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Discussion Starter #1
Hello. I am new here and I am hoping some folks here can help me figure out what is going on.

My husband behaves in the following ways and I am at my wits end.

    • He expects automatic compliance with his requests but ignores mine. I cooperate with him but he dismisses me and my concerns by minimizing, claiming what I want is no big deal, let it go, choose your battles etc. however the result is he gets his way and he can't seem to understand that this is unfair behavior.
    • I cannot have a grievance because he twists my words, deflects, counters with a list of my faults, minimizes, lies resulting in him being the indignant injured party and I am left bewildered at this outrageous behaviour.
    • Nothing is negotiable. He is unwilling to consider my point of view and if he agrees, he does what he wants anyway because he knows better.
    • Apologies are meaningless because he can engage in the same offensive behavior in 5 minutes or the next day and if he says he's sorry he expects instant forgiveness and for the slate to be wiped clean. If I expect anything else, then I am being unreasonable and should just "move on."
    • There are 2 codes of conduct. He may treat me disrespectfully but if my "tone" is unacceptable then it doesn't matter how selfish and meanspirited he has been because my "tone" negates my right to be heard.
    • He is nice to everyone else and vile to me.
    • I will ask him to do something or not to do something and he will immediately do the opposite of what I asked and then he doesn't seem to understand why I would have a problem with that. He says he is just trying to help though he knows he's not being helpful.
      • He doesn't know when to stop pushing. He will be so insistent that he gets his way you are either left feeling steamrolled and suck it up or you flee to escape the oppression. He will insult me, behave like the victim and then when I leave to escape the bs I will get a text saying he loves and cares for me and alway has and that he is not "the enemy." WTF? I don't have any friends who treat me like this.
      Is he conning me or .....?
    • Even though he is capable of treating others with respect, he routinely disrespects me and if I point out his behavior to him he always has an excuse such as "I'm trying" "I made a mistake" I had a bad day" I'm tired" etc etc and then he becomes indignant and expects that I should have infinite patience and understanding although he manages to be respectful to others.
    • He has to have his way and if he doesn't then he feels justified in insulting and ridiculing me and behaving as if he is the victim. He slams doors, kicks over planters etc.
    • He cannot tolerate anything that can remotely be construed as criticism no mattered how gingerly he may be approached. He will deny, deflect, minimize, blame, insult me and then become the victim.
  • He cannot be wrong. There must be a winner and a loser and guess who loses?
  • He has no empathy for me. He has an infinite amount of empathy and understanding for his mother. If she asked him to do any of things that I do he would happily comply.
There's more but you get the point.
We have been married 30 years. Been to marriage counselling 3 times. Things get better for awhile and then it's the same old bs. Here's where I need your help. I've been enmeshed in this situation for so long I cannot see clearly. I know when I read what I just wrote that it sounds ridiculous and any fool would have moved on long ago. I know he can be decent if he wants to, yet he says he's trying as if he can't control his behavior although he can in front of others. Now I feel like an idiot and a stooge.

Anyway, please weigh in with some constructive opinions because I feel lost and confused, hurt and frustrated and I truly cannot take it anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Your husband is an ass and you've read what you've written. What would your advice be if you read someone else posting what you've written?
Thanks for your reply. And good question. When your spouse constantly blames you and seems to get along with others (who he doesn't treat with disrespect) then when no one else sees his behavior I guess I question whether it IS me or him.
 

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Thanks for your reply. And good question. When your spouse constantly blames you and seems to get along with others (who he doesn't treat with disrespect) then when no one else sees his behavior I guess I question whether it IS me or him.
If you see this behavior then that is all that matters. It's your life and it's short. Don't waste it on someone who actively makes you unhappy.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What is keeping you there?
I have no family or support system. I am unable to work due to a work related injury and I have no income. I'm afraid the alternative is worse than the present... long drawn out legal battle where he would likely drain the accounts and I would lose my home etc. He can convince anyone of anything and I'd appear crazy and unstable.
 

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Unfortunately you cannot change him you can only change yourself.
There has got to be someone you can lean on for support. A close friend even?
You are right it sounds absolutely crazy that you stuck this out for 30 years. (No offense)


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See a lawyer to determine where you will stand financially in a divorce.

Unfortunately, you have tolerated his behavior for so long that it would be damn near impossible for him to change. You can tell him to go home and have his mommy finish raising him, but that won't get you anywhere as he thinks he's entitled to piss on you. He has had no consequences for his behavior and you know his promises to change are worthless. Short of walking out the door, there is little to nothing that you can do.
 

