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Author Topic: When Saying No Doesn't Work  (Read 413 times)
EZEarache
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« on: July 19, 2021, 06:32:14 AM »

It's been a rough week to say the least.

It's hard to remember life pre-pandemic and pre-baby, but I used to be a popular guy. I had a large social circle and some of those friends began considering my exGFwBPD as a friend.

One of my closer friends wants to continue that friendship and be supportive. This is because my friend raised her son as a single mom and knows how difficult it can be. I was in favor of this, because my ExGF does not have many friends of her own. The ones that do have children are pretty distant from my ex. I used to try and tell her she needed to make more friends, but this has led to a lot of drama and me being, "hurtful."

I took my 13 month old son camping last weekend with some good friends of mine. My friend that wants to continue her relationship with the exGFwBPD sent her some photos  of the trip. Apparently this was a trigger for my ex. She started some sort of drama with my friend. She texted me, "Friend, sent me photos of the trip. It was painful to see photos of you and the baby smiling and I told her so. Looking back at photos I've taken of you and the baby, you were never smiling. This was a reminder how miserable I made you."

I did some validation back to her, "It makes sense that seeing photos of me being happy with the baby is painful for you. However, as I mentioned previously my depression was caused by the pandemic."

She put up a brief argument that I never mentioned my depression was made by the pandemic and the conversation ended. We had a great visit on Wednesday, and things seemed almost normal. I ended up feeling really conflicted about things on Wednesday night and couldn't sleep as a result.

Then at 7 am Thursday morning I get another message from my ex. A different mutual friend shared a memory on Facebook that my ex posted from 2 years ago. My ex flipped out on me via text about telling my friends not to contact her anymore. I didn't bother to respond, because I had nothing to do with this. I also had a lot going on at work, so I really didn't want to get dragged into it.

Later my friend reached out to me and shared what my ex had written to her. As expected it was pretty inflammatory. Filled with personal references and distortions about me. It mentioned me being suicidal, and how hurtful I've been to my ex saying she was pity case, blah blah blah. My ex seems to forget that my friend has a doctorate in psychology, LOL. She is the one friend I've told about my Ex's condition. So, my friend validated my ex a little bit and said focus on the baby. My friend told me, "This message is manipulative. It's filled with projection. She is shifting the blame for her feelings onto other people."

I, of course, shared all of this with my therapist. I've been documenting all of our text exchanges with my therapist in case there is ever a custody battle.

After getting angry texts all day on Thursday from my Ex, I eventually decided she wasn't going to be able to calm herself down. I recognized that me not responding was, "the silent treatment," and emotional abuse on its own. So I sent her some validation. However, I was really pissed about all of this on a lot of different levels. I had gone from feeling conflicted about the breakup to really wishing I could go no contact with my ex.

The next day I go to pick up my son for visitation, I am still pretty pissed. She starts in on me about how my friends contacting her is hurtful. I quickly change the subject to where the baby's backpack is. She get's it, I leave, crisis averted.

Then on Saturday at the drop-off she starts in on if I'm mad at her. I am, but just say "no.'

She asks if it's over her comments about the friend, and I say, "I don't want to talk about it."

She keeps pressing me on the subject matter, but I refused to discuss it. Then starts telling me "How can we co-parent if I won't discuss important things." I told her this has nothing to do with co-parenting. She keeps pressing me on the subject and I continued to refuse to engage. She starts screaming at me at the car. I try to say in a calm voice, "Have a good night and walk away."

She follows me down the street baby in arms, screaming at me, "You only care about myself! Yada, yada, yada!" I just walked away and got the mail walk up the driveway go in my house and lock the door.

So in this interaction, I am really trying not to JADE and engage in what is definitely going to be a nasty argument. She was way out of line with my friend, but I am keeping the information that I know this to myself. I've read in multiple places that when they try to get you to Justify, Defend or Explain, you're just supposed to say, "I don't want to talk about it."

