Guilt and Reconciliation

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capybara

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Guilt and Reconciliation
« on: October 22, 2019, 04:48:20 PM »
Long update, sorry.

Since BPDH moved out, he has been very good. Minimum contact, reasonable about money, on time with the kids.

At first I felt such relief and freedom but now I am feeling sadness for all our hopes and dreams, and a lot of guilt for how I imagine he is doing. (I have no actual information about his state of mind.) A LOT of guilt.

When we  were doing in-home separation, he asked me a few times if the separation is permanent or if we might reconcile, and we had long and emotional discussions. I ended up saying we might reconcile someday, but no promises.

He has a new T and I believe him when he says he is working hard. In our last year together, he did make positive changes like acknowledging his bad behaviour to the kids (in very general terms) and mostly not yelling at me any more although still arguing and blaming and being manipulative in various ways. He was never physical with me or a name-caller.

I had been MC'ing for a while, and part of our breakup was me saying I could not go back to being "all-in" emotionally, as he was asking me to do.

When I think about trying to reconcile, I think about very limited contact, like maybe dating a couple of times a month. I can't imagine going back to living together or having a truly intimate relationship.

I went from LC to regular contact with my uPDmom, and that relationship is ... ok. It's better, and she treats me better, but the trust is not there to have a truly emotionally close relationship. I always have to keep an eye on my boundaries and keep everything clear and consistent for her.

When I think about reconciling with BPDH, I think that I would always have to do that in my marriage. Even if he gets help, I think I will always have to keep an eye on my boundaries and be ready to defend them. I don't think it could ever be the kind of true closeness where I can relax and be myself. I also think we would have to rebuild our relationship from the ground up ... when I look back, the trouble really started when we first moved in together and I moved into a caregiving role without even being conscious of it. I don't know what a different relationship between us would even look like. Or if I would want it.

And all the time there is this nagging voice in my head that says, "You HAVE to forgive him... he NEEEEDS you ... he is your HUSBAND..." It's exhausting to resist that.

I've been reading Cloud & Townsend's "Boundaries" and it's really good, but also anti-divorce. I really need some encouragement and support. I feel like IRL there are only a couple of people who understand, and I'm scared to be so needy that I drive them away.   :(

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Poison Ivy

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Re: Guilt and Reconciliation
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2019, 06:38:59 PM »
I've been divorced for 3 1/2 years.  I've posted on another thread about my sadness for our lost hopes and dreams being reawakened by the death a few days ago of my ex's dad, whose relationship with my ex had a big negative effect on my marriage.  But I don't want to get remarried.  So, I think the sadness for what was lost will be there, sometimes strong, sometimes barely perceptible.  But that doesn't mean that things would be wonderful if you stayed married (or in my case, got remarried).  I think it helps to be brutally honest with  myself.  Am I mourning what we had or what I wanted but we didn't have?

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Doggo

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Re: Guilt and Reconciliation
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2019, 08:15:04 PM »
[[Am I mourning what we had or what I wanted but we didn't have?]]

`well said--there is the marriage and the man I thought I was married to--and then there is the reality. Dreams die hard, I am finding

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Wandering soul

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Re: Guilt and Reconciliation
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2019, 08:34:11 PM »
I think it's time to give ourselves some credit.

How BIG of a heart would someone have to have in order to put up with the chaos? How much hope, compassion, understanding, forgiveness, would it take to make it past a few months with someone who has a PD? ---- A LOT

It hurts because you were warm enough to see the good. And for some of us, there WERE bits of good.
I hated myself for staying when I should have never even let it go past a first date. Let alone moving across the country together, adding him to my business, getting married.... but now, I am starting to touch the reality that I must be a pretty nice person if I was willing to "look past" his downfalls to try to have a decent relationship.
What I had to learn was.. I need to be nice to me first.
Guilt is about the other person. As soon as I shift focus back to me, I can quickly see I wouldn't be feeling guilt if I was dealing with a rational person. Guilt doesn't exist in a healthy relationship. ((Issues are addressed and resolved))

I hope this helps. I firmly believe PD's know we feel guilt and use it as MUCH as they can.

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Doggo

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Re: Guilt and Reconciliation
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2019, 09:52:32 PM »
I love your perspective. it all makes sense rationally, but getting past my feelings of guilt are a problem. I am having trouble:
1. accepting that this is a mental illness and he will never change. Despite his current changes he has made--is that enough and will it ever be enough? (
2. trying to figure out what 'being nice to me' means
3. trying to find the strength of will to hurt someone i used to love/maybe still love--because, as your explanation puts it, that big heart that we all have--it makes it very hard to hurt another person and not feel it deeply ourselves.

