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Author Topic: Going alone to session for the first time (I have a uBPD wife). Any suggestions?  (Read 851 times)
olafinski

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« on: September 29, 2021, 03:39:34 PM »

Hi,
I have finally scheduled a session in a couple of days with a highly recommended psychotherapist that specialises in relationships and parenthood. He is familiar with BPD and practices cognitive behavioural therapy.

In short, married with uBPD wife for 14 years. I really love her deeply, we have a wonderful 11 yo son and when she is not "off" she is the best person I have ever met. We also complement each other in a really good way (I am creative she is operative and organised). Our son is very emotional and very much attached to the idea of "the family of 3 of us" (her 22 yo son from first marriage also lives with us but more or less lives a life of his own).

I am totally loyal to her and want nothing else. Also, I got diabetes T1 at 35, just before I first met her, so she was there for me for the hardest first couple of years, and I feel that whatever is wrong with her, I am here to help her and will be here.

So, my goal is to try keep this crazy marriage whole.

When she is "off", which is some 5-6 times a month and lasts from couple of hours to max a whole day, she expressed total anger at me and at herself. Talks only about how she hates me and how I ruined her life, and what kind of a man am I to not let her divorce when it is obvious that she hates me and can not stand to be close to me.

I am well used to that (it was like that from day 1), but the thing I am considering more and more is how it all affects our son. I've found a way to communicate with him "as a team", establishing codes for what is going on ("mommy has a different brain and sometimes she is just not herself, but it always passes away", "don't judge your mum by what she says when she is different" etc).

I am afraid that she might be able to do something during her "off" phases that would be unreversible (such as filing for a divorce) and that then I would face a choice - to keep quiet about her state (she is like that only in our home and no one knows a thing about this) and risk her getting custody over our son, where he would be alone with her without my protection and guidance; or letting it all out and risking entering a total war with her where I think our little one would suffer the most.

I find that choice impossible to handle and process. Also, a friend of mine lost his 13 yo son to a suicide shortly after he divorced his wife and I am willing to do literally ANYTHING possible to prevent that from happening.

Since the session is quite expensive, and I won't be able to go there that many times, does anyone have a suggestion how to best use my time there?

I have two goals in this moment (in going to a session):
1) Cry it all out to feel better since there is no one I can talk about this. It is simply too crazy and would sound like a cry for help, something for social services etc, while in fact it is not like that.

2) Try to get advice on how to change my perception so that I can function better and make better decisions (right now I am totally exhausted and constantly on verge of nervous breakdown, off course holding myself together somehow for our little one).

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kells76
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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2021, 05:15:24 PM »

Hey olafinski;

Good to hear you have an appointment with a professional coming up. That kind of neutral, experienced feedback is critical when you're in a relationship with a pwBPD.

If I were in your shoes, wondering how to best use the limited time I had there, I might prioritize things like this:

1. What's the healthiest way for me to parent my son in this situation
 a. Here's what I've been doing (describe your "communication team" and "codes"), what's your feedback on it
 b. What does he need developmentally right now
 c. I have fears that he will kill himself if his mom and I divorce, can we talk through that; will this fear impact my parenting, what can I do about that

2. I experienced domestic violence from my wife recently
 a. Given that I want to stay married, what do you recommend
 b. here's what I did after the DV, what is your feedback on that

3. How can I function better and make better decisions given that I want to stay married for our son's sake
 a. right now I am totally exhausted and constantly on verge of nervous breakdown, how can I manage that differently
 b. what do you recommend for self care for someone in my situation

...

Those would be the 3 topics I'd bring up -- supporting your son, shining light on the DV (no more secrets), how to care for self.

