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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'd be grateful for advice from women.

...my relatives are making an effort to be polite, but don't particularly approve of my wife. They don't say anything, but would probably be happier if we either divorced or my wife dropped off the face of the earth.

...now, the trick is that my wife is mentally ill* and has not exactly made herself easy to interact with. She hasn't been that bad, but has, eg, called them up and threatened to burn down their houses - just a heat of the moment thing. And they aren't wild about her DV arrest. (she's in therapy now, those issues seem to be behind us.)

...but overall they mostly think that she's a bad wife and that our marriage is bad for me - and judge based on things like my wife jumping out of cars on the way to dinner, sleeping until past noon, and not bathing. They're mostly right. Not that they'd say this to either of us.

...they don't hate her either - and worry about her - but they also don't approve of her. And are slightly worried that my wife will murder me eventually. (Almost certainly not an issue.)

I do love my wife. And have chosen, for now, to stay with her. She is trying very hard with the therapy and there's some hope that we may be able to get to a sustainable R/S eventually.

My current position with my relatives is:
...she's my wife. And even though she has a ton of issues, she really is trying. So, I expect that you will be polite and as friendly as you are comfortable being. I understand your judgment regarding our marriage, but ask that you be kind to her for my sake.

However, this leaves two issues:
(a) my wife has a tendency towards paranoia - to the point where any potentially ambiguous statement will be twisted into an insult. 'Remember when your mom complained about your shirt? That means that she's telling me to divorce you because men who don't dress well never get ahead in life.' Based on growing up with these people, what she meant is 'Please wear something nicer to the party.'

At the moment, the thing that works best is just agreeing with all of the BS coming out of her mouth, offering to do something about it, and then letting her turn me down - as she's aware that acting on paranoia doesn't help her.

(b) my wife, although not good at understanding human beings, is awfully good at reading emotion - and often feels pain because my relatives are distant.

At the moment, I'm just accepting this and occasionally talking to them individually to help them understand her better. The trick is that my relatives aren't particularly wild about mental illness either...and, realistically, they've already noticed the tendency towards misinterpretation and have reacted by saying as little as possible.

I'm somewhat uncertain about encouraging contact, as the issue is that, when they're being distant - my wife is rarely offended. Unfortunately, when they start being friendly, they talk more and occasionally make jokes - and my wife has a lot of trouble with humor of any sort.

I dunno, I could try pushing for a sit-down talk with my wife and relatives, but I'm not sure it'd be real productive.

I'm wondering if anyone would have any useful suggestions.

--Argyle

*Most likely Aspergers, with strong borderline tendencies. DxD with BPD, but, she suspects Aspergers pretty strongly and I agree. So, basically no ability to empathize, along with a tendency towards paranoia and reading any ambiguous statement as hostile. And occasional screaming meltdowns and threats of divorce - usually triggered by emotional intimacy.
 

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You're expecting a lot of your relatives. I think your relatives are handling it the best they can. Jumping out of moving cars, not bathing, sleeping until noon, domestic violence arrest, threatening to burn down their homes? Wow! Where to begin... If it were me, I would probably stay far away from your wife and would not want a face to face meeting.

I had an uncle (not a blood relative, but someone who was once married to my aunt) who was a belligerent alcoholic. He once got drunk and threatened to burn down his new daughter-in-law's home. THAT was the last visit he made to their place even though his son also owned the house with the daughter-in-law. He was persona non grata at their place. Never got to see his granddaughter either.

Forget the sleeping till all hours, the poor hygiene and even the jumping out of cars, most people would not take kindly to threats against them. I might overlook someone's sleep habits and bad bathing habits, but once threats come in, I draw a hard line and refuse to engage with that person. I don't think you should push your relatives to meet with her. If they want to then fine, but it sounds to me like they don't want to. Why should they be pushed out of their comfort zone to accomodate your wife who is quite unpredictable?

