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Discussion Starter #1
This is a copy of a response I put on earlier today. Had registered already but then it wouldn't accept my password and I had to re-register after several attempts to get on.

That being said, I already got a really gracious and helpful PM that suggested I make this my own thread. So here it is:

Wow...I just registered and this is the first post that I went to and found a story that is nearly exactly mine. This morning, after another night of her getting crazy and violent with me and all that wonderful stuff...I'm ready to roll.

After nearly 21 years of living with her unhealth, in a situation where she refuses to be accountable for her behavior and responsible for its resolutions, I just feel done today. In fact, I would gladly be gone were it not for my faith and the fact that I've got two tweenage boys who, thankfully, seem oblivious to the problems that their mom and dad are having and how close everything is to falling apart.

The patterns is this: She is hugely codependent and so engages and owns nearly everything around her. She can't cope with all of that and has no outlet...except me. I usually can tell when something is up or on its way; I'm 'used' to it, but can't do it anymore. She then overreacts to whatever I might do that's not exactly right, and kablooie...she starts with the screaming and the blaming and the violence.

Thankfully, she's not a brute and I'm not a small guy, but the violence is something that I will just not take anymore, and I'm rapidly reaching my limit on the blaming and lack of personal accountability. Even though she was wildly out of line yesterday, pattern will dictate that I walk on eggshells today, feel guilty about my offense and what it triggered, and we will largely just go about our days separate from one another.

FWIW, I've hardly the perfect history as a husband. Huge issues of my own from my own childhood, a recovering (functional) alcoholic, with anger-management issues of my own. However, these have been addressed and, I feel, pretty successfully resolved for the period of around fourteen years now.

As you might imagine, and certainly to a degree rightfully so, she uses this early period in our relationship as the "reason" that she cannot forgive me and move on, even as I've done what I can to do exactly that in light of her affairs, alcoholism, and DV isues. In the meantime, I continue to do nearly everything. I make six-figures, pay everything, clean, cook, do laundry...she does very little, and our sex-life is aptly summed by the original poster's situation.

Dunno...scared today. Don't want my boys to grow up in an environment with such an unhealthy show going on - sooner than later they'll understand what's up - but also don't want to place them in the position of a split family (I'll probably leave the area if I leave her). But am ready to walk and be done. Maybe that's what has to happen for her to see the seriousness of the situation.

Will be watching this thread with interest. thanks for posting.

I'm desperate and don't know what to do.
 

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If they are teenage sons, they've already grown up exposed to it.

While I can see a legitimate argument for not wanting to place them in the position of split family...I still say, they already know what's going on. They already see that mum & dad aren't getting along.

If she's that over-reactive.. is she that aggressive & over-reactive with the boys? Are you going to take them with you when you split?
 

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Have went. She never sticks to any of the commitments made and lies throughout the session.

Appreciate the suggestion, though.

Add'ly, am in kind of a funny situation re- being kind of high-profile in a little town with very few resources with whom to confidentially and candidly discuss this issue.

:^/
 

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If they are teenage sons, they've already grown up exposed to it.

While I can see a legitimate argument for not wanting to place them in the position of split family...I still say, they already know what's going on. They already see that mum & dad aren't getting along.

If she's that over-reactive.. is she that aggressive & over-reactive with the boys? Are you going to take them with you when you split?
She is not physical with them, yet, but the over-reactiveness/noncommunicativeness is there.

Yes, if I leave, I'm taking them.
 

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If you're intent on moving on (which makes sense since she doesn't want to work at MC and refuses to accept responsibility for her part in your problems), make it sooner rather than later.

  • You're not getting any younger.
  • Every month exposes your boys to more verbal/emotional abuse - either directed at them, or watching it directed at you...VERY unhealthy, more unhealthy than a split-up family. At least once you split, YOU CAN MODEL healthy behavior -- they're never gonna see it in THIS house.
  • The sooner you move and switch schools, the longer time your sons will have to bond with new schoolmates - who wants to be the new kid in 12th grade?
  • Your wife's stability may deteriorate with age, better to get the boys out sooner.
Your sons are savvier than you think! You don't want them to accept this type of treatment from THEIR wives because it's what they've witnessed and what they 'know'; comfortableness with it will NOT make it more palatable!
 

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You cannot change another person. All you can do is to change how you interact with that person.

Stop playing her game. If you need counseling to learn how to stop playing along than get counseling for that. Start doing a 180.. see the link in my signature block below.

You sons would be better off (from what you have said here) with you having a separate residence so that you can have a strong influence on them when they are not with their mother. You can show them a different way of life.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thx EleGirl. Read your list and it's helped already.

She txtd me with a very baiting-type comment, one that I've responded predictably to for years. I didn't respond, or at least in the patterned style. To my eye, it floored her and she was left dumbfounded, with a simple "ok" in response.

I do appreciate all the support, btw. I haven't been able to talk to anyone about any of this for so long it just feels great to get some of it off of my chest.

Thx again to all.
 

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That 180 is very good, in my opinion. It can help you disengage before she gets to "that" point, too.

Stick with it and the changes will come. If you find yourself slipping, don't beat yourself up. Remind yourself that everyone has to develop habits before they become automatic.
 