This rarely works for me. Once she decides she wants a Justification, or Explanation, it ends in me Defending myself, and ultimately an Argument. Even if I don't engage as illustrated above.

Does anyone have any suggestions on phrases that will work better than, "I don't want to talk about this?"

I still haven't discussed it further, and have no plan to. However, all of this has really solidified my acceptance, that there is no way to make this relationship work. There simply is no telling what will cause my ex to dysregulate, and I just can't live like that, anymore.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2021, 06:46:43 AM by EZEarache » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2021, 07:16:31 AM »

All of this social media and texting stuff seems to invite so much drama, probably because it provides an easy-access backdoor for a communication dynamic that didn't used to be there in the past.

If I understand the whole thing correctly -- rather than ignore it outright, I would set up a boundary and say, "It is not my place to regulate my friend's activity on social media.  They are free to use it as they see fit and I will not insert myself into something that doesn't involve me." and leave it at that. Something along those lines, you get the gist.

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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2021, 07:48:52 AM »

Not responding to angry texts doesn't mean that you are being emotionally abusive.

Here's a good educational thread on what the silent treatment actually is, what the intent is of the person who uses it, and what the effects are on someone who has been abused in this way:

Silent treatment


I think couper has good suggestions for setting a boundary here instead of ignoring the topic or avoiding it. Will it prevent a dysregulation? No, most likely not, but you have now set a boundary that you will not get involved in rescuing her from uncomfortable feelings that she's blaming on others.

Here's a link to an article on communicating with a BPD co-parent included in the co-parenting lessons at the top of the Conflicted/Family law board:

Listen and communicate

There is more great information here:

Co-parenting: Doing what's best for the kids
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2021, 08:22:46 AM »

Not responding to angry texts doesn't mean that you are being emotionally abusive.

Here's a good educational thread on what the silent treatment actually is, what the intent is of the person who uses it, and what the effects are on someone who has been abused in this way:

Silent treatment
 

I think couper has good suggestions for setting a boundary here instead of ignoring the topic or avoiding it. Will it prevent a dysregulation? No, most likely not, but you have now set a boundary that you will not get involved in rescuing her from uncomfortable feelings that she's blaming on others.

Here's a link to an article on communicating with a BPD co-parent included in the co-parenting lessons at the top of the Conflicted/Family law board:

Listen and communicate

There is more great information here:

Co-parenting: Doing what's best for the kids

Hey EZ et al,

This is a great summation of resources. I'd add one more - check out anything about the Karpman Drama Triangle.  I think that you've learned a really important lesson with the camping trip.

The pictures your friend sent to be "supportive" showed a total lack of judgement on her part to be honest. And look what happened. You got pulled into a storm.

People with BPD have a really hard time respecting boundaries, laying boundaries and maintaining consistent behavior.  Therefore, the way I have experienced things, is that it might be best for those in your entourage to support you when they are with you, support her when they are with her, and not mix the two.

That will help you keep the middle ground you seem to be working on in case there's a custody battle - which inevitably will not be about friends but about you and her and whatever interaction the two of you have. The less complicated that interaction is, the easier it will be on you.

Hope that's helpful.

Really sorry that you've found yourself in this situation.

Hang in there.

Rev
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EZEarache
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2021, 09:07:13 AM »

...rather than ignore it outright, I would set up a boundary and say, "It is not my place to regulate my friend's activity on social media.  They are free to use it as they see fit and I will not insert myself into something that doesn't involve me." and leave it at that. Something along those lines, you get the gist.

This is pretty much what I did on Saturday via text. She was screaming at me in front of the entire neighborhood. I just moved in here 4 months ago, and I'm trying to be a good neighbor. So this was pretty embarrassing for me. She continued to berate me via text. So I worked up the following BIFF with my parents:

"I understand that you feel that I am not respecting your boundaries. However, our mutual friends contacting you has nothing to do with co-parenting as you described.

I don't really know anything about what you are posting on Facebook. I don't use it.

