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Hard To Let Go

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Hard To Let Go

Postby FeelingBetter » Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:20 pm

This is my first post and I know it's a theme posted many times. I am going through a breakup (again--about the 50th one) during 6 years with a woman with BPD, and it is so hard to let go, and to stop thinking about her every minute of every day. I flip flop from being sad and lost and missing her to angry about all the crap that we've been through. My head says it's time--this time--finally to call it quits; yet my heart is aching for her. the good times were the best I've ever had in any relationship; and the bad times were the worst. I have felt the highs of her idealization and the lows of her devaluing and being placed into the black box (I've been reading alot lately).

We are in our late 40's early 50's, divorced, each with kids from previous marriages. We've had some amazing times together--sure the sex was incredible, but we also had that incredible soul-mate connection too. We loved being together doing anything. However, we never moved in together because my gut kept telling me something wasn't right. But I was a good and caring and generous partner all this time--helping with expenses, always being there, being a father figure to her kids (the dad of each of her kids were no longer in the picture--one was an alcoholic and the other took off back to Europe and doesn't provide support).

I had no clue she had BPD until very recently. For 5 years all of her moodiness and withdrawal and constant physical complaints were blamed on "stress" or her job and most of it was blamed on me for not moving in or getting engaged or married for that matter. But some days I heard her say about our situation--everything is perfect just the way it is--it's best to raise our kids in our separate houses; and on other days (when nothing's changed) she'd complain that our relationship isn't going anywhere and she's going to date other men.

Early on in our relationship I found out she was still keeping in touch with her ex boyfriend--she denied having sex with him but I never believed her. Yet I stayed. Yes, part of the problem is my own low self-esteem and insecurities. I know I need to work on those things if I'm going to move on--well, I need to work on that stuff no matter what.

We broke up dozens of times and everytime she'd get on an internet dating site and when we'd get back together she'd keep in touch with one or two of these guys and say that these were her friends--but she had no friends in any other part of her life. I always felt jealous--and she denied having a romantic relationship with them--but I've caught her in many lies. I found out that she was even seeing one of these guys behind my back for the longest time when we got back together. She denied it or should i say, lied about it--but there was proof on her phone--she said I could look and there it was. And then after a while she regularly erased all her texts and call logs to keep the secret. I've come to realize that she constantly needed attention, especailly becasue she felt I wasn't comitted or that she'd be abandoned, and so that's why she kept other men on the side just in case. But the lying was killing me.

We'd always seem to get back together about 6 weeks after every break up. But this last one starting in October was different for me. I was so sick and tired of her criticisms of me. I was sick that she could put on this happy go lucky false self to everyone else, but I got the crap from her. And so at the 6 week point when she reached out to me I held my ground and didn't want to get back together with her. I have to say that I really did--in that I missed "us" but I was listening to my head that said "it's just going to be the same thing all over again." So when I held my ground she eventually flipped out, and, believe it or not, she went to therapy. (She had started therapy and stopped about 3 times before and we even went to a couple's weekend workshop but within 12 hours of it ending she was back to being crappy towards me).

But here's my point--she wrote me several emails and for the first time and owned up to her behavior and listed a hundred things she realizes she should have done better/differently in our relationship. The first thing on her list was to be transparent and honest. I was touched but reluctant and guarded. But I agreed and we saw each other twice afterward and again had a fantastic time and she spoke with openess and ownership for the first time--I could tell she was trying hard to make this work--or was it that she was desperate to get me back? These were my thoughts. I told her I was reluctant but I'd see how it goes--very slowly.

About 2 weeks into this we were talking and I caught her in another lie about something. She was literally making up a story that I knew was a lie. She said she said it to save face about something but a lie is a lie, right? And the foundation of any relationship is trust, right? It just erased the 2 weeks of her working hard at "salvaging" our relationship. And so I said forget it and that I was going to date other women. Surprisingly--or not--her response to me was that SHE'S done with me because I'm not worth it. (I'm not worth it? You're kidding me, right? For 2 weeks she was telling me she'd give anything to have me back...but because I pointed out her lying and said I was moving on, she'd rather be the one to get rid of me than to face her flaws. Is that how this whole bpd thing works?