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I'm sorry, but your husband sounds like a first rate @$$, and I'm sorry that you're in this position. Although why did you stay for 30 years?!? What I would do is this: get into some individual counselling, figure out what you want out of the rest of your life, and go talk to a lawyer about ways that you can protect yourself and your finances should you divorce. Have you looked at your finances recently? I'm not sure where you're from, but something that I just learned today is that if 1 spouse makes more than the other, that spouse evens out the playing field for 2 years of the relationship, which would result in funds coming to the other spouse. I think that's the way it works, anyways; I'm new to the world of divorce though.

Other than that, the only other thing that you can probably do is just up and leave, and start afresh.

Here's a link to a book that really helped me make the decision to leave:
?????: Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay
 

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I have a wife that sounds a lot like your husband. It took quite a while but at least now I know why she acts the way she does. In our case she most definitely has a strong Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis. Crappy outlook and prognosis. But at least I know what I'm dealing with and how to communicate better.

You may want to look into some similar types of PDs. Could be that your husband is likewise diagnosable or he could just be an ass. Either way it may be a good thing to ask some 'why' questions about his behavior.
 

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My heart goes out to you, a situation like yours has to be managed better than you are handling it, first off, maybe some kind of separation to gather your thoughts, maybe a holiday or a visit to relatives. Second, you will have to distance yourself from him, ask him less to help you, gets someone else to help when you can't manage yourself. Thirdly, this is the most important, start planning to leave his ass asap, this man will be the ruin of you, get as far away from this devil to give yourself a life, it is your only option.

Love and Peace always

KevinZX
 

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I am hoping some folks here can help me figure out what is going on.
Maso, I agree with @Idyit that the behaviors you describe are classic warning signs for BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and NPD (Narcissistic PD). Importantly, I'm not suggesting your H has full-blown BPD or NPD but, rather, that he may exhibit moderate to strong traits of it.

I caution that BPD and NPD are not something -- like chickenpox -- that a person either "has" or "doesn't have." Instead, they are spectrum disorders, which means every adult on the planet occasionally exhibits all BPD and NPD traits to some degree (albeit at a low level if the person is healthy). At issue, then, is not whether your H exhibits BPD and NPD traits. Of course he does. We all do.

Rather, at issue is whether he exhibits those traits at a strong and persistent level (i.e., he is on the upper end of the BPD spectrum). Not having met him, I cannot answer that question. I nonetheless believe you can spot any strong warning signs that are present if you take a little time to learn which behaviors are on the list. They are easy to spot because there is nothing subtle about behaviors such as always being "The Victim," lack of impulse control, verbal abuse, and rapid event-triggered mood flips.

Is he conning me or ....?
Good question. If he is exhibiting strong NPD symptoms, he almost certainly is conning you with deliberate lies. On the other hand, if he is exhibiting strong BPD traits, he very likely believes the outrageous allegations coming out of his mouth. And then a week later when he is claiming the exact opposite, he will believe that nonsense too.

Because BPDers cannot regulate their own emotions, they frequently experience feelings so intensely that their perception of your motivations and intentions are severely distorted. Significantly, this conviction that they are right -- while they are speaking nonsense -- makes them very convincing to other people (as you will learn when a BPDer calls the police to have you arrested on a bogus charge).

There are several other major differences between BPD and NPD. First, whereas NPDers are emotionally stable, BPDers are not. This instability is why BPDers flip back and forth between loving and hating you and do much more of the push-you-away and pull-you-back behavior. That flip usually occurs in ten seconds based on some innocuous thing you said or did. Once a person has been subjected to this cycle a dozen times -- being alternately adored and hated -- she starts feeling like an addict who is alternating between heroine highs one day and heroine withdrawal pains the next.

This is why a BPDer relationship is considered so addictive and toxic. And this is why the most distinguishing hallmark of a BPDer relationship is strong feeling of the nonBPD partner that she is losing her mind. It therefore is very common for the partners to go running to a therapist to find out if they are going crazy. To a lesser extent, it also is common for the partners of NPDers to feel they are going crazy.

Second, although NPDers also do the push-pull (but to a lesser extent), they do not do it because of altering between the abandonment fear and engulfment fear like BPDers. Rather, the NPDers typically do it because, once you return to them, they lose interest in you and start taking you for granted -- i.e., they do not feel engulfed like the BPDers. Like the BPDers, NPDers can rage in response to your comments. Yet, the rage usually is in response to your disagreeing with them, thus refusing to validate their false image of being a person who is always right and always special.