What do you think, seeing those topics listed like that?

kells76
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olafinski

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« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2021, 10:45:28 AM »

Kells76,
thx, looks great.
Looking at it structured like that I feel like I am in deep problems.
I am really afraid that I wont be able to hold it all.
In last couple of days I had some serious errors like leaving our car on and leaving (itd a button start model) and leaving the car opened with keys inside.
I am starting to feel panic. I was raised to believe that I am powerful and strong. For the first time I feel like I might also be a big part of the problem because of my own faults that I keep “covering” by “victim clothes”.
You see, when my wife is OK SHE is the strong one and the leader of the pack. I am simply way too much inside my head and too little hear and now. It is not that I dont try. Its just that my brain is like that, always constructing and creating something, for better or worse. It makes be able to earn a nice living, but also makes me half autistic.
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Cat Familiar
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« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2021, 12:22:14 PM »

As someone who feels like she is undiagnosed Aspergers, if you, like me, are in your head and creating constantly, something you’re undoubtedly very good at is focusing.

Too much stimuli can be overwhelming, so try to slow…things…down.

You don’t have to figure it all out now, or doubt your strength, or worry about being a *victim*. It’s not easy for any of us to have a BPD partner.

Just focus on what you’re doing in the moment.

Go into your counseling with a list of topics you want to discuss.

Breathe.
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« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2021, 09:47:21 AM »

Hey, it's OK.

Excerpt
I am really afraid that I wont be able to hold it all.

That's an important feeling that you're noticing. It's OK to notice that a bit, as much as you are up for, and then if you want, take a break from noticing "I am afraid I won't be able to hold it all in". Feel as much as you are OK with, and then it is OK to move on for the moment.

As Cat Familiar says, you can bring your own list of your own topics to the meeting. It doesn't have to be my list from above, no worries. Just a suggestion. I often do better with lists and steps when I feel overwhelmed, you can check in with yourself and see if that is true for you, too.

And also as she says, see what it is like to notice being in the moment now and then. You can do that as much as feels comfortable to you. Allow yourself to take "one moment at a time" or "one hour at a time" until your appointment.

These are really important feelings you're paying attention to. So glad you have space for you to share it with someone.
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olafinski

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« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2021, 08:14:08 AM »

Thanks to all!
I went to an hour long session and I am quite dissapointed.
It was nice but the only sound advice I got was to try to talk in private with my wife about what we see as problems.
Off course I tried that but it only works if SHE speaks about ehat she thinks are problems.
If I only mention something that bothers ME she at once finda that being an attack and starts defending herself by attacking my faults which are plenty off course.
Other than that one interesting thing he mentioned is that judging by the fact that she never has incidents outside of our home, she must have a self control mechanism of some sort.
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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2021, 12:41:05 PM »

Wow, that sounds really frustrating and disappointing.  Especially since therapy is expensive and you worked up the courage to go.  Are you sure this guy is experienced in BPD?  Your experience with him makes me wonder. 

The red flag being this sentence - "Judging by the fact that she never has incidents outside of your home, she must have a self control mechanism of some sort."
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« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2021, 02:02:25 PM »

Not a promising preview to what this therapist might do for you.

I think you need to keep looking for a T with BPD experience.
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2021, 07:20:17 AM »


I tend to lean towards the others...this isn't promising.

That being said, I would go a couple more times.  2nd time I would ask/say something like..

"I was expecting x and believe I got Y....so I'm curious to know more of your reasoning for Y over X."

Ask specifically about when you bring up problems and then gets defensive..what you should do.  Maybe ask how you can determine if this is solvable.  (hint..many BPDish things just are not)

Maybe even ask directly (how should I evaluate if this therapeutic r/s is the right fit).

Best,

FF
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2021, 07:07:41 PM »

slightly different take here on what your therapist is suggesting:

bpd can be confusing. we tend to think of our partners, like you describe, as either "on" or "off".

bpd is a set of maladaptive personality traits. there are episodes where emotions are dysregulated, and where feelings are exaggerated and overstated, but BPD is not episodic in that something takes hold of your loved one, and then it goes away, and shes a different person.

if your wife is at the point where she is asking for divorce, telling you that its obvious that she hates you, then something deeper is going on here.

what might be especially confusing is that im sure shes not like that all the time. maybe she has even taken it back or said that she didnt mean it. if it has happened consistently, its worth taking very seriously. it suggests your partner is swinging wildly back and forth, and thats consistent with bpd. it suggests theres a lot of internal chaos and marital conflict.

when your therapist suggests that you talk to your wife, i suspect that the suggestion is about better understanding what is affecting her and where shes coming from.

