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 Post subject: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:45 pm 
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Hi, my name is Matt. I was diagnosed yesterday with BPD. I had never even heard of the disorder before yesterday. Now that I've been reading up on exactly what it is and the difficulties people with BPD face, I am quite positive the diagnosis is correct. My life is pretty difficult at this time, and that ultimately is what has brought me to seeking help. I separated from my wife 3 months ago, she moved a few hours away and has custody of my son. She is quite open with visitation for him, allowing me to take him for weeks at a time, but living so far away makes seeing him difficult.

I had a lot of issues when I was with my wife. I would say things like how I wish her and my son would just go and never come back, that I regretted having a family, or wish I could take it all back. Then the following day I would feel terrible for saying those things and they would go back to being my world. Eventually the relationship strained, she began to give up on trying to be with me, I began to resent her, and eventually I kicked her out. Three days after she was gone I had realized I made a huge mistake, but by then it was too late and she was gone.

I love my wife very much, I wish that we could get back together and be a family again, though she has no intentions of that happening, at least I don't think she does. She has told me she is no longer in love with me, that she wants to move on and that she is not willing to give me any more chances because the things i've said were unforgivable. Now she is dating someone else, though by her own admission she doesn't think it's going to work out.

I am looking for treatment. I live in Canada so medical help is not costly, but it is hard to get quality mental health here. I am on a waiting list in a high category to get help, but it will likely take 3-4 weeks before I can see someone. Admittedly, and probably the wrong reason for getting help is the hope that my wife and i will reconcile and be a real family again. I fear that this is the wrong reason to try to get help, but i figure it's better to want help, even for the wrong reason.

I have serious confusions about this illness. On one hand i'm relieved because it helps me feel as though I am absolved of the responsibility of my actions, that all the bad I did, the ruining of my relationship, etc, is a result of my illness and not me. On the other hand though, this makes it very difficult to understand what is my fault, what I should feel guilty for.

Until yesterday I knew something was wrong with me, I just had no idea what it was. Now that I know, i feel confident that I can deal with it. I know it'll be tough, but even now just asking the question, "Is this me, or the illness" is helping me from reacting harshly to most situations, and forces me to hold my tongue a lot of the time. It has also opened me up to talking about my feelings to people, as it's in the name of recovery.

My wife is the only friend I have. There is a lot of hurt, and a lot of regrets on both sides, but she is my only support figure. I am not sure if this is healthy or not as my obsession with being with her, and her constant denial of my feelings presents many significantly emotional situations that I will be in. I don't know if it's best to rely on that support system or to deal with things on my own.

I should also mention that regarding my wife, I am quite angry and frustrated. I feel as though our relationship broke, and the reason for her not wanting to be with me, or to give me another chance is because of my illness. Yet if it were a physical illness, such as paralysis or cancer, would she have left me? This condition is very frustrating to say the least.

The bottom line though is I want to get better. Not just so I can be with my wife (which i even doubt will happen if i get better), but also so I can be a better father. So that my son doesn't grow up feeling the same way I made my wife feel, so that he doesn't stop loving me as she has, and so that if he ever develops the same or a similar condition I will be able to help him through it. On top of that, i also wish to be happy again, and sustainably so. I'm tired of the mood swings, the rash actions, and the feelings of worthlessness and despair. I want to be happy, I want to love myself, and I want to be worth loving again, or more accurately, feeling like I'm worthy of love.

I look forward to contributing with you guys greatly, sharing my experiences with others that are going through similar problems, and being an ear for others. I also look forward to this being a place I can voice my anger and frustrations, my despair and loneliness when the support system I currently have isn't prepared or capable of dealing with it. I'm optimistic for the first time in a long time that my life will be better off.

Thank you for reading.


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:26 pm 
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hiya im new here im sorry to hear you are having such a hard time. I was diagnosed with BPD about 5 years ago. My world fell apart. It is important to try and seperate the guilt you have and the feelings about your ilness. You have to want to get better for you because that is the driving force you need to get better. I often didnt take resposniblity fro my actions saying it was the BPD making me do that. It was only until i made the decision that i control me not the BPD that i finally started to get better. Im now in full recovery from BPD. It nevely goes fully goes away but now I control the BPd rather than it controling me hope u find help and peace soon


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:29 pm 
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One more thing, is it smart/healthy for me to use my ex whom I am still very much in love with (hold on a pedestal) as my support system or would I be better off being alone through the process? Or at the very least what sort of criteria should I use to determine the answer to that? Any insight is greatly appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:04 pm 
Hi Matt-

Welcome to BPDR.

Wanting to get help to be back with your wife again isn't a bad reason - But is it a sustaining reason?

My ex(who also had BPD) would make 900 promises, up and down, that he would seek treatment when I ended the relationship. When I told him that I wanted serious space(as in, a year) for us both to take the time to work on our individual issues, he dropped out of therapy. While he was all gung-ho about it then, his interested quickly dwindled when he realized it would not result in what he was looking for - At least, not in the way he had been looking at it. So of course it's not a bad motivator at all - But even if your wife makes it known in no uncertain terms that you'll not be together, will you still want and stick with the treatment? You say you doubt it will happen. In the throes of abandonment, we tend to make promises that we are certain we can keep - Not really recognizing just exactly what those things entail - Everything being overshadowed by the sweet high that comes with being 'safe' again. Anything can motivate treatment, but sticking and seeing it through ultimately needs to be for you.

