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VIDEO: "What is parental alienation?" Parental alienation is when a parent allows a child to participate or hear them degrade the other parent. This is not uncommon in divorces and the children often adjust. In severe cases, however, it can be devastating to the child. This video provides a helpful overview.
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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%)
Total Voters: 6

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Author Topic: Is there a way to validate every day disappointments?  (Read 761 times)
who_knows11
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« Reply #30 on: May 20, 2022, 09:52:00 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.






I'm guessing I fell somewhere late into the third stage.  I have definitely lost all respect for her.  I lost the final shred when she physically attacked me and told me if she had a weapon she would kill me while we were on vacation together.  I already had very little for her at that point, but after that, it was completely gone.

I don't believe she actually has any values that she lives by.  To me, that is much different than just having differing values.  Perhaps what I am doing is considered defensive, I don't know.  However, I am at a point now where I don't explain myself to her unless she specifically asks for an explanation.  Even then I don't always do it.  I never do it anymore just as a response to an accusation.  If that is still considered being defensive, then yes I am defensive.  My intent though, is not to justify to her who I am or why I am doing something.  It is simply responding to a question.  I don't need justification from her so as far as I am concerned there is no need to defend anything. 

I certainly don't need her to validate my thoughts and feelings.  I only share them when asked to, and I only disagree with hers when I am asked if I agree.  The only other option I see is to simply sit there and not speak.  I can't see anything constructive in that.  The only thing that I expect is equity in principle.  I can accept her feelings without making it into a problem so therefore my feelings should not be made into a problem.  In my mind, it has nothing to do with giving ground or yielding.  It's about not being forced to agree with something that I don't agree with.  I don't care if she changes her mind to think like me or not.  All I ask is that if we disagree, then let's agree to disagree and move on.  Is that not what acceptance is?  Or is my way of thinking misguided?
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« Reply #31 on: May 20, 2022, 03:27:20 PM »

who_knows11, what you describe sounds to me like stage 3 or maybe even 4. According to Gottman Institute , it’s impossible to love your lover while hidden behind a wall to guard your self from him or her. Few relationship survive these late stages without a significant commitment to reverse course.

All I ask is that if we disagree, then let's agree to disagree and move on.  Is that not what acceptance is?  

Given everything that is in play, is this enough to sustain the marriage?

I did note that you don't plan to leave the marriage. And it seems like you feel too much contempt to be motivated to try something different to work on the relationship. That's a tough place to be.

One could argue, that even if you were only going to stay 3 more years, it would be better to try to improve things rather than to be in a cold war. That's a logical argument. These are emotional situations.

As Gottman points out, its very difficult to have a relationship if you can't resolve conflict - mostly by finding solutions, or middle ground or in some cases just agreeing to disagree and moving on.  

Over the years we have had many men in this space. You are not alone.

FWIW, the tools work if you invest yourself in them. That's a big step. I've used them in the past to make a difficult relationship peaceful and enjoyable. I use them in my current good relationship, to make it better.
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thankful person
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« Reply #32 on: May 21, 2022, 04:17:29 PM »

The relationship breaking down is certainly a topic I am interested in. When I first joined bpd family a little over a year ago, my wife and I were at stage 3 and I wasn’t sure if we were heading for stage 4 or if we could sustain stage 3 forever. She had completely withdrawn from me physically and emotionally so I guess maybe she had moved to stage 4. It was a true “I hate you don’t leave me” situation. She didn’t tell me not to leave, she kept saying she wanted me to leave, but did nothing else to end the relationship. And I didn’t leave.

Now, we are, I tentatively claim, back to stage 1, but I wouldn’t describe it as a relationship that is breaking down. It’s a challenge at times, but I’m handling it well. Do pwbpd ever “agree to disagree”? My understanding and experience is that they do not. My relationship with my wife is astoundingly better than it has ever been and better than I ever dared hope it could be. So I do not see unresolved issues as a reason my relationship is at any stage of “breaking down”. I see it as a factor of having a successful relationship with a pwbpd. (That is, if unresolved issues includes my continuing to drink coffee, against my wife’s wishes, which was an example Skip used.)

