What's my line again?

  • 34 Replies
  • 1068 Views
*

Bo-Peep

  • New Member
  • *
  • 23
What's my line again?
« on: May 15, 2018, 12:17:11 AM »
Things have been relatively peaceful lately between me and my PPDH. We have both been very busy with work and work related travel. I wouldn't say that we have been avoiding each other, just occupying our own space. Our conversations have been mostly pleasant and I have been able to use some tools to keep conflict to a minimum.

I knew that we needed to have a conversation about the fact that this weekend will mark the beginning of our busy camping season. We participate in outdoor activities that require us to camp a couple times a month, almost always with large groups of friends. The combination of late nights, drinking and lots and lots of other people mean that I can all but guarantee he will have a PPD meltdown at least once every weekend.

It always starts out the same. He's happy to be there, he's drinking heavily and socializing, and I am catching up with friends. Then, at some point, he decides that I have been ignoring him all night and that I possibly don't even love him and that I may be flirting or acting inappropriately, or that one of our friends is trying to get in my pants and why can't I see that?

He doesn't come to me and gently ask if I would spend some time with him. That would be too direct, I suppose. And according to him, he doesn't like to be vulnerable like that. So instead, he waits until he has become completely convinced of my treachery and unleashes hell on me. I'll be the first to admit that I don't usually handle this very well. Boom, it's a fight and I'm left wondering why he has to ruin absolutely everything.

But that's not really the point of this post. There is an order and even an explanatio to how he acts on these trips. Stress, social environments and alcohol are no PD's friend.

The reason that I wanted to bring it up with him tonight is to see if there was something, anything, that I could do to help him feel more secure and avoid this chaos this year.

He admitted that he often doesn't handle his emotions well in these instances, but stated that I needed to take ownership of the way I react to him when he loses his temper with me. Annoying, yes. But fair enough, considering how much time I am spending trying to do just that.  I accepted that ownership. I told him that I knew I could be more sympathetic to his feelings and remember that what is presenting as anger is really just insecurity.

Wouldn't it be great if that was the end of it? But it wasn't. It never is. Because I never take responsibility for anything and even though I literally just did, I usually don't and it took me too long and he had to listen to what he was doing wrong first and I never take responsibility and even though I literally just did, it took me too long and I usually don't and I never take responsibility for anything.... You know a circular conversation when you see one, right?

So here's the thing. While having this conversation, I once again felt that familiar feeling of talking to someone who is completely and totally insane. Nothing he was saying made sense. I can't even properly outline the conversation because it was so irrational that no one could read it. And all the while, he was telling me that I'm the problem.

Being in this relationship feels like playing a game that I never agreed to, and not knowing any of the rules. It's a sensation that I have never had in any other relationship. Knowing in my heart that I am sane, and yet still doubting it because our conversations are so convoluted that one or both of us must be crazy and he's positive it isn't him.

I am committed to working it out, but not if it means that I will spend the rest of my life avoiding conflict at the expense of my own happiness and taking a duck and cover approach to every situation that comes up.

I know what the toolbox says it feels like and I agree to all of those things. But is this the way it feels like for all of you? Do you think there is any hope at all for a happy marriage to someone with a PD or will it always just be a fight for survival and self preservation?

*

SonofThunder

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 524
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2018, 02:15:18 AM »
Hi BoPeep, Im sorry you are experiencing this with your mate.  Ive been married to my uPDw for over 26 years.  You asked the question: “But is this the way it feels like for all of you? Do you think there is any hope at all for a happy marriage to someone with a PD or will it always just be a fight for survival and self preservation?”. 

My answer to your question regarding my experience is that having no prior knowledge of a name to put on her crazy drama, my first 24 years was a constant battle (your fight for survival).  Now, being educated on PD’s and able to put a label on it, im in self mode.  Not really self preservation, but rather mental self protection and trying to now live my life in a way i want, regardless of what anybody else thinks, yet still married to my uPDw and trying to keep the calm with the toolbox.  Sorry, thats probably not what you wanted to read, but i wouldnt want anybody to repeat what I've experienced, so I want to be truthful to your question. 