You are not defined by your illness. You have BPD, but you are not "BPD". I did, however, want to address something in your post -

Quote:
I have serious confusions about this illness. On one hand i'm relieved because it helps me feel as though I am absolved of the responsibility of my actions, that all the bad I did, the ruining of my relationship, etc, is a result of my illness and not me. On the other hand though, this makes it very difficult to understand what is my fault, what I should feel guilty for.


You're not absolved of the responsibility of your actions. You are 120% responsible for every action that you take. Say you were my partner, and I had a broken leg. While nursing this broken leg, I treated you terribly. I barked orders at you, insulted and swore at you...I wouldn't let you sleep in the same home as me, because I couldn't tolerate being near you. I told you you were the worst thing that's ever happened to me and I wish I never met you. In a nutshell, I acted cruelly towards you. Would you say that's ok, justify it by saying I had a broken leg and I was in pain, and it wasn't my problem that I treated you that way?

Pain doesn't give us an excuse to treat ourselves and other people badly. We lug around a whole lot of it, yep. Along with guilt and shame. What discovering you have BPD means is different to each person, but looking at in the light of "Well, it's just the BPD acting, this isn't my problem" doesn't do you one bit of good. It IS your problem(meaning, issue) to deal with. You may not "be borderline", but you have borderline PD and you own the actions you took.

Now I know why owning up to our stuff is hard - Because of our unfiltered, undiluted emotions and dysregulation, and our tendency to see things in black and white, we feel like if we take responsibility for what we've done, we become nothing. Worth no more than the crap on our boots. And now we've got to deal with the overwhelming guilt and shame that accompanies feeling worthless.

It doesn't have to be that way though. Through recovery, we can achieve of balanced mind of taking ownership of our stuff and not being a bad person - Being a decent, flawed human being. Seeing the grey.

I'm not going to advocate that you drown yourself in guilt - When you're consumed by it, it is no longer productive. But I've said many times that the guilt is not a bad thing - It keys us into who we want to be, what actions we want to take, what place we want to act from. It instills something of an internal compass, pointing us in directions that would be most beneficial to a peaceful and content state of mind.

Looking at your wife as though she left you because of an illness vs. incompatibilities, improper treatment, etc., throws you into a victim mindset - As far as I see it, BPD(in my eyes) is only a means to opening up gateways, to point us in the direction of the treatment that would likely be most beneficial. Your wife did not leave because you were ill - Your wife left because, by your admission, you mistreated the relationship with her and your son, you kicked her out, and neither of you were prepared to deal with both your individual and meshed issues at that point in time. You chose this path. Even if the choice was not made with a clear mind, it was still a decision you made, and not a force out of your control.

I can identify all too well with rash, impulse decisions. Wondering what the hell did I just do...How am I going to repair this now...I have burned my bridges in some places. There are some relationships I've had where the people I had them with want absolutely nothing to do with me, because of the toxicity of our relationship. I have to deal with it. This is a consequence to my actions. I can scream and yell and say "It wasn't my fault!! It was these damn emotions!", but then I'm right back to square one again - Aiding my self-fulfilling prophecy of "Everyone leaves. No one loves me. No one can be trusted." Well, THAT certainly isn't a recovery-oriented mindset. I made mistakes in those relationships. They made mistakes. We both contributed, in our own ways, to the breakdown of those relationships. We have to accept what we've done and said, and simply press forward and learn. We can't go back and undo the past, and a lot of times we're not given a chance to apologize. But we're always, always given an opportunity for a learning experience.

3-4 weeks isn't too bad, though I'm sure you're eager to see someone now - I totally get that. In the interim, though, the good news is that there's plenty you can do! I would suggest definitely looking on the left here - The tool box - And just glaze over everything. Check it out, let it sink in, see how you feel about it. If you need some reading material, you can take a look here for some ideas - viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1244

Looking forward to talking more with you, Matt.


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:16 pm 
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Have you ever heard of the Existential Paradox?

Dr. Joseph Santoro wrote:
We are not responsible for how we came to be who we are as adults
but as adults we are responsible for whom we have become and for everything we say and do.

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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:21 pm 
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Thank you for the replies.

Raeni, the first thing I want to address is your ex-bf situation and my own. It's hard to say whether or not I will want to get better if things get worse. I just found out yesterday that I have this disorder and as you know with the quickly altering moods, that may very well change as soon as tomorrow. I don't think it will, I think I will always want to get better, I'm not happy as I am, and I want to get better now for the hopes that when I'm better my ex will see me in a better light. We will always be connected in some way, we have a beautiful son, she wants me as an active part in his life and I want the same. So even if she says she doesn't want to be with me, I don't believe it'll always be the case, I think she doesn't want to be with the sick me. That being said, if the sick me gets better, seeks treatment, and recovers, will her denying me then set me back, and if it were to set me back, would experiencing recovery be enough to not set me back?

As for the comments by Raeni, Ash, and Katie regarding guilt, that is 100% correct. It is something I didn't factor in. It was nice to believe everything wasn't my fault because up until now I've been consumed with guilt, thinking that the relationship ending was all my fault (which it was for the majority), and that I deserve to feel empty inside and deserve the pain I am feeling. But the thing is to not absolve myself of the guilt and the pain, but to recognize that the guilt and pain does not have to be overwhelming and destructive as it has been. To put it more simply I need to stop dwelling on my actions of the past and work towards what will improve the lives of myself, my son, and even my ex for the future. I think the main thing I'm hoping for is forgiveness for what I've done and how I've acted. I've said truly terrible things to people I love, things I truly regret, and I want these people to know that I regret saying them, I regret thinking them, and I regret hurting those people. What I've noticed though is for my ex, that doesn't matter because she's not willing to trust it won't happen again... at least for now. (fingers crossed).

