Just don't know anymore... - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Just don't know anymore...

I'm tired, miserable, depressed, but trying my damnedest to keep a good face and fight the fight. I've been with my wife for nearly 5 years, married for the last two. This is my second marriage. She was two girls (the oldest just moved out at 23), I have three children - two boys who lived with us (my oldest is in the military now and my younger son is graduating high school this June). My daughter lives with her mom a couple hours away.

Man, I just don't know where it all went wrong. She's a toxic person, but outwardly decries that she's not the problem, it's me. When we first met, she was just amazing - easy going, fun-loving, full of energy, etc. After dating about 3 months, my lease was up at my apartment, so I moved in with her as she had just bought her own house. For the next several months, things seemed to go really well, but then my boys moved in with us just before the new school year. From that point on, it just seemed to go downhill -more like a rollercoaster where you couldn't get off. Our first big argument was that my youngest son was smoking weed in the house and she flipped her lid. Of course, I spoke to him and implored him to stop....and of course, he didn't. He just kept hiding it. Although I was not happy about him smoking it, I honestly couldn't fight it that hard because I did the exact thing at his age (his mom did too). And, to boot, his stepmother had smoked with me a few times over the year, so there you have it. Anyway, it was a huge blowout fight and after she searched his room and found more "stuff", she blew her lid again and told me she was just going to call the police next time. That put the first big tear in our relationship.

After all of this, the relationship continued to become even more toxic. She's always got a way of making everything my fault. She's got all of these idiosyncrasies that make me fell I have to walk on eggshells with every thing I do (or don't do), to a point where I really think I'm the crazy one. Things like the bathroom floor mat being a bit wet after someone gets out of the shower. She uses it when she's doing her hair, because she doesn't want to stand on the cold tile -so when it's wet, she has a fit! That's just ONE of many, many little issues...

The other night, we were at the bar having dinner and drinks, and I said to her that I'd choose her over anyone else here -and she just laughed and said she doubted that. I was FLOORED! First off, I've never cheated on her, never even wanted to. So this has nothing to do with that. Of course, I was a bit pissed off, and after telling her that, she just said that it was what she believed. Wow....so basically, she just invalidated our marriage right then and there. So we get home, she goes to the basement to check the laundry. My son comes up from his room in the basement and tells me he's going to meet up with some friends. A moment later, she comes up *****ing and stating the my son who NEVER turns the basement light out, did turn it out and he was a prick for doing so. I was lost at that moment....First off, yes, he fails to turn the light off many times, but not ALL the time. And second, I HIGHLY doubt he did it on purpose. It's obvious that he didn't hear her go down there, period. So now, I'm doubly pissed off. She had to go to bed early, so guess what I did? I went back out to the bar. Yes, not the best thing to do, but I need conversation with people, and I can't sit in the house (her house) and stare at the four walls doing absolutely nothing but living inside my own head.

Honestly, I can't even begin to explain every. single. instance of insanity I have gone through in this relationship. I haven't even begun to explain the issues with her girls, that she seems to just sluff off as non-issues. And every time she goes after my son (kids), guess what, I throw her kids crap right back in her face. It's just getting uglier and uglier with each passing month...

We've been to counseling together and separately -no more of that is going to work, and I have stories about all of that as well. I could seriously write a 600 page book on this.

I don't even know what I'm doing at this time. I'm going to be the bad guy no matter what I do, good or bad. She's real good at turning everything around so she shines and everyone else burns.....

Ugh, help please.
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post #2 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 09:59 PM
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Re: Just don't know anymore...

So why are you still with her if she is so abusive?

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post #3 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Just don't know anymore...

Ha, fair question. First, I didn't get married a second time, just to go through a divorce again. I also have my son who still lives with us and I don't want to put him through this again -at least not while he is still living with me and going to high school. Yes, I continue to allow this to occur and I keep myself in this toxic relationship. In the past, I had the hope that it would someday get better...but I know now in my heart that it just won't -and that just breaks my heart. I've tried stepping up even more (which basically means trying my best to abide by her "rules"), but that has shown no better results...
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post #4 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 10:25 PM
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Re: Just don't know anymore...

It sounds like the two of you got together mostly out of convenience, your convenience. You hardly knew her. But you moved yourself and your children into her home.

She does sound like a hard person to deal with and maybe even verbally abusive. But I also see things in your behavior that are not cool too.