I know that after 6 years of this IT'S time to move on, but I doubt myself sometimes, thinking WAS SHE REALLY working hard on her stuff this time and should I have hung in there longer? Or was it just another temporary attempt on her part? I just know that I can't live like this anymore--it's killed my self worth (well, wait a minute, my self worth is mine to give to myself or kill and so I need to find it again and work on it some more so I can live the best life for myself).

Sorry for the long post--and thank you all who have posted before because your stories/thoughts/advice have been helpful. Hoping everyone is having a good holiday. Hard to celebrate the winter holidays here in southern CA where it is warm. thanks
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Re: Hard To Let Go

Postby DowntownDC » Sat Dec 26, 2009 1:07 am

Merry Christmas, Feeling! Welcome to the BPD forum. As a caretaker-type like you, I know all too well how painful it is to let go. I held on for 15 years, making your 6-year separation look like a hasty decision. :D Like you, I put too much faith in therapy without seeing any hard evidence that my wife was improving. But, whereas your mistake cost only two weeks of hesitation, mine cost over $200,000 when I was taking her to six different psychologists over that 15 year period.

On that issue, therapist Shari Schreiber states, "Borderlines can make tangible progress with solid therapeutic help, but you may have a better shot at flying to the moon strapped to a banana than keeping them in treatment long enough to accomplish any real growth or healing. Don't forget--they're terrified of attaching, and relying on anyone for their care."

So on the days when you may be inclined to think she is improving, ask yourself what evidence you really have that this is the case. Because I never saw any, I am the last person who should be advising you on that. I am hopeful that some of the BPDs here can help you on what evidence to look for -- in terms of progress -- if you are ever tempted to return to your ex.
It's killed my self worth (well, wait a minute, my self worth is mine to give to myself or kill and so I need to find it again and work on it....
Damn, you're good! Nice catch -- owning up to your responsibility for fixing yourself. Very nice catch. Yes, I can see you've been doing a lot of reading there in southern CA.
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Re: Hard To Let Go

Postby bluechamomile » Sat Dec 26, 2009 1:42 pm

I understand completely and my thoughts are with you. I have BPD, in my early 50's, and I literally ruined a good relationship with a guy because of my rantings, erratic moods, etc. That was the best 3 yr togetherness I'd ever known. But he was fed up. He was all for helping me stay on meds, go to therapy appts, read up on BPD....but I still did not treat him well enough to make it work. Looking back, Oh how I wish I'd tried much harder to salvage our love. I went through a 6 month long depression after we broke up and have never gotten completely over him. However, it brought me to a better place of understanding and ACCEPTING my "illness". Should a new relationship come in the future I will tell of my BPD and how I and fully managing it. No lying....no lying to myself :)
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Re: Hard To Let Go

Postby DowntownDC » Sat Dec 26, 2009 3:42 pm

bluechamomile wrote:I went through a 6 month long depression after we broke up and have never gotten completely over him. However, it brought me to a better place of understanding and ACCEPTING my "illness".
Hello, Blue. Thanks so much for sharing that painful retrospection with us. As you have just demonstrated, the greatest strenght of this forum is the willingness of BPDs and Nons to help each other. I can't speak for the BPDs, but we Nons certainly need the help. We are pretty good at answering the two dozen questions most newbie-Nons have. Yet, when we get to the most important question of all -- "Should I stay?" -- we are are almost completely ineffectual.

It is exceedingly difficult for a Non to persuade another Non that, absent treatment for his BPD mate, continuing the toxic relationship will harm both of them because it enables her to avoid accepting her illness. Even if ten Nons in a row were to argue that point, we would barely make a dent in the newbie's misguided belief that he must spend the rest of his life trying to save her.

