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Question: Stage of relationship breakdown - please read article to understand the stages. Link to article
Stage One : Arguments and concerns never reach resolution. - 0 (0%)
Stage Two:  Feelings of contempt for the other, as each spouse's attitudes about their partner changes for the worse. - 0 (0%)
Stage Three:  Increasingly defensive behavior, hardened by the chronic conflict - 2 (33.3%)
Stage Four: A breakdown of basic trust between the partners, and increasing disengagement in the name of self-protection. - 4 (66.7%)
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Author Topic: Is there a way to validate every day disappointments?  (Read 762 times)
Boogie74
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« on: May 16, 2022, 07:55:41 PM »

I am not the only one that deals with the anger rollercoasters that result from every day “spilled milk” problems.

A cat toy breaks.   A bill payment was made a day later than was desired (with ZERO effects- as it’s not due for another 2 weeks and it has no bad effects on cash flow at all).   We ran out of Kleenex and she wasn’t told about it until 3 hours later.   Dinner burns or is undercooked slightly.  I ate the last of the potato chips and she was internally planning on eating them.

Unfortunately, a healthy mind can get past these “mortal wounds” but a pwBPD absolutely cannot get past the perception of a CLEAR lack of respect and CLEAR intentional injury.

There are a few ways to handle the onslaught of rage and anger:

1.  Ignore it and walk away.
2.  Enforce a boundary and explain that we will discuss the issue when I am better mentally prepared.
3.  Sit and suffer the abusive word salad about how I am a lazy narcissist who only cares about myself.
4.  Argue back

1, 3 and 4 are all bad ideas from the gate.

Enforcing the boundary is clearly the best option- but that leaves the question- how do I keep my word to re-engage in a problem that is simply a normal factor of life?  There is no way that I can figure out how to communicate and come to an agreement with her that running out of potato chips or paying a bill one day later than was asked for despite it NOT being late and the fact that we aren’t in any financial problems as a result…
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2022, 04:56:43 AM »

Hello Boogie,

is there a way to validate every day disappointments?   Yes.   Sure.   But lets take a minute to talk about what validation is, and what it isn't.

Validation, validation, validation.     its not easy.   its complex.   like most things its easier to say what its not.      its not agreement.    its is not a magic pill that cures a rage.    its shouldn't be the tool when a rage is under way.

validation can be / should be the tool to use to create a more relaxed, highly supportive environment.    it should be used often when not in a tense conflict laden situation.   it should be sincere.    the saying here is "don't validate the invalid".    my experience was if I tried a validation I didn't truly believe or mean, not only did it fall flat, it usually made the situation worse.

let's use BPDfamily as an example.     this site strives to create a highly validating environment.   where people feel understood and emotionally safe to share difficult things.     Boogie, you've read enough and posted enough that I'm sure you have seen/felt/observed a highly validating thread where posters created a sense of shared experience.     and maybe you've read a few threads that fell a little short of that mark.

that same works in our home lives.   finding what is called the validation target is hard.   not bringing our own frustrations or boiling emotions into the picture is hard.   

Unfortunately, a healthy mind can get past these “mortal wounds” but a pwBPD absolutely cannot get past the perception of a CLEAR lack of respect and CLEAR intentional injury.

I'd guess and say you don't find the bill that went a day late or the potato chips a significant issue.   okay.   that makes sense.     she, however does.    its a difference of opinion that clearly seems to be generating a problem.   she from the point of view of "OMG why does he never take me into consideration".   you from the point of view of "OMG why make does she make a big deal over everything"   

these opposing perspectives fuels conflict.   you said it yourself,  she sees this as disrespect and intentional.    now of course it won't be possible to always validate everything.   but a little well aimed validation is meant to produce a more stable environment.    can you find places where you do respect her opinion?

