"Is It Enough?" "Enough is Enough!" "Am I Doing Enough?" Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

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Mudita

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 :stars:

Frankly, I would steal any of my friends away from this situation if I knew about it. I absolutely fall in to numerous categories of people in terrible relationships. Yet here I am. I chose to not give up. I don’t know what to do. I think people are fallible. I love them anyway. I love everyone, even. I was raised by people who cared for others. Nurses. Volunteers. During the depression, my great grandfather left groceries on others’ doorsteps in the middle of the night so the families would have food and not feel obligated to repay anyone. Those are my people. I am an activist and my life's work is to advocate, educate and empower traditionally marginalized people. This includes my bf. I have done significant self-work. I have read a ton. I am a teacher that works with special needs, behaviourally challenged kids. I think that's one of the reasons I've been so patient, and sadly, can take a punch - I'm able to separate the behaviour from the person. I can separate the extreme emotions from the challenges coping with them. I see how my bf’s family failed him by not guiding him on how to deal with ANY emotional discomfort. I have “Applied Behavior Analysis” training and “Non-Violent Intervention/ Behaviour Management” training.

But I am no therapist.

And my bf isn’t my student.

As committed as I am, I just want a boyfriend some(most of)times.

I'm at about 4.5 years with my guy.  A while ago someone suggested he had 'affective emotional disregulation' and I should read the "Walking on Eggshells" series as the strategies can be similar. I read all I could. I really am not trying to be an armchair therapist, but he hits EVERY mark in the DSM-V for being a high-functioning borderline. I know that BPD is tough to diagnose, but EVERY mark in the DSM-V? And not ONE of his SIX therapists (in 7 yrs) has come close? That said, from my perspective, he IS one of those Borderline-Borderline types who can magically spin their way through anything. He's ridiculously charming and completely buys into his own yarns.

During my readings on emotional dysregulation (via books on BPD),  I took extensive notes, and tried to talk with my bf about what strategies might work for him when he's triggered. Maybe that was a mistake, but I think empowerment and self-advocacy are important. Of course he didn't want anything to do with any of the strategies that made him accountable or take responsibility for his actions. Nor would he work with me to come up with an appropriate safety plan for me when he's in a rage. I guess that was too much to ask for a (possible) BPD person who is not (yet?) undergoing treatment for the disorder. I'm not allowed to call the police as he could lose his job (understandable). He'll kill himself if I call an ambulance (the last time I did, the police showed up because they could hear him in the background and the police needed to make sure it was safe for the paramedics). His life will be over if I leave. But he thinks I'm a judgemental, self- important, entitled, a-hole jerk. He accuses me of feigning “victim” (even though he’s aggressive, but I'm too confident (stupid?) to buy into the “victim” label – for better and worse), but today he likened himself to being a black person (he’s white). WTF?!?!?! I thought I was going to leave today after last night (his birthday). I couldn’t get the restaurant he wanted to order from right, and he actually wanted to go out (we did, and had a party a few days ago). And how come I didn’t I know he’d already ordered from that sushi place before? I felt frustrated by the situation. He started yelling. I left the room, as it can be a little dangerous to stick around, now that I don’t literally fight back. I locked myself in my office. He broke through (I had a dresser in front of the door – he broke the lock a long while ago). He chased me around my dresser. He accused me of being “furious”. When I asked him to tell me specifically, what were the literal, observable behaviours were, he couldn’t answer and accused me of being caught up in minutiae.

BPD's disability deceives them.

That’s the beginning and the end in my mind.

I just wish I could always keep that at the forefront of mine!

I'm most definitely not perfect and there was a time I met his rage with rage. But I stopped. I have not crossed that line for a long while now. Ironically his indiscretions have become worse since I no longer fight back. He also doesn't apologize anymore. He doesn't try to fix or replace the things he breaks.

His new therapist seems to be making a little headway. And perhaps my bf is being a little more honest. A little while ago, the therapist suggested my bf was suffering from PTSD and is an alcoholic with anger issues. He’s also being treated for depression. Today the counsellor suggested my bf suffers from emotional disregulation. From my understanding all of these are common factors for those diagnosed with BPD, so maybe we're getting closer. The therapist doesn’t think he has BPD (reasoning is that he wouldn’t be able to handle his job. From my understanding, a borderline-borderline/ high-functioning borderline can be, and is, highly successful in their job), however he should consider Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. So regardless of the diagnosis, I'm taking this as a ‘win’. BPD or not, DBT is the solution!!! :D

Progress? Here’s hoping!

