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I thought I could handle it myself and I could just use similar stories and advice shared on this forum to guide me without posting my own story and asking for help. I've never posted nor am I active on social media so sharing something so personal is new to me. But I've come to a point where my mind is fogged up and I just don't know how to proceed or deal with it on my own anymore.

Both my wife and I are 38 and we have 2 kids, 4 and 6. We have been together for 16 years and married for 9. Although never diagnosed, my wife exhibits strong traits of having BPD and is high functioning. Keeping that in mind, I don't want to make this first post too long in going over why I think she does.

I'll skip to my current situation- I am currently in the midst of week 6 of the silent treatment whilst still living together and me pretending to be happy at home in front of the kids while she is tearing me apart inside. Cheating could be involved, divorce is likely, even though it's not what I hope for and I don't have the courage to move forward with it. Read on...

I've always felt I've tried to be best husband and father I could be given the circumstances. If I'm not at work, I am at home helping out with the kids or chores. Im scared of my wife so much after walking on eggshells so many years that I try to avoid as many triggers as I can. I would decline friends invites to hang out, I would avoid or decline overtime so im home when I'm supposed to, sometimes when my job is busy we are asked to work a few hours on weekends but given a flexible schedule- I would choose to work at 2am so I'll only be gone while their asleep and be home in time so my wife wouldn't have the burden of taking care of both kids by herself and giving her an excuse to blame me. I feel guilty going to my company Christmas party. I'm scared to share with her where I go eat at lunch with my coworkers ( she brings lunch and hardly goes out to eat). I get my kids ready for school and I'm the one that reads them the bedtime story and puts them to bed. You get the point...I put my family first above anything. Sometimes it feels like a competition to see who does the most so she has nothing to get mad at me about maybe that's why I never get any empathy or passion or a some thank you. Because she feels like she does the same if not more.

Anyways here is how current events unfolded. Our main form of communication during the day is via text.
-It started with her texting me one afternoon she had decided to cancel my daughter's after school private piano lessons. Her reasoning was she feels like shes wasting her money (it's paid by out joint account...) That she's disappoint in me and disappointed in marrying me because I don't renforce it at home when she wanted out daughter to have the best education and I just want to let them watch TV. ( I only let watch TV in the morning while they're waiting for me to get ready?...they're watching TV while eating dinner when I get home from work.) ??? I learned not to argue or defend and just say I'm sorry she felt that way.
- a week goes by, she's a little more detached but at least shes still talking with me and I'm hoping it'll just blow over. We had a trip to Vegas planned with her friends and it would be the first time since we had the kids to leave them for a night (this was planned long ago). She texts me that that I should just go hang out with my friends and she'll go to Vegas with hers and still leave the kids with her parents. I told her it's ok I'll stay with the kids and she can go have fun with her friends (thinking I'm showing her I'm a good husband). Told her sorry for what she's feeling and I'll change little by little (even though I have nothing to apologize for..just hoping to keep the peace). Wrong move...she latched on to the "change little by little" and raged at me. Called me expletives and how I'm the problem. She's realized I'm the one that makes her sad. She'll be happy if I'm gone. We should get a divorce.
- start of silent treatment. No answer when spoken to. No response to texts. Goes into room after I get home basically I'm left alone to take care of kids. Notice she doesn't have as much interaction with the kids when Im at home. I don't want the kids to feel like anything is wrong so I put on smiley face and play with them and I'm the one that still tells them to go say good night to their mommy. If we don't she'll go to sleep without a peep. Shes moved to another bedroom although I've been sleeping with the kids in their bedroom. The master is empty..... weird.
- I'm hoping to give her space. Hoping she would snap out of it like the same silent treatment I got a year ago for 3.5 weeks after I apologized and pleaded. This time I'm doing a lot less pleading because I'm tired. I want to actually communicate and fix our problems this time instead of sweeping it under the rug.
- I offered to talk and told her we need to fix this. To same our marriage. Get help. Her response :

#1 there is the reason that I do not love you anymore. It's a valid reason to want a divorce.
#2 what benefit is there for me to stay married to you? None
#3 why should I stay married to you? Do you do anything for me? No
#4 we don't need to talk about this over and over if you keep promising the same **** and breaking it. Also another valid reason for divorce.
#5 I'm tired of your ****
#6 you want to stay married for the sake of what? The kids? No. They'll be happier once I'm happier

What more is there to talk about? Nothing. You broke a deal and it's over. Plain and simple. You want to work on it? Too late. You want to talk it out? Too late. You you you. You want everything to work out for YOU. Nothing you do is for ME. So I want to do something for myself and be rid of something that weighs me down- that's YOU!

