Verbally and Emotionally Abusive Wife - Page 3 - Talk About Marriage
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post #31 of 73 (permalink) Old 04-07-2016, 08:28 PM
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Re: Verbally and Emotionally Abusive Wife

My wife is verbally and emotionally abusive, and things got that bad and messed up that it actually helped me to develop depression, an anxiety disorder, and PTSD which I am all recovering from now. This woman was so skilled she had me thinking I was going insane and things were all my fault when in fact it was her who was the complete nut case manipulating every single move of mine for her own selfish needs.

She was also cold, abrupt, and had the worst short fuse you've ever seen. When she blew (and she blows regularly) she's like a wild animal attacking you, it absolutely kills your self-esteem and your spirit and I've been a broken man for 6 years. I finished her at the weekend and although she's still in the house I have felt better in the last 5 days then I have in years, as I am simply not taking this sh*t anymore, that's it.

These women are seriously dangerous and they learn these tactics as children, who scream and have temper tantrums when they don't get what they want. If I even smell this on another woman in the future she'll be kicked to gutter before you can say jack rabbit! My advice from a 10 year relationship and 2 year marriage, RUN FOR THE HILLS MATE, RUN FOR THE HILLS!!!!

This woman almost landed me in a looney bin, she messed me up that badly! But I'm strong and I am male again now, and I ain't taking no sh*t, so get your alpha back and kick her f*ck out
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post #32 of 73 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 07:00 PM
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Re: Verbally and Emotionally Abusive Wife

So sorry you are going through this. My wife of several years is the same: a very short fuse, verbally and physically abusive, throws tantrums, blames everyone and refuses to seek help.

Don't have a child with her for whatever reason, even if you think the relationship is improving. I thought mine was but am kicking myself for not waiting longer to see if the change was authentic.

You absolutely have to take care of yourself. Remember the three stools of wellness: social, physical, and recreation (and spiritual for some). I get the three by exercising daily, seeing a ton of friend a couple days a month (without wife), and read a lot. I'm also seeing a counselor who helps me blow off steam.

You likely can't find any comfort from your wife so I would try to stop seeking it. Still try to be pleasant, helpful and keep a good attitude in general, but no one will blame you if you're not a saint. After all, we are talking about being nice to someone who is likely continually vomiting negativity and being aggressive and nasty towards you despite your best efforts. Stop arguing with her b/c it's useless, stop trying to make her see your point of view b/c that won't happen. If she's just temporarily maxed out and pissed at you, doing these things might chill her out a little. Most likely though, this is who she is and you have to make the difficult decision of living with that for the rest of your life or seeking a different path.

My plan is to gain clarity on my situation through counseling and continue managing myself. I'm also trying to wait until my son is a little older before destabilizing his life. I don't know...I might even end up waiting for years b/c the thought of leaving him alone with my wife is terrifying.

Best of luck and know that you have brothers and sisters here who have or are suffering the same thing. We're here to talk things through and give support. Stay strong and remember to tell yourself often that you are a competent, strong, and valuable human being. No amount of verbal thrashing from her will change that.
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post #33 of 73 (permalink) Old 04-23-2016, 07:38 PM
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Re: Verbally and Emotionally Abusive Wife

There's an old saying, "people don't change". Even if they do, they can usually only do it in the short term. I think what you see is what you get. She been doing this for 20 odd years.

I honestly can't see counselling working. Maybe, but will she be able to sustain it long term?

There's another saying which says that people treat us the way we allow them to.
To make abusers stop & it isn't always possible, there needs to be very serious consequences put in place if they continue.

The next time it happens, you could try telling her that she has just abused you for the last time & if/when it happens again, you will be out the door. But, you have to mean it 100% & do it when/if she does it again. I only mentioned it because you mentioned separation. As far as what family/friends might think, you can't let that stop you for goodness sake. They don't have to suffer the abuse.

Abusers always to go for givers. Anyone else wouldn't stay with them & put up with it. Google 'codependency'. A better way of describing is it self-love deficit. You don't honour and love yourself enough. This is no way to live. It sounds absolutely awful. Life is too short for that. I'm very glad you haven't had kids yet & I certainly wouldn't even think about doing so in this situation.

"We just kissed".
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post #34 of 73 (permalink) Old 04-24-2016, 01:09 PM
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Re: Verbally and Emotionally Abusive Wife

I allowed my STBXW to emotionally and verbally abuse to keep my family together. I thought if I gave her control and put up with the abuse, she would never leave and family would remain intact. I was wrong.

She lost respect for me, she fell out of love with me, she quit having sex with me, she rejected me, she had emotional affairs, and finally she left me.

I am getting better daily. Four months of separation now. I do not have to deal with the abuse now. I still fear her, but only in that she may seek more custody of my son.

Interesting no one has seen this side of her except for her immediate family, her mom, dad, and brother, and now me. There were flags when I would see her disrespect for her father and brother before we got married. When she could not be reasoned with she would yell, call names, bring up the most hurtful secrets, just to hurt them emotionally.

None of her friends have seen this side of her, most would not believe it possible. The rest of her and my families have no idea what she is capable of. I am in a small exclusive club with her immediate family. We know.

Her parents, of course, are enablers. I understand, she is their daughter, they do all they can to not alienate her by disagreeing with her. She's been estranged from them and her brother before. She still has a distant relationship with her brother.

And now she has left me. Her parents now can put up with her again. Her brother is wary of her. I don't have to deal with her, with the exception of raising a child together.