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Oneness

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Welcome to OOTF! I was with a (once) high functioning, undiagnosed borderline who ticked all the boxes for BPD...but was never diagnosed, even though he had been in therapy a number of times. He was diagnosed bi-polar, PTSD, he's an alcoholic...but he is highly intelligent, really charming, a successful con artist when it comes to manipulating others. He was high functioning most of his life, but our lives intersected when his was falling apart...he is an expert at self sabotage, highly impulsive, and does not know what CYA is...and his high intelligence can't make up for these deficits. I tried doing the work you did with mine, reading, trying to guide him,etc. but he did not have the strength to get the help he needed...in the end, denial was easier for him...but he lost me.

I am NC with mine now...over a year. I had no choice...enough was enough. I hit my limit, no more tolerance left for his behavior, his rages, his vindictiveness...it took me a long time to leave him though, my trauma bonds were very strong.

Sounds to me like your bf might be one of those rare BPDs who gets the treatment he needs. Of course, he has to commit to DBT, and it is hard work...no quick fix, but I think you know that. Wishing you and your bf luck, that he overcomes his disorder and you can be together.
It's better to love and lost, then to live with a psycho for the rest of your life.

If your presence can't add value to my life, your absence will make no difference.

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Latchkey

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Hi kittyran and welcome to OOTF,

I'm glad you found us. I'm concerned about your situation. Regardless of his ultimate diagnoses your BF seems to be getting worse in his behaviors no matter what you try to do to make things better.

:stars:

Frankly, I would steal any of my friends away from this situation if I knew about it. I absolutely fall in to numerous categories of people in terrible relationships. Yet here I am.
......

I guess that was too much to ask for a (possible) BPD person who is not (yet?) undergoing treatment for the disorder. I'm not allowed to call the police as he could lose his job (understandable). He'll kill himself if I call an ambulance (the last time I did, the police showed up because they could hear him in the background and the police needed to make sure it was safe for the paramedics). His life will be over if I leave. But he thinks I'm a judgemental, self- important, entitled, a-hole jerk. He accuses me of feigning “victim” (even though he’s aggressive, but I'm too confident (stupid?) to buy into the “victim” label – for better and worse), but today he likened himself to being a black person (he’s white). WTF?!?!?! I thought I was going to leave today after last night (his birthday). I couldn’t get the restaurant he wanted to order from right, and he actually wanted to go out (we did, and had a party a few days ago). And how come I didn’t I know he’d already ordered from that sushi place before? I felt frustrated by the situation. He started yelling. I left the room, as it can be a little dangerous to stick around, now that I don’t literally fight back. I locked myself in my office. He broke through (I had a dresser in front of the door – he broke the lock a long while ago). He chased me around my dresser. He accused me of being “furious”. When I asked him to tell me specifically, what were the literal, observable behaviours were, he couldn’t answer and accused me of being caught up in minutiae.

...

 Aside from all your training in dealing with behaviorally disturbed children and adults, which may help in many ways to de-escalate situations, your BF is dangerous. Are you living with him now?

DBT is a wonderful treatment mode but it is a long and involved process and doesn't guarantee success. The violence you are describing, being told you can not call the police, nor an ambulance while simultaneously being convinced that if you leave him he will spiral out is more than any person should have to deal with yet it's common with those involved with a PD partner and why so many of us have a hard time leaving.

A really good book you may or may not have seen is "why does he do that" by Lundy Bancroft.  I know you can rationalize all his behaviors from a therapist perspective but this book may help you find out why he does these things and the simple answer is that they work for him to get what he wants.

Please feel free to post here in Committed to Working on It, Chosen relationships, Common Behaviors, and Working on Us as you get settled in.

Looking forward to seeing you around the boards!

Latchkey
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Mudita

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Welcome to OOTF!

Sounds to me like your bf might be one of those rare BPDs who gets the treatment he needs. Of course, he has to commit to DBT, and it is hard work...no quick fix, but I think you know that. Wishing you and your bf luck, that he overcomes his disorder and you can be together.

Hi Oneness and thanks for your message. Yes, he does seem to be trying to get help, but yes, the work is very hard for him, but the guy he's seeing right now seems pretty great and my bf has agreed to let me go in with him in the near future so we can all talk about it together. He has decided to be much more honest with this guy, so he's definitely able to (try to) help. My bf recognizes that things are not working for him and does want to change. I believe that. The "con-artistry" blaming, etc. usually only happens when he's triggered, though there is definitely some self-deception there too.

