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Author Topic: Whether You Stay in Your Relationship or Leave - Susan Collins  (Read 3809 times)
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« on: May 25, 2009, 12:25:43 PM »

Five Keys to Help You Heal, Whether You Stay in Your Relationship or Leave

by Susan Collins


"It very easy to get into a relationship, but when the relationship begins having major challenges, goes sour and you don't know what to do, then your decisions become much more difficult." says Susan Collins, a relationship blogger and college librarian.

Whether you decide you want to stay with your partner and begin working to revitalize your relationship or to move on, here are some strategies and ideas to help you move forward in a more empowering way.

It seems that everywhere you look, many long-standing relationships and /or marriages are troubled or dissolving. If you're like most people, when this happens, you find yourself stuck in thinking about the past, wondering what went wrong, and unable to move from the pain of the relationship. It doesn't matter whether you leave, stay or were left-one of the best pieces of advice we can give you is to leave the past behind and not carry old “baggage” into the new life you would like to have.

We have each been through the break-up of a major, long-standing relationship and have come to appreciate those times in our lives- even though both divorces were very painful. We each, in our own ways, learned how to begin healing by not burying our feelings and to start moving toward what we wanted most in our lives instead of living in the past. It's this information, plus the experience of working with many people in our coaching practice who were in similar circumstances, that we'd like to share with you.

If you've been living with the question of whether to stay or go for any length of time you have undoubtedly experienced a great deal of painful feelings surrounding the challenges of this relationship.

It's important to learn from the past but it's equally as important to not stay stuck in it. Whether you have decided to stay or leave, you have to move forward as if you are starting fresh with a brand new relationship. We're about to share with you the five keys that we find are the most important to help move you from your past to healing and start you on your way to creating a new, more vibrant life.


Key 1:Never look at a relationship (or anything else) that hasn't so far worked out as a failure

Often it's the seed of a current or past “failure” that fuels you to the very success that you've always dreamed of. It sounds trite, but there's always something you can learn from every experience.

Past relationships give you a clearer picture of what you want and what you don't want in a relationship if you take the time to examine them. It's the power of contrast that living in an unfulfilling relationship may give you.

A woman we'll call Connie brought her intimate relationship to an end after several years of turmoil with her partner. After the break-up, she realized what this relationship had taught her and that it wasn't a “failure.” This relationship had helped her to define the type of partner she would really resonate with--someone who was on a similar spiritual path, someone she could have a deep connection with, and someone who loved to be with groups of people.

What we've learned is that if a relationship isn't working out, it is not a bad thing or a failure that our society likes to label it. It just may be that you have learned what it is that you were supposed to learn by being in a relationship with that other person and it's time to move on to other “lessons.”

We're not suggesting that you take your relationships lightly and throw them away at the first sign of conflict--Quite the contrary. What we are saying is that the purpose of all relationships is to help us to grow. Even the relationships that are the most troubling to us can be gifts in learning more about ourselves. Those people who really get under our skin can be our best teachers. We suggest that you look at all of your relationships as growth experiences and move forward consciously by learning from them.

Here are some questions to help you with this:

  • What did I learn about myself by being in a relationship with this person?


  • How did it help me to move forward and heal, learn and grow?


  • What new beliefs did I take on or let go of as a result of being in a particular relationship?



Key 2: Turn from the past and look toward the future … YOUR future

Sometimes after a separation or during the process of rebuilding a relationship, we find ourselves dwelling in the past, our thoughts consumed with that other person and past events. You will begin to heal when you start thinking and writing about what you want for your life--today and in the future.

After Susie's husband of 30 years left their marriage, she found herself thinking about him, wondering how he was doing and if he was happy. It wasn't until she decided to stop focusing on the past and her ex-husband's life and start focusing on what she wanted, that her life began to move forward in a powerful way. It was almost a physical sensation of turning her body forward toward her future. She began to create new goals for her life and pushed past the fear of being alone.

We've found the key to moving forward in your new life is to figure out what you want your new life to look like and you can start small-but start.

Here are some ideas that can help you with this process:

  • If you or your partner left your relationship, remove photos of your past partner that are prominently positioned in your house (You don't have to destroy them. Just put them away.)


  • If you're staying in the same house that you and your partner shared, move the furniture and put some different things on the walls. Different inexpensive items that are “you” can really help you to move from your past into your present and future. Even if you are revitalizing your relationship, clear out some clutter together and you won't believe how that will help.


  • Sign up for a class that will get you physically active-yoga, Tai Chi, martial arts, aerobics, swimming, tennis, dancing. Get your body moving! When you get your body moving, endorphins are released into your bloodstream that help you to feel more positive and uplifted.


  • If you are on your own, find a support group-people who will not support you in being a victim or rehash why you left, but groups who will stimulate you into new thought and new ideas.


  • If you are revitalizing your relationship, taking a class together at your local university, church or community center can help steer you in new directions together. Also thinking about setting and implementing new goals for yourselves and for your relationship will create movement which in turn creates healing.



Key 3: Take 100% responsibility for the relationship -no more and no less

When a relationship experiences challenges, very often we want to assign fault and blame. When you are in a healthy relationship with another person, both people are equally responsible for the relationship. If a relationship isn't working, the same thing applies. No matter who appears to be at fault when challenges come up, both people are responsible.

If you are taking more than your share of your responsibility for the relationship not working out the way you would like, you are being a martyr. If you take less than 100% responsibility for the relationship not working out, you are being a victim. You can only heal when you have let go of “fault” and “blame” and focus on letting go of the past and how you can do it differently in the future.

This can be a very difficult process if you are hanging on to the need to be right, anger, judgments and unexpressed resentments- especially if you feel your partner hasn't or won't take any responsibility for the health of the relationship.