There are a few ways to handle the onslaught of rage and anger:

1.  Ignore it and walk away.
2.  Enforce a boundary and explain that we will discuss the issue when I am better mentally prepared.
3.  Sit and suffer the abusive word salad about how I am a lazy narcissist who only cares about myself.
4.  Argue back

1, 3 and 4 are all bad ideas from the gate.

I agree.   You're right.   Arguing back is unproductive.    tolerating abusive language is damaging to you both.    when she resorts to the lazy narcissist who only cares about himself, she is saying she strongly feels her emotions don't matter to you.    and in this case, she is right.   in a way.    you don't care about the cat toy.    or the Kleenix.   or whatever.    she,  on the other hand, doesn't feel that what she thinks or wants is cared about so she is searching for and providing 'evidence' that proves that point.

  There is no way that I can figure out how to communicate and come to an agreement with her that running out of potato chips or paying a bill one day later than was asked for despite it NOT being late and the fact that we aren’t in any financial problems as a result…

if you can't communicate on potato chips or bills than change the validation target.   aim at something different.    if you aren't sure what the target is, ask validating questions to find what is driving the potato chip argument.   

I'd suggest its validating to acknowledge that you have different perspectives and different points of view about cat toys, and kleenix and bills and potato chips.    its validating to both of you.    "yes hon, you are 100% right, we do see this one quite differently, still that doesn't mean I don't care about you."

one of the better books on BPD talks about how pwBPD want to merge into an amoeba like oneness with their significant others.   and that amoeba like oneness must be them.    it makes them feel emotionally safe.

I'd suggest considering validating that there is a difference on how you view these things and then a SET about why that is okay.

what do you think?

'ducks
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who_knows11
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« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2022, 10:06:29 AM »

I am not the only one that deals with the anger rollercoasters that result from every day “spilled milk” problems.

A cat toy breaks.   A bill payment was made a day later than was desired (with ZERO effects- as it’s not due for another 2 weeks and it has no bad effects on cash flow at all).   We ran out of Kleenex and she wasn’t told about it until 3 hours later.   Dinner burns or is undercooked slightly.  I ate the last of the potato chips and she was internally planning on eating them.

Unfortunately, a healthy mind can get past these “mortal wounds” but a pwBPD absolutely cannot get past the perception of a CLEAR lack of respect and CLEAR intentional injury.

There are a few ways to handle the onslaught of rage and anger:

1.  Ignore it and walk away.
2.  Enforce a boundary and explain that we will discuss the issue when I am better mentally prepared.
3.  Sit and suffer the abusive word salad about how I am a lazy narcissist who only cares about myself.
4.  Argue back

1, 3 and 4 are all bad ideas from the gate.

Enforcing the boundary is clearly the best option- but that leaves the question- how do I keep my word to re-engage in a problem that is simply a normal factor of life?  There is no way that I can figure out how to communicate and come to an agreement with her that running out of potato chips or paying a bill one day later than was asked for despite it NOT being late and the fact that we aren’t in any financial problems as a result…

Definitely not the only one.  I have the same issues with validation.  The only thing I can validate is that she really feels that way.  This is because that's the only thing that I believe is accurate.  To validate something is to prove the accuracy of that something.  I can validate that she really does feel that way, but I cannot validate that she should feel that way because I don't believe that is accurate.  So for me to validate it would not be genuine and we all know how the disingenuous comments go.  She'll say, so you agree that I should feel this way and I'll say well no, I don't agree but I understand that you do feel that way and you are entitled to have your own feelings about things.  To which she will say that I just don't care about her feelings then.  Which is also not true so the same circle happens again.  Yes you believe it, but no it's not true.  If I disagree with the reason for the feeling, then I cannot truthfully validate anything other than the fact that the feeling really does exist for her.  It's all about her being responsible for her own emotions instead of me being responsible for them
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2022, 12:40:45 PM »

Validation can have broad definitions depending upon the situation its used in.

Psychological validation is the recognition of another person's thoughts, and feelings.

To a degree it means accepting those thoughts and feelings without agreeing, approving or proving accuracy.