No one will know until they get too close. Then she WILL come out.
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post #35 of 73 (permalink) Old 04-24-2016, 03:21 PM
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Re: Verbally and Emotionally Abusive Wife

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Originally Posted by philreag View Post
I allowed my STBXW to emotionally and verbally abuse to keep my family together. I thought if I gave her control and put up with the abuse, she would never leave and family would remain intact. I was wrong.
So was I, Phil. My experience -- if your STBXW is a BPDer as you suspected in your 2/19 post -- is that BPDers typically walk away after 12-15 years (or 10 years in your case). One reason is that, as they see you starting to stand up for yourself over the years, their abandonment fear becomes so painful that they leave before you are able to do it to them. Another reason is that, as the years go by, a BPDer becomes increasingly resentful of your failure to make her happy -- an impossible task.

Quote:
Interesting no one has seen this side of her except for her immediate family, her mom, dad, and brother, and now me.... None of her friends have seen this side of her, most would not believe it possible.... No one will know until they get too close. Then she WILL come out.
Yes, that is typical in BPDer relationships. The vast majority of BPDers are high functioning. This means they tend to get along fine with casual friends, business associates, neighbors, and total strangers. As you correctly observe, the reason is that none of those folks have drawn close enough to trigger one of her two fears: abandonment and engulfment. There is no close relationship that can be abandoned and no intimacy to trigger the suffocating feeling of being engulfed and controlled.

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I don't have to deal with her, with the exception of raising a child together.
Phil, as an initial matter, if you still believe your STBXW has strong BPD traits, I recommend that you NOT tell her. If she is a BPDer, she almost certainly will project the accusation right back onto you, believing YOU to be the BPDer.

Second, I suggest you start participating (or at least lurking) at BPDfamily.com at its Co-Parenting after the Split board.

Third, while you are at BPDfamily.com, I suggest you read the excellent articles in their resources section. A good place to begin is article 1 at How a Borderline Personality Disorder Love Relationship Evolves - Roger Melton, M.A..

Fourth,
I suggest you see a clinical psychologist -- for a visit or two by yourself -- to obtain a candid professional opinion on what it is you and your son are dealing with. As I've explained in other threads, your best chance of getting a candid opinion regarding a possible BPD diagnosis is to NOT have the BPDer along. Therapists are loath to tell high functioning BPDers the name of the disorder -- for the protection of those clients.

Fifth, if you are interested in reading a good book targeted to the abused partners and family members, I recommend the book Stop Walking on Eggshells and the book I Hate You, Don't Leave Me.

Sixth, there are validation techniques you can use to reduce the conflict between you while co-parenting. If your STBXW has only moderate traits of BPD, those techniques may prove quite helpful. If her traits are strong, however, I doubt you would see any substantial improvement because she won't believe whatever it is you are saying.

Some of these techniques are discussed in the two books I mentioned. Or you might want to look at two online resources. One is a psychiatric nurse's blog providing 20 tips to nurses on how they can best deal with obstinate BPDer patients. It is located at Borderline Personality Disorder on the Behavioral Unit - Psychiatric Nursing. The other resource is BPDfamily's list of tools for reducing the conflict with a BPDer family member. Those tools are described at Decision Making Guidelines. Sadly, my exW's BPD traits were so strong that none of these techniques made a real difference.

Finally, please don't forget those of us on this TAM forum. We want to keep trying to answer your questions and providing emotional support as long as you find our shared experiences helpful. Moreover, by sharing your own experiences, you likely are helping numerous other members and lurkers.
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post #36 of 73 (permalink) Old 04-24-2016, 04:06 PM
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Re: Verbally and Emotionally Abusive Wife

[QUOTE=Uptown;15525801] Another reason is that, as the years go by, a BPDer becomes increasingly resentful of your failure to make her happy -- an impossible task.

Yes, that is typical in BPDer relationships. The vast majority of BPDers are high functioning. This means they tend to get along fine with casual friends, business associates, neighbors, and total strangers. As you correctly observe, the reason is that none of those folks have drawn close enough to trigger one of her two fears: abandonment and engulfment. There is no close relationship that can be abandoned and no intimacy to trigger the suffocating feeling of being engulfed and controlled.


Pretty spot on. Thanks for the support and reading suggestions.

I appreciate it.
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post #37 of 73 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Verbally and Emotionally Abusive Wife

I apologize for not responding to this thread sooner. I really appreciate all of the advice and encouragement and honest opinions given.

I think I have been in denial about the situation I am in. I am going to start a new thread about separation advice. It looks like we will get separated soon. Its kind of like trying to fix a gaping wound with band aides.


1. Black-white thinking, wherein she categorizes everyone as "all good" or "all bad" and will recategorize someone -- in just a few seconds -- from one polar extreme to the other based on a minor comment or infraction;

She will look down on certain people pretty easily and elevates certain people but usually doesn’t go back and forth with the same person although does over time on several occasions. She either respects you or doesn’t like you much.


2. Frequent use of all-or-nothing expressions like "you always" and "you never;"

Uses terms like you always do this or act that way regularly and during every argument, always an extreme.