SoT.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 02:16:51 AM by SonofThunder »
Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

*

Spygirl

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 129
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2018, 02:32:56 AM »
So sorry about the confusion and stress you constantly have to look out for. My H is the same more or less, especially with social pressure. General mistrust of my actions(and anyone else's for that matter), my needing to be vigilantly honest and accountable for ALL activities and actions. My H is also able to communicate his perception of things, or as I think of it, his "reality". It's usually not correct, but it's how he views the world. He is as committed to HIS view of reality, as I am to mine. what if someone told you yours was incorrect? Would you believe that person if it was someone outside the marriage? That is where your feeling of crazy comes in, IMO.
I separated from my H 5 months ago. I get good uninterrupted sleep, am no longer having panic attacks, and have a good grip on ACTUAL REALITY.
I had a therapist gently lead me to the truth of my situation.
The longer I am away, the less I want to go back. We are in marriage couseling currently, and I am STILL seeing PD reality even though he works at appearing normal and reasonable. He is still attempting to manipulate my reality, feelings, and actions. It never ends.  :sadno:

*

notrightinthehead

  • Host Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 2032
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2018, 04:50:31 AM »
For me the answer to your question was: yes. It was always a fight for self preservation (which I almost lost). I often thought I was the crazy one. And only lots of therapy, the strict application of bits of the TOOLBOX and this site here have brought me back from the brink.
I sincerely hope that the odds are better for you.

*

MRound

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 281
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2018, 10:06:18 AM »
I am in much the same situation as you.  I would like to stay married, but I can tell it is going to take a lot of strength on my part, and a discipline that I am not sure I have.  I spend way too much time thinking about it, yet I can see that I am getting better at managing the relationship.  I have observed that there are times in the year where his stress ratchets up for reasons I cannot identify.  This comes out as catastrophising, and in the past I engaged him as an adult as if we were problem solving —wrong, he just wants to get out negative emotions.  So now I listen, smile, and say “ oh, that is too bad.”

I think the key is probably give yourself some time Out of the FOG, and then decide what you want to do.  I believe I want to stay married.  My H is highly intelligent, is ethical and has a complementary intellectual (if not emotional) world view, and has been part of my life for a long time.   On the other hand, he can’t be my best friend or my emotional support, and we will never have the intimacy that some achieve.  For me the question is whether I am better off with him or would I be better off alone (I have no illusion that the  grass is greener—for all his accusations about me being unfaithful I can not imagine being part of a different couple). 

My guess is the best approach is to give it a little time and then make a decision.   If the decision is to stay, then stop questioning that decision and figure out what you need to do to make that possible.  You know who he is and what he does—he probably won’t surprise you unless there is a big change in your life.

My other advice is stop with the mea culpas.  I have realized that any acceptance of fault or frailty on my part is just an opening for him to vomit forth his emotions—something I need to protect myself from.  Of course I think a lot about how I relate to him and my kids, how to be kind and considerate.  I am a little bit of a Pollyanna, and sometimes don’t understand people’s motivations very well (I just had any epiphany about something that happened at Christmas, so you can tell it takes me a while). So I do try and put work into it, but there is a definite downside to sharing this with him—it does neither of us any good for me to apologize much, I just try to change my behavior.

*

Bo-Peep

  • New Member
  • *
  • 23
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2018, 10:54:19 AM »
Thank you for all our your input. I wrote my post in a state of disorientation and bewilderment, which is pretty much my default state after any conflict with him. It's the strangest thing. Through all my other relationships and even a divorce, I have never felt the kind of total confusion that I do with him. This was what always led me to believe that there was something going on that I didn't understand, which led to years of research and marriage blogs and books, which led me here.