I really have no control  over other people's actions, only my own. I don't want to talk about things that are out of my control. My only goal is to eliminate conflict."


The Facebook comment was in response to her berating text. I quit using Facebook about a week after we broke up. It was too painful for me to see her posting photos with her and the baby. We had agreed previously not to post photos of the baby for the babies own good. There is a theory that posting photos of kids doesn't allow them to establish their own social media identity. However, on Thursday when I wasn't responding to her she posted something like, "If there's one thing I've learned in the past year and half, it's that people only care about themselves." I only know because when she started getting dysregulated again, my mother pointed it out as another symptom.

In relation to my question, I'm really looking more for statements I can make, when I'm being pressed into conversations that I don't want to have, because I can tell they are going to lead to an argument. What can I say?

She is really good at fighting. Much better than I ever hope to be. I just don't want to engage in it at all anymore. My biggest problem is that when I'm getting pressed into an argument, I get stressed out and I can't think of anything constructive to say. My best option, is just not to say anything. However, she refuses to accept that, and I still end up getting screamed at. So how can I not JADE in these situations?

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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2021, 09:26:46 AM »


In relation to my question, I'm really looking more for statements I can make, when I'm being pressed into conversations that I don't want to have, because I can tell they are going to lead to an argument. What can I say?

So how can I not JADE in these situations?



So this is a really tough one - because obviously you can't go no contact with her.  And pwBPD are super great at creating conflict.

So here are some hard and fast rules -

1) Stay away from text messaging. It's too volatile a medium for emotional conversation.

2) Use email exclusively for the exchange of factual information - bills, pick up times, meeting times with a professional (mediator, counsellor, doctor). This will reduce the things that are open for verbal exchanges. Make sure that you limit the times you will be checking those emails. Maybe even set up another account just for that.  One great piece of advice I got was to really limit what you write. Sentences of six words or less. Emails of as few sentences as possible. It is really hard at first, but eventually you get there.

3) Establish in your mind what you are available to talk about in person. Think hard about that. Communicate the list to her verbally, confirm in writing. She will likely really not like this at all. Stand firm. Respond. Don't react.

4) Now that your territory is marked out, expect her to test those boundaries and threaten, and every thing under the sun to regain control. 

Your response options:

A) I can't help. Sorry.
B) Please put that in writing. It will be clearer for us. Thank you.
C) I need to go now. Send me an email.  (And then you answer only the factual parts).

The most important thing in all of this is be as emotionless as possible - like completely monotone. Practice in front of the mirror if you need to. Do not deviate from your scripted responses. Eventually she'll adjust. How much remains to be seen. 

And... expect the goal posts to move alot. So you may need to recalibrate this every so often.

Hope this helps.

Rev
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EZEarache
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2021, 11:05:23 AM »


The most important thing in all of this is be as emotionless as possible - like completely monotone. Practice in front of the mirror if you need to. Do not deviate from your scripted responses. Eventually she'll adjust. How much remains to be seen. 


This is a great suggestion! Thank you. She picked up on me being upset about something. She doesn't seem to grasp what, or why her behavior is out of line. The messages she sent to my friends were completely inappropriate. She is actually still berating me via text as I write this message. I was actually shaking from reading it a minute ago.

It's total emotional abuse, and I don't know how to make it stop, and/or stop affecting me. When will I reach this indifference that people keep talking about?
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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2021, 11:25:33 AM »

Rev's suggestions are excellent.  One of the things I realized some time back (that I guess falls into the JADE category) is the monster will keep feeding for as long as the monster is being fed.... so I quit feeding it.  It sounds like you're already on that path.  I say what I have to say and if she keeps coming back with a "Yeah, but!" I simply say (emotionless as Rev pointed out) "I have already stated my position and it is unchanged" and if she keeps on, I just leave her with it.