In the end, we both know that it's going to take a lot of hard work. I don't know how he'll handle it, but at least he's giving it a try!

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Mudita

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Aside from all your training in dealing with behaviorally disturbed children and adults, which may help in many ways to de-escalate situations, your BF is dangerous. Are you living with him now?
...
A really good book you may or may not have seen is "why does he do that" by Lundy Bancroft.  I know you can rationalize all his behaviors from a therapist perspective but this book may help you find out why he does these things and the simple answer is that they work for him to get what he wants.

Hi Latchkey,

Thanks for your message, and I really do appreciate your concern.

Yes, we are living together, and while his outbursts can be more aggressive, I can say that they are less frequent. Perhaps this is part of his self-work, but I have also been able to key-in ahead of time as to when he's more likely to have a melt-down. As I mentioned in my previous post to Oneness, my BF has agreed to allow me to go with him to his counsellor. I hope to bring up the idea of a Safety Plan that we can all agree on, and get his therapist's input on it.

I look forward to looking through the Working on Us forum. I have looked around a bit in Working on It, Chosen relationships and Common Behaviors, but hadn't yet seen Working on Us, so thanks for the heads up there. Obviously people need an outlet to vent and discuss the challenges with other people who 'get it', but  I have to say it's a little tough for me to read so much negativity, hurt and anger. Obviously it’s way harder for everyone to live through it though, so I am glad they found this site too!

I have heard of "Why Does He Do That" by Lundy Bancroft, but not read it yet. One I found quite helpful was "Sometimes I Act Crazy" by Jerold J. Kreisman and Hal Straus. I assume you know that one? Have you read it? If so, do you have any comparison there?

Thanks again for the reply, the welcome, the concern and the suggestions!

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Mudita

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Ha! Latchkey, just saw the book review forum, so I will check that out too. :)

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Latchkey

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kittyran,

I am so glad that you are being pro-active in all this. It sounds like you have a realistic perspective on things. I would say that you should create a safety plan for yourself. You can also create one with him but leave yourself a few secret options and places to go he does not know about.

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One I found quite helpful was "Sometimes I Act Crazy" by Jerold J. Kreisman and Hal Straus. I assume you know that one? Have you read it?

I haven't read this one.

I did read "The Essential Family Guide to BPD " by R kreger a few years back though.

I know people with BPD who are not emotionally and physically abusive to others. So ...."Why does he do that" is not about PDs-- it's about the relationship dynamics that occur when you are in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship. It's very easy to read and when I read it I was unsure I was in an abusive relationship with my 2nd H who turned out to be NPD/ASPD but I knew I had been in an abusive relationship with my first H who is BPD/ASPD.

So I think, when that line has been crossed into dangerous territory that the dx is less important then being in a safe place. My first H being BPD was much more volatile and became physically abusive. My 2nd H did some very dangerous things in secret, but he was very self deprecating at times...and was emotionally abusive but was not physically abusive.

At any rate, glad you are here and look forward to hearing more of your story.

Latchkey
Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.
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When we have the courage to do what we need to do, we unleash mighty forces that come to our aid.

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Oneness

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Welcome to OOTF!

Sounds to me like your bf might be one of those rare BPDs who gets the treatment he needs. Of course, he has to commit to DBT, and it is hard work...no quick fix, but I think you know that. Wishing you and your bf luck, that he overcomes his disorder and you can be together.

Hi Oneness and thanks for your message. Yes, he does seem to be trying to get help, but yes, the work is very hard for him, but the guy he's seeing right now seems pretty great and my bf has agreed to let me go in with him in the near future so we can all talk about it together. He has decided to be much more honest with this guy, so he's definitely able to (try to) help. My bf recognizes that things are not working for him and does want to change. I believe that. The "con-artistry" blaming, etc. usually only happens when he's triggered, though there is definitely some self-deception there too.

In the end, we both know that it's going to take a lot of hard work. I don't know how he'll handle it, but at least he's giving it a try!

His giving it a try is more then my exSO did...he talked the talk, but never walked the walk. Mine was a dangerous borderline...during alcoholic, dissociative, psychotic fits of rage he has attacked me. He was all talk, no action on getting therapy...he used emotional blackmail on me, over and over...even when it stopped working. If he had really tried to get the needed therapy, I would have supported him...there one important thing I have learned in my 7 years with him. Don't trust their words, only their actions...