Everything I've done since our marriage was for her. I've always put her and the kids first... This was out last communication via text and I didn't respond.

I don't understand how somebody you've loved for so long can flip a switch and hold the anger for so long. I don't understand if she wants it a divorce so bad and be rid of me why hasn't she done anything yet to follow through.

There are certain parts of me that wants to end it already, but I'm worried for the kids and want them to stay in the house which I know my wife couldn't afford on a single income. It doesn't feel like my wife has thought of the consequences of divorce. Being able to see the kids only partially and the disposition of the house. A part of me is in peace at least I still get you see my kids everyday and sleep next to them every night.

The possible cheating- my wife has been pretty hardcore into playing pokemon go and I know she's met some other players online that play together and chat about it. At first I thought was innocent enough. When I did have access to her phone it seemed like the chats we're about playing so I wasn't worried. I kept checking and I noticed she met a guy for lunch but the conversation seemed still innocent although not about the game anymore. Then my wife changed her phone passcode and I couldn't access anymore but I could see what the new messages were from notifications. Although no solid evidence, but from the bits I was able to see from the other guy. it feels like the they're conversing a lot closer than just players sharing a same interest and they meet in person. Also think my wife has been shaving, even though she has no reason to. She usually just grooms when we know we will have a special occasion.... Since she uses a chat app that uses data for calls and texts which doesn't show up on cell phone records. Pretty much no way to tell or get evidence unless I find out her passcode.

Sorry for the long post. I just don't know know what to do anymore. My priority is to keep family together and not affect the kids. I know most people will say file and move on. But a part of me wants to tell her to think about the house, the kids, before she does anything she'll regret, short of accusing her since I don't have solid evidence. Hoping she would stop and actually think?

Sorry it's late and I'm just rambling. Can provide more details if anyone cares.

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Well, literally nothing you have done and tried has worked. That's because if she truly is BPD, nothing "conventional" will work. You cannot reason with or use logic on a BPDer. You need to find a way to gain enough strength to end the marriage.

You say you don't want to harm the kids, but leaving things alone IS harming them. They are being molded more and more each day by 1) her irrational behavior and 2) her mistreatment of you. From you, they are learning that you are a punching bag and that they should be one too, because what you have is a normal marriage. It most certainly is NOT.

You need to effect change. It rests with you. Staying with a BPD long term (if she ever is diagnosed and good luck with her even agreeing to see anyone to determine) is going to cost your humanity and your soul. You cannot help her. You are barely qualified to help her. You can't even stand up to her and you're AFRAID of her.

Commonly, with BPD, you give them exactly what they want, because inside at the core, they feel damaged and unworthy of most things we cherish, like love and security. So, they do everything possible to destroy it piece by piece so that you DO leave and they can say, "see?? You really DO want to leave me!!" It's the foulest, most manipulative of mind games, and they are masters.

So, I suggest you grow strength by becoming armed with knowledge. Even if she refuses to see a specialist, read everything you can on BPD. LEARN why she behaves the ways she does, so she cannot hurt you as much and you can start to disengage. Learn how staying will likely damage your kids if not already. You have an opportunity to show them 50% of a normal life with you. That's better than 100% of a messed up one as it stands. You and your kids are ripe for becoming co-dependents in order to over compensate for her behavior.

I suggest you start to make plans for divorce, get smart, get out and fight for at least 50% time with your kids.
@Uptown
 

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I learned a long time ago to stop apologizing for things I didn’t do wrong. I have heard a lot of men that do this just to keep the peace. All it does is reinforce the notion that you were wrong in her mind and the supports her notion that you continually screw up. Having to walk on eggshells in your own home to keep from setting someone off is no way to live. Spouses should treat each fairly and with respect. Maybe she is BP or maybe she is just immature and emotionally abusive.

What specifically is she mad at you about? What in her mind justifies a divorce?

Also, would it be normal for her to go to lunch with another man without telling you? Obviously a red flag. When combined with the phone habits changing and grooming changes, definitely something to look into.

As far the kids go, what it would be better for them? Divorce may be hard but Currently they are living in the same house with separated parents who don’t speak to each other. That’s not normal either.
 