In contrast, the BPDers get furious when you say anything triggering their two great fears: abandonment and engulfment. And, because a BPDer seeks frequent validation of his false self image of being "The Victim," he likely will blame every misfortune and all of his shortcomings on you. A BPDer typically will not take responsibility for any of his mistakes and bad behavior. Because he is filled with self loathing, the last thing he wants to find is one more item to add to the long list of things he hates about himself.

Third, whereas BPDers typically are caring individuals who actually can love you (albeit in a very immature manner), full-blown NPDers are not truly caring and do not love you. Instead, they consider you a useful object when you are supporting their false self image and a non-useful object when you are not supportive.

He is nice to everyone else and vile to me.
As noted above, BPDers get furious when you say anything triggering their two great fears: abandonment and engulfment. Significantly, casual friends, business associates, and strangers are unable to trigger those fears because there is no close R/S that can be abandoned -- and no intimacy to cause the suffocating feeling of engulfment.

This is why it is common for a BPDer to be considerate and pleasant all day long with casual friends and strangers -- and then go home at night to abuse the very people who love him. For a different reason, an NPDer also is likely to get along well with strangers and casual friends -- as long as they don't disagree with him on something (which casts doubt on his false self image of being special).

He will insult me, behave like the victim and then when I leave to escape the bs I will get a text saying he loves and cares for me and always has.
Both NPDers and BPDers have such a weak ego that they lack an understanding of their true selves. This is why they hold on strongly to a false self image and seek frequent "validation" that it is true. Whereas an NPDer's false self identity is that of being "The Special One," a BPDer's false self identity is that of being "The Victim," always "The Victim."

Been to marriage counseling 3 times.
If your H exhibits strong BPD and/or NPD traits, MC likely will be a waste of time. Moreover, it is very unlikely he would be willing to stay in individual therapy long enough to make a real difference. Hence, if you intend to remain in the marriage, I would suggest you see a psychologist -- for a visit or two all by yourself -- to obtain a candid professional opinion on what it is you are dealing with.

Keep in mind that most people exhibiting strong symptoms of one PD also exhibit strong traits of one or two other PDs as well. Hence, if the psychologist decides you are describing strong traits of BPD, that does not necessarily rule out NPD. A recent American study found that about half of the men exhibiting full-blown BPD also exhibit full-blown narcissism. And about a third of the men exhibiting full-blown narcissism also exhibit full-blown BPD. See Table 3 at 2008 Study in JCP.

Of course, learning to spot these warning signs will not enable you to diagnose your H's issues. Although strong BPD and NPD symptoms are easy to spot, only a professional can determine whether they are so severe as to constitute a full-blown disorder. Yet, like learning warning signs for breast cancer and heart attack, learning those for BPD and NPD may help you decide whether the situation is sufficiently serious to warrant visiting a psychologist or a divorce attorney.

I therefore suggest that, while you're looking for a good psychologist, you read about BPD and NPD warning signs to see if they seem to apply. An easy place to start reading is my list of 18 BPD Warning Signs. If most of those signs 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 many bells and raises questions, I would be glad to join Idyit and the other respondents in discussing them with you. Take care, Maso.
 

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Hello. I am new here and I am hoping some folks here can help me figure out what is going on.

My husband behaves in the following ways and I am at my wits end.

    • He expects automatic compliance with his requests but ignores mine. I cooperate with him but he dismisses me and my concerns by minimizing, claiming what I want is no big deal, let it go, choose your battles etc. however the result is he gets his way and he can't seem to understand that this is unfair behavior.
    • I cannot have a grievance because he twists my words, deflects, counters with a list of my faults, minimizes, lies resulting in him being the indignant injured party and I am left bewildered at this outrageous behaviour.
    • Nothing is negotiable. He is unwilling to consider my point of view and if he agrees, he does what he wants anyway because he knows better.
    • Apologies are meaningless because he can engage in the same offensive behavior in 5 minutes or the next day and if he says he's sorry he expects instant forgiveness and for the slate to be wiped clean. If I expect anything else, then I am being unreasonable and should just "move on."
    • There are 2 codes of conduct. He may treat me disrespectfully but if my "tone" is unacceptable then it doesn't matter how selfish and meanspirited he has been because my "tone" negates my right to be heard.
    • He is nice to everyone else and vile to me.
    • I will ask him to do something or not to do something and he will immediately do the opposite of what I asked and then he doesn't seem to understand why I would have a problem with that. He says he is just trying to help though he knows he's not being helpful.
      • He doesn't know when to stop pushing. He will be so insistent that he gets his way you are either left feeling steamrolled and suck it up or you flee to escape the oppression. He will insult me, behave like the victim and then when I leave to escape the bs I will get a text saying he loves and cares for me and alway has and that he is not "the enemy." WTF? I don't have any friends who treat me like this.
      Is he conning me or .....?
    • Even though he is capable of treating others with respect, he routinely disrespects me and if I point out his behavior to him he always has an excuse such as "I'm trying" "I made a mistake" I had a bad day" I'm tired" etc etc and then he becomes indignant and expects that I should have infinite patience and understanding although he manages to be respectful to others.
    • He has to have his way and if he doesn't then he feels justified in insulting and ridiculing me and behaving as if he is the victim. He slams doors, kicks over planters etc.
    • He cannot tolerate anything that can remotely be construed as criticism no mattered how gingerly he may be approached. He will deny, deflect, minimize, blame, insult me and then become the victim.
  • He cannot be wrong. There must be a winner and a loser and guess who loses?
  • He has no empathy for me. He has an infinite amount of empathy and understanding for his mother. If she asked him to do any of things that I do he would happily comply.
There's more but you get the point.
We have been married 30 years. Been to marriage counselling 3 times. Things get better for awhile and then it's the same old bs. Here's where I need your help. I've been enmeshed in this situation for so long I cannot see clearly. I know when I read what I just wrote that it sounds ridiculous and any fool would have moved on long ago. I know he can be decent if he wants to, yet he says he's trying as if he can't control his behavior although he can in front of others. Now I feel like an idiot and a stooge.