I'm head over heals in love with this man. He balances out his uniquely bad qualities with his uniquely good ones. I'm not financially or emotionally dependent on him, which means that the only things keeping me here are love and a fierce commitment to never going through another divorce.

About 2 years ago, there was shift in him. He went from being reluctantly willing to take ownership of his issues to refusing to take responsibility for almost anything. He believes that I do not own my portion of our problems, and has decided that he will no longer take any ownership either. And like Spygirl said, his reality is just as real to him as mine is to me, maybe more so. It has left me wondering time and again, is he right? Do I do this? And so I practically jump on any opportunity to prove him wrong. I take responsibility for as many things as I can now.

The problem, like you mentioned MRound, is that this does not make a difference. I don't think his issue has ever been that I don't take responsibility for anything. I think it's that I pushed his worldview and the way he perceives himself too far. He's now in full on rebellion against any notions that he could be causing so many problems.

But it's a classic no win scenario. Refusing to take responsibility for my actions will only confirm his belief that I am militant (his word) and unreasonable. Apologizing and owning my shortcomings only serves to reinforce his belief that I am causing all this. And to be really clear, I am almost never the aggressor in our issues. "My side" of the responsibility to him is in the form of "you shouldn't have been doing what you were doing" (ie ignoring him, being in his way) or "you should have responded to my angry outburst better, but instead you escalated it by being angry back."

I can fall all over myself apologizing, or not, it doesn't really matter. But at the end of the day, finding ways to prove him wrong by taking what ownership I can, whenever I can, is somewhat validating to me. I guess it's really about proving something to myself.

You're right MRound. I do need to take some time with these new tools as my disposal and see how it plays out.

 

*

MRound

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 281
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2018, 11:36:03 AM »
The other thing is that you may find once you get more comfortable with the tools and how they can work in  your relationship, you may find that his behavior changes.  That is not the point, really, but I think many, especially those who have SOs who are troubled but not full on abusers, have that experience.  I have a theory about  my H’s brain chemistry/biology that I won’t bore you with, but it’s pretty clear that with him, blow-ups beget more blow-ups beget more hostility, anger and paranoia.  If I stay on an even keel, he seems to do better over all.  But this has taken a while and he still has ups and downs.

Good luck.  May things be better tomorrow :)

*

Bo-Peep

  • New Member
  • *
  • 23
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2018, 12:14:12 PM »
I completely agree that blow ups beget more blow ups. We used to have cycles of good and bad times that were linked to how I was responding to him at the time, something I had some understanding of well before discovering OOTF. But when my brother died last year, it seemed to trigger a very long , very dark time in our relationship. My brother introduced us, and was my H's best friend and co-worker. After his sudden death, both of us were miserable, ill-tempered, and resentful of the other for not providing more emotional support.

I have been trying to get our relationship back to a place of even short term stability ever since. But as a result of such a long, bad time for us both, I think we're working with a weaker foundation than before. There's just so much anger under the surface.

I can only hope that the tools and time will help. But for me, and I'd imagine for you, one minute I feel like I'll be okay. Like somehow I've figured it out and can handle this. And then a minute later the full weight of what I'm really dealing with comes crashing down on me and I'm hopeless again. This cycle has repeated itself with astonishing regularity for years.

*

Tammy728

  • New Member
  • *
  • 26
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2018, 11:29:36 AM »
Bo Peep, I had to respond to this because I feel your thread could have been written by me. We, too, are avid campers. We camp with my brothers and their wives 90 percent of the time. From my point of view, a person with a PD knows that their behavior is out of control.  They may deny it, but they know deep down inside that it's true. They can fake it for awhile, but when they are around others 24/7 the pressure to "perform" is overwhelming. 

Find activities that lets him have time to decompress. Just the two of you take a walk, ride bikes, or have a fire at your own site. Trust me when I say that he DOES need time to decompress. If he is in a really bad mood, hand him a fishing pool, tell him to go relax, and that you will be waiting at the site for his return.