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It’s hard to figure which of you are damaging your kids more. Get the free download NO MORE MISTER NICE GUY by googling it.

Are you thinking Bi Polar or Borderline Perosnality Disorder. Sounds like the latter which is no win.
 

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6 weeks of the silent treatment? That's cruel, cruel, cruel. This alone would be enough for me to see a lawyer about proceeding with a separation & divorce. Then, add the possibility of her cheating-you have a double whammy. Sorry, man. Not much you can do with a BPD'er either.

There are a couple of other men on here that deal with the same ****. And it goes Round & Round. Round & Round.

Your children are learning this behavior, you can count on that.
 

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Dude ....

You're sitting in a prison cell and all the doors are unlocked and open ...even the Warden is telling you that you're free to leave. But, there you sit in that cell making excuses for why you can't walk out and wanting explanations.
 

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I thought I could handle it myself and I could just use similar stories and advice shared on this forum to guide me without posting my own story and asking for help. I've never posted nor am I active on social media so sharing something so personal is new to me. But I've come to a point where my mind is fogged up and I just don't know how to proceed or deal with it on my own anymore.

Both my wife and I are 38 and we have 2 kids, 4 and 6. We have been together for 16 years and married for 9. Although never diagnosed, my wife exhibits strong traits of having BPD and is high functioning. Keeping that in mind, I don't want to make this first post too long in going over why I think she does.

I'll skip to my current situation- I am currently in the midst of week 6 of the silent treatment whilst still living together and me pretending to be happy at home in front of the kids while she is tearing me apart inside. Cheating could be involved, divorce is likely, even though it's not what I hope for and I don't have the courage to move forward with it. Read on...

I've always felt I've tried to be best husband and father I could be given the circumstances. If I'm not at work, I am at home helping out with the kids or chores. Im scared of my wife so much after walking on eggshells so many years that I try to avoid as many triggers as I can. I would decline friends invites to hang out, I would avoid or decline overtime so im home when I'm supposed to, sometimes when my job is busy we are asked to work a few hours on weekends but given a flexible schedule- I would choose to work at 2am so I'll only be gone while their asleep and be home in time so my wife wouldn't have the burden of taking care of both kids by herself and giving her an excuse to blame me. I feel guilty going to my company Christmas party. I'm scared to share with her where I go eat at lunch with my coworkers ( she brings lunch and hardly goes out to eat). I get my kids ready for school and I'm the one that reads them the bedtime story and puts them to bed. You get the point...I put my family first above anything. Sometimes it feels like a competition to see who does the most so she has nothing to get mad at me about maybe that's why I never get any empathy or passion or a some thank you. Because she feels like she does the same if not more.

Anyways here is how current events unfolded. Our main form of communication during the day is via text.
-It started with her texting me one afternoon she had decided to cancel my daughter's after school private piano lessons. Her reasoning was she feels like shes wasting her money (it's paid by out joint account...) That she's disappoint in me and disappointed in marrying me because I don't renforce it at home when she wanted out daughter to have the best education and I just want to let them watch TV. ( I only let watch TV in the morning while they're waiting for me to get ready?...they're watching TV while eating dinner when I get home from work.) ??? I learned not to argue or defend and just say I'm sorry she felt that way.
- a week goes by, she's a little more detached but at least shes still talking with me and I'm hoping it'll just blow over. We had a trip to Vegas planned with her friends and it would be the first time since we had the kids to leave them for a night (this was planned long ago). She texts me that that I should just go hang out with my friends and she'll go to Vegas with hers and still leave the kids with her parents. I told her it's ok I'll stay with the kids and she can go have fun with her friends (thinking I'm showing her I'm a good husband). Told her sorry for what she's feeling and I'll change little by little (even though I have nothing to apologize for..just hoping to keep the peace). Wrong move...she latched on to the "change little by little" and raged at me. Called me expletives and how I'm the problem. She's realized I'm the one that makes her sad. She'll be happy if I'm gone. We should get a divorce.
- start of silent treatment. No answer when spoken to. No response to texts. Goes into room after I get home basically I'm left alone to take care of kids. Notice she doesn't have as much interaction with the kids when Im at home. I don't want the kids to feel like anything is wrong so I put on smiley face and play with them and I'm the one that still tells them to go say good night to their mommy. If we don't she'll go to sleep without a peep. Shes moved to another bedroom although I've been sleeping with the kids in their bedroom. The master is empty..... weird.
- I'm hoping to give her space. Hoping she would snap out of it like the same silent treatment I got a year ago for 3.5 weeks after I apologized and pleaded. This time I'm doing a lot less pleading because I'm tired. I want to actually communicate and fix our problems this time instead of sweeping it under the rug.
- I offered to talk and told her we need to fix this. To same our marriage. Get help. Her response :