I say let your wife go through therapy for a lot longer before you push for any regular outings with your relatives. You might let them see she hasn't killed you yet. :D Sometimes it's best not to push things, but let events unfold quietly on their own time. And if your wife is oblivious because of her Asperger's then her feelings aren't really hurt, are they? And even if they are, she needs to understand it's a natural and direct consequence of her own words and actions. She needs to feel that pain so she doesn't do those things again. Don't be too quick to let her off the hook. She has a lot to atone for.

I give you a lot of credit for staying with her. Bless you for trying to make your marriage work. I'm really familiar with Asperger's though I can't stay I understand BPD or Borderline Personality too well.
 

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I'd be grateful for advice from women.

...my relatives are making an effort to be polite, but don't particularly approve of my wife. They don't say anything, but would probably be happier if we either divorced or my wife dropped off the face of the earth.

...now, the trick is that my wife is mentally ill* and has not exactly made herself easy to interact with. She hasn't been that bad, but has, eg, called them up and threatened to burn down their houses - just a heat of the moment thing. And they aren't wild about her DV arrest. (she's in therapy now, those issues seem to be behind us.)

...but overall they mostly think that she's a ba...........
That would be it for me. I get it that she is your wife and you love her but if you think a threat such as the above "is not that bad" then you are mistaken. Yes she has mental health issues but that is not the problem for extended family to be forced to deal with.

If someone made a threat like that to me (which threatens my children) they would have an AVO on them and I would cut contact immediately.
 

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I'd be grateful for advice from women.

...my relatives are making an effort to be polite, You can't REALLY ask for anything more. They didn't CHOOSE to be her friend, she was THRUST on them and VICE VERSA. but don't particularly approve of my wife. They don't say anything, but would probably be happier if we either divorced or my wife dropped off the face of the earth.

...now, the trick is that my wife is mentally ill* and has not exactly made herself easy to interact with. She hasn't been that bad, but has, eg, called them up and threatened to burn down their houses - just a heat of the moment thing. And they aren't wild about her DV arrest. (she's in therapy now, those issues seem to be behind us.) If that's your attempt at 'humor', it's fallen very flat! We counsel women on the boards TOO DAMNED OFTEN who are in physically/mentally/emotionally abusive situations. If you meant it SERIOUSLY, then there is something wrong with YOU if YOU BELIEVE that threatening to kill people or literally BEING ARRESTED for physically attacking others is a 'little thing', a minor blip on the radar of life. None of us would take that shyt off some stranger on the street, we sure as hell wouldn't take if off of someone who actually KNOWS where we live and has the capability of following through (your wife's domestic violence record). You're damned LUCKY these relatives still talk to EITHER of you! They must LOVE YOU a helluva lot to overlook all this egregious behavior!!!!!

...but overall they mostly think that she's a bad wife and that our marriage is bad for me - and judge based on things like my wife jumping out of cars on the way to dinner, sleeping until past noon, and not bathing[/B]. They're mostly right. Not that they'd say this to either of us. You admit yourself that your marriage is bad for you, but then you want to TURN AROUND and point fingers at them for being non-supportive of your marriage, for not trying HARDER to 'approve' of your wife and her behavior. Why should they? Their opinions are JUST AS VALID as yours! It's not like they're just making shyt up out of their heads and hating on her!

...they don't hate her either - and worry about her - but they also don't approve of her. And are slightly worried that my wife will murder me eventually. (Almost certainly not an issue.) Again, if this is humor, I fail to see it. If this is REALITY, then YOU should be in IC to figure out what reward you're getting from this relationship that the threat of being murdered (however small) is TOLERABLE in your mind. By staying married to your wife till death do you part (whether natural or otherwise) or NEVER GIVING UP on your mentally ill wife, do you feel you get a higher place in Heaven? extra stars in your crown? Just something for YOU to consider.

