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Hi everyone

I've been married to my wife for a year and a half, we have a baby of 13 months. I've been finding my feelings for her change since she has begun to shout at me in front of our baby. She will scream and swear so loudly. It distresses both me and him. When this happens I don't reply, just leave the room, and, if possible, take my son with me to a quiet part of the house with some toys. More often than not she will follow me and demand that I give her back her child.

My one and only trigger is being shouted at. Before this, it would be very, very rare that I would become angry. I have learned over the years that the best thing to do in that situation is to walk away. The problem here is that she feels I'm ignoring her, so she shouts louder and makes it worse. I haven't shouted back at her in front of our child, but I've come close.

I was madly in love with this woman. She is beautiful, intelligent and so talented. But this new behaviour is killing me. She was never like this before she became pregnant.

So I confronted her, and told her that my feelings for her were changing because I am unable to accept that she is comfortable to act this way. She retorted by telling me that she had suffered silently throughout our marriage, saying that I had starved her while breastfeeding and denied her water. I've never been so hurt in my life. It's like she only said it to hurt me, but that's not her at all. She never would have done anything like that. She really was one of the sweetest women I've ever met.

I was made redundant shortly before the birth, but I had plenty of savings, so money wasn't an issue. Since then, I've been cooking, taking care of the house, making sure everything was as it should be for the baby coming and since the birth. While my wife was breastfeeding I was constantly cooking fresh meals, bringing her tea, carrying bottles of Evian to the bed. To hear her tell me I had starved her was such a suckerpunch, I still don't know how to react or know how to feel. Put plainly, it isn't true. I don't even know if she believes it's true, but she's certainly acting like it.

A few months after the birth she changed her diet to 'Paleo'. This means no grains at all; corn, rice, wheat, oats. She now considers grains poison and also doesn't allow our child to eat it. Before this she was always eating rye bread and butter, rice and fish sauce. The only thing that makes sense is that her new diet is affecting her brain or thought process. She has lost a lot of weight, and while I may prefer her with her old figure, I would still love her no matter her size; I just think that she's lacking some minerals or vitamins that will help her think straight. I would never starve her or deny her anything. It's just too awful to contemplate that my wife believes that about me.

I really don't know what to do. She expects me to stand and be shouted at, she demands to be listened. I'm more than happy to listen and discuss issues she might have when our kid is asleep. I know she wants me to apologise for walking away from her, but I believe it's what is best for our baby.

I do still love her, but I don't know how I can stay with her if this keeps happening. I love my son and I would never leave him. I hope someone has some advice I could use.

Thanks
 

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Sad story. Are you saying that she was very sweet before you married her & never yelled at you?

Maybe she has post-partum depression or is bipolar?
 

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She should definitely be evaluated for PPD. She also should NOT be feeding an infant a Paleo diet. If I were you I would ask a dr. about that one. I know what Paleo is and it's too extreme for an infant, unless she is almost exclusively breastfeeding still, which it doesn't sound like she is.

As with any 'diet', Paleo can be done properly without lacking nutrition, but you have to be really careful. Educate yourself on it so you can see if she's doing it properly or not. Just observe, don't interfere.

And about the shouting, tell her it is unacceptable and that you will continue to leave the room when she yells and you will not be responding when she follows you. Leave the house if you have to - I am sure she doesn't yell at the baby while you're gone. Tell her she needs to see someone about PPD and if she refuses, you will have to decide if you can continue to put up with it.
 

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When a woman sees your back while you are walking away, she thinks you are abandoning her. If you can, set a specific amount of time you will be gone and tell her that before you walk away. Then, come back at the time you told her. Don't stay away and not say anything. If you have to, you can always come back to her, then walk away again. As long as you let her know what you are doing. Don't walk away and get in the car and drive crazy or anything. Take a walk, go out and sit on the porch or walk around the yard. Go to the garage alone. Wait till you feel better or the time limit you said you would be gone is up, then come back to her. If it is that bad, you will have to address the issue within a day or two, but you will have to tell her that.
 