#1 there is the reason that I do not love you anymore. It's a valid reason to want a divorce.
#2 what benefit is there for me to stay married to you? None
#3 why should I stay married to you? Do you do anything for me? No
#4 we don't need to talk about this over and over if you keep promising the same **** and breaking it. Also another valid reason for divorce.
#5 I'm tired of your ****
#6 you want to stay married for the sake of what? The kids? No. They'll be happier once I'm happier

What more is there to talk about? Nothing. You broke a deal and it's over. Plain and simple. You want to work on it? Too late. You want to talk it out? Too late. You you you. You want everything to work out for YOU. Nothing you do is for ME. So I want to do something for myself and be rid of something that weighs me down- that's YOU!

Everything I've done since our marriage was for her. I've always put her and the kids first... This was out last communication via text and I didn't respond.

I don't understand how somebody you've loved for so long can flip a switch and hold the anger for so long. I don't understand if she wants it a divorce so bad and be rid of me why hasn't she done anything yet to follow through.

There are certain parts of me that wants to end it already, but I'm worried for the kids and want them to stay in the house which I know my wife couldn't afford on a single income. It doesn't feel like my wife has thought of the consequences of divorce. Being able to see the kids only partially and the disposition of the house. A part of me is in peace at least I still get you see my kids everyday and sleep next to them every night.

The possible cheating- my wife has been pretty hardcore into playing pokemon go and I know she's met some other players online that play together and chat about it. At first I thought was innocent enough. When I did have access to her phone it seemed like the chats we're about playing so I wasn't worried. I kept checking and I noticed she met a guy for lunch but the conversation seemed still innocent although not about the game anymore. Then my wife changed her phone passcode and I couldn't access anymore but I could see what the new messages were from notifications. Although no solid evidence, but from the bits I was able to see from the other guy. it feels like the they're conversing a lot closer than just players sharing a same interest and they meet in person. Also think my wife has been shaving, even though she has no reason to. She usually just grooms when we know we will have a special occasion.... Since she uses a chat app that uses data for calls and texts which doesn't show up on cell phone records. Pretty much no way to tell or get evidence unless I find out her passcode.

Sorry for the long post. I just don't know know what to do anymore. My priority is to keep family together and not affect the kids. I know most people will say file and move on. But a part of me wants to tell her to think about the house, the kids, before she does anything she'll regret, short of accusing her since I don't have solid evidence. Hoping she would stop and actually think?

Sorry it's late and I'm just rambling. Can provide more details if anyone cares.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
How much proof do you need that she is having an affair? How much dung are you going to allow her to to dump on you in front of your kids? Do you want your kids growing up thinking that her obstinate detachment and freight train of insults is normal and healthy?

What do you want us to help you with?
 

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Just wanted you to know, you’re not alone. I have been a lurker myself since last October and you have pretty much described my relationship. We’ve been married 17 years, but my 3 boys are teenagers.

I filed 3 weeks ago after trying to make it work after infidelity. Unsure about the future for me, but I can relate to your story completely.
 

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It sounds like your wife has Borderline Personality Disorder and she's, at best, in the beginnings of an affair. At worst already deep into it. It doesn't matter how hard you want things to work out, if she is checked out and doesn't want to work on things (which it sounds like she is) there is nothing you can do on your own to make a good marriage. Give her what she wants. File and seek sole custody in the residence. As @Broken_in_Brooklyn and
@Just another stated, your kids will be far better off in two happy homes than one miserable one. You are screwing them up more by them learning that your current circumstance is what marriages are supposed to be like.
 

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Thank you for the the responses so far. Yes I suspect she might be borderline and have lurked on bpdfamily for a few years and just discovered this forum which seems much more active with great advice this go around.

I guess I'm what you would describe as codependent. Even though the courting period and first few years were great. I probably just dismissed her actions early on as normal relationship stuff. It wasn't until later on that it got worse that I realize it wasn't normal and I started looking online for answers. By then I was too attached and even though I was getting less and less and trying at the same time to give more and more, I couldn't justify ever breaking up with her. I always wanted to see what else more I could do to hopefully fix it and make her see the light, how I'm a good person and not the bad person she always portrays me as.