I've never really thought about it before, but I guess you'll reach that indifference once you finally have the ability to respond like that.  Chicken or the egg -- I haven't thought about what came first.  Perhaps it came along with the realization that trying to reason with her was pointless.

When you're getting those berating texts, try looking at them, saying to yourself "Eh", and then put the phone down and go do something that makes you happy, even if it's only for two minutes.  Keep doing that every time you get one and maybe you can train yourself to understand that being unhappy is as much her choice as being happy is yours.  You can only control what goes on in your own realm.  Let her pound sand.  
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EZEarache
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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2021, 12:30:35 PM »

When you're getting those berating texts, try looking at them, saying to yourself "Eh", and then put the phone down and go do something that makes you happy, even if it's only for two minutes.  Keep doing that every time you get one and maybe you can train yourself to understand that being unhappy is as much her choice as being happy is yours.  You can only control what goes on in your own realm.  Let her pound sand. 

This is great advice thank you. It's just so hard when she tells me things like, my therapist thinks you're hiding behind your therapist instead of engaging in conversation. I guess your therapist, doesn't know the diagnosis from our couples therapy, then. I just can't say the stuff I really want to say to her. It totally sucks. It's totally an unfair dynamic. She can berate me as much as she wants, but soon as I stand up for myself, I am deemed an abuser and mentally ill.

I just wish I could walk away from all of this, but our dear sweet boy deserves better than that and will need me to protect him from her. I just can't believe I messed my life, and the life of this child up so badly with my past decisions.
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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2021, 01:04:54 PM »


I just wish I could walk away from all of this, but our dear sweet boy deserves better than that and will need me to protect him from her.

I just can't believe I messed my life, and the life of this child up so badly with my past decisions.

Hi EZ

So here is the really difficult part - because you will never be completely indifferent. You share a son. And that's always going to involve some emotionalism.

What is in your control is to work on the negative self talk - and the patience it will take to learn how to compartmentalize. There's an element of "fake it until you make it with that one."  And, no, it is not easy.

One distinction you can make is - when are you talking to your "ex" - when are you talking to your "son's mother".  That may make it a little easier.

So - where is this talk about "messing up" your son's life coming from? How much is grounded in the reality of your ex - and - how much is you telling yourself you're not a good dad, or something like that?

Hang in there.

Rev
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2021, 01:07:37 PM »

You're working under the assumption that she is telling you the truth.  My gut feeling is that a therapist instigating a game of "he said / she said" such as that would be highly unprofessional.

I totally get it.  Every day is Opposite Day.  Don't let her pull you down.  You've got to play the long game and maintain your integrity.  In the near term, based on the narrative she puts out there, people may think poorly about you.  Don't worry what people think when what they think has no basis in fact.  Eventually, she will slowly start to lift the veil on who she is and others will realize that what they saw was a fabrication.  It sounds like you have some good and understanding people on your side already.  Keep them close.

Focus on your boy.  That's the way I look at things these days.  I'm working for my kids.  In various ways a lot of people get a raw deal in life and none of us are guaranteed a fairy tale.  We just have to work with what we have and get on with it and know that when a better future comes along, we can appreciate it in a better way whereas maybe before we would have taken for it granted had we not experienced this.    

  
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EZEarache
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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2021, 01:37:40 PM »

So - where is this talk about "messing up" your son's life coming from? How much is grounded in the reality of your ex - and - how much is you telling yourself you're not a good dad, or something like that?

Thanks Rev,

This is coming from me reading so many horror stories on this board. It's not so much that his life is messed up. He actually is doing really well so far. However, I'm really concerned about what is going to happen when he gets older and starts exerting his own desires. For example, we took a hike up a mountain on Saturday morning, it's our Saturday ritual these days. He was still in a good mood when we got down, so we went to the playground and spent a little while on the swing. Then watched the geese on the river. While we were on the swing a two or three year old took a tumble. His mother rushed over to help. He exclaimed at the top of his lungs for 5 minutes, "I want Daddy!" His daddy was clearly not there.