Forgiving and forgetting may seem to be beyond reality for you now. It's like if someone says to you, “Don't think of the color blue” “Don't think of the color blue” “Don't think of the color blue,” no matter how hard you try, you probably can't stop visualizing or thinking about the color blue.

The same thing happens when you try to “forget” a negative situation that has an emotional charge to it. No matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to do it. We believe that instead of forgiving and forgetting, you have to forgive and let go.

Many people write to us wanting to know how they can forgive when they have been wronged--a spouse cheated on them; they've been abused in one way or another; or maybe their feelings have been hurt and they don't feel loved or valued. What we have found is that the process of healing oneself when a relationship has ended or when a relationship is given a “second chance” requires more than forgiveness. You must also let go.

But let go of what?

In almost all cases when you are having a difficult time forgiving someone, you are holding on to an attachment of some kind or another. The attachments most commonly manifest themselves in the need to be justified, the need to be honored, the need to be right, the need to be vindicated, the desire for revenge, and the inability to move past fear.

So when you are holding onto an attachment, what you are actually doing is holding onto a position which is serving you in some way but it is not moving you forward in healing the relationship. We suggest that you let go of negativity and attachments by deciding to drop them-by deciding that you no longer want to carry and live with the pain and suffering that you have been living. Decide that you deserve the happiness that you want.


Key 4: Learn from the patterns of the past. Stay conscious in all your relationships so that you won't repeat the same mistakes

One woman we know is trying to do it differently after several relationships that ended. She is opening her heart to the possibilities of having the type of relationship that she has wanted but has somehow, up until now, eluded her. She is starting a new relationship without expectations and is just focusing on being real, authentic and being true to herself. She's not playing any of the roles she's played in the past as she enters this relationship. There is a different feeling within her about this relationship because of it. She is letting go of some of the destructive ways she has interacted with other partners in the past.

This is the first relationship that she has been honest about whether she wants to go somewhere with her partner or not. In the past, she would always agree to go wherever her mate wanted to go because she wanted to please him rather than please herself. After doing this for a period of time, she would lose sight of who she was and what she wanted and resentment would build. Now, she is just allowing herself to open to the possibility of something wonderful happening and being herself in the relationship.

We suggest that the first step in healing any pattern that is a challenge for you or causing you pain is to become aware of what you are feeling within your body when you experiencing the issue. Susie had the pattern of not speaking her truth when there was conflict in past relationships. When she and Otto came together, she wanted to stop that pattern because unspoken words and feelings would always turn into resentment and create walls with her previous husband. She became aware that she felt a fluttery, sick feeling in her solar plexus and stomach when she didn't speak her truth and held back words. With Otto, she came to recognize those feelings, honor them and allow herself to speak the words she was holding back.

The first step to creating any change is awareness and allowing yourself to notice what's going on in your body--whether it's tightness in your chest, neck pain, headache or nervousness in your stomach. Go back in your mind. When did you notice you would have these sensations in previous relationships? Susie traced her feelings and inability to speak her truth to her childhood. Ask yourself, where did this feeling come from, who was there and what was the situation?

In a new relationship, as well as an old one, it's very important to differentiate what has happened in the past from what is happening now. Your feelings can guide you to uncovering your patterns and to creating healthier ways of being in your relationships.


Step 5: Give thanks for the lessons that you learned and change your attitude

Haven't many of us been told or maybe we've “learned” that relationships were hard and filled with misery? We're here to suggest that it doesn't have to be that way. You can decide to have the relationships that you want and “to make up your own state of mind.”

As painful as it is to hear, the truth is that everything in your life (including your relationships) is a result of the choices you have made up until now. If you don't like the circumstances in your life or relationships, decide to make other choices.

This could mean changing your attitude. It can mean focusing on what you like about your partner instead of what you don't like. It could mean opening up to bring new people into your life. It could mean deciding to be a better person in your relationships.

Whatever your challenges are, only you can decide to take one step forward toward having the relationships and the life you want. If you are having challenges moving on from your previous relationship, we suggest you start by honoring that person as a teacher, here to help you on your journey. When you find yourself feeling the victim or blaming the other person, change that thought to love and send it to him/her. Sooner or later you will actually be able to give thanks for the lessons that that person taught you.

Giving gratitude for your relationship and your life, whether you have stayed or left, will be positive movement to what you want in life. Change your attitude and you will change your life.

If you don't have the kind of relationship or the life that you really want, chances are excellent that there is one of two things standing between you and having what you want-- either there are things that you are not willing to do in order to have what you want or you are holding onto beliefs that are keeping you stuck.

We know from our own experience that when we have held onto limiting thoughts and beliefs, such as “I can't… or I could never…”, we remained stuck. It wasn't until we opened ourselves to possibilities and changed our beliefs about those situations that we were able to move forward with those goals and heal.

Whether you have decided to stay in your relationship or leave it, we invite you to change your thinking, create positive thoughts and take some action that will help you to create the life that you want. As you read through this article, you probably thought of some ways to move forward. We now invite you to take this opportunity to move past your fears and start moving toward the relationships and life that you really want.

Susan Collins is a teacher and university librarian with 30 years experience teaching in the public schools.  Collins has a Bachelor of Science degree in education, a Masters degree in Library Science. Since 1999, Collins has been creating web sites and writing on topics that relate to relationships.


www.enotalone.com
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Change your perceptions and you change your life.  Nothing changes without changes
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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2009, 12:45:03 PM »

Excellent article UFN!  Thanks for sharing this with us.

There is a lot to digest here and so much I agree with and adhere to (or try to!)

Excerpt
If you don't have the kind of relationship or the life that you really want, chances are excellent that there is one of two things standing between you and having what you want-- either there are things that you are not willing to do in order to have what you want or you are holding onto beliefs that are keeping you stuck.