It recognition.   It's reflection.   In this context it is about the feelings.  Not the facts.

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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2022, 01:15:51 PM »

Validation can have broad definitions depending upon the situation its used in.

Psychological validation is the recognition of another person's thoughts, and feelings.

To a degree it means accepting those thoughts and feelings without agreeing, approving or proving accuracy.

It recognition.   It's reflection.   In this context it is about the feelings.  Not the facts.



I feel like that is what I was saying.  I can validate that she really does feel that way.  I can accept that she really does feel that way even though I don't agree of approve.  The way her BPD mind works though, is to say "since you know I feel that way then you either agree that I should or you don't care that I do".  Neither of which are true.  If I answer honestly, she then in turn feels invalidated even though psychologically I just validated the way she feels.  As you stated, it's about the feelings and not the facts.  But for a pwBPD, is the problem not that they confuse feelings with facts?
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Boogie74
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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2022, 02:30:12 PM »

One of my biggest challenges is validating without causing a reaction of, “Im not a child that needs to be told that you understand my feelings!”  Or “You’re not a therapist!  Quit asking me questions about how I feel” or “Just because you repeat/ask about what I said doesn’t mean you care!  You’re just saying that to get off the hook!”

Im often accused of being selfish for doing things for her.   Im selfish and a narcissist because I ONLY do it because I want credit and recognition for it.
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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2022, 03:17:36 PM »

Isn't it narcissistic of her to say that, which would make this a projection.

I think it's easy to downplay these accusations or even believe that it's true, "she's kind of right, I did have selfish motives". I think it's scary. It shows how much they need the other person to be the villain.
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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2022, 04:44:42 PM »

Boogie,

I would have liked to share some successful recent interactions with my bpdw, but we’re on holiday together and it’s been a hard couple of days with accusations and not feeling close to me and having a terrible holiday etc. I handle it better these days because I know genuinely there is no point on dwelling on her speaking of having a terrible time of it, or worrying as to whether it’s true.

This morning she seemed very angry about how I refused to take a phone call claiming to be from my bank and wanting personal security details and I was like, “heck no but sorry I don’t trust you”. Apparently my wife’s annoyance was because I usually take such calls. Well like no actually I certainly don’t these days.

The things I find easier to validate are those that don’t involve me so much… like she has nothing to wear, nothing fits her, she looks terrible etc. These are examples of my recent post about not being reassuring. It seems to be magically calming when I say extremely little in response to these things. I think she’s just pleased I no longer point out how many clothes she has etc. or that this doesn’t have to ruin our holiday.

Then there was the issue with the instant coffee where she’s jealous cos I like instant coffee so I have coffee first thing and she has to wait till we go out to a coffee shop or drive through… She expressed this… I said, “mmm hmm”. And she said nothing else. And she used to go on and on and I’d be apologising and promising not to have coffee if she wasn’t. She knows I don’t behave like this anymore. So she literally drops it.

So I know with my own relationship that I was apologising far too much and trying to please her, and it seems like this confirmed to my wife that I was treating her poorly. Since I’ve stopped apologising for things I don’t feel I should be sorry for, she seems calmer and like she’s adjusted her expectations to something more sane. I certainly don’t validate as a therapist might. I mostly just say, mmm, mmm hmm or yeah. Not that I’ve been in therapy Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) but I perceive they may say something more clever.
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2022, 04:56:09 PM »

Validation is not like a spray bottle filled with vinegar and water that you can spray on a barking dog...   Being cool (click to insert in post)  The same can be said about "boundaries"...

Rather than thinking in terms of situational antidotes, think long term lifestyle (or environmental) change - as babyducks said. Think of embracing the concepts and then being deliberate in building them into your relationship. Expect some failure, analyze and fine tune.

While the basic concepts and universal, the advanced implementation must fit the players involved. Like a lot of things in life, there is some trial and error.