Quote
He admitted that he often doesn't handle his emotions well in these instances, but stated that I needed to take ownership of the way I react to him when he loses his temper with me. Annoying, yes. But fair enough, considering how much time I am spending trying to do just that.  I accepted that ownership. I told him that I knew I could be more sympathetic to his feelings and remember that what is presenting as anger is really just insecurity.

Something about this sentence doesn't settle well with me. So he recognizes that he doesn't handle his emotions.  In the next breath he points fingers at you for how you react when he loses his temper? I hear him saying that he is allowed to blow up, but you must remain calm. My own husband use to say the same thing to me. Your husband may be feeling insecure, but that doesn't mean he has the right to use you as a pin cushion. He can go toss rocks in the lake, can go chop up wood, or go take his own walk and vent his frustration on inanimate objects. Please don't be a pin cushion for his temper tantrums. Being sympathetic to his feelings is one thing. Being sympathetic to his bad behavior towards you is another completely. 

Finally, I will tell you that death creates a tremendous amount of chaos with a PD person. The worst times in all our years of marriage came after the deaths of one of our family members. In hindsight, part of this was because I didn't have the strength to cope with him when I was grieving.  He didn't like this side of me. He tried to manipulate me back into getting us both to be consumed with HIS needs.  This is what it boiled down to for us. You see, I took ownership (unwittingly) for my husband. He depended on me to calm him down, pick him up, dust him off, and set him on his feet. During all of those years I was his pin cushion for every vile thing he wanted to throw at me. His excuse was that he couldn't "help it".  I believed him.

With help from a psychologist and years of counseling I realized that my husband COULD help it. And in reality, taking ownership of HIS needs left him feeling like less of a man. He didn't realize it at that time, but he does now. Taking ownership of HIS needs left me feeling like his mother. I didn't realize it at that time, but I do now.

I am so sorry for your loss. Even in the best situations relationships have lots of ups and downs. Its the ebb and flow of life. But having those ups and downs while grieving loss is quite painful and makes you wonder if any of this is worth it.  I know.  I have been there.

Good luck to you.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 11:34:09 AM by Tammy728 »

*

flybluebirdfly

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 496
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2018, 11:43:50 AM »
I also could've written this post.  Right down to the camping weekends drama.  I demanded we sell our trailer because the weekends were horrific despite him being so excited all week to go to the trailer and "decompress".  I had to manage 3 little kids + make the world perfect and calm for him and tolerate his alcohol induced moods.

Anyways.

The "I'm sorry that I overreact and get angry, but you also ____________" is not an apology.  The *BUT* followed every single acknowledgement by my ubdh (stbx) of his bad behavior.

You have the choice to accept this way of living or not.  He won't likely change, but we can change how we want to exist in the world with or without them.  That's what I have learned.  I think coyote is the most seasoned & experience OOTF'er here to advise on staying in a marriage successfully.

As the camping season is just starting to ramp up this is a good time to make some solid boundaries and enforce them from the get-go.  You can do this!

*

Bo-Peep

  • New Member
  • *
  • 23
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2018, 12:30:27 PM »
Tammy and FBBF,

The line didn't sit well with me either. And I rejected it at first. But there didn't seem to be a way to be heard without hearing him, and since I was already planning to work on my reaction, it seemed like an easy enough concession. Of course, it didn't really work.

Good idea to spend some time when we get there hanging out together. I will certainly try it. Unfortunately, as his paranoid perceptions do not really correlate with reality, this may not help much. It seems to me that he is constantly fighting the instinct to be suspicious, needy and jealous while he's sober, and after a certain amount of alcohol, he loses the fight and it all comes out.

We are barely speaking at the moment. I recognized a need to discuss some camping related boundaries with him before the season starts. I naively hoped that if I remained calm, asked him if there was anything I could do to be proactive in dealing with the way that he gets, and gently told him how lonely and desperate I've been on so many trips and how I just need it not to be that way anymore, that maybe we could have a positive outcome.