What happens when my baby does something like this? If I can't even avoid an argument without getting pages of beratement thrown at me, what are his chances? What will she say/do to my baby to drive a wedge between us.

So, yeah, I'm really worried about my son getting messed up, because I can't be there to protect him, because I'm too busy protecting myself.
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2021, 02:26:17 PM »

Thanks Rev,

This is coming from me reading so many horror stories on this board. It's not so much that his life is messed up. He actually is doing really well so far. However, I'm really concerned about what is going to happen when he gets older and starts exerting his own desires. For example, we took a hike up a mountain on Saturday morning, it's our Saturday ritual these days. He was still in a good mood when we got down, so we went to the playground and spent a little while on the swing. Then watched the geese on the river. While we were on the swing a two or three year old took a tumble. His mother rushed over to help. He exclaimed at the top of his lungs for 5 minutes, "I want Daddy!" His daddy was clearly not there.

What happens when my baby does something like this? If I can't even avoid an argument without getting pages of beratement thrown at me, what are his chances? What will she say/do to my baby to drive a wedge between us.

So, yeah, I'm really worried about my son getting messed up, because I can't be there to protect him, because I'm too busy protecting myself.

So all of this is really normal ....  and even healthy because it shows that you are not checking out of being a dad.   You'd be feeling some of this regardless.  Pretty scary on one level to be a parent these days - or at least that what it feels like. Both my children are adults in their twenties.

Do you have access to a good counselor who can help you map this stuff out?  13 months is still young - so provided you are emotionally calm around him, then from his point of view, all is good. Some coaching might do the trick.

You're doing awesome. 

In the meantime, there are mindfulness techniques you can employ. I would suggest you check out Steven Hayes - he talks about emotional defusion (not as in defusing a bomb - but becoming unhooked from challenging emotions). During your freak out moments, it might be helpful to get some perspective. Steven Hayes has a webpage. You can write them. 

Hang in there.

Rev
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2021, 04:19:12 PM »

Great stuff from Rev:

Excerpt
Your response options:

A) I can't help. Sorry.
B) Please put that in writing. It will be clearer for us. Thank you.
C) I need to go now. Send me an email.  (And then you answer only the factual parts).

A tweak to option B:

"That sounds really important to you. Let's email about it."

That is a light dose of SET -- there is empathy (it sounds important to her) and truth (you're not describing that your boundary is only email, but that's implicit in your statement).

It uses her energy "against" her -- she is pushing really hard to engage you in her emotional drama. She "expects" a fight -- "No, I don't want to engage about that" which opens the door for her to say "You never care, you're so selfish, you don't want to communicate, blah blah blah".

When you "open the door" of email (only), that may deflate her energy a bit. All of a sudden, there's no fight, right? You're not saying it's not important, and you're not saying you won't talk about it. Sure, let's talk! Email me! Do it! Totally open!

This is a win win for you. If she does email you, then you have a written record of all kinds of wacky things she accuses you of. If she doesn't email you, then you don't have to deal with it.

I strongly suspect she won't take you up on the "email me about it" offer.

...

All that being said, zooming out a bit, no, it's not your job to manage that she doesn't like what people are doing on facebook. The whole "email me about it" move is more of a "defusing" move than advice to manage her feelings, if that makes sense.

...

More good advice from Rev about being intentional about when you're in "she's my ex" mode versus "she's my son's mom" mode. It was easier for me as a stepparent to pivot pretty quickly to "cordial business relationship" mode. I think it was harder for DH because of all the pain and vitriol. I mean, it was hard for me too, there has been unrelenting conflict, but over time, the more I practice "BIFF" mode with DH's kids' mom, the easier it has become. And, the more we built skills to identify what in her emails/texts were valid, and what was just emotional vomit, the easier it got to keep it just to logistics.

She recently sent something like "Stepdad and I are going to be out of town possibly overnight, can the kids stay with you that night, of course they already told me they don't want to, and I might be back in time to pick them up, and that's what they told me they want."