And if you don't get it, you will sound like that patronizing telephone customer service person who promises to be very helpful, talks in a very upbeat way, but then makes no effort to help you other than read from the script that basically says "you wasted you time calling me".... followed by "is there anything else I can do today to make your life better?"

Example of "Don't Be Invalidating": Remove sarcasm and teasing from the relationship.

Example of "Validating": Compliment her for making a good meal - when you can.

Example of "Boundaries": Speak about her imaginary (or real) jar of jellybeans and when she pops off about a bill being paid to late, agree that it was wrong (it was) and suggest adding a black jellybean to the jar. She may want 3, you can negotiate. When she validates you, ask if you can put a white jellybean in the jar. This is a way to keep things in perspective (as 15years suggested).

These are light examples (like thankful person's), and some will work with some couple and some wit others - you have to work it to see what helps in your house. There are more foundational examples in these two articles:

       https://www.bpdfamily.com/content/communication-skills-dont-be-invalidating

https://bpdfamily.com/content/setting-boundaries
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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2022, 08:27:06 AM »

One of my biggest challenges is validating without causing a reaction of, “Im not a child that needs to be told that you understand my feelings!”  Or “You’re not a therapist!  Quit asking me questions about how I feel” or “Just because you repeat/ask about what I said doesn’t mean you care!  You’re just saying that to get off the hook!”

Im often accused of being selfish for doing things for her.   Im selfish and a narcissist because I ONLY do it because I want credit and recognition for it.

This is my point as well.  I'm not convinced my wife actually wants validation.  She does this same thing.  Perhaps uses different responses but the same reaction.  She doesn't want me to understand how she feels, she wants me to agree that I should have been thinking and feeling like she did this whole time.  She wants me to agree that I should act like her instead of acting like me.  Maybe it is narcissism as someone else is saying
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2022, 10:21:55 AM »

I think the concept that they’re looking for agreement, beyond mere validation, signals a lack of confidence. A humorous example occurred yesterday with my husband.

He asked me if I thought he handled a business transaction well. I mentioned a minor unforeseen issue. Immediately the *poor me* part reared it’s head: “I screw up everything.”

I said, “Well, you asked for my opinion.”

“Oh, right,” he said with a smile. And it was over.
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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2022, 10:47:14 AM »

I think the concept that they’re looking for agreement, beyond mere validation, signals a lack of confidence. A humorous example occurred yesterday with my husband.

He asked me if I thought he handled a business transaction well. I mentioned a minor unforeseen issue. Immediately the *poor me* part reared it’s head: “I screw up everything.”

I said, “Well, you asked for my opinion.”

“Oh, right,” he said with a smile. And it was over.

Have had the same type of scenarios except her reaction is to tell me I always make it about me.  I respond by saying you asked what I thought so my answer HAD to be about ME.  Then she'll say something like "yeah but all you ever do is disagree with me".  I say well you asked what I think and that is what I think.  Typically a much larger fight immediately follows
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« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2022, 12:11:53 PM »

Have had the same type of scenarios except her reaction is to tell me I always make it about me.  I respond by saying you asked what I thought so my answer HAD to be about ME.  Then she'll say something like "yeah but all you ever do is disagree with me".  I say well you asked what I think and that is what I think.  Typically a much larger fight immediately follows

If he were to follow up with that sort of response, I would merely shrug. Hard to argue with someone who is responding nonverbally.  Being cool (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2022, 12:26:05 PM »

Have had the same type of scenarios except her reaction is to tell me I always make it about me.  I respond by saying you asked what I thought so my answer HAD to be about ME.  Then she'll say something like "yeah but all you ever do is disagree with me".  I say well you asked what I think and that is what I think.  Typically a much larger fight immediately follows

If you are recycling in and out of the same kind of conflict, you might want to rethink how you hear what she is asking and how to better respond. This is not uncommon issue in all relationships - BPD traits just make it worse - but this problem transcends BPD.

When it is opportune and this happens again, apologize. A few hours later (or the next day) ask her how she thinks you should have answered the question.