I do love my wife. And have chosen, for now, to stay with her. So even YOU may reconsider having a relationship with her, and yet you expect your family (who loves YOU) to overlook her bullshyt behavior? That is illogical! She is trying very hard with the therapy and there's some hope that we may be able to get to a sustainable R/S eventually.

My current position with my relatives is:
...she's my wife. And even though she has a ton of issues, she really is trying. So, I expect that you will be polite and as friendly as you are comfortable being. I understand your judgment regarding our marriage, but ask that you be kind to her for my sake. They ARE being; you're being dishonest with yourself. From what you write, they ARE meeting your criteria. Your wife is dissatisfied with what they're offering so you're buying into HER misperception that they're not doing enough. The rest of us (CoffeeAmore, Holland, and I) as NORMAL people with no ax to grind, no payoff for us to be other than completely, objectively honest with you are telling you...she and you are WRONG! There is NOTHING wrong with their current behavior and interactions with your wife. If you two want MORE or BETTER interaction, it's ALL ON YOU!

However, this leaves two issues:
(a) my wife has a tendency towards paranoia - to the point where any potentially ambiguous statement will be twisted into an insult. 'Remember when your mom complained about your shirt? That means that she's telling me to divorce you because men who don't dress well never get ahead in life.' Based on growing up with these people, what she meant is 'Please wear something nicer to the party.'

At the moment, the thing that works best is just agreeing with all of the BS coming out of her mouth, offering to do something about it, and then letting her turn me down - as she's aware that acting on paranoia doesn't help her.

(b) my wife, although not good at understanding human beings, is awfully good at reading emotion - and often feels pain because my relatives are distant.

At the moment, I'm just accepting this and occasionally talking to them individually to help them understand her better. The trick is that my relatives aren't particularly wild about mental illness either no-one is, get real!...and, realistically, they've already noticed the tendency towards misinterpretation and have reacted by saying as little as possible. You mean lest they bring on ANOTHER threat of house-burning? Seriously, do you not SEE how skewed, how effed-up your excuses for your wife are? I acknowledge that you want to stay with your wife, that's fine. But, PLEASE, quit defining EVERYONE'S existence and behavior as acceptable/unacceptable via HER very screwed-up view of relationships. If SHE is not capable of comprehending that HER behavior (past and present) is DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for the relationships both of you have with everyone, then YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO COMPREHEND THIS.

I'm somewhat uncertain about encouraging contact, as the issue is that, when they're being distant - my wife is rarely offended. Unfortunately, when they start being friendly, they talk more and occasionally make jokes - and my wife has a lot of trouble with humor of any sort. Stop with the 'love me, love my dog' attitude! [I'm not calling your wife a dog.] Your family has extended itself PLENTY to try to accommodate YOUR DESIRE to be married to this woman. Asking for MORE from them is YOU being unloving towards your extremely-accepting family. Stop ABUSING THEM by expecting them to 'get over it' and just accept your wife's CRAPPY behavior (her mental illness does not 'magically' render her behavior LESS CRAPPY!)

I dunno, I could try pushing for a sit-down talk with my wife and relatives, but I'm not sure it'd be real productive. Leave everybody ALONE. YOU'RE not even sure YOU want to continue in a long-term relationship with your wife! Stop expecting everybody else to put in as much (or more) effort into this relationship as you. (I say MORE effort because they reap NO REWARD from interacting with your wife...you presumably have some good times with her and an intimate/sexual relationship. You're getting SOMETHING positive out of the relationship; they're NOT.)

I'm wondering if anyone would have any useful suggestions. Visit your family BY YOURSELF. Let THEM call the shots on interacting with your wife. If they don't want to, then let it go. If your wife wants to interact with them, that's too bad. Until she is SIGNIFICANTLY better and can control herself AND understand how hurtful/dangerous her previous actions were, she needs to leave them alone. Expecting EVERYONE to kow-tow to your relationship with your wife is BS.