Some of this is so easy to fix. For example, the bathroom mat. So get another bathroom mat so that there is one that is always dry for her to use when she does her hair. And one that you can get a bit wet when you shower. Problem solved.

The issue with your son smoking post in the house. With any family, it's paramount that parents agree on parenting. Apparently neither of you are willing to come to a compromise and work together to jointly parent.

With the pot issue, I think she's the one in the right here. It does not matter if she smoked pot a few times. What matters is that pot is illegal and it was in your home. She could have lost custody of her daughters if anything ever happened and some authorities found the pot in your son's room. By you allowing your son to keep pot in your home, you basically told your son to your to ignore your wife's position as his step mother.

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Originally Posted by nikonova View Post
The other night, we were at the bar having dinner and drinks, and I said to her that I'd choose her over anyone else here -and she just laughed and said she doubted that. I was FLOORED! First off, I've never cheated on her, never even wanted to. So this has nothing to do with that. Of course, I was a bit pissed off, and after telling her that, she just said that it was what she believed. Wow....so basically, she just invalidated our marriage right then and there.
Why are you so off put by what she said? I read your post. Do you really think that she does not know how little you think of her? I would love to have your wife come here and tell things from her side. My guess is that she feels about as good about you as you feel about her. She knows this, right?

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Originally Posted by nikonova View Post
she goes to the basement to check the laundry. My son comes up from his room in the basement and tells me he's going to meet up with some friends. A moment later, she comes up *****ing and stating the my son who NEVER turns the basement light out, did turn it out and he was a prick for doing so. I was lost at that moment....First off, yes, he fails to turn the light off many times, but not ALL the time. And second, I HIGHLY doubt he did it on purpose. It's obvious that he didn't hear her go down there, period. So now, I'm doubly pissed off. She had to go to bed early, so guess what I did? I went back out to the bar. Yes, not the best thing to do, but I need conversation with people, and I can't sit in the house (her house) and stare at the four walls doing absolutely nothing but living inside my own head.
So I guess counseling is not helping?

You may not want to go through divorce again, but unless the two of you are willing to calm down and work together, divorce is the only thing that makes sense.

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Last edited by EleGirl; 03-12-2017 at 10:43 PM.
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post #5 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 10:35 PM
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Re: Just don't know anymore...

I am constantly amazed at how spouses stay together after so much toxic stuff. I have to think that toxic couples stay together for lots of reasons, with love not being one of them. Stories like yours make me appreciate my marriage more. I can count on one hand the number of big fights we had over the last 44 years.

I am also amazed at how adults change after they are married when they were the nicest person alive prior to that. Adults rarely change their nature. One of the ways love affects you is that it blinds you to your partner's faults. After a few years, that initial love fades and you see each other for what you truly are. The initial love is gone and a decision has to be made whether to cultivate a more mature love or say goodbye. Many couples who post seem to be at that crossroad and struggle to find out why someone that loved them, does not love them anymore. Love does not come from the heart. It comes from various feel good chemicals in your brain. It is a chemical reaction that you cannot will into or out of existence. It is either there or not. I feel for you and can understand that you have someone to take care of the kids and a place to live which may be keeping you there much longer than you should. Things will never get better so might as well jump ship now rather than later. Take a look at this.

How long does passion last? The four stages of love - TODAY.com

Many prefer to drown in a pool of their own morality rather than seek the safety of a different morality.

Last edited by Vinnydee; 03-12-2017 at 11:29 PM.
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post #6 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 10:45 PM
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Re: Just don't know anymore...

I know you could only give a few examples on here, but those don't sound like she is toxic, they sound like maybe you have unruly kids. Blended families are very difficult, and parents tend to take their own kids side against the spouse, and then things snowball into some really hard situations.

It sounds like you want out, and if that is where you are already, you will probably end up divorced again by summer when your son graduates. I'm sorry it didn't work out better. Maybe your next one will since your kids will be grown.

Ciao,

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post #7 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 11:29 PM
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Re: Just don't know anymore...

Sounds toxic but your son needs to respect her wishes of no pot in the house...Pretty basic...
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post #8 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 11:33 PM
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Re: Just don't know anymore...

@Uptown

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post #9 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 11:49 PM
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Re: Just don't know anymore...

Hmm, victim or volunteer. So much to ponder. At what point do you take responsibility for your choices?
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post #10 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 11:51 PM
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Re: Just don't know anymore...

