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bluebutterflies
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« on: January 16, 2023, 09:12:34 PM »

Hi all, it's 4am and I'm too exhausted to do a full update. Tl;dr husband committed to getting help, and was beginning his journey until he split end of December and hasn't been talking to me since (I assume he had quiet Bpd, and his splits are quite long).

Tonight he was asleep on my side of the bed so I just climbed in and eventually he moved over. But at one point he got up and never came  back. Then twice he came back with a flashlight to taunt me for waking him. I was so tired I just offered the bed to him for the couch as long as he doesn't wake me up.

We switched and I saw that he slashed a pillow on the couch and took some of the foam out. So there's foam all over my coffee table.

I cried and was scared for a bit. Now I'm okay. I'm wondering if I should stay somewhere else, the only options are an Airbnb or his parents house. Or idk what do you all think? I'm tired and exhausted. I don't know how I feel, I partially feel fine and don't think things will escalate. But people in my group think I'm in danger. In general he doesn't do stuff like this.
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ForeverDad
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You can't reason with the Voice of Unreason...


« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2023, 09:49:43 PM »

As you wrote, this is clearly a higher level of conflict, a behavior that is new and scary.  Sadly, people with BPD (pwBPD) have a tendency to display worsening behaviors over time, especially if not in meaningful therapy.

If there were periodic rants, rages, throwing, etc in the past, then it's just a matter of time before the next incident.  Just a matter of time.

Same goes for other 'indicators'.  If a pwBPD has threatened or contemplated something (calling the police, falsely claiming DV, etc) then it's that much more likely to happen than if it had never been threatened or contemplated.

A comment often written here is:  If it has been threatened or even just contemplated, then it will happen, given enough time.

I believe many jurisdictions view damaged possession may be basis to report DV - Domestic Violence.  Slashing pillows or cushions may qualify as threatening.  Check with local authorities and shelters.  It may be time to seek a protection order where he has to leave and you can stay, however if you take that step it may be hard if not impossible to resume the relationship.  Better to be safe than sorry.
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SaltyDawg
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2023, 05:49:27 AM »

We switched and I saw that he slashed a pillow on the couch and took some of the foam out. So there's foam all over my coffee table.

I cried and was scared for a bit. Now I'm okay. I'm wondering if I should stay somewhere else, the only options are an Airbnb or his parents house. Or idk what do you all think?

BB,

I agree with FD.  That is scary behavior, and a boundary must be erected with consequences for that kind of behavior, otherwise it will continue and possibly escalate.  It is called 'projected violence' and you should definitely document this behavior with your cell phone.  Take a snap and text it to yourself [to put a date/time stamp on it, if and when it goes to court -  as you want to establish a pattern of behaviors].

When my wife slapped the $%^& out of the wall, I brought it up at the couple's counseling [My wife started it with the intent to 'fix me', as she didn't have issues].  She was told in no uncertain terms, not to do it again.

As FD suggested, check with the local woman's shelter, they can give you advice on your situation.

Also, if you aren't already in individual therapy for yourself, please go and take care of yourself.  Self-care is extremely important.

Take Care.

SD

-----

As you wrote, this is clearly a higher level of conflict, a behavior that is new and scary.  Sadly, people with BPD (pwBPD) have a tendency to display worsening behaviors over time, especially if not in meaningful therapy.

FD,

I am experiencing this escalation to a 'higher level of conflict' myself as the focus of our marital issues is shifting from me to her in couple's T.  I am nipping the 'new' 'bad-behaviors' in the bud by triangulating the T's against her as they are definitely crossing my boundaries by simply reporting the offending bad behavior, and then let the T do her job on it, so it sounds as though the T is being critical, not me.

Do you happen to have any links on studies or professional articles where the escalation of behaviors occurs, especially if the pwBPD feels threatened by boundaries being erected?

SD
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bluebutterflies
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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2023, 11:53:41 AM »

Thank you all so much. I am staying at a hotel right now and I have been on the phone with a counselor. I will call again tomorrow and find a women's shelter to go to, and then pack all of my belongings to move out of the apartment. There is no way I can stay there, not when he is like this.

He already sent me rage messages when he came home and saw I left. I responded to the first but will not respond to the second. He apparently is upset that he and I spent not much time together in Italy despite it being clear it was a family vacation. Just a string of accusations and blame that don't make sense. He is upset I haven't apologised, but how can I do so if he won't talk to me? None of it is logical. My friends reassure me telling me I am the most considerate person they know.

I am heartbroken and sobbing. This isn't who I thought I married, so a part of me is still grieving that he has a mental illness. I want things to work out but I don't know how much longer I can hold on for.

When we were in Italy with my family, he shone and I saw all of the person that I'm in love with. Then the ball dropped and I saw all of the ugly parts.
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Couscous
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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2023, 02:03:43 PM »

I'm so very sorry. It's so heartbreaking when we first discover the Mr Hyde side of our pwBPD and have to confront the truth about them. But I'm so glad to hear that you've got out. Please stay safe! If you can get your things while he is not at the apartment and have someone accompany you, I would really encourage you to do that.  

Excerpt
 None of it is logical.

He's actually being very logical. Irrational yes, but not illogical. For him, feelings equal facts, and because he felt rejected when you focused some of your time on your family, the facts are that you betrayed him. So it does makes sense that he would feel angry, but since the level of his anger is so extreme, this also makes him too dangerous (emotionally and physically) for anyone to be able to have a relationship with him.    

Sending you big hug.  Virtual hug (click to insert in post)
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ForeverDad
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You can't reason with the Voice of Unreason...


« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2023, 04:36:03 PM »

He already sent me rage messages when he came home and saw I left. I responded to the first but will not respond to the second... He is upset I haven't apologised, but how can I do so if he won't talk to me?