Lots of emotional vomit and filler, very small logistical target. DH replied "If you're back after 9pm I will drop the kids off with you the next morning. Thanks, DH"

There was no attempt to reason with her, no pointing out her disrespect or boundary busting, because none of that will get through. She won't be "taught a lesson" and least of all from DH. It might be that way with your son's mom. She might never be able to learn that blaming you for acquaintance's actions is inappropriate, and yelling at you while holding your son is bad for him and disrespectful to you. Pointing it out to her sadly won't help.

What you CAN do, though, is what Rev suggested -- start setting up some professional support for you and your son:
Excerpt
Do you have access to a good counselor who can help you map this stuff out?  13 months is still young - so provided you are emotionally calm around him, then from his point of view, all is good. Some coaching might do the trick.

The more you can keep your car driving steadily and forward, the less the wobbles in her driving will impact your son. She is going to be all over the place. The more stable you are, the better. And, if you can model for your son that "getting help is no big deal, I do it, it's a good thing", then he'll be really well prepared to get even more support when he's older.

Excerpt
Pretty scary on one level to be a parent these days - or at least that what it feels like.

Yes, it is. DH's girls are 15 and 13. It's a profoundly confusing world for kids.

Excerpt
You're doing awesome.

EZEarache, you are!
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« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2021, 04:51:01 PM »

Great stuff from Rev:

A tweak to option B:

"That sounds really important to you. Let's email about it."

I strongly suspect she won't take you up on the "email me about it" offer.

I tried to do this before, and the response I got was, "Is there a requisition form for that, LOL?" And yes, she never wrote the message.


What I've been doing is taking screen captures of all of her text messages, then emailing them to myself. Then I set up documents with everything so that the screen captures flow nicely. I comment out what my real reply would have been to her comment, if I wasn't trying to manage her emotions. Then I email them to my therapist for his review. It's very laborious, but it's giving me a great record of her abusive behavior. Every once in a while I make the mistake of opening an old one up and reading it while I work on a new one. These conversations are painful to read, even when I'm fairly emotionally detached from the dysregulation weeks later.


All that being said, zooming out a bit, no, it's not your job to manage that she doesn't like what people are doing on facebook. The whole "email me about it" move is more of a "defusing" move than advice to manage her feelings, if that makes sense.

She actually was threatening me earlier today. She wrote, "If you think you have no control over your friends, then it is my responsibility to convey what happened so they leave me alone. Is that what you want?" I haven't bothered to respond and I don't plan to.

What you CAN do, though, is what Rev suggested -- start setting up some professional support for you and your son:  
The more you can keep your car driving steadily and forward, the less the wobbles in her driving will impact your son. She is going to be all over the place. The more stable you are, the better. And, if you can model for your son that "getting help is no big deal, I do it, it's a good thing", then he'll be really well prepared to get even more support when he's older.

That's really encouraging. I am definitely getting help and I will try and figure out how to instill this in him as he gets older.

In about a week and a half, my entire social circle will be made aware of what is happening after I attend a wedding. We can expect some more dysregulation regarding people reaching out to her, I'm going to bet.
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kells76
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« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2021, 04:59:34 PM »

Excerpt
I tried to do this before, and the response I got was, "Is there a requisition form for that, LOL?" And yes, she never wrote the message.

That sounds like a success to me! I think a lot of our "successes" look less like the pwBPD having an insight or breakthrough or vision of their hurtfulness, and more like they just stop pushing that one thing.

Excerpt
What I've been doing is taking screen captures of all of her text messages, then emailing them to myself. Then I set up documents with everything so that the screen captures flow nicely. I comment out what my real reply would have been to her comment, if I wasn't trying to manage her emotions. Then I email them to my therapist for his review. It's very laborious, but it's giving me a great record of her abusive behavior. Every once in a while I make the mistake of opening an old one up and reading it while I work on a new one. These conversations are painful to read, even when I'm fairly emotionally detached from the dysregulation weeks later.