Quote:
Originally Posted by farsidejunky View Post
I'll be interested to read if he thinks there is BPD going on here. This just sounds to me like a situation of problems blending the families.

I have to agree with previous posters that the OP seems to minimize his son's drug use in the house. It's her house (maybe that's one of the major problems) and her rules, and I would definitely feel the same as her.
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post #11 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 01:01 AM
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Re: Just don't know anymore...

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Originally Posted by Hope Shimmers View Post
I'll be interested to read if he thinks there is BPD going on here. This just sounds to me like a situation of problems blending the families.

I have to agree with previous posters that the OP seems to minimize his son's drug use in the house. It's her house (maybe that's one of the major problems) and her rules, and I would definitely feel the same as her.
This is part of the problem with a situation where he and his kids moved into 'her house'. It's not 'their house'. A very unhealthy dynamic for a marriage.

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post #12 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 03:22 AM
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Re: Just don't know anymore...

If you are decided you want a divorce - I'd do it now before more damage is done. But if you really don't want a divorce, I think you can turn this around if you start treating her with respect and consideration for her feelings. Please read this: How to Deal with a Quarrelsome and Nagging Wife by Willard F. Harley, Jr. They also have some good stuff on blended families on the same site. Blended Families #1

Blended families are extremely hard. It's very telling how she is losing it in regards to your son (freaking out over the basement light) and you're saying there is "stuff with her daughters." As someone else said, each parent tends to minimize how frustrating their kid can be to the other person, then they end up siding with their kid over their spouse, so the spouse is never first.

I would get and read the book "Love Busters" by Dr. Harley (from the above linked website) and start identifying, and eliminating, the love busters coming from your side. I know you're frustrated with her and she does sound like she's gotten extremely uptight, but it also sounds like you do not respect her and she surely feels that, which puts her more on guard.

If you respected her, you would take her seriously when she doesn't want illegal drugs in the house. I smoked my share of herb when I was a teen too, but if someone living in my house had it in my home, I'd freak out too. And if my husband's kid was the source and my husband's attitude was "nothing I can do about it" I would be seething with hurt and resentment.

Things like the wet mat - in my mind, good grief, what is the big deal with a wet floor mat? But that's me - and apparently you and your son. The point is, she doesn't like it - maybe it gives her the heebie jeebies to step on a wet mat. Instead of treating her with disrespect for the fact that she's bothered by something you judge so trivial, why not do something about it? Someone suggested two mats. That's a great idea. I wonder, is there only one bathroom in the house? If not, can you make the one she uses to shower and dry her hair off limits to your son (and yourself if you can't remember the stupid mat).

Your wife may be a psycho, but she might also be just sick of being disrespected and treated like her wishes and preferences are an inconvenience to everyone else in her own home. (Are you paying half the mortgage, BTW?) Anyhow - once someone starts to feel disrespected, they become hyper-vigilant to being slighted, and every little thing (like the basement light) becomes a purposeful act of indifference to them.

Best of luck!
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post #13 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 04:10 AM
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Re: Just don't know anymore...

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Originally Posted by nikonova View Post
I'm tired, miserable, depressed, but trying my damnedest to keep a good face and fight the fight. I've been with my wife for nearly 5 years, married for the last two. This is my second marriage. She was two girls (the oldest just moved out at 23), I have three children - two boys who lived with us (my oldest is in the military now and my younger son is graduating high school this June). My daughter lives with her mom a couple hours away.

Man, I just don't know where it all went wrong. She's a toxic person, but outwardly decries that she's not the problem, it's me. When we first met, she was just amazing - easy going, fun-loving, full of energy, etc. After dating about 3 months, my lease was up at my apartment, so I moved in with her as she had just bought her own house. For the next several months, things seemed to go really well, but then my boys moved in with us just before the new school year. From that point on, it just seemed to go downhill -more like a rollercoaster where you couldn't get off. Our first big argument was that my youngest son was smoking weed in the house and she flipped her lid. Of course, I spoke to him and implored him to stop....and of course, he didn't. He just kept hiding it. Although I was not happy about him smoking it, I honestly couldn't fight it that hard because I did the exact thing at his age (his mom did too). And, to boot, his stepmother had smoked with me a few times over the year, so there you have it. Anyway, it was a huge blowout fight and after she searched his room and found more "stuff", she blew her lid again and told me she was just going to call the police next time. That put the first big tear in our relationship.