We know from our own experience that when we have held onto limiting thoughts and beliefs, such as “I can't… or I could never…”, we remained stuck. It wasn't until we opened ourselves to possibilities and changed our beliefs about those situations that we were able to move forward with those goals and heal.

This popped out at me the most.  We can be our own worst enemies at times!

A very good read... .
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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2009, 02:44:08 PM »

Very good article. Most likely fear is the prevailing factor whether a person moves forward or not.  In order to grow we have to move past the fear and meet the challenge of the unknown. AND be confident in oneself to not fear that unknown.   
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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2009, 03:48:19 PM »

Awesome article, great advice.  Love the recommendation to get some healthy exercise (I walk each evening) and also to get in touch with your consciousness.  Get in the moment!  If that's deep sadness, feel it as deeply as you can.  Thinking about moving on might make you sad, so feel sad!  Cry it out and the sun will be shining.  And be thankful for the good times and the lessons you learned.  Bitterness over the past will just result in more resentment in the future.  Who needs all that stuff?  It wasn't a failure any more than your own creation was a failure.

It's okay to have hopes and dreams for yourself and all of your loved ones, including the BPD in your life.  Sometimes they get better, but once you get better it's all good no matter which way it goes.  You get what you give.  Give yourself a gift today by nurturing your own soul.  The loved ones in your life have a funny way of mirroring your behavior so if you get healthy and reach for higher ground, a lot of times (not always) but many times, they will, too.

Give up the need to be justified, as the article states.  Find a support group.  Let go of your resentments and examine honestly your own role in the dysfunction.

"Pack light... ." -- Erykah Badu, Bag Lady
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2009, 03:55:48 PM »

Love this avatar!

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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2009, 03:57:42 PM »

Thank you, Skip.  xoxox
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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2009, 04:05:47 PM »

Thank you skip for piutting this article my way, it was so timely.  I had started to think today about all the things that I am free to do now.  The biggest thing is looking at myself and why I have compromised so much of my life in pursuit of a little happiness.

it can only come from me and as the article said looking at my BPD as a teacher resonates very much with the spiritual path I have been on for some time now.

Thankyou
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2009, 09:41:08 PM »

GREAT article; I especially love the focus on being non-blaming (even of ourselves) - and instead owning personal responsibility for our choices and for moving forward.  I have been working hard at doing just that, and this article is yet another impetus to help me on my way!  A healing journey... .that's what we are on here.  In fact, I like to refer to myself as "in recovery" - helps me stay honest with myself and focused on what I need to do.     Being cool (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2009, 09:52:25 PM »

Excellent article. I especially believe the part abou looking ahead at my life, not the ex's life and about letting go of the anger. Thank you for this article.
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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2009, 10:45:36 PM »

New here, so forgive me if I step on toes.

This article is about leaving a normal relationship.  A person suffering with BPD cannot give, receive or allow an exit from a relationship.  I have "divorced" my mother recently.  I have spent the last months in agony because of screened telephone calls,  cruel voice mails and worse yet,  her trying to turn the family against me for hurting her so badly.  This is a lose-lose situation.  I would love to let go... .but she is in my face.  Family members have called to tell me that I am cruel.  But I have to get out and away from her.  She will not seek treatment, she is attacking my sons emotionally.  It is frightening.  So, if I was going to end a marriage or dating situation, this article would be great... .and is.  But what about leaving a relationship with a sociopath?

I am scared of getting pulled in again, having night terrors and feel so very guilty.  My childhood PTSD is running unchecked.  Therapy helps, but real life keeps creeping in.

Susan
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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2009, 04:02:16 AM »

Skamorris,

Welcome

You asked about leaving a relationship with a mentally ill person who will not seek treatment and seems to work at making your life miserable.  You are in the right place.  The articles, workshops and boards will educate you, comfort you, and help give you the courage to set and enforce boundaries and put a stop to this drama forever.  This information isn't just theory or a pat on the shoulder.  It really works!

I have watched as my undiagnosed BPD significant other/life partner essentially has become a delusional, depressed hermit.  The pain and heartache has been immeasurable.  I was on a tireless quest to be his hero and rescue him... .and it filled me with resentment and loneliness because no matter how much I tried to do, he kept up the same pattern, only the cycles grew even more pronounced.  I too wrestle with fear of being pulled in again even as I am detaching with love.

The people here have real answers.

Something led you to seek help and support here.  Right now it seems hard to believe that things can get better but they will.  Your decision to post here is proof that you recognize the need to protect yourself and your own kids from a toxic person.  Read everything you can about this disorder and the steps you can take to safely get un-enmeshed, avoid making it harder on yourself, and reclaim your right to joy and peace.  No one can take that right away from you if you say "enough is enough" and refuse to allow it.  You can find your voice and recover yourself!

Here's a list of frequently asked questions about BPD and how to recover from its effects:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=60752.0

Never give up on your deepest hopes and dreams.  If you start at the beginning of the message boards, where new members post, it will help because there are ambassadors there to meet you!
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2009, 04:55:24 AM »

... .once you get better it's all good no matter which way it goes. 