But no. Boundaries are a way of being militant and drawing a line in the sand and it's going to be the end of our marriage and I'm being really, really mean towards him and damaging our relationship.

The thing is, it's not the jealousy or paranoia that I can't deal with. Those issues seem like the simpler side of his PD. It's that I can't have a discussion about anything with him without ending up where we are right now. It's him telling me that I am treating him so badly, when I KNOW that I'm not. It's that he can't differentiate between what I am saying, and how it makes him feel. It's the awful things he's willing to say to me when he's upset, the temper, the coldness that lasts for days. It's the circular conversations, the living in the past, the blame, and the fact that he seems to be 100 percent certain of his righteousness, while I doubt my own all the time.

But I am new to OOTF and boundaries and the tools in the toolbox. What I'm experiencing right now is the inevitable backlash from me establishing boundaries and attempting to make changes to my behavior. He's feeling a lack of control and a fear of the unknown and I really never expected this to not blow up for a while. We'll have to see what we have when the dust settles.

*

Tammy728

  • New Member
  • *
  • 26
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2018, 12:45:05 PM »
Yes, one thing we forget to mention is that establishing boundaries DOES cause backlash. And it's likely that taking walks and other things won't work EXCEPT that it takes away the excuse where he accuses you of never doing things together. Those of us who love a PD person often looks WAY down the road. Try to avoid that. Try taking it one day at a time if possible.  How do you feel about writing down in a post some of the things you would like to say to your husband about boundaries you want to set? You said you are new to boundaries. It might help to toss them out here and see if others can help you establish some guidelines that will help you.  Remember, boundaries will threaten him because its a new way of coping that he won't like. Boundaries makes you responsible for you and makes him responsible for himself.

Have you told your husband you are setting boundaries? One of your sentences leads me to think that he is aware of this.

One thing for sure that I know is that this forum will help you lift the fog and will help you become a more emotionally stable YOU.

*

Bo-Peep

  • New Member
  • *
  • 23
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2018, 01:10:52 PM »
Yes, I have communicated them with him (very recently though), and I knew it would cause backlash, because everything causes backlash. I posted these on one of the other posts about boundaries last week, where a lot of people were sharing their boundaries:

1. I won't be yelled at, threatened, cursed at or belittled.
2. I will not entertain or indulge feelings of paranoia, doubt, jealousy or unreasonable expectations.
3. I will be empathetic to his concerns, but make the final decisions regarding my safety and well-being.
4. I will not enable, feel shameful of, or apologize for inappropriate behavior that is not my own.
5. I will not justify, argue, defend or explain my actions or perspective more than once.
6. I will not allow myself to feel victimized by his behavior and always keep in mind that I am in this relationship because I choose to be.

I gave him this list, after his initial response to the camping issue. I told him I didn't want him to think that I was making them up as a I go along, that obviously there are things that are left off this this list like infidelity and physical violence, but that they have never been part of our relationship anyway.

I told him that, as he should be able to see, a lot of these boundaries get crossed on camping trips, which is why it was so important for me to bring this up now.

He prickled at the list. Seemed to believe that I was going to leave him if he crossed any of these. I told him that these were not divorce-able offenses, and that I just wouldn't stick around or be subject to any of these circumstances while they were going on.

He still felt like I was being unreasonable. That boundaries aren't conducive to marriage. That we should have worked them out together. Ha. I explained that boundaries are personal and that he was free to set his own.

After he continued to be indignant, I asked if there was a boundary on this list that he felt like he was entitled to violate. He mumbled something about it being the principal of it that bothered him and then changed the subject.

*

flybluebirdfly

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 496
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2018, 02:02:59 PM »
I wrote a list out to my ubpdh and presented it in one of the marital sessions he insisted I attend.  The therapist made me read the entire thing outloud.  He had absolutely nothing to say.  I was sobbing by the end of it (my list was pretty extensive & involved sexual pressure etc, I have many a thread on that in my history). 

