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My husband has a tendency to see things as either all good or all bad, the result of being raised by BPD/NPD mother....

But what that results in is that he gets very worked up about things and I try to just listen and be neutral because he needs to just vent it out. However, often he gets more and more worked up to the point that he is crabby with everyone while he is "working through his frustration" and I can see that he has gone completely off the rails and is not being rational.

For some reason I feel compulsively motivated to try to help him see reason or calm him down or change his perspective....I know it never works, I KNOW this...but I cannot seem to stop myself. I am more aware of it than ever now because I have been doing more and more research on BPD. More than one P-doc and counselor have assured us that though he has behavior patterns that might fit with BPD, he does not display signs of a full blown diagnosis and thus it is just learned behavior.

How can I stop myself. He tells me when he calms down that all he needs is just for it to be okay for him to be temporarily messed up (of course it is) without me trying to "fix" him. He claims he just needs time alone to work through things...but often he comes and starts to talk to me and talks until I get frustrated or hurt by his grouchiness because he will see something someone is doing or whatever and get annoyed and say really crabby stuff to me or the kids...so then I start trying to calm him down.

I need a strategy for how to just walk away and be cool and calm while he works through it, even when he acts like he needs me to talk to while he works through it. I think if I can figure out a way to stop my involvement in the cycle that then it will be his issue and I don't have to use energy trying to fix problems that result from me trying to fix him!

Any advice is very much appreciated. I don't want to go through this cycle anymore. Last night I just refused to engage....and we didn't have a big blowup - probably one of the better instances of him getting upset. But he comes home from work upset about something and starts just bouncing negative off of everything.....like watching a Leave it to Beaver with the kids and he is getting upset at the way Ward was handling things and he just kept calling the TV an idiot etc....I just get tired of that so I just left the room and did my own thing...he came after me when the show was out and started talking about a lot of negative stuff....so I just listened a while and said it sounded like he needed some time alone to blow off steam and I went to bed. But then he was still upset because he feels like I expect him to be perfect. I totally don't. In fact, if HE would quit trying to be perfect life would be a lot easier!

Fortunately, because I just went to bed, today is fine....if I had tried to calm him down, figure out what was wrong etc, the entire weekend would have been destroyed. I know that he is very damaged from his extremely physically/emotionally/verbally abuse childhood and I try to be really considerate of that...but sometimes I just don't want to have to deal with him being in a bad mood at the times he is! It isn't every day, or even 3 days a week, just once in a while, and most of the time there are not huge blowups anymore because I take anti-anxiety medication so I can be calm through it...because I realized with the help of my counselor that I was internalizing his negative stuff and making it directed at me when it wasn't, and my anxiety reaction to that was part of my compulsion to calm him down....

But I just want a strategy. Something I can say and walk away that isn't offensive, superior sounding, rude or anything like that. I am more than willing to own what I do to contribute, but I just don't want it to happen anymore so I need a way to diffuse the situation when he is just getting crabby without sounding like I am his mom and sending him to his room to cool down...you know what I mean? Thanks for any help here.
 

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Can you just empathize with him? You know 'wow, that sounds really frustrating, I'm so sorry you had such a bad day.".
 

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I used to be like your husband and I think it's him that needs to learn how to comfort himself or at the very least he needs to learn how to ask for it nicely. That's a huge burden he's putting on you. Is he seeking help for this?
 

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More than one P-doc and counselor have assured us that though he has behavior patterns that might fit with BPD, he does not display signs of a full blown diagnosis and thus it is just learned behavior.

How can I stop myself. He tells me when he calms down that all he needs is just for it to be okay for him to be temporarily messed up (of course it is) without me trying to "fix" him.
One of my daughters is like your husband. I don't think it matters if it's learned behavior or not, the behavior affects everyone around him.

Since he recognizes it, and says the best response is for him to be temporarily messed up without anyone trying to fix him, listen to what he's saying. Inform him that it *is* ok for him to experience that, but it's not ok to expose others to it. When he gets that way, let him know it's time for him to go to the gym, take a walk, or do something away from home until he feels better.

When my daughter gets upset at something, her anger gets directed at everything or everyone who crosses her path until she gets it worked out. "I broke a nail" can turn into "the whole world sucks" if anyone tries to talk to her. As her parent, I found that telling her to go walk until she felt better worked like a charm.
 

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Kathy my son is like that too. I've taught him to self regulate as well. He will go to his room now to calm down. He's not angry per se just moody and yes it does affect everyone.
 

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Have you tried CoDA? (coda.org). If you fit the bill for a "fixer", it could be a good experience. Most people that stick around with someone who is BPD (or has the tendencies/traits of it) are codependent.

One of things you'll need to realize is that it's not your job to fix other people, or help them out of their situations. Your job is to control your own emotions and reactions to them, and make sure your expressing yourself properly while setting healthy boundaries.
 