Anyway, please weigh in with some constructive opinions because I feel lost and confused, hurt and frustrated and I truly cannot take it anymore.

Masodipstick, I like your name! It sounds like you are married to a narcissist. You (and maybe his mother) are the only people close to him so of course the real him comes out.

Read about narcissism and see if he fits the profile. Have you been to counselling? Do you have kids?

Perhaps you should just start to emotionally detach from him, stand your ground, set up boundaries. if you are doing this (I think that is why you are looking at this now) that is why he is treating you badly, I mean why would he want the status quo changed, it always suited him before, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Firstly, I would like to thank everybody for their thoughtful responses. I feel an aching loneliness being in this situation.

Unfortunately you cannot change him you can only change yourself.
There has got to be someone you can lean on for support. A close friend even?
You are right it sounds absolutely crazy that you stuck this out for 30 years. (No offense)
There isn't really anybody I can talk to about this as everyone thinks I am married to a dream come true. I moved out and I'm living in a different community now so I hope to meet some new people.

You can tell him to go home and have his mommy finish raising him, but that won't get you anywhere as he thinks he's entitled to piss on you.
Ding! Ding! Ding! you are right on Blondilocks. It's not that he doesn't know how to be decent and respectful, it's that he thinks that he's special and shouldn't have to do anything he doesn't want to. Insert expletive here.

I'm sorry, but your husband sounds like a first rate @$$, and I'm sorry that you're in this position. Although why did you stay for 30 years?!? What I would do is this: get into some individual counselling, figure out what you want out of the rest of your life, and go talk to a lawyer about ways that you can protect yourself and your finances should you divorce. Have you looked at your finances recently? snipped
Other than that, the only other thing that you can probably do is just up and leave, and start afresh.
Well, I won't belabor why I stayed 30 years suffice to say 1. I am a masodipstick.
2. This individual has many positive qualities and can be very kind when he wants to be. The behaviour (I'm Canadian which is why I spell funny) is cyclical and I couldn't figure out why I couldn't be married to the "good guy" part of him instead of the "self absorbed spoiled brat." I think I thought that if I tried harder he'd be less of a **** but I realize now it's not about my behaviour. The "good guy" is an act for others.
Thanks for the book recommendation.

I have a wife that sounds a lot like your husband. It took quite a while but at least now I know why she acts the way she does. In our case she most definitely has a strong Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis. Crappy outlook and prognosis. But at least I know what I'm dealing with and how to communicate better.
How do you communicate better Idyit? And how is it more effective than how you communicated before? I don't know how I could communicate so that he would never feel he was wrong, imperfect, losing, not entitled to special rights and privileges that I don't have, criticized, or burdened by my petty needs and stupid ideas.

My heart goes out to you, a situation like yours has to be managed better than you are handling it, first off, maybe some kind of separation to gather your thoughts, maybe a holiday or a visit to relatives. Second, you will have to distance yourself from him, ask him less to help you, gets someone else to help when you can't manage yourself. Thirdly, this is the most important, start planning to leave his ass asap, this man will be the ruin of you, get as far away from this devil to give yourself a life, it is your only option.

Love and Peace always

KevinZX
Thanks for your kind words. Yes, this person is the ruin of me and I am so confused by all the doublespeak I know it will take time to undue the damage. The fear I have of staying with this person is greater than my fear of being on my own at 58 years old with no family or support but I'm trying to get my sh_t together. I've often felt that the occasional emotional support I get from him is better than the alternative which is none but I'm probably too tired of living in Oz to see the other side right now.