We walked out and he said "way to sabotage me in there, I have some thinking to do about what I want to do about this marriage".  The marriage imploded two weeks later.

I almost wish I had just formed the boundary invisibly, like never told him my list of concerns.   It got his back up and he was a real d*ck for days.  :(

*

MRound

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 281
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2018, 03:05:20 PM »
I’d be interested in what others say, but I have never communicated boundaries to my husband before hand, and when I am acting on them I don’t call them boundaries.  I cannot make him abide by rules, I can only follow my own.  Coyote says that one of his boundaries are that accusations of infidelity are considered abuse.  But my sense is that if his wife accuses him, or seems to be going down that path, regardless of the tone of the conversation, he simply removes himself ( I don’t know whether he says “that is abuse” to her, but I would guess not).  I wonder whether  her an advance notification of his boundary.   I know many people believe that explaining boundaries in advance prevents a PPD from being surprised,  but since most PPDs don’t recognize or take responsibility for their behaviors it has always seemed to me like just giving them another excuse to feel persecuted. 

I guess it goes back to the point that you can only manage yourself—you can’t manage them and they can’t manage themselves too well either.

I could be wrong about all  this, but it seems to work for me.  I make no deep apologies (I do make cursory ones as politeness requires), I do not engage in any conversations about feelings or motivations with H (mine or his, although sometimes DSs’), and I try not to ask him how he is feeling (unless I know he is sick,), why he asked a question or why he did something.   Any of those topics tend to bring emotion and  drama that is like an addictive poison to him.

*

Tammy728

  • New Member
  • *
  • 26
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2018, 08:21:31 PM »
I am on the same side of the fence as MRound. I don't communicate boundaries to my husband before hand and don't describe them as boundaries. I asked you if you shared them with your husband because something in your thread lead me to believe that you told him in advance. 

I look at boundaries the complete opposite. First, I don't view boundaries as a set of rules for HIM to follow. They are a set of rules for ME to follow. This is what I mean. I am going to play devil's advocate for a minute about your list.

1)  You say you won't be yelled at, cursed at, belittled, or threatened. Do you have a way to control or stop someone else from doing those things?  I don't see how you could control another person to that degree. What you CAN do, however, is say "You are yelling at me and I don't like it." then walk away. Remove yourself. THIS is something you can control.

2)  This one is a statement about what you will and won't  permit from him.  Here is a question, you stated what you won't entertain or indulge certain behaviors, but what boundary will you set?  What will you do?

3) This is getting closer to being a boundary in my opinion. You are saying that YOU will make final decision as to your health and well-being. No one else has the right to make those decisions but you. Can you share some examples of what you will do in certain situations?

4) You saying what you won't do for inappropriate behavior that isn't your own. That sounds very good. What will you do if these things you outlined in #4 occur?

5) this is another good rule for you to follow. What will you do if these things occur?

6) Good job. You won't allow yourself to feel victimized by his behavior. Good for you. What will you do if his behavior threatens you?

Your list focused on his behaviors. My questions removes the focus from him and puts the focus on you and on how you are going to protect yourself.

Boundaries are so difficult to initiate and so hard to understand. They are backwards from what we initially think they are. But they are crucial in any relationship. While I completely understand where you are coming from with your list, what I see is a set of rules you are giving him to follow. After reading your list I know what behavior you expect from him and what behavior you won't tolerate, but I don't know what your solution will be to those behaviors. I don't know how  you will defend yourself esteem. And  putting your husband on the receiving end of your list and making him aware of it could cause him to view them as threats and ultimatums, and like you expect him to be the only one attending to the needs of the relationship.  I know that's not your intention, but it's probably how he saw it.