With all due respect, my understanding, as mentioned in my post about not being reassuring, is that a certain level of caretaking will remain, if your relationship with a pwbpd is to be successful. For example, pwbpd makes a remark about how it’s not fair that I get coffee first in the morning because she doesn’t like instant coffee. I say, “mmm hmm” and proudly drink my coffee. She drops it because she knows she no longer can rule me in this way.

My greatest role models on here have been those who are currently living in successful bpd relationships. I’m sure some people on here are proud of my progress and for drinking the darn coffee, which is actually a powerful way for me to start each day with confidence.

As has been said before, a relationship with a pwbpd is a special needs relationship because they are emotionally disabled. Special allowances need to be made just as a disabled person in a wheelchair can’t walk through a door. Where I used to say, “we’ll agree to disagree” this only fuelled the fire and in place of this I now say nothing. I’m still trying to get the balance right and I’m on here for learning as well as now feeling that I have enough knowledge and successful experience to give some help to others. Things are so much better for me and my family. But if you have any further advice, please let me know.

Also, I am curious, was Gottman a bpd expert?
« Last Edit: May 21, 2022, 04:22:59 PM by thankful person » Logged

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« Reply #33 on: May 22, 2022, 06:25:01 AM »

Also, I am curious, was Gottman a bpd expert?

John Gottman is renowned for his work on marital stability and divorce prediction. He has conducted 40 years of research with thousands of couples and is considered one of the most influential therapists of the last 25 years.    Author or co-author of over 40 books and over 200 scholarly articles he is considered one of the premier subject matter experts in the field of marital stability.
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who_knows11
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« Reply #34 on: May 23, 2022, 08:31:29 AM »

who_knows11, what you describe sounds to me like stage 3 or maybe even 4. According to Gottman Institute , it’s impossible to love your lover while hidden behind a wall to guard your self from him or her. Few relationship survive these late stages without a significant commitment to reverse course.

Given everything that is in play, is this enough to sustain the marriage?

I did note that you don't plan to leave the marriage. And it seems like you feel too much contempt to be motivated to try something different to work on the relationship. That's a tough place to be.

One could argue, that even if you were only going to stay 3 more years, it would be better to try to improve things rather than to be in a cold war. That's a logical argument. These are emotional situations.

As Gottman points out, its very difficult to have a relationship if you can't resolve conflict - mostly by finding solutions, or middle ground or in some cases just agreeing to disagree and moving on.  

Over the years we have had many men in this space. You are not alone.

FWIW, the tools work if you invest yourself in them. That's a big step. I've used them in the past to make a difficult relationship peaceful and enjoyable. I use them in my current good relationship, to make it better.


I agree with the things you are saying.  I actually considered saying stage 4 but wasn't completely convinced that was where we are.  I definitely considered it a possibility.  I definitely understand the feeling of having a hard time loving when I have a wall up.  It's definitely where I'm at. 

Agreeing to disagree has always been enough to sustain the marriage, FOR ME.  I understand that it most likely wouldn't be for her, obviously.  It's the only thing I have ever asked for in the marriage.  Literally the only thing.  I never ask to get my way, and I've always catered to her wants and desires because just being me is enough for me.  Therein lies the contempt.  I don't believe that she is ok with me personally.  Perhaps that misguided by not realizing what it's actually about.  I get that because of the BPD things aren't usually about me.  It's actually about the fact that she isn't ok with herself personally.  It's just that within that process, I'm not allowed to be who I am.  It is a trigger for her. 

I am absolutely exhausted.  By my own admission, I am not me anymore.  Not because I believe anything she says or because I am becoming depressed or anything.  Simply because I am so tired I can't do anything anymore.  Mostly mentally exhausted.  Emotionally a little but I am not a person who is reliant on emotion so that is actually not a bad thing for me.  Less emotion to have to sort through.  Some physical exhaustion due to late night arguments after taking care of the kids all day in order to keep them from "triggering" her.  I'm just tired.  Too tired to want to do anything right now.  Therefore, I began working on me.  Mostly my communication skills and also learning not to walk on egg shells.  But that was a problem for her too because I'm working on me and not us. 