Apologies are primarily for wrongs.  What did you do wrong?  Beware of making apologies just to calm the incident.  That can be appeasing.  I tried that in the final year before my marriage failed.  My appeasing failed miserably.
For a period of time before our separation — I remember this was over a year but may have been only about 6 months — I decided to appease, comply and apologize every time she demanded an apology.  Every time.  I was hoping she would see how endless apologies on demand were meaningless.  Guess what?  It didn't faze her and it didn't help.  She would actually criticize my apology and tell me I said it wrong.  She would then tell me what to add, until she liked it.  After a while , so strange, when I added a phrase for her I'd drop another part of the apology. Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post)  That back and forth sometimes went on for a half dozen or more times!  Finally I told her I would apologize only if I decided an apology was merited.  As you can guess, our life together continued to get worse.

When we were in Italy with my family, he shone and I saw all of the person that I'm in love with. Then the ball dropped and I saw all of the ugly parts.

Why?  On your vacation he was wearing a public face, he dropped the "mask of seeming normalcy" when back home and in private with you isolated.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2023, 07:33:52 PM by ForeverDad » Logged

yellowbutterfly
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« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2023, 07:07:49 PM »

bluebutterflies, I am so glad you are in a hotel!

IF you go to get your belongings, please go with law enforcement or someone from the shelter. Please know you can send movers or a third party to do it for you. DO NOT GO ALONE, expect he will be there and rage. Also, you can live without your stuff for a long time. I was out of my apartment with nothing but a suitcase for 4 months! You will be ok.

Also, depending on where you live talk to a lawyer about an order of protection (even if temporary). HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS

I've been through something similar, please DM if you want to talk more as I'm writing back quickly. I'll try to post more later.
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SaltyDawg
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« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2023, 07:18:48 PM »

I concur, do not go alone!

Create a safety plan for yourself, here is an example:
https://bpdfamily.com/pdfs/safety-first-dv-1.pdf
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yellowbutterfly
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« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2023, 07:33:43 PM »

I would also recommend NOT meeting your partner in private or alone. I know that sounds ridiculous but please take a chaperone/third party and meet in person or have only phone calls if YOU want to do that. I wish I had that advice when I was trying to leave. Do not feel obligated even though you are married. I was married and felt I HAD to talk to him because of that.

I know you are still deciding on what you want but PLEASE PLEASE be safe. You will need to surround yourself with  Virtual hug (click to insert in post) RATIONAL  Virtual hug (click to insert in post) people whether here on this board, your friends, your counselor, the shelter, etc. The best thing I did was get myself around people who could help me think logically about my safety and what I needed to do.

We are here for you  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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bluebutterflies
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2023, 09:22:51 AM »

Thank you all so much. I did in fact do nothing wrong. Every single day I checked in with him to see how he was feeling, and in fact he was having a lovely time. He has told me before that he will express his needs when he has them, and he did not express that he needed alone time with me. Even when he began to dysregulate, he expressed that he and I were fine, he just needed to isolate. I truly did my best. Was it a stressful trip? Indeed, but now I have a hurt family who feel like they did something wrong, myself at a hotel with hurt feelings, and a ruined pillow.

I guess theres no point in trying to understand, I'm just shocked at how everything seemed to be going so well and now BAM there are a million reasons why I suck and why it's all my fault. Usually he will split and not recover until he gets out of it, but during the trip he would split, then be affectionate and reassure me things are fine, then split, then reassure me again. He was sending me finger hearts all week, he even was affectionate up to the point where the laundry machine was too loud and he became dysregulated long term.

@yellowbutterfly I am not sure I need an order of protection yet. That feels too serious for me. Right now my plan is to move out and stay at a women's shelter. I will likely move back to the US around May or so, and he can do what he wants I suppose. If his behavior just keeps getting worse and worse then I have no choice to divorce. If he truly truly commits to getting help then good for him, I will assess then. But for now, I know I cannot live with him and continue to have a life in the same house. I'm still open to a future with him but just cannot continue *anything* until he has truly gotten help. When I mean help, I mean a diagnosis, lots of time in therapy, DBT. If he can't do that then I will divorce. If I just don't want to be with him anymore, then I will divorce.

He works 7am-3pm so I will likely go move my things out then. I'm not sure when to do it, I need to get my bank card which arrives at the mailbox sometime next week. So I will need to go back to check. I think I will move my things out once I get that bank card. And worse comes to worse, I don't *need* those things.

I'm tired, I'm sad, I just want the pain to stop. Thank you all for your support, it means so much to me. I'm sad to even share all of this, as November and December have been such wonderful months with him. We had some blips here and there but he was able to communicate and in general the relationship was amazing. So I am sad yet not surprised to find myself here.
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bluebutterflies
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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2023, 06:40:24 PM »

He sent me more angry messages which I haven't responded to. Then he cut himself and sent me a photo and there's a lot of blood so I got my counselor who called the police and ambulance which arrived. I'm not going anywhere though they advised me to stay put.

I'm a bit shaken up, this is all new behavior to me.
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SaltyDawg
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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2023, 07:45:03 PM »

He sent me more angry messages which I haven't responded to. Then he cut himself and sent me a photo and there's a lot of blood so I got my counselor who called the police and ambulance which arrived. I'm not going anywhere though they advised me to stay put.

I'm a bit shaken up, this is all new behavior to me.
Cut himself = self-harm = major symptom of BPD

He is also escalating and becoming more unstable, not only is he a danger to himself, he could also become a danger to you.

I know you probably feel terrible; however, you did the right thing by calling the police, and ambulance, get a record of this from the police/ambulance.  Keep the photos on your phone [try not to look at them though].  Follow the advice of your counselor, schedule an extra appointment if you are really upset.  Do follow the advice of the police too.  If the police and counselor's advice are in conflict, do the one that is safer.  Do contact your best friend that you can confide in and share this with them, since the authorities are involved, this is an escalation, and will likely no longer be private, you need to control the narrative, not him, surround yourself with people you can trust.

