She Said – He Said

“Do you value me as a person?”

“Well, not if you will keep spending my money and working me as a slave to keep up with your lifestyle.”

“This is not about money. Don’t think about anything else. Just answer this question – do you value me as a person?”

“I don’t know what you’re driving at.”

“I’m asking you a question and I want you to answer me. Do you value me as a person – who I am and what I’m about.”

“Let’s say I say yes – what would you say.”


He couldn’t say YES!!! OMG – why am I surprised?

We were in middle of a heated conversation about the least favorite, most charged topic – money. It was the first time in a long time that he brought it up. Of course, the intention was to blame and to fault me with overspending. This time, I kept my cool. I did not let his stuff get into my space. Even though we were face to face, and he was very intimidating, I had the presence of mind to validate him and his story and at the same time explain to him that I have a story, too.

I said “You have paid the bills faithfully month after month on time and that is tremendous. You are devoted and responsible and I appreciate that.”

I asked him UNTIL WHEN he will hold on to the resentments? I asked him if he plans on remaining unhappy indefinitely. He claims if he sees change in me, he will stop being angry. I explained to him that it is his interpretation of the things I do which cause his anger. I explained to him some of the recent purchases and told him that if we can talk together without his constant stories and “you will never” speak, we may be able to really figure things out. If not, I said, we can use a financial planner to help us.

He did not like anything I said, of course. He even made sure to stick this in –

“Do you know how many people told me years ago that I am crazy for not divorcing you.”

Yup. I gotta be crazy for staying. I know. Maybe I am.

And then I think of tikun/rectification. I ask Higher Power when I will complete this lesson? When will my husband stop tearing me apart about money? Can it be this year?

Just yesterday my counselor had me internalize these words:  Losing Believing Things Will Never Change.

Uh huh.

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Money Talk, Accusations and Boundaries

Time for a reality check!! I professed that I have changed. So let’s see how this impacted the money fights I had been having with my husband for years and years and years.

Here is a chance for me to take note of the old dysfunction and to be very clear about what is happening now. As they say, the beast has reared its ugly head. My husband just went on one of his his mini-fits of putting me down, saying he’s very hurt and globalizing my spending problems because I bought take-out tonight. He felt it was not in our budget.

The story is not important. Or is it?

On the one hand, I had always said that it’s not WHAT he is saying, it is HOW he is saying it. In other words, I felt that if he can express his reactions to my actions in an appropriate way, I would probably listen to what he is saying and either agree or disagree but I definitely would not shut down. When he lashes out instantly, as he did tonight, and berates me and goes on and on , as he is wont to do, I feel attacked and undressed. I will fight him tooth and nail, without even considering what the content of his discontent is. 

Wouldn’t you do the same? 

I had been so fed up with his accusations that I completely shut down from him emotionally. We still lived together under one roof, however there was no communication. Unless you count grunting. I wasn’t interested in hearing him vent – because it was always about “my wife”. Lovely. 

Now that we have been talking more, he may be feeling more comfortable to go back to his old ways. And tonight he struck gold by starting up with the old money script.

Here is the other hand. On the other hand, I can surmise that he is handicapped in the area of expressing himself effectively to a wife (a very specific handicap, or should we call it BPD ? ) and I can perhaps tune out all the static that comes along with the message. So that would translate to mean- don’t respond to the put-downs and only respond to his area of concern. 

Tonight I couldn’t do that. I was getting my food ready to put out and eat. I didn’t want this sick money script to ruin my appetite. Plus I was hungry. Plus I wasn’t sure that I agreed with his accusations.  There was a very good reason why I bought take-out tonight. 

Maybe I could have said  “I see that you are very concerned that we will use up our money on wasted things.” Or something like that. But, it was not a time for validation or psychology. He was in middle of eating and I was about to sit down with my food and this was all about me and my mistakes in life and my “never-ending” spending problems. 