Working on me is how I'm trying to improve the situation.  I hope that isn't counter productive.

I know the relationship is difficult in this situation because we can't solve conflict.  I don't feel that we will ever be able to.  I feel, and have told her, that we can't talk things out and find a solution because that isn't what she is actually looking for.  I feel that she is actually looking for me to just agree with her, admit all fault, and start thinking and behaving like she does.
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« Reply #35 on: May 31, 2022, 05:55:18 PM »

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

Exactly.  To my W, "validation" = agreeing and being as pissed off as she is about something.  Example = she is mad because I did not do something and I am a total inconsiderate jerk for not doing something.  Yet the "something" I may not have had enough information in order to be aware of, something beyond my control, or something a nonBPD would not even consider.  Last night W asked what I wanted for dinner.  I remarked we had a bunch of leftovers, and suggested some frozen foods we could eat if there weren't enough leftovers.  W remarked how she did not want the leftovers.  She wound up heating the food, then when I came into the kitchen she remarked how she also got the leftovers out in case I wanted them.  I heated up a plate of the leftovers, and then she went on a 10 minute rant about me eating the leftovers and finishing them without asking her if she wanted them.  As far as I am concerned, there is nothing for me to apologize for here or validate.  She started on an abusive rant before I even knew what was going on, so I wound up simply leaving the table and eating in the other room.  I much prefer that outcome than me wasting energy trying to fix something I did not break. 

Regarding the "cat toy" or the "bill paid a day later" - I have dealt with the exact same thing (right now she is annoyed and blaming me because a Amazon did not get the return I sent back)  I am to the point where "validating" such irrationality simply makes a problem worse in the long run by having her continue to come to me expecting validation. 

I think my W doesn't want someone to "validate" her emotions, I thinks she wants someone to actually experience the same emotions as her, because if others don't experience the same emotions that alone is invalidating. 
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« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2022, 08:39:27 AM »

I think my W doesn't want someone to "validate" her emotions, I thinks she wants someone to actually experience the same emotions as her, because if others don't experience the same emotions that alone is invalidating.  

At the risk of annoying anyone by being repetitious, this is a lack of us understanding the tools of "being validating" and not "being invalidating".

These two tools are effective but they require skill (they are at least as hard as learning to ski or learning to golf) and commitment to learn the skill.  And just like a skier that puts on skis on for the first time and can't make them worm, it would be wrong to say skiing doesn't work.

So, yes, of course your partner wants you to agree with them on things they have strong feelings about. Most people who post in this thread (and other threads) want the people posting with them to agree with them. Most ______ (republicans, democrats, Christian's, atheist, etc) want others to agree with them. And to varying degrees, and get upset when other don't agree.

This is not what these tools are about. They are not going to solve this human dynamic.

A poorly timed or executed "validation" can make things worse... as have been pointed out in this thread. It's not really an antidote to someone seeking agreement on something you don't agree with.

Being validating or not being invalidating is more about the overall environment and day to day relationship. A sensitive person will do better in a validating environment.

I heated up a plate of the leftovers, and then she went on a 10 minute rant about me eating the leftovers and finishing them without asking her if she wanted them.  As far as I am concerned, there is nothing for me to apologize for here or validate.  She started on an abusive rant before I even knew what was going on, so I wound up simply leaving the table and eating in the other room. I much prefer that outcome than me wasting energy trying to fix something I did not break.

OK, so lets look at this example. This is not something she feel strongly about. This is just a petty outburst on her part, we can all agree on that. We can also agree that it's also inconsequential on our part, it's not something we need to stand our ground on. The most important thing in situations like this is (1) to not reward it and (2) to not make it worse.  

To apologize after a blow up with "I understand and am sorry you feel that way" is invalidating... it implies that her defective feelings are the problem. It will also be seen as weak.

 Bullet: important point (click to insert in post) To physically exit the situation in a neutral way is certainly valid if the rant was 10 minutes long (that's a long time). She is now eating alone and that is "unrewarding" and it gives her space to see what she has done and return to baseline (especially if you leave in a neutral way).