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I used to be like your husband and I think it's him that needs to learn how to comfort himself or at the very least he needs to learn how to ask for it nicely. That's a huge burden he's putting on you. Is he seeking help for this?
well, he has been in counseling. Now we simply don't have money for counseling and no insurance because his job doesn't provide it. I am currently going to nursing school and hopefully we will soon have insurance again. I have been self employed for years and we had self insurance but the premium went above 700 dollars a month and they wouldn't cover anything and we had a 10000 deductible so we scrapped that plan.
 

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Does he read? There are a TON of self help books out there or he could listen to them on tape. Where there is a will there IS a way.
 

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Does he read? There are a TON of self help books out there or he could listen to them on tape. Where there is a will there IS a way.
Yes he reads. At this point I am done trying to "fix" or "help" him. He has to help himself. I just need to figure out how not to exacerbate his stuff with my reaction. I need to have a way to just walk away from his moodiness etc and not let it have any bearing on me. I am going to school and have the responsibility of family, home, job etc and just don't have spare emotional energy for his stuff. I think the bottom line is that he is really just down on HIMSELF when he is not perfect and he then projects that at all of us. And when he is not in his negative place he is a great husband and father....but the negative place can turn into a huge sink hole if I get sucked into it and I just don't have the time or energy for that anymore. It isn't that I don't care about him, it is just that I am learning to care more about me I think. :confused::scratchhead:
 

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More than one P-doc and counselor have assured us that though he has behavior patterns that might fit with BPD, he does not display signs of a full blown diagnosis and thus it is just learned behavior.
Carisma, BPD is not a disease. Rather, it is only a pattern of dysfunctional behaviors that therapists have commonly seen occurring together. Indeed, that's true for all ten of the PDs. They are simply a group of symptoms (i.e., a "syndrome"). It therefore is nonsensical for a counselor to tell you that, unless your H has full-blown BPD, you are not seeing a strong pattern of BPD traits. That is, if you are seeing a strong and persistent pattern of traits such as verbal abuse, always being "The Victim," and black-white thinking, you are seeing BPD traits.

Yet, because all of us occasionally exhibit all nine BPD traits, there are two distinctions that are very important. One distinction is severity of the traits. If we are emotionally healthy, we usually exhibit our BPD traits a a low level. Indeed, at a low level, BPD traits have survival value and are essential to our well being.

The second important distinction is persistence of the BPD traits. Whenever we healthy individuals experience very intense feelings or have hormone changes, we get a temporary flare up of our BPD traits and -- for a while -- behave just like BPDers. This is why most of us behaved like BPDers in high school and may continue to do so whenever we get very angry. To have strong aspects of the disorder, however, we would have to have such traits persistently. With BPDers, the traits do not disappear for a year or two at at time.

I mention all this because, with BPDers and NPDers, the psychiatric community is extremely reluctant to tell the patient -- much less his W -- the name of his disorder (for his own protection). As I tried to explain in my 9/19 post, it is prudent for you to see your own psychologist -- for a visit or two by yourself -- to obtain a candid professional opinion. I explain several reasons for that in my first post to you at http://talkaboutmarriage.com/ladies-lounge/55799-just-tired-working-so-hard.html#post1080354.

In my experience, the two distinctions you mention -- (1) having learned BPD traits and (2) having them below the diagnostic level -- are unimportant, if not meaningless. As to the claim that HIS traits are "just learned behavior," I observe that EVERYONE'S BPD traits are a learned behavior. Every person on the planet learns all nine of the BPD traits in early childhood, usually before age 5, because they arise from primitive ego defenses we learn for survival at that time. I therefore agree with Kathy's statement, "I don't think it matters if it's learned behavior or not...."

As to the second claim -- that he does not have the disorder because his BPD traits are below the diagnostic threshold -- this claim is both irrelevant and absurd. It is irrelevant because, for any abused spouse like you, it does not matter whether your H's BPD traits satisfy 100% of the diagnostic criteria. Living with a man satisfying 80% or 90% of the threshold will be nearly as difficult as living with a man satisfying 100%.

The claim is absurd because, unlike chickenpox or other diseases, BPD is not something a man "has" or "doesn't have." Instead, it is a "spectrum disorder" which affects all of us to some degree. It therefore was ridiculous, in 1980, for the psychiatric community to adopt a dichotomous approach -- wherein a patient is deemed "to have" or "not have" BPD. As I discuss at http://talkaboutmarriage.com/general-relationship-discussion/57492-narcissistic-personality-disorder-anyone-dealing.html#post1117527, this approach to diagnosing BPD, NPD, and other PDs has been an embarrassment to the APA for over thirty years, so they are replacing it with a graduated approach when the new diagnostic manual is released this May.
 
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