Masodipstick, I like your name! It sounds like you are married to a narcissist. You (and maybe his mother) are the only people close to him so of course the real him comes out.

Read about narcissism and see if he fits the profile. Have you been to counselling? Do you have kids?

Perhaps you should just start to emotionally detach from him, stand your ground, set up boundaries. if you are doing this (I think that is why you are looking at this now) that is why he is treating you badly, I mean why would he want the status quo changed, it always suited him before, right?
Yes, I think he is a narcissist or high in narcissistic traits. I've been going to counselling and have changed my reactions and behavior towards him but his behavior remains the same. He is oblivious or does not care about the impact of his behavior on me including regular hissy fits and nasty insults when he doesn't get his way. Even though I have moved out, he doesn't seem to grasp that I am moving forward without him if his behavior doesn't change. He is sure that I am the problem.

No we don't have children. And I have tried to stand my ground but the only way to resolve the issue is to not be with him because he pushes too far and is incapable of compromise. He doesn't respect boundaries. He is very oppositional and defiant for no apparent reason that I can discern. So the result is always a stalemate. He gets his way and I have to suck it up or leave. Nothing is negotiable with him unless of course it doesn't matter to him in which case I guess that is not negotiating!

Does anyone have any suggestions on standing your ground, detaching or setting boundaries? When we are together if he starts behaving as described above I don't react and I leave. He doesn't get it as he stews and thinks he is the injured party when he behaves like an ass to me. It's crazymaking.

Uptown, thank you for your thoughtful response. I'll take some time to consider further before I respond.

I welcome all suggestions anyone may have to help me cope with this mess. Your input helps keep me "grounded" so I don't get sucked back into the con.
 

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Well, I won't belabor why I stayed 30 years suffice to say 1. I am a masodipstick. 2. This individual has many positive qualities and can be very kind when he wants to be. The behaviour (I'm Canadian which is why I spell funny) is cyclical and I couldn't figure out why I couldn't be married to the "good guy" part of him instead of the "self absorbed spoiled brat." I think I thought that if I tried harder he'd be less of a **** but I realize now it's not about my behaviour. The "good guy" is an act for others. Thanks for the book recommendation.
First off, you're not a masodipstick, you're someone in a not-great situation who is in need of some help and advice. I would still consult a lawyer if I were you, and just see what your options are. I understand that your husband has some great qualities, but do the great ones outweigh the not-great ones? And I'm Canadian too, so I get the spelling and inserting of "u's" in placing others don't insert them. :)
 

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How do you communicate better Idyit? And how is it more effective than how you communicated before? I don't know how I could communicate so that he would never feel he was wrong, imperfect, losing, not entitled to special rights and privileges that I don't have, criticized, or burdened by my petty needs and stupid ideas.
Narrowing my wife down to the BPD spectrum helped a lot. Next step was to get educated about what BPD looked like, acted like and why. I read a lot of scientific material (psych), paid attention to what I was hearing here and dove into other forums/blogs specific to BPD.

What I found was that responding to a situation as if all other things are 'normal' doesn't work. A BPD person is extraordinarily emotionally immature. They don't respond appropriately or even rationally. You could point this out and draw on examples they are well aware of, then find your self in the middle of an exhaustive defense of your own actions only to be confronted by an additional emotional outburst ....about something completely unrelated. ....then you go into exhaustive rational response to issue #2. Nevermind you're still screwed. BPD 2 Idyit 0

When I finally got answers and came to peace about it (this is probably most important) I was able to approach her where she is, not where I wanted her to be or had some expectation. I love on her lightly. Very mindful of overwhelming her. When I feel the vortex spinning up I exit. When she is reacting and emotions start to run high I treat her where she can emotionally handle it. Ie.. Treat her as a much younger person, sort of coddling.

Our 20 year marriage will end within the next 6 months. This saddens me. Hurts to even type it 'out loud'. But I know that I can never be enough for her. Cannot overcome what afflicts her. As our therapist said he believes that, "She will never be able to truly accept love from you and will likewise never be able to show you love." For now I've learned how to keep relative peace. I will love on her how I can while preparing our household for the next step.

My best advice to you is to come to peace with your relationship. This goal can be met with a quick exit, delayed after educating and attempt at improving the relationship or a joint reforming of the marriage. All of these are valid choices. In any case, do look into what may be the underlying issues with your husband. Learning why, how, what to do etc. can be very freeing and peaceful.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Maso, I agree with ]Idyit that the behaviors you describe are classic warning signs for BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and NPD (Narcissistic PD). Importantly, I'm not suggesting your H has full-blown BPD or NPD but, rather, that he may exhibit moderate to strong traits of it.