 Bullet: important point (click to insert in post) Coming back to the issue a few hours later and saying, hey, next time I'll ask before finishing the leftovers. It would help me, if you see me putting something on my plate that you want, to please say something.

If we can pull off the first action without being invalidating - great first move.
The second action, is validating. It brings some closure - even if she says, "I shouldn't have to tell you."
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« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2022, 12:05:50 PM »


 Bullet: important point (click to insert in post) To physically exit the situation in a neutral way is certainly valid if the rant was 10 minutes long (that's a long time). She is now eating alone and that is "unrewarding" and it gives her space to see what she has done and return to baseline (especially if you leave in a neutral way).

 Bullet: important point (click to insert in post) Coming back to the issue a few hours later and saying, hey, next time I'll ask before finishing the leftovers. It would help me, if you see me putting something on my plate that you want, to please say something.

If we can pull off the first action without being invalidating - great first move.
The second action, is validating. It brings some closure - even if she says, "I shouldn't have to tell you."

Thanks, Skip.  This makes sense.  Yes, the rant was more than 10 minutes long.  No I was not able to leave in a neutral way.  It is impossible to leave in a neutral way (to her) when she is ranting.  But I was able to leave and go to the next room calmly without her having a violent meltdown.  I told her how I felt, and left.  She made comments, but no more than that.  I consider that as neutral as possible. 

As for step 2 - I see two choices here.  1) Do what you suggest, but that risks opening the topic again.  Many times this has gone bad on me - she is calm and has mostly forgotten about it, and the second I mention something again, it triggers the rant to resume.  2) If she is moved on to something else, forget about it. 

I have learned (out of fear) to take option 2 most of the time on things that are inconsequential. 
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« Reply #38 on: June 01, 2022, 12:50:51 PM »

If she is moved on to something else, forget about it. 

Agreed.

Sometimes one option fits a situation better than another.

It is amazing, as you say, that some of the out bursts are forgotten and best left alone, but its true.
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« Reply #39 on: June 02, 2022, 05:58:00 AM »

Instead of starting a new thread, I'll ask advice here, I guess it falls somewhere between the subject of every day disappointments and more serious disappointments.

My wife complains often about my behavior at social events. Also when meeting our families, siblings aso.
Latest case study - The whole family visited a playground. I was not by my wife's side constantly, I was following my older son who was trying to be social with another boy who was there with his mother and her friend. I was curious what they were talking about and I guess I also wanted to interact with the other boys mother and her friend, not verbally but maybe through smiles and eye contact and such. Worth noting is that I felt no sexual attraction to these women, and I don't think my Wife saw them as a threat. But my wife later said she felt abandoned when I did this (maybe five minutes) but she wasn't too distressed. She talked to me (lectured?) calmly for a few hours in the course of two days on how a family/spouse should act in social situations and she says I seek approval and admiration from other people, especially women. Stating my opinion didn't work, she argued back at everything I said, even though I always told her I understood her point of view, and that I agreed partly to a lot of the things she said. She only saw me stating my opinion as not listening. This was her feelings so I shouldn't have an opinion.
- "It's so easy for men/women to be appreciated by women/men who have unresolved feelings towards their mothers/fathers..."
- "People should be the same person at home and at social events."
- "It's disrespectful of you to talk to other women privately when we are at social events" (I'm not sure I do that :D)
- "If you want to mingle, you should take me along with you"
- "You always abandon me"
- "You are hyperactive... I am not. We can learn from each other. You should learn to be more grounded and not run around and seek approval"
- "People are not impressed by attention seeking behavior. People are impressed by someone who is loyal to his wife."
- "You either cling to me like a kid or abandon me."

Basically she thinks it's immature to mingle, and she portrays me as a very desperate child who runs around seeking approval, belonging, admiration. I try telling her I enjoy socializing, it's exciting and fun. She rather think we should act like a unit, very professionally and polite and so on. She has some valid points. I didn't try to explain all this but I think I tried to use "I-statements", not deliberately:
- "I like being social and for me that is a need that differs from being at home"
- "It's exciting to be at social events"
- "I think it's fun to mingle"
- "I think it's fun to be at the same event as a partner and check back with each other occasionally"
and so on.

