strong and diminished

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Jumpy

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strong and diminished
« on: January 16, 2019, 02:12:47 PM »
So after lurking here for a few months, I’ve decided it’s time to post. I’m not sure why exactly. I think I just need to get the feeling of doing something!

I started out switching back and forth between “Committed to Working On It” and “Separating and Divorcing” but recently have spent more time hanging around “The Welcome Mat”. I get strength from seeing folks take first tentative steps and seeing the overwhelming support that they get from this crew of fine folks.

I am married to an uPPDw. We have two young kids. When my wife’s mother died 4.5 years ago, she went on an anti-anxiety medicine and was doing well (my opinion).  She decided that she no longer had anxiety and then quit her meds 3 years ago. Since that time, her old employer, the medical community, the kids school staff, parents at the school, old friends and ultimately me have all been out to get her or the kids in one way or another. There have been complaints to the police (not about me- yet).  I drifted in a FOG for quite a while, begging my wife to get help. Ultimately, I was getting nowhere on that path and went to therapy for just myself (I didn’t like how angry I was getting). I’ve been in therapy for a little over a year, and have found it to be helpful, not just in the techniques that I learn, but also just in accepting that I need to take care of myself.

I stumbled upon OOF and it felt like a gift. I’m so grateful for this group of caring strangers. The toolbox is great, the forum is great - just what I needed. I feel the pain and the love of all of you, and it is moving.

I am now at the “looking up divorce attorneys and not calling” stage. I am afraid. I truly don’t know what I am going to do. I worry about the kids, and I know that something must change (which frankly is always the case even when there is no PD involved). I vacillate from thinking I am strong and improving to thinking I am diminished and going backwards. I am proud of myself at times, and disappointed in myself at times. I cried just now writing that last sentence.

Overall, I AM the father my kids need. I am heartbroken at where my marriage is. I am determined to power through to something better though I don't know what that is or how to do it. I am grateful to you all.

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openskyblue

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Re: strong and diminished
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2019, 02:43:44 PM »
Welcome to OOTF, Jumpy!

I'm very sorry to hear that you are in the place that you are, but can very much empathize. I left my NPD/ASPD exhusband some years ago and wrestled with similar feelings. At first, I wanted to help my exhusband, since he had been diagnosed with a mental illness (bipolar). I hoped mightily that he would stay on his meds and in counseling. Then the PDs where added to his diagnosis -- and he was on and off again with meds -- and things just continued to deteriorate.

In my experience, the best place to start (and what really helped me at the stage you are now) was educating myself. Our OOTF toolbox is a good place to start, especially the sections on what to do and what not to do with a PD person. As surreal and scary as it may sound, having an appointment with a divorce lawyer actually helped me very much. I had thought I knew about divorce, but I really didn't. Although I didn't hire that particular lawyer, I left with a draft map of the pieces that I needed to understand and the places I might be going if I proceeded.

In the end, at least for me, making sure that my child (who was in high school) had at least one home that wasn't full of turmoil was paramount. I needed a home for myself that had peace in it -- and so did my son. You don't say how your wife's behavior affects your kids, but I would imagine it does -- and may be scary for them.  "Talking" with children of PDs here really helped me understand how my exhusband's behavior was affecting my son.

I hope you will share more about your situation. You are not alone. Many others here have been right where you find yourself now. All the best.

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Starboard Song

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Re: strong and diminished
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2019, 03:07:04 PM »
I am proud of myself at times, and disappointed in myself at times. I cried just now writing that last sentence.

Thank you for being that kind of person. It takes strength to struggle. Some just run for the door. Others just tuck their heads and hide, also not improving conditions for anyone, and adding themselves to the list of victims. But, even in this single post, you see this challenge from your own point of view, that of your children, and that of your wife. That's a successful starting place, right there.

Normally, I'd point you to the Toolbox and relevant boards, but you've done all that.

I commend to you two separate tracks for this journey. First is self-care: protecting and strengthening yourself. The second is the tactics we all know and share and practice to provide for peace and security in your daily life, however you choose to go about that. The first row of my signature are resources that my wife and I found most helpful in regard to self-care. The second row are those resources that addressed the nuts and bolts for us: our situation was different than yours.

