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Relationship Health Message Board


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Simply, please listen to Della. She is giving you very good advice.[QUOTE=simplyD;4243918]I just really need to talk to someone about this... it's not healthy to keep it inside all the time...[/QUOTE]I'm so sorry you are going through so much pain. I will be glad to join Della in talking with you about it. I was married to a BPDer and lived with her for 15 years so I am able to share my experiences with you.[QUOTE]I used to be a really outgoing and bubbly person before I met him and now I'm just depressed and exhausted all the time.[/QUOTE]You stopped being yourself about 18 months ago, about six months after you started dating him. For the those initial six months, he likely was so infatuated with you that his anger was not triggered by you (i.e., the infatuation temporarily suspended his fear of your abandoning him). Yet, when the honeymoon ended (i.e., his infatuation subsided), the anger he has carried from childhood started to be triggered by little things you said or did. That is when you started walking on eggshells -- not being your true self -- to avoid triggering his rages and abusive language. You will be surprised how quickly your old self returns after you leave this relationship.[QUOTE]When we are good, we're REALLY good... until he does something hurtful again.[/QUOTE]That is why they call it a [I]toxic relationship[/I]. Keep in mind that this toxicity is not something HE is doing to you. Rather, it is something you two are doing to each other. It takes two willing people to sustain a toxic relationship -- and emotionally healthy people are not willing to do it for very long.

His contribution to the toxicity is obvious. Yours is much less obvious because, with him being an unstable person, you are the glue that holds the relationship together. You do that by enabling him to avoid confronting his disorder and seeking therapy to learn how to control his emotions and how to do self soothing -- something the rest of us started learning when we were four years old.

Sadly, his emotional development became frozen at that age. This is why Della correctly says that you've been living with a man who is the emotional equivalent of a yound child. You, then, are an adult who has become a [I]soothing object[/I] for a man with the emotional development of a four year old. As such, you are impeding his progress by enabling him to avoid learning how to do self-soothing.

I say this not to be judgmental -- after all, I chose to be an enabler for 15 years, far longer than your 2-year adventure. Instead, I say this to empower you with the knowledge that you can end the relationship at any time and that doing so is in his best interests as well as yours.[QUOTE]At first, I felt that with enough love, I could open his heart.. and change him....and while I have seen some improvements, he has a long way to go.[/QUOTE]Instead of getting better, he likely will get worse. Each year that goes by, his resentment will build for your failure to make him happy. Although he can learn to better control his emotions in a therapy program targeted to BPDers, that would take years of hard work. It is highly unlikely he will be sufficiently self aware to commit himself to that task.

The reason is that nearly all BPDers are ego syntonic, i.e., at a conscious level, they believe their behavior is fine and other people are to blame for their unhappiness. In this regard, therapist Shari Schreiber says you have a better chance of flying to the moon strapped to a banana than getting a BPDer to stay in therapy long enough to make a difference.[QUOTE]I wish I had the courage to just leave... and I wish he had the courage to let me go.[/QUOTE]A lack of courage is not your problem.
Most likely, you are a caretaker like me, i.e., you likely have strong aspects of codependence in your personality. The term "codependent" is very misleading. In nearly all respects, the codependent people I've met are fiercely independent and courageous. They will be working full time, taking care of three kids and five dogs -- and still go out dating, hoping to find a mate to take care of too.

If you are a caretaker, you are burdened with strong feeling of [I]guilt and obligation[/I] that are keeping you from leaving. Those feelings -- as intense as they are -- are false because, in leaving him, you have nothing to feel guilty about and have no obligations (because you cannot fix him and are only doing him harm by staying).[QUOTE]His public persona is just so charming that everyone either thinks I'm crazy for feeling the way I do or crazy for staying with such a "nutcase,"[/QUOTE]Yes, I understand. Once you've told your friends enough detail to convince them he has a serious problem, they switch immediately from thinking you are crazy for complaining about a perfect man to thinking you are crazy for tolerating such verbal abuse. They cannot understand that, for us caretakers, it is extremely important that we feel desperately needed by someone.

The problem is not that we want to help people. That is admirable. Rather, the problem is that we are willing to keep helping when it is to our great detriment (and, in our cases, we are willing to keep "helping" even when it is to your BF's detriment and my exW's detriment). We do that because -- from a young age -- we have mistaken [I]being needed[/I] (for what we can do) for [I]being loved[/I] (for the people we already are).