Boundaries are a set of rules for YOU to follow in a given situation. You can't control him. If you stop short by only telling him what he can't do, you will continue to be abused. You must look for a way for you to get yourself out of the situation. This is the reason I asked you if you communicated your boundaries to him. The boundaries must be for you and for your benefit. It's not a list you give to him, but a mental list you give to yourself.

Does this make sense?
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 08:40:09 PM by Tammy728 »

*

Bo-Peep

  • New Member
  • *
  • 23
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2018, 10:28:51 PM »
It makes total sense, and thank you for all the feedback. I am in a pretty lonely place, still trying to come to terms with a lot of this stuff, and this forum has become a lifeline for me.

I understand all the potential advantages and disadvantages of communicating boundaries vs keeping them to myself. Ultimately, due to the nature of our relationship, his way of processing things, and after a lot of consideration, I decided it was necessary to communicate them to him. I was never under any illusion that there wouldn't be backlash, but looked at it as "tearing off the band aid," and letting him get a full understanding of where I was, getting really upset all at once, and then moving on.

It is very hard to word boundaries in a way that doesn't make them seem like they are about controlling someone else's behavior, as they are being created in response to someone else's behavior,  but I did try to look at it as setting up a perimeter around myself, that when crossed, tells me that I need to react protectively.

When he belittles, demeans, loses his temper, etc, I will leave the area. He's free to continue doing it, but I won't be there to hear it. I won't return until he has calmed down. I won't lose my temper in return or escalate the problem.

His paranoia leads him to question me about conversations I've had with others, prod aspects of a story I tell him that he thinks doesn't add up, randomly ask me if I'm seeing someone (totally conversationally), insist that I'm displaying "classic red flags" of someone who is having an affair, tell me to "behave" myself when I leave to meet a friend or go out of town for business, etc. He thinks these things are normal things to say and think, in spite of the fact that I have never given him any reason to distrust me. I get so defensive that I tend to over explain myself, provide more details than he's really entitled to, and generally try to reassure him that I am trustworthy. He will likely never stop this behavior. But I won't be sucked into it anymore. I won't over explain. I won't provide more information than he's entitled to. I won't try to prove how trustworthy I am.

He believes that I am naive about the world, particularly about the dangers of other men ( I promise you, I am not). He doesn't just warn me of potential danger, he tries to prohibit me from doing things he deems unsafe. Example: I call from the hotel I'm staying in for business. I mention I had dinner at the restaurant next door. He asks if I sat at the bar. I say yes. He says he doesn't want me going back there. That there are a**holes everywhere who could get me drunk or slip something in my drink. I resent that A) he thinks I'm going to allow strange men to buy me drinks and b) this man is telling me about the dangers of being a woman, as if I haven't lived with them my whole life, and c) he thinks that his judgement about what is safe and what isn't is better than mine, even from hundreds of miles away. I usually end up promising I won't do whatever he has forbidden. But I'm not going to do that anymore.

I find myself apologizing for him when he acts inappropriately, like when he takes some harmless joke someone makes out of context and snaps at or threatens them. I also tend to isolate myself in social situations when I think that rejoining the group may lead to him embarrassing me. I won't apologize or be embarrassed by his behavior and I won't isolate myself. If he wants to make a spectacle of himself, he is free to do so.

I won't JADE. At least not more than once. No more circular conversations with me repeating my perspective, motives or truths more than once. I will state them only one time, and he is free to believe me or not.

As far as being victimized, this is a mindset. He has never been physically abusive. When he calls me horrible names, accuses me of terrible things, loses his temper, tries to isolate me, I have always had a tendency to sink into a victim state of mind. I feel like I don't have any control of the situation. But it isn't true. I do have control. I can leave temporarily or permanently. I don't have to let his actions have that much control over me.

These boundaries are twofold, but I chose only to include the boundary itself, for brevity, and because my reactions may vary based on circumstance.