Last, I hope you've already found that there is no One Path. There are many members here who've re-established a strong and good relationship with a PD spouse: they'll speak up. There are others who've established a strong and stable life beyond that relationship, when there was no administrable path forward together.

You are self-aware and decent, so you too have a path. I wish you strength and self-care as you find and walk it.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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coyote

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Re: strong and diminished
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2019, 03:24:21 PM »
Jumpy,
I love the screen name. I also am married to an uPPDw and have been through the "jumpy" phase. This site has saved our marriage nad my sanity. What I can say is what worked for me. Setting Boundaries against abuse was big. And I consider any accusations of infidelity, anything said that belittles or demeans me, to be abuse. After that Medium Chill, no JADE, no Circular Conversations, and the 3C's have been a lot of help.

That said I seem to be the exception and not the rule around here. There are a lot of variables in a relationship with a PD. So things like where they fall on the spectrum, how committed they are to the relationship, how able we nons are to enforce boundaries with logical consequences, whether kids are involved ot not, etc., etc. all affect our ability to remain in the relationship.

No matter which road you take, stay or leave the relationship, you will find the tools and support here very valuable. I'm sorry you need us but glad you found us.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
 Wayne Dyer

The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?
Capt. Jack Sparrow

Choose not to be harmed and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed and you haven’t been. -Marcus Aurelius

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11JB68

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Re: strong and diminished
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2019, 06:52:13 PM »
Like you I started out in Separating and Divorcing and in Chosen Relationships. I don't think I ever gravitated to committed to working on it - as I sort of feel like that takes two people to do that. I'm committed to doing what is best for my family (self, DS21, and uPDh) at any given time in the process.
Sometimes I really want to leave and feel I might be pushed that far at some point. However I hold back mostly due to concern over the repercussions (emotional and financial) for all of us. So hard to know what the right thing is. My son is older, and just last summer I did have a fairly high-level, but serious discussion with him about 'dad' and my concerns. He totally agreed with me. I got to a point where I called lawyers, and had free consultations with two different ones. Even if you're not yet at the point where you are ready to go - I found that going through those steps- researching, listing questions, bringing my financial info in to discuss, and comparing the two attorneys, was a good first step for me. I still have that info and now I feel like if the need arises I've done my homework. It think it helped to calm me a bit.
Like others have mentioned, my favorite tools are Medium Chill and not JADEing. I'm struggling with Boundaries, but trying.
There is no 'right' answer. We are all doing our best.

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Jumpy

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Re: strong and diminished
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2019, 07:53:19 PM »
Hi all-

I appreciate the encouragement. What a wonderful response. It feels great.

Regarding sharing more – sure, but it feels weird writing so specifically about me. I… I… I… me…me…me… it feels self serving, and in fact it is! I haven't written so much in the first person since the second grade. But frankly it felt great, and the response has been great.

Re -the effect on the kids. My W adores the kids, and since she can’t work (her old employer will harm her or the kids if she does) she dotes on them. I am certain that they are not in danger from her, and in a way, it has been nice for them to have her home. They suffer more from two other aspects – our fights, and lost opportunities.

Regarding our fights – my wife can’t fight me without me, and it feels totally within my control to reduce them. I started therapy basically to get more control of my anger, and it has been a big help. That said, I really dislike being accused of horrible things I haven’t done, and I still fail to medium chill it, or walk way or any other more mature response and I fight. In fact, I recently started a fight, bringing up an old fight (about me being meanspirited and deceitful). At least that one was not in front of the kids. I fail, but I’m working on it, and getting better. The anger is not good for anyone.

The lost opportunities are vague, but real. The kids were in a great private school that we could only afford on two salaries. When my wife stopped working, it was out of the question. They are now in a good public school, but it is an opportunity lost. We were close friends with a family with kids of a similar age, but ultimately, they were out to get my wife, so we cut ties, and my kids lost some good friends. My kid was asked by a basketball coach to play on his team. He is a great coach and thinks the world of my kid, but it is part of a church league and the church is out get my wife, so he plays in a different league. The kids are doing ok. They are in fact in a school. They do have friends. They do play basketball. But with each compromise to accommodate the PD, I feel like a failure with each opportunity lost.

I fear the lost opportunities will only get worse, as they get to the age where they should be out exploring the world, but my wife stands in the way because the world is scary and dangerous. I worry.