That being said, my ex and I have daily contact, we are still quite close and the well-being of the other is important to both of us. When I told her I was seeking treatment for whatever was wrong with me (at the time I didn't know), she broke down into tears blaming herself for what was wrong with me. I had to tell her that this had nothing to do with her, that there was clearly something wrong with me and if I had any hopes of being happier in life I needed to get the help, but I saw genuine concern for my well-being, amongst other situations as well (not suggesting she wants to get back with me, just that we both mean something to the other). The reason I bring this up is because ultimately she has the potential to be a serious force in my recovery, yet at the same time she has the capability of breaking my heart and triggering these highly emotional states very easily. I don't want to do this alone, and even if i had a substitute support system I'd rather be close to her, but is this healthy? Is this healthy for her even?


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:58 am 
Hi Matt-

I wonder how wise it would be to depend on your wife as your support system. There's a lot of feelings there on both sides, some good, bad and in between stuff. You two are separated and this sends out the message that your wife needs the space to deal with her own stuff now - In my eyes, what I would do if I were in your situation, is leave my wife be to deal with and address her own issues, and take the much needed time to deal with my own. That's not to say I wouldn't speak to her here and there, but I would find it unfair to be dependent on her, not leaving her the room she needs for herself - I would also find this would defeat the purpose of my trying to gain emotional independence. Hanging onto her right now, I would feel would be me desperately trying to avoiding trigger my abandonment issues. Basically, I would see being heavily dependent on my wife serving as a deterrent from working on my own stuff, and not respecting her space.

I suggest expanding your support network - Something I found really helpful is not just having one person who I really depend on, but having bits here and there that I can draw from, if I need to. Friends, family, forums like these, of course, therapy, my journal, etc. I felt like I was respecting my boundaries and respecting other's. It made me feel supported yet independent, capable of standing on my own two feet. That was a very large boost to my esteem to know I could do this.


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:45 pm 
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Very good points Raeni. A few concerns though.

First you had mentioned about having a number of people as a support system. The problem is I am not close at all with my family, I have no friends at all (quite literally), and of the examples you gave the only things I see as a support system are my aforementioned ex-wife, forums like these, and therapy. Of course I haven't even started therapy yet as I am still on the waiting list.

That being said, I had suggested to her that maybe she shouldn't be my support system as it will hurt her and we have a number of unresolved feelings that can possibly trigger great heartbreak for me and pain for her. She told me not to worry about her feelings, that she is here for me. If I felt it was better to not use her for support than to not use her for support, but she wanted me to do what is best for me. She had mentioned that she really wants to be close friends, and I am very happy for that, the problem is though sometimes things like these small caring gestures can trigger me to believe it's more than just caring for me, then I get a tad clingy, she gets pushed away and we are both hurt for a couple days until the cycle goes around again.

On one hand I am extremely lonely. She is my only friend, has been my only friend for years, and I love and care for her a great deal as I'm sure she does for me as well. I think there is a problem from both of us to let go and detach, as she has also told me she is extremely lonely and unhappy. It's just difficult to let go of her, and I think it's tough for her to let go of me as well. The fact that we have a son involved makes complete detachment extremely difficult (not that I want that), and we're both scared to not have each other because nobody cares as much about us as we do for each other.

It's just hard to figure out what is healthy, what I want, what she wants (because she almost always wants to change the subject when we talk about feelings of any sort). I was interested in pointing her to a support forum for loved ones of bpd sufferers, however after seeing how anti-bpd most of them are it's not a place I'd like to refer her.

I think the important thing for me to do right now is to be patient. I have 3-4 weeks to wait for therapy (hopefully), and then take it step by step. Problem is my impatience, I want to rush through the process, which I can't imagine is a good thing to do.


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:20 pm 
Well Matt, utilize what you do have and what you can. If, for now, it's your ex-wife, forums and perhaps journaling - Learn to draw from each of them with allowing yourself to become utterly consumed by them. You know what you could maybe give a whirl? There's a workbook I'm super fond of, called "The Angry Heart" by Joseph Santoro and Ronald Cohen. Here's a link to it on Amazon if you'd like to read some reviews - http://www.amazon.com/Angry-Heart-Josep ... t_ep_dpi_1

There's also the book that the owner of this site has written, called "Picking Up The Pieces". Ash has some of the homework exercises posted on this site as well, I'll throw the links in here, too. The book itself is straightforward, simple, in laymen's terms. In my eyes, it's precisely BECAUSE of it's simplicity that lends its brilliance. viewtopic.php?f=7&t=12334 I would definitely check out those exercises that she's generously posted here.

It does seem like it could get a bit messy with your wife - It appears like there's not enough emotional separation there yet - And this could hinder you both. If you can learn to spread yourself out a little more with what you do have, learning boundaries, along with utilizing some of these tools here, you could maintain a healthier friendship with your wife.

As far as referring your wife to a support forum - That's not a bad idea at all. As far as what you're talking about in terms of 'anti-bpd', those attitudes are typically from someone early on in their own healing process and having already exited the relationship. Just another part of grief, so to speak. Some may carry that pain with them for longer than others. Some need to clutch onto their anger because their boundaries are weak and they need to be angry else they will return to a relationship that is not healthy for either person.