--Argyle

*Most likely Aspergers, with strong borderline tendencies. DxD with BPD, but, she suspects Aspergers pretty strongly and I agree. So, basically no ability to empathize, along with a tendency towards paranoia and reading any ambiguous statement as hostile. And occasional screaming meltdowns and threats of divorce - usually triggered by emotional intimacy.
 

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That was harsh...if you have never lived with or loved someone with BPD, you have no idea...he ain't joking....trust me...he could use a little compasion..


Argyle...I wish I had some advice for you but I don't. Just a big hug....my BPD niece lived with my husband and I for 1.5 years (biotch got us here, lol). I understand where you are at. For anyone with BPD to make ANY recovery effort at all is HUGE..

Hang in, ALWAYS watch your back...

and if you haven't already Borderline Personality Disorder - Support group for families and relationship partners is a wonderful place, full of understanding and compassionate people who "speak crazy" rather fluently & respectfully. ;)
 

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That was harsh...if you have never lived with or loved someone with BPD, you have no idea...he ain't joking....trust me...he could use a little compasion..
Well he did ask for opinions for women who aren't invested in his domestic situation who can thus give an objective opinion of the situation and that's what he got. The advice wasn't sugarcoated because there are all sorts of rationalizations in his post about her behavior and I think posters feel very concerned for him and his family, and rightfully so. The ball is in her court and his, not the relatives. It's up to her to show she's changed. Then and only then should his family start interacting again with her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
...I'm using copy/paste as I don't really understand the quote thing. Sorry - it generated one giant blob. Oh, and I only included the most relevant post because it was long. Thank you all for the responses. So far, they've mostly confirmed my gut feelings.

...and the background I'm looking for - my wife and some people on this forum seem to have this opinion that husbands need to side with their wives over their own families. My take on that is 'sure, if their families are wrong'. But, that doesn't seem to be the case even in some discussions with sane people, so, I'm looking for a baseline.

...the current situation overall is...my wife is welcomed in any house...even to watch the small children. However, there is a noticeable distance. I could insist on distancing ourselves - but none of the other parties would favor that. They don't approve of her, but that doesn't mean that they'd favor reducing contact with grandchildren (as she brings them over on weekdays) et cetera. If they weren't okay with her visiting, I'd be okay with that.


...my relatives are making an effort to be polite, You can't REALLY ask for anything more. They didn't CHOOSE to be her friend, she was THRUST on them and VICE VERSA. but don't particularly approve of my wife. They don't say anything, but would probably be happier if we either divorced or my wife dropped off the face of the earth.

...y'know, you're right. That's more or less what I figured - but I was hoping for a baseline from someone who wasn't living with crazy.


...now, the trick is that my wife is mentally ill* and has not exactly made herself easy to interact with. She hasn't been that bad, but has, eg, called them up and threatened to burn down their houses - just a heat of the moment thing. And they aren't wild about her DV arrest. (she's in therapy now, those issues seem to be behind us.) If that's your attempt at 'humor', it's fallen very flat! We counsel women on the boards TOO DAMNED OFTEN who are in physically/mentally/emotionally abusive situations. If you meant it SERIOUSLY, then there is something wrong with YOU if YOU BELIEVE that threatening to kill people or literally BEING ARRESTED for physically attacking others is a 'little thing', a minor blip on the radar of life. None of us would take that shyt off some stranger on the street, we sure as hell wouldn't take if off of someone who actually KNOWS where we live and has the capability of following through (your wife's domestic violence record). You're damned LUCKY these relatives still talk to EITHER of you! They must LOVE YOU a helluva lot to overlook all this egregious behavior!!!!!

...and yep, that's what I figured too. ...and...btw...I'm the one who had her arrested. She's (AFAIK) never raised her hand against someone she wasn't married too...and stopped after she got out of jail. We're honestly been following a double standard - as she's female and pretty short. Still, she's been enough of an unbelievable PITA that she's not in anyone's good books.