This is a great place to find information and support, but I am afraid you won't find much in the way of success stories where the pwPD actually does the work to get better. But you will find great support to help you deal with and protect yourself from their destructive behaviors...
It's better to love and lost, then to live with a psycho for the rest of your life.

If your presence can't add value to my life, your absence will make no difference.

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Mudita

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Oneness,

Some of his previous counsellors/ counselling was definitively NOT successful. In my opinion, he was able to keep his counsellors at bay. He'd come home from a counselling session and exclaim, "I feel great!" which was certainly... um, weird. As someone who has been in counselling myself, I could have said that I "made progress" or "had a breakthrough", but I certainly felt rocked after any kind of session. Feeling great, every time, was a huge flag that he was not doing the difficult work needed to heal. IMO, he was lying to them. But that is not so now.

I am glad for you that you have moved on from someone that wasn't willing to do the work. It must have been very hard - both staying and leaving.

"Don't trust their words, only their actions..." is an excellent mantra. Wish my bf could abide by it! :wacko:

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Cipi

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Whatever you do - don't marry him! I'm very much Luke you... I ama psychotherapist and we have similar traits for getting into this shit... My heart breaks with you  :-[ :-[

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Spirit Girl

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I'm reading your story and am scared for you! Breaking down the door to get at you? Terrifying, unreasonable, beyond bizarre. What happened to the 'friend' in boyfriend?!

Would it help to write a list of the advantages/disadvantages of leaving him?

Hugs, big hugs.

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Mudita

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Whatever you do - don't marry him! I'm very much Luke you... I ama psychotherapist and we have similar traits for getting into this shit... My heart breaks with you  :-[ :-[

Thanks Cipi,

It's funny (as in "notable") you say don't marry him. For a while I was thinking that would give me more stability - that if things continue to tank, that at least I won't be left with nothing. Ridiculous, i know.


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Mudita

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I'm reading your story and am scared for you! Breaking down the door to get at you? Terrifying, unreasonable, beyond bizarre. What happened to the 'friend' in boyfriend?!

Would it help to write a list of the advantages/disadvantages of leaving him?

Hugs, big hugs.

Hi Spirit Girl,

Thanks for the message. And yes indeed, what happened to the 'friend' in boyfriend?! I've always had very close partnerships and stayed close after the relationship ended. Even was in the wedding party for one of them!

I'm sure I've written that advantages/disadvantages list several times. On Latchkey's suggestion, I've been reading "Why Does He Do That" and am feeling pretty disheartened.

His mental heath/ insurance team from work called yesterday and they are offering him Dialectical Behaviour Therapy for FREE, so there is still hope. It would appear that the odds are pretty stacked against us, but as long as a glimmer exists, I chose to stay and try to support him.

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Scout

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Whatever you do - don't marry him! I'm very much Luke you... I ama psychotherapist and we have similar traits for getting into this shit... My heart breaks with you  :-[ :-[

Thanks Cipi,

It's funny (as in "notable") you say don't marry him. For a while I was thinking that would give me more stability - that if things continue to tank, that at least I won't be left with nothing. Ridiculous, i know.

I hope you won't do that.  I'm glad you realize it's a flawed impulse, and where it comes from.  I understand.

I left my high-functioning uBPD almost two years ago and I'm so relieved we weren't married.  It would have been much harder to untangle my life from his (it was already difficult).  Like you, I was afraid to call the authorities when necessary.  I involved his family instead.   

I'm glad yours is in therapy, but it may take years and he may never get better.  Take care of yourself.  And welcome!

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Happysoul

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Welcome!
I'm sorry to hear you are going through that. You're not alone! My NPD husband is very charming, successful and intelligent as well. Not so intelligent of an emotional intellect however.
You should be able to find a lot of support, feedback, and information on this website. I know I have. I joined about a week or two ago and am already starting to put healthy boundaries into place.

I wish you and your partner all the best!
"Without training, they lacked knowledge. Without knowledge, they lacked confidence. Without confidence, they lacked victory" -Julius Caesar

"Only until we can replace the negative history with more positive new history will the scale from then on be in our favor" -Gary

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Mudita

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Whatever you do - don't marry him! I'm very much Luke you... I ama psychotherapist and we have similar traits for getting into this shit... My heart breaks with you  :-[ :-[

Thanks Cipi,

It's funny (as in "notable") you say don't marry him. For a while I was thinking that would give me more stability - that if things continue to tank, that at least I won't be left with nothing. Ridiculous, i know.