I had to take quick action and make a decision about how the conversation would continue. This is the first time he started on this topic since our relationship has thawed over the last two months. Accepting his abuse would definitely  have taken away my appetite. I set a limit instead. I asked him, “Do you want me to sit at the same table as you?” I told him that if yes, then he would have to stop yelling at me. The BPD in him said “Does it sound like I am yelling? Is my voice raised?” 

I said no. You are not literally yelling.  You are putting me down.

One thing I need to work on if I am to stay in this marriage is to be clear and honest about my feelings. In the past I clamped down and stayed away. I shut down and felt anger, resentment and hatred. That is toxic. Now it is time to learn how to set boundaries. He sulked the rest of the meal and we sat at the same table.

I wonder if I can ask him to hold off with talking to me when he is feeling overwhelmed and angry at me. My husband has a problem- he cannot wait, he’s quite impulsive. When the smallest bit of food gets put down in front of him, he goes at it immediately without thinking that perhaps he should wait for me to sit down near him, or perhaps the rest of the food will come out and it would taste better to eat everything together. If he thinks of an idea he tries to take care of it right away. If he cannot, it causes him tremendous anxiety. He does not write things down for later. If he wants to complain to or correct or criticize someone who is not near him, he will just text him immediately – as soon as the thought crosses his mind. When I am not the culprit, it’s easy to say I can’t control him. It is his choice… However, here I am the subject of his impulsivity and I really need to think hard about how I will react.
I know that I cannot control him. I realized that after trial and error :-).  I can set boundaries related to me controlling me. “You want to talk to me like that – I cannot stay here . I will take myself away from you when you give me immediate preachings without regard to my feelings or to any background story on my end.”

Trial and error indeed. I’ll let you know how it goes!

BPD Classroom

I received permission from a poster on a BPD support forum to include this here.
It describes what a spouse or SO of a BP learns on the job.
Enjoy!
You meet the wonderful “other” who seems so perfect, puts you on a pedestal, fills what you think you were looking for.
Once you are hooked they gradually let you see the other dark self. Dr. Jekyl gradually lets Mr. Hyde out of the closet.
The realization sinks in that you are with someone difficult, scary, and unhealthy.
But it is tough to run because you are by now stuck due to kids/money.
You realize you have lessons to learn and since you are stuck you better learn them.
(from my experience this step comes after much disbelief, anger, and depression. -SS)
You learn to heal and transform yourself because it is the only person you can control.
You learn that you need to go deeper into:self love, self-worth, self-reliance, forgiveness, patience, gratitude, strength, faith, courage, to name a few.
You come out stronger, clearer, wiser.
(These last 3 steps can be excruciating! But it’s worth it! – SS)
Your partner sees you getting stronger and less controllable.
Partner tries harder to use old negative coping skills that used to work on you but no longer work because you are getting stronger.
Partner starts to respect you more and makes shifts.
Partner either takes responsibility or the relationship breaks apart.
You leave or they leave and classroom ends. Looking back you appreciate the perfection of the classroom.
Or if you stay it is with a change in power dynamics in a healthier, milder direction but you must get control of money/kids so partner cannot jerk your chain.
It is a different classroom.

My Borderline’s Money Rules or I’ll Take The Peels

Is my husband really terrible at managing money? How did he manage to pay the bills all these years? We have debt but it’s not racking up interest. There seems to be a method to the madness.

Well, here it is:

My Borderline’s Money Rules:

if you have it, you’re lucky.

some people are blessed. they don’t have to worry about paying bills. they have what they need. i am not envious of them. they have other problems. if they have wealth, they don’t have health… so why would I want that? and then other people make them crazy, thinking they can get money out of them. i know a lot of wealthy people. i know how hard their life is. believe me, I’m not jealous – not even a tiny drop. 

if you want to make someone happy, you give it to them.

I have a lot of clients that are well-off. they are lucky that they don’t have to carry the same burden that I have. I feel that they should pay me well because it’s not hard for them. they HAVE the money. I won’t ask for a raise because I just can’t. but I still think it’s not right that they don’t pay me more. I’m just saying. 

it’s only right to help others. you have to do things right. I can’t leave a broken switch for the new home Buyers even if our house DID pass inspection and no one asked for the switch to be changed. it’s not right. i want them to get the house the same way i got it. so i will now fix everything that i didn’t fix for the past 10 years. i think it’s RIGHT. and i don’t want them to complain to me later. the mailbox needs to be fixed. this doorknob is loose. and the air conditioner in our bedroom will be replaced for the Buyers. They need it.

