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I don't know how big of a thing this is, but to me it felt big.

My husband and I have had lots of bickering/arguing or the dumbest stuff. As I have mentioned before, he was raised by a severely BPD mother and at one point I was convinced he also had BPD. However, lots of counseling and such has helped both of us see that really it is patterns of behavior that he learned from his mother that my fearful reactions reinforced as a way to control everyone around him.

I have been reading the book, Stop Walking on Eggshells because I think that many of the principles there apply to my relationship and I after folks here pointed out to me what a doormat I am I wanted to work on changing that dynamic in our relationship.

So last night I had been discussing a paper I have to do for my psychology class with him because the explanation for what the teacher was actually looking for was extremely vague. I was frustrated going into it so I realize that I was not being as sweet as I could have been. But he started to react in a way that felt belittling and would have made me just back off and hide a few weeks ago. Instead I just told him, in a really calm, nonconfrontational way, that he was not being kind and I didn't appreciate that. I came to him looking for assistance and he said he was willing to help but putting me down didn't accomplish anything but make me feel bad. He acted all surprised, got offended and said a couple rude things so I just walked out of the room without responding. In about 5 minutes he came back and apologized for being rude, said he didn't even realize that what he was saying would be taken as rude, thanked me for pointing it out and we discussed the paper until I got a clear picture of what I needed to do to move forward.

I realized last night that one of the reasons I get SOOOOO frustrated with him in conversation is that often we will be talking about one central topic that is surrounded by many peripheral things. My tendency is to look at the central issue/topic, discuss it quickly and move on. His tendency is to grab ahold of one of the periphery issues and get all worked up over that and talk incessantly about it until I want to strangle him. I asked him about that last night and thought about it and later came back and said he thinks that maybe that was a habit he developed as a kid, especially if something felt like it might be confrontational about the "real issue", to grab something on the outside that was so absurd everyone could unite on being disgusted about that, and he could distract his parents from the issue that is being fought over. I think this is a HUGE thing in learning how to communicate with him! One bit of advise that found on a website about BPD told about recognizing the things that are "big deals" for you and address those things as best you can and try to understand the root of other things and just ignore them if you can. This is a biggie for me, but understanding the root will help me be more patient in just directing the conversation back where we need to go and giving him the time to get there.

There are so many times that I just hate his mother for what her impact is on our marriage. And when she is in extra contact with us (him because I refuse to answer the phone when she calls) then he is more on edge. We are working on that.
 
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