3. Irrational jealousy and controlling behavior that tries to isolate you away from close friends or family members
She has always hated my mom for what she perceived as trying to steal me away from her and took her anger out on me as a results and still does to this day. She thinks that I put my family first or I put my mom first. My mom did have some issues with me moving out such a young age and missed me but the reality is she was not like my wife perceived her and I confronted my parents every time they did something that was out of line and caused issues. I always put my wife first and stood up for her when needed. An example that she uses to hurt me to this day, about 13 years after the fact, is when we went on an out of country vacation for two weeks to visit her family, my mom made comment that if she died while we are gone we will miss the funeral. She did have some serious health issues that could have made that a possibility but it was manipulation and wrong for her to try and guilt us (The reality is she was afraid we would move to this country to pastor, still no excuse for my mom to act this way). I went to my mom and told her that was not fair to make a comment like that and please don’t do it again and she never did. But my wife accuses me like it is my fault even today and accuses me of not sticking up for her when in reality I did confront my mom and dad about the comment and made sure she didn’t do it again.

She does not like to even visit with my extended family that I am close to. She no longer tries to keep me from them after I made it clear that I will not abandon my family and never see them again because she does not want to be around them but just the act of me asking her to go with me on a family reunion trip every few year’s ends in a big fight. I never try to force her but I let her know I would really appreciate it if she spent time with me and my family together and that I miss her when she doesn’t go but it always ends up in her attacking me and insulting my family, I can honestly say that I am not aware of any issues with my other family other than with my mom, they have always been very welcoming and loving to her, my mom was also very loving and looked at her as a daughter.

I am very friendly and open with her family and have never tried to keep her from visiting or being around them. In fact we take trips to visit her family on a regular basis but she refuses to go with me to visit my extended family.

Recently what kicked off a big fight is such a stupid and silly issue. We had a family dinner planned for the new years, a new bridge opened with tolls in my area. We just took a trip over the bridge and paid the tolls. The day before we agreed to take the non-tolled road that takes longer to get there since we were driving separate so she could attend another even that she did not invite me to. The next morning I offered to take my dad so he could save on tolls and gas and had a slip of mind and suggested he arrive in time to take the toll bridge even though I intended on taking the non-toll bridge, she got irate and exploded accusing me of putting my family first and not caring about her. I tried to explain it was an honest mistake and slip of the mind but it did not help and only made it worse, about 30 seconds after hanging up and realizing he needed to be here sooner I called back and updated the time to be earlier to allow us to take the non-toll bridge. She continued to attack me because of it and brought up stuff from 12+ years ago.

At a later time she then accused me of having a weird family that is too close and I should have sex with my sister, what a disgusting and mean thing to say to your spouse. As a family with them and their kids and my dad we eat out maybe once a month and have a get together maybe 3 times a year, she will eat out most of the time but does not attend most get togethers to visit any more. Her accusations are completely off base and unreasonable.



4. A strong sense of entitlement that prevents her from appreciating your sacrifices, resulting in a "what have you done for me lately?" attitude (e.g., not appreciating all the 3-hour trips you made to see her for two years) and a double standard ;

This hit me hard in the last few days, I realized it all along, but I don’t know, the reality just sort of hit me. I work hard and make plans for the future and still am able to spend as much time with her as she wants. I make good money and am working on plans to allow a better standard of living now and in the future.

I can honestly say that it is so rare that she shows any appreciation or support for my work or the stress I go through every day at work that I cannot remember the last time she made any effort to show appreciation to me or say thanks, how was your day, good job etc. I compliment her all the time for her looks, effort with the household and the part time job she has, maybe I need to stop?

What hit me is I don’t think she really wants to be with me, she very rarely initiates any affection, cuddling, never says she loves me without me doing it first and just replies, or me making a comment that she never starts by saying she loves me.

She acts as if she is entitled to all the love and money in the world but does not have to provide any effort or anything from her.



5. Flipping, on a dime, between adoring you and devaluing you -- making you feel like you're always walking on eggshells;

She goes irate over small things and things that she brings up from the past on a regular basis, always my fault even if it is something that someone else did. Sometimes I am left stunned trying to figure out what set her off or why she is attacking me for whatever happened.

But she does not flip to an adoring side, maybe a get along well and can enjoy the evening level but never adoring or overly affectionate or complimenting.



6. Frequently creating drama over issues so minor that neither of you can recall what the fight was about two days later;

See pretty much all of the above comments I made.


7. Low self esteem;

Not that I can tell at least. She seems to be pretty confident although how she blows up with things related to my family makes me think there is some self esteem issue.


8. Verbal abuse and anger that is easily triggered, in seconds, by a minor thing you say or do (real or imagined), resulting in temper tantrums or cold sulking that typically start in seconds and last several hours;

This ties in with the reactions about my family above and also about other non-family related things. I constantly have to walk on eggshells worried I will say the wrong thing that will set her off. This has become slightly better the last 5 years but still a big issue.

Family is only one example she blows up for many reason, the consistent thing is blaming and accusing me and then berating me.



9. Fear of abandonment or being alone -- evident in her expecting you to “be there” for her on demand, making unrealistic demands for the amount of time spent together, or responding with intense anger to even brief separations or slight changes in plans;

I can see this to a point. If she blows up about something before a trip or date night or get together she will threaten to not go and stay at home ruining plans and has done so several times in the past. But she doesn’t indicate that she wants to be with me, not openly at least.


10. Always being "The Victim," a false self image she validates by blaming you for every misfortune;

She does this all the time. The first few years of marriage I would apologize even when it wasn’t my fault. Now I only apologize if it is my fault or partially my fault but I make it clear if she is at fault.

Any of the issues that always come up she is the victim and it is always my fault. Even in cases that I had nothing to do with what happened or when I try to explain what happened since she perceived it the wrong way or misunderstood what actually happened.