The problem, of course, is that none of us Nons can speak with any credible authority on the matter of the BPD's well being. Lacking that authority, we are in a poor position to persuade a newbie to do something that is contrary to every fiber of his being -- and probably to his religion as well.

We therefore are so fortunate that there are several BPDs who periodically respond compassionately to a newbie-Non, explaining that they never would have been motivated to seek treatment if they had not suffered the pain of watching a beloved Non walk out on them. Nobody has been better at this important task than Alphabet, who jumps in on nearly every newbie thread when the argument arises -- as it always does -- that "I love her too much to walk away and just watch her suffer."

That's why I remarked, in another thread, that we Nons can write ten pages without coming close to Alphabet's impact on newbie-Nons. So I am very pleased -- no, thrilled, actually -- to see you helping her out by jumping feet-first into the fray. What a nice gift you have given us to open on this first morning after Christmas day!
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Re: Hard To Let Go

Postby sishtasly » Sat Dec 26, 2009 4:42 pm

FeelingBetter ~ You just said word-for-word my whole story. :( I'm trying to let go after a 6-year relationship with someone who recently told me I am a "mentally ill master manipulator" and she has "high standards when it comes to friends and I don't fit."

:(

It's been two and a half weeks and I do feel better, but I've wanted to write her and either 1. Tell her how angry I am and how much it hurt - what she did to me; and 2. Run back to her with my tail between my legs and beg for forgiveness. I promised my therapist I would not contact her and I haven't, but it's been really hard.

She has abused me for years... Emotionally. I am BPD and she is not although I have always thought she is BPD because of her moods, anger and the way she treats me. One minute she loves me and the next she hates me.

Then again, I do the same thing to her.

I think you're doing the right thing by not going back. And I can't believe I said that considering my friend told me she's never coming back. If you've lost your self-worth (as I have too) then it's not a healthy relationship. I too have been on this loop with her... We're happy then I do something and she gets mad and then she's happy with me again.

Being BPD I finally know this isn't healthy for me and I'm working hard to be a better person when it comes to relationships. She doesn't admit she's BPD and will keep doing this over and over again to others. I've seen her treat her own family like crap.

Anyway, I have to stay away from her, but it's so hard.

Didn't mean to turn this into a story about me, but I am just distraught over this whole thing... Knowing she's not healthy for me and finally after 6 years losing her because of the way she says I act.

Like I said, I think it's good that you're not going back. Living with a BPD person is very hard. Once they get help and realize their problems they can be in a healthy relationship again. I struggle daily with not showing my BPD symptoms. But at least I'm aware of them now. That means I have a shot at being a healthier person.

Blue ~ I think that's what I've finally done - like you, accepted my illness. That's the first step, they say. And then you can work on changing things.

BPD isn't a "life sentence." Those who are aware of their symptoms can get better.

Downtown ~ I agree with you totally. Had these things not happened in my relationship with her I would have probably not gotten help. I'm glad you pointed that out. Thank you.

To all nons: It takes a special person to hang in there with "us." It's not easy by any means. It also takes a strong person to realize that no matter what you do the relationship won't get better until the BPD acknowledges their illness and accepts it. Sometimes it's just not going to work.

Thanks for allowing me to open up here. I really feel this forum helps me a lot. Stick around, k? Hugs to all ~ Sly
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Re: Hard To Let Go

Postby FeelingBetter » Sun Dec 27, 2009 1:54 pm

Thank you --all of you--for your thoughts and the comfort that comes from reading similar stories and hearing other points of view. The long holiday weekend is coming to an end and i am feeling better. As a non and realizing I have my own issues and codependency, it was challenging getting through the holiday on my own without my former girlfriend. But I must say, we've been here--in this "broken up" state many many times and so there is a part of me that still thinks we will get back together yet again. My brain says that i have to move on--for my sake--and even for her sake. I need my self-respect (just can't be lied to anymore, complained to, argued with, challenged--while I see her treat everyone else with her false happy and sensuous self). I'm too good a person to want to be on the receiving end of all that crap. And, I guess, this is going to help her too, like some of you say, in that she may realize that her behaviors have consequences--and that you can lose a significant other as a result.