I caution that BPD and NPD are not something -- like chickenpox -- that a person either "has" or "doesn't have." Instead, they are spectrum disorders, which means every adult on the planet occasionally exhibits all BPD and NPD traits to some degree (albeit at a low level if the person is healthy). At issue, then, is not whether your H exhibits BPD and NPD traits. Of course he does. We all do.

Rather, at issue is whether he exhibits those traits at a strong and persistent level (i.e., he is on the upper end of the BPD spectrum). Not having met him, I cannot answer that question. I nonetheless believe you can spot any strong warning signs that are present if you take a little time to learn which behaviors are on the list. They are easy to spot because there is nothing subtle about behaviors such as always being "The Victim," lack of impulse control, verbal abuse, and rapid event-triggered mood flips.

Good question. If he is exhibiting strong NPD symptoms, he almost certainly is conning you with deliberate lies. On the other hand, if he is exhibiting strong BPD traits, he very likely believes the outrageous allegations coming out of his mouth. And then a week later when he is claiming the exact opposite, he will believe that nonsense too.

Because BPDers cannot regulate their own emotions, they frequently experience feelings so intensely that their perception of your motivations and intentions are severely distorted. Significantly, this conviction that they are right -- while they are speaking nonsense -- makes them very convincing to other people (as you will learn when a BPDer calls the police to have you arrested on a bogus charge).

There are several other major differences between BPD and NPD. First, whereas NPDers are emotionally stable, BPDers are not. This instability is why BPDers flip back and forth between loving and hating you and do much more of the push-you-away and pull-you-back behavior. That flip usually occurs in ten seconds based on some innocuous thing you said or did. Once a person has been subjected to this cycle a dozen times -- being alternately adored and hated -- she starts feeling like an addict who is alternating between heroine highs one day and heroine withdrawal pains the next.

This is why a BPDer relationship is considered so addictive and toxic. And this is why the most distinguishing hallmark of a BPDer relationship is strong feeling of the nonBPD partner that she is losing her mind. It therefore is very common for the partners to go running to a therapist to find out if they are going crazy. To a lesser extent, it also is common for the partners of NPDers to feel they are going crazy.

Second, although NPDers also do the push-pull (but to a lesser extent), they do not do it because of altering between the abandonment fear and engulfment fear like BPDers. Rather, the NPDers typically do it because, once you return to them, they lose interest in you and start taking you for granted -- i.e., they do not feel engulfed like the BPDers. Like the BPDers, NPDers can rage in response to your comments. Yet, the rage usually is in response to your disagreeing with them, thus refusing to validate their false image of being a person who is always right and always special.

In contrast, the BPDers get furious when you say anything triggering their two great fears: abandonment and engulfment. And, because a BPDer seeks frequent validation of his false self image of being "The Victim," he likely will blame every misfortune and all of his shortcomings on you. A BPDer typically will not take responsibility for any of his mistakes and bad behavior. Because he is filled with self loathing, the last thing he wants to find is one more item to add to the long list of things he hates about himself.

Third, whereas BPDers typically are caring individuals who actually can love you (albeit in a very immature manner), full-blown NPDers are not truly caring and do not love you. Instead, they consider you a useful object when you are supporting their false self image and a non-useful object when you are not supportive.

As noted above, BPDers get furious when you say anything triggering their two great fears: abandonment and engulfment. Significantly, casual friends, business associates, and strangers are unable to trigger those fears because there is no close R/S that can be abandoned -- and no intimacy to cause the suffocating feeling of engulfment.

This is why it is common for a BPDer to be considerate and pleasant all day long with casual friends and strangers -- and then go home at night to abuse the very people who love him. For a different reason, an NPDer also is likely to get along well with strangers and casual friends -- as long as they don't disagree with him on something (which casts doubt on his false self image of being special).

Both NPDers and BPDers have such a weak ego that they lack an understanding of their true selves. This is why they hold on strongly to a false self image and seek frequent "validation" that it is true. Whereas an NPDer's false self identity is that of being "The Special One," a BPDer's false self identity is that of being "The Victim," always "The Victim."

If your H exhibits strong BPD and/or NPD traits, MC likely will be a waste of time. Moreover, it is very unlikely he would be willing to stay in individual therapy long enough to make a real difference. Hence, if you intend to remain in the marriage, I would suggest you see a psychologist -- for a visit or two all by yourself -- to obtain a candid professional opinion on what it is you are dealing with.