11. Lack of impulse control, wherein she does reckless things without considering the consequences (e.g., binge eating or spending);

We have had many financial problems in the past with extra spending. I had to completely take over managing the budget. She would always get irate when talking about money when she did the bills and I asked why we came up short. After she racked up about $40,000 in credit card debt I slowly started taking over the budget and now I think she accepts I am doing the bills although I still constantly have issues with her spending budgeted bill money, it is a nightmare to keep track.

The credit card debt came from us starting an online retail business at a site like Amazons stores. Due to the language difference she had to take care of transferring money from the Amazon site to our business account. I set up a plan to manage the cashflow to make sure the cost of inventory was replaced and then I failed to make sure it was being handled correctly and now we have about $40,000 in debt from spending money that should have been put back in the business to pay off inventory.

In addition to the $40k she spent about $50,000-$60,000 over 15 years in herbs an supplements from her families doctor in Asia that and I quote “if I don’t take these herbs I will die”. I am wondering now if she was sending money to her family behind my back although she did receive some stuff from overseas but I have no idea how much it cost. I asked her several times for a list of each item and what it cost but she never provided a list or receipt for the items, it could have actually been $10 a month for all I know.

Typing this out makes me embarrassed that I let all this happened, how in the world did it get to this point. But like with other issues when I brought up that we cannot afford $400-600 a month for garlic extract and ground up mushrooms she would get irate and accuse me of wanting her to die and not caring about her.



12. Complaining that all her previous BFs were abusive and claiming (during your courtship) that you are the only one who has treated her well;

Never had this happen although she does have a very negative opinion of the men in her family, accusing them of stealing money and not giving their family money to live on.


13. Mirroring your personality and preferences so perfectly during the courtship period (e.g., enjoying everything and everyone you like) that you were convinced you had met your "soul mate;"

Not at all for this one. Some of the issues came up while dating. I was young and ignorant and did not realize how much of a red flag they were.


14. Relying on you to center and ground her, giving her a sense of direction because her goals otherwise keep changing every few months;

Not that is evident by her behavior. She does have an issue with making goals and having plans for the future.


15. Relying on you to sooth her and calm her down, when she is stressed, because she has so little ability to do self soothing;

She has a hard time calming down when she is stressed out but does not indicate that she needs to be soothed by me unless verbal abuse is considered soothing her. She normally doesn’t want to be around anyone when stressed out.


16. Having many casual friends but not any close long-term friends (unless they live a long distance away);

This is very interesting. She has a few casual friends but no one that I would consider a really close friend other than her sisters and two overseas that she really doesn’t even talk to that often. She has over dramatized things with friends in the past and ruined several casual friendships accusing them of acting crazy.


17. Taking on the personality of whatever person she is talking to, thereby acting quite differently around different types of people; and

Don’t think this is the case too much. She does act way overly polite to people we meet casually, especially people she perceives at a higher level like a boss, pastor or elder. Also with new people we meet.


18. Always convinced that her intense feelings accurately reflect reality -- to the point that she regards her own feelings as self-evident facts, despite her inability to support them with any hard evidence.

This is definitely true with her. Any argument or thing that comes up she cannot be convinced otherwise no matter how sound the reasoning or evidence that I can show. In some cases I have shown literal physical evidence of something but she continues to be angry about it fabricating a new reason.

Last edited by Jonny Be Confused; 01-03-2017 at 02:56 PM.
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post #38 of 73 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 02:35 PM
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Re: Verbally and Emotionally Abusive Wife

You are going to be SO RELIEVED once you are free of this negative, hypocritical, self-absorbed woman.

There are so many kind, giving, loving women out there, you're going to slap your forehead that you waited so long to leave.
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post #39 of 73 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 04:37 PM
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Re: Verbally and Emotionally Abusive Wife

My husband has told me before that I can be verbally abusive. I can have a temper every once in a while and I am working on it and become a lot better. But when I can fly off the handle and I go for the jugular. After I calm down, I know I didnt mean anything I have said but the damage was done to my husband. I didn't realize the damage I caused because this is something I observed from my mom as well, my mom would flip and say crazy mean things to my dad, then we would forget about it and go on with life and we all just understood that she didn't mean it she is just crazy. But my husband didn't have this attitude and not should he.
Him talking to me has really changed me and made me realize that it causes so much more damage than I realize. I'm working on it and I'm so much better.
You need to work on creating boundaries with your wife. I've said some not so nice things about my mil to my husband and he would say... don't say that, and it didn't stop me. Now he literally puts his hand up and is like STOP!! Your not talking about my mom like that or else I'm walking away. He created a healthy boundary and it has made us learn how to communicate in a healthier constructive way.
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post #40 of 73 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 05:00 PM
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Re: Verbally and Emotionally Abusive Wife

I'm dealing with the same issues that you are. I didn't want to break up a long marriage either so decided to stay married. It was a very bad decision. This issue is not going to get better because she knows that she can get away with it. I would go with your gut and divorce her unless you are like me and can't because of finances.

"I've paid double for every transgression I've ever made and that motel and that boat are little to ask for"
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post #41 of 73 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 06:57 PM
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Re: Verbally and Emotionally Abusive Wife

People can change but only if they know you mean business. I think you need to establish boundaries, bluntly state your position to her, and tell her you want a separation because is these issues. Then separate. That will give her the final chance to realize the damage she caused, if she can change then great, if not, then at least you gave her another chance and she will know it's her fault the marriage ended.
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post #42 of 73 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 08:56 PM
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Re: Verbally and Emotionally Abusive Wife

Jon, welcome back! What a pleasant surprise to hear from you after a year. From my list 18 BPD Warning Signs, you've identified 12 signs as being strong and persistent. If accurate, that indicates that your W is exhibiting a strong pattern of BPD traits. Moreover, as I discuss below, your description of her behavior seems to imply that two other signs (#7 and #9) are strong as well.