Until you understand your motivation for staying in a relationship that is toxic to both you and your BF, you are at considerable risk. The real danger is not that you will stay with him. You likely will leave him soon. Instead, the danger is that -- given your need to feel desperately needed -- you likely will run into the arms of another just like him. I say that because I am the same way. It is difficult for me to feel loved by someone if they do not have an emotional intensity that indicates to me that I am dearly needed.

The danger arises because such emotional intensity usually is quickly found only in emotionally unstable people like your BF and my exW. Because they do splitting (putting them in touch with only one set of feelings at a time), they experience a "purity" of emotions that allows them to adore us in a very childlike fashion. Even now, I miss that intense passion and romance. I especially miss the adoration. Never mind that it lasted only six months.
Hey guys, I would just like to write my story, from the point of view of a person with BPD-traits. I'm on the other, 'bad', side of the story, and hope to show you a little of the struggle I have been going through. And that having BPD-traits doesn't make you a heartless person or means you'll always stay the same way. I strongly believe that if someone with these traits truly makes an effort, he or she can overcome a lot of it. It's a long story, but this is how it all went down.

I have inherited some nasty traits from my parents, which caused me to be basically socially incompetent and too much into drugs and doing nothing until around my 19th year of age. Turns out these traits are rather BPD-ish and ADD-ish, as my psychiatrist tells me. I don't have the full blown BPD, but there are elements of it there.

I've only really consciously discovered how bad I get once I was in my last relationship. My relationships before this one never seemed to go anywhere special, this girl is really different however and I've never felt this way about anyone before. After about 8 months this started to surface, and I started getting bouts of anger, where I would seriously attack her confidence and start yelling at her and being manipulative. Back then I couldn't make heads nor tails of what the matter was. She would always be very understanding and had a lot of patience, being a very emotionally solid person. Throughout the relationship I was able to slowly zone in on the problem, and started seeing a psychologist. At first this didn't work out, but I went back a few weeks after because the relationship was now seriously in danger. The psychologist sent me to another institute to get analyzed and treated. It would take months for me to actually be enrolled due to the institutes bureaucratic administration, months of precious time I could have used getting better. In the meantime, the relationship had it's ups and downs, but the tantrums were on the rise.

I then, after a year and 8 months, decided I didn't know how to be a father because I was scared of my symptoms and behavior, knowing her wish was to have children. I dumped her without thinking it through. A week later she let me back in and we went on for another two months, after which I did the same thing again. I freaked out after some argument we had and decided I was a broken person and wasn't able to provide the future she wanted. Again, this was sort of a fuzzy-thought, impulsive action, not contemplated beforehand.

After two weeks, she let me back in. We went on for a while, and then one night she asked me if I would never leave her, and I started asking questions in return like 'well how do you want to do this, and that' and so on, instead of just replying with a yes (which was what I really wanted, I just need so much reinforcement that there's a plan for us, where she's much more likely to take life as it comes, i.e. I'm more in need of control). After that happened she decided the next day that she couldn't be with me and that I could always call her if I was really down but that we shouldn't see each other too much for a while.

I felt really bad, was physically and mentally a wreck from the heartbreak. We had a long phone call on a Wednesday, and in the end she drove to my place and we spent the night and a part of the day. During this, she helped me confront my mother, who had also been interfering in our relationship, and for that matter had always interfered in everyone's business, always having a judgment ready, etc. I wrote a long e-mail, telling her I was through with her behavior, that she might feel happy the way she is but that I'm trying to help myself and change, and that she seriously needed to back off. My ex supplied the coherence and I supplied the story. After this I had to work and my ex went home, we had agreed not to see each other for a while but that I could still call like we had said before.

The Thursday and Friday were hell, I missed my ex like I've never missed anyone before, probably also a bit due to the fear of abandonment.

The Saturday after, I did another really BPD-ish thing: I went to a party in a really unstable emotional state and kissed another woman there, went home with her (already starting to think I was making a big mistake) but didn't have sex. I told my ex what happened the next day, and she told me that before I had told her what I had done she was planning a birthday holiday for us to go on together, that she had hoped to get back together with me after things had settled down a bit. Once again, I could only KICK MYSELF.

