been watching them together on a weekend day, doing some kind of outing. I’ve taken the kids to a few places on my own as well, and that’s getting easier.

The kids seem to be doing ok. Every so often, my daughter asks if she can come to the apartment, and I can tell she misses me every few days. I’ve discussed the situation with her teachers, and they tell me she’s adjusting to the changes all right. I’m slowly getting used to seeing them for longer periods for a few days a week, off and on, etc. It’s helped me work through the possibility of that being the norm.

My wife and I have gone to eat a few times, to a movie, a few other smaller things. They don’t really feel like dates. I’ve set boundaries on what I’m willing to tolerate in our interactions, and a couple of our meetings have ended when things started to escalate or become unproductive. She’s stayed over at my place a couple of times. We haven’t been intimate; she says she’s afraid to without a stronger commitment, and I’m not there anyway. She wants me to want her, there's been some noise about her getting hit on and so on.

Being in limbo aside, I do feel a lot more clearheaded. I’m not naiive about the situation, and still very cautious. I don’t feel as on edge though, and I’m using some coping skills I’ve seen here to try to react better to any issues that arise. I feel considerably less guilt, if any, over the situation. Focusing on myself and what I can control, and my own behavior. I've done a lot of thinking about what I'm willing to accept, if I could accept the general lack of presence and empathy I've seen so often again.

Ironically though, at times, at least a few weeks ago, I’ve been the one subject to escalation or rages. I don’t know what that’s about, but when things do start to escalate, I find myself getting frustrated and angry unless I consciously use some coping skills. I think it has to do with not wanting to get sucked back into the drama, recognizing the cycle when it happens and being frustrated about it.

Things had been mostly civil for a while, though counseling was rough last week. We confronted the major issues, and she essentially told her side of the story uninterrupted, left a lot of details, a lot of it seemed designed to make me and the family look at bad/abusive/bullying as possible. And then things blew up this past weekend with my family, as she's been banned from my sibling’s residence, and pushed the issue in a group text, which didn’t go over well.

Then I found out this past weekend that while she was looking at pictures on my phone, she text messaged the group text from my phone in an attempt to get them to re-evaluate their position about her, which naturally made things much worse, because I had to explain to everyone that I hadn’t actually done a 180 on her behavior. And while I can almost understand the logic behind it from a frantic-attempt-to-avoid- abandonment standpoint, that’s just bat****, a major boundary issue, and from a behavioral standpoint is just unacceptable. I have a feeling this week’s counseling session will be difficult.

Overall, I do feel a lot better about myself and my own situation. Situationally, it still very much feels like she’s gotten what she wants, at least in the short term, and there haven’t been many concessions on her end. There’s an emotional appeal to come back home about once a week. I can tell she’s being more mindful about escalating, and succumbing to rages, and blaming. We haven't fought around the kids. She is making some effort. Still not much actual accountability for anything and no concrete plans to speak of. So…mostly crumbs.

Since things have been civil, she wants me to stay over more often, visit her family, and even celebrate our wedding anniversary next month. I’ve told her we're not there, that I'm not there, that there's work to be done, to focus on what’s happening now, and I’ve been careful to avoid making any promises, though I know that won’t go very far.

There’s definitely some magical thinking going on, suggestions that I’ll come home once my lease is up, etc. I suppose I’m looking for a truly concrete example of accountability and a desire to change, but I'm fully expecting to be disappointed. Still, limbo aside, I’m in a better place in general. I still don't feel any real pull to go back. It's like I want to want to, but don't want to. And it's a lot more peaceful, and it's nice to have the space and emotional energy to work through things the way I need to, not to be constantly forced to accept someone else's reality.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2021, 07:41:52 PM by TheBatHammer » Logged
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« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2021, 09:42:47 PM »

Looks like you’re engaging in some wishful thinking here. It appears that she is on her best behavior, hoping to lure you back, and you’re enjoying some of the perks of being an intact family at the moment.

Knowing her proclivities, where do you see this leading?
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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
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« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2021, 05:37:24 AM »

What is that phrase.... too bad to stay too good to leave.... that limbo mode that can keep you 'stuck'.

And most of the time the 'good' part is temporary, and magical thinking and based more on 'hope' of what could be ('possible') vs what is reality (or 'probable')

Its easy to hope for the best.  We are two smart capable people, we 'should' be able to make this work.  Was my mantra.  And of course I want to own my side of things.  But as you experience even if 'your' side is only 10%, it will be where 99% percent of the energy and focus is put.  Never getting to the work she needs to do.