...I think they, like me, see her as the sort of crazy who'll yell at people over the phone, but also cry at the notion of inconveniencing a babysitter by cancelling unexpectedly. (basically harmless, but a PITA) My relatives are more the sort who'll give her 48 hours to leave the country before filing charges as a prelude to a prison term if they felt she was a real threat...

...but overall they mostly think that she's a bad wife and that our marriage is bad for me - and judge based on things like my wife jumping out of cars on the way to dinner, sleeping until past noon, and not bathing. They're mostly right. Not that they'd say this to either of us. You admit yourself that your marriage is bad for you, but then you want to TURN AROUND and point fingers at them for being non-supportive of your marriage, for not trying HARDER to 'approve' of your wife and her behavior. Why should they? Their opinions are JUST AS VALID as yours! It's not like they're just making shyt up out of their heads and hating on her!

...not pointing fingers - I accept that they're right. Seriously. Doesn't mean I'm leaving. Doesn't mean I think they're wrong either.


...they don't hate her either - and worry about her - but they also don't approve of her. And are slightly worried that my wife will murder me eventually. (Almost certainly not an issue.) Again, if this is humor, I fail to see it. If this is REALITY, then YOU should be in IC to figure out what reward you're getting from this relationship that the threat of being murdered (however small) is TOLERABLE in your mind. By staying married to your wife till death do you part (whether natural or otherwise) or NEVER GIVING UP on your mentally ill wife, do you feel you get a higher place in Heaven? extra stars in your crown? Just something for YOU to consider.

...I am probably taking the whole 'til death do you part' thing a bit too seriously. :rolleyes: Mostly, she was kind of stable, just sometimes unpleasant, until a prolonged period of unemployment involving children. Then...y'know...I'd planned on filing for divorce while she was in jail - but she jumped into therapy on her own. And she stayed in. And there's noticeable change. And our children will (f*k the gender bias in custody cases, seriously) be interacting with mom in some form regardless, so letting her spend a year or two in therapy using my insurance seemed reasonable.


I do love my wife. And have chosen, for now, to stay with her. So even YOU may reconsider having a relationship with her, and yet you expect your family (who loves YOU) to overlook her bullshyt behavior? That is illogical! She is trying very hard with the therapy and there's some hope that we may be able to get to a sustainable R/S eventually.

My current position with my relatives is:
...she's my wife. And even though she has a ton of issues, she really is trying. So, I expect that you will be polite and as friendly as you are comfortable being. I understand your judgment regarding our marriage, but ask that you be kind to her for my sake. They ARE being; you're being dishonest with yourself. From what you write, they ARE meeting your criteria. Your wife is dissatisfied with what they're offering so you're buying into HER misperception that they're not doing enough. The rest of us (CoffeeAmore, Holland, and I) as NORMAL people with no ax to grind, no payoff for us to be other than completely, objectively honest with you are telling you...she and you are WRONG! There is NOTHING wrong with their current behavior and interactions with your wife. If you two want MORE or BETTER interaction, it's ALL ON YOU!

...didn't claim they weren't being polite or kind. And, honestly, think that they're being significantly kinder than we have a right to ask. I'm mostly checking that I'm meeting whatever obligations I have as a husband and also making sure that my current policy of limited interaction is sensible. I'm also trying to use fairly nonjudgemental language so people will feel comfortable stating their opinions.

However, this leaves two issues:
(a) my wife has a tendency towards paranoia - to the point where any potentially ambiguous statement will be twisted into an insult. 'Remember when your mom complained about your shirt? That means that she's telling me to divorce you because men who don't dress well never get ahead in life.' Based on growing up with these people, what she meant is 'Please wear something nicer to the party.'

At the moment, the thing that works best is just agreeing with all of the BS coming out of her mouth, offering to do something about it, and then letting her turn me down - as she's aware that acting on paranoia doesn't help her.