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She never yelled at me before she got pregnant, no. The first time she shouted at me she was pregnant but didn't know yet. It was over nothing and she did apologise. The first major yelling happened the day I asked her to marry me - later that day I said we should get lots of fruit and vegetables while we were at the store and she exploded saying that she decides what she eats. She literally didn't stop yelling at me until after we got home, for the entire walk. I was really embarrassed but felt I had to take it on the chin because of hormones etc.

She did suffer from PPD and went to counselling. I supported her as much as I could have at the time and honestly felt I was doing a good job. Last night she accused me of never having read the books and doing nothing to support her. I mean, she's got to know that's not true, but she's adamant. Bipolar is a possibility... She's incredibly smart, genius level smart.
 

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She never yelled at me before she got pregnant, no. The first time she shouted at me she was pregnant but didn't know yet. It was over nothing and she did apologise. The first major yelling happened the day I asked her to marry me - later that day I said we should get lots of fruit and vegetables while we were at the store and she exploded saying that she decides what she eats. She literally didn't stop yelling at me until after we got home, for the entire walk. I was really embarrassed but felt I had to take it on the chin because of hormones etc.

She did suffer from PPD and went to counselling. I supported her as much as I could have at the time and honestly felt I was doing a good job. Last night she accused me of never having read the books and doing nothing to support her. I mean, she's got to know that's not true, but she's adamant. Bipolar is a possibility... She's incredibly smart, genius level smart.
Yes you may be right about bipolar.

You can't fix her.

She needs to go to a doctor for an accurate dx.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for your responses!
Hope: Thanks, talking to a doctor is a great idea. It would be great if I could convince her to come along. I'll certainly try. She did scream in front of our baby when I wasn't in the room a couple of times. Once it was a primal scream or roar, the other she was calling me a d-head for leaving the room. Both times I grabbed our baby and bought him to play in another room.

2ntnuf: That's great advice. The time limit makes sense and gives a definite space for both of us. Thank you so much.
 

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Yes you may be right about bipolar.

You can't fix her.

She needs to go to a doctor for an accurate dx.

Good luck.
I really hope it's not bipolar... do you have any experience with it?
Is it ticking boxes for you? I only ask because I knew a guy whose wife was bipolar and that ended terribly.
I'm praying for a solution that doesn't involve meds and the like... :/
 

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I really hope it's not bipolar... do you have any experience with it?
Is it ticking boxes for you? I only ask because I knew a guy whose wife was bipolar and that ended terribly.
I'm praying for a solution that doesn't involve meds and the like... :/
Yes, plenty bipolar in my family history.

If she is bipolar, she needs a mood stabilizer. They work wonderfully, will balance her moods & give your family a normal life. The only med-free treatment that I know of is weed. Where I live, medicinal MJ is legal.

The bad news is that most (not all) people with bipolar disorder go an average of 10 yrs. before dx. That is usually when their life falls completely apart before they admit they have a problem & seek treatment.

If she is bipolar you will see mania & depression. Research the sypmtoms for both.

Good luck.
 

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The only med-free treatment that I know of is weed. Where I live, medicinal MJ is legal.
Well, I guess every cloud does have a silver lining!

Seriously though, Emerald. Thank you so much for your advice and time. While I hope she isn't bipolar, you've taught me that it is possible she does suffer from something and that thing can be treated. I started this thread hoping to learn something that I can do, but there's plenty more to figure out and in different places. Thanks again.
 

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You starved her and didn't give her enough to drink??? what, was she bed ridden? I think the proper response to this is to laugh.

DOn't put up with this. Something is seriously wrong here, with her change in temperment. What exactly is she angry with you about when she does all this yelling?
 

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What exactly is she angry with you about when she does all this yelling?
The easiest example to tell happened last week. We had been driving for two hours back from visiting my sister, I was at the wheel. When we got into the house I made her a mug of tea, gave her a kiss and asked if there's anything I could do for her. She said no, so without saying anymore I went to the porch for a smoke.