So what is probable?  Long term?  Imagine you were in a relationship with a severe alcoholic - you might be able to imagine what the road to recovery looks like and the indicators and whether it was doable for you.  With a personality disorder there isnt as much awareness and visibility, but the prognosis isnt good and it is likely much more difficult than alcoholism (comparisons are never a great idea - I am just trying to say it wont be easy, nor likely, and there really isnt good awareness of what it will take).

So how much more of your life do you want to waste in limbo?  How much of your personal energy do you want to continue to throw down the black hole?  (it will consume however much you allow it)

A friend shared a story with me recently of a nephew experiencing girlfriend relational stress.  The uncle told him, 'you must really like drama'.  Which he reacted to that certainly not.  It was pointed out that he kept 'choosing' to stay in it. 

You get to 'choose' how much drama and emotional turmoil you want in your life.
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TheBatHammer

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« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2021, 04:12:23 PM »

Looks like you’re engaging in some wishful thinking here. It appears that she is on her best behavior, hoping to lure you back, and you’re enjoying some of the perks of being an intact family at the moment.

I think I'll always wish things had been/could be better, but I'm in a fairly realistic place at the moment. Her best behavior may be "civil", but it still isn't good, and the patterns still present themselves.

Excerpt
Knowing her proclivities, where do you see this leading?

Depends on the decisions I make.

What is that phrase.... too bad to stay too good to leave.... that limbo mode that can keep you 'stuck'.

And most of the time the 'good' part is temporary, and magical thinking and based more on 'hope' of what could be ('possible') vs what is reality (or 'probable')

Honestly, it's not all that "good". It's preferable to have civility and pleasantness VS the chaos and abrasiveness, but it's not all that rewarding.

Excerpt
Its easy to hope for the best.  We are two smart capable people, we 'should' be able to make this work.  Was my mantra.  And of course I want to own my side of things.  But as you experience even if 'your' side is only 10%, it will be where 99% percent of the energy and focus is put.  Never getting to the work she needs to do.

Yeah.

Excerpt
So what is probable?  Long term?  Imagine you were in a relationship with a severe alcoholic - you might be able to imagine what the road to recovery looks like and the indicators and whether it was doable for you.  With a personality disorder there isnt as much awareness and visibility, but the prognosis isnt good and it is likely much more difficult than alcoholism (comparisons are never a great idea - I am just trying to say it wont be easy, nor likely, and there really isnt good awareness of what it will take).

More of the same. The alcoholic example is a good one. It's similar in the sense that the person with the disorder needs to admit there's a problem, take accountability and actively work on themselves.

We had counseling again today. We had planned, after the previous week's session, to continue to address the subject of the issues with my family. Before this session, the counselor and I were informed that my wife was not comfortable discussing my family or her issues with them and that the topic was now off limits. Naturally, she spent much of the session making vague, angry, accusatory references to the incident with my family from the weekend anyway, but refused to allow me to make any response to it, or to allow me to contextualize any of it. She seemed to feel very threatened by the time the counselor allotted me to respond to her statements, and told the counselor several times that she didn't feel like talking about her issues with interpersonal relationships and didn't find it a comfortable topic, and was very emotional, tearful and angry for a second straight session. She flat out told the counselor she didn't like or trust the way she was handling the session, accused her of showing favoritism, etc. We have two weeks until our next session. Don't know if I'll go back at this point.
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« Reply #26 on: September 30, 2021, 12:30:24 PM »

So the night of the counseling session that I mentioned in my last post, I spent the night. We kissed briefly, and she refused to do anything else without a firm commitment to return to the marriage. She insisted that I am actively poisoning people against her and demanded that I demonstrably take her side, including a meeting with my parents.

The next night, I spent some of the evening with her, and she turned off the lights as if she was going to become intimate or something, then started angrily lecturing me about the family situation again. I left.

We took the kids to the zoo a few days later, and things went okay.

Her car was in the shop the following week, so I ended up getting up super early to take her to work,and picked her up. This went on for a week and a half or so, there were several escalating arguments in the car.

After the weird "posing as me" text incident, she text messaged my family, asking them to come to my daughter’s birthday and attempting to be let back in. They said no, except for my mother, who agreed to come. So then she called my 92 year old grandmother to ask if she could bring the kids to visit and left a message. I found out when my parents informed me that she had left a message on their answering machine saying that my daughter wanted to come see her. She had called from her mother’s phone, not hers, to hide her number.

She arranged a bed and breakfast for our upcoming anniversary weekend. I told her no.

The weekend before my daughter’s birthday she took the kids out of state to her parents’ house. I did not go, simply not comfortable around them anymore. While I know there are other influences, I have a hard time not blaming them for her/our situation.