After all of this, the relationship continued to become even more toxic. She's always got a way of making everything my fault. She's got all of these idiosyncrasies that make me fell I have to walk on eggshells with every thing I do (or don't do), to a point where I really think I'm the crazy one. Things like the bathroom floor mat being a bit wet after someone gets out of the shower. She uses it when she's doing her hair, because she doesn't want to stand on the cold tile -so when it's wet, she has a fit! That's just ONE of many, many little issues...

The other night, we were at the bar having dinner and drinks, and I said to her that I'd choose her over anyone else here -and she just laughed and said she doubted that. I was FLOORED! First off, I've never cheated on her, never even wanted to. So this has nothing to do with that. Of course, I was a bit pissed off, and after telling her that, she just said that it was what she believed. Wow....so basically, she just invalidated our marriage right then and there. So we get home, she goes to the basement to check the laundry. My son comes up from his room in the basement and tells me he's going to meet up with some friends. A moment later, she comes up *****ing and stating the my son who NEVER turns the basement light out, did turn it out and he was a prick for doing so. I was lost at that moment....First off, yes, he fails to turn the light off many times, but not ALL the time. And second, I HIGHLY doubt he did it on purpose. It's obvious that he didn't hear her go down there, period. So now, I'm doubly pissed off. She had to go to bed early, so guess what I did? I went back out to the bar. Yes, not the best thing to do, but I need conversation with people, and I can't sit in the house (her house) and stare at the four walls doing absolutely nothing but living inside my own head.

Honestly, I can't even begin to explain every. single. instance of insanity I have gone through in this relationship. I haven't even begun to explain the issues with her girls, that she seems to just sluff off as non-issues. And every time she goes after my son (kids), guess what, I throw her kids crap right back in her face. It's just getting uglier and uglier with each passing month...

We've been to counseling together and separately -no more of that is going to work, and I have stories about all of that as well. I could seriously write a 600 page book on this.

I don't even know what I'm doing at this time. I'm going to be the bad guy no matter what I do, good or bad. She's real good at turning everything around so she shines and everyone else burns.....

Ugh, help please.

I can see a few problems with your story

1. Your son is in her house, he should RESPECT her rules. If you don't have the cajones to ensure he does, then shame on you. I wouldn't want my H's relatives or any sort coming into my home and even simply smoking. Further, adults smoking weed is very different from a school going kid smoking weed.

She was damn right to threaten to call the police, I would have done the same thing. You are not teaching your kids manners, and the lack of boundaries is appalling. She should kick you both out.

2. You lied when you said you would choose her over anyone else. You have just shown her that you choose your son and his bad behavior over her. Yet you are whinging about it! You are either totally obtuse or choose not to see.
It is not enough for a man not to cheat, he also has to have his wife's back. She has to know that she can count on him when the chips are down, whether it is with his kids, ex wife or even parents. You have shown her that you are not to be counted on and you see her boundaries as something irrelevant and to be walked over to keep the peace with your son, because you do not have the backbone to discipline him.

3. Yes all of the above is your fault and know that she knows you don't give a **** how she feels about how things should be in her home (she probably feels invaded by your kids with no concern about her) everything will now be a problem, even the so called minor issues. She is already pissed off and probably hurt.

4. You invalidated the marriage because you showed her who you really where. A man who would not stand up for her. She probably does not like your son, he sounds spoiled and you haven't helped in their relationship putting him first all the time. So small things will set her off.

5. You sound immature and not marriage material to be honest. The self pity is overwhelming, poor you how could you tolerate this and then must have a drink, blah blah blah. Grow up, you married the second time, you have to try and blend families it requires hard work, it will not just work out. Sounds like you think that all should be honky dory and your new wife should get with the programme.

6. You throw stuff at her about her kids which she sees as non issues, yet your underaged son is smoking weed in the home and you see it as a non issue? Wtf, talk about the kettle calling the pot black. YOu cannot see anything that you do wrong at all?

7. I guess your wife is no angel but to be honest neither are you. Perhaps you married to quickly and never thought about blending the families, which is never easy. It appears it is Divorce No 2. I would suggest you work on yourself before getting married again.
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post #14 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 04:58 AM
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Re: Just don't know anymore...

A woman like your wife is used to getting her way and needs a man at least 2x as strong and stubborn. That's honestly not you and she clearly has no respect for you.