While outside I could hear her getting frustrated. 'Why is this on the floor? Grrrr", that kind of thing. I popped my head in and asked if she needed help. She said no, so I went outside to finish my smoke. When I came back in she was still frustrated so I asked again, how can I help? She started shouting at me saying the place was filthy and how dare I go off for a smoke without saying so. BTW the place wasn't filthy, there were some socks and baby wipes on the floor.

I feel that after two hours of traffic, making my wife a cup of tea and making sure all is good before going out for a smoke is perfectly reasonable. I don't think I need to announce it nor ask for permission. It's only five minutes. But she yelled at me and our son was right there.

The more I think about it and read about it, the more I think Emerald may be at least pointing in the right direction. It's more than depression at this stage.
 

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Bipolar is a possibility... She's incredibly smart, genius level smart.
Bwall, I agree with Emerald and you that bipolar is a possibility worth considering. I note, however, that the behaviors you describe sound closer to BPD traits than to bipolar traits. I am not a psychologist but I did live with a BPDer exW for 15 years and I've taken care of a bipolar foster son for longer than that. Moreover, I took both of them to a long series of psychologists for 15 years. Based on those experiences, I have found many clear differences between the two disorders.

One difference is that the mood swings are on two separate spectra having very different polar extremes. Whereas a bipolar sufferer swings between mania and depression, a BPDer flips back and forth between loving you and hating you. Importantly, you mention nothing about seeing mania. But you do talk about her flipping back and forth between loving you and devaluing you.

A second difference is seen in the frequency of mood changes. Bipolar mood swings are very slow because they are caused by gradual changes in body chemistry. They are considered rapid if as many as four occur in a year. In contrast, four BPD mood changes can easily occur in four days. The latter therefore seems more consistent with your description of numerous temper tantrums.

A third difference is seen in duration. Whereas bipolar moods typically last a week or two, BPD rages typically last only a few hours (and rarely as long as 36 hours). Again, these short-duration rages seem consistent with with the tantrums you describe.

A fourth difference is seen in the speed with which the mood change develops. Whereas a bipolar change typically will build slowly over two weeks, a BPD change typically occurs in less than a minute -- often in only 10 seconds -- because it is event-triggered by some innocent comment or action. Significantly, the behavior you describe seems consistent with these event-triggered outbursts.

A fifth difference is that, whereas bipolar can be treated very successfully in at least 80% of victims by swallowing a pill, BPD cannot be managed by medication because it arises from childhood damage to the emotional core -- not from a change in body chemistry.

A sixth difference is that, whereas bipolar disorder can cause people to be irritable and obnoxious during the manic phase, it does not rise to the level of meanness and vindictiveness you see when a BPDer is splitting you black. That difference is HUGE: while a manic person may regard you as an irritation, a BPDer can perceive you as Hitler and will treat you accordingly. This seems consistent with your description of very hateful, spiteful behavior.

A seventh difference is that, whereas a bipolar sufferer is not usually angry, a BPDer is filled with anger that has been carried inside since early childhood. You only have to say or do some minor thing to trigger a sudden release of that anger -- which seems consistent with your description.

An eight difference is that a bipolar sufferer typically is capable of tolerating intimacy when he is not experiencing strong mania or depression. In contrast, BPDers have such a weak and unstable self image that (except for the brief infatuation period) they cannot tolerate intimacy for long before feeling engulfed and suffocated by your personality.

BPDers therefore will create arguments over nothing as a way to push you away and give them breathing room. Hence, it is not surprising that they tend to create the very WORST arguments immediately following the very BEST of times, i.e., right after an intimate evening or a great weekend spent together. This seems consistent with your statement that "the first major yelling happened the day I asked her to marry me - later that day...."