Nevertheless - Your wife has her own mind. She is not a sheep. If she is truly set on maintaining a friendship with you, she will do so - Some of the elements and dynamics of the relationship might change - Naturally. When my previous ex and I were together, I sent him over to bpdfamily. He decided for himself he wasn't too fond of the actual forum, but enjoyed the articles and learned a lot from them. There is actually a wealth of information on that site, especially surrounding boundaries, something your wife may or may not be able to benefit from.

So does this boil down to you being afraid that your wife will be influenced or "talked out of" having a friendship with you? I think she deserves support as much as you do. It's not your place to tell her what she needs and what she doesn't, but if you have an idea of something that might be able to help her that she doesn't know of yet, holding it back based on your own fears(provided that is the reason) essentially boils down to your efforts to avoid abandonment.


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:00 pm 
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I have to say I am greatly impressed and happy with everything you have said to me so far Raeni. First thing I want to address is your last paragraph. You could not be more correct. It's all fear, and I have a lot of it, but she definitely could use support. One concern I have is that I am a member over a bpdfamily and they did suggest not referring your spouse there for anonymity issues. Do you know of any other good ones, or should I just brace my wife to be aware of how important the anonymity is and to make an account that would give me no idea of who she is on the forum?

On a side not, I was very impressed with how much prep work she did when I told her about my diagnosis, she immediately said yes, that makes perfect sense, it describes you and what we went through perfectly. Then she started doing quite a bit of research on the subject, about what we go through, why we do some of the things we do etc. I was talking to her yesterday, and I was really excited because I'm finding so much information on the subject. I started talking to her about what I found and part way through she stopped me and said that she already knows all of this, that she has been reading over a lot of things regarding bpd. It made me feel really good that she was taking an interest in my recovery.

I do also see what you mean about it getting messy with my wife. That is my big fear. I don't think it'll hinder my own recovery if things get messy, but I'm scared of getting hurt and hurting her. Again though I think it boils down to what you said about her not being a sheep. She has her own mind and can make her own decisions as to whether or not she's willing to risk getting hurt by being my support system and I need to focus on what I want, and what I'm worried about for me. Frankly I don't mind getting hurt now and again, it happens, so long as it doesn't impact my recovery in a negative way I am happy to have her as my support. That being said I think you are right about utilizing more than just her for support. There are a lot of very emotional areas and unfinished and not talked about feelings between us. As I mentioned earlier, when we talk about our feelings for each other (even to just clarify and define where we both stand), she tries to avoid those conversations. Clearly she is a major part in my life still and these issues need to be talked about (among others), so having another branch on the support tree can give me that full rounded catharsis and advice I need to get better.

In terms of books, yes they are great tools. I'm definitely not much of a reader. Not to mention buying books is not something I am all that willing to do. (I earn very little money, have declared bankruptcy and am still having issues with my bills, so buying a bunch of books I'll probably never get around to reading isn't smart for me). I have checked out a bit on the homework tips, as well as the tools, those poems, and other information on the website. There is a lot to go through, and frankly I'm not really sure where to start.

I have started to utilize the 5 steps though. It's amazing how much just stopping and analyzing my thought process is making an improvement. I've been in a few situations where I was definitely triggered. I'm actually triggered right now over something my wife had said to me earlier (which I'll talk about in a minute). In these situations where I was triggered, I recognized that I was having a strong emotional response. Unsure if this was something that a non-BP would go through, I figured let's analyze. I immediately stopped, focused on what was truly bothering me, and then figured out how to best handle the situation.

My example. Today I had dinner with my wife. She lives 2 hours away and I was picking up my son (He's going to stay with me for a week or two... SO HAPPY!!!). My wife is a great cook. Best food I've ever tasted. We joked around a lot about how I don't get to eat so good anymore, etc, etc. Anyway, we finally agreed to have dinner together the next time I got my son, and voila, here we are. Should also mention it's the first time we've spent any significant time together since we separated 3 months ago. I had a great time. Great food, great company, and I got to see and take home my son. When I got home I called her to let her know my son and I arrived safely so she wouldn't worry, during the conversation she had asked if i enjoyed the meal, to which I replied, oh yes, best meal I've had in 3 months. She then asked me, didn't it feel awkward though? It really didn't for me, but it did for her. This hurt a bit and set me off emotionally, though I held my tongue. When I got off the phone with her I decided to analyze the situation and had figured that it's probably a very normal situation to have the first social experience with your ex to be an uncomfortable one. I then decided that I would broach the subject at a later time (which I haven't done yet), to see if she'd like to talk about her feelings so I can better understand exactly what is bothering her and help her through those feelings, rather that worry about my own fear that she won't want to be around me anymore. If she doesn't want to talk, I'll understand, and if she does it'll feel good to help someone I care about.

It's something that struck a chord with me earlier... not sure if it was said or if it just made me feel this way, but I think that I can't dwell on what has happened. All I can do is act in a way that is going to improve the lives of me, and those I love. Expanding on that, to also understand that I can only control my own actions. What can I do right now to improve my life and those I love? Seek treatment, and be there to support those I love. That is what I shall do. It may be a rough road... I'm sure it will be, but as long as I stay focused on what is important, I think it'll turn out good in the end.