     1. She will probably tell you and that is a clue for the future
2. She will likely understand appreciate you asking (which is validating).
3. She might see your point when the table are turned.

Do this from time to time and you will learn how to better communicate with her.

I respond by saying you asked what I thought so my answer HAD to be about ME.

She is being very invalidating. But so are you. And then she can be more invalidating in response and things will spiral. Look, if you partner snaps back at you... don't JADE... it never ends well.

Her:  you always make it about yourself.
You:  OK, let me rephrase my thoughts... blah blah (without referring to you).

Remember, its not an equal relationship - she's volatile - you need to be able to absorb this petty stuff without breaking a sweat.

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« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2022, 12:45:34 PM »

Oh, and one last thought.

Some times she is just trying to pick a fight... transfer some of her distress to you (as a way of coping). If this is the case (and you can learn to pretty much recognize it when its coming) the best thing is to let her get all out and then exit gracefully. For example, continue to look at her after she stops - leave a pregnant pause and say, that's a lot for me to think about and move on.

You may be surprised at how blowing up on you made her feel better and 2 hours later she has moved on (returned to baseline).

There is no point in getting emotionally engaged in this... but you also don't want to be invalidating.

My ex had a habit of slamming cabinets and doors in her prior relationship. I finally experienced it - she slammed and broke the hardware on the from door.It was clear she was looking to tangle. I never looked up from the computer. She never did it again.
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« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2022, 04:51:40 PM »

Some times she is just trying to pick a fight...

This is one of the things I’m getting to grips with and realising it works better to withdraw myself and give my wife time alone to deal with her feelings. When she got angry about me not taking the call from the bank… I wasn’t going to say, “I understand it’s upsetting for you” it just seemed ridiculous. So I spoke my case and told her I was going outside. We are staying in a caravan at the moment so I don’t go far but going outside gets me away for a bit.
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« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2022, 06:36:28 PM »

She wants me to agree that I should act like her instead of acting like me.  Maybe it is narcissism as someone else is saying

A big challenge for me is that J often has internal thoughts and makes a BIG assumption that i should automatically know what they are and the conclusions she also makes.

“Could you move the vacuum out of the way?”

I either move it some place or ask “where would you like it to go?”

In either situation, “USE YOUR BRAIN!  Where does it go???” 

Or

“That’s not where it goes!”
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« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2022, 06:42:58 PM »

“I understand it’s upsetting for you”

Agreed. That can be word salad.  Here is another:  "I apologize if I what I may have done may have upset you".

Curious what was the issue about the bank call?



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« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2022, 08:33:43 PM »

A big challenge for me is that J often has internal thoughts and makes a BIG assumption that i should automatically know what they are and the conclusions she also makes.

“Could you move the vacuum out of the way?”

I either move it some place or ask “where would you like it to go?”

In either situation, “USE YOUR BRAIN!  Where does it go???” 

Or

“That’s not where it goes!”
How do you respond when she talks to you like this? My wife used to treat me like this a lot more. I believe it was because I was continually apologising and desperate to please her. Once I was able to let that go, and focused (internally) on accepting her reaction and not trying to change it, she started to treat me with more respect. I have (almost) eliminated such behaviour. In the past, I have actually stopped drinking coffee because she decided she wanted to stop so told me I should too. It would be easy to fall back into such patterns of obeying her every word. But I knew (strongly suspected) she was going to challenge me on the coffee-drinking. I knew that the best response was to say “mmm hmm” and astonishingly that has been enough to stop her mentioning it again (for now). It was very powerful in my case to learn to say, “I don’t wish to be spoken to like this. If you continue then I am going to go do x” She did shout and screech about it but since I played it out and followed through with my intentions a few times she treats me better because she does not like to be “left”.
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« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2022, 08:43:49 PM »