Importantly, her exhibiting strong and persistent traits does not imply those traits are so severe as to satisfy 100% of the diagnostic criteria for having full-blown BPD. That determination must be made by a professional. Yet, for the purposes of deciding whether to stay married to an abusive woman, it really does not matter whether her strong traits are above or below that diagnostic threshold. Anyone satisfying only 75% or 85% of the threshold criteria (thus "not having BPD") will be nearly as difficult to live with as a person satisfying 100% (thus "having BPD").

Quote:
7. Low self esteem -- Not that I can tell at least. She seems to be pretty confident although how she blows up with things related to my family makes me think there is some self esteem issue.
Jon, I suggest you rethink this warning sign. If your W is a BPDer -- i.e, has strong BPD traits, regardless of whether they are below or above the diagnostic threshold -- she almost certainly would have low self esteem (and self loathing) even if she is very good at hiding it. People having high self esteem don't feel a need to berate their spouses as being "stupid" -- and berate their friends as being "crazy" -- over minor disagreements.

Quote:
9. Fear of abandonment -- I can see this to a point.
Jon, I suggest you rethink this warning sign too. If your W is a BPDer, she almost certainly has a great fear of abandonment. That likely is what is driving her hatred for your mom. As you said, your W has "always hated my mom for what she perceived as trying to steal me away from her."

Moreover, your W's severe abandonment fear also is likely the reason that "She does not like to even visit with my extended family that I am close to." Similarly, my BPDer exW absolutely hated my adult foster son and rarely would go with me to visit my mother or other family members.

Quote:
Recently what kicked off a big fight is such a stupid and silly issue [about the toll bridge].... she got irate and exploded accusing me of putting my family first and not caring about her.
Again, this is an indication she has a great abandonment fear and very low self esteem. Otherwise, her perception of your harmless action -- i.e., telling your father to drive over the toll bridge -- would not have been so frightening to her. Make no mistake, she was frightened and threatened to be exploding into such anger and rage over something so minor.

Similarly, I oftentimes triggered my exW's abandonment fear (and her low self esteem) by harmless actions that would not have bothered a mentally healthy woman. She would go into a temper tantrum, for example, when I would mindlessly be walking a few steps ahead of her on the sidewalk -- an action she misinterpreted to mean that I was embarrassed to be seen walking beside her. And she would go into a jealous rage if she caught me looking at an attractive woman for 3/4 second instead of 1/2 second.

Quote:
An example that she uses to hurt me to this day, about 13 years after the fact, is.... my mom made comment that if she died while we are gone we will miss the funeral.... She continued to attack me because of it and brought up stuff from 12+ years ago.
If she is a BPDer, she has a fragile unstable sense of who she really is. She therefore will keep a death grip on the false self image of being "The Victim," always "The Victim." Your main role in the marriage, then, is to "validate" that false self image by enabling her to blame you for every misfortune and mistake. As long as you continue to play this role of being "The Perpetrator," she obtains the frequent validation she needs to maintain her sense of self.

Toward that end, a BPDer will keep a mental list of every mistake and infraction you ever did (real or imagined) going back to when you started dating. A BPDer will not hesitate to pull out the entire list, when arguing over the smallest issue, if she feels it is needed to reaffirm her role of being "The Victim."

My BPDer exW, for example, was convinced in the last several years of our marriage that I was making up a new lie every week. Yet, whenever I would ask her to give me one example of something false I had said in the previous week, she was unable to do so. She nonetheless had a powerfully intense feeling that I HAD TO BE LYING about something.

She therefore would cite -- as proof of my lying in the past week -- something I had said 5 or 10 or 15 years earlier. The further back the better because she knew that neither of us could recall anything we had said 15 years ago in much detail.

Importantly, my exW really did believe I was lying about something every week. Similarly, if your W is a BPDer, she likely is sincerely convinced that you are wrong. A BPDer experiences such intense feelings, and is so emotionally immature, that she believes those feelings are self-evident "facts."

Quote:
I cannot remember the last time she made any effort to show appreciation to me or say thanks.
With BPDers, it is impossible to build up a store of appreciation or good will on which you can later draw during the hard times. Trying to do so is a futile as trying to build a lasting sandcastle beside the sea. It will be washed away by the next tide of intense feelings flooding her mind.

A BPDer's perception of reality -- like that of a young child -- is whatever intense feeling she is experiencing AT THIS VERY MOMENT. She therefore is capable of being very appreciative for a few hours -- maybe even for a few days. But, after that, it's always "What have you done for me lately?" I mention this because, during your separation from her, it would be foolish to make any sacrifice or compromise thinking that it will smooth your path later on. It won't.

Quote:
What hit me is I donít think she really wants to be with me....
The vast majority of people exhibiting strong BPD traits also exhibit strong traits of another PD as well. A 2008 study of nearly 35,000 American adults found, for example, that a third of the female full-blown BPDers also exhibit full-blown NPD (Narcissistic PD).

Given your statement about her perhaps not wanting to be with you, I ask whether you believe she loves you now or ever loved you? Significantly, if she exhibits only strong BPD traits, she likely is capable of truly loving you, albeit in the immature way that a young child is able to love. If she were to also exhibit very strong NPD traits, she may be incapable of truly loving you or anyone else.