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:32 pm 
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Well scratch everything I said earlier. Having a terrible moment now. Just got off the phone with the wife. She calls me to tell me that I need to stop seeing her and talking to her because it hurts her too much. She wants to be able to be here for me through the illness, but to keep in mind every time I talk to her that it hurts her, even if we're not talking about anything in particular. I don't get how I can call her when I need her if I know it hurts her. What's more is the moment I got off the phone with her I felt so incredibly lonely. She's the only person I talk to, and she's telling me she doesn't want to talk to me anymore. I need someone to talk to, someone to work out these feelings... i need friends. I mistook everything she had told me in the past. I mistook what she wanted from me now. How do I deal with these feelings? With this situation? What can I do to not feel so alone? I just feel so worthless and unworthy of love right now.

So, I guess this is my first meltdown on the forum... I feel so much shame, and guilt.


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:13 pm 
Hi Matt-

Feeling hurt, lonely and rejected are all normal responses. I used to have to be reminded that it was "ok" to be human - I had it in the back of my head that I'd be operating under the likes of Superwoman, able to take it all in stride.

What helps me in those intense, consuming situations is mindfulness - A DBT technique. The definition of mindfulness is - Mindfulness is one of the core concepts behind all elements of DBT. Mindfulness is the capacity to pay attention, non-judgmentally, to the present moment. Mindfulness is all about living in the moment, experiencing one's emotions and senses fully, yet with perspective.

How I make it work for me in this particular instance, is imagining my feelings as pieces of trash in the ocean(sexy, eh?) just floating and bobbing past. Naming them - Fear. Anger. Abandonment. Jealousy. Acknowledging them as they come, without acting, without doing. I find that this helps me not throw myself into a tailspin. I acknowledge that this is what I feel at the moment without allowing myself to be consumed by the emotions. It's sort of a semi-objective eye on your emotional state. Here are some mindfulness meditation exercises that you could try - http://www.alternativedepressiontherapy ... nique.html

Another thing I do is act from my self-soothing list. A list I've created, of small to bigger things that I enjoy, to aide me through the waves of intense emotion. The key thing in recovery to remember is that feelings pass - They always pass. You don't feel the way you did today as you did 3 months ago, nor will you feel the same 3 months from now. Holding onto that along with learning how to soothe yourself(not depending on others to do it for you, or turning to drug and alcohol as coping mechanisms) were, for me, one of the biggest hurdles yet one of the most effective and enriching things I learned.

Here's a few ideas from my self-soothing list. I would consider making one for yourself, comprised of all the things that you enjoy. Do as many as you need to until you begin to feel some of that intensity dissipate to something more manageable -

1. Take the dogs for a walk
2. Have a swim
3. Take a long, warm bubble bath
4. Eat a piece of my favorite chocolate
5. Play a game of sudoku
6. Listening to goofy, light music
7. Baking cookies

Your wife has said in clear terms that it hurts her to talk to you, and she needs you to stop seeing and speaking with her. This is your wife's boundary. As much as you don't like it, and as much as it hurts you - This is what she's communicated she needs from you right now.

Remember that her inability to speak to you is reflective on what she can/cannot handle, not who you are. This is about her interpretation of the situation, her experience, and her pain. The guilt you consume yourself with now is not going to change that. The guilt can only serve you to press and drive forward and learn about what's healthy in a relationship, and what isn't. For now none of it will appear clear to you, and that's perfectly ok and perfectly normal. You can only break off a chunk at a time. I would focus on soothing myself through these intense feelings first - And then coming back to the hows and whys you felt that way later, when you feel more apt to handle it.

I know you feel overwhelmed by all the information you come across and don't know where to start. I would pick one thing that really resonates with you, and work with it. There is no 1,2,3 path. It's linear.

How are you feeling today?


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 2:50 pm 
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Thanks for the reply Raeni. As for how I feel... completely lonely. That being said, I've spoken to my wife 3 times today. I also spoke to her once late last night. Last night she called me, on the brink of tears apologizing for hurting me. She was saying should couldn't sleep, and even asked me to clarify something the doctor said about me being able to have a relationship with this disorder (which I sort of took to think she wanted to get back together... great huh). I was as compassionate as I could be, made the conversation have nothing to do with me and explained to her that she can't worry about me... if it hurts her to speak to me that's not her fault, and if it hurts me and makes me feel alone that's not her fault either. She also told me she checked out bpdfamily.com... i referred her there, not sure if she's going to continue to read up, but there is a lot of info there. The next morning I asked why she asked about me being able to be in a relationship, and she said because she felt that if I found someone to move on that it would be better for us both. Personally I think that is a lie, but I'm taking it at face value.

I also asked if there was any way she could pick up my son sooner than we had agreed. After I had experienced that crash I started to really think that it wouldn't be healthy for me to be the only one taking care of him until I at least got a handle on things. She has also been experiencing some financial stresses in her life and she wanted to talk about them today.

The conversations are very unpleasant right now, you can feel the pain and tension between us yet she keeps contacting me. I've come to the decision that I'm going to cut off all contact if she does not want to work on being together. It's not good or healthy for us to continue this way, it's hurting both of us, and unless we're both willing to try to make it work and work through everything we need to stop talking because i'm never going to give up on her.

As for how I'm feeling... well I feel completely terrible. I feel inadequate, lonely, pathetic, disgusting, selfish, guilty, lazy, and overall like a bad person, but even worse a bad father. I'm trying for it to pass, but it's hard when I keep talking to her, and to not talk to her makes me feel alone. As for finding tasks to sooth myself... so far that's reading up on BPD, but anything I decide to do leaves my mind racing... it's frustrating to not be able to calm it.