Amen... .nigel3000  xoxo

Skip, thank you for directing me to this article  xoxox  We are currently in couples counselling as we decide which way to go with this relationship. At least my uBPDh admitted today that as soon as he starts to become close, he feels unsafe, no wonder we are on such a roller coaster, as soon as he feels unsafe, he recoils and intimacy is destroyed once more. As the counsellor said to me, it is all about me. If only I could have been me whilst getting into this relationship, perhaps it would not have come this far  :'( The problem for me was having a BPD older brother growing up. He was simply a nightmare and 'taught' me to tolerate high levels of unacceptable behaviour, therefore when the going got tough, I just 'numbed out' and this helped me to survive all the anger, the abuse, etc. My victim father was there too making sure I learned how to take care of the significant 'male' in my life. My uBPDh is my perfect teacher, he acts out and then becomes the victim, like my brother and my father rolled into one. I just numb out, accept what is thrown my way and then I am there to clean up afterwards   So now, it is all about me. I am working hard on re-connecting with my emotions and I am getting there. I am also learning that I don't have to fix things all the time, just have empathy. I am trying very, very hard to change my patterns of relating, feel my feelings and stay whole in this marriage. Key 4 in the article applied to me. So each day is a lesson of some sort or another but, for me, I overlooked some pretty important red flags as a result of how I was, so now, I am having to deal with the paradox of having this relationship... .one I would not have seen through to marriage had I known then, what I know now. I cannot help feeling now that life will be a compromise if I stay... .it makes leaving so tantalising... .but I did promise to love this man so I won't let go unless it is broken beyond repair... .sigh... .therein lies my dilemma  ?
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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2009, 12:58:38 PM »

Excerpt
If you are having challenges moving on (from the 'bad' patterns in that relationship-even if still wanting to be in that relationship) from your previous (how we related in the past-how I acted) relationship, we suggest you start by honoring that person as a teacher, here to help you on your journey. When you find yourself feeling the victim or blaming the other person, change that thought to love and send it to him/her. Sooner or later you will actually be able to give thanks for the lessons that that person taught you.

This also helped me in how I think about my relationship with my adult (24 and 20) sons.  We I had a 'pattern' when dealing with my sons.  It is very difficult to figure out how to change- I believe viewing them as my teachers will help me immensely. 

skamorris, maybe some of the steps in the article seem to apply to 'intimate' relationships better... .  but for me they can be viewed more as to how will I deal with this relationship- inside.  Yes, the outer world does affect me.  But I am responsible for how I deal with that inside- positive or negative.  It may not be overnight- and some other work may be needed to get there, but keep these things in mind... .for future use when you're ready.  I am so glad you found us.  There are many resources for those who are children of people with BPD.  Please read as much as you can and especially post on that board as there are many in your shoes.  Here are some links.

Understanding the Borderline Mother

Coping and Healing in a Family with a BPD Parent, Sibling, or Inlaw

Workshop - BOUNDARIES: Upholding our values and independence


Have you posted in the New Members sections yet? 

New Members Please Post Here First

Take care.

Foiles


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« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2009, 01:25:02 PM »

This is what I am trying to achieve in my life right now. 

Especially lesson 5 and not blaming my H for the turmoil in our marriage.  Even though he is the one with BPD, I still allowed these things to exist in my life.  How could I just blame him?  I wouldnt even think of it.  I know even though I am somewhat mentally stable... HA!  that I put my fair share of jabs in the mix and made many problems worse by my actions.  I  have alot of baggage I need to work on and look at and forgive myself and him.  Honesty and healing...   Im workin on it... .

What a great article.  I saved this one and already past it on to a friend.  Thank you!     
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« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2009, 01:28:32 PM »

The article is very helpful and the threads below are full of wisdom that I am absorbing. I can relate to 9reasons and numbing out.  I learned to do that to survive a long, long time ago.  I think it is important to look into the feelings we are having. "In a new relationship, as well as an old one, it's very important to differentiate what has happened in the past from what is happening now. Your feelings can guide you to uncovering your patterns and to creating healthier ways of being in your relationships. "  

For me, some of the most unpleasant feelings were drawing on my childhood PTSD.  I am finding EMDR to be helpful in rewiring the triggers for these emotions.  It has not made living with my UBPDW easy, but I am beginning to learn how to detach with love.

MB
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« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2009, 03:34:20 PM »

Hey 9 reasons,  I can certainly relate to your dilemma and the mixed emotions.  I told myself those same exact words over and over, year after year.  And meant them with all my heart. 


Thats why I stayed with my H for 24 yrs and tried my best with what I knew then to make it work.  I told myself that my vows were what I promised to live up to and its not his fault that he is mentally ill. 

I did recognize that he was very mentally off from the beginning but sure in the heck didnt have a  clue to this diagnosis of BPD that fits him to a tee.  So I felt that If I left him just because he was ill, it would be like me walking out on someone that has cancer or something and what type of horrible person would that make me.   You know, thoughts like that, besides the fact that I am a very spiritual person and believe in the santity of marriage and my vow wasnt only to him but to God as well.

So all those things made it a bit more complex than just being in a funky marriage.  But like you said, unless it starts to destroy you, then you have no choice but to leave.   Well thats when I had to throw in the towel and say  "uncle!"  "I give up" .   It took a long time but eventually after being thrown around in the world with other terrible hits of life I just didnt have the energy to take  care of him anymore and be true to myself.   

Besides, his being mentally ill and having cancer or any other disease are similiar yes, but the difference as with any illness is will you get the help you need to take care of yourself.  Or will you continue to make your life a mess and everyone elses life a living hell.   Even if they are too sick to see it, if every one close to them tells them that they see a real problem and that they should consider getting help, it should at least help them to maybe look at the possibility of a problem.  Wouldnt ya think.   

So I commend you for having set the limits to protect yourself and you are thinking of yourself and how this is affecting you.  And if you stay and it becomes easier because of the tools you learn to master and you have happiness within you, then you have been successful in your decision and I support you 100%.

I hate to see ones divorce and break-up after investing so much time together.  So if it is a workable situation and you can keep a measure of peace and happiness for yourself and keep learning from the relationship it can be a positive thing.  And if you find out you cant do that, then you will make the best decision for you when your time is right. 