Keep in mind that most people exhibiting strong symptoms of one PD also exhibit strong traits of one or two other PDs as well. Hence, if the psychologist decides you are describing strong traits of BPD, that does not necessarily rule out NPD. A recent American study found that about half of the men exhibiting full-blown BPD also exhibit full-blown narcissism. And about a third of the men exhibiting full-blown narcissism also exhibit full-blown BPD.

Of course, learning to spot these warning signs will not enable you to diagnose your H's issues. Although strong BPD and NPD symptoms are easy to spot, only a professional can determine whether they are so severe as to constitute a full-blown disorder. Yet, like learning warning signs for breast cancer and heart attack, learning those for BPD and NPD may help you decide whether the situation is sufficiently serious to warrant visiting a psychologist or a divorce attorney.

I therefore suggest that, while you're looking for a good psychologist, you read about BPD and NPD warning signs to see if they seem to apply.
If that description rings many bells and raises questions, I would be glad to join Idyit and the other respondents in discussing them with you. Take care, Maso.
Thank you Uptown for your thoughtful, knowledgeable and helpful post. I appreciate the time and effort you have expended to help me understand my situation. I have read your other posts as you suggested as well as checked out Randi Kreger's BPD Central site, more specifically the post "Does Someone You Love Have Borderline of Narcissistic Disorder?" So what I have come up with I think perhaps he exhibits some combination of both. At this point I have no interest in going to a psychologist to get a confirmation or to learn how to relate to him better if that is possible. He has seen a psychiatrist, an individual counsellor, we have gone to 3 marriage counsellors where he lied, denied, charmed and threw me under the bus while ignoring their advice and most recently he took a anger management class for 3 months. I have been through counselling to examine my own contribution and changed my behavior and reactions while his behavior remains the same. He attempted to listen to and implement some suggestions but never really succeeded in pulling off any long term change as I'm convinced he thinks that I am the problem and that his wife is an unreasonable b_tch and the sooner I realize that he is smarter, right, superior and do things "his way" the sooner we will get along.

While it may appear I have it together I am still reeling from what I consider abnormal and outrageous behavior which I have allowed to become my "normal" by not fleeing sooner. I was trying to figure out what was going on and didn't want to leave everything I worked for until I was sure I explored every avenue and wishful thinking. I didn't know what this behavior was short of being bizarre and I wondered if it was me many times as was his objective I think.

At any rate, in case anyone wants to comment, and I welcome and appreciate all constructive input I have listed what I think are the main characteristics he demonstrates in case anyone can further enlighten me. Intellectually I understand but emotionally I still feel f'ed up.