I guess the whole thing feels like a dream and I'm just waiting for it to pass and everything will go back to normal.The hard part now is that I'll have moments where I feel strong and feel okay, then I'll fall into being scared and thinking if any way to save it. Im not able.to sustain the strong mode for too long...

She says she doesn't love me anymore, she doesn't feel anything when I try to hug or kiss her, she blames her spending on me because she thought that could make her happy, I'm the sole reason she is sad and unhappy. "I'm the biggest disappoint in her life". It.goes on and on with accusations and projections and a lot of stuff that's simply untrue.

I know I shouldnt have but without alluding to thinking she might be cheating I texted her this morning

"I hope you don't do anything you'll regret for the rest of your life. You still have a chance to stop it before it's too late.

After so many years together and what we've built. Think about the family, the kids, the house..."

Her reply

"Yea and after all that I don't understand how you could treat me that way. I keep holding it in to save our marriage. But now it's just why should I anymore? You haven't thought of me. Why should I think of you. Isn't that something remarkable?! After so many years of me threatening to get a divorce because of how unjustly I felt from whatever the hell you did.. this is the only time you are trying to get your act together. "

It's funny she keeps mentioning the D word but doesn't take any action. It's funny I try to talk but she'll come back 200x harder. How do we even discuss things even it's planning for divorce or whatever if she just keeps raging at me. We can't even talk about it civilly.

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Thanks for posting here, please take some of the responses with a grain of salt. We have seen this story play out to many times, so we can be a little blunt.

Anyway, this is you and you need to stop.


You cannot nice your way out of this. For those of us reading your post, there are a number of red flags that your wife has emotionally detached and is engaging with another man (she's most likely having an affair). You don't mention a sex life, so I am going to assume that you two have not sex in quite some time.

Whether she is BPD or not, I can't believe you allow yourself and your children to be treated this way. Children learn from what they see and they are learning that it is okay for a woman to be a raging ***** and the man to just take it. You should be protecting them from this emotional abuse.

Make yourself smarter and read. Read about BPD to try an understand why your wife may be the way she is, read "No Mister Nice Guy" and reclaim your balls, and read about divorce, both how to do it and how to get your kids through it. Then give your wife what she wants and talk to an attorney.
 

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Thanks for posting here, please take some of the responses with a grain of salt. We have seen this story play out to many times, so we can be a little blunt.

Anyway, this is you and you need to stop.


You cannot nice your way out of this. For those of us reading your post, there are a number of red flags that your wife has emotionally detached and is engaging with another man (she's most likely having an affair). You don't mention a sex life, so I am going to assume that you two have not sex in quite some time.

Whether she is BPD or not, I can't believe you allow yourself and your children to be treated this way. Children learn from what they see and they are learning that it is okay for a woman to be a raging ***** and the man to just take it. You should be protecting them from this emotional abuse.

Make yourself smarter and read. Read about BPD to try an understand why your wife may be the way she is, read "No Mister Nice Guy" and reclaim your balls, and read about divorce, both how to do it and how to get your kids through it. Then give your wife what she wants and talk to an attorney.
Thank you. What gets at me is that her whole argument seems to be that she is the one that's been treated like a "door mat". I don't even know how to argue or reason with her, if to her I'm the bad guy that never does anything and never put her or my kids first. Which is 100% untrue.

Also would like to clear up that she is a good mom. This whole time there has been no outward raging/yelling. I hope the kids haven't noticed anything yet as the only real difference is that mom and dad don't talk to each other at home. They seem happy and just look for somebody to play with when I get off work.

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With her emotional distance, most likely she's cheating In any event, she has checked out of your marriage. So, don't make any excuses for her. Her behavior has wrecked your marriage.
I can't emphasize too strongly the importance of the 180. Find out what it is, how to do it, and DO NOT back off, no matter what she says or does. The marriage contract is not a license for her to treat you like a dog.
 

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.....Both my wife and I are 38 and we have 2 kids, 4 and 6. We have been together for 16 years and married for 9.

