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Think About It... Many individuals fail in attempts to detach from abusive relationships because they leave suddenly and impulsively, without proper planning, and without resources - and the emotions on both sides "amp" up. The best exit is one where you are boring and resigned. ~ Joseph Carver, PhD.
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Author Topic: husband's revelation about lashing out  (Read 2372 times)
Mystified and Tired
formerly Mystified and Tired
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« on: October 30, 2006, 04:48:17 PM »

My BPD husband and I had another of those sick, terrible fights last night.  To recap, he's generally sane, smart, fun, and loving, but freaks out and rages every couple weeks over things as small and insignificant as my asking him to save me some of the leftovers.  Last night it was over his hatred of my best friend (small slight blown hugely out of proportion).  But from the fight... 

The only potentially good thing to come of it is that he gave me some insight into why he yells and says hurtful things to me during the rages.  He said he desperately wants to be understood, and when he's not, he feels incredibly alone.  He feels like he felt when he was young, that no one really loves him and the only one who will care for him is himself.  So at that moment he sees me as yet another person who doesn't really love him, and who will leave him sooner or later, like everyone else in his life.  At that moment I seem to represent one of the bitterest, most painful losses of yet. 

Now, I have no idea what to do with this information, how to use it constructively.  If he can stop raging, I know I'll be with him and love him forever.  I've told him I'll always be with him, but it's getting harder to say because a person can't endure rage forever.  I don't know how to say, "I'll always love you, but that's not blanket permission for you to torture me." without it sounding like a threat, or like I have plans to leave. 

He's resisted my urging that he go to therapy.  I see a therapist, but feel like all I do there is describe the most recent fights and, well, what else is there to say? 

I love him so much.  I sympathize with his awful childhood.  I want to make things soft for him in the future, but sometimes feel like I'd have to sacrifice myself to martyrdom in the attempt.  And despite my love, it doesn't seem like he feels anymore secure with the world.  He's just got someone new to fear losing, and I can't always give emphatic "I'll never fall out of love with you"'s when he needs them most, when he feels terrified of losing me, when my face is smeared with snot and make-up from crying over my own pain from his yelling. 

WTH can be done?

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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2006, 05:11:45 PM »


I am so sorry you are going through all this.

I hate to be a downer, but there really wasn't much positive in his revelation to you, from my perspective. In fact, from your last statement I think you realize it. He gets to strike out and hurt you as much as he can, and he gets you to want to make him feel better afterward. He also seems to be trying to make his behavior be about you not giving him understanding.

Don't get sucked in to that codependent behavior. You can feel sorry for his crappy childhood, but that doesn't mean he gets to try to make your life crappy, too.

I think you do need to state flat out that he does not have, in your words, "blanket permission ...to torture me." Whether or not he takes it as a threat is his issue (okay, I know he'll do his best to make it your issue, but you know what I mean). You need to define some boundaries of what kind of behavior you won't accept, and stick to them.

You already said it, "despite my love, it doesn't seem like he feels anymore secure with the world." No matter how much love and reassurance you give him, it will not help him feel better when he is in one of those moods.

WTH can be done? It's up to him to take care of him. The only thing you can do is take care of yourself. You can't "make things soft for him."

Good luck.

« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2006, 05:47:19 PM »


My X had similar levels of awareness...not quite as developed as that..he didn't verbalise the connection your diid, but close.

It doesn't matter if they wont get therpay.  There is nothing you can do.

I'm sorry to say it, but I say it because I thought that my X having this level of awareness, plus ASKING for help repeatedly meant he would do something about it- not the way he was treating me, but to resolve his own pain.

give him this, it might help


it is free anonymous CBT on line.  Maybe if he sees he doesn't have to tell secrets or be embarrassed and just familiarizes himself with the therapy process so it seems less intimidating, it might be a step in the right direction.

Good Luck.

Know there i s nothing you can do to make him beleive it is possible to get help or that he deserves it.  he has to beleive it.

The best thing you can do is to not enable him.

Mystified and Tired
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2006, 01:32:32 PM »

Hi Happybunny and l6blue,

Thanks for your responses.  They say some things I'd had a creeping suspicion of (that I can't make things better, that it's up to him to help himself, and that I need to let him know his behavior isn't acceptable, no matter what it stems from).  Happybunny, thanks for the CBT link.  I may try it out myself! 

After thinking about the situation with my husband, his explanation doesn't fit situations where he's gotten angry over something accidental and not emotionally-charged (the dog scratches him accidentally, I ask for some leftovers, I forget to water his garden).  I wonder how he'd excuse himself from those? 

It's also darn unreasonable that I'm supposed to comfort him when he's lashing out.  Where's my comfort at those times?  The only thing that ever seems to make him soften is when I finally break down into sobs.  If I remain calm but have some tears on my face, then I'm "playing the little victim".  I want to remain as calm and rational as possible, but maybe the only way to end our stupid fights is to break down sooner.  That seems sick. 

He says he's afraid that some day I'll decide he's not worth the trouble.  What I'd love to say, but what would probably not be well received is, "Instead of wasting your time and emotions worrying about that, how about working to make yourself less trouble?"  But that would require facing his problems, and we can't ask for miracles...

« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2006, 03:38:56 PM »

It's also darn unreasonable that I'm supposed to comfort him when he's lashing out.  Where's my comfort at those times?  Mystified

Here is a hug for those times and i felt this way too about x.  i really get this.
Mr Soul
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2006, 04:13:02 PM »


The only thing that ever seems to make him soften is when I finally break down into sobs...

I want to remain as calm and rational as possible, but maybe the only way to end our stupid fights is to break down sooner. 

Do you know why he softens ?  I don't think it's because he feels bad for what he has done to you--he's not regretful in any real enduring sense.  He softens because he feels good.  He just won the BPD game of projection.  He successfully transferred/projected his bad feelings onto you.   At this point he's probably hoping for the big bonus of make-up sex.

BPDs have trouble understanding and then dealing with their feelings appropriately.  They only know they need to unload the mess.  Once they see it mirrored in their intimate target, it is "mission accomplished".

Once you recognize a pattern like this, it's much easier to stop enabling it.  Stopping loving him--that's not so easy. 

Wishing you peace and strength,

Mr Soul

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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2006, 04:50:39 PM »

I like what you've said there Mr Soul.

That's how I feel my husband reacts once he's projected his anger/sadness onto me.  Stupid me takes it!  I MUST CHANGE THIS!  Unloading by pushing my buttons.  That's so mean isn't it.

Mystified and Tired
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2006, 05:07:09 PM »

Thank you guys so much for your responses.  I have friends but don't feel I want to share this stuff with them (protecting their impression of him, loyalty to him, belief that if they knew the extent of our troubles they'd advise me to leave, when I'm committed to working this out if possible, and I'm embarrassed to have such big marital problems when married less than 6 months!).  It's such a relief hearing from people who can understand and relate, and who have advice and insight.

Mr Soul--what tactic do you take to keep from enabling your spouse?  Do you find that it helps to remain calm, and withhold strong emotions?  And withhold make-up sex  wink

KelleyWelleys--I think they have no idea they're pushing our buttons, or maybe they blame us for having buttons that can be pushed?  My husband goes out of town once a month to visit his (BPD) mother, and the last three times we've had a fight the night he's returned.  This last time he started yelling at me within fifteen minutes of seeing me.  Today he told me he thought it might be that I resent him for going out of town.  Ha!  I love my husband very much, but sometimes I'm so relieved to have a few days without him around.  They really do find ways to blame us for everything.

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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2006, 05:17:37 PM »

Mystified, are you keeping any log of how frequent the arguments are and whether or not they are getting more frequent or more intense?  You may wish to write this down somewhere where he can't find it...  The purpose of this is to give yourself a reality check.  Perhaps the first month he only went off the deep end once, and then recovered within an hour or so.  And now, six months later, he is going off the deep end every week and it is taking him 12 hours to recover.

I think if you can clearly see the trends, you will be better able to figure out what you need to do... in terms of what to say, what to do when he rages, etc.

« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2006, 06:24:10 PM »


I think the info you are getting here is great.  I have nothing toadd to it for the moment.

I would like to comment on something you said though.  You want to protect his image and all and don't want to tell.

Please read about abuse and abusive relationships.  One thing that happens is isolatio.

We tend to picture in our minds a psychopath, locking away his little woman with no brains and no education in the remote rural areas and taking her shoes so she can't walk outside when he leaves, when we pisture abuse.

That's not really the majority of cases.  Abuse happens with PD's (who make uo the lion's share of abusers) and they have no idea they are actually abusing- they would be mortified to hear that.  It aslo happens to bright people married to PD's, who start by thinking rationally..."I want this to work and when it does, I don't want to create stigma for him and us"...and so on.  That is how you become a willing participant in being isolated from you freinds and family.

many od us beleive that ecause we are ok now and have rich lives and have smarts and sense, that we are unique in that we can give just a little to be able to handle it, ad we can "take the high road" and all that other stuff...it is simply a matter of perspective and how we view the "intentions" of the people we think of as abused and abuser.

I do not suggest you go around town telling evryone, but I do suggest you get your circle together, educate them about the PD as best you can and tell them you are committed to your marriage, but this is what you go through and what he has.

Keeping secrets is the abusers best wepon against you.  In fact, they count on it.  Read the things that typically happen to abused spouses and keep a list.  make sure you do one thing everyday that counter acts the things ont he list of you are staying with him.  It wlioll help both of you and your marriage in the long run.

Don't let him isolate you.  If he does, it is the things that is most damaging. You lose all sources of reality checks and can actually begin to go crazy.  Be careful because you are being abused and you do choose to stay.  Know that you can not have a regular life plan.  You must adjust your expectations.  No children, and living by a set of rules that a best, can counter balance the tactics of abusers to cause long term damage to your life.  Protect yourself financially as money can be used for control.  Set yourself up to be ready and safe to leave at any moment and you will never lose youself.  That's the most important thing.  And it is thge only chance you have a saving yourself, or your marraige until he gets through recovery.  He will fight and try to get you to enemsh.  Don't.  Make sure you have a life that you are living and can keep living even of he goes rith this minute.

Please take care of yourself.
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