Later, she brought up the subject again after a few hours break. "I have a lot of new thoughts about how to behave in social situations...." I didn't say much, trying to not JADE. She told me that she didn't feel heard, and that's when I expressed my frustration and I was so irritated that I didn't really see any way for her to have any additional power to manipulate me with this subject. Interestingly, this didn't escalate things. I guess it felt good for her that she was talking calmly and I overheated. After that, I had some ideas how to behave at the next planned social event, this Friday, and she was happy about the discussion that followed.


My questions to you...
1. The more we talk, the more I see her point. Am I being manipulated, or are we coming to an understanding?
2. Where to draw the line between bettering myself and being who I am...?
3. If I would have stopped the conversation earlier, we wouldn't have reached an understanding. Thoughts?
4. She hasn't budged an inch in her opinion that I behave badly in public. Why? If she's right, why would she change her mind?


The next social event, this Friday, is at my sisters house. We have agreed that I should let her enter the house first, and that I won't leave her unattended as soon as we enter the house (can't remember if that is what usually do, most often I stay by her side constantly, I learned this long ago). We kind of agreed that if we get a good start that things will work better on Friday. I will absolutely have a hard time knowing what I can do on this social event. It's not that I'm afraid of criticism, but I want to avoid doing the opposite of what she's asking.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2022, 06:04:46 AM by 15years » Logged
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« Reply #40 on: June 02, 2022, 06:38:42 AM »

but I want to avoid doing the opposite of what she's asking.

Which means not being yourself at social situations- not doing what comes naturally to you and trying to be what she wants you to be ( according to what she's interpreting you are doing).

Two things (at least) are going on here: boundaries and projection.

First of all- she can't read your mind. When she decides what you are thinking and what your intentions are when you speak to other people, these are HER thoughts. What she says about you, is actually about her. You are the blank canvas for her feelings. Due to projection, if she's feeling something, it must be you, not her.  

If someone says something to you, or about you, that doesn't make it true. One boundary is to know "what is me, what is not me". If you have brown hair, and I insist you are blonde, would you defend or explain that? Or can you believe you have brown hair because, you know what is you, what isn't you. Also, if I were to lecture you on your blonde hair, would that make it true? Would it change your hair color?

If I called you a pink elephant, would you consider you are one?

The key to dealing with this is to know, better, what is you and what isn't you. She can say whatever she feels about you, but if you know what is true and what isn't true, you would feel more secure about that.

Personally, if I were just having a nice time in a social setting and not violating my own ethical boundaries ( I don't go off privately to flirt either but hanging around as families with the  kids and chatting with their parents isn't doing that) and someone accused me of not behaving properly (when I know that I was), I'd think that was ridiculous. The problem isn't your behavior- it's your wife's insecurities that are triggered in social settings when she sees you speaking to other women. But you know you did nothing wrong. Your part is that you need to believe that.






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« Reply #41 on: June 02, 2022, 07:15:32 AM »

There is something your wife could be keying in on ( and it isn't something you are doing wrong, it's the result of the dynamics between you).

When you are with your wife, you may be walking on eggshells, watching what you say, and being guarded because of the nature of the relationship. When you are speaking to other people, ( women included )- you may be more acting like "yourself"- less self conscious, less guarded. This has nothing to do with whether or not you are attracted to them. You may not even be conscious of it. You are not doing anything wrong.

 "People should be the same person at home and at social events."

Her picking up on your behavior is also projection. PwBPD in general hold it together better in social situations and have more BPD behaviors in private with the relationships closer to them. I will bet your wife is not the "same person" in social situations as she is at home.

Most people act a bit differently in different situations. Whether or not they are being themselves is relative. A person with NPD or BPD may have a completely different and false persona in public. People without PD's don't have a fake persona- they are who they are, however, probably act more formal in public than at home. That's having appropriate behavior for the situation. Her accusation that you are not being yourself in social settings may say more about her than you.