Great idea. It helps you, and I bet it'll help other members (and lurkers) here too. I agree, the past texts/emails can be really hurtful and triggering. I have so many from the kids' mom and stepdad just filed away, and I don't reread them (they're saved just in case) because I can already feel my heart rate increasing just thinking about it.

I think that's a great way to workshop out healthier, more neutral, more BIFF/businesslike responses. Good work.

Excerpt
She actually was threatening me earlier today. She wrote, "If you think you have no control over your friends, then it is my responsibility to convey what happened so they leave me alone. Is that what you want?" I haven't bothered to respond and I don't plan to.

 Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)  Yes, exactly, you're getting the hang of it! There's nothing valid to validate in there. Great job not picking up responsibility for her emotions. She's an adult; she can figure out her own adult interactions. What you want has nothing to do with it and is "bait" to get you to pick up her emotions.

Excerpt
In about a week and a half, my entire social circle will be made aware of what is happening after I attend a wedding. We can expect some more dysregulation regarding people reaching out to her, I'm going to bet.

Sounds like now is a good time to plan for the worst but hope for the best. You can keep practicing some neutral, "canned", grey rock responses here, too, if you need to.

This is really good stuff for your son to see as he grows up -- that you can respond to his mom with dignity and respect without putting anyone down, but without engaging in irrational stuff or problems that aren't your responsibility.
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EZEarache
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« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2021, 08:43:24 AM »

Tonight is my visitation with my son. My exwBPD and I have been no contact since her last barrage of abusive texts on Monday. I'm totally having an anxiety attack about seeing her and what sort of conflict this visit might result in.

I've tried talking through some responses to the snarky comments she might make in a calm voice. I feel like dwelling on this is just making my anxiety worse.

To further compound my stress, I am going on vacation for a week and a half tomorrow. I'm worried about leaving my little guy for so long, and what sort of trauma that might have on him. So if she starts with me, and I walk away from him with her screaming at me, that will just be totally awful.

I'm going to be totally heart broken if she starts a fight with me as soon as I get there, and I don't get to spend any time with him tonight.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle all of this?
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kells76
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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2021, 09:22:21 AM »

Can you remind me about the logistics -- the nitty gritty of it?

So you go over to her place (walk? drive? other?) to pick him up?

I think I'm remembering correctly that you DON'T stay at her place to spend time with Son?

How long do you spend with Son tonight? Overnight? Couple of hours?

Do you drop him back off at her place?

...

I know the feeling of anxiety about possible conflict in front of the kids. It's a whole 'nother level and it's exhausting and sickening.

Coming up with a game plan ahead of time has helped me cope, especially when it involves a handful of different options, not just "I'm positive she'll do A so I'll only work on response B". Having responses B, C, D, and E all together (and, in our case, having DH on the same page) helped me get through exchanges.
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2021, 10:34:04 PM »

Can you remind me about the logistics -- the nitty gritty of it?

So you go over to her place (walk? drive? other?) to pick him up?

I think I'm remembering correctly that you DON'T stay at her place to spend time with Son?

How long do you spend with Son tonight? Overnight? Couple of hours?

Do you drop him back off at her place?

...

I know the feeling of anxiety about possible conflict in front of the kids. It's a whole 'nother level and it's exhausting and sickening.

Coming up with a game plan ahead of time has helped me cope, especially when it involves a handful of different options, not just "I'm positive she'll do A so I'll only work on response B". Having responses B, C, D, and E all together (and, in our case, having DH on the same page) helped me get through exchanges.

So things went pretty smoothly. Fortunately, she needed tonight to take care of errands since I’m going to be away for a week and a half. So I guess she didn’t have time to stir up any trouble.

Minimal interaction and we managed to be cordial. I got the impression that she was going to breakdown and cry as I was leaving. I only seem to remember to do a voice recording on the nights when there’s no drama.