A ninth difference is that the thinking and behavior of a BPDer includes more mental departures from reality (called "dissociation") wherein "feelings create facts." That is, BPDers typically do not intellectually challenge their intense feelings. Instead, they accept them as accurately reflecting your intentions and motivations. In contrast, bipolar disorder tends to be more neurotic in that the mood swings tend to be based more on extreme exaggerations of fact, not the creation of "fact" out of thin air based solely on feelings.

Because "feelings create facts" with BPDers, it is common for them to do black-white thinking, wherein they will categorize everyone as "all good" or "all bad." Because the grey areas do not exist in their minds, they will recategorize someone from one polar extreme to the other -- in just seconds -- based solely on a minor infraction (real or perceived).

This all-or-nothing type thinking is especially evident in the way -- when a BPDer's mood changes -- she will completely "rewrite history." That is, it is common for a BPDer to suddenly declare -- and sincerely believe it at the time -- that she never really ever loved you or that you always neglected her. The frequent use of all-or-nothing terms like "never" and "always" is a strong sign of this B-W thinking.

This "feelings create facts" behavior seems consistent with your W's amazing claim that "she had suffered silently throughout our marriage, saying that I had starved her while breastfeeding and denied her water." Similarly, you state, "She accused me of never having read the books and doing nothing to support her."

A tenth difference is that a bipolar sufferer -- whether depressed or manic -- usually is able to trust you if he or she knows you well. Untreated BPDers, however, are unable to trust for an extended period. Before they can trust others, they must first learn how to trust and love themselves. I mention this because your description of your W's behavior suggests she does not trust you for any extended period.

An eleventh difference is that, whereas BPDers are always convinced they are "The Victim," bipolar sufferers usually have a much stronger self image. BPDers therefore have a strong need to validate that false self image by blaming every misfortune on the spouse. This behavior may be consistent with your complaint that "she expects me to stand and be shouted at, she demands to be listened...."
I hope someone has some advice I could use.
I agree with Emerald's advice that you encourage your W to see a doctor. The type of doctor I recommend is a psychologist or psychiatrist because they have the best training for distinguishing between PPD, bipolar, and BPD.

I caution that BPD is a spectrum disorder that affects everyone to some degree. Hence, every adult on the planet occasionally exhibits all nine of the BPD traits, albeit at a low level if the person is emotionally healthy. Moreover, we all can get flair ups where our BPD traits are very strong for a few months when we are under enormous stress or have strong hormone changes. Hence, if you decide that you are seeing strong BPD traits, an important issue is whether this is just a temporary flair up caused by postpartum hormone changes or, rather, is a persistent problem that started in her adolescence.

When strong BPD traits are persistent, they typically start showing big time by the mid-teens and then persist. They do not vanish for years at a time. They typically will vanish, however, for a period of 4 to 6 months during the courtship period because the BPDer's infatuation holds her two great fears at bay. When the infatuation fades, the fears return. In your situation, you say the fighting and verbal abuse has been going on now for 21 months, which may indicate the problems are not explained by PPD. You may be right in concluding "It's more than depression at this stage."

I also caution that, even if your W does decide to see a psychologist, you cannot rely on HER psych to be candid with you if the diagnosis is BPD -- even when YOU are the one paying his bill. It is common for therapists to withhold the name of the disorder from BPDers (and their spouses) in order to protect their sick client. This is why it is important to see a therapist who is ethically bound to protect YOUR interests, not HERS, whenever you suspect BPD may be involved.

Finally, I suggest that, while you are waiting for an appointment, you read my brief description of BPD traits to see if most of them sound very familiar. It is located in Maybe's thread at http://talkaboutmarriage.com/general-relationship-discussion/33734-my-list-hell.html#post473522. If that description rings a bell, I would be glad to discuss it with you and point you to good online resources. Take care, Bwall.
 

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Thanks, Uptown. I've read your post five times now, your link twice. It ticks so many boxes for me that I do think she possibly has BPD more so than bipolar. She had a terrible childhood and her mother was very controlling, but more needy it seems these days as she has grown older. It's an unhealthy relationship that they have and I certainly see elements of her mother's neuroses in her, but put it down to behavioural traits rather than a shared disorder.