You are in a terrible position, and you need all the support you can get.  Sending you virtual hugs  Virtual hug (click to insert in post)

If you haven't already done so, make sure you have a safety plan in place, it sounds like he is getting worse. 

Definitely take care of yourself, only you can do that the best.
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yellowbutterfly
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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2023, 10:30:54 PM »

BB

I want to echo SD that you did the right thing by calling for help when you got those texts of his self harm. I know that was scary. Keep yourself safe and take care of yourself today/tonight/tomorrow. We are here to listen

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bluebutterflies
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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2023, 04:59:45 AM »

Thank you all. Yes he called me like 30 times while he was in the hospital and I was advised to not respond to anything, no messages or calls. He called me more in the morning with more angry messages. These are the most angry and hurtful messages he's ever sent me. I discussed with my friend and decided to call him back, because I knew all he wanted to do was hear my voice and it'd calm him down.

He was angry at first talking about Italy (he was upset I didn't acknowledge the stressful family situation and that I didn't try to schedule alone time with him and I swear to god I was so stressed I didn't even know how to handle anything), we talked about our relationship and etc etc. I told him ideally I'd like to stay at the women's shelter until he finishes DBT which is about 6 months course. He doesn't feel like he can do that. I tried several ways, I said maybe I can even move in after a few sessions if things go well. He feels like it's all hopeless and he wants to just move on with his life. He feels like he can't do therapy with me by his side anymore, he feels too pressured by me and he feels like he needs to choose to do it on his own. He doesn't see the point of living alone in this city despite me saying we can still hang out and go on dates and even sleepover.

I understand him, but I feel like these are all still excuses. I feel like I am being very reasonable here and trying to save the relationship but it doesn't feel like he wants to. At least not right now because the incident just happened a few days ago. My friend told me that I am his savior + reward and being with me physically means a distraction from actually solving his problems. And since I'm refusing to live with him he's self-sabotaging by saying he will quit his job once the lease ends and move to another country. She also said that he needs to truly find it within himself to get help and he's still semi in the midst of a tantrum as hes like a child and only sees one option. I feel stuck, I still love him.

I'm going to keep thinking and processing as I cry every minute. I don't know what we will do but I will keep you all updated. Thank you.
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SaltyDawg
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« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2023, 05:56:55 AM »

Yes he called me like 30 times while he was in the hospital and I was advised to not respond to anything, no messages or calls. He called me more in the morning with more angry messages. These are the most angry and hurtful messages he's ever sent me.
He is lashing out at the one he 'loves' the most, even if this 'love' is dysfunctional.  Since he was in 'hospital', did he get an official diagnosis of BPD?  Also, is he doing PHP [Partial Hospitalization Protocol], or IOP [Intensive Outpatient Protocol]?  I know you mentioned 6 months of DBT, that could be part of IOP.  If you want to continue to have a relationship with him, I would highly recommend contacting the DBT provider and coordinating your responses with them; perhaps in a controlled setting at first.

I discussed with my friend and decided to call him back, because I knew all he wanted to do was hear my voice and it'd calm him down.
It sounds like both you and your friend really mean well for him; however, by calling him back, you have just rewarding his calling/texting/etc. over three dozen times, you have just rewarded negative behavior with what he wanted - to hear your voice.  Keep in mind most borderlines process emotions like a toddler.  You need to set up a good boundary on this kind of negative behavior -- IF you want to maintain a relationship with him, promise him if he doesn't contact you in xxx amount of time, you will call or text him - set an alarm on your phone, as the fear of abandonment [not calling = abandonment] is the central hallmark of the disorder.  Also, tell him, when he is not triggered/splitting/etc. that you will hang up on him if he 'lashes out' at you.  These boundaries must be firm, something you would use with a 2-5 year old child.  Think of it you will be rewarded with a lollipop if you do what I ask, you won't get a lollipop if you don't.  With the lollipop being a metaphor of your positive attention to him.

He was angry at first talking about Italy (he was upset I didn't acknowledge the stressful family situation and that I didn't try to schedule alone time with him and I swear to god I was so stressed I didn't even know how to handle anything), we talked about our relationship and etc etc.
That must have been exceptionally stressful for you.  When your amygdala is dumping all kinds of fight or flight chemicals in your brain, it makes you less able to think clearly.  This is how a borderline feels most of the time; especially, when they are splitting if you want to empathize with his condition - for a man it is much more difficult to process than a women who is already used to a chemical dump once a month for differing reasons.

I told him ideally I'd like to stay at the women's shelter until he finishes DBT which is about 6 months course. He doesn't feel like he can do that. I tried several ways, I said maybe I can even move in after a few sessions if things go well.
This is good, tell him that you have faith that he can do it, just like you can encourage a toddler that he can ride a bike without training wheels.  He WILL fall, perhaps several times before he gets the hang of it.  He will then be wobbly, and eventually get it.  From what I understand DBT is a 12 week course, which is repeated over and over again, until he 'gets it'.  Check with the DBT provider on what your role in his recovery should be [provided that you want to stay with him].

He feels like it's all hopeless and he wants to just move on with his life. He feels like he can't do therapy with me by his side anymore, he feels too pressured by me and he feels like he needs to choose to do it on his own.
It sounds like you are a great listener.  Encourage him like you would a child who just fell off his bike, skun his knee, and doesn't want to do it any more.  If you leave him alone on this, he won't ride his bike.  So, yes, do gentle loving pressure to encourage him to resume learning this new skill.  

He doesn't see the point of living alone in this city despite me saying we can still hang out and go on dates and even sleepover.
On how to handle this, I highly recommend that you talk to your own individual therapist on this, and sort out your own emotions on this.  Sleepover implies sex, and sex is something a borderline processes so differently than a normal person.  It also sounds like he may have been still splitting when you talked to him about that.  He is processing his shameful behavior.  