I really appreciate how you've been here for me though Raeni, you've helped a lot. Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:20 pm 
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Well I just told her that if we're not going to work on being together we need to not talk to each other any more. She went off on how "I don't want to see my son", just making me feel even worse inside. I don't feel depressed, but I do feel empty and lonely... and I do feel like a bad father. I keep telling myself it's for the best for him to be away from me. This way I don't put him through what I put my wife through. I think in reality though I just want to escape my responsibility because I'm scared I'm going to fail at treatment and fail him. I'm really worried that without me there to help her (financially especially), my wife isn't going to make it. I've already given her more than twice what I could reasonably afford.

$1100 in may, $650 in april. I earn under $1600/month after deductions to put that into perspective. Worst part is, for may I neglected a bill of mine for $140, and she is behind on 2 bills, one for $240 and another for $120. On one hand I'm worried she won't last... on the other I'm angry that I've given her so much money to increase her well-being and I've gotten nothing in return, in fact have completely neglected my own well-being.. Just wished she felt for me as I feel for her.

I'm pretty sure it's over for me at my job... I was given 2 written warnings for performance recently (just been unable to focus). Told them I was mentally ill and going to seek treatment so I couldn't come into work until it was settled. They are waiting on a doctor's note, that may or may not be enough, and even if it is I may still lose my job. So much stress, and I feel so alone... I just wish it was all easier... and to be perfectly honest, I have been having serious suicidal thoughts again, I had even started to plan, but I tried to stop myself from that thought process... at the very least if I don't let myself think out a plan I can't enact it.


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:01 pm 
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Sorry for the multi-posting, things just seem to happen so fast in my life. I am so tempted to contact my wife... to tell her I'm sorry, I love her, I care for her, I want to be there for her etc. I feel so guilty for telling her i don't think we should talk anymore. What's more is she will do small things and I begin to think that they are geared to speak to me. I'm not sure if this is because i'm self-centred or what.

For example, she is on my MSN list. She never goes on MSN unless she needs to talk to me though. For those not familiar with MSN you can leave a little message or quote or something.. for the past 3 months she has been putting in song lyrics or sayings that make me think they are directed at me. Things like "Praying you will see past the bs and into my heart... I will always love you.", "I will always love you.", "I love you please see and believe again.", etc. Well today, after being offline all day as per the norm, she signs on and changes her thing to "I wish I saved all the tears I cried for you so I could fucking drown you in them."

Should I take these to be directed to me? Should I try to talk to her? Should I apologize? I'm just so lost and don't know what is best. I think more accurately I'm scared that the choice I make is the wrong one. I love her so much and it hurts me so much to think that I could be hurting her.

I don't know.


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:17 pm 
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The latest hidden message, "I would have followed him to hell if he asked me to and with all he put me through, maybe I did." Not sure if these are geared to me or not... how would you guys handle them?


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:18 pm 
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Well, I took it upon myself to talk to her and find out what was going on with the messages. She bit my head off, but she explained where she was coming from and really talked about her feelings. I think it was good for her, and good for me. She also kicked my ass at the fact that I was being selfish and a bad father, i think she was right... so trying to take the steps to change that. Finally she bit my head off about not giving her space, which she said she wanted... i explained my confusion, she said she didn't care and needed space. We did have a pretty friendly conversation for about an hour to an hour and a half after that though with nothing of major importance discussed, though i did agree to give her more space to work things out.

She told me she will never have any desire to be with me... i'm very thick headed though and no matter what I can't let her out of my heart. I never will. She said some very hurtful things about me... how she hates who I am, and what I did to her. How i'm a loser (referring to my social awkwardness). She even went to the extreme of saying sometimes she wish I would just kill myself, as terrible as that sounds, and how she can't believe that I find her the most important thing in my life because of the pain I put her through. I tried to explain the guilt and despair i feel for that. How I wish I could take it back, and how it was because of the illness that it happened like that. I explained how that's exactly why I want to get treatment, so I'm not like that anymore. I explained that I loved her, that I'd like to work through things eventually, though she did shoot down that idea. I think she was a bit happy to hear that I love her though, she didn't react negatively to it. She also told me that she broke up with her boyfriend... I tried to comfort her on the matter but she wouldn't let me in at all... which is understandable.

Overall I'm happy I called, even if she did make me feel like crap for the first half. Even though I felt like crap I think it was important for her to vent on me. She has never really expressed her feelings towards me, at least not so intensely. Plus after she was done venting we talked about our son, and then about her cooking, a video game she plays, etc, and all of that was really pleasant.

So now i'll give her space, with luck she'll open up more to me in the future and we will work through things... though right now she both resents me and cares for me I think. We shall see... and if she truly does not want to be with me, I think i'm better off not giving up hope.


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:13 am 
Hi Matt-

Can you see where you made frantic efforts to avoid abandonment?

She had told you it hurts her to talk to you, and that she can't speak with you. You did not respect her clear communicated desire for space.

You also then, took it up a notch - If she wasn't going to be willing to work on your marriage, then you didn't want to see her or your son. There's nothing wrong with not wanting to speak to her more than you need to for the sake of your son(discussing pick up arrangements, issues with him, etc). But being an adult means assuming responsibility - Your son is your responsibility as well as hers. This reminds me(not in the situational sense, but the theory) of something I went through about 6 months ago.