I raise the issues of narcissism not only because of your speculation on whether she loves you but also because of your speculation that -- in addition to the $40,000 she blew on credit cards -- she may have been lying to you about the $60,000 sent to her "doctor" (i.e., parents?) in Asia. Such prolonged manipulation and outright deceit -- if that's what it really is -- is trait of narcissism, not BPD.

Quote:
I constantly have to walk on eggshells....
No, you don't "have to" do that. But, if you've been married to a BPDer for many years, I can understand why you would feel that way. That is how all the abused partners of BPDers feel. This is why the #1 best-selling BPD book (targeted to those abused partners) is titled Stop Walking on Eggshells.

Quote:
When I brought up that we cannot afford $400-600 a month for garlic extract and ground up mushrooms she would get irate and accuse me of wanting her to die and not caring about her.
As I noted above, this huge waste of money is a narcissistic trait if, as you suspect, she's been lying for 15 years about money sent to her parents. On the other hand, it would be a BPD trait in the unlikely event she really has been paying that much for garlic/mushrooms and really does believe your objections imply that you want her to die without her "medication."

Quote:
She has a hard time calming down when she is stressed out.
The core feature of BPD is the inability to regulate one's own emotions. This occurs because a BPDer's emotional development typically is frozen at the level of a four year old.

Quote:
She has over dramatized things with friends in the past and ruined several casual friendships accusing them of acting crazy.
The vast majority of BPDers are high functioning. This means that they typically (but not always) interact very well with casual friends, business associates, clients, and total strangers. The reason is that NONE of those people are able to threaten a BPDer's two great fears: abandonment and engulfment. There is no close relationship that can be abandoned. And there is no intimacy to cause the suffocating feeling of being engulfed.

Yet, when one of those folks makes the mistake of drawing close to a BPDer, he will start triggering her two fears. The result, of course, is that the BPDer will push him away by taking great offense at some minor thing he did or said. This is why BPDers usually have no long term friends unless those people live a long distance away.

Quote:
Any argument or thing that comes up she cannot be convinced otherwise no matter how sound the reasoning or evidence that I can show.
A BPDer's anger is always there because the hurt has been carried since childhood. You therefore don't have to do a thing to CREATE the anger. Rather, you only have to say or do some minor thing that TRIGGERS the anger that's already there. This is why a BPDer's rage can be triggered in only 10 seconds.

This means that, when you want to discuss a sensitive matter, approaching your W during a calm and peaceful moment does NOT help at all. Within 10 seconds you will be dealing with the young child part of her mind, not the adult part. That is, you will be dealing with a raging child within a short period of time. Sadly, there are not many marital issues that can be resolved in 10 seconds.

Quote:
Jonny Be Confused.
Jon, if you really have been living with a BPDer for 15 years, consider yourself lucky you are only feeling "Confused." Because BPDers typically are convinced that the absurd allegations coming out of their mouths are absolutely true -- they generally have a greater "crazy-making" effect than can ever be achieved by narcissists or sociopaths. This is why that, of the 157 mental disorders listed in the APA's diagnostic manual, BPD is the one most notorious for making the abused partners feel like they may be losing their minds.

As to the migraines, Jon, if you intend to remain married to a woman who seems to exhibit the emotional development of a four year old, I suggest you ask your doctor to prescribe Sumatriptan. For about 80% of migraine sufferers, that drug will completely stop a headache in 20 minutes.
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post #43 of 73 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Verbally and Emotionally Abusive Wife

Thank you all for the replies.

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Originally Posted by Uptown View Post
Given your statement about her perhaps not wanting to be with you, I ask whether you believe she loves you now or ever loved you?
The main reason I feel that way is to me if you love someone then you wouldn't do things with the sole purpose of hurting them and you would show some affection and appreciation. I think she is capable of love although I can see some similarity with the NPD traits as well. She has had issues with her sisters and mom off and on and sometimes goes a month or more without speaking to them. We do have some peaceful times and can enjoy being around each other but it is a constant up and down battle, sometimes withing the same day. It is more hard times than good though overall, and when its hard its hard. Being a crazy maker is spot on.

This is a lot to take in right now. I knew something was off and it is shocking to see so many similarities with BPD and some NPD traits.

My first choice would be to have a happy and peaceful marriage but I can't live another 20 years of my life with this emotional up and down roller coaster, is that even possible to get where it is 90% peaceful if someone has strong BPD and some NPD traits? I have hinted in the past that she should see a psychiatrist and that went over exactly how you would probably imagine it would.

I am open to reading books but should I let her know why I am reading them or keep it to myself? What bothers me from the way I understand it she will never change unless she is willing to acknowledge a problem and get help.

I told her today that I would like to have a happy and peaceful marriage but if the choice is the rest of my life with verbal and emotional abuse or divorce then I will get divorced. She got mad and blamed me for everything for about 30 minutes and brought something up 15+ years ago, I'm not really even sure what happened since I can barely remember it.

It has been very difficult dealing with this over the years, its almost a relief to know that there could be a underlying mental issue at hand not that it excuses the behavior. It is very demoralizing and degrading to live with someone like this.

Its interesting you bring that up about the lying. She doesn't do it all the time but sometimes when arguing about something she will accuse me of lying and I will ask her to give one single example and she can't do it. Just today I had mentioned that law in our state could force us to go through a 90 day period before finalizing a divorce and she just came home and said that I said I would force her to move out of the house during that period of time, it never ends.