Starboard – thanks for the recommendations re the books. I recently read “The Body Keeps the Score” and it was great. Knowing my wife wouldn’t go see a doctor or a therapist (the medical community is out to get her), I marked a short chapter that spoke to me, and another that I thought would speak to her and gave her the book. She won’t read it – there’s nothing wrong with her. I’ll definitely check out your recommendations. I’ve not achieved perfection, but as it turns out, my wife has.

Coyote- wow! I read your response and was blown away that you are making it work. I then went and read your first post back in 2015 and DOUBLE WOW! You must be part Dalai Lama! I think my new hobby will be reading your 3000 posts to figure out how you did it. Knowing you are out there makes me smile :D. I have so many questions about how you are doing now, but you do have thousands of posts, so I’ll do the research.

One last point that I find amusing. When I first found OOTF, I went to What Not To Do, and laughed and laughed! It was like reading my playbook for the last 3 years! It felt good to find such a resource, and one of those moments where I felt proud was that I could laugh so much at just how clueless I am. I’d like to think I’m a little less clueless now, but I still have plenty of room to grow.

Thanks again everyone. This is a wonderful place.

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openskyblue

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Re: strong and diminished
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2019, 01:30:16 AM »
The lost opportunities are vague, but real. The kids were in a great private school that we could only afford on two salaries. When my wife stopped working, it was out of the question. They are now in a good public school, but it is an opportunity lost. We were close friends with a family with kids of a similar age, but ultimately, they were out to get my wife, so we cut ties, and my kids lost some good friends. My kid was asked by a basketball coach to play on his team. He is a great coach and thinks the world of my kid, but it is part of a church league and the church is out get my wife, so he plays in a different league. The kids are doing ok. They are in fact in a school. They do have friends. They do play basketball. But with each compromise to accommodate the PD, I feel like a failure with each opportunity lost.

I fear the lost opportunities will only get worse, as they get to the age where they should be out exploring the world, but my wife stands in the way because the world is scary and dangerous. I worry.

These seem more than “simply” lost opportunities. These are ways that your wife’s PD behavior is isolating your kids from the rest of the world. I would be worried too. Kids absorb the moods and feelings of their parents. If your wife is “broadcasting” that the world, their friends, and coaches are the enemy, how wil they learn to trust anyone but her and you — until you become the bad guy too.

It’s interesting that the way you describe these events is that someone was out to get or harm your wife, so the relationship was severed. But that wasn’t the case, right? It was that she BELIEVED  these people meant to do her harm, so they were cut off. The way you described things conveyed a direct, realistic scenario.

I only point this out, because this reminds me of how my exNPD husband’s reality controlled how we all responded to the world. We lost many friends, because (according to him) they had done him wrong. It’s painful to look at pictures from holidays and events from years back and see how many good people got removed from our lives. And I went along with losing them to keep the peace and out of loyalty to my exhusband.



« Last Edit: January 18, 2019, 01:32:26 AM by openskyblue »

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Jumpy

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Re: strong and diminished
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2019, 10:33:40 AM »
Quote
It’s interesting that the way you describe these events is that someone was out to get or harm your wife, so the relationship was severed. But that wasn’t the case, right? It was that she BELIEVED  these people meant to do her harm, so they were cut off. The way you described things conveyed a direct, realistic scenario.

I only point this out, because this reminds me of how my exNPD husband’s reality controlled how we all responded to the world.

Yes. You nailed it. These experiences are not my reality, or anyone else's for that matter. They are my wife's reality, just as you reference your ex's reality. We all live with the decisions and the consequences of our PD partner's reality though. I write about it, and think about in terms of reality, because my years of attempting to convince my wife that their was another way to look at these things, has only achieved her thinking me more of a jerk.


We have a planning discussion scheduled in a week. I find it very difficult to plan for the future when our very realities are in such conflict. I keep reading here that ultimatum's don't work. That said, I feel if she doesn't acknowledge that she could benefit from help (and there is no sign of that happening), our marriage cannot survive. It sure feels like an ultimatum, and it sure feels hopeless. The best I can hope for is that she still has some faith in me, though all indications are that she does not. I welcome any advice.