We had counseling the following week, and again my wife freaked out about the counselor letting me tell my side of things, claimed she was biased against her, giving me too much time, etc. She insisted that we could not bring up what had happened recently with my family or discuss the family issues, but spent the session making vague, sarcastic and passive aggressive allusions to the issue. This happened in the next session as well, she had complete meltdowns when the topic, which she insisted on raising every day between us, would come up and refused to discuss it.

We had a fight at my apartment when she came to pick up the kids.

On my daughter’s birthday, my mother came, my father didn’t, and when my daughter asked where grandpa was, my wife said “He didn’t want to come”. She and her mother effectively ignored my mother when she said hello and tried to be civil. I spent the weekend there for some reason, helped with the kids.

The following weekend we went out of state and stayed with her extended family. The trip went well, and we got along and had a good time with the kids.

On Labor Day we took the kids to a waterpark. Same result.

About this time our counselor reached out to essentially tell us that she could not continue to treat us, and offered a second therapist. Wife started to dysreg after this and bombarded me with text messages about this and family drama.

Three weeks ago I stayed the weekend. Things went okay. We tried to talk about the family issues, and she deflected and denied her role in things.

Our sixth anniversary was about two weeks ago. We went to dinner the night before, went to a movie and she spent the night at my apartment. Nothing happened. On the actual anniversary, I got her roses, but refused to put a big flowery anniversary post or a wedding photo on Facebook, which caused her to freak out and textbomb me about what a real man would have done and so on.

She claims to have been seeing her personal counselor. A few days ago, she located a new online couples counselor. That counselor had a family emergency delaying the session and she went ballistic and called the counselor’s customer service line to complain, showing absolutely no compassion. We had a rescheduled session, and the counselor herself turned out not to be a good fit for me in particular; she kept interjecting what we should or shouldn’t do in terms of "self care" while we were trying to explain the basics of where things stood. I found it abrasive and unprofessional and ended the session early. I'm tired of the process, of telling the same story over and over.

I've been taking the kids to school and picking them up every day, and two activities four times a week. They haven't been staying over for a few weeks now, though I've been there about three days a week. I have had them over for a few hours at a time to watch them, play, or take them somewhere.

Through most of this recent period, wife has continued to send me emotional, lecturing text messages designed to guilt me into returning. She has continued to imply that I overreacted by moving out, and suggest that we just need to work at things and be better at communicating. She has continued to ask me to set up a meeting with my parents. And really hasn’t given much of anything in return for my attempts to work on things. Her mom is picking up all her/our slack at the house and with the kids. Wife has generally been kinder, we still haven't fought much, or fought around the kids, and she's not cursing me out and insulting me. She's made a clear effort to be civil, to consider my time, and schedule. There are little comments here and there, compromises that show she is trying.

But beyond that, she's not even saying the right things about the relationship beyond "Please come home, we/I miss you", and her assessment of her issues with my family is just...irrational.

It's been very "If you give a mouse a cookie, she'll want...", but I have received few cookies myself. It feels like the bare minimum.

I'm doing better in general; calmer, less quick to anger and frustration. I was kind of swinging wildly back and forth between wanting to be done and wanting to give it another shot, a six month trial period or something since there's been some improvement...and waffling back and forth about coming home once my lease is up in November, but tomorrow is the deadline for giving notice, and I haven't. The financial side of this is daunting, but the emotional side of it is a lot clearer.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2021, 12:45:33 PM by TheBatHammer » Logged
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« Reply #27 on: September 30, 2021, 03:49:27 PM »

So you are going to stay in your place? How do you see things unfolding from this point?
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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
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« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2021, 12:57:24 AM »

 If she already got you in legal trouble you are at a great disadvantage in court.  Think of your children and forget the relationship. The next time she calls the police you are done for. Save yourself so you can be there for your kids. No one deserves this. Don’t be guilted into going back. Use deescalating and validation techniques until you secure your legal rights with your children then end it all, swiftly.
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« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2021, 06:18:40 PM »

It's smart that you are on your own, taking a breather.

Has anyone recommended High-Conflict Couple to you?

Even if you choose to exit the relationship, the skills may be helpful for coparenting.

Another is Splitting by Bill Eddy to explain how BPD traits become turbocharged in family law courts.

Most of us cannot manage these relationships, whether staying or leaving, without a lot of outside help.

We become so compromised by the chronic stress it becomes difficult to see without distortion what is happening.

Marriage counseling sounds like a proven trash can for money at this point  Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post) so it's good that you are seeking a therapist for yourself.

How are the kids doing?
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