Curious what was the issue about the bank call?
It is possible the bank were trying to call me. I had spoken to them the day before about letting us off our final mortgage payment as we are moving away and going to pay off our mortgage and become mortgage-free (by down sizing and moving away) next month (a decision we made due to financial difficulties). They said no (of course) but then said it could possibly be arranged but would affect my (personal) credit file, so I said no. My wife is already in such arrangements with her debtors. She (appears to have) learnt much from getting herself into a ridiculous amount of debt which she couldn’t afford to pay back. Once we sell the house she intends to never use credit cards again. So actually the reason for her odd reaction has only now become clear to me as I wrote this answer: she wants me to have poor credit, so that I’m like her (even though her credit rating affects me it isn’t really that bad). I get the impression this credit problem is far worse in the UK because of how easy it is to get credit. My wife was in over UK£20k credit card and loan debt by age 23, even though she had never held down a full time job or managed to work more than a few hours a week. But thanks for helping to bring this answer to light for me Skip! Maybe my wife has stopped saying, “do as I do” because I started saying, “no”.
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« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2022, 09:34:15 AM »

 The way her BPD mind works though, is to say "since you know I feel that way then you either agree that I should or you don't care that I do".  Neither of which are true.  If I answer honestly, she then in turn feels invalidated even though psychologically I just validated the way she feels.  As you stated, it's about the feelings and not the facts.  But for a pwBPD, is the problem not that they confuse feelings with facts?

once a long time ago my partner and I were doing some organizing and sorting and cleaning up of things that had accumulated.    they were my things.    and I was feeling pretty lazy about dealing with them.    they weren't in the way.   I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them.   I wasn't motivated to figure it out.

and just as you say, WK11, this got processed through my partner's BPD filter.   very very rapidly it ceased to be about some extra stuff and became about "you don't care about making a comfortable home",   "you don't care about what I want",   "you aren't serious about making this work".    

honestly this threw me,    I couldn't connect the dots from me being slow to figure out what to do with some extra furniture to this means the relationship is over.    looking back at it, this is what I think now.   I missed that she had a very narrow view of what was acceptable in a relationship.    she never felt comfortable in a relationship, she never really felt safe and secure, she would attempt to manufacture that comfort and security by creating what she felt was a perfect environment.   unfortunately communicating that perfect environment was not her strong suit.   one time I threw away a cardboard box the cat like to hide in.   it was an empty cardboard box.    clearly this meant I didn't consider her feelings.    clearly I was being selfish and inconsiderate.   I'm sure you can imagine how the conversation went.

every one of these little individual items was a sign to her,  a signal to her.  that I didn't care about her wants and needs.    I agree with what another long term member said here years ago.   these were not simple garden variety wants and needs.    these wants and needs protect her fragile sense of self.    these wants and needs are how she felt whole, how she protected her serious core wounds.  that cardboard box HAD to be in a certain place on the living room floor.   if I look at it from the perspective of other neuro divergent individuals I can almost see what is really going on.   Like the OCD character in the movie "as good as it gets" who felt stepping on the crack in the sidewalk meant the world was broken, having the cardboard box meant things were okay.

understanding the process that was driving her, really didn't help me flesh out how to deal with it.     looking back it should have been a combination of validation, boundaries and negotiation applied over time consistently.    but, honestly I found that hard to achieve as often as I needed to apply it.    

the validation really shouldn't have been "I can see you're upset by the disruption in the house right now."    which she heard as "oh you are having another emotional moment so I will placate you by pretending to understand".   the boundary shouldn't have been "I will get around to the extra furniture after the first of the month".   because that was a little passive aggressive if you get my meaning.   I was tired of being pushed on it.    Once she had an idea of what I needed to do, it had to be done immediately and I really couldn't stomach that well.  

there should have been more negotiation.    truthfully when we did negotiate it often left me drained, exhausted, with a sweat drenched shirt.    I thought I had decent communication skills.   but there were times when communicating with her wore me out.

which brings me to acceptance.    radical and deep acceptance.     being in a relationship meant that I had to have a constantly shifting amount of validation, boundaries, communication and acceptance.   each and every day.    it was a lot of energy.    I don't have a lot of energy.