I do feel that I've been enabling her behaviour in this regard. We moved next door to her mother so that she could spend time with our baby. My friends warned me not to, but I saw that the two of them were so close I felt it would be the thing that would make us all happiest. Needless to say, it isn't working out, she has depressive episodes and will not come over to see our son for days and sometimes weeks at a time. She hid away on his birthday which really upset me, but not my wife who shrugged it off as nothing. My MIL has only a couple of online friends whom she Skypes with. She has no hobbies nor real life friends, only my wife and I.

I talked to my wife this morning about how I feel she is depressed, perhaps more, and that I wanted to go to counselling. She responded by saying while she's willing to get counselling, it is I who is 'crazy' and that unless I get professional help first, she's leaving.

I know that of course I could do things better and everybody has room to grow emotionally, I am not mentally ill. I am close to suffering a depressive episode because of her behaviour. I agreed to see a psychologist.

I picked one that also does counselling. My hope is that I can speak to the psychologist about what is happening, my feelings about it and then to be able to bring in my wife, at first together and then just the two of them. I worry about this being a sneaky way of intervening, but I think it's best for her, our baby and our marriage if she is able to pin down exactly what's happening.

I'm tired of being made out to be someone who I am not. I know that I am a caring father and a loving husband - to a fault. I think that, after educating myself about BPD, the spouse is often left to feel that they are indeed crazy and a bad person. I do love her, but I'm worried that being in a relationship with a BPD spouse can only end in tears.

You seem like a very wise, insightful and empathetic person, Uptown. I hope you've found happiness since leaving your exW.
 

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I'm happy to hear she is willing to get some counseling. Like Uptown says, make sure the counselor specializes in both BPD & bipolar.

Also, I don't know about BPD but bipolar runs rampant in families. Think about her family members going back to grandparents, etc. to see if there is some unexplained "crazy" in her family history.
 

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BPD and BP (along with depression and a handful of other things) run in my family and on my husband's side as well.. I'm just posting to give you my support, I've already read all the great advice people have given you. I really hope your wife gets the help she desperately needs. I'm amazed at the level of patience, self control and understanding you have shown towards her. I can't imagine having a spouse who showed those behaviors continually, it has to be exhausting. But it's clear you care about her and love her despite everything, she's very lucky. I hope for her sake and your child's that she can learn how to deal with this. :( Best of luck, and I look forward to seeing how things turn out.
 
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Thanks for your support. It is exhausting, but it's worth it if I can get us all to the point where we are all happy and healthy.
 

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I feel for you, I really do. You see, at one time I was like your wife.

After the birth of my second son, I completely changed. I flew off the handle so easy, would throw things, yell, shout. It didn't help that I was on prednizone for chrons (dr failed to mention that it would alter my brain chemistry). I nearly destroyed my family, and that was the last thing I wanted. I made an active effort to fix the issues I had, got off the meds on my own, and while I wasn't 100% myself, I was doing better.

With my pregnancy of my third son, I had depression even before he was born, to the point where I would have mood swings from crying, to blah, to easily angered. Even after he was born I still struggled with this. I do not know how my SO put up with it all, I think what helped was that I also recognized that what I was doing, was not me. I always felt guilty when I would yell shout, etc after the fact.

I also used to say to my SO that I didn't need any help, or even if he offered I would say no. If he went out and I had to stay home, that made me upset. Normally it wouldn't. But during this time it did. Things needed to change. I met with a psychiatrist, was on Zoloft (safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding), and saw my counselor. Once my third son was 1 year old, I over came the issues I had.