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Spygirl

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Re: Guilt and Reconciliation
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2019, 02:32:08 AM »
You could always ask for specifics about "being nice to you"
Bet you will find him asking leading questions to hear what you want to hear from him.

I went thru this same period of possible reconciliation, even the " i would always be on guard" part if i stayed.
It is very kind of you to worry about hurting this other person. Perhaps you consider how YOU have been continuously hurt, made your grievances known to this person, and they were ignored?
If it was a friend, or sibling and you saw the same situation occuring, how would you think about that relationship?
If you try to look at your marriage from the outside, like its other people, you could find your answer.

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CagedBirdSinging

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Re: Guilt and Reconciliation
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2019, 07:36:30 PM »
Hi cabybara, I read your message weeks ago but I didn't get a chance to reply. You expressed so much of what I'm feeling, I could totally relate to the turmoil you are experiencing. I left my NPDH earlier this year, but I felt so guilty for leaving him and breaking up our family, and of course he piled on the guilt as well... I started remembering the honeymoon period and forgetting why I had fled. We ended up dating again, he lured me back in and I moved back with him, along with my 2 DDs.

Now, six months later i am making plans to leave with my Ds and this time it will be permanent. This time I am determined not to feel guilty. It's just a PD trap.

What you said about not being willing to go all in emotionally again... yeah, I hear you! I feel the exact same. It's like I have been using mc for so long it has become a habit I can't break. But here's the thing, MC is not a great relationship. It's a useful tool, but it doesn't make for intimacy and emotional connection, which we all deserve.

Lately it's been helping to allow myself to remember other relationships I had before meeting my H.. it sounds crazy but I have lots of happy memories of love and laughter and emotional connection, before NPDH came on the scene... and I have to keep telling myself that I can experience love like that again, when I'm ready. First things first I need to get out of this prison where I am walking on eggshells, afraid in my own home.

You have taken a really brave step. Don't ever doubt yourself. You have nothing to feel guilty about. Sending you love and strength
X

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capybara

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Re: Guilt and Reconciliation
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2019, 09:44:05 PM »
Thank you all for your support, and CagedBird, thank you for sharing where you are at. I truly think this forum is one of the things that has kept me from depression these last months. It is still tough, but one day at a time.

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GettingOOTF

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Re: Guilt and Reconciliation
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2019, 11:26:02 PM »
My BPDxH moved out a couple of times and once for about a year. During these times he was on his best behavior. He got a job, he was nice to me and was trying hard in therapy. I took him back. It didnít take long for things to go back to the way they were. The last time was simply awful. He held the separation over me and used it like a weapon.  I was like a prisoner in my own home.

This is the only good thing I have to say about my ex: I 100% believe that he tried his best at therapy. He was in regular talk therapy and an intensive out patient DBT program specifically for people with BPD. There is no ďcureĒ for BPD. There isnít really any treatment. DBT teaches people to manage their emotions so in my experience I saw some improvement during easy, no stress times but anything stressful and all bets were off.  I spoke with his doctors and his social workers and they all said the same thing, that DBT only provided the  tools and that he would have to use them himself. None of them were optimistic about any lasting change. I chose to leave. The last 6 months or so were a living hell. I only managed to get him out as he was hospitalized and I told the doctors and social workers that he could not come back to my home.

I am sure you have gone over and above in terms of the support and what you have put up with. I donít want to say there is ďno hopeĒ for BPD but there is a lot of info available for you to draw your own conclusions. You deserve to live a happy life free of abuse, free from having to monitor every single word that comes out of your mouth, free from living your life around someone elseís moods. You deserve to live your own life in a way that is fulfilling to you.

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capybara

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Re: Guilt and Reconciliation
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2019, 03:46:28 PM »
GettingOOTF, I agree with you. DBT is marketed as this solution, but I don't think it is a cure.  BPDH has worked very hard too, and has tried so hard to get help. And there have definitely been times when his behaviour was relatively well controlled.

But.... I feel like his emotions did not change. He still wanted what he wanted. It still didn't feel emotionally safe to be myself around him.  It was just a more polite version of the same dynamics as before.

It's heartbreaking in a way, since I know BPDH did not choose this path for himself and he does long for love and closeness. He is a good man in so many ways. But I can't destroy myself to try to give him what he wants.

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Doggo

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Re: Guilt and Reconciliation
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2019, 04:05:38 PM »
It's heartbreaking in a way, since I know BPDH did not choose this path for himself and he does long for love and closeness. He is a good man in so many ways. But I can't destroy myself to try to give him what he wants.