Here goes:
-Black and white thinking. Any slight critique results in him claiming “oh, so I never do anything right.”
-Projection. Twists my words and accuses me of behavior that he engages in.
-strong sense of entitlement. Expects to get his own way at all times. And does so by lying, passive aggressiveness, forgetting, ignoring, and because his way or his ideas are superior to mine. Frequently does the opposite of what he agreed to do.
-only his opinions and feelings matter. If something doesn’t matter to him, then it doesn’t matter.
-Inability to be accountable for own behavior. Excuse maker extraordinaire to such an extent it insults my intelligence.
-has zero insight into his own behavior.
-regular gaslighting and rewriting history.
-very hypocritical but cannot see it. Two codes of conduct. He walks on water and is deserving of the utmost respect and I am **** on the bottom of his shoe.
-created his own category of “safety lies.” If he fears disapproval, it’s ok to lie. He lies even when telling the truth would be beneficial.
-Cannot be wrong. Will fight to the death so to speak to prove you wrong even if it makes no sense at all. One therapist we went to asked him, “why do you insist on behaving in a way that you KNOW will end your marriage?
-Relationships are a win-lose proposition and he cannot lose.
-creates drama. Tries to provoke and bait me so if I engage he will use that as an excuse to behave like an ahole. So I don’t take the bait and he behaves like one anyway.
- if ever I did show hurt or vulnerability instead of compassion he would gear up and go in for the kill. (This confuses the hell out of me.)
-grandiose. He exaggerates his contributions and minimizes or claims credit for mine.
-believes he is superior, should receive special treatment, can dish it out but not take the slightest bit of criticism.
-expects cooperation and automatic compliance with his requests but is burdened by my requests and if he agrees, that does not mean he will do what we agreed to or if he will do it at all. He gives direction but does not take direction.
-treats me like an employee/subordinate/lesser than.
- is unnecessarily contrary and combative for no reason I can discern. When I suggest something he immediately disagrees even if he agreed previously or if someone else says it he'll agree with them. Argues with me about how I feel or my opinion as if I will feel differently or change my opinion because he argues with me and he is right. I have wondered if he has Oppositional Defiant Disorder as it appears to be his objective to be as difficult and pissy as possible.
-says the most despicable things to me, storms off and comes back and carries on as if nothing happened. Sometimes he looks at me with such venomous hatred that I wonder what the hell he is thinking that he is so nasty and mean spirited or how he figures it is acceptable to talk to me or anyone this way. I know that I never did anything to deserve this treatment.
-show arrogant and haughty behavior. Sneers at me.
- has empathy for others but no empathy for me. I have never seen or felt any remorse from him.
- I feel like he is always “sticking it to me for some perceived injustice” that only he is privy to.
-he is simultaneously the “victim” and “special.”
-relation**** is an emotional roller coaster. Push pull push pull. I refuse to coddle him (he’s 61) but note that his mother did/does. When I find his behavior to be unacceptable and/or unnecessarily antagonistic I remain calm and ask him to leave or I leave without any fanfare usually to a slur of his insults as I drive away. (We no longer live together) He leaves in a huff because he is the victim, slamming the door, throwing, kicking or knocking something over or he doesn’t care if I leave. Sometimes he can be on “normal behavior” for 3 or more months in a row but always reverts to dysfunctional, insulting behavior which is never his fault. ( I don’t think I am BPD but I do use “always” and “never” with respect to his behavior because some things such as his behavior is absolute.)
- I have doubted my sanity as his behavior is nonsensical, unprovoked and I cannot figure out what the payoff is if his goal is to stay married as he claims.
-his behavior does not match his words.
-nothing is negotiable because if I get my way he doesn’t get his so why am I being so petty?
-stubborn to such a degree it defeats the greater good of our relationship. He is unable to put our marriage, my opinion, or my needs above his own. It’s all about him.
- I do feel bullied, misunderstood, unheard, disrespected, bewildered, exhausted and isolated. I feel like no one would believe me if I tried what to explain what is happening. I tell him that this behavior is not normal and that other people do not behave this way. I cannot make plans because I never know when he will go from “nice guy” to “sneering disrespectful schmuck.” Lately the “nice guy” only shows up after a major hissy fit and it can take about 2 weeks to be able to even discuss anything rationally. And that is a tiny window of possibility. He will text me that he loves and cares about me, he is not the enemy, life is short, he is sorry etc. and I’ll find a pathetic sucky message on my phone in a mopey, exhausted, feel sorry for me tone that means “Poor me I’m so broken and victimized and you are so mean not to get over it, I forgive your ignorant behavior, and even though I refuse to address any issue you may have at any time for any reason, you should engage with me when I recover from your inciting me to anger by not letting me have my way and when I feel like it even though I dictate when and if I will consider you have anything I should be burdened listening to.” He’ll be nice for a little bit and then as soon as he figures he’s sucked me in again with good behavior he’ll become a ass again. I wonder if life is too short why can’t he remember that before he behaves in a juvenile self serving manner? Why does that only occur to him after he has created major upheaval? Rinse and repeat.
-he knows I don’t give a s_it anymore yet he still doesn’t alter his behavior to save our marriage.
Being in this marriage is like trying to drive forward with the emergency brake on but the indicator insists the brake is not engaged.
 

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My wife occasionally exhibits the BPD behaviours. At times like these I put on an imaginary white coat and detach myself from being the spouse. I imagine myself to be a mental health professional and respond accordingly, never taking any of the rants personally.
 

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What's your financial status if you divorce?

Can you get some training. Just classes to get some skills. Could you work as a temp to start getting into the job market, and making your own money.


Unless you can do that; you have to stay I guess. I am so sorry.


After 30 years, you must have some coping strategies. If nothing else, you surely know how to detach and pay lip service to his demands.

If you have to stay, and you haven't learned detachment; then you need to, for your own emotional health.
Thanks for your reply! I have two college degrees. I was injured on the job and I am unable to work a regular job where I am constantly standing or sitting so I'm just biding some time to regroup from being exhausted from the bs to get my ducks in a row. My husband keeps a tight rein on our finances although I worked for 20 years outside of the home as well as looking after almost all maintenance and upkeep on our home and 10 acre property for most of that time as he worked long hours away from home. He's going to be nastier than ever when I make the decision to divorce. We're already separated.

My wife occasionally exhibits the BPD behaviours. At times like these I put on an imaginary white coat and detach myself from being the spouse. I imagine myself to be a mental health professional and respond accordingly, never taking any of the rants personally.
That is brilliant. Thanks for sharing.
 
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