To answer your questions on my weeknight visit I go to her place. I spend about 2-3 hours there depending on what time the baby decides to conk out and how late she stays out. Tonight she was back by 8:30, which was good because I still needed to finish packing for my trip.

I also have a weekend overnight where he stays at my house.

I’m getting to the point where I don’t want to spend anytime with him at her place. We’re basically stuck in this arrangement because of Covid we got a babysitter to watch the bay during the days while we work. She’s done a great job with the baby, I think we’re going to start doing regular daycare in January. Once that kicks in hopefully I’ll be able to change over to a 50/50 split.
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« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2021, 05:02:40 AM »

Have a great trip
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EZEarache
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« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2021, 09:58:38 AM »

So I had a great trip, thank you. It was nice to spend time with friendly, stable people that like to have fun. I was the officiant for my friend's wedding on top of a mountain. I got a snarky message on a wedding day, with a photo of the baby saying, "No problem we went for a hike anyway." She was invited to the wedding, but didn't want to go. The groom told me just not to respond, and I didn't.

Before we left for the vacation, she sent me a couple somewhat hostile messages about getting tested for Covid before I could see the baby again. She told me she would order me a test kit and leave it at my door. Unsurprisingly, I returned home and did not find one.

To ensure I didn't get kept away from the baby any longer than necessary, I went out on a mission and found an at home Covid test the night I returned. This was after a redeye flight, mind you. So, I was not really that excited about calling and driving all around the area to find one. I did manage to find one. Took a photo of it and let exwBPD know that I would take the test the morning of the visit. I got a nasty message back, "Why did you do that? I have one here waiting for you, as I said, I would order you one. Anyway, that's fine. Whatever works for you. Either way I suppose I'm glad you decided to take it seriously after all. I didn't leave it at your door because it didn't get here until  yesterday but you didn't seem very communicative recently anyway so I wasn't about to poke the snake on that once since I had already asked you three times"

I didn't bother to respond to that message either. She was telling me to get this test while I was still packing to leave, there was no way, I had time for it. So rather than try to explain or defend myself, when she asked if I got one before I left, I just said, "No".

So last night I go over for my visit. The baby was less excited to see me than I expected, but he was eating. She left to go run some errands. She was talking to me in a pretty nasty tone, and then complained that, "I shot her the look of death." I didn't respond or try to  Justify, Defend or Explain.

The baby was in a really good mood and we had a nice visit. I had just gotten the baby to sleep when she came home, when she closed the door and turned the light on he startled and woke back up. Then he just wanted to hang out with mommy. ExwBPD was waving a bottle around in front of me, and I said, "I don't think he wants it." He just drank an entire bottle for me. She responded, "Did you give him Tylenol? He's teething."  I hadn't and said, "I didn't give him any." She went and got some Tylenol and I gave it to him.

At this point the baby was totally wired again. I struggled to get him settled down, but exwBPD kept walking past us and the baby clearly wanted her attention. She walked back in, and said something along the lines of, "I can put him to sleep, if you need to go somewhere." I responded, "I don't need to go anywhere, but I think he wants you."

Then she started talking to me in a totally nasty tone. I don't even remember what she said, but it was definitely inflammatory and condescending. I politely said, "Good night," and left the situation.

So I guess my question is, what can I do better? Not engaging with her seems to be making things worse, but I'm really trying to not get in anymore fights with her. Justifying, Defending and Explaining is definitely bad and leads to arguments.

Do I just need to accept that this is the way the rest of my life is going to be? I can just expect to be treated with disrespect and spoken to as if I'm dirt and stupid from now on?

Do I just need to develop a really thick skin, and accept that she is going to be nasty to me from now on?

I'm also starting to wonder if I should file for custody. My parents are really worried about what is going to happen to the baby when he starts to manifest his own will.

I just feel like my life is permanently altered and infinitely more complicated than it used to be. Everything was perfect, before I met this B#$ch.
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