Yes, she sweats small things, which is not healthy, but your reactions/inaction just reinforces to her that you're weak and can't depend on you.

Why were you afraid of your son? Why could you not crack down on him? Why should she be strict with her girls when you weren't strict with your son? These are the sorts of childish, high school games adults play when they're growing resentful.

So, if you can't be the kind of man your wife needs (because I'm guessing you must have been while dating) then let her go. Blending families is a huge challenge. It requires a new standard on parenting to be adopted across the board and adhered to.

You're both at fault, but she's not here, you are, so the next action must come from you.

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post #15 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 06:07 AM
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Re: Just don't know anymore...

@farsidejunky, thanks for the callout.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikonova View Post
She's a toxic person.
Nik, Farside gave me a callout because I was married for 15 years to a woman exhibiting strong traits of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). I agree with Farside that the behaviors you describe -- i.e., irrational anger (e.g., the bathmat), controlling behavior, easily triggered temper tantrums, lack of impulse control, and always being "The Victim" -- are classic warning signs for BPD. Importantly, I'm not suggesting your W has full-blown BPD but, rather, that she may exhibit moderate to strong traits of it.

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Originally Posted by Hope Shimmers View Post
I'll be interested to read if he thinks there is BPD going on here.
Very good question, Hope. Wish I knew the answer. As you know, BPD is not something -- like chickenpox -- that a person either "has" or "doesn't have." Instead, it is a spectrum disorder, which means every adult on the planet occasionally exhibits all BPD traits to some degree (albeit at a low level if the person is healthy). At issue, then, is not whether Nik's W exhibits BPD traits. Of course she does. We all do.

Rather, at issue is whether his W exhibits those traits at a strong and persistent level (i.e., is on the upper end of the BPD spectrum). Not having met her, I cannot answer that question. You thus may be correct that this is only "a situation of problems blending the families."

I nonetheless believe that Nik can spot any strong BPD warning signs that are present if he takes a little time to learn which behaviors are on the list. They should be easy to spot -- particularly for a man who has been with her for five years -- because there is nothing subtle about behaviors such as verbal abuse, lack of impulse control, and temper tantrums.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikonova View Post
She's got all of these idiosyncrasies that make me feel I have to walk on eggshells with every thing I do (or don't do).
Nik, if your W is a BPDer (i.e., exhibits strong and persistent BPD traits), "walking on eggshells" is exactly how you should be feeling. This is why the #1 best-selling BPD book (targeted to the abused partners) is titled, Stop Walking on Eggshells.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikonova View Post
...to a point where I really think I'm the crazy one.
Again, if your W is a BPDer, feeling like you may be going "crazy" is exactly how you should be feeling. 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. Therapists typically see far more of those abused partners -- coming in to find out if they are going insane -- than they ever see of the BPDers themselves.

Nothing will drive you crazier sooner than being repeatedly abused by a partner whom you know, to a certainty, must really love you. The reason is that you will be mistakenly convinced that, if only you can figure out what YOU are doing wrong, you can restore your partner to that wonderful human being you saw at the very beginning. Moreover, because BPDers usually 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.

Quote:
The other night, we were at the bar having dinner and drinks, and I said to her that I'd choose her over anyone else here -and she just laughed and said she doubted that.
If she is a BPDer, she has a great fear of abandonment and very low self esteem. It therefore is impossible to convince her that you truly love her and will remain loyal to her. A BPDer is filled with so much self loathing that, even when she is convinced that you love her AT THIS VERY MOMENT, she lives in fear that you will abandon her as soon as you realize how empty she is on the inside.

With BPDers, the only exception to this statement occurs during the courtship period, a time of infatuation that typically lasts 4 to 6 months. During that brief period, her infatuation convinces her that you are the nearly perfect man who has come to rescue her from her unhappiness. In this way, the infatuation holds her two fears (abandonment and engulfment) at bay. She therefore is briefly convinced you will never walk out on her.

As soon as the infatuation starts evaporating, however, those two fears return and you will start triggering the anger she's been carrying since early childhood. At that point, it will be impossible to prove to her that you will never leave her and that you dearly love her.

Quote:
After dating about 3 months, ...I moved in with her.... For the next several months, things seemed to go really well.
As I noted above, if your W is a BPDer, her fears and anger likely will not be triggered until you are at least 4 to 6 months into the relationship. Until then, her infatuation holds her two fears at bay.