I understand him, but I feel like these are all still excuses. I feel like I am being very reasonable here and trying to save the relationship but it doesn't feel like he wants to. At least not right now because the incident just happened a few days ago. My friend told me that I am his savior + reward and being with me physically means a distraction from actually solving his problems.
Right now he is probably feeling intense 'shame' if he is no longer splitting, and doesn't know how to process it.  DBT is currently best therapy for this, do everything you can, short of selling your soul to encourage him to stay in DBT, and do it fully.  Coordinate with his DBT provider on what your role should be.

since I'm refusing to live with him he's self-sabotaging by saying he will quit his job once the lease ends and move to another country. She also said that he needs to truly find it within himself to get help and he's still semi in the midst of a tantrum as hes like a child and only sees one option. I feel stuck, I still love him.
He is self-sabotaging, it is a major trait of the borderline.  He is sorting through his emotions; however, his emotions are multiplied many times what you are feeling emotionally, going back to how you felt when your mind was in a fog, that is how he feels most of the time - it is scary for him.  I'm glad you recognize that his feelings are like that of a child, and you need to treat him that way with respect to emotions.

I'm going to keep thinking and processing as I cry every minute. I don't know what we will do but I will keep you all updated. Thank you.
Get yourself individual therapy.  Work with the woman's shelter, they can help you with this.  You are on a troubled aircraft together, you need to put your own oxygen [therapy] mask on first before you can help the child sitting next to you [him] with his oxygen [therapy] mask.

Right now you are at a pivotal point in his emotional development.  Do the right thing and encourage him to stay in DBT, set firm consequences if he doesn't - this is a boundary that you must maintain.  He needs to want to go and make himself better.  Hold up the mirror of what he has done to you, show him the photos of him cutting himself, and ask him if this is normal behavior.  Do what you can to encourage him to stay in DBT where he wants to stay and learn to do the right thing.  

Talk to your individual T on this [or woman's shelter social worker if you don't have one], and his DBT provider on the best course of action.

You can manipulate him to do the right thing, if I were in your shoes, I would do it, it is the BEST chance that you can break the cycle and make things better.  It will never be fully right, but you have a chance not to repeat the cycle over and over again.  Most borderlines never reach the crossroads that you are at right now, it is time to take a different direction, and that direction is doing full DBT therapy and graduate from it.

Where you are now, if you are by his side there is a 98% you can put BPD into remission, if you aren't there it is around 60% if he follows DBT.  They may use the word 'cured', it isn't, it is 'remission', just like an alcoholic [similar pathologies] they will never be fully cured; however, they can manage it, and DBT is management for the borderline.

Good luck, take care of yourself, so you can take care of him.

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« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2023, 07:38:40 AM »

There is a book by Patricia Evans called "Controlling People" that you might find interesting.

It is not specific to BPD but looks at the abuse cycle and patterns behind it.

There's the idea of the childhood emotional wound, and the seeking of the "Teddy" object to self soothe. The book uses gender roles where the man is the controlling person and the woman is the Teddy but it could be any gender.

Wounded child grows up, sees the partner as his Teddy- there to sooth his emotions. He projects his ideas of what Teddy should be and what Teddy should do. Problem is, Teddy is now a human, and humans are their own individuals.

Inevitably, Teddy says or does something that reveals they are another human with ideas and thoughts of their own. This infuriates the man because- that Teddy isn't what he wants Teddy to be. Now Teddy is being a bad Teddy and he lashes out at Teddy.

Could it be that in your relationship- whenever you do or say something that indicates you are a separate person - such as taking the trip you made, or having your family come visit, to your H, this is being a bad Teddy because, Teddy needs to be doing what he needs you to do.

Just an idea and I may be way off, but the book is an interesting perspective on this kind of behavior.
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« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2023, 12:31:11 PM »

He would also need to commit to refraining from using the most effective self-soothing tool he has, which is to punish you by way of the silent-treatment. His propensity to use the silent treatment is by far the most destructive of his behaviors, and is something he learned in childhood. It is going to be extremely hard for him to give it up, because it works so incredibly well for him.
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« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2023, 02:42:58 PM »

@SaltyDawg They didn't deem him in crisis mode, so they simply stitched him up and sent him back home. I called his doctor and they can't ask him to come in without his consent. There's really nothing I can do and I've accepted that.

Yes I understand that I was rewarding his behavior. Honestly I didn't know what to do, I've never been in that position before and it was so scary. I wish I set up these boundaries before, the only one we agreed on was to say "STOP" when we need the other person to just stop and move on. I actually used this in Italy when he was sending me texts and he didn't respect it still (he felt the need to tell me that he was disappointed in me).

After we called last Sunday, we've briefly texted throughout the week about getting my things from the apt. He seemed like he was using it as an excuse to talk to me. I eventually let him know that the ball is in his court and that I am still willing to work with him. He seems to really want to just leave the apt end of March (when the lease ends) and just go to another country. He definitely seemed still split when talking, and even in the messages he seemed split. He's very hung up on logistics—hes scared of getting a new apartment and then I bail on him.

I realised my communication was too vague. I discussed with my friend and we came up with a very defined proposal of what I'd like to see: 2 months of consistent therapy, I would still see him on a multi-weekly basis, do DBT with him, or etc etc. He didn't respond to the proposal. I then let him know I picked up some things from the apt and he reacted with a thumbs up. The next day I let him know to let me know what he's thinking and he still hasn't responded. At this time I will just let him take the reins, as theres nothing else I can do.

My reasoning for trying to work things out is: I know I will go back to the US definitely sometime in July, perhaps even May as I need to go to some events. I know the lease will end at the end of March. I would at least like a few couples' counseling sessions in and really feel that I have tried as much as I can. If he won't cooperate then that is on him, I can walk away knowing I tried. I know I can also walk away knowing I have tried, but I feel like this is something I need to do for myself. I hope that makes sense for all of you. Either way I will be going to the US soon and he will not be coming with me.