Well, it didn’t help. They will always have what to complain about. No one appreciates anything I do for them. Oh well. 

the best way to save money is by not needing anything.

look, i never needed anything. that is just my nature. if you cultivate a sense of not needing anything, you will always have enough money for what you need the basic necessities of life. I believe you can manage with really very little. Bread, water, salt.. maybe avocado… that’s enough. I never bought myself a snack or a treat and I only eat chocolate if I need the caffeine to keep myself up. Do you know how hard I work to support my family? They all need and need and need. If they’d only STOP SPENDING and STOP NEEDING stuff…. my life would be MUCH easier. 

(the truth is, you don’t deserve to have it anyhow)

nowadays everyone feels entitled. who said you should be living in such a house? or be wearing such a suit? or be shopping in such stores? who am I to walk around thinking that I deserve to have all this stuff? I’m a nobody. Just a servant of the One Above. A lowly worm. I don’t deserve anything. Everything I have is a gift. 

if you run out of it (or low), it’s a sign that you spend too much.

when I see the bank account dwindling, I KNOW that someone is spending too much. (and it’s not ME!) if my wife would stop shopping all the time and doing things behind my back, we would be better off and we would have enough money to pay the bills. i give her money every week so obviously, if she uses the checking account…. or uses up the cash… it’s because she has a spending problem. there is no use in talking about budgeting and income vs. expense. she will never stop needing things. end of story. 

and it’s a sign that God is not happy with you.

I really don’t know what I did to deserve all this punishment around money. I try to be honest and not to cheat anyone. I try to pay all the bills on time. I try to give charity and all that. But sometimes I feel like God just is not happy with me. He hid His face from me. He finds me undeserving of His bounty. It’s obvious because look how hard I struggle and I still can barely make ends meet. There is no end to this runaround and it’s all because I am unloved by God.

if you push yourself to the max and run around like mad, you will have enough money to pay the bills.

even though God is not happy with me, and even though my wife just spends and spends without asking me, and even though people always want my money, and even though I never have enough of it – I have found that if I keep on trying and working and taking more and more side jobs, and working for the right (=rich) people THEN I will be able to scrape by. I still have debt and have NO idea how I will get out of it, but if I hustle then in the end, through a lot of hard work and sweat and no sleep – the bills will be paid. 

If I think of any other rules of money, I will add it in the comment section.

What are your dysfunctional rules of money?

Getting Real about Finances – Part 2

In Part 1 I took note of dysfunction that I have noticed in the area of finances. In Part 2 I will write more about my skewed perception of my husband’s abilities and  address the question: if this dysfunction existed throughout my marriage, why did it take me 20 years to take note of the facts. 

The question remains – how can it be that I am only able to take note of the extend of the financial dysfunction now? I’ve been married over 20 years. And it has been going on all along.

The answer lies in the nature of my husband’s personality disorder. Since he is a high-functioning BP he gets along fine by putting on the show that he knows exactly what is going on. He has a very strong and sure way of putting others down while sounding perfectly sane and logical. It makes it almost impossible to rise up and call him out on his errors (even in one’s mind). There is crazymaking, bringing up unrelated matters of dispute, and also distortions of the truth that have a flicker of truth to them and it begets terrible confusion.

Why would I wish to believe that my brilliant husband is actually terrible at managing money? How can I believe that when he has locked me out of all grocery shopping due to my supposed inability to budget? He took from me the ability to shop and make choices and learn from mistakes.

He has succeeded in having me think that I may indeed have a spending problem, when I KNOW I don’t and KNEW I didn’t! He has turned the tables on me so many times, while preaching modesty and self-discipline. He has framed me to seem irresponsible and untrustworthy.