I hope you won't do that.  I'm glad you realize it's a flawed impulse, and where it comes from.  I understand.

I left my high-functioning uBPD almost two years ago and I'm so relieved we weren't married.  It would have been much harder to untangle my life from his (it was already difficult).  Like you, I was afraid to call the authorities when necessary.  I involved his family instead.   

I'm glad yours is in therapy, but it may take years and he may never get better.  Take care of yourself.  And welcome!

It turns out he’s in now officially in limbo with therapy.  His therapist has had to take his own health leave two days ago. Before he did though, he reiterated how great he thought DBT would be for my bf. …And also how my bf could *never* be BPD as you can “see them coming a mile away”.

IMO: Easy to spot a mile away, except not when they’re borderline/ high functioning BPD. But who the eff am I? Certainly no therapist, but he also can’t just spin things the way he chooses to.

And frankly, the ‘high functioning’ part of my bf is possibly dissolving. He’s taken a half-year off of work twice in two years now due to mental health.

His family is actually one of the reasons (excuses???) I stay. They are elderly and have suffered the loss of their other son two years ago (he OD’d and was schizophrenic / bipolar) and have many, many challenges with my bf’s uncle who is schizophrenic and has put himself in major danger a bunch. My bf’s  mom fought off cancer about 16 years back and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s not long after. It’s been slow to evolve for a while, but very recently has started suffering from dementia and it’s hitting her fast. The dad is possibly on the ASD spectrum, if not, just a significant disability in regards to human interaction (and I do believe it’s a disability as humans are hard-wired to interact an connect with others).

After the brother’s funeral, their mom asked (after my bf freaked out) if my bf ever hit me. I couldn’t imagine adding to their distress on that night, so I lied and said no. But if it was any other night, can I be sure I’d have been honest? After getting into “Why Does He Do That” I’m not so sure I trust myself anymore. I’ve had other opportunities to talk to them about it but clearly chosen not to. Their health is failing and they live in a different city, so what could they do except worry? Goodness knows it took YEARS to get help to the brother and uncle.

Holy sh!t I'm confused.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.  :upsidedown:

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Mudita

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Welcome!
I'm sorry to hear you are going through that. You're not alone! My NPD husband is very charming, successful and intelligent as well. Not so intelligent of an emotional intellect however.
You should be able to find a lot of support, feedback, and information on this website. I know I have. I joined about a week or two ago and am already starting to put healthy boundaries into place.

I wish you and your partner all the best!

Thanks very much HappySoul! On a bit of a hopeful-not-hopeful rollercoaster right now, but I do think that perhaps I've found a community who gets it, regardless of my decisions.

And thanks to the people who have already reached out, I've made some difficult discoveries, but also positive in the long-run.

Here's to all of us!!

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Mudita

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I just started to reply to someone's "Welcome Mat" post. Wanted to encourage and give support.

But who the hell am I to say anything to anyone else on here when I am apparently unwilling to change my own situation? I'm a fraud.

I read somewhere that you can't be in an abusive relationship and also be feminist. I think this is a little like that. I can give 800 excuses as to why I stay, or why my BF does what he does, but in the end, it's all BS.

Do or do not. There is no try.

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Happysoul

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I don't think you giving advice makes you a fraud. I think a lot if not most of us in OOTF are similar to you... Giving advice even though we are still struggling through our own mess.
I think it can be healthy for a person to give advice/suggestions. When I do, it allows me to practice saying what I've learned, or get things out that I forgot were inside of me, or help someone see a different take on the situation, or just simply know they're not alone.

People probably become more insecure when others don't respond.

We all need support and giving advice is part of the little steps we need to take to grow.
Thank you for sharing!!
"Without training, they lacked knowledge. Without knowledge, they lacked confidence. Without confidence, they lacked victory" -Julius Caesar

"Only until we can replace the negative history with more positive new history will the scale from then on be in our favor" -Gary

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Mudita

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...When I do, it allows me to practice saying what I've learned, or get things out that I forgot were inside of me, or help someone see a different take on the situation, or just simply know they're not alone.

Thanks for that reminder, HappySoul! I very much agree.  :)