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How to communicate after a contentious divorce... Following a contentious divorce and custody battle, there are often high emotion and tensions between the parents. Research shows that constant and chronic conflict between the parents negatively impacts the children. The children sense their parents anxiety in their voice, their body language and their parents behavior. Here are some suggestions from Dean Stacer on how to avoid conflict.
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salvyrn

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« on: January 25, 2023, 11:48:34 AM »

I've posted here before about my gf w/ BPD. This is sort of an update/follow up. I've been getting therapy and talking to friends and others explaining the situation and everyone, and I mean everyone is practically saying 'gtfo' or politely saying 'we just want you to be happy.' The biggest thing, I think, was that I wanted some improvement from her. This came to a head after reading "Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist" which was almost a play - by - play description of my life.

The TL;DR of it is she is financially a drain (this is an endless battle), she doesn't clean, does no chores, barely takes care of herself or her dog, or mine for that matter, eats doordash anytime I turn around. If she has a day off she pretty much sleeps all day long. Months ago I said to my therapist "I want to see if she'll improve at all, something, anything." And I sort of got my wish because now she showers every day. Last time we had a fight she brought up how she 'did what I asked' by doing that and all I can think is...that's the bare minimum...

But that's about it. Outside of that there's been nothing. I put her in charge of 2 bills, power and trash. Both are past due and haven't been paid. She blames 'not getting the letters,' and it takes all my strength to not scream out 'the internet is an option, or the phone.' The garbage sent letters to our landlord saying they're going to put a lien on the property we're renting if it's not paid. She got financial assistance for the power but...that was a one time 300 dollar payment months ago. After the lien threat I hit the point of realizing this will not improve. I'm out. I just need to pull the trigger but that's the hardest part. Anyone else been in a similar situation?

We live together and finding a place to live is hard. I could barely afford our current place on my own, and I know she can't do it solo.
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kells76
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2023, 12:26:29 PM »

Seeing the potential end of a relationship is difficult -- I can imagine this isn't how you wanted things to go.

You're at a point where you're seeing what she is able and willing to do, and that isn't aligning with what you need or want in the relationship.

It 's hard to worry that she couldn't take care of herself if you two were to split up. It might be helpful to examine that belief ("she can't do it solo") and unravel which parts of that belief may be valid, and which actually aren't.

For example, a valid part of that belief might be "currently, she makes $X per month. The cheapest place I have seen for rent is $X+500 per month. Therefore, currently, on only her income, she could not afford that rent".

An invalid part of that belief might be "And therefore, she will never be able to afford a place to live on her own".

One reason that could be invalid is that sometimes, in a relationship with a pwBPD, the "non" can overfunction to such a degree that the pwBPD never has to try to figure things out or solve their own problems. Without a partner overfunctioning, the pwBPD may be pushed to solve her own problems.

Another reason that could be invalid is that we can kind of pre-frame "the right conclusion" (i.e., "she needs to find her own place to rent") and then, because the pwBPD seems incapable of getting there, believe that "they can't do it without me", when, in fact, whether we like it or not, the pwBPD may "level-seek" an outcome that is at a responsibility level they can handle. Some parents of adult children wBPD see their children end up living in a van, for example. It's not what the parent would have wanted, but it's what the adult wBPD chose, and is a manageable level of responsibility (no rent, no mortgage, no utilities, etc). So it's important to consider that while she may make choices for living that you wouldn't have thought of, she is (a) an adult, and (b) is likely more resourceful at getting her needs met than has been apparent so far.

She may, for example, quickly make new friends and move in with them. Or, reconnect with a family member and stay with that person. Or, buy a van and live in it. These are not traditional housing choices, yet because of her strong desire to get her needs met, she may be able and willing to do one of those.

Finally, if you're in the USA, there may be many outreach agencies that she could connect with to find housing and benefits.

It might be important to work through your thoughts and fears about your needs moving forward vs her needs moving forward, and who is responsible for which ones, were you to decide to separate.

You can also think about making a list of what you would want to do leading up to and at a separation, in order to feel like you acted in line with your own values and integrity. Some people might want to: leave their partner with a list of phone numbers for resources, or volunteer to take all the dogs, or cover one month's rent at a new place for the partner, or let the partner's family know that you are ending the relationship. If you have some time as you ponder ending the relationship, you could make that kind of list, and that might help you exit, knowing you acted in line with your values.

So sorry this is such a difficult time for you.
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salvyrn

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« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2023, 01:02:50 PM »

Hi Kells, thanks for replying and I appreciate the empathy.

It is worrying about what would happen to either one of us, but part of me is burned out of being worried for her because I was helping her pretty much the entire relationship. I worked the whole time while she was unemployed for 2 years, constantly giving her breaks for things, etc. She also has multiple family members nearby so that would work out for her. She managed it before and I'm sure she'd do it again. And yeah we're in the US, in a really pricy part too so it's a bummer but it's been doable so far.