My goal isn't for us to stay together anymore. I know I cannot fix him and I know he needs to choose to get help on his own. I guess, if in these next few months he can really fully accept that he has a mental illness and understand that his entire life perspective needs to be shifted, then I will be truly happy. Truly I want what's best for him.

Being at the women's shelter has been nice, though I am a bit weary of other people's opinions and experiences. I believe that the social workers have seen a great spectrum of experiences and are valid in their beliefs. However it is very difficult for me to explain things without feeling judged. I know they are not judging me, but it is hard for me to explain something like: "He hasn't texted me in a while, I am a bit worried" and getting a response like "That could be a manipulation tactic, maybe he wants you to be worried." Maybe they are right, maybe I am also right in that I think he is scared and worried. I won't text him again, but I am worried.

@Notwendy thank you for the book recommendation, I will look into it. My friend did tell me that I am his emotional safety blanket, a reward, and a savior at the same time. He is upset when I leave, and also upset when I stay but am not who he idolized me to be. I don't think he is intentionally manipulative or controlling, but he does subconsciously do that because he is scared and in pain.

@Couscous Yes this is really probably one of the most difficult things he'd need to give up. I'm totally okay with any form of communication, like letting me know he needs space or etc, but the silent treatment/withdrawal is the worst. Second worst is the rage messages. This time around they were just the worst I've ever gotten, with a F bomb in every sentence.
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« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2023, 03:40:55 PM »

Excerpt
I know they are not judging me, but it is hard for me to explain something like: "He hasn't texted me in a while, I am a bit worried" and getting a response like "That could be a manipulation tactic, maybe he wants you to be worried." Maybe they are right, maybe I am also right in that I think he is scared and worried.

You both could be right. He’s scared and worried, AND he’s trying to manipulate you. But manipulation is not always something people do consciously, even pwBPD. Usually people manipulate others automatically without thinking about it ahead of time and is something they learned in childhood.

While it could be possible that he’s flooded and is now shutting down/ dissociating as a result, the more likely explanation is that he is not texting you because he knows from past experience just how much this triggers you. 

And the fact that the doctors did not deem him in crisis mode means that his cutting episode was also a manipulation.
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« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2023, 06:50:23 PM »

There are numerous aspects to consider, so don't be intimidated or overwhelmed.  One of them is Boundaries.  There are a couple Boundary topics you can find over on our Tools and Skills Workshops board.

Sadly, boundaries are a skill pwBPD lack, or often even sabotage.  For that reason any "boundary" you make to guide your spouse away from poor behaviors ("You must or must not do ___.") will likely fail.

Rather, your boundaries must typically be the reverse, as in, "If you do or don't do ___, then *I* will or will not do ___."  You can't make the other person do or not do something, especially when it's already started or already done, so your boundary typically is what your response will be.  And of course the other ought to know what your boundary is in advance.  That's the most basic description I have, please read the articles linked above for details and examples.

Ponder that.  Does it make sense?
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« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2023, 07:06:14 AM »


I guess, if in these next few months he can really fully accept that he has a mental illness and understand that his entire life perspective needs to be shifted, then I will be truly happy. Truly I want what's best for him.




FD makes a good point. Boundaries are for us - they don't control someone else's actions. They determine our response to them. Boundaries are a reflection of our own values. For instance - if we have a value of fidelity. That's on us. This means we don't cheat on a partner and we want to be with someone who won't cheat on us.

The boundary determines our own behavior. It states "I will not cheat because I value fidelity"

The other person has free will and is responsible for their behavior. The boundary isn't on them, it's not making them not cheat. They can choose to do it or not. If two people who pair up share this same value, each will determine their own behavior and so neither will cheat.

If someone who values fidelity pairs up with someone for whom that isn't a value, and they cheat, then you have a mismatch. It's not possible to control someone's behavior- they need to be motivated.

So, the partner cheats, then what? The boundary determines what actions to take next. It doesn't change what the partner does or doesn't do.

I understand this isn't your issue but presented this as an example of a mismatch of values.

I highlighted this quote to illustrate where this idea breaks down. First, the contingency is --if your husband does X, then you will be happy. This places your happiness contingent on his actions, but happiness is a feeling- he isn't controlling your feelings. You are, and so don't place your happiness under his control. Yes, of course it's upsetting to see someone we care about struggle with mental illness. I understand that well, but we don't have to connect our happiness on a contingency that they change, because they have to make that choice themselves.

It's understandable to feel you want the best for him. However, that is still your wish for him to do something. He may not share your wish. He may feel he knows what is best for him.


I understand it's hard to hear these ideas. I think you are very invested and still have hope. What to do is a personal decision and something everyone needs to determine for themselves. Boundaries are individual to each person.
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« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2023, 11:50:29 AM »

Yes all of this makes sense, thanks everyone. I was talking to my friend about this and I shared that when all of this began happening at the end of 2018, I was very clear in my communication and asked very specific questions. As time went on, I found myself less clear and less "able" to ask these questions. I think now it is because I just hoped he could take initiative to get help, that he could show me what was wrong without me having to ask, and in a way I also communicated less in fear. It was because I was a bit in denial of what was happening and felt like "it wasn't that bad." It is still only so recently that he and I developed that "STOP" which means we must both stop what we are doing and just move forward until that person is regulated again.

So, we never developed communication for when he begins to give me the silent treatment. And even then, I don't know what boundary I would have done—I can't afford to stay at hotels for a month.

Over the phone last Sunday I asked how we can deal with these episodes. He told me he doesn't understand it but he needs me to just apologise. Even if it's not my fault, he feels like that is the only way to help him get out of the episodes. I understand this can help short-term, but in a way I refuse to alter my truth to pacify him. I also believe it will erode my sense of self-esteem. The first few times this happened in 2018, I did apologise for nothing and I found myself writing to my friend "I hate that I am stooping this low, but I'm going to apologise to him to get him out of this episode."