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openskyblue

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Re: strong and diminished
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2019, 03:00:00 PM »
In my experience, it was futile to try to convince my exhusband that his reasoning and motivations were not based in anyone’s reality but his. I banged my head against that wall for over a decade — and gave myself the emotional concussion to prove it!

He saw psychiatrists, therapists, and marriage counselors (with me), and agreed to take medication. It was all for show. He was a pro at picking up the lingo, convincing therapists and counselors that he was going to change (and then doing whatever he wanted to). To this day, I’m not sure he ever took the meds. Now that I’m Out of the FOG, I can see how he was doing just enough to keep me on the hook as his supply. But that’s my story. It might not be yours.

My opinion here, but I believe marriage doesn’t require unconditional love. Any of us can get to a point where we just can’t put up with behaviors in our spouse. That’s not an ultimatum. It’s a boundary.

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Jumpy

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Re: strong and diminished
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2019, 12:34:22 PM »

Quote
We have a planning discussion scheduled in a week. I find it very difficult to plan for the future when our very realities are in such conflict. I keep reading here that ultimatum's don't work. That said, I feel if she doesn't acknowledge that she could benefit from help (and there is no sign of that happening), our marriage cannot survive. It sure feels like an ultimatum, and it sure feels hopeless. The best I can hope for is that she still has some faith in me, though all indications are that she does not. I welcome any advice.

So we had our planning meeting, but first the steps I took to prepare for the meeting seem extreme, but necessary. 1) I scheduled the meeting at a time in my W’s monthly cycle that seems to coincide with a less volatile state. It’s an inexact science. 2) I met with my T to discuss and reinforce strategies to keep my cool. 3) I asked my primary care physician for a mild sedative to take as needed for stress at home. I took this prior to the meeting. 4) I made the time to meditate that morning in order to try to put myself into a state of mind where I would not jump into the fray.

I share all this, because it seems awfully contrived and detailed just to be able to have a conversation with your wife. I know relationships take work and commitment, but writing all this down, it seems extreme.

Anyway, the meeting happened on Friday, and went ok in that there were no blow ups. I’m proud of that. That said, I got nowhere trying to nudge my wife to seek help for her mental health. She thinks that’s not her issue. She wanted to just focus on those areas where we agree, and for this conversation we did that. All in all, not very satisfying, but not painful.

Things got weird on Sunday. Early in the morning she asked me about my sedative prescription. I explained that there are moments where I am so upset, I feel out of control, so I asked for and got this prescription. In the course of that conversation she said that she thinks it is important to take care of your mental health and that she has always believed that. Given her state, that really surprised me, but I left encouraged.

Later that day, she was back to her agitated state, and we had a long discussion about the “reality” of all the proof that people are out to get her, and that I am in on it. It was painful and frustrating, but I stuck to the “it’s a mental health thing” but never lost my cool, and did not JADE. (Yay me!). In the end, she said she will be hiring a lawyer to confront her old employer for all the bad things that they have been doing. I stated that a) I hope there is a fixed end date for that strategy, and b) I hoped that if it didn’t work, she would try my suggestion of pursuing a mental health strategy.

After the whole experience, I feel pretty good for how I handled it all, but pretty hopeless about saving our relationship. It could be an interesting week.


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RavenLady

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Re: strong and diminished
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2019, 10:45:13 PM »
Hi Jumpy. I wanted to commend you for your strategy for the planning meeting. That does seem like an extreme amount of work just to talk with a spouse. I'm really sorry you are bearing such a heavy load when she should be carrying it with you. But I admire the way you approached the situation. Hat tip!
sometimes in the open you look up
to see a whorl of clouds, dragging and furling
your whole invented history. You look up
from where you're standing, say
among the stolid mountains,
and in that moment your life
becomes the margin
of what matters
-- Terry Ehret

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11JB68

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Re: strong and diminished
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2019, 12:02:42 AM »
I totally get the planning ahead. I plan ahead for most conversations with uPDh, even relatively minor ones....when, where, how, what to say...
When I had my last real conversation with uPDm before going nc I actually wrote notes and brought them. Off course she made a big issue about that!

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Jumpy

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Re: strong and diminished
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2019, 01:05:16 PM »
so I decided to move over to Chosen Relationships. Here is the new location:

https://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=78401.0