I may sound selfish or like I lack empathy but I'm just completely drained so my capability to worry about her isn't all that much. Emotionally, financially, in multiple ways, so whatever she does she'll have to figure it out because I've done enough. I don't want her to  be homeless or anything but after years of support I'm just tapped out.
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kells76
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« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2023, 01:57:43 PM »

Yeah, it sounds like you're getting some signals from yourself that it's important to prioritize your well-being right now.

I hope it can be helpful to you in your process to know that (a) she does have family around, and (b) while you may not want her to be homeless, she is an adult who will be making her own choices. In fact, it's worth thinking about how even if, hypothetically, you set her up in a paid apartment for years... she could still choose to ditch it and live on the streets. So, in a way, it really isn't about what you do or don't do for her, it's about what she chooses to do.

I also hope that if you choose to part, it can be a catalyst for growth for both of you -- you, to listen to yourself and take care of your own needs more, and her, to learn to take responsibility for herself.

Keep us posted on your process. If you also have logistical questions (dogs, stuff, storage, ending leases, etc), feel free to post those here as well.

-kells76
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PeteWitsend
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2023, 02:25:35 PM »

... After the lien threat I hit the point of realizing this will not improve. I'm out. I just need to pull the trigger but that's the hardest part. Anyone else been in a similar situation?

...

If it's any consolation, I think those of us here who had kids with a pwBPD - esp. if those kids were still young - look at a situation like yours with envy.  You can get out of this situation and never look back or see her again.  Nothing is legally tying you to her.

That being said, it's still difficult to end a relationship, but she'll survive... they always do.  She'll take care of herself until she finds someone else to sponge off of, and that's not your burden to bear either way.

If you're mostly checked out, but dreading the logistics of it, take some time on your own to plan this out... make a timeline of things (e.g. current lease ending, when to sign a new lease, when to move out, etc.).

Of course, take steps to keep this all hidden; don't feel guilty about pulling the rug out from her either... she's already been dishonest with you.  You owe her nothing in this regard.

During my last year of my marriage, which included some really trying times, gradually planning my exit helped me cope.  
« Last Edit: January 25, 2023, 02:32:47 PM by PeteWitsend » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2023, 02:31:06 PM »

...
We live together and finding a place to live is hard. I could barely afford our current place on my own, and I know she can't do it solo.

I think you should take this apart a bit.

what is tying you there?  work?  family?  friends?  Finding a cheaper place is hard, but not impossible.  Sometimes looking off the beaten path can lead to better alternatives.  

Consider what you can let go of, and what you gain by leaving.  Also, you're just getting out of a toxic relationship, your next move doesn't have to be forever... find a short term lease... or tell yourself it's just a year of "exile" while you find a better alternative.

When I left, I figured my best bet initially was to rent an apartment... but where I live there's a real estate site that included rentals from individual owners, and I found a townhome to rent for about $200/month under market, nicer than an apartment, and without the baggage of deadbeat neighbors that the local apartment complexes seemed to have.  Also maybe consider working with an agent that can find things the general public can't, but explain your situation and the need to keep it on the DL.  
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salvyrn

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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2023, 03:29:01 PM »

what is tying you there?   

Ironically I moved here because my ex wife got into college, then we divorced and moving back home has been a desire but almost unfeasable because of housing/rental costs. But yeah I have friends I can talk to/get help with, a few have offered me places to crash. I have a dog and 2 cats and landlords are awful with pets, but I'll see if I can make it work.

If anyone wants a minor update to the lien saga i saw her on lunch where she just got up at noon, then complained about having to call and roped me into helping, kept complaining about not receiving the bills (one was on the fridge...and they have phones and email), was snapping at me and the dogs, complaining about being on hold for a few minutes, just...ugh. Beyond unpleasant to deal with and blaming everything but herself.

Yeah, it sounds like you're getting some signals from yourself that it's important to prioritize your well-being right now.

My therapist has been practically screaming this at me this for months now, grew up with a caretaker parent and I fell into it again and again. I think the section in the book "Caretakers don't know what they want" was the wake up call because...I don't know. Haven't known for a while. And I know getting a lien put on a place with my name attached is far from being bleeping happy. Broke, overweight, depressed, isolated, I'm tired and I was better when I was on my own.

Thank you both for the replies and support, I really appreciate it Smiling (click to insert in post)
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ForeverDad
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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2023, 05:31:25 PM »

When does the lease expires?  If it is anytime soon, a practical approach might be to tell her you're leaving to find your own apartment elsewhere and will contribute something toward the current rent, as you've been doing, until the lease expires or you both have left.  (You may need to return to verify the apartment is left sufficiently clean when empty so the landlord isn't upset, assuming you're named on the lease.)