.....- I offered to talk and told her we need to fix this. To same our marriage. Get help. Her response :

#1 there is the reason that I do not love you anymore. It's a valid reason to want a divorce.
#2 what benefit is there for me to stay married to you? None
#3 why should I stay married to you? Do you do anything for me? No
#4 we don't need to talk about this over and over if you keep promising the same **** and breaking it. Also another valid reason for divorce.
#5 I'm tired of your ****
#6 you want to stay married for the sake of what? The kids? No. They'll be happier once I'm happier

What more is there to talk about? Nothing. You broke a deal and it's over. Plain and simple. You want to work on it? Too late. You want to talk it out? Too late. You you you. You want everything to work out for YOU. Nothing you do is for ME. So I want to do something for myself and be rid of something that weighs me down- that's YOU!

.....Sorry it's late and I'm just rambling. Can provide more details if anyone cares.
Serenity Prayer – Full Version (composed in 1940s)

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
Amen.

Shortened Version

God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
the courage to change the things we can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Look, for whatever reason, your wife has told you she wants a divorce.

You can only change yourself. You can not change your wife. Stop lamenting that you can't change her or her mind.

If you were less sure that you have done nothing wrong, which you go to great length to explain, then there is nothing you can or should change about yourself. However, if you are part of the problem and your wife values your marriage, then there is the potential to change yourself in a way that will inspire your wife to change the way she views you. However, you have ruled that out.

So my advice is talk to a divorce attorney and especially discuss what it would take for you to get custody of your children. Since you are going to be paying for them anyway, they might as well be under your support and guidance, if she is really as "crazy" as you make her out to be. You did say that your kids were always your first priority.

Another recommendation is to get some individual counseling for yourself. I would read Glover's No More Mr. Nice Guy (about men raised by women to become codependent upon women for validation and approval) and talk to a counselor about that topic and about the 5 to 7 stages of grieving your lost marriage and dream.

Good luck.
 

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Thank you. What gets at me is that her whole argument seems to be that she is the one that's been treated like a "door mat". I don't even know how to argue or reason with her, if to her I'm the bad guy that never does anything and never put her or my kids first. Which is 100% untrue.

Also would like to clear up that she is a good mom. This whole time there has been no outward raging/yelling. I hope the kids haven't noticed anything yet as the only real difference is that mom and dad don't talk to each other at home. They seem happy and just look for somebody to play with when I get off work.

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If she has convinced herself that she is the victim, nothing you say or do will change that. You should realize this after being with her for this long.

Why exhaust yourself trying to argue or reason? Where has that ever gotten you? To your current situation, that's where. WAKE UP! Doing the same things will yield the same results.

You seriously think your kids aren't aware and aren't being impacted by your toxic relationship with your wife? Are the two of you raising dunces? Surely you give your wife and yourself's parenting skills more credit than that.
 

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I don't understand how somebody you've loved for so long can flip a switch and hold the anger for so long.
Happy, BPDers can flip -- in less than a minute -- from Jekyll (adoring you) to Hyde (devaluing you). And they can flip back again just as quickly. These rapid flips arise from "black-white thinking."

Like a young child, a BPDer is too emotionally immature to be able to handle strong conflicting feelings (e.g., love and hate). A BPDer therefore has great difficulty tolerating ambiguities, uncertainties, and the other gray areas of close interpersonal relationships.

She therefore will categorize everyone close to her as "all good" (i.e., "white" or "with me") or "all bad" (i.e., "black" or "against me"). And she will recategorize someone from one polar extreme to the other -- in just ten seconds -- based solely on a minor comment or action. This B-W thinking also will be evident in the frequent use of all-or-nothing expressions such as "You NEVER..." and "You ALWAYS...."

Because a BPDer's close friends eventually will be "split black," it is unusual for a BPDer to have really close long-term friends (unless they live a long distance away). BPDers categorize everyone close to them in this black-white manner because they are too emotionally immature to handle being in touch with two strong conflicting feelings at the same time. You will see this all-or-nothing behavior in a four year old who adores Daddy while he's bringing out the toys but, in a few seconds, will flip to hating Daddy when he takes one toy away.

As to "holding the anger for so long," a BPDer typically has been holding enormous hurt and anger deep inside since early childhood. You therefore don't have to do a thing to CREATE the anger. Rather, you only have to do or say some minor thing that triggers a release of anger that is already there. This is why a BPDer can burst into a rage -- or withdraw into icy silence -- in only ten seconds.