Ironically, my boss of 18 years trusts that I am an excellent bookkeeper. One of my duties is to prepare a financial forecast for the company monthly.

I don’t believe that my husband does all this with a conniving intent. His BP mind truly believes I am inept. Holding me down and keeping me locked up and without an area of choice, in essence is what forced me to fight for my right to live and to shop for my family’s needs whether or not he approved. And often it was behind his back and without his knowledge – until the credit card bill arrived.

I have not been able to discuss our differences of opinion (in any area, not just finances). Any time I had a question ex: if I noticed a contradiction in his words or if what he said was impossible to “keep” ( such as: just don’t spend. period.) I would have to swallow it and move on. He moved into fight mode immediately.

I had to disconnect my intellect from my faculties of speech because if they would be connected, the marriage would not survive, and I feared that I would not survive his abusive behavior of raging, ignoring, withholding and defaming.

The confusion was everywhere. Some months he’d cough up the funds to pay the credit card bill without a peep. And others, I would hear about it daily from the day the bill arrived in the mail. He could not even imagine that it is possible to foresee what the bill would be in advance.

My husband only believes what he sees. If the money is in the bank, it’s there. If the bill is in his hands, it’s there. What about the money that is coming in next week? What about the charges that were put on the credit card last week? All that does not exist until he can hold the paper in his hands. Always reading the bank statement AFTER the month is done. Backwards.

I always knew this was a messed up way to live but I didn’t confront him because in the end, he paid the bills. However, recently he has become so vocal and vengeful with regards to money that I have been forced to step up my scrutiny and call a spade a spade.

As I have become more able to express the dysfunction clearly, with words, and in person to a trusted person, I can allow my brain to clear itself of the fog. I can reconnect the fuse between intellect and speech and I can once more allow myself to regain control of my free will.

Amen.

 

Getting Real about Finances – Part 1

I count the times I notice my husband’s dysfunction with money. For years and years I have superimposed a dream husband on top of the actual one. The dream husband is capable and level-headed. He can manage multiple bank accounts and credit card payments, loan repayments, monthly and daily expenses. He juggles the finances, and much as his father was an economist, so is he able to foresee expenses and budget for them.

However, the reality is totally different. My husband’s father may have had been a doctor of economics but he did not leave anything for his children when he passed away. Every investment he made went bad and the family suffered the consequences. There is a very good chance that my husband’s father had BPD, too.

My husband loses his stuff all the time. Checks are one of the things he misplace most often. He is constantly looking for one envelope or another. His mind is as confused as his body – which is never relaxed and constantly twitching.

He is not balanced with finances and bill payments. He has gone for weeks without giving me or the children any spending money. He cannot foresee when there will be a dry period. And then, when he finally gets paid, he spends it all in one week and is super generous with the family. But when there is no money, he gets all riled up if someone buys themselves a donut.

There is no way to know what our financial situation is. The children are confused. I am left without and always blamed by my BP husband.

He is guilty of domestic theft, too. He has told the children on more than one occasion that he is taking money from their private savings  accounts in order to pay some large bills. He acts as though he is asking them but the children know that if they put up a fuss, it will all just come back to them. He will start the blame game for making him work so hard to support the family…. and who wants to be blamed for their parent’s financial misfortunes?

When I hear him talking to outsiders about the cost of living and everyday expenses, I realize that he knows perfectly well which expenses are normal and expected. However, when it comes to his own family, he acts like we are living in the 1800s and we are supposed to get by on nickels and dimes.

Since my husband must always be right, and everything is either black or white in his eyes, I cannot have a normal conversation with him. If I initiate any discussion regarding spending or budgeting,  I become an instant target for a deluge (or dumping) of blame and rage.

I am learning not to depend on my husband for financial support. I must build my independence. I had enough of hiding, pretending and suffocating. There is vitality and hope and abundance out there.

G-d is my Employer and I turn to Him for comfort and support.

In Part 2 I will write more about my skewed perception of my husband’s abilities and  address the question: if this dysfunction existed throughout my marriage, why did it take me 20 years to take note of the facts.