My prayers and thoughts are with you 9reasons ...      by the way... .i love your name... Smiling (click to insert in post)         
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« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2009, 05:42:56 PM »

Hi Brave girl,

you have expressed so much I had not understood until I joined this site I now understand that you are experiencing exacltly what I m going through right now.

Every word you have written is what is happening to me

Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2009, 06:53:40 PM »

Wow Carnelian,

I am so sorry to hear that you are relating to my story so well,  but im glad that you can connect with me anyway.   Please tell me about what your dealing with if you can.   Do you have a thread posted somewhere already?   I hope we can support each other in the days ahead since we have so much in common.  It means alot to me to be able to relate to ones on this site and express myself in a way that is familiar to another person.  So thank you for letting me know how much you understand what im dealing with.  Sometimes you feel all alone in your battle so it helps so much to know others are dealing with exactly the same thing.   

Hope to talk to you soon and read your story.  Much love   1bravegirl Being cool (click to insert in post) 
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« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2009, 07:35:04 PM »

meetbill, 1bravegirl and anyone else interested! There are lots of books out there that deal with over-active emotions, like anger-management, depression, etc. but hardly anything with regards to re-connecting with your emotions when you have taught yourself to numb them out! Anyway after lots of looking I found one called "The One Thing Holding You Back" by Raphael Cushnir which I am reading and I have another which I found and have not read yet called "Living Like You Mean It" by Ronald Frederick both on this very subject and I will let you know what I think of them when I have finished them.

I do take some of the blame for what is happening in my marriage... .after living with a father that feigned illness for years to get the attention he craved, I must admit I am not the most sympathetic person in the world in this regard. Trying, for example to give empathy, when you yourself have been abused to the point where you have learned to numb out, is not exactly easy, I can tell you... .however I am working on it. Validating somebody with where they are at is so hard for me when all I want to say is "Get over it"! I drive myself to be all that I can be, study wise, work wise, etc. and in the past, it has been hard for me to understand why others are not as driven! These are all personal lessons that I have to learn which must make me difficult to be in a relationship with too. I cannot blame everything on my uBPDh... .we are in this dance together... .I am a committed person and that is why I would not bail when the smallest thing goes wrong... .however I make noises like I want out... .and that rubs my h's safety button. As our therapist told us, in some ways we are just as bad as each other unless we stop all the expectations of the other person, be respectful and loving and connected (even when your SO isn't... .grrrrrrr!) and let them be responsible for their own behaviour. Often this is a challenge when you are smiling through gritted teeth saying "oh I see you have destroyed our imtimacy again dear... .never mind, it will come back when you are ready"! HAA! I guess I am still learning... . 
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« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2009, 01:12:48 AM »

Hi 9 reasons,

Your right, it is a hard battle to change your thinking pattern and rewire our addictive demands and our faulty programming that has had years of training and retraining from childhood on and with our own wrong thought process right in the mix to make it nice and complex. 

Many times it is easier to play the blame game and use emotions from the past to keep us in a rut and we actually enable ourselves from growing and being happy due to wanting to protect ourselves and we end up projecting our fears and insecurites on close relationships in our lives as well.  You dont have to have BPD to have that problem.  I have been reading about why we numb our feelings and hold things in to our detriment for my own healing lately and learning to except my responsiblity in the 24 yr toxic relationship I allowed to be in and played a big part of.  The behavior pattern definatey goes both ways, and we end up playing right into each others illness and weaknesses. 

So its not a matter of excepting blame for your actions or lack there of, its a matter of excepting responsibility for how you contributed to the troubled relationship and learning from our mistakes and working hard to change our thinking that has been faulty wired for many many years.  So this is an ongoing process.  I personally have some strong embedded ways of thinking about things and now that I am willing to look at my own behavior more deeply, it is very liberating to know I have alot that I can change about me and what makes me feel the way I do and why I react to things like I do.  Just all kinds of stuff we can learn about our past and why we see things a certain way and usually we dont see the part we have played in it.  For myself, my BPDh was the bad guy and that was that.  I had him condemned and ready for the execution.   

But that kind of thinking isnt really healthy, because you can leave someone and still love the person and despise the disorder.   That way you have more positive energy within yourself for further growth and you end the toxic cycle of hate and pain within you.   I much rather feel that than the other.

And you can learn fairly quickly how to let much of the anger go and look at the things you experienced as a way to grow and know what we dont want to repeat in the future,  and of course how we can adjust our behavior and how we respond to things so we can apply what we learn in our next relationship.   

So many things to work on huh?  Its tiring but well worth it. All of my new insight is due to a new book I have been reading...    Since you asked for a good book... .Have you read  "The power of unconditional Love" by ken keyes jr.?  If you havent, it is a book that will only make you feel hopeful about changing within yourself.  I really am enjoying it. 

Im finding that "The power of unconditional love" teaches us to do exactly what you are searching for.   Finding peace within yourself and not blaming yourself anymore for past mistakes or for others  behavior but learning how to except responsibility for our part in the toxic process or pattern that developed.  When we learn the difference between the two, (blame vs responsibility) the level of personal growth has no bounderies.   

I am reading the chapter ":)eveloping a relationship with yourself before getting deeply involved with anyone else.   It encourages us to be painfully honest with how we really feel and think and who we are. I know for myself I hide certain things about my character and dont want to divulge too much information to even my closest friends due to being insecure.  So I am looking forward to working on being more honest about who I am.   

And it doesnt matter where you are in your personal relationship.  The principles are timeless.  And it gives advice if you are still together or starting to draw apart/seperation and even how to divorce in a spirit of love and peace so the experience will be less painful and most beneficial for everyone involved so as to avoid any additional unnecessary pain.  Of course we have to adjust some of it, based on the level of the BPD that we are dealing with i.e. (willing to get help vs total denial/ violent. )and use discretion accordingly.  But the principles can still be applied.