Your wife needs to recognize what she is doing. My SO would sit me down (during a time when I was not angry or anything) and would lovingly speak to me, saying things like "I feel hurt and sadden when you act this way, I do not know what I am doing wrong, I ask if you need help, I tell you to ask me for help, and when you shout it hurts me because I don't even know what I am doing wrong". Use I statements. Don't mention the things she does, just tell her how you feel, how you try to help but feel torn down when she does not appreciate or recognize your efforts. As a man, you are being emasculated, that is, being torn down and felt worthless. No man deserves that and no woman should think they are allowed to do that. Tell her you love her and want to one day see the woman come back who you fell in love with and married. An idea would be to say "I will watch our son tonight, you go have a nice hot bath, read a book, relax. Or have a night out with your friends" Offer kindness when she presents scorn. Offer love and patience. That is the only thing you can do to defuse the situation.

You mentioned that the shouting is a trigger for you and that you ignore and leave the room. As a woman, that is the wrong thing to do as we do take that as being ignored. So instead, calmly say "At this time, I cannot reply to you as your shouting angers me and I do not want to speak to you in anger. I am going to leave the room to give you time to calm down, I will also take our son with me, please do not continue this. I will speak to you when you are calm and when I am ready' or something along those lines. If she persists to take the baby, ensure her that you will take care of him and that she needs some cool off time, don't make it negotiable, heck, leave the house if need be, that is go for a walk or to the park. Stand your ground. Tell her that she needs to think about what her actions are doing. And at the same time to let you know of the things she needs of you.

Also, her shouting when the baby is around is not smart. With my first son, with my ex-husband, he yelled alot. I told him that he needed to save it for when our son was not around. Needless to say he did not, and I had noticed that my son could tell the tension in the room, it was hard to get him to smile his first year because the atmosphere was so toxic. Babies can sense the emotions of the people around them. They need to feel safe.

As for the diet, any diet she is on she needs to be very, VERY careful what the baby eats. Watch the documentary "Forks Over Knives" and consider a whole foods plant based diet. You see, we cannot cut out grains from one'sdiet. We need those nutrients, albeit there are some grains that do nothing for the body, (corn, white rice, etc), but I recommend looking at a whole foods plant based diet if she is deeply concerned about food in general. I fed my boys fruits and veggies and grains, I held off giving them meats, and while they do eat meats now, it is not the main course. And I have no problems trying to get them to have their veggies. My oldest calls broccoli trees :) Thing is, no baby should be lacking anything, and grains are important (so as long as you know of the ones that do nothing for the body)

I feel for you, it is tough, like I said, I have no idea how my SO managed to get through things, and now with baby #4 on the way, I surely hope I keep my eye on my behavior so that as soon as things start to veer off who I am, I can get a handle on things.

I hope things work out for you. You and your wife will be in my thoughts and it is my hope that one day something will help her to see that what she is doing is hurtful and needs to be dealt with and changed.
 

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JoyfulHeart, thank you so much for sharing your experiences and for your support. May I ask if you for how long you attended professional counselling? Did your husband go with you? I will take your advice the next time she yells at me. I won't just leave the room, I'll explain why I need to leave. It may be the same speech each time, but it's definitely better than how I normally react. Thanks.
 

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I basically went to counseling for close to a year. I went on my own, for i knew it was I that needed to take a look inside myself as to what I was doing to sabotage my relationship and family. Albeit, I also spoke with my SO about what I learned or about what he counselor said or suggested I do. Communication is also important as well. It also helped my SO hold me accountable to the things I needed to work on and change.

Ya, I can totally see your situation only because I was on the other side and see what happens to the man in all this. I know you are doing your best, and I know men can't read women's minds and likewise. That is why you need to take initiative and show with actions that you do care about her, love her, even have a date that she likes (perhaps a movie or a favorite venue and have her decide and be excited about the date) Kindness is hard to show, especially when you are being yelled at. But remember, cooler heads always prevail. A gentle answer turns away wrath. Men are told to hide their emotions and act tough. But I think it is important that they at time show that they are hurt by another's words or actions. To me, this shows me that that man has great strength, not only to stand up for himself but to stand up to those who hurt him and to be courageous in a good and kind way.

You will do well, I hope your wife will begin to see that you are not against her, but are with her. I hope the eyes of her heart will be open to your loving actions.
 
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