Quote:
When we first met, she was just amazing - easy going, fun-loving, full of energy, etc.
If she were a narcissist or sociopath, you likely were being manipulated and deliberately deceived during the courtship period. If she is a BPDer, however, she likely was sincere and not trying to deceive you. What you saw was how she behaves when her two fears (abandonment and engulfment) are held at bay by her infatuation.

Quote:
She's always got a way of making everything my fault.
If she really is a BPDer, she is filled with so much self loathing that the last thing she wants to find is one more flaw or mistake to add to the long list of things she hates about herself. This is why it is rare for a BPDer to take responsibility for her own bad choices and bad behavior. And this is why a BPDer is constantly looking for validation that she is "The Victim," always "The Victim." The easiest way to obtain that validation is to perceive of her husband as "The Perpetrator" -- the cause of her unhappiness and every misfortune.

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She comes up *****ing and stating the my son who NEVER turns the basement light out, did turn it out and he was a prick for doing so. I was lost at that moment....First off, yes, he fails to turn the light off many times, but not ALL the time.
Another warning sign for having BPD traits is the frequent use of all-or-nothing expressions like "You NEVER..." and "You ALWAYS...." This childish behavior arises from "black-white thinking." If your W is a BPDer, she is too immature to be able to handle strong conflicting feelings, ambiguities, uncertainties, and other gray areas of interpersonal relationships.

Hence, like a young child, she will categorize everyone close to her as "all good" (i.e., "white" or "with me") or "all bad" (i.e., "black" or "against me"). And she will recategorize someone from one polar extreme to the other -- in just ten seconds -- based solely on a minor comment or action.

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We've been to counseling together and separately -no more of that is going to work.
If your W actually is a BPDer, MC likely will be a total waste of time. Although marriage counselors can be very good at teaching communication skills, a BPDer's issues are far more serious than a simple lack of communication skills. Hence, MC is unlikely to be productive until a BPDer has worked hard in individual therapy for several years (a very unlikely situation). My experience is that, until that individual therapy has been done, MC likely will just make things worse. The BPDer will use couples counseling as a stage on which to beat you up in front of an audience (i.e., the MC).

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I don't even know what I'm doing at this time. I'm going to be the bad guy no matter what I do, good or bad.
If your W is a BPDer, you are "the bad guy" no matter what you do. The main reason this predicament occurs is that the BPDer's two great fears -- abandonment and engulfment -- lie at opposite ends of the very same spectrum. This means you are always in a lose/lose situation because, as you back away from one fear to avoid triggering it, you will start triggering the fear at the other end of that same spectrum.

Hence, as you move close to a BPDer to comfort her and assure her of your love, you will start triggering her engulfment fear, making her feel like she's being suffocated and controlled by you. Yet, as you back away to give her breathing space, you will find that you've started triggering her abandonment fear. And, sadly, there is no midpoints solution (between "too close" and "too far away") where you can safely stand to avoid triggering the two fears. I know because I foolishly spent 15 years searching for that Goldilocks position, which simply does not exist.

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Ugh, help please.
Nik, I suggest that you see a psychologist -- for a visit or two all by yourself -- to obtain a candid professional opinion on what it is that you and the kids are dealing with. I also suggest that, while you're looking for a good psych, you read about BPD warning signs to see if most seem to apply.

Significantly, learning to spot these warning signs will not enable you to diagnose your W's issues. Although you can easily spot any strong BPD symptoms that occur, only a professional can determine whether they are so severe as to constitute full-blown BPD.

Yet, for purposes of deciding whether to stay married, it really does not matter whether your W's BPD traits are full-blown or not. A woman whose symptoms satisfy only 70% or 80% of the diagnostic guidelines (thus "not having BPD") can be nearly as impossible to live with as a woman satisfying 100% (thus "having BPD").

Moreover, like learning warning signs for stroke and heart attack, learning those for BPD may help you avoid a very painful situation -- e.g., avoid remaining in a toxic marriage or avoid running into the arms of another woman who is just like her. Further, learning to spot the warning signs likely will help you decide whether your situation is serious enough to warrant spending money on consulting with a psychologist.

An easy place to start reading is my list of red flags at 18 BPD Warning Signs. If most sound very familiar, I would suggest you read my more detailed description of them at my posts in Maybe's Thread. If that description rings any bells, I would be glad to join Farside, Hope, Elegirl, and the other respondents in discussing them with you. Take care, Nik.
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