This whole time there has been no outward raging/yelling.
Although the vast majority of BPDers express their anger by raging and yelling, a portion of BPDers express it in passive-aggressive ways, e.g., punishing you with snide comments or by withdrawing into icy silence. These folks are usually referred to in the BPD literature as "quiet borderlines" or "waif borderlines."

If you're interested, Happy, I've found several online articles that are insightful. One is A.J. Mahari's blog article, The Quiet Acting-In Borderline. The second is the BPD.com article, What Is a "Quiet" Borderline? A third is Matthew Gemma's article, When You Don't Fit the "Classic" Definition of BPD.

I always wanted to... make her see the light, how I'm a good person and not the bad person she always portrays me as.
If she is a BPDer, she has such a terrible feeling of emptiness that NOTHING is likely to make her happy for more than a few days. With my BPDer exW, for example, a very expensive gift usually would produce happiness for a few days -- or a week if it cost me several thousand dollars. Then she was right back to "What have you done for me lately?" A BPDer is a bottomless pit of need. Hence, trying to make her "happy" is as pointless as trying to fill up the Grand Canyon with a squirt gun.

It wasn't until later on that it got worse that I realize it wasn't normal.
It likely will continue to get worse. As the years go by, a BPDer's fear of abandonment grows stronger as she sees her body aging -- and her resentment gets stronger due to your inability to make her happy (an impossible task).

The result is that most BPDers are the ones to end the relationship -- typically after 12 to 15 years. While you were at BPDfamily, you may have noticed that about 650 members participated in a 2016 Survey which found that two-thirds of the BPD relationships were terminated by the BPDer.

I don't even know how to argue or reason with her.
Actually, you do know, Happy. You know very well. As the father of a 4-year-old and 6-year-old, you are very experienced in relating to immature and unstable individuals. Well, if your W is a BPDer, she likely has the emotional development of a 3- or 4-year-old child.

This means that your older child likely is already more emotionally mature than your W. It also means that you are essentially in a parent/child relationship with your W -- not a husband/wife relationship. Reason and logic don't go very far, or work very well, with very young children. As @Satya states, "You cannot reason with or use logic on a BPDer."

I want to actually communicate and fix our problems this time instead of sweeping it under the rug.
If your W really is a BPDer, she has two problems that are far more serious than a lack of simple communication skills. You therefore cannot substantially improve your marriage by improving her communication skills or yours.

The first problem is that, due to her immaturity, she needs to learn important emotional skills: how to do self soothing, how to regulate her own emotions, how to avoid black-white thinking by tolerating strong mixed feelings, how to trust, how to intellectually challenge intense feelings instead of accepting them as self-evident "facts," and how to stay aware of the present instead of escaping through daydreams into the past and future.

Absent those skills, she must continue to rely on the primitive ego defenses used by young children: projection, denial, temper tantrums, magical thinking, and black-white thinking.

The second problem is the position of her two great fears -- abandonment and engulfment -- at the opposite ends of the very same spectrum. This means you are always in a lose/lose situation because, as you back away from one fear to avoid triggering it, you will start triggering the fear at the other end of that same spectrum.

Hence, as you move close to comfort her and assure her of your love, you will start triggering her engulfment fear, making her feel like she's being suffocated and controlled by you. Yet, as you back away to give her breathing space, you will find that you've started triggering her abandonment fear.

Sadly, there is no midpoints solution (between "too close" and "too far away") where you can safely stand to avoid triggering the two fears. I know because I foolishly spent 15 years searching for that Goldilocks position, which simply does not exist.

Maybe that's why I never get any empathy or passion or some thank you. Because she feels like she does the same if not more.
Because a BPDer is emotionally unstable, it is impossible to build up a store of good will that you can later draw on during the hard days. A BPDer's perception of your intentions is dictated by the intense feeling she is experiencing at this very moment.

The result is that your attempts to build up a lasting store of good will and appreciation (for your many sacrifices) is as futile as trying to build a lasting sandcastle beside the sea. It will be washed away by the next tide of intense feelings flooding her mind.

I've come to a point where my mind is fogged up and I just don't know how to proceed.
If you really have been living with a BPDer for 16 years, consider yourself lucky if your mind is only feeling "fogged up." A large share of the abused partners of BPDers become so confused that they feel like they may be going crazy. Because BPDers typically are convinced that the absurd allegations coming out of their mouths are absolutely true -- they generally have a greater "crazy-making" effect than can ever be achieved by narcissists, sociopaths, or Bipolar sufferers.