I had intensely hurt her, and had caused a situation that intensely hurt me too. It hurt so much, that my emotion just shut off completely. I tried to hold her and talk to her but she said everything I said sounded fake. I tried and tried but could not get to my emotions. Then it turned into an argument, and I walked out on her, to the train station. When in the train, she called me, asking if I could come back, on the condition that I would try harder to get to my feelings and be real to her. So I agreed, and went back, but there were no more trains to her place. She then picked me up at 02:00 in the night while she had to work in the morning. I think, dear readers, you can feel this one coming: I still couldn't reach my feelings that night. When we woke up, I immediately felt everything, and tried to grab her arm when she got up out of bed but she pulled loose and went straight for the shower, so I followed her, trying to hug her, pleading her to listen to me, but she didn't react so I went home.

We didn't speak for a month after that. In this month I have suffered a great deal because of my tendency to fear abandonment (BPD-trait). I texted her, called her, mailed her, but no reaction, until I stopped sending things, then she suddenly sent me a text message one morning when I was at a friends place and she had come back from some party, how she could look back on the relationship a bit positive for the first time. I replied that I was glad to hear that, and if she was ok. She relpied she was fine, and how I was doing. So I replied that I was still very sad and thought about her every minute of the day (which was true). I didn't notice her 2 replies to that until 3 hours later, the first: 'do you want me back or something?', the second: 'never mind, you don't seem to care about sending me something back, but it really doesn't matter anyway'.

Obviously she had been having a weak moment, I would much later learn why (will write it later). Upon reading the messages, I immediately phoned her, and it was a conversation that went from crying and placing blame on her part (not so strange after what I had done to her) and crying and trying to be humble on my part to us reminiscing about past times to us making a deal that we would talk in real life later and that I would text her about that the next day.

First she said she wanted to talk to me only after some weeks had passed, so she could get over me a little bit and look at things more clearly. But the next day she called me at work and asked me if I would like to watch some tv series on my birthday, which would then still be a good month away, this was in a much friendlier tone. I said yes, she told me not to have expectations, I told her I did, she didn't seem to mind.

The next day I briefly felt strange and sent a text saying that if she wanted me to let go I could maybe do that now and that things would be alright. She replied after that that she didn't want to see me anymore on my b'day because I had once again been setting the terms on things and she had wanted me to not let go and fight for her.

The week after this, I tried everything to see her, and eventually I thought well it's not working (I was doing bad, not eating or sleeping, losing weight fast..) so I will try to just see her to say goodbye normally. Of course there was an underlying feeling of hope that maybe something would change for the better when I would be standing in front of her after all this time. She invited me to say goodbye, and I went to her place. For two hours we sat there, her pouring all her anger over me and telling me all the reasons she didn't want to be with me and how she had felt better in the weeks she was ignoring me. She went to a little bit milder tone, and told me that (here it is) the night she had sent me the first text when she had come back from a party, she had kissed another guy too, and that that had probably triggered her missing me all of a sudden. After some chitchat, she kissed me, really totally out of the blue, and we ended up having sex, I had to work but came back after, we spent a few days together.

This was about one month ago. From that day on we have seen each other regularly, and I am really doing my very best to change. Therapy isn't going as planned, but that's because of the institute, the internal communication there isn't very good and things take ages to arrange. I do have a feeling of stronger control over my emotions, for the first time in my life I feel like having brakes.

The problem is, the brakes sometimes still malfunction. There have been a few incidents where I could not see what she meant when she was trying to show me I was doing something that made her insecure. I was always able to keep myself from going too crazy and hug and kiss her and try to stay calm, until two days ago. We had had an amazing weekend, totally love and peace, like it was in the beginning. She even had the courage to take me to see her bed-laden grandmother who I thought I'd never see again, and her grandmother told me she thought she would never see me again (she was always very fond of me, and I am very fond of her, she's really sweet).

An amazing weekend it was. Monday evening she phones me, sounded ok at first, talked a bit about how my grandfather had asked me for her number so he could call her, which she found funny. But then I heard a shiver in her voice, asking me why my facebook relationship status wasn't visible to her. She had removed me from facebook, and still hasn't added me because she's scared of seeing messages from other women, that in reality aren't there but Also, she had asked me to change my single status back to relationship. I guess that's how insecure I've made her. So I looked, and saw that I could simply see it there, not realizing it's visibility was set to friends only. So I said, well must be some kind of facebook error. Then she started getting upset, and said she just wanted me to fix it. I tried to look at other things and then came to the visibility setting. I told her it was on friends only. She agitatedly asked why, and I said that I had everything on friends only, for privacy. She said I still didn't understand her insecure feelings and reactions to things, and that she just wanted it to be visible to everyone. She then said I'm going to hang up now, sounding sad and tired. I was a bit flabberghasted and didn't know what to say. She then said angered, 'don't you have anything to say? I'm hanging up' and she hung up.