But I realize that in the back of my mind that as I say that last thought, it's me wanting to believe that I meant something to her. Or it's me wanting to believe that she's now hurting. It's me thinking about HER. What did she do over the holidays? Did she think about me? Did she miss me? Did she come to realize that she blew a pretty good thing? Was she dating some guy.....etc etc etc. And it's maddening when I/we end up going on and on in our own heads about the other person. I know i'm doing it and I can't help it....ok, yes I can.

Over the years I've talked to her, written her, spilled my guts and it just seemed to make only a momentary difference (and if I complained about how I was treated poorly, you'd better believe it but in a day or so she'd complain to me that I did the same thing to her).

Anyway, on one hand it feels good to be able to vent all this stuff. On the other hand, I know I need to turn my focus back to myself and work on me, grow, go out and have fun, let go, meet new people, hang with my kids, find enjoyment, etc etc. All of it is hard to do when you're thinking about the wonderful times--which with her had been so incredible. But my friends remind me that they never last more than a day or two or a week without some kind of complaint, hassle, complication, etc.

So, please help me from your own experiences--what does a bpd think about when your lover/husband/best friend actually follows through and sets a limit and walks away like i've done or am trying to do? And for you nons, how do you turn your attention away from him/her and on to yourself without feeling like life has no meaning with out them?

Hope all of you are doing better today.
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Re: Hard To Let Go

Postby DowntownDC » Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:37 pm

And for you nons, how do you turn your attention away from him/her and on to yourself without feeling like life has no meaning with out them?
As a codependent Non, I have not tried to stop helping people. That would take away all meaning from my life. Rather, I have stopped helping them so much that it is to my detriment -- as I did so much with my exW and her five adult children. So I have started taking care of myself better.

The sudden absence of my W, five step kids, and five grand kids caused me to go through several months of total shock, which I eased myself through largely by being in denial much of the time -- allowing my mind to absord reality at a rate I could handle. Even now -- more than three years later -- I still have days when I wake up with a surreal feeling that it somehow could not have happened.

Like other Nons on this forum, I try to fill up the vacuum that was created by coming here to find a way to be helpful. Being helpful is not unhealthy if I don't go overboard and ignore my own welfare, as I used to do. At this forum, I can help newbie-Nons by sharing my experiences. That greatly helps me too because it puts me in touch with my feelings, allowing my inner child to catch up to the new reality perceived by my adult mind. My child seemed to lag behind by a year or two until I worked on it.
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Re: Hard To Let Go

Postby avillax » Sun Dec 27, 2009 7:25 pm

I just want to say something about the fact that we think BPDs can be the best experience when things are in a high:

Me and a my best friend, we both had BPD girlfriends, mine basically snapped and I had to end the relationship and his was cheating on him and he had to end it. And we talk about the crazyness and all that and we came to one conclusion:

"They could have been the best partners ever if they wouldn´t have gone crazy", but now that I think of it, there´s a reason to this thought:

BPDs are masters of projection aren´t they?. So basically I told my ex when I was with her, that I was like this, and wanted a woman like that, etc. and she just made my wishes come true because she probably didn´t have a real personality. Sex was also the great and I also thought as I had finally found my soulmate, but its all a lie isn´t it?, they just copy your thoughts and feelings and that makes it feel amazing isn´t it?, its all about projection, and every projection comes to an end, so if you figure this out, you know that it won´t happen again without punishment, and well at least I don´t embrace fake things in life, that´s why I´ve never come back.
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