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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.
[QUOTE=simplyD;4305647]I just want to update everyone on my progress, and I am proud to say... I finally packed my bags and left him.. and I want to thank those of you who have helped me through much of this... letting me know that I am not alone.

I took my name off the lease, but let him keep the furniture (to sell) to help him pay the last month's rent. I didn't have to, but I didn't want to leave him hanging... even after all he's done. Needless to say, he threw a tantrum saying that I'm abandoning him and that I never do anything to help him... which is just insane. He was so hostile and and juvenile that I was glad to be rid of him.

I am home now.. with my family.. who has always been so loving and supportive. It makes me wonder why it took me so long to leave. But when I think about it, I know that it was all part of his plan. He isolated me from my family and friends.. anyone who cared about me.. and put all kinds of terrible thoughts into my head... making me feel that I wasn't pretty enough, skinny enough, or just plain worthy of his "love"... even though he was the one lying.. and cheating. In fact, he was so manipulative that I began to believe it.

Relationships like these.. are toxic, and once you get sucked in, it's incredibly hard to leave... especially if you're like me... the kind of person that wants to nurture and help. Don't be fooled by "the good times," because we all know that the "bad times" are just... not worth it... not healthy.

From this relationship, I learned that I need to pay attention to red flags at the beginning of relationships... and not let them make excuses for bad behavior. Basically, I learned that I need to respect myself enough to not let anyone treat me badly. All I can do now is try not to be bitter, and move forward with my life. I know I deserve better. I've known for a long time. I've only been away from him for ONE day... and I can already feel my real self emerging. I can already feel myself healing.. and I can tell you, I am a much better person without him.. a happier person.

For everyone out there that's going through a hard time being with a person with BPD, I know that you keep waiting for this person to change.... and this is because you are a wonderful and compassionate person.. that cares... a little too much at times. When we care about or love someone, we want to believe the best in them. We want to believe that they can be the person we need them to be, but there is a difference between loving the idea of a person... and really loving them for who they are.

Please don't throw your life away.. waiting.. because it is very unlikely that they will wake up one morning and see the light. Take care of yourselves first. Leaving might be one of the hardest things you have to do, but do it... and tell someone that loves and cares about you.. what you're going through. Tell them that you need their help.. and if you live with the person with BPD... and are afraid of that person getting violent, call the police department and ask for an officer to do a "civil stand by"... basically, if you are afraid that it can get violent, an officer will come in and make sure that you are okay while you gather your things. Whatever it takes. The sooner the better. Good luck to you all.

**Just to be clear, I am not saying that all people with BPD are hopeless. I understand that many people with this disorder struggle with themselves incredibly.. and a lot of of the hurt they inflict on others are unintentional. However, I am just sharing my experience... and in my experience, even if the pain they cause is unintentional... it is no less painful.[/QUOTE]

I'm so happy for you. You should be very proud.:D

I wasted 5 years of my life walking on eggshells around my husband just because he could be nice 75% of the time. Our split is so confusing for some people because he seemed so sweet and so charming to them. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde indeed. I now have to listen to my mother tell me that fighting is normal in a marriage and it does not need to end things.

People don't realize these individuals are not capable of normal fighting with rationality and resolution. It's sick, toxic, make you feel insane fighting.

He's been to therapy years ago, but all they did was work on his anger management. They never diagnosed a real disease. It makes me want to pull my hair out when therapists or any doctors just treat the symptoms instead of looking for an underlying issue :mad:

It's VERY important to let someone know the other side of your loved one. I never really told anyone what he could be like because I was so ashamed, confused, and almost in disbelief that he could get SO angry and irrational about seemingly unimportant things.

Nobody believes you when you tell the truth! So instead of supporting you when you end the relationship they will tell you that fighting is normal! Learn better communication! Relationships take work!

His family knew the real him. They were the only ones besides me. He only hurt the ones closest to him.

I need to promote this this this a thousand times this quote!--

[I]Relationships like these.. are toxic, and once you get sucked in, it's incredibly hard to leave... especially if you're like me... the kind of person that wants to nurture and help. Don't be fooled by "the good times," because we all know that the "bad times" are just... not worth it... not healthy. [/I]

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