I had a conversation with a woman I was interviewing to see if, as a therapist, she’d be a good match for my daughter. We discussed my husband’s BPD and I mentioned that my daughter has half a father, for all practical purposes. She then asked me if that means that I have half a husband.
This question caught me off guard. If someone would have asked me this a year ago, I would have said that I have no husband. But suddenly, I couldn’t decide how to respond. I just chuckled. When I thought about it later, I decided that I had 3/4 of a husband. I don’t have him emotionally or romantically but physically and financially he is there. Hmmm. So maybe that is half a husband. One can argue that the physical and financial part of him being there adds to the emotional stability. Arghhh.
One can also argue that not having a spouse being there for you emotionally or romantically is so demeaning and painful that it negates the other areas where he does have presence.
I believe that it all depends on the lenses with which I choose to view my world. If I am to stay married, and keep up whatever work I want to do here – it does me no good to focus on the negative and harp on what is missing. I know my husband is not doing anything with ill intentions. He is handicapped.
I am working on being less satisfied and OK with him not being available for me emotionally or romantically. I have been talking about it in therapy. Expressing my feelings and opinions there is very difficult but it sure is a cinch compared to expressing my true feelings to my husband who is a borderline personality.
I often think to myself that it is obvious that the purpose of this marriage and our time together is not for romance. It is for growth and lessons learned. I hate that sometimes. I am changing for the better because of him and I believe that he is changing for the better because of me .. although I can’t say for sure.
Time has this way of passing very slowly for me. I wish I was above and beyond time and space so I can get a measure of comfort. Sometimes I am given little hints of love that prove to me that I am not living this life alone. There is some-One out there who is looking after me.
My man is in Oz again. He hasn’t been decent for a couple of weeks now. I don’t know how to handle it. I am sad. I think the trigger is money now but before it was his bi-polar brother. He is again at it with accusing me of control – and it’s only a matter of time before he will throw the money bomb at me.
My son called him out on a flaw of his on Friday night. That set off a steam (and a stream) of insults and blaming. What my husband did was wrong and he does it all the time – space out in middle of me talking, interrupt me before I get the words out, walk off on me in middle of me talking and this time it was that he responded to me after I called his name but instead of waiting to hear what I had to say, he just started talking about an unrelated topic – as if I did not say a word and was not about to talk.
He does that. I know it’s part of his BPD. I choose to put my foot down about other flaws of his. But my son was disturbed about the way my husband disregarded me and he spoke up. All he said was “You realize Ma just called your name and you said Yes and then you went on to talk about something else.”
Last night in bed he started his rant about how he will look for a new life, and a way to get free from me and his wife and family will respect him. Instead of just being quiet or asking him not to speak that way, I told him that if he starts again he will have the same problems with someone else. He is not going for help or facing his problems and emotions. “I have been in therapy for almost three years, I said. What about you?!”
He didn’t reply.
I had another victory with this conversation as compared to previous ones where he used to bash me. I didn’t take it. I said to him that his language is despicable. I have a lot to say but I don’t think it’s nice. We can talk, we can discuss things but pointing fingers is not the way to do it. I told him I believe we have potential for our relationship and if he would like we can discuss it with a professional.
He fell asleep promptly after that. This morning, he’s talking about $100 cash he has for me. He’s a bitter, sad person. Something is up with him. I think I will fill up pill boxes with Vitamin B and C and Calcium… stuff to calm his nervous system.
Do I have BPD on my brain?
I already do the eggshell dance with my new boss. I try to pretend he doesn’t have BPD, but I also try to avoid him. I do not quake in fear (right. who am I fooling?) and I do not hesitate to say my truth when it needs to be heard.
I know the following about him:
a- he is ultra sensitive
b- he hates imperfection
c- he preaches many things he has trouble actually practicing
d- his employees take his word as a command (or else!)
e- he is exceptionally smart and generous
f- he always is checking to see how others receive him
g- he is very quick to anger
h- he thinks he is humble while everyone who knows him thinks that he is full of himself
I can go on and on.
The way I handle it is by not engaging in drama. I try hard not to want and need his approval. I endeavor to give of myself to the company and offer a pleasant encounter with whoever I interact. I know my value and I appreciate the paycheck.
So help me.
So like who even cares. Why do I hafta walk through this aisle of pain, shame, grief and heartache. Who asked for this? My life would’ve been fine without him and his insecurities. I refuse to be the one to do all the work. Let him show up for a change.
My Inner Complainer
The walls have expanded to fit me and my husband’s stories together. We are bound by our souls and we have some corrections to make together. I, in my attitude and behavior towards him. And he, in his attitude and behavior towards me. We need to be married to accomplish this. I need to feel isolated and ashamed to share my true feelings with him. I need to learn that it is
unfair to BOTH of us if I remain silent and keep to myself.
I need to find language to reach him with. I need to feel like I know fosure that there is someone better out there for me who life would be so much easier to live with. AND I need to decide that I am staying (which I did over here) and I am not leaving my husband for another man. I need to accept that imaginary lovers are not lovers. I need to take responsibility for my marriage’s future. Now.
I don’t want to admit that it’s NOT OK to live together but not live together. I don’t want to admit that I have a strong desire. I don’t want to admit that I have girl power.