I had established some ground rules for myself. Since I had a problem with alcohol and quit awhile back, there would be no drinking. Since I was a sex fiend and used it as a means to work through my feelings , which ultimately ended up in my feeling worse- There would be no casual sex, only sex within committed relationships. I'd been using those rules for a long time.

I made a thread about this, because my therapist told me some of those rules were black and white. I honestly could not understand why she would say that - You enter most alcohol treatment programs, and the goal is not to drink AT ALL. There tends to be no such thing as 'a little bit'.

With the help of people here, before I could ask my therapist about it, I was shown that the alcohol rule was, indeed, a black and white rule. I'm going to highlight a few things from a post by Ash in that thread -

Quote:
"All things in moderation."

It's one thing to be a diabetic and never set foot in a candy store. There's not really much temptation to overindulge in sugary treats. If you actually go to the bakery every few weeks to pick up fresh rolls or a birthday cake for a friend or get some specialty bread for a sandwich, you're actually exposing yourself to the temptation of those decadent pastries and cakes and cookies. Being diabetic doesn't mean NEVER eat ANYTHING with sugar. It means carefully monitor and control your blood sugar to maintain stability.

What your therapist is telling you is that you're avoiding all sources of temptation without learning how to do things in moderation (which is healthier.)


Quote:
Saying "NO DRINKING EVER" isn't so much about moderation as the complete removal of temptation. It's "running from the room" rather than "okay, but just one." It's cutting off your legs so you don't run a marathon rather than keep the legs to walk around when you need to. It's learning to avoid the addiction rather than learning to overcome the addiction. You've gone around the mountain instead of climbing it to reach the other side.


Quote:
I'm not suggesting that you should go out and have random one-night stands just to prove a point. In fact, I think it's admirable that you want sex to mean something. That one may not necessarily be so much of a "black-and-white rule" so much as "this is part of my Genuine Self - I believe that sex should be meaningful and I do not believe in casual sex." You're not saying "NO SEX EVER" - you're actually engaging in moderation as far as sex is concerned. You'll enjoy it in a meaningful relationship but if it's offered outside of that, you'd rather pass. That, to me, is a healthy thing.


Now, do you see the difference between my committed relationship sex issue and the drinking issue? The sex issue IS a grey area - I'm not saying I won't ever do it. I will have it with someone I care for, with whom I'm in a relationship with. Whereas with the drinking, I was saying "Nope. Never. Not even a tiny bit."

So with you deciding this -
Quote:
Well I just told her that if we're not going to work on being together we need to not talk to each other any more. She went off on how "I don't want to see my son", just making me feel even worse inside. I don't feel depressed, but I do feel empty and lonely... and I do feel like a bad father. I keep telling myself it's for the best for him to be away from me. This way I don't put him through what I put my wife through. I think in reality though I just want to escape my responsibility because I'm scared I'm going to fail at treatment and fail him.
- You're not seeing the grey area. It's either all in or all out for you.

Is it really in your son's best interest to have a completely absent father? Wouldn't it be wise and healthy for you to adapt new thoughts and behaviors, maybe not see your son AS MUCH if you are having breakdowns - Of course. You do need to be able to be in the right frame on mind to care for him, to be responsible for him - But still be around to be his dad?

At this point, in some sense, you're happy as a pig in shit because you got her to talk to you - Didn't matter if she told you she hates you and wishes you'd kill yourself, that she's utterly unhappy, that she clearly communicated her desire for space, and that you've been hurt by those words - You feel it's better than dealing with the emptiness of perceived abandonment.

Matt, if you want to truly be serious about your recovery, you have to not just seek help and therapy but truly step back and assess your own behaviors. Do you think overstepping those boundaries were in light of your recovery, or in light of preventing abandonment?


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:18 am 
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Raeni, you are very wise. I do see that what I was doing was trying to avoid abandonment. I see also how I encroached her space, I just get really confused as to what space is for her. I frantically want to talk to her, I don't even care what the topic is, just hearing from her makes me feel better. The thing is, it's very confusing to me as to what moderation is, and what space to her entitles. For instance with the previous instances where she said she wanted space, I offered her no contact (yes I did go all or nothing which was wrong, and now that I've cooled I see that). When I suggested we don't see each other she started doing things which I believed were intentionally designed to make me feel guilty. Talking about how much I hurt her, etc.

What's more, is last night we agreed that I would give her space, that I wouldn't contact her unless it was really important. Today she called me for no major reason, nothing important. We talked for about an hour and a half about small things. I just don't understand how she comes to me saying I need to give her space, that it hurts to talk to me and so she wants to limit contact to me to only what is necessary, and then she contacts me over nothing and just talks. Yes, I am frantically trying to avoid abandonment. Aside from that I do truly love her, BPD or not. Yes I have trouble dealing with a lot of it, but I do truly want what is best for her (even if i don't always act like it).

I desperately need to take a more intensive approach to recovery. Right now it feels as though I need constant help (as can be shown by the multiple posts I made last night, and how they drastically changed). The problem is I'm not enacting any form of recovery. I'm trying to be aware of the illness, but clearly that's not enough. Tonight after my son goes to bed I am going to go over the materials that were suggested to me in this thread.


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:29 am 
Matt, I can appreciate your confusion.

Your wife has said - It hurts me to talk, I need you not to talk to me or see me. Then after you've called, you two agreed upon space -a HEALTHY area - "It's better not to call unless it's really important." This is a good boundary for both of you. Helps you both maintain independence as well as gives you guys headspace.