@NotWendy I understand what you mean. I believe I wrote my sentence incorrectly. What I mean is that I know I will be happy either way—with or without him. I guess I will try for the next few months because I'd at least like to see him understand that he has a mental illness. But I agree, my happiness is not dependent on his actions. Thus it is why I will continue to live my life and just see what happens. Fortunately I've been doing steps to move forward and receiving good news Smiling (click to insert in post)

My main issue right now is my American company is supposed to re-hire me as a resident in the country I am in. I am worried about moving forward with this but then possibly divorcing in a few months and waste their time. I will see if I can consult someone about this so they can advise me how to move forward. Taxes are so annoying!

Right now I am leaning towards getting a divorce. My feelings do change daily, but I feel like the FOG is lifting, and the rose-tinted glasses are lifting. I feel that without the BPD even, I don't know if the relationship is right for me. It is sad because I thought I would grow old with him. I've already spent 5 years with him and it is sad to see this now. But all of the things he promised me—quitting nicotine, getting a new job to make more money, being more romantic, he has not done. In that time period, I've worked my ass off and changed as a person, self-help, gone to therapy, and I feel that he does not match me.

It is how I feel right now so do know that may not be permanent. I will just sit with these feelings for a bit. Thank you all for your support.
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« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2023, 01:25:01 PM »

Excerpt
He told me he doesn't understand it but he needs me to just apologise. Even if it's not my fault, he feels like that is the only way to help him get out of the episodes.


Oh dear, it looks like he may have NPD too…which isn’t at all surprising since 50% of men with BPD also have NPD.

Excerpt
I understand this can help short-term, but in a way I refuse to alter my truth to pacify him. I also believe it will erode my sense of self-esteem.

Good for you for figuring that out and being willing to take a stand on this. But taking a stand will mean that his silent-treatments will last for weeks or months, and possibly for years. So I hope you have a robust social circle and have made lots of friends and have plugged into the expat community so that you can get your emotional needs met during his silent-treatment episodes. It would also help to have a spare bedroom that you can move in too so that you can avoid him as much as possible.

The only “boundary” for the silent-treatment is to act like it’s not happening and to live your life to the full while you’re waiting for the narcissistic rage to subside. There is a chance that when he realizes that it no longer gets him what he wants (the apology), he may stop doing it and find some other self-soothing strategy.

Here’s an article about the narcissistic abuse cycle that should help you to figure out if that’s what you’re dealing with: https://psychcentral.com/pro/exhausted-woman/2015/05/the-narcissistic-cycle-of-abuse#1

Since you are contemplating staying, I can recommend the books, Disarming the Narcissist, and Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist, which were written for people who have decided to stay with their B/NPD partner. If you don’t have the bandwidth to read a whole book right now, here is a summary of the Stop Caretaking book: www.margalistherapy.com/articles/borderline-and-narcissism-issues/handbook-for-dealing-with-a-bp-np/
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« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2023, 08:40:58 PM »

@SaltyDawg They didn't deem him in crisis mode, so they simply stitched him up and sent him back home. I called his doctor and they can't ask him to come in without his consent. There's really nothing I can do and I've accepted that.
That is unfortunate, my previous couple's therapist did the same thing with my uBPDw's most recent suicide attempt. 

Have you asked him what he can do about what happened?

Yes I understand that I was rewarding his behavior. Honestly I didn't know what to do, I've never been in that position before and it was so scary. I wish I set up these boundaries before, the only one we agreed on was to say "STOP" when we need the other person to just stop and move on. I actually used this in Italy when he was sending me texts and he didn't respect it still (he felt the need to tell me that he was disappointed in me).
It is very scary -- it took my wife 6 suicide attempts to finally figure out that I needed to get help to deal with what my wife was doing to me.  [I am a slow learner, but I am making up for it now].  I finally set healthy boundaries with the assistance of a new couple's therapist.  I triangulate the therapist to enforce the boundary during the weekly sessions whenever a violation occurred until my wife finally respected the boundaries [today was the first session we had that didn't deal with a boundary violation, boundaries were set two months ago].

After we called last Sunday, we've briefly texted throughout the week about getting my things from the apt. He seemed like he was using it as an excuse to talk to me. I eventually let him know that the ball is in his court and that I am still willing to work with him. He seems to really want to just leave the apt end of March (when the lease ends) and just go to another country. He definitely seemed still split when talking, and even in the messages he seemed split. He's very hung up on logistics—hes scared of getting a new apartment and then I bail on him.
Everything you said feels like a legitimate feeling and observation.  Follow your gut on what you do next.


I realised my communication was too vague. I discussed with my friend and we came up with a very defined proposal of what I'd like to see: 2 months of consistent therapy, I would still see him on a multi-weekly basis, do DBT with him, or etc etc. He didn't respond to the proposal. I then let him know I picked up some things from the apt and he reacted with a thumbs up. The next day I let him know to let me know what he's thinking and he still hasn't responded. At this time I will just let him take the reins, as theres nothing else I can do.
It sounds like you have made a very generous proposal.  You are doing everything in your power to make it work.  If he is uncooperative, you can ethically walk away from him.  By the time he figures it out, it will likely be too late -- be prepared for him to try and get you back into his life if you do that, you need to be clear in what you are and are NOT willing to do.


My reasoning for trying to work things out is: I know I will go back to the US definitely sometime in July, perhaps even May as I need to go to some events. I know the lease will end at the end of March. I would at least like a few couples' counseling sessions in and really feel that I have tried as much as I can. If he won't cooperate then that is on him, I can walk away knowing I tried. I know I can also walk away knowing I have tried, but I feel like this is something I need to do for myself. I hope that makes sense for all of you. Either way I will be going to the US soon and he will not be coming with me.
I like your reasoning on this, this way you can ethically walk away from the situation.