I'm going to answer your question:
 But for a pwBPD, is the problem not that they confuse feelings with facts?
by saying Yes and No.    I wouldn't call it confusion.   pwBPD have harmfully intense painful emotions that swing rapidly and wildly from one extreme to the other.     If I lived with that I would be pretty focused on emotions and feelings myself.    pwBPD try to change how they feel by changing and controlling external things around them.    People.   Events.    Items.   I  believe that staying in a relationship with a pwBPD means being committed to fostering an environment with high levels of validation,  very good communication skills over a long period of time.     I like what Skip said about these tools not being a water bottle we spray at conflict.

my two cents
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« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2022, 09:44:26 AM »

A big challenge for me is that J often has internal thoughts and makes a BIG assumption that i should automatically know what they are and the conclusions she also makes.

“Could you move the vacuum out of the way?”

I either move it some place or ask “where would you like it to go?”

In either situation, “USE YOUR BRAIN!  Where does it go???” 

Or

“That’s not where it goes!”

I have to deal with this also.  I get accused of just playing dumb and acting like I don't know.  I either say "I'm just trying to put it where you want it" or I say "no I don't know where it goes.  If I did I would not have asked you". 
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« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2022, 10:20:50 AM »

I have to deal with this also.  I get accused of just playing dumb and acting like I don't know.  I either say "I'm just trying to put it where you want it" or I say "no I don't know where it goes.  If I did I would not have asked you".  

I got this from time to time in my former BPD relationship and even get it in my current relationship (I'm 16 years out of a BPD relationship). Back then (and now), I don't react to it other than to be light-hearted. "OK, its true I am too dumb to put away the vacuum cleaner, but I want to help and will do my very best to put in what I think is a good place. Let me check google, first."

I usually take things like this as a signal something is else wrong... do I want to probe that in a few hours or not (always a tough decision).
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« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2022, 10:29:26 AM »

But thanks for helping to bring this answer to light for me Skip!

So are you saying that she feels a payment reduction is worth getting a "paid, but not full balance" on your credit report and you believe the opposite?
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« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2022, 02:28:28 PM »

I am struggling so much with this question right now.  I saw yesterday that allowing her to blow off steam at me for an hour about how I did not validate her feelings calmed things down immensely.  Then again at night.  This is great as we're going away together tomorrow for the weekend. 

But it also feels like emotional abuse.  And it is with most definitions.  Where is the line between making life function with a BPD and taking too much and breaking myself down?

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« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2022, 06:06:14 PM »

I liked baby ducks’ anecdote about throwing away the cardboard box the cat liked. Before we had kids we used to give our dog cardboard boxes to tear up and he would make a mess all over the place. One day when bpdw was at work I disposed of the torn cardboard so I could clean the floor. I actually did not realise how much trouble this would get me into.

So are you saying that she feels a payment reduction is worth getting a "paid, but not full balance" on your credit report and you believe the opposite?
It would mean I would technically be “in an arrangement” with my creditors. Apparently it affects your credit file poorly for the next six years, even once all debts are paid. (My wife is in several such arrangements already). It’s not necessary for me to take such a risk when I have savings I can use instead. Of course my wife’s name is on the mortgage but she does not contribute. So I saw this as my decision and didn’t ask for her opinion. We have not discussed my decision at all. But I seriously suspect this was why she was annoyed when I didn’t take the call from the bank. That is her issue to be annoyed about. I believe she hasn’t mentioned it as she knows I have a right to make my own choices as I have been asserting this right for sometime now. That’s why things like my drinking coffee are important. To remind her that I make my own decisions these days.
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« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2022, 03:33:54 AM »

This is my point as well.  I'm not convinced my wife actually wants validation.  She does this same thing.  Perhaps uses different responses but the same reaction.  She doesn't want me to understand how she feels, she wants me to agree that I should have been thinking and feeling like she did this whole time.  She wants me to agree that I should act like her instead of acting like me.  Maybe it is narcissism as someone else is saying

Sometimes the accusation of “wanting credit” turns into the humorously insane.   Tonight, Netflix wasn’t connecting on the tv.   I walked over to the cable modem to check if the internet was out due to storms.   As I looked at the modem, Netflix came on and was working.