I want to stay adamant in my defiance and prediction that this marriage has no real hope for real reconciliation. I want to stay curled up in bed waiting for magic and mystery to cast a spell and disengage me so that I don’t have to do the work.
It’s silly to think like this, though. I have no choice. Karma is strong.
Something interesting has been happening at home recently. We began a date-night ritual which, for us, consists of a 45 min. – 1 hr. outing. It is not a romantic date. It is just a time for us to go out and take care of a small errand that we don’t find stressful and we catch up with each other at the same time. There are no heavy-duty conversations. So far (we did this 4 times) my BP has not used this time to one-up me, blame me, complain or rant. This, my friends, is a MIRACLE!
After the first week that he offered to go out with me, I thanked him for it. I told him how much I enjoyed the small outing. I mentioned how much I enjoyed it one more time during the week and asked him if he’d have time for me the following week, as well. He said “Let’s make it into a ritual!” I was happy to hear that he enjoyed it as well.
This past week we were not able to go out together on the usual night so we made a rain-date. On the night of our rain-date, we realized that my youngest son would be home alone and very bored. We both felt that it would be the right thing to invite him along with us. My son was glad to come along and get out. We ended up going for pizza and relaxing.
This is also a breakthrough for my BP hubby. He usually tries to get possessive with me. This means that if he has me for himself he gets extremely upset if a child encroaches on his time or space. This has caused him to act in a very insensitive manner towards the children in the past. I believe that there is a time and place for everything and balance and sensitivity are of supreme importance. It was truly a sign of progress that he realized that sometimes it is correct to break from routine EVEN at a time that I was technically “his”.
I hope to keep reporting progress here!
I shared the following over the email recently with a friend. Positive changes… Yeah!
December 2 2016
I want to give you a good report as opposed to my usual complaining. Over the past week there is a noticeable difference within me in relation to my husband and vice versa. I am much less scared of him and it seems he of me. We have done light shopping together last Thursday night and tonight and it was enjoyable and not in the least bit stressful. My husband usually doesn’t have-or give me- any time.
This is a brand new phenomenon.
December 12 2016
My life is changing quickly now. On a swiftly tilting planet. I just want to share with you what’s happening – there is something surreal about it. But it’s working for me and I am beginning to accept this new way of life.
I have been doing a lot of letting go recently. I have been giving up my intellect and personal feelings for a conscience that lives inside. The change is drastic. I am not sure who I am anymore. It is wonderful and very overwhelming at the same time. Many times I want to respond to someone or some situation in a way that either my heart or mind dictates and when I check in with my conscience- I am directed in the completely opposite direction. When I say conscience I mean that still small voice inside which I always thought was a figure of speech.
I don’t know what is ahead. I want to be fully functional and I have a way to go. I think the worst is over.
Next week is the fundraiser of my husband’s organization – This organization that I have resented for years. This organization that turned my husband into a saint and do-gooder. This organization that was the addiction my husband used (workaholic/goodism) for many years to avoid his other problems. I always went to the events begrudgingly -an unhappy party to this idiocy that wears the cloak of community service.
Now, for some reason, thinking about the upcoming event does not evoke the same assortment of negative emotions and resentments. I just realized that this may be the first event in years that I am not rejecting. This is not something I worked on in sessions – it just is. I wonder if it is connected to my overall acceptance of my husband for who he is and my attempts not to stand in judgment.
I had two voices speaking within the other day. (I will not admit to talking to myself here.) One of them, which I can identify as “me” said that she doesn’t know what to do about the marriage. Part of the problem is that being straightforward about feelings and attitudes can blow up into a huge fight with a Borderline Personality. It’s not that my husband does not want to please. It’s that he wants to please so badly that he can’t handle the fact that maybe I want him to make a small adjustment somewhere. (This post on Borderline Babbler’s blog really woke me up to the depth of the problem.) The other thing the voice was saying is that she really wants to feel love for her husband but it’s very, very hard – now after all she’s been through.
The second voice had a great idea. Time for a new marriage experiment. I had very much enjoyed the first experiment I did called Praise and Pleasure. It did so much for me and I am happy to admit that praising my husband comes naturally now. In addition, being able to tolerate pleasure and finding new instances of giving myself pleasure has also become more natural and I am really beginning to enjoy life. I signed up for a monthly writing class, a bi-weekly voice class and a weekly yoga class. What fun!
I am ready for a new experiment, said the second voice. And here it is.
The love part in this marriage does not feel natural. I am not overflowing with love. When I do my husband a favor it is either done out of DUTY or out of RESENTMENT. And for sure not out of LOVE. This is the part I want to change. Switch out Duty to Love and the chemistry will change.
My task is to choose ONE thing a day that I will do for my husband OUT OF LOVE. I need to set the intention before I do it and let the love flow. Whether or not it’s “natural” or 100% true, is not important. I am training myself to feel love. I need to say very clearly “I am doing this for love.” Opportunities to do something for my husband out of love need not be an errand or a difficult favor. It can be calling him or answering his call, setting the table for dinner, or looking at him directly when speaking to him as opposed to fiddling around with my phone.
That night, I went to pick up his pants from the tailors. All the way there I said out loud “I am doing this because I love my husband. I am so happy to do this.” Then when he thanked me for it, I said with genuine feeling, “I am so happy that I can do this for you.” Yeah! It felt very good. I hope to find more opportunities to do this.