(b) my wife, although not good at understanding human beings, is awfully good at reading emotion - and often feels pain because my relatives are distant.

At the moment, I'm just accepting this and occasionally talking to them individually to help them understand her better. The trick is that my relatives aren't particularly wild about mental illness either no-one is, get real!...and, realistically, they've already noticed the tendency towards misinterpretation and have reacted by saying as little as possible. You mean lest they bring on ANOTHER threat of house-burning? Seriously, do you not SEE how skewed, how effed-up your excuses for your wife are? I acknowledge that you want to stay with your wife, that's fine. But, PLEASE, quit defining EVERYONE'S existence and behavior as acceptable/unacceptable via HER very screwed-up view of relationships. If SHE is not capable of comprehending that HER behavior (past and present) is DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for the relationships both of you have with everyone, then YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO COMPREHEND THIS.

...heh...you may be reading something that isn't there...or possibly that I'm not aware is there. ...I'm perfectly aware that her behavior is f*d up...and that she's earned rather more pain than she's feeling. I'm also perfectly aware that they've all gone well beyond the call of duty.

I'm somewhat uncertain about encouraging contact, as the issue is that, when they're being distant - my wife is rarely offended. Unfortunately, when they start being friendly, they talk more and occasionally make jokes - and my wife has a lot of trouble with humor of any sort. Stop with the 'love me, love my dog' attitude! [I'm not calling your wife a dog.] Your family has extended itself PLENTY to try to accommodate YOUR DESIRE to be married to this woman. Asking for MORE from them is YOU being unloving towards your extremely-accepting family. Stop ABUSING THEM by expecting them to 'get over it' and just accept your wife's CRAPPY behavior (her mental illness does not 'magically' render her behavior LESS CRAPPY!)

...absolutely. I'd be a lot less accepting if they were unkind to our dog - a lovely, well-behaved, animal. Loving my wife is not a requirement at all. That said, some of them do love her. She has this strange innocence and vulnerability that generates more sympathy than she's earned. The others don't hate her - and tend to defend her more strongly than the ones who love her.


I dunno, I could try pushing for a sit-down talk with my wife and relatives, but I'm not sure it'd be real productive. Leave everybody ALONE. YOU'RE not even sure YOU want to continue in a long-term relationship with your wife! Stop expecting everybody else to put in as much (or more) effort into this relationship as you. (I say MORE effort because they reap NO REWARD from interacting with your wife...you presumably have some good times with her and an intimate/sexual relationship. You're getting SOMETHING positive out of the relationship; they're NOT.)

I'm wondering if anyone would have any useful suggestions. Visit your family BY YOURSELF. Let THEM call the shots on interacting with your wife. If they don't want to, then let it go. If your wife wants to interact with them, that's too bad. Until she is SIGNIFICANTLY better and can control herself AND understand how hurtful/dangerous her previous actions were, she needs to leave them alone. Expecting EVERYONE to kow-tow to your relationship with your wife is BS.

...correct. Although, limited in scope. My relatives put pretty high values on harmony and family, so (in order of preference), they've chosen: (1) we all come, (2) I and children come, (3) wife and children come. This may be motivated by the fact that my wife's pretty quiet and shy and has never raged at them in person (once, on the phone...see fire comments). Or the fact that they like her bringing the grandchildren over while I'm working. On the days when my wife decides not to go, I usually leave her at home, or occasionally by the side of the road with bus fare. I'd understand perfectly if they choose to cut off contact - but they haven't. OTOH, I have a strong intuition that the mourning at her funeral would be quite limited. We aren't a very confrontational family.

...and they'd prefer peace. So, within limits, if I asked anything that sounded helpful, they'd probably do it. So far, the main thing I've asked is permission to sleep over (~2 times yearly) when my wife started raging. I did also suggest to my mother that my mother might be less frustrated dealing with my wife if she used very direct and/or written communication. It kind of worked. (mom's not good at asking people to do stuff like clear the table or hire a babysitter...which is a problem when my wife doesn't figure out her hints for 3 months...or when her daughter asks her to cover for school vacations...sadly...I'm probably not at the top of her s*tlist.)