Something that is really bothering me now is thinking back to something she said in our first few years of marriage. She got mad about something and blew up, I think it was the time she fractured my wrist with a stick and she left over night and I had no idea where she was for about a day or two. She came back and said that she went to a bar and went back to someones apartment and had sex with them. It made me pretty upset and after some tears and broken heart she said it wasn't true after a day or so of this, even today she says it never happened.

From what you have experienced is it common for someone with BPD to lie about something like having an affair just to hurt you or could this fall in the self destructive symptom and actually have happened? She regularly tried to make me jealous the first few years of marriage and every now and then the last several years by light flirting with men and comparing me to other men that we knew telling me they were nicer, made more money, better men than me etc. I hope this is not true, it has always bothered me since I can't imagine saying something like that to someone you love just to hurt them. If it was true that would simplify what needs to be done right now, sometimes I wish I would have immediately taken her for her word and acted accordingly instead of letting her go back on what she said.
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post #44 of 73 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 11:39 PM
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Re: Verbally and Emotionally Abusive Wife

Yes. I would believe what she told you the first time.

"Our ability to feel joy is directly related to how much pain we are willing to feel." - Mavash.

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post #45 of 73 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 01:45 AM
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Re: Verbally and Emotionally Abusive Wife

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonny Be Confused View Post
From what you have experienced is it common for someone with BPD to lie about something like having an affair just to hurt you or could this fall in the self destructive symptom and actually have happened?
Short answer: Yes, it could have happened. Because BPDers lack impulse control, they are more likely to cheat (and do drugs, spending binges, or other risky behavior) than a healthy person. This does not imply that most are cheaters, however. On the contrary, most BPDers don't do cheating, IME. Serial cheating is an NPD behavior, not a BPD behavior.

Long answer: Although BPD and NPD are called "disorders," nobody has yet proven what it is that causes any of the ten PDs. It therefore is not known whether they are caused by ten separate disorders or three separate disorders. Indeed, all ten PDs may be caused by the very same disorder.

Because the underlying disorders are not yet known, the APA's diagnostic manual (DSM-5) cannot describe anything about the disorders themselves. Instead, the DSM-5 only describes the behavioral symptoms exhibited by people having the unidentified underlying disorders.

It thus is common for a person exhibiting BPD symptoms to also exhibit strong symptoms of NPD or another PD together with one or two clinical disorders such as OCD, PTSD, bipolar, ADHD, depression, or anxiety. Hence, saying that a person exhibits both BPD and NPD is not like saying she has two diseases. Rather, it is like saying that she has an upset stomach and tiredness together with body aches and mild fever.

Although learning to spot these PD symptoms will tell you little or nothing about the underlying cause of those symptoms, it still is extremely valuable to be able to spot these patterns of behavior. Once you know what set of behavioral symptoms you are dealing with, you unlock a world of information as to what type of distorted thinking gives rise to those specific patterns of behavior.

Whereas NPDers typically are very stable people, BPDers are emotionally unstable. Hence, your W's unstable behavior is a warning sign for BPD. Indeed, BPD is the only PD (of the 10 PDs) for which instability is a defining trait. Moreover, you describe a number of other BPD traits too. On the other hand, you also describe some NPD traits, as I discussed earlier.

As to your question of whether she would deliberately hurt you, she could easily do so if she were a full-blown narcissist. In that case, she would be incapable of loving you and would perceive of you as an object that is useful only as long as you continue to "validate" her false image of being the nearly perfect special person.

In contrast, a BPDer generally does not intend to deliberately hurt her partner. A BPDer is very reactive to perceived threats to her two fears, abandonment and engulfment. So, generally, a BPDer lashes out in rages -- like a young child -- when she feels very threatened. Her main intent is to protect herself from perceived harm, not to do deliberate harm.

That said, BPDers can be very destructive and harmful even though their intent is to defend themselves. Because they are too emotionally immature to handle strong conflicting feelings, they generally will split you white ("with them") or black ("against them"). While splitting you black, a BPDer's conscious mind is completely out of touch with the love feelings she has toward you. This is why BPDers are capable of being very vindictive and mean -- thus intending to do you deliberate harm -- whenever they have split you black and are in great pain themselves.

As to the lying, a narcissist or sociopath won't hesitate to do it if they figure they can get away with it. BPDers, on the other hand, typically lie only when you paint them into a corner and there is absolutely no other way for the BPDer to escape humiliation and shame.

Generally, BPDers don't have to lie to defend their fragile egos. The reason is that a BPDer's subconscious works 24/7 protecting her fragile ego from seeing too much of reality. It accomplishes this by projecting all hurtful thoughts of feelings onto YOU. Because that projection occurs entirely at the subconscious level, her conscious mind is convinced that those thoughts and feelings are actually coming from you.

My experience with my BPDer exW, for example, was that she truly believed nearly all the outrageous allegations coming out of her mouth. I did catch her on some lies, however, whenever she was in a corner and was desperate to avoid the shame of being caught doing the wrong thing. Yet, if I had seriously tried to separate those very few lies from all the outrageous projections, I would have driven myself crazy.

Quote:
She came back and said that she went to a bar and went back to someones apartment and had sex with them. It made me pretty upset and after some tears and broken heart she said it wasn't true after a day or so of this, even today she says it never happened.
Like I said, if she is a BPDer, you likely would drive yourself crazy trying to separate the few lies from the multitude of false projections she believes in. In contrast, an NPDer would be far more likely to lie to you -- and to sleep well after having done so.