I called her back and told her I just didn't understand wat the problem was at first, and she told me I never understood her, and that she had already been on the crossreads and was very close to breaking everything off again because I wasn't there for her, and (she had said this before) that if I wanted her back I should expect at least a few months of her being unreasonable instead of me, because that's how insecure I made her and that I had to make that better by just being there and putting her on a pedestal, like she had put me before.

This is where my brakes failed, because instead of telling her everything would be alright and that I had already changed the status for everyone to see, I let a tiny nibble of frustration surface, which soon turned my whole behavior around to what I thought up to that point to have conquered. I started the yelling, manipulating and belittling. We really fell out and after I tried to get the conversation a bit back to baseline but she wouldn't have it. She had told me she had to wake up and see that I wasn't going to change and that I said I was doing my best as if I wasn't prepared to do even more. That she thought this argument had been an example of that, that I didn't love her because I wouldn't treat her that way if I did. I told her I really am doing my best, that this was a slip up, that things had been going really smooth compared to before for the last few weeks and that improving yourself never goes straight to the finish-line but that there will be a few setbacks along the way. She agreed but said she had been waiting for me to change for two years and was tired of the discussions and the arguments and wanted to be left alone and get over this. I felt cornered, didn't know what to say, said something along the lines of have it your way and we hung up.

Yesterday she called me in the afternoon, in her lunchbreak. I missed the call but immediately called back, 4 times to no avail. I called her in the evening, in my break (I work evenings), she picked up. I asked her 'you called this afternoon?', she said yes but why didn't you call back? I said I did, 4 times. Apparently a network error. Didn't cause any arguments, and she sounded a bit distanced but otherwise alright. We were silent for 5 seconds and then I confessed to her that I felt really bad about what happened, that I hurt her with it again and that I had disappointed myself and that it had scared me because I thought I was a bit further along than this. She said she knew and she explained really relaxed how she didn't think she could trust me if I would keep saying I would get better, only to throw a tantrum (even though this was no. 1 'real tantrum' after we started seeing each other again).

Basically, I told her I wanted to come yesterday night after work, so we could talk face to face instead of through the phone, the reception of which had caused translation errors more than once, and that I would make this better no matter what and that I would keep working at it and eventually things would be right between us again. She told me she didn't want to talk to me and she didn't want me to come. I had to work again so I told her I'd call her later.

Later that night, I called her again, and we had a little fuss, and she basically told me 'well if you would've really wanted to talk this over you would've come here after work, but you haven't, which is typical, it always has to suit your plan..', and so on. I told her that was ridiculous because she had told me in every way that she did not want to see me. She replied by saying that I should know her by now and that I should have decided to really go for it against all odds for once but that it didn't matter anymore. I told her I would come tonight, or tomorrow night. She told me it wouldn't matter because it wouldn't be my idea anymore (i.e. she had to suggest me coming against all odds), so I told her that every time she says she doesn't want me to do something, she says afterward she wanted it, and that I'll be there tonight or tomorrow night.

So this is where I stand now. Firmly believing I can conquer this, partially by teaching myself to keep my cool, which I have partially succeeded at, the only emotion I couldn't seem to slow down yet Monday night was irritation/frustration. Which turns out is the one thing I'll need to do in order to handle her insecurity and the behavior it brings.

I am going to her place tonight, I'm feeling tense right now, I hope for the reconciliation we always have once we can really talk and hug each other, but also know I can expect her to simply take her house keys back and send me home, resulting in me not seeing her for months and maybe forever.

I know I've become a lot better than before in a mere two month period simply by giving it conscious effort and working to modify my reactions and identify my emotions before I act, she knows it too. I am confident that things will get better yet, maybe not along a linear path and it will take a while, but have certainly made a giant change in my way of handling things and emotions. The thing is, she had said she's so close to the edge that I really have no space to err. And of course Monday night was the error.

So I hope I may once again beat all odds tonight and look forward to better days together, although I understand the chance is slim after everything that has happened and all the chances she's given me over the months. Also, I have doubts that what I'm doing by reeling her in is fair to her, am I wasting her time, making her wait for me getting better? Am I putting her through too much pain even though I'm really confident? She is going to be 30 years old next year. It just seems that every time I decide to back off, she tells me I shouldn't have done that, and to fight for her.

Wish me luck..





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