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Debbie
My heart goes out to you. I have been married to the same man for 36 years, however out the early years had quite a bit of the stuff you talk about and I still have occasional relapses. Here is one thing that worked for me. We’d been married long enough to have 2 kids and he did do something hurtful so I told him to get out, it was over. He took a deep breath and looked at me and said, “If we can’t work it out with each other, who are going to work it out with?

I immediately remembered what it is like to look for someone you like and maybe they don’t like you or they like you but you don’t like them, then getting know each other, then committing. It was a scary prospect to do all that over again. Besides something told me he was right. If I collapsed now, my future would be far more gloomy. Actually that statement told me that he was committed to working it out and we both had work to do. I felt lucky I was with someone who wanted to work it out. I made it my motto for our marriage. We are both “fiery” people, but we made it work!

The next thing I learned was from a parenting book, “Children the Challenge” by Rudolph Driekers. The sentence, “Withdraw from the conflict” has stuck with me ever since. I was always one to engage and do battle, and still have to control that tendency, especially if I feel wronged. So one day hubby was all cranky, and I did NOT rise to the bait, I just went to another room and did something else. Pretty soon he came in and apologized. Wow! That was the first mean words between us that had not escalated. I was really proud of myself, so I used it a couple more times and it still worked. Then I told him what I was doing. And he liked it. We kinda of agreed that if one was cranky, the other would not take the bait. It reduced the disharmony a great deal. Now when we were both upset it didn’t always work, but we have had 30 more years to perfect it and haven’t, but we are better.

The third thing I fixed, that helped BIG TIME was to practice gratitude. I used to call my sister and griped about everything that didn’t get done around the house, the way he budgeted the money and a lot of other stuff. One day my sister got tired of it and told me to shut up get off the phone and make a list of at least 5 things I liked about him.
I did it while seething with righteous anger. I wrote 5 things, then thought of a couple more and a few more and got to 25 things in that one sitting. Here is the magic part. About item number 5, I began to soften my attitude. As I kept listing things I started feeling really soft toward him. I realized that griping about the screen door wasn’t worth getting a divorce over, so I may as well shut up and I did. Plus I wanted to give him a big hug for all of his good traits.

I still seethe with anger on occasion, but what I do now is say it out loud “I am so angry, I want to explode” SAYING it instead of acting it out. If I can say that much, I can usually pull out and go recover by myself. Also I used it on my kids and hubby. “I see you are really upset. Let’s take a break and talk about it when you are calm”. I love the feeling of control- it feeds itself. If I am paranoid about something, I SAY it out loud. Then the discussion is about that feeling, not acting out on that feeling.

Here is my 4th suggestion: Look at the possibilities for downsizing the borderline stuff just a little. Chip away at it here and there. Remember it is on a continuum and you do not peak 100% of the time. You have ups and downs. You have LOTS of times when you do not act out at all. Give yourself credit for those times. Just increase those times a little. Besides all personality disoreder tend to diminish with maturity, so think of just helping it on a little. Don’t think you have to tear down the mountain to get over it, just find a path you like.

Fifth: When you have a relapse, tell yourself if was a relapse, that you have been doing better and will continue to do so.

These were lessons I learned when I was ready, so there is no guarantee they will appeal to you, but when I can keep them in play, I keep my neurotic side at bay, for the moment!

I do have a couple of cognitive things I do, to work out thoughts I know are wrong, but this post is getting quite long. If you can relate to this, let me know and I will continue.



[This message has been edited by KTUC (edited 10-20-2003).]





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