I have explained to him that these are a set of guidelines for me, which only affect my behavior. These are not about punishing or controlling him, but rather, protecting myself. I hope that he will come to realize that this is true, and it will eventually become normal and ease some our worst interpersonal conflict. At the very least, I hope it will help keep me sane. But we'll see.

*

SonofThunder

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 524
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2018, 11:08:38 PM »
I wrote a list out to my ubpdh and presented it in one of the marital sessions he insisted I attend.  The therapist made me read the entire thing outloud.  He had absolutely nothing to say.  I was sobbing by the end of it (my list was pretty extensive & involved sexual pressure etc, I have many a thread on that in my history). 

We walked out and he said "way to sabotage me in there, I have some thinking to do about what I want to do about this marriage".  The marriage imploded two weeks later.

I almost wish I had just formed the boundary invisibly, like never told him my list of concerns.   It got his back up and he was a real d*ck for days.  :(

In my opinion, communicating boundaries to a PD is like giving ones adversary your battle plans before the fight.  PD’s will find holes and ways to try and manipulate or get you to fail at them.  Telling a PD the boundaries allows them to plan for or distort your desires for yourself and try and make themselves the victim.  Im all about silence, planning and implementing and thinking ahead about possible reactions to a boundary so i have other boundaries to enact as things may escalate from them running into my first boundary.  SoT
Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

*

flybluebirdfly

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 496
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2018, 07:24:46 AM »
SoT - ya it was a real rookie mistake.

IE my boundary about him pressuring me for sex every 12 hours was twisted around to “I give him more attention and initiate daily so he doesn’t have to”. I was honestly just left scattered and thinking “wait, wtf??” 

*

Tammy728

  • New Member
  • *
  • 26
Re: What's my line again?
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2018, 11:50:39 AM »
You added some valuable insist, Bo Peep. Many people tend to create and state their personal boundaries. However, it's the follow through that counts.  When you initially typed your list I saw many things you were telling him he couldn't do. I didn't see how you intended to follow through. Your next post helped clarify your intentions.

Quote
As far as being victimized, this is a mindset. He has never been physically abusive. When he calls me horrible names, accuses me of terrible things, loses his temper, tries to isolate me, I have always had a tendency to sink into a victim state of mind. I feel like I don't have any control of the situation. But it isn't true. I do have control. I can leave temporarily or permanently. I don't have to let his actions have that much control over me.

THIS is a great boundary. You cannot control his behavior but you can control how you react to it. When he becomes emotionally abusive, you will leave. The LEAVING part is the follow through to the boundary that you are setting for yourself. The follow through was what I didn't see in the first list.

Many people view boundaries as a set of rules that others must follow. If your husband is anything like mine, he feels threatened when he thinks others are trying to control him. My first stab at boundaries years ago was telling my husband he was no longer allowed to verbally abuse me.  He quickly showed me that I was wrong.  It took me time to realize that I couldn't tell him how to treat me. I had to show him with my response. I had to show him at the time the behavior occurred how I would react every time he verbally abused me, When verbally abused, I turned my back and walked away saying, "I realize you are upset, but you have to find another way to vent your frustration."  When you view boundaries as a set of rules YOU will follow in any given situation, you begin to take charge of your life.

Our husbands (unfortunately) have the right to behave any way they want to. On the flip side, we have the right to be treated respectfully. In time, my husband learned that certain behavior on his part consistently came with predictable repercussions on my part. Through all the years of therapy I went through alone and with my husband, the biggest change in our marriage came when I learned to respect his right to be himself while asserting my right to protect myself. Trust me when I say that he found himself alone A LOT at first. In time he realized he better change if he didn't want to spend the rest of his life alone.

PS, it shows I am a new member here. I actually was part of an original group called the NOOK that goes back more than 18 years ago. I am telling you this because I want you to know that, even this far down the road with a diagnosed BPD/BP man, there are times that things get rocky. They are infrequent, but they still occur. His mental health issues nearly destroyed us.