Ok well you asked for a book, and this is one I highly recommend.  It helps us still think of our mates or ex spouse's  as people, people still deserving of a measure of love.  Even if we have to feel it from a distance because the situation is too unsafe to be around them at all. (such as mine)

Its just so we end up hating the disorder and not the person and I really appreciated that enlightenment.  Its a much healthier place to be.  It also will help a great deal if you are struggling with forgiveness or letting go of pain.  I'm still working on that obviously.  Its only been a month of personal healing/growth for myself so Ive got a long way to go.

If you decide to get the book, please let me know what you think...     Take good care and dont be too hard on yourself... .   1bravegirl Smiling (click to insert in post) 

If anyone has read this book or feels like commenting on these points, I would love to hear what your thoughts are.   Thanks!

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« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2009, 02:44:13 AM »

Hi 9reasons,

QUOTE "At least my uBPDh admitted today that as soon as he starts to become close, he feels unsafe, no wonder we are on such a roller coaster, as soon as he feels unsafe, he recoils and intimacy is destroyed once more."

Based on what I read from the book "Lost in the Mirror", a BP's relationship with the loved ones is like looking at a mirror at 6 inches apart, he/she can see him/her very clearly. It is good relationship. But, moving closer at 1 inch, you become seeing less clear of youself & progressively to  1/2 inch, 1/4 inch, it is getting worse & worse. Until you touch the mirror with yr nose, you do not see yourself anymore & seems disapppeared (lost) completely in the mirror (relationship) - being engulfed or into loss of identity schema as felt by a BP. A BP needs to pull apart immediatley as a defense mechanism.

Conversely, moving farther apart at 20 fts as in a relationship, you begin not seeing yourself in the mirror anymore, just a vague image. At 100 fts, you lost in the mirror again, losing touch of the world & a BP begins to feel emptiness.

This explained why a loved ones are always into a roller coaster relationship with a BP, moving closer together in a relationship as either one may wish & then unfortunately pulling apart later into a vicious cycle that repeats itself indefinitely in the relationship.

The above also explains partly 1 of 9 criteria - the intense, unstable relationship of a BP with loved ones.         

I hope this can help.


I am also into a relatioship with my BP wife over 20 years. I share the same philosophy, beliefs as you & 1bravegirl & try to keep on not sinking.

Peter
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« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2009, 08:49:48 AM »

This thread has got really interesting  Smiling (click to insert in post)  For some time I have tried to separate the person from the behaviour... .I did this with my children, but doing it with my uBPDh can be confusing because children (hopefully) learn new behaviours and change, but we have been re-cycling over the same issues for years and he shows no signs of any significant change. So I love him as a person, I can see why he has become this way and why he acts the way he does, but then my feelings towards him are dashed when he acts unkindly or in a way that is less than loving... .it is like a person that feeds a wild animal every day, but being wild the animal attacks this person... .eventually, if this continues, the person will sooner or later decide it is not worth feeding the animal, as it hurts when they are being attacked. Probably not the best example in the world, but hopefully you get my drift. The animal could be a lovely soft furry something or other but it is nevertheless wild and you cannot tame it.

However, I do think that we act as mirrors to our partners. If we can be more patient, often we will receive this in return. I actually got a compliment tonight, it is so rare, I almost missed it and when I asked him to say it again, he found it difficult... .I didn't get the full version the second time but I got the drift of it... .earlier he said some things that make it obvious to me that he needs to feel good about himself and so it is not too hard for him to feel inadequate... .all this makes me feel for him, I can see him trying... .sometimes so hard. I would never have willingly got involved with somebody like this though, he is such high maintenance... .sometimes I just want a big old comfortable teddy; surely relationships are like that sometimes? Why are BPD's such hard work?

I am rambling a bit but I am tired, I have to write a reference for a staff member, do up a sign for a job vacancy, plus study, etc. I asked him to do the reference (he is supposed to be the director, well on paper anyway!) and he just says that he might say something she does not like... .so I have to do it. If I say something she does not like... .tough cookie, I am doing her a reference, aren't I? Why are BPD's lacking in confidence so much? It is like they are from a different planet, like Mr Bean! 
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« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2009, 09:20:00 AM »

Excerpt
Mr Bean

Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) Smiling (click to insert in post)  or     don't know which one!  So funny. 

Foiles
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« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2009, 11:12:34 AM »

Well this certainly applies to me.  Excellent article and thank you UFN.

I can really identify with drawing the distinction between "forgetting" and "letting go."  Well meaning friends may advise that we just forget about our formers or an incident for those who are staying or still involved in some way but like the article says, it's like trying to forget the color blue.

Here's the point when I had started making decisions within the course of separation by asking, "Okay, these things (XYZ) happened. Can I just let go and concentrate on rebuilding the relationship or do I need something from her before I can be authentic with myself and thus, authentic with her and again, make an effort to rebuild?

As it turned out, I did need something from her that she was unwilling to fully acknowledge and make a real effort in.  At that point, I had to make a choice for myself and the choice was that I could no longer participate in a relationship with her without sacrificing my own core principles.  I'm not talking about being stubborn or even inflexible here, I'm talking about understanding how many sacrifices of my core principles I had made over the years thus abandoning myself and as the emotional sequence will always go when we abandon ourselves, my emotional investment for her went into extreme lockdown.

As those emotions open up at the end of our marriage I begin to feel resentments and anger and hurt for her but the most difficult person yet, the most important person to forgive... .is me.  It hasn't been until I have been willing to forgive myself not only for some of the ways I participated in the dance of damage with her but mostly in how I abandoned myself for the sake of feeling approval, loved and accepted from a person who is incapable of the basic definition of any of those things.