I've commented before that there are seldom quick and easy solutions to our relationship situations.  So don't wait too long for the "perfect time".  Seldom can we succeed in our best case scenarios.

Be aware that if she is a conflict-oriented person she may create an incident (legal ramifications) or somehow manage to sabotage your exit plans.

She is an adult.  She does work, so clearly she's capable of making life decisions even if she may need to consult financial assistance agencies.
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salvyrn

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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2023, 05:57:36 PM »

Excerpt
When does the lease expires?  If it is anytime soon, a practical approach might be to tell her you're leaving to find your own apartment elsewhere and will contribute something toward the current rent, as you've been doing, until the lease expires or you both have left

I'm pretty sure it's month to month so it could be quick. I'm already looking at apartments nearby. If there's a chance it goes smoothly than I just find apartments for both/ one of us and we call it there. Big 'if' though.

And yeah, there's never been a perfect time, her life is chaos and I'm exhausted. Every week a new emergency or health issue. She got covid 3 times last year, had a dying grandfather (he's fine at the moment), endless stress and drama from work. Anyways, thanks for the advice!
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Turkish
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2023, 08:43:27 PM »

Those sound like signs of depression. Has she ever been able to take care of herself? My mother would alternate between cycles of being "on point" in life, and utterly incompetent for the littlest, yet necessary, things like you describe. It's almost as if being in crisis validated her feelings even though they were crises of her own making.
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salvyrn

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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2023, 10:22:57 PM »

She does have bad depression, we both do. She's always been really messy and struggled with most of the day to day. As much as I want to help it's never ending and even though she has medications and therapy she still doesn't take care of the necessities. Dirty dishes are non existent. Trash just stays there. Bills aren't real until the final notice. 12 plus hours of sleep every day. And yeah she's had a rough life, I empathize, but not when the consequences start affecting me too.

She also can be surprisingly social, but then saves the miserable parts for me. We once went grocery shopping with a friend and would joke and laugh with the friend, only to then complain about how tired she was and how much her stomach hurt directly to me. It was like a switch.
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Turkish
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« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2023, 11:01:57 PM »

That's hard to deal with. My mother also suffered from depression, I learned when I was 17 just before I moved out. My mom was also a Hoarder, the filthy kind. My ex is Dx'd with Depression and Anxiety, yet is high functioning.
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PeteWitsend
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« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2023, 11:41:10 AM »

I'm pretty sure it's month to month so it could be quick. I'm already looking at apartments nearby. If there's a chance it goes smoothly than I just find apartments for both/ one of us and we call it there. Big 'if' though.
...

Why would you find her an apartment?  It's a nice gesture, sure, but you better be prepared to draw a line on how much more you're willing to do, and stick to it!

You find her an apartment, next she's going to ask for help moving in, setting up the utilities, paying rent, etc. and guilt you into it by complaining that you found the apartment and you moved out on her, so you "owe" her that.  Often wHen you're dealing with  a pwBPD, attempts to help them just perpetuate the negative behavior and the abusive cycles the engage in.

Sometimes I think the saying "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" must've been coined by someone in a BPD-relationship...

If you also struggle with depression and possibly co-dependency here, it's going to be imperative you stand your ground and don't get dragged into continuing as a caretaker.

Also, two more things:

1) if your name is on the current lease, either jointly or severally, make sure YOU inform the landlord you're terminating it.  Don't let her stay there under your name.

2) if you think she might get petty or escalate things by destroying property or stealing your stuff, or worse when she knows it's ending, move things out on the DL.

About a year before my own divorce, when I saw BPDxw would go into "Burn it Down" mode when she felt things were ending, I quietly got a storage unit, paid cash for it monthly, and moved personal items and some belongings (such as family heirlooms) that I could not replace.

as much as I hated spending the money, it felt like a bit of revenge, since our accounts were joint (so she was paying half) and I resented how she had thrown some of my things out before, and demanded I throw out other things like family photos because of her BS about the fact that I had a life before her "triggering her separation anxiety."
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salvyrn

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« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2023, 12:37:26 PM »

Excerpt
Why would you find her an apartment?  It's a nice gesture, sure, but you better be prepared to draw a line on how much more you're willing to do, and stick to it!

Dang it, yeah you're right. Like I said earlier, I'm a recovering caretaker and it's something I'm working on. And she's a master at making me feel guilty about stuff I've done so I'm expecting that. But I'm so burned out I'm at the point of saying 'Whelp sucks to suck.' I've tried explaining that being support 24/7 is hard and exhausting but then it's met with 'so I'm never supposed to tell you my problems then?!?' so that didn't work.