My goal isn't for us to stay together anymore. I know I cannot fix him and I know he needs to choose to get help on his own. I guess, if in these next few months he can really fully accept that he has a mental illness and understand that his entire life perspective needs to be shifted, then I will be truly happy. Truly I want what's best for him.
It sounds like you truly love him.  However, it also sounds like you have accepted the situation for what it is and you cannot 'fix him'.  It also sounds like you know what you want for him, and are doing everything you can to help him.  And, you are also willing to let go, if he is unwilling to help himself.

Being at the women's shelter has been nice, though I am a bit weary of other people's opinions and experiences. I believe that the social workers have seen a great spectrum of experiences and are valid in their beliefs. However it is very difficult for me to explain things without feeling judged. I know they are not judging me, but it is hard for me to explain something like: "He hasn't texted me in a while, I am a bit worried" and getting a response like "That could be a manipulation tactic, maybe he wants you to be worried." Maybe they are right, maybe I am also right in that I think he is scared and worried. I won't text him again, but I am worried.
I am validating your opinion on this too, everything sounds very logical to me.

My friend did tell me that I am his emotional safety blanket, a reward, and a savior at the same time. He is upset when I leave, and also upset when I stay but am not who he idolized me to be. I don't think he is intentionally manipulative or controlling, but he does subconsciously do that because he is scared and in pain.
I think you are correct here too in your opinion.

Yes this is really probably one of the most difficult things he'd need to give up. I'm totally okay with any form of communication, like letting me know he needs space or etc, but the silent treatment/withdrawal is the worst. Second worst is the rage messages. This time around they were just the worst I've ever gotten, with a F bomb in every sentence.
Actually I prefer getting the silent treatment over the rages/violence.  At least with the silent treatment, there is comparative peace and less damage.  Rages/violence is way too destructive, at least from my own personal experience.

Silent treatment, otherwise known as 'stonewalling' is a relationship killer, and should not be done.  However, with a BPD/NPD type personality, during the rages 'gray rocking' should be done, which is a temporary silent treatment until the rage ends and the pwBPD/NPD returns to a baseline where they can be reasoned with.

Yes all of this makes sense, thanks everyone. I was talking to my friend about this and I shared that when all of this began happening at the end of 2018, I was very clear in my communication and asked very specific questions. As time went on, I found myself less clear and less "able" to ask these questions. I think now it is because I just hoped he could take initiative to get help, that he could show me what was wrong without me having to ask, and in a way I also communicated less in fear. It was because I was a bit in denial of what was happening and felt like "it wasn't that bad." It is still only so recently that he and I developed that "STOP" which means we must both stop what we are doing and just move forward until that person is regulated again.
I was in denial for at least 19 years from the first suicide attempt - almost two decades went by before I realized there was a major issue.  "STOP" is a good start for a boundary; however, if you continue, you will want to establish many more healthy boundaries.
 
So, we never developed communication for when he begins to give me the silent treatment. And even then, I don't know what boundary I would have done—I can't afford to stay at hotels for a month.
You should not have to stay at hotels for a month.  What about a separate bedroom?  Suggested communication for the silent treatment, say something along the lines of "I love to have good communications with you.  I feel that when you are silent to me, I feel so alone.  I don't want to be alone." 

Over the phone last Sunday I asked how we can deal with these episodes. He told me he doesn't understand it but he needs me to just apologise. Even if it's not my fault, he feels like that is the only way to help him get out of the episodes. I understand this can help short-term, but in a way I refuse to alter my truth to pacify him. I also believe it will erode my sense of self-esteem. The first few times this happened in 2018, I did apologise for nothing and I found myself writing to my friend "I hate that I am stooping this low, but I'm going to apologise to him to get him out of this episode."
Don't apologize for anything you have not done.  Do not admit fault.  I would suggest saying something along the lines of, "I understand that you are upset.  I am sorry that you feel this way.  I would like to be able to have a nice conversation with you".  This way you are apologizing for his actions, not anything you did.  You are using the SET communication principle which offers up Support, Empathy, and Truth.

What I mean is that I know I will be happy either way—with or without him. I guess I will try for the next few months because I'd at least like to see him understand that he has a mental illness. But I agree, my happiness is not dependent on his actions. Thus it is why I will continue to live my life and just see what happens. Fortunately I've been doing steps to move forward and receiving good news Smiling (click to insert in post)
I am happy that you realize this.  Only you can take care of yourself.  He will need to take care of himself.  Do not allow your happiness to be dependent on his actions.

My main issue right now is my American company is supposed to re-hire me as a resident in the country I am in. I am worried about moving forward with this but then possibly divorcing in a few months and waste their time. I will see if I can consult someone about this so they can advise me how to move forward. Taxes are so annoying!
American companies have a labor shortage.  Let them know of your situation, and ask them to be flexible.  Many companies enjoy honesty in their employees and you may be able to make this work out.  The worst they will tell you is no, but if they tell you yes, it will be to your benefit.  If you don't ask, you will never know.

Right now I am leaning towards getting a divorce. My feelings do change daily, but I feel like the FOG is lifting, and the rose-tinted glasses are lifting. I feel that without the BPD even, I don't know if the relationship is right for me. It is sad because I thought I would grow old with him. I've already spent 5 years with him and it is sad to see this now. But all of the things he promised me—quitting nicotine, getting a new job to make more money, being more romantic, he has not done. In that time period, I've worked my ass off and changed as a person, self-help, gone to therapy, and I feel that he does not match me.
Only you can take care of yourself.  Follow your 'gut' on this.

It is how I feel right now so do know that may not be permanent. I will just sit with these feelings for a bit. Thank you all for your support.
Do ponder on these feelings.  Do seek out therapy to sort out your feelings [self-care].  Once you do make a decision, sleep on it, make sure it is right for you, and then follow-through.

I found out the hard way, but taking care of yourself is best thing you can do for yourself and the relationship whether or not it continues.  You are in control of your own happiness and destiny. 