I did see it early on too but I kept going back and kept abandoning myself.  This has been a very valuable lesson that I have learned from a very dysfunctional relationship and a pattern that won't be repeated in my life.  Owning my own actions and choices but doing so g e n t l y, with myself allows me to let go of the damage I caused myself and forgive myself.  Also, my choices weren't driven by any form of maliciousness.  I was just looking for love.  (No I won't sing that song... .Laugh out loud (click to insert in post))  I was just looking for someone to walk through this life with who could share her life and share with me mine as we BOTH worked together through the easy times and the difficult ones and most importantly, someone I could trust with all my being.  That trust was breached and damaged very early on yet, I stayed... .and I played... .and though the outcome was predictable... .I didn't lose anything excpet many of my illusions.

It was and still is tough to let go of all the dreamy stuff at times but the most excellent manifestation of that process is that I get to become clear on what I DO need and get clear on what I CAN offer and dispite my ex's best efforts to strip me down to nothing, the discovery that I do have so much to offer and THAT... .I can build on, and THAT will be as much of a gift to the right woman in my life as she will be to my life.

Letting go is scary sometimes but the rewards are... .and will be... .so much better than living the way I was and with whom I was living.

Peace, UFH
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« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2009, 12:34:40 PM »

This is a wonderful thread and thankyou UpfromHere.  You spoke exactly what I have been thinking these last couple of days, be gentle on yourself and let the process flow.  I spoke to my undiagnosed BPD husband today and he still does'nt get it.  can't believe that I haven't made my mind up about him coming back.  Always black and white and he has got himself in such a mess financially but I'm not here to rescue him anymore.  i felt quite calm and I know for sure I am not going back to what I had before.  What was really ineresting he sees that I am as much to blame for his 3rd affair in 10 years and went on about what my behaviour was like in my last marriage over 20 years ago.

he still cannot see it at all and is more concerned about what my family think and my friends about him, that's why he says that IF we got back together then we would have to move.

It's been very hard he forgiving and forgetting.  I may have forgiven him the last two occasions but I had not let go and tht came out in my early contact with him in the two weeks after I found out.  What is interesting was he was surprised that I held any resentment to him.  Are they that emotionally disconnected? It would appear so and only because of this site and the support do I understand why.  I find point 4 of the five steps very relevant to me now and I am going to take full responsibility for everything in my life right now and my responsibility in allowing the behaviour to continue as long as it had.

Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) xoxox
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« Reply #25 on: May 27, 2009, 02:10:59 PM »

HI Up from here and Carnelian,

Thanks so much for sharing your heartfelt thoughts. I too am again feeling those exact sentiments and taking responsibility for my part in the dance. My H has been out of the house now for 4 weeks and I have learned so much about my part in this toxic enmeshment. 

It can be so easy to put the problems in the relationship on them since they are in fact the ones that cannot reason on anything, forget everything they do that hurts us. (how convenient) .  But through the information on the disorder, it seems like its a fact for many.  They do things to us (that we allow) and dont even realize how damaging it is for us.  And forget what they just said.  amazing...

So... .I guess it would be real easy to say, Yep, this person is really sick and of course they are the problem.  I would tell my H that when he is in a "normal" mood, we have absolutely no problems at all.  Nothing to argue about, his mood is stable, we can laugh about things, and then BAMM! The hammer drops and the mood shifts to extreme anger in the blink of an eye.    "wha happen?"    And there goes the neighborhood!  I am hiding out in the bedroom avoiding his backlash and just 5 minutes earlier we were conversing and having a fine time.   It was so stressful.

So even though we know that they certainly are the part of the relationship with the huge malfunctioning mental disorder, it feels like we arent far behind them, because we continue to allow them to treat us so badly...

But, it doesnt pay to blame ourselves or them.   We just needed to be more educated in what we were dealing so we could better equipt ourselves in handling it properly. 

But even now after being emotionally beat up,  we can use the knowledge of the illness and let things from the past go, realizing it wasnt our fault.  We were for the most part living in ignorance.

Lets just strengthen our resolve to change the old patterns of our toxic thinking and continue to work on ourselves.   

And we dont have to waste any additional time wondering why they didnt see it.   We know why.   They have a serious mental disorder.  No need to waste any more energy wondering "why?"

We can just move forward with the wisdom that we have gained and keep our energy positive and be true to our authentic self and never let anyone mistreat us again.

Thanks everyone for all the great heartfelt comments.  This site is really great! Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #26 on: May 27, 2009, 07:59:30 PM »

he has got himself in such a mess financially but I'm not here to rescue him anymore. 

he sees that I am as much to blame for his 3rd affair in 10 years

Carnelian... .I read your post and I had to mention two things. If he goes down financially when you are both married, he will most likely drag you down with him. Are you prepared for that to happen? It is fantastic when you can unravel yourself so that you are no longer responsible for him... .but when it comes to something like being in a mess financially, that can hugely impact on you... .and that is a bit different. For example I have pulled away from doing unnecessary things from my uBPDh, he is a big boy now, he can make his own dental appointments, etc. but if he does something which could have an impact on our company... .I am there in an instant, like Superwoman, to maintain the status quo... .as that would have a big impact on me... .after all it was with  my resources that we bought it!

Secondly, if my uBPDh had even one affair, he would be OUT! BPD or not, loyalty is not negotiable in any of my relationships. If for some interplanetary reason he found a way to get me on-side after the first one, by the time a second one came along, I would be but a cloud of dust in his life. Some BPD people make it easier for you to leave, the worst types I think are the ones that make your life a living hell but they are loyal and trustworthy... .not really breaking those all important marriage vows but nevertheless slowly turning you into a psychotic shadow of your former self... .if you allow it, that is.   We are all on different paths... .just you deserve soo much more than BPD AND infidelity  xoxo
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« Reply #27 on: May 27, 2009, 08:22:03 PM »

My H has been out of the house now for 4 weeks and I have learned so much about my part in this toxic enmeshment. 