...one issue is that some of them are bad at saying no - not incapable, just it has to pass a pretty high threshold - so it can be hard to tell the difference between 'yes' and 'yes, I'm okay with that.' I'm mostly trying to add an 'are you actually ok with that?' to every request, but I'm not sure it actually helps.

...still...it sounds like you're saying that 'assuming you're staying with that woman', just leave it alone unless by some miracle your wife actually develops some capacity for self-reflection.

...the thing that I think they are up for is...
A: 'So sorry to bother you, but there's just this one tiny question. Is now a good time to talk?
R: 'Um. Sure.'
A: 'So, when you asked me to change my shirt, W was thinking that means that you're trying to convince her to get a divorce.
R: 'No, that's just insane. Seriously - the shirt was stained. I do think you should get a divorce, but I'm really not that subtle. You are a good person and mean well, you just need to be in an institution somewhere.'
W: 'Um.'
R: 'I like you. You're just unstable and need someone to take care of you. I get that you read a lot into everything I say because you have communications issues. That's just crazy. Pretty much everything I say should be taken literally. I'm not going to push A - he's made his choice, but I'm not going to change my opinion unless I see some real change in this R/S. That said, you're always welcome in my house. Just show up when you say you will, clear the table, make the bed, and only eat in the dining room.'
W:'But why did you say x mean things?'
R: 'I worry about you - and you aren't behaving like a responsible adult when you do X. If you've noticed, I get angry with my kids over the same sort of stuff.'

...my guess is that the above is kind of a best case - but I'm not sure whether or not it would be productive. And I'd need to check on whether or not they'd be up for it. The more I think of it though, the more I think it would just be a convenient way to shut W up while stressing R. The thing is that R never hears those conversations, so being confronted with W's twisted perceptions would just annoy her.


--Argyle

*Most likely Aspergers, with strong borderline tendencies. DxD with BPD, but, she suspects Aspergers pretty strongly and I agree. So, basically no ability to empathize, along with a tendency towards paranoia and reading any ambiguous statement as hostile. And occasional screaming meltdowns and threats of divorce - usually triggered by emotional intimacy.
 

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not perfect anymore: I have plenty of compassion... FOR HIS FAMILY!

If he CHOOSES to continue to be married to her, God Bless Him! It's HIS choice. HOWEVER, if he CHOOSES to remain with her, he does NOT get to keep SHOVING her BAD BEHAVIOR (for whatever reasons) in his family's face and insisting that they LOVE HER and EMBRACE HER like he does.

It's not their JOB...it's HIS, if HE CHOOSES to do it.

You make the choice, you take the consequences. IF the family doesn't want to be around her, they shouldn't HAVE to be.

Edited to add:

Argyle, sounds like you have a GOOD handle on the situation. You understand your wife AND her limitations. You understand your family, their expectations, what is normally acceptable/unacceptable to your family in particular and society at large. I, personally, believe your reasoning is largely sound.

I can understand your confusion over people at TAM who insist that siding with spouse takes precedence over siding with family. I would venture to say that more often than not, this involves relatively unimportant disagreements NOT egregiously bad behavior on either side's part. We're all of the opinion that whichever side is in the wrong should be informed in as polite a way as possible that their behavior is incorrect AND WHY. The side that is in the right, should learn to give some quarter and be the bigger person who can let some things slide (provided no-one's safety is endangered) for the good of all.