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« Reply #42 on: June 02, 2022, 08:00:18 AM »

I bet trying to discuss this and convince her of something is only gonna result in her convincing me I'm wrong. Fell into that trap Smiling (click to insert in post) It's interesting how she in this "lecturing mode" have the persistence to not go into a rage. It's also harder to assert boundaries when somebody just wants to discuss. She frames it as "communication", "cooperation" and "resolving issues". So I'm the uncooperative party, because I won't meet her half way if I won't discuss it.

I at least try telling her "I'll see what I can do" instead of "I'll do that"


You are the blank canvas for her feelings. Due to projection, if she's feeling something, it must be you, not her.  

....

The key to dealing with this is to know, better, what is you and what isn't you. She can say whatever she feels about you, but if you know what is true and what isn't true, you would feel more secure about that.
....

...someone accused me of not behaving properly (when I know that I was), I'd think that was ridiculous.

....

The problem isn't your behavior- it's your wife's insecurities that are triggered in social settings when she sees you speaking to other women. But you know you did nothing wrong. Your part is that you need to believe that.

.

Good reminders.


When you are with your wife, you may be walking on eggshells, watching what you say, and being guarded because of the nature of the relationship. When you are speaking to other people, ( women included )- you may be more acting like "yourself"- less self conscious, less guarded. This has nothing to do with whether or not you are attracted to them. You may not even be conscious of it. You are not doing anything wrong.


Exactly. She has noted something along that line, but of course not that it has something with her to do. But it is very shameful for her to see me being cheerful or easy-going around others, especially women. Is this cognitive dissonance? She thinks she is such a great wife (she has told me she would be a great first lady), yet my behavior points to her being a bad wife.


 "People should be the same person at home and at social events."

Her picking up on your behavior is also projection. PwBPD in general hold it together better in social situations and have more BPD behaviors in private with the relationships closer to them. I will bet your wife is not the "same person" in social situations as she is at home.

Most people act a bit differently in different situations. Whether or not they are being themselves is relative. A person with NPD or BPD may have a completely different and false persona in public. People without PD's don't have a fake persona- they are who they are, however, probably act more formal in public than at home. That's having appropriate behavior for the situation. Her accusation that you are not being yourself in social settings may say more about her than you.



This is harder for me to grasp. I'm not sure she puts on a show in public. She can be moody/quiet at social events too (according to her this is because she gets sad and low when she feels disrespected and/or abandoned by me or someone else). She agrees that it's not only my fault, but that she would do better if I weren't present at all, compared to how it is now. She can be cheerful at home. She doesn't hit me at parties of course...

I wonder if this is just me seeing things in black/white. If I see any genuinely good quality in her that I lack, I feel that her criticism is warranted.
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« Reply #43 on: June 02, 2022, 08:26:51 AM »

If I see any genuinely good quality in her that I lack, I feel that her criticism is warranted.

That doesn't make her an expert on everything. Most people have good qualities and most people have things they might be better at.

This is a boundary issue on both your parts. You are two different people, each with strong points, each with aspects that might be improved.

Projection involves a person attributing the parts of themselves they don't like on to someone else. A common saying is that, if something about someone else really irritates you, it's because it's something that also is about you.

The constant criticism is not acceptable. You two are not the same person. You get to be who you are, think what you want. Patricia Evans defines "defining you" as a form of verbal abuse.

Who would want to go out socially with someone who is constantly monitoring your behavior? I am concerned about your frame of reference about what is common behavior. It's very common to talk to other parents at a playground or play social event. She's making so much meaning out of this that isn't there. I've talked to dads on the playground, some I don't even know or may not see again, but it's kind of inevitable if the kids start to play with each other, to just chat for a bit and there is nothing wrong with that.

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« Reply #44 on: June 02, 2022, 10:07:56 AM »

It might help to re-read the boundaries article:
https://bpdfamily.com/content/setting-boundaries

Excerpt
Independent core values  It's important to not only identify core values, but to live them. Independent core values should guide important  decisions in our lives. Our values should be clearly reflected in the life choices we make.