Oh how I dreamed for even a weekend away from this insanity, so I could gather my senses and see through the fog... .but four weeks? It is amazing that you have been allowed that much space  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)  I thought part of their weaponry was to keep you in isolation, away from friends and family and totally to themselves while they feast off your sensibilities until you became an emotional skeleton! Well that is what NEARLY happened to me! I managed to see a ray of sunshine coming through the dark shroud and lunged towards it! I developed a new circle of friends, a hobby - heaven forbid and went back to my studies  Smiling (click to insert in post) All this was done to my uBPDh's wailings of abandonment but I was literally being smothered. So now he does his thing within my larger boundary, however it is still debilitating. So several weeks ago, I gave our relationship a month. I was soo over everything, he was really horrible. I didn't see anything happen for nearly 3 weeks. I was quite aghast, there was this man saying that he loved me and yet doing absolutely NOTHING? After 3 weeks he changed. He became like he was when I first met him, very attentive and giving to me, for a change. I was taken aback but loved it. Then after a week, he decided it was all too much effort and dropped it. I was really hurt as I thought he was trying to change. Through counselling he is sporadically trying to be different actually admitting last week that when he gets close to me he feels 'unsafe'.

Anyway the reason I am telling you this is because when I change... .he changes. Everything begins with us... .we choose to dance with them for a reason. My biggest problem right now is that I only changed when I could not stand it any more... .so he is starting to change, but is it too late? I am not sure if I still love him... .he has done so much emotional damage. The lesson for us nons is not to wait until it is too late to change our own behaviour... .and if they do not change? Well that is another story in another thread.
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« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2009, 08:57:51 PM »

I could no longer participate in a relationship with her without sacrificing my own core principles. 

Up From Here, there were so many great things that you said in your post, it was difficult to know which one to focus on!  Smiling (click to insert in post)

However, we do tend to keep going back over the same lesson in life. I too kept buying back into the relationship and sacrificing parts of myself in order to do so, always consciously, as on some level I knew it was wrong, but I still had not mastered the art of being completely true to myself. Perhaps we just need the practice, like 'trainer wheels' for our new emotional development?

I tried so, so many times to get him to change... .in the end I gave our relationship a month, I had had enough and I was wanting to get out but still being fair to him by giving him one last, more formal, chance to change. He took three weeks out of that month to change but then, out of the blue, he did... .a bit. Perhaps he realised I was really serious this time? Maybe he actually thought about things this time, who knows, just that he changed. Now without sounding facetious here, this piqued my interest, rather like a scientist working with chimps for any signs of human behaviour  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)  BUT he did change.

This has now blown my plan, I had it all worked out, where I was going to live, what I would do with the restaurant, etc. and then he changed. So now I am in the "what if" phase... .what if I left and he got better? What if I left and threw it all away just when it was starting to heal? This is a dangerous place to be. However I am just seeing how things pan out for the next few weeks... .he can either keep it up or not... .if it does not come from the heart, we both know it will just fade out and go back to what it was and it was simply a final desperate attempt to avoid 'abandonment'. Only time will tell... .

Letting go is scary... .however I wish he would make it easier for me by being one of the BPD's who rage and have affairs... .he is a cluster 2, high functioning BPD who has a sensitive side and morals... .sigh! Having said that... .he is completely ego-centric, like an adult child, and all I wanted was a male partner and someone to love (I'll sing that song with you  )  You will be fine on your own, you obviously have a lot to offer somebody... .I have no fear of being alone, at least you have a full version of yourself!   Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #29 on: May 27, 2009, 09:03:46 PM »

Hi 9 reasons,  

Well its hard for them to isolate you and smother you when you have taken steps to legally make them leave the premises.  Yep I had to finally call the Police and get a R/O to make him see that I was serious.   Otherwise, 4 weeks would of been a big Ole Pipedream...   You know... .  So it was the only way.  I had been telling him for several months to get help, I cant take the verbal abuse and intimidation and my nerves are FRIED>>> but it just got worse.  Oh he tried once in a while to be nice but it never lasted.  

So like you said, when your the only one trying and making any effort to care for the condition of the relationship it wears on you bad...   And I had a few episodes of physical abuse also so I wasnt playin anymore.  45 y/o almost 46 and this body is way too old to be going thru those types of changes.  I pleaded with him to get help but it fell on deaf ears...  oh he told me... "your the one that needs help!"  So that was my answer.   Then the night I called 911, he was yelling at me in my face, cussin and hollerin and just going off for who knows what...  it was really way beyond tolerable.   I said "if you dont stop yelling at me in my face, im calling the police."   Go ahead!  Call em!  Call em.   You  Bullet: comment directed to __ (click to insert in post)#@$$@###  !  So I did.  And then he left our home two days later after my filing of the R/O went thru.     So how sad to have it come to that but it was him or me.  I was literally going insane...  

I could barely drive or think at work.   craziness.   So now he is in therapy...  go figure and leaving messages on how miserable he is and crying to come home and how he wont yell at me anymore.  Boy do I wish it could be that simple.  But now that I have learned so much about his illness, there is no way I can get back in that poison.   He has to be in therapy for a long while and have some serious progress reports from who knows who... and even then...  its so scary...   I just dont know what else to think.    I cant let myself lose my mind over his illness.   Its just too high of a price to pay.    

So I feel ya girlfriend on every corner.  This is a difficult time for us and a tiring journey.  I wish we could of married healthy men.  But then again, we wouldnt have learned so much about the disorder, and how to show empathy and patience and helping others by setting bounderies and our own personal soul searching.  So either way you look at it, we can come off victorious in this battle.   How ever it ends up.       talk to ya soon    
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