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Arikara, welcome to the TAM forum. I'm sorry to hear that you and your W are still in so much pain at this late stage of your marriage.
After another night of her getting crazy and violent with me and all that wonderful stuff...I'm ready to roll.
Arikara, many of the behaviors you describe -- e.g., temper tantrums, verbal/physical abuse, and emotional instability -- are classical traits of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), which my exW has. I caution, however, that strong BPD traits typically start showing in the early teens and do not disappear for years at a time. Rather, they disappear only during the infatuation period, which usually lasts 3 to 6 months. Hence, if your W has exhibited such traits for only a few years, she does not have a life-long pattern of such traits.

I mention this because BPD (as well as all the other PDs) is considered to be a spectrum disorder. This means that we all have BPD traits to some degree. Because they arise from primitive ego defenses and body defenses, they are necessary at a low level for survival. This is why every adult on the planet occasionally exhibits all nine of the BPD traits. They become a problem only when they are so strong and persistent that they start distorting our perceptions of other peoples' intentions, thereby undermining our ability to sustain LTRs. This is why BPDers typically have no close long-term friends.
She refuses to be accountable for her behavior and responsible for its resolutions.
Generally, BPDers are only interested in creating drama, not resolutions. Moreover, they have such a fragile, weak ego that -- to the extent they have a self image at all -- it is one of being "The Victim." They therefore maintain a death grip on that false self image and, to "validate it," they will blame every misfortune on the spouse. Hence, if your W has strong BPD traits, it is to be expected that she will refuse to be held accountable for her own actions. Sadly, until she is willing to take responsibility and confront her own issues, she will be unable to heal herself.
I've got two teenage boys who, thankfully, seem oblivious to the problems that their mom and dad are having and how close everything is to falling apart.
It may seem that way but teenagers likely see far more than you realize.
She is hugely codependent and so engages and owns nearly everything around her.
Because BPDers have a fragile, unstable sense of who they are, they find a spouse whose strong personality will center and ground them. This is one reason that BPDers hate to be alone despite the fact that they are so unhappy living with someone. They need someone to give them a sense of direction and a sense of self.

The result, of course, is that they have extremely low personal boundaries and have great difficulty distinguishing between their own issues and the spouses' issues. And, although they crave the guidance and sense of direction provided by the spouse, they feel he is dominating and controlling them. And, on top of all that, they will resent the spouse for failing to fix them and failing to make them happy.
She then overreacts to whatever I might do that's not exactly right, and kablooie...she starts with the screaming and the blaming and the violence.
If she is a BPDer, yes, some of it will be a gross overreaction to what you say or do. Yet, even if you say or do absolutely nothing at all, she will still blow up occasionally. What happens is that a BPDer has so much self loathing and shame that her subconscious protects her by projecting most bad feelings and thoughts onto you. Hence, by simply being in the room, you will be blamed for things. Significantly, projection works so beautifully well as an ego defense because it works entirely at the subconscious level. This means that, at a conscious level, she usually will be absolutely convinced the projection is valid.
I walk on eggshells today.
Stop doing that. There is a reason, you know, why the #1 best-selling BPD book (targeted to the abused spouses) is called Stop Walking on Eggshells.
She uses this early period in our relationship as the "reason" that she cannot forgive me and move on.
If she is a BPDer, every infraction is put onto a list that is pulled out in every argument, no matter how small the disagreement. As I said, a BPDer sorely needs to have "The Perpetrator" around all day long to validate her false self image of being "The Victim."
I'm desperate and don't know what to do.
You are already doing what you should be doing -- reaching out for help and gathering the information needed to make an informed decision. I suggest you see a psychologist for a visit or two -- by yourself -- to obtain a candid opinion on what it is you and your two boys are dealing with.

I don't know whether your W has most BPD traits at a strong level or not. I nonetheless believe you are capable of spotting the red flags if you take time to read about them so you know what to look for. There is nothing subtle about BPD traits such as temper tantrums, verbal/physical abuse, and inability to trust.

I therefore suggest you read my brief description of such traits in Maybe's thread at My list of hell!. If that description rings a bell, I would be glad to discuss it with you and point you to good online resources. Further, if most of those traits sound very familiar, I recommend that you consider the six suggestions I made earlier today in Autumnal's thread at http://talkaboutmarriage.com/general-relationship-discussion/59306-better-worse-sickness-health.html#post1171598.

To that list, I would only add that -- if you are seriously considering divorce -- it would be prudent to read Splitting: Protecting Yourself when Divorcing a Borderline or Narcissist. It was released last year by the same author who wrote the Eggshells book.
 

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You failed to mention what the violent episodes are. Does she throw things and vioate YOU in any way??

There is only so much you can do and if counseling hasn't helped..you need to try some tough love and leave until she learns to get some counseling on her own and LEARN to take it seriously if she wants this marriage to work.
 

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Yes, she throws things and hits me.

It's been a long day.
If she refuses to get help from counseling & DOCTORS... (she does sound like she has bipolar symptoms, now that I think about it)..

But if she refuses to acknowledge her problems. Then you deserve to get a break after so many years. At minimum, I think you would be in line to ask her for a trial separation.


Start thinking/planning along those lines. That way, if you do decide to do that, you are prepared. Better to be prepared for it & never use that avenue, then to be blindsided by all the tasks you will need to undertake when it comes down to leaving.
 
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