But then she's called you today to chit chat. But how about this, Matt...Since your wife is having difficulty sticking to a boundary that she has set, and YOU have seen the CONSEQUENCE of chit chatting when it's casual and not of utter importance(the breakdowns, name calling, things being exchanged and whatnot) - What prevents you from telling your wife "We agreed upon XYZ. We should abide by that for the time being." ? And drawing your own lines in the sand?


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:59 am 
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Raeni wrote:
What prevents you from telling your wife "We agreed upon XYZ. We should abide by that for the time being." ? And drawing your own lines in the sand?


The fact that it makes me happy to talk to her, to be here for her, and to hope that she'll a)not hurt when she talks to me, and b) maybe eventually want to work things out.

Probably very stupid of me, but I find it so incredibly hard to say no to her. I always have. I like to see her happy, I like to be here for her when she is sad. I love her, and sometimes I truly wish I didn't. I don't like to hurt her.


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:59 pm 
What do you think may be the result of carrying on, 'as is'? Without boundaries?


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:18 pm 
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I really don't know. I'm hoping that if she is comfortable enough to talk to me without it hurting that eventually she'll realize that things weren't all bad in our relationship. That coupled with the fact that I do really want to get better will make her realize that I truly do love her and want to fix things. I'm fine to try to respect whatever boundaries she puts in place... but I really don't want to put boundaries up for her because I'm scared that'll make me lose her entirely. Plus, I love talking to her, it's just sometimes hard to know what is going on in her head because she gives me conflicting information. For instance about 30-45 minutes after she had called me earlier and we spoke, she called me again and we spoke for 2 hours more. Again just chit-chatting. I really enjoyed it, but I have no idea what it is that she wants. Whenever I ask it scares her off and she doesn't want to talk to me anymore and the cycle continues.


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:32 pm 
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More from the world of Matt.

Spoke even more with the ex-wife today. Another hour, and then another 2 and a half hours. More chit chatting, she even started talking to me about sexual things though I sensed it made her a bit uncomfortable, but she brought it up. Some things do sting.. like we were talking about something, and she jokingly said, "If you did that I just might take you back". I knew it was joking because it was something I never could do... I tried to be casual about it, didn't want to really react to it and I don't think she meant anything by it. I still remain confused as to what her wants are, and for someone who wants me to give her space to call me and talk for roughly 6 hours in the day without me ever initiating the conversation just baffles me.

In further news I was banned from bpdfamily. I posted a suggestion that they try not to be so anti-BPD as I didn't believe it was a healthy form of recovery. There was a bit more to it than that, but that was the message I tried to get across. I didn't think it warranted banning, and it kind of frustrates me that they are so anti-BPD as I think it breeds stigma for BPD and mental illness in general, which in turn makes it less likely these individuals will get help.

I think this thread has become more of a journal than anything really helping me get better. The only thing though is it is nice to be able to express my feelings and have someone read them. Right now I feel quite alone, as though I can't really trust anyone in my life to help me with my problems without the risk of losing them. I don't know if I should continue writing these or not.


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 Post subject: Re: Newly Diagnosed
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:12 am 
Hey Matt-

If you want to utilize your posts as a recovery journal, I would suggest making a separate thread perhaps somewhere like "Seasons Passes"(if you don't want it public).

I got myself banned from a 'non' site maybe 6 or 7 years ago, something like that, for going off on a few people. This is why they refer folks with BPD over here, because the material on some of the boards can be really upsetting and it's not geared towards us.

Sure, you will run across black and white thinking, splitting. But let's think about that - What BPD is, is essentially primitive coping mechanisms. Everyone exhibits BPD traits at particular points in their lives - Most notably stressful situations - And not to the degree that a diagnosed, untreated person does. They call them 'fleas'. I, personally, would disagree with that term. I would say these core feelings are in each and every person. They are, after all, a child's way of coping through life. They were children once. As you mature, you learn and adapt new coping mechanisms, and like I said, I believe in high stress situations, the emotions take over and you fall back on these primal defenses. The difference between a 'non' and a person with BPD, is that we never learned new coping mechanisms. We've been using the same old thing essentially all our lives.

It may not be a healthy attitude in certain respects, but it's natural for the feelings to take over. Also...Really, think about this...Does it make much sense for someone to stay in an unhealthy relationship when both parties aren't willing to take responsibility and address their own shit? Not to me, it doesn't.

This might seem like an extreme example, and it IS, but I think it needs to be in order to convey the message...Content changed but something of a similar theory applies - Say that you were raped, and in a support group. A convicted rapist(well-aware of their wrongdoings, but still committed those crimes in the past) comes to your support group and says: "I think you should not be so anti-rapist." Would you not flip your shit?

But what if that same person sat back and observed, and offered wisdom not coming from 'a rapists perspective' but simply life's lessons, empathy, expression? You would likely take a different stance.

Anyhow - You can't change how people think. You can only change your own thoughts to help you better adapt to the situations that make you uncomfortable.

There is an associated stigma with BPD. But there is, for anything. There are always going to be people who don't believe you can make it, in EVERYTHING. Always those that have limited faith, and sometimes there's even those that don't want to see you prosper for whatever reasons. If everyone took a defeatist attitude after hearing those things, there would never be any successful people. There would be no electricity. There would be no breakthrough medical treatments. You and I would not be having this exchange right now.


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