Excerpt
Off course I tried that but it only works if SHE speaks about ehat she thinks are problems.

if you want to understand why your wife is asking for a divorce and saying these things, that is where you need to start: from a position of listening. listening, rather than countering with your own perspective. listening builds trust. it also helps you better understand where shes coming from, and when you can do that, you can have a better idea of where to go from there.

what do you think?
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« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2021, 06:55:37 AM »


And also....

One of the reasons that I'm suggesting at least two more visits (with direct questions about "process" of therapy to the therapist) is that there is a possibility that some of the "bad vibe" you got was knowing on some level that you are not liking coming change.

"not liking" is perhaps not the best choice of words..maybe knowing there will be "uncomfortable change" or something like that.

Best,

FF
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olafinski

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« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2021, 08:50:34 AM »

Once removed, thx for your perspective.

You have to understand that I am married for 14 years and I became quite good at this through time. I learned about BPD some 2 years ago and was stunned when I realised that what I am already practicing is 100% in line with what was suggested for relationships with pwBPD.

So, I DO listen, basically that is what I do 99% of the time. The problem is that this renders me as being a "passive-partner" which then off course annoys my wife because it seems that she is the one that calls all the shots in the family (which basically is the case).
Good thing about it is that she is highly functional and a really caring mother which makes it really hard for her to make "big" PLEASE READups.
Our normal routine is as follows:
1) My wife gets a crazy idea that makes little sense at that moment, such as selling our flat and moving to a smaller city by the sea, when she knows that our 10 y o son would suffer and his well-being is no for her.
2) She rants about it, makes plans, totally serious.
3) I get seriously involved, because if I don't she tantrums in a day or two ("you are a wimp, you just wait for everything to happen, it is all up to me" etc).
4) I start producing results making it more real and serious (find places where we could go, what I could do there, schools, talk to a friend that lives there asking about how it is etc)
5) She chickens out saying that it would be totally mad to do that
6) Depending on I am not shure what, there is a 3-10 day more or less peaceful period where we are this perfect happy joyful family, and then it starts again.
7) She starts the cycle again by starting to rant how "I am stuck in this life, I want to live, I just go to work I hate, come home and watch TV, you never take me anywhere, never propose anything at all, it is always all up to me"... off course, SHE is the one that hates any socialisation, needs to be in controlled situation all the time (toilet near etc), is easily annoyed by people... so by "take me anywhere" she basically means go to a shopping mall spend some money which is for her for some reasons the most favourite way of spending time.
Also, at this stages she always talks about divorce, and how she just needs to gather some courage and money so that she can divorce me (she has quite a good pay and her parents are well-situated, so money would not be a problem... it is more that she knows what everyone will tell about this idea).

As for the session, I am not going again. I think that this therapist has little experience with BPD. And also to be honest I feel bad going there without my wife knowing. I hate lying to her or anyone for that matter.

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« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2021, 01:11:50 PM »


I don't understand how going to a therapist would involve a lie?   What am I missing?

Best,

FF
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olafinski

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« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2021, 11:03:00 AM »

Formier, I can’t disclose to my wife that I took a session.
She is extremely against either one of us talking about our private life outside of our home because where we live there is great corruption in social services and a lot of examples where children are taken away from one parent because the other parent is in “deal” with a psychologist expert and social services local chief (its all political here).
In her first marriage her ex was a lawyer from a noble local famy and he threathened her with taking away their son from
her if she does not except the divorce terms her proposed.
So she basically does not trust the privacy of sessions.
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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2021, 10:25:26 PM »

active listening involves more than sitting passively while your partner talks.

when she makes these complaints, when she talks about feeling stuck, what is she really saying? is she asking you to call her bluff and make the plans? thats hearing what shes saying, it isnt necessarily listening.

i dont mean to be alarmist. if your wife is frequently calling for a divorce, the circumstances are on a dire trajectory.
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