I said, “I would LOVE to say that my walking toward the modem connected it, but I’m pretty positive that I had nothing to do with it.”

She responded, annoyed, “Of COURSE you would want to take credit for that!  You just want the recognition for fixing it.   That’s what narcissists do:  they take credit for everything”

There was literally no way I could explain to her that it’s obvious that me SEEING the cable modem 2 feet away from me wouldn’t fix it and that it’s ludicrous to conclude that I made anything happen.   To her, I was ALWAYS looking for credit and praise for everything and if I’m laughing off the CLEARLY ridiculous suggestion that I can fix the internet by focusing my eyesight on the modem in front of me that I am LYING and internally want recognition for my miracle fix….

To her, you can tell liars because they deny that they are lying and you can tell a narcissist because they deny being a narcissist.   That’s the acid test for liars and narcissists- if they deny it, it’s true.
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« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2022, 05:31:53 AM »

Does she ever view herself in that way - that she kind of has a sixth sense in a way. That she knows when things are about to happen for example. Wondering if this in part is some kind of projection. I kind of relate to your story.
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« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2022, 08:46:17 AM »

This might be an unusual conversation for the subject "Is there a way to validate every day disappointments?"  Being cool (click to insert in post)

I get the sense from reading the comments that there is a lot of defensiveness and a fear of yielding or surrendering ground in an ongoing battle with our partner. This thread reads more like a co-validation between the participants that validation is a risk not worth taking, futile..

      "There is no way that I can figure out how to communicate and come to an agreement with her"

" I cannot truthfully validate anything other than the fact that the feeling really does exist for her. "

"Enforcing the boundary is clearly the best option"

And this applies to even the simpleness of things such as stowing vacuum cleaners, who drinks coffee first in the morning, throwing away cardboard boxes...

Stay with me - don't get mad - I'm really only here to help.

Your relationships sound like they are on a downward spiral and caught in a cycle of conflict where each party is justifying their position based on the unreasonableness of the other.

Just to orient our compasses, I put a survey in this thread to see where your relationship stands with respect to psychologist and researcher John Gottmans, four stages of relationship breakdown.
https://bpdfamily.com/content/your-relationship-breaking-down

How broken is your relationship? Take the survey and post a few words.

This might be a constructive discussion point.



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« Reply #29 on: May 20, 2022, 09:36:57 AM »

Sometimes the accusation of “wanting credit” turns into the humorously insane.   Tonight, Netflix wasn’t connecting on the tv.   I walked over to the cable modem to check if the internet was out due to storms.   As I looked at the modem, Netflix came on and was working.

I said, “I would LOVE to say that my walking toward the modem connected it, but I’m pretty positive that I had nothing to do with it.”

She responded, annoyed, “Of COURSE you would want to take credit for that!  You just want the recognition for fixing it.   That’s what narcissists do:  they take credit for everything”

There was literally no way I could explain to her that it’s obvious that me SEEING the cable modem 2 feet away from me wouldn’t fix it and that it’s ludicrous to conclude that I made anything happen.   To her, I was ALWAYS looking for credit and praise for everything and if I’m laughing off the CLEARLY ridiculous suggestion that I can fix the internet by focusing my eyesight on the modem in front of me that I am LYING and internally want recognition for my miracle fix….

To her, you can tell liars because they deny that they are lying and you can tell a narcissist because they deny being a narcissist.   That’s the acid test for liars and narcissists- if they deny it, it’s true.

Yeah it sounds like we are dealing with very similar mindsets.  I get that her issues are not actually about me.  It something inside or whatever, but I can only sit there and just take it for so long
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