Hang in there, Argyle! Have YOU had any Individual Counseling to learn to deal with your wife's illness and to help foster better relations between you/wife, kids/wife/, your family/wife? It might help you solidify some answers, formulate some plans, focus on achievable goals (for everyone) and alleviate some stress! If you haven't already, please consider it so YOU can be the strength that everyone will need to rely on at different points. You need to be strong for YOURSELF, also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
...definitely agree - except possibly on the good understanding bit. It can be tricky maintaining a sense of reality when spending a lot of time with people who are 'off'. Thanks for the call out from Earth.

...I've done IC to some extent. Once with a DV counselor - she was moderately helpful. Nice lady. Ran out of sessions though. Albeit, her reasoning for why she wouldn't hit her husband started with: (a) job, license, (b) their friends would be upset, (c) he'd remove her teeth.

Another time with a psychologist. I dunno. Nice guy, probably well-trained but, overall, fairly useless. I would have preferred someone a bit more direct. Personal styles, I guess.

I tried a NAMI group too...nice people...but really...really depressing. They spent way too much time talking about how they'd be better off if their S/Os were dead.

Trick is...right at the moment...I'm thinking that the most effective use of time is on coping strategies for autistics and a certain amount of exposure*...so we're looking at books and also looking for a MC with Asperger's experience that takes our insurance. I've already established that the ones with actual reviews don't call back...so I'm moving on down the list...but that takes up my insurance slot...dunno.

...dunno...slippery slope...most of my wife's actual conflicts with my family are over completely trivial things. (eating in the living room, eg...misunderstood sentences.) So, she's in the wrong, they're completely trivial, but she's the one who's complaining... OTOH, there's a real gray area - where she thinks she's in the right - and might actually be in the right in her own culture. So, um, the right answer is something involving flexibility - which is a real challenge for her.

--Argyle
*Giving her quiet time (including earphones and no one in the room) and really direct speech has been reasonably effective. The whole validation thing...not so much.

...the biggest change in our R/S has probably been the bit where we went to an Aspie support group and she stopped claiming that everyone but her had Aspergers.
 

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I wasn't sure if she was diagnosed with Asperger's or you or she suspect she has Asperger's. It sounds like she hasn't had a formal diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, right? The new DSM V is going to merge all the forms of Autism (PPD-NOS to Asperger's) into one diagnosis, if I'm not mistaken so if she were diagnosed in the near future she might just get Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Good luck to you. You're certainly giving it your all.
 

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Yep. No formal diagnosis($$). Albeit, when my wife talks about how she and I are both autistic...her therapist just tells her that I'm not autistic...but that the comment was otherwise insightful.

I like the reclassification. Sure, clinicians may prefer easier categories, but I prefer reality-based classifications. My anecdotal observations are that Asperger's isn't really a separate biology, just that autistics without verbal ability and/or high intelligence tend to be ignored.

I sort of view the autism thing as a hypothesis that fits an awful lot of the facts. I'm not certain at all whether or not her autistic traits are at a level that would even qualify for diagnosis. I am, however, certain that they exist.

The issue is that her strongest autistic-characteristic deficits are in theory of mind/empathy and black/white thinking - which are also characteristic of BPD/NPD - and the others, while present, are milder. So, she could easily be anywhere from strongly autistic and mildly BPD to mildly autistic and strongly BPD/NPD. I'm guessing more autistic than BPD, but the BPD is more problematic in R/S. I don't care if she has to leave a restaurant because there are too many people...I just get irritated if she picks a fight, blames me for it, and demands a divorce.

That said, reducing the amount of overload she's feeling has really helped. Next, we're going to move on to 'feelings' flashcards - as she has a really hard time figuring out that she's upset - and what she's actually upset about.

Some fraction of her anxiety is also reality-based - as she is terribly afraid of being so damaged/different that she offends people. And well, people do get angry at her for reasons she can't understand. And, she's afraid that she's unemployable. She isn't - but the reality is that she'll need to plan her career around her capabilities - and is unlikely to fully realize her talents. She is, beyond all her faults, brilliant, hard-working, and gifted - so that's kind of frustrating. I figure most people find their place eventually.

--Argyle
 
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