Those who value their individuality take responsibility, are self-reliant and act with self-respect. Those who value truthfulness cannot bring themselves to tell a lie. Those who value family or friendship sacrifice their personal interests for the good of others. Those who value goodness cannot bring themselves to do something they know is wrong. We express values in our relationships with other people when we are loyal, reliable, honest, generous, trusting, trustworthy; feel a sense of responsibility for family, friends, co-workers, our organization, community or country.

Inter-dependent values Being realistic about values is important. If we have an unusually large number of uncompromising independent values / core values, we may be too dogmatic to have a relationship with very many people. At the same time, if we have so few independent values, or such a weak commitment to them, we will then be "undefined" to ourselves and to others and the only values that matter are those of others. The latter is common in codependent or enmeshed relationships.

Are we talking about "core values" here or "Inter-dependent values"? If its the latter then you should try to find something that works for the two of you... not worry about what is absolute right or wrong. That doesn't mean find a 50%/50% compromise - it means find a solution that works for both of you.

She want's you to attend as a couple. It's a reasonable ask.  You might prefer that the men all go in one room and the women in another. Also reasonable. The question is, for you, what is most important here? That you both enjoy going out together?

While she expresses herself poorly (i.e., saying you are seeking approval),   you might do best to help her relabel things and seek consensus on a solution.

You: Thanks for expressing your thoughts. So what you are saying is that you would like me to be more attentive to you when we go out. I can do that. I'm happy to do that.

There is nothing wrong with you wanting me to be more attentive, its a preference. Right. At the same time, there is really nothing wrong with me being social.  This is just one of those things we need to work out as a couple, to reach a balance that works for us. I'm glad to be more attentive. Let's remind each other at social events if we get a little out of balance.  


It can be helpful to move away from framing these soft things as right and wrong.

All the other stuff that was said - forget about it.
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« Reply #45 on: June 02, 2022, 11:02:18 AM »

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?

J tells me incessantly that I clearly DON’T care or recognize her feelings about such things because if I did, then I would stop “allowing” things like this to happen.   It seems to be her position that if I cared about her feelings, I would never ever EVER accidentally step on cat toys or prioritize tasks in the order she prefers 100% of the time.

This morning, I set my alarm and woke her up at 6:55am to be on time for a 7:45am appointment.   She screamed at me that she “had a plan on her own” and I ruined it by cheats her out of 5 or 10 minutes of sleep.   I responded that I was sorry I didn’t follow through with the plan she communicated to me (which she didn’t, of course).

She also berated me for not driving faster on the highway and attempting to pass 2 cars and a semi with 3/4 of a mile before the exit.   I responded that I am driving the car and that means I get to make ALL the decisions about operating it.  (She seemed to absorb that clear logical statement- as she suddenly went silent).  As for driving, she grew up with a mother that is an overly aggressive and angry driver who whips in and out of lanes and screams at drivers that don’t bend to her whims).   Knowing that tells me a lot about what J sees as “normal” behavior- although I suspect that she is able to somewhat see that her family’s behavior is toxic and abnormal.   

I’ve learned a bit about her father.   Her parents host housing with her sister, one of her brothers and one of her nephews.   Her mother did something in the garden- moved rocks from one area to another or something- so her father got upset and decided that the “proper” way to retaliate and punish such a deed was to prohibit the entire household from using air conditioning on a hot day.   This is the same man that finds it acceptable and clearly NOT excessive behavior to decide to either throw away or burn his wife’s or children’s belongings should they not put them away properly.   And, of course, the whole family enables such abusive and unreasonable behavior.

The family seems hell bent on believing that anyone and everyone in the extended family (ex-wives, ex-husbands, estranged grandchildren that don’t speak to the family anymore) ALL think they are better than the remaining “cult like” family unit- while I have realized that it’s simply because they removed themselves from a toxic and abusive narcissistic family- and any other “outsiders” simply don’t want to be associated with them.

I have begun to simply avoid trying to be emotionally involved with them.   If I’m invited to birthdays and holidays, I show up, eat my plate, be superficially social with them- but I have zero need or interest in being a part of them- as I already know that should my relationship with J end, I will go on the list of “he thought he was better than us” list
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