We're both on the lease, I'm just worried that they'd try to do an inspection if one of us leaves. It's...not in the best shape at the momen.
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PeteWitsend
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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2023, 11:25:43 AM »

...

We're both on the lease, I'm just worried that they'd try to do an inspection if one of us leaves. It's...not in the best shape at the momen.

Just remember, don't be pennywise and pound foolish... if you have to pay a little extra to get out, it's a one-time expense.  Pay it and move on.  You can always pay off a credit card bill slowly if you have to charge it.

And weigh that against all she's costing you: the financial, emotional, and even physical burden.  Hope she didn't give you COVID repeatedly over the last year. 
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« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2023, 01:13:41 PM »

Hi i read your post with interest.  I was in your position 18 months ago, in your agonizing dilemma of what to do.  Through my whole marriage i had no idea  it was BPD. I only worked out it was BPD by chance and extensive research after the split.
I was clueless i just thought it was extremely toxic and i had never been in one like this before.
You know in your head you can't bare this anymore, you know in your heart, you are about to really really hurt yourself intentionally if you decide to leave.
Choosing either to drown or live . The most painful decision i ever made, as he wasn't going anywhere soon so i had to escape.  I had been with my ex ubpd husband for 14 years.  You put up with a lot for a long time and the you realise (usually reluctantly) you have completely lost yourself in a really toxic chaotic one sided relationship.
I had started to lose my mind i felt it consciously creeping in in the last year of our marriage.I had started to feel desperate because i had nothing left in the tank, not even for myself, let alone the man child.  Of course it was always me giving endlessly, feeling so much shame it had become so dysfunctional and i was embarassed at the state i had allowed myself to be abused.

Please find the courage to save yourself from so much more wasted time. It is absolutely essential you need to save your own mental health now.

The leap is a frightening as a bunjee jump or jumping out of a plane, but you know deep down, it is futile to keep going.  How many crappy cycles do you need to go through which are sucking the life out of you - literally.
Please think more of yourself. Please look within and realise the kindness and love is not reciprocated in a way you so truly deserve.

18 months on, i now realise this with growing clarity, despite serious doubts i did the right thing, the pining, the sadness, the gut wrenching choice i made, i am coming out of a "coma". I would say it pretty much hurts equally whether you leave or are dumped like garbage.

I literally feel like i am waking up and rejoining the real world.
If your resentment is bubbling longer and harder - you know you need to go.
I wish you all the best whatever you choose to do.
As i write 18 months on i still know i made the right decision, despite the trauma of it all.
I keep saying to myself now - I am loved, I am cherished, I am free. It helps me move on.
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salvyrn

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« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2023, 01:57:24 PM »

Excerpt
If your resentment is bubbling longer and harder - you know you need to go.
I wish you all the best whatever you choose to do.
...
I keep saying to myself now - I am loved, I am cherished, I am free. It helps me move on.

Wow that's really touching, thank you so much for the support. Yeah, I think I've known for a while. Actually doing it is the hardest part.

Everyone I've talked to just says to leave. I just feel empty and like I have nothing left to give. I can't support anymore. And as you described it, 'being lost in a toxic and one sided relationship' is spot on. I've always been depressed and being 'happy' has always been somewhat hard to find and out of reach but...it's not this, I'm sure of that.
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ForeverDad
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« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2023, 10:24:36 PM »

Everyone I've talked to just says to leave...
Yeah, I think I've known for a while. Actually doing it is the hardest part.

The first step - or first few steps - are the hardest.  Once you have started on the healthier (less unheathy) path, it will get easier to continue walking that path.

The light at the end of the tunnel will get progressively brighter.
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« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2023, 10:33:28 PM »

I left my stbx H uBPD in the last 6-8 months. It took some time and planning to realize it’s what I wanted. Looking back, from the other side I’ve never regretted my decision. I’m safe and away from the toxicity that he brought on.

I have ups and downs, but each day gets better and I love myself more. I want you to know if you have decided to leave you can do it. As everyone said above, it’s not easy and you’ll be faced with a lot but choosing to love yourself more is an incredible thing.
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salvyrn

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« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2023, 09:42:47 AM »

Thank you for the comments and support, I know i have to do it. The rental company texted us asking about the garbage bill and I had to go ahead and pay it on my credit card, emailing them and my gf, and she didn't acknowledge it or anything. That's it. 400 bucks gone and not even a thanks. This isn't sustainable, I can't afford to date her even if I wanted to. ForeverDad knows how bad my finances have gotten and this is the last straw.

This is going to be painful but has to be done. Wish me luck. And yeah, oddly enough my self love has improved throughout this, therapy has helped a lot and before my current relationship I had a gf as well as a fwb and was happy(er) and debt free.
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