So very true and so very sad. Sending good thoughts your way

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Blackbird11

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Re: Guilt and Reconciliation
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2019, 05:52:01 PM »
I'm currently wrestling with some guilt (still) and feelings of love for uPDh which have come flooding back to me this week.

He has been lovely to be around for about the past month. Weekly therapy. Temper in check. Helpful in all the ways I needed him to be before I asked for separation. More hands on father (even if it's FOTY campaign our DS is definitely benefitting from it).

THIS is the part I fell in love with. In fact - even though he dipped his toe into online dating (and most likely still is? I agree - highly suspect)... he  told me recently he still loves me but accepts any decision I make.

I have been going back, looking over my journals, wracking my brain: was it that bad? Did I overreact here? Should I have just MC'd there and all would have blown over?

Excuse my language but this whole thing is a giant mind (you know what).

I was on the phone with my T today who has been to hell and back with me in this relationship. She was reminding me - what he has done (and in some respects continues to do) is NOT a part of a "typical" relationship. My boundaries have been so warped that this is why I am still even considering going back - trying again.

I know she is right.

And here is something else I was thinking about today: even if he has a PD - which obviously I'm not qualified to diagnose - and it's not his choice to have a PD (just like it's not my choice to be prone to anxiety and depression)...how was it possible for him to treat other people with respect during periods of high stress/his more nasty periods?

He chose to disrespect me. He chose to abuse me. He decided I wasn't worth his "good side" but other people were.

That's the part I can't rationalize away. I saw it with my own eyes. He had the ability to control it to at least some extent.

I'm not ready to file yet, but getting there.

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Doggo

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Re: Guilt and Reconciliation
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2019, 08:57:45 PM »
Blackbird11--I absolutely hear you on the self doubt and could I have done x, y, z and MC and made it better. I literally made the decision this week to have my lawyer serve him papers. I found a few great resources online that helped me realize how pervasive his abuse was and what I would be facing if he stayed--and how to accept that he has good aspects but is STILL abusive to me. I hope these help you--or anyone else on these forums.

https://www.btr.org/how-to-spot-narcissist-and-parent-with-them/ -- if you can't listen to the podcast, read the transcript,not the summary  (scroll down the page)--what really struck me was when she said this:
We donít cut people into parts. Itís holistic. What Iím about to say is going to sound incredibly cynical and I apologize for it. But, sadly, I do judge people on their abuses and not on their virtues,

Then this is the second half of the same interview--and at the end she talks about choosing to stay but doing so knowing exactly what you are accepting so that you are prepared to protect yourself:
https://www.btr.org/how-to-survive-narcissist-when-you-choose-to-stay/

Then this article really helped me understand what was going on: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/201811/questions-about-emotional-abuse

Especially the section about the 'fourth set of questions,' down on the page

ANyhow, these were incredibly helpful for me, so am putting them out there



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Blackbird11

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Re: Guilt and Reconciliation
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2019, 12:32:06 PM »
Doggo these were all very informative and helpful thank you. I now realize I'm being groomed for a new cycle and these feelings of love - while they may be real for those "good" parts of him and the relationship - they don't override the very real abuse that has occurred and continues to occur.





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Stillirise

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Re: Guilt and Reconciliation
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2019, 12:38:15 PM »
Doggo these were all very informative and helpful thank you. I now realize I'm being groomed for a new cycle and these feelings of love - while they may be real for those "good" parts of him and the relationship - they don't override the very real abuse that has occurred and continues to occur.
:yeahthat:

Iíve been living in M/C since June. Less blow-ups doesnít automatically make it a healthier relationship, and the relatively calm periods donít erase the extremely volatile ones of the past.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, Iíll rise.
óMaya Angelou

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Spygirl

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Re: Guilt and Reconciliation
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2019, 12:06:19 AM »
Perhaps we are all volunteer for this same trap. Its really, really hard, especially after YEARS, to emotionally break ties.

I was here too. My therapist commented on how i might act if i was under tremendous stress. Would i rage at my spouse? Or would to go to them for comfort and emotional support?

If my spouse found my behavior towards them frightening , and told me so, would i continue to behave like that? Or would sincerely apologize and find ways to correct it permanently?

If my spouse felt abandoned, worried and lonely because i was out all hours of the nite often, driving home severly intoxicated, and would not divulge my activities, would i make changes for the benefit of the marriage? Would i ignore them? Would i tell them that "its my life, this is who i am"

If you flip the dynamics, it gets really twisted. It makes it clear how poorly the pd behaves towards the partner.