I wish you the best of luck, and do take care of yourself.
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« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2023, 07:08:35 AM »

Over the phone last Sunday I asked how we can deal with these episodes. He told me he doesn't understand it but he needs me to just apologise. Even if it's not my fault, he feels like that is the only way to help him get out of the episodes. I understand this can help short-term, but in a way I refuse to alter my truth to pacify him.

He wants you to assume the blame for his behavior.  Appeasing him in the moment is an unhealthy approach to a serious longstanding pattern.  Appeasement doesn't work.  I mentioned this a couple weeks ago.

He already sent me rage messages when he came home and saw I left. I responded to the first but will not respond to the second... He is upset I haven't apologised, but how can I do so if he won't talk to me?

Apologies are primarily for wrongs.  What did you do wrong?  Beware of making apologies just to calm the incident.  That can be appeasing.
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« Reply #25 on: February 01, 2023, 11:14:22 AM »

He wants you to assume the blame for his behavior.  Appeasing him in the moment is an unhealthy approach to a serious longstanding pattern.  Appeasement doesn't work.  I mentioned this a couple weeks ago.

Apologies are primarily for wrongs.  What did you do wrong?  Beware of making apologies just to calm the incident.  That can be appeasing.

And depending on how far down on the narcissism spectrum they are, being unwilling to appease can lead to an escalation in abusive behavior or even bring about the end of the relationship, so it’s not wholly irrational that partners cave in and go the appeasement route.
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« Reply #26 on: February 01, 2023, 06:56:48 PM »

And depending on how far down on the narcissism spectrum they are, being unwilling to appease can lead to an escalation in abusive behavior or even bring about the end of the relationship, so it’s not wholly irrational that partners cave in and go the appeasement route.

SO ACCURATE. My stbx H (uBPD/NPD and more) did this so often. He would demand apologies for things I didn't even do. Screaming or sternly saying, "apologize now". For so long, I refused to do it, aruged with him, didn't know/use the JADE technique, all of which made the abuse worse.

Eventually, I gave in and apologized to him to get him to stop. I never understood this bizarre behavior on his part until recently. Being compelled to apologize for things I never did felt weird and dishonest but it avoided further abuse as I learned. He knew that too I think that it was a way for him to regain control over me. Scary stuff. Also, he projected all the things he did wrong on to me, even the emotional abuse, and would DEMAND I apologize for abusing him. I got tired of even fighting this with him and would just give in. Half the time my "apology" wasn't good enough for him or he thought it didn't sound real. Sadly, I got good at acting.

I wish I knew more and found this board when that was happening. Now, I finally recognized it was a way to protect myself from his abuse as messed up as it was to appease him.

He wants you to assume the blame for his behavior.  Appeasing him in the moment is an unhealthy approach to a serious longstanding pattern.  Appeasement doesn't work.  I mentioned this a couple weeks ago.

Apologies are primarily for wrongs.  What did you do wrong?  Beware of making apologies just to calm the incident.  That can be appeasing.

I agree with FD, it became a serious problem that I'd appeased him with apologies - that was what I did wrong, not anything else. Those appeasement eventually turned more "serious" and I appeased him with anything to get him to stop the abuse. I just lost myself and became totally powerless feeling. The fake apologies It just fed his power trip.

I didn't even realize how problematic it was until many months later in therapy and on this board.
I'd never experienced that until him, I didn't even know it was something that existed, demanding apologies but now in the context of his mental illness and abuse it makes so much sense.


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« Reply #27 on: February 01, 2023, 07:00:50 PM »



Oh dear, it looks like he may have NPD too…which isn’t at all surprising since 50% of men with BPD also have NPD.


I find this very enlightening as I thought my stbx H might have NPD and some other cluster B disorders plus a few more mental issues.

I read often times there is a lot of overlap in the various cluster B group (antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder) and that is why they are grouped together.

Before reading some of the books mentioned here, I too didn't understand NPD. There is a lot of misinformation out there about "narcissism" and too often traits are thrown around in the relationship world. A person with NPD is much more complex.
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« Reply #28 on: February 01, 2023, 09:14:10 PM »

I don't want you to think I was categorically saying we should never offer apologies under various circumstances.  It would be helpful to remember that the same actions appropriate in relatively normal and functional relationships are not appropriate, even harmful, in dysfunctional relationships.

We all have personalities, with differences of course.  We're not robots off an assembly line after all.  Personality Disorders are dysfunctional extremes of otherwise normal personalities.

Saying "I'm sorry" or showing empathy even when it's not your fault in normal relationships is okay, it shows you care and is appreciated.  That's okay because the people are both relatively normal and functional.

However, saying "I'm sorry" when it's not your fault in a dysfunctional relationship is unlikely to improve things, at best just a papering over the problems.  Eventually the paper peels away and adding more wall paper and glue doesn't fix it.
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yellowbutterfly
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: DIVORCED and in recovery from PTSD
Posts: 201



« Reply #29 on: February 01, 2023, 10:57:09 PM »

I don't want you to think I was categorically saying we should never offer apologies under various circumstances.  It would be helpful to remember that the same actions appropriate in relatively normal and functional relationships are not appropriate, even harmful, in dysfunctional relationships.

We all have personalities, with differences of course.  We're not robots off an assembly line after all.  Personality Disorders are dysfunctional extremes of otherwise normal personalities.

Saying "I'm sorry" or showing empathy even when it's not your fault in normal relationships is okay, it shows you care and is appreciated.  That's okay Virtual hug (click to insert in post) because the people are both relatively normal and functional.

However, saying "I'm sorry" when it's not your fault in a dysfunctional relationship is unlikely to improve things, at best just a papering over the problems.  Eventually the paper peels away and adding more wall paper and glue doesn't fix it.

FD -totally understood your point even though I didn’t articulate it in my response as I was more venting and letting it out what I experienced. I agree with your follow up and thanks for clarifying. Your posts are always helpful - thank you   Virtual hug (click to insert in post)
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