This is why that, of the 157 mental disorders listed in the APA's diagnostic manual, BPD is the one most notorious for making the abused partners feel like they may be losing their minds. Therapists typically see far more of those abused partners -- coming in to find out if they are going insane -- than they ever see of the BPDers themselves.

Nothing will drive you crazier sooner than being repeatedly abused by a partner whom you know, to a certainty, must really love you. The reason is that you will be mistakenly convinced that, if only you can figure out what YOU are doing wrong, you can restore your partner to that wonderful human being you saw at the very beginning.

I just don't know know what to do anymore.
I suggest that you see a psychologist -- for a visit or two all by yourself -- to obtain a candid professional opinion on what it is that you and the kids are dealing with. Moreover, I suggest that -- if you decide to seek a divorce -- you read Splitting Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

I also suggest that, while you're looking for a good psychologist, you take a quick look at 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 the other respondents in discussing them with you. Take care, Happy.
 

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Living with a mentally ill person is awful. And it doesn't matter what the illness is, it's just awful. I think you are a nice guy, but, unfortunately, nice guys finish last. I'm sure you've heard the saying. Women run over nice guys. This doesn't mean you have to be a mean guy. It means you paid the price of allowing her to run over you. You acquiesced to her whims. You walked on eggshells to her criticisms. You cowtowed to her anger. You did as you were told as ifyou were one of her kids. You just weren't supposed to do any of those things. You should have done the opposite. As a result, she lost whatever respect she had for you, and it's all gone by now.

This would have been the outcome if there was no mental illness because women need a strong man or at least a man able to assert himself. But you have the added problem of mental illness in the mix. While you should have been alpha male, there isn't anything you could have done to change her behaviors. The symptoms and manifestations of her mental illness would have expressed themselves regardless. It's like having chicken pox. You can't prevent the evidence from showing in the manner of the bumps that indicate the disease. People who have arthritis experience pain in their arthritic areas. Such is with mental illness. You just can't see the evidence on their face, but all the ridiculous actions and screwed up ways of thinking are going to present themselves, and that includes taking no prisoners. There has to be a victim. There has to be someone onto whom she can execise her twisted whims, criticisms, and anger. She needs someone who will allow her to mistreat them, or she needs someone who doesn't have a choice.

In other words, you allowed her all these years. And, as sad as this is going to make you, her next victims will be your children. Right now, she has you. She will next have the man she's seeing or whatever man that follows. And as she runs out of victims who allow her, she will direct her neurosis onto those who don't have a choice, and the closest, or rather only, people around are her kids. There are studies that show the effects of children who grew up with a Borderline Personality Disordered parent (most often the mother). There are also web articles, books, and trained counselors to help these now adult children get past their past and overcome the effects of having grown up with such a person.

So, you're going to have to stop trying to make sense of the things she says and does because there is no sense to be made. You're going to have to stop raking your bra sin to prove to yourself you didn't do the things she said you did and did do the things she said you didn't. Nothing she accused you of is true, and the really sick part of her illness is she knows it's not true but in her screwed up way of thinking, accusing you is necessary. You have to stop trying to validate yourself to prove her wrong. And speaking of articles, books, and therapy, you are going to have to take advantage of some of those because you are clearly suffering from the effects of her disorder. You're also going to suffer from PTSD for months, if not years, to come. Get help right now so that you can recover from her.

You don't want this divorce. You dread it with every fiber of your being. You feel like a failure because you tried so hard. But while you really should not have allowed her to mentally beat you to a pulp, there is nothing you could have done to prevent it. Nothing you could have done or said would have right or okay. She would have pounced and twisted it all up no matter what. You just shouldn't have stayed with her. You should have left a very long time ago. So as hard as this divorce is, it is a blessing in disguise, and that's only because you weren't aware of how absolutely necessary it is. In fact, you need to get out of there as soon as possible and file for divorce yourself. Beat her to the punch. That way, when it comes to having to protect your kids later down the line, you will have your own filing and the reasons for it to back you up. Save this thread that you wrote here. And also start recording around the house, and keep all of the text messages. In the years to come, your children are going to start saying things. Not necessarily in the manner of complaining or telling on mommy, but they will say things that she does or says to them or in front of them. Gather your evidence so you can rescue your kids after she starts turning on them. You have to start documenting right now to show her illness from as far back as you can, and if there is anything that happened in the past that you can use as documentation, then gather that too.
 
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