Quote:
I think she is capable of love although I can see some similarity with the NPD traits as well.
If she is capable of love, she may exhibit moderate to strong NPD traits but is not a full-blown narcissist.

Quote:
Just today I had mentioned that law in our state could force us to go through a 90 day period before finalizing a divorce and she just came home and said that I said I would force her to move out of the house during that period of time, it never ends.
If she is an NPDer, she likely is simply lying. If she is a BPDer, however, she likely is doing what is called "rewriting history" in her mind. As with a young child, a BPDer's perception of your intentions and recollection of what was said is largely dictated by whatever intense feeling she is experiencing at this moment in time. That is, the feeling is so intense that it distorts her perception of what was agreed to and what your motivations are.

I can't tell you how many hundreds of times my BPDer exW would agree to something -- or even beg for something -- and then disavow ever wanting it a week or two later. After she moved in with me, she told me several times about how she had loved playing the piano in high school and how it had such a calming effect on her.

So I surprised her by buying a $3,500 piano and having it delivered and set up before she got home. She was absolutely thrilled with it for two weeks. I eventually decided to sell it online, however, because she had played the piano only five times -- for a combined total of about three hours -- in three years. When I was selling it, she told me she never asked for the piano and never really wanted it. It was all my idea, she said. And she believed that nonsense.

Similarly, she spent over $11,000 on 4 sewing machines and fabric bolts. In 15 years, she managed to produce only one vest, one dress, one blouse, and a cat collar. When she bought the 4th machine, I asked her why she had bought the 3 other machines earlier. She answered that they did not have the features she needed to do her sewing work.

When I asked why she had chosen to buy 3 machines without the proper features, she explained that it was my fault. She said she knew that I would object to her spending more money to get the right features. So, to keep peace in the family, she had sacrificed herself by buying cheaper machines that wouldn't do the job. And she really believed that nonsense.

Quote:
She has had issues with her sisters and mom off and on and sometimes goes a month or more without speaking to them.
Likewise, my BPDer exW has a falling out with one of her sisters nearly every year and they will stop speaking sometimes for 4 to 6 months. Then they're back to being best friends and thick as thieves.

What usually happens is that one sister will tell a joke that they all have laughed to on 6 or 7 occasions -- all of them thinking it is outrageously funny. But, on the 7th or 8th telling of the joke, one or two sisters will take great offense -- feeling as though they have been insulted. So they stop speaking to each other for months.

With BPDers, you never know what tiny thing is going to trigger the anger they have inside. Oftentimes, you don't have to say or do a thing. Rather, just being in the room with them is sufficient for you to serve as a "perpetrator" on which they can project a hurtful feeling or thought. They will be convinced it was coming from you even though you haven't moved a muscle.

Quote:
Is that even possible to get where it is 90% peaceful if someone has strong BPD and some NPD traits?
With NPD, I've never seen any convincing studies showing that therapy can make a dent in it. With BPD, most major cities in advanced countries offer excellent treatment programs (e.g., DBT and CBT) that can teach BPDers the emotional regulation skills they missed in early childhood. Yet, it is rare for a high functioning BPDer to remain in such a program long enough (several years at least) to make a real difference. I would be surprised if as much as 1% of high functioning BPDers have the self awareness and ego strength required to make a real improvement in behavior.

Quote:
I am open to reading books but should I let her know why I am reading them or keep it to myself?
Keep it to yourself. If she really does exhibit strong BPD traits, she almost certainly will project the accusation (that SHE has strong traits) right back onto you. The result is that she will be absolutely convinced that YOU are the one exhibiting strong BPD traits.

This is not to say, however, that I followed my own advice. After we separated -- not wanting to leave any rock unturned -- I slipped a copy of Stop Walking on Eggshells into a box of her belongings. She found it and read it. Of course, she immediately concluded that I am the BPDer. Never mind that SHE is the one who was sexually abused by her own father for years.

Quote:
What bothers me from the way I understand it she will never change unless she is willing to acknowledge a problem and get help.
You understand correctly. The change must come from her. There are a number of emotional skills she must work hard to learn: how to self sooth, how to avoid black-white thinking, how to trust, how to regulate her own emotions, how to intellectually challenge intense feelings instead of accepting them as "facts," and how to be "mindful" (i.e., how to remain in the present instead of escaping into the past and future through daydreams).

If she is willing -- which is highly unlikely -- she can make some progress in acquiring those skills by reading. But she won't get far on her own. Professional guidance is essential.

Quote:
It has been very difficult dealing with this over the years, its almost a relief to know that there could be a underlying mental issue at hand not that it excuses the behavior.
You are right, of course. Being able to explain her dysfunctional behavior does not excuse any of it. Like a spoiled young child, a BPDer should be allowed to suffer the logical consequences of her own bad choices and bad behavior. Otherwise, you are robbing her of any incentives and opportunities she might have to confront her own issues and learn how to manage them.

Quote:
It is very demoralizing and degrading to live with someone like this.
Yes, but keep in mind that the "demoralizing and degrading" is not something SHE is doing to you. Rather, it is something you BOTH are doing to each other. After all, a toxic relationship cannot be sustained for nearly 20 years without two willing participants.

Granted, her role in this toxicity -- i.e., her abuse and neglect of you -- is very easy to see. What is much harder to see is the role you have played in the toxicity. While she has been harming you for many years, you have been harming her too.

You've been an "enabler," i.e., a person who enables her to behave like a spoiled four-year-old for many years -- and KEEP GETTING AWAY WITH IT. She's been able to do this only because you protect her from having to experience the logical consequences of her own bad behavior.
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