Stand up to the Bully in Your Life

How to resist energy the stealing of an abusive partner.

 

When you’re in a relationship with someone with a Cluster B personality disorder, you’re really in a relationship with two entities.

What do I mean by this?

Well, there’s the beautiful, attractive and charming human being that they are. These qualities are the reason you’re with them. And then there’s the ugly Cluster B demon that is not only abusing you but also abusing the person you love.

So what to do? You love this person, that’s why you’re with them. And you may have some great times with them. But they abuse you regularly. You want to be having a relationship where you help to elevate each other and make each others’ lives better. But just as you think that things are going really well, the demon rears its ugly head and abuses you with the mouth and hands of the person you are closest to.

In many cases (especially if they are Borderline or Histrionic) you can also see how much they are suffering whilst abusing you. This pains you, because you love them and you really want them to be happy. You want to help them, but at the same time they are shouting at you, fine-tuning their words as they home in on whatever hurts you the most.

I recently returned from a few days abroad. I had some things to take care of, but mostly I spent my time reading and meditating. As the days went by, I found myself feeling better and better. The simple fact of not being in a stressful environment made me feel ecstatic.

When I returned home to the stressful environment, I had an epiphany. I realised that no matter what a wonderful person my girlfriend is at her core, my presuppositions about the relationship had been wrong.

I had thought I could relax with her and let down my guard. But after having a few days alone, I came back and saw that this idea was what had made me such an easy target for energy stealing. It was kind of like there was a war going on that one of the sides wasn’t aware of.

I realised that in about 90% of our interactions, she coats her words with an aggressive, blaming, threatening or shaming choice of words and tone of voice. I saw how my immediate instinct was to try to placate her in order to avoid escalating the situation. I saw how unconsciously many of my reactions were grounded in fear. After such an exchange I saw how she would have more energy while I would have less, and she would use that energy to smile and make the whole thing look like a joke, with me as the punchline.

The crazy thing is that I used to be relieved when that would be the case, because when I would see her making a joke – even an abusive joke – it would mean that she would be unlikely to go into a 48-hour yelling spree.

I think my being relieved when she would feel good in her abuse of me is a symptom of a kind of Stockholm Syndrome. In any case, a few days ago when I saw what was going on, I made the decision to stop enabling it.

So now whenever she approaches me with negative energy, I give it right back to her. This is a huge challenge for me.

I was brought up to be empathetic towards people; now what I’m teaching myself is to refuse to open myself up to another person’s sadness. It is even more difficult because this is the person I’m in love with.

I’m only a few days in, but I think the results are good. When she approaches me with unjustified anger, I give her anger right back. It doesn’t make me feel good, because I don’t like the feeling of anger. But after two and a half years of living in this environment, it is no longer feasible to respond with positivity. What I do gain from responding with anger against anger is that I am teaching her that she can’t steal energy from me anymore.

Previously she could always fall back on the threat of a temper tantrum if I didn’t tow her line. I was very afraid of this, because I had seen her shout for 48 hours straight (with a six-hour sleep break). However for the last few months I have left the house whenever she throws a temper tantrum. So now she doesn’t go completely ballistic anymore. This means that I’m able to reject her when she tries to wipe her emotional garbage off on me. I respond with the same level of anger, but I’m careful not to escalate.

So there you have it: if you’re in a relationship with a Cluster B or any other abusive person, do not allow their violence to penetrate your boundary. Do not feel guilty about their unhappiness, do not apologise, do not kowtow to the Cluster B demon.

These are usually highly intelligent people. They are experts at blurring boundaries and attacking you in areas where you can’t be sure. If you’re a conscientious human being then you will have the nagging doubt that maybe they are right. Perhaps it is your fault after all…

To this I say: Yes, they may be “right” in some areas. But the essential thing is that threats, blame, manipulation and violence have no place in a relationship. Being “right” about some detail is not an excuse for being violent.

One final note: it seems extremely harsh to be talking about my lover in this way. I feel it acutely as I write these lines. That is the reason why it took me so long to arrive at this conclusion. But the truth is that the only way to deal with this level of energy stealing from someone you live with is to be ready for war whenever the disorder shows its face, no matter how much it seems to come at you out of the blue.

Conversely, you must be ready to be kind and loving whenever the disorder gives up trying to get through your boundary, and the human returns to you, looking for a hug.

 

Borderline Bluff

People who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder will often keep attacking right up to the point where their bluff is called. That’s what my girlfriend did this weekend. 

A few mornings ago I had showered, had breakfast and packed my bag for the day. I was leaving for work when my girlfriend woke up and snapped:

“Did you wash up, or are you leaving that disgusting mess with me?” She was referring to about three plates and a few knives and forks and mugs in the kitchen.

Now, at this point I would previously be far more peace-seeking. I would either go straight out and wash up or apologise for not having washed up, and ask if it would be OK if I washed up when I got home a few hours later, because I would be home before her. I would be terrified that she would go completely ballistic, so I would do all I could to calm the waters.

However, my approach has changed since I had a certain epiphany. That epiphany is that I am dealing with two personalities here: I’m dealing with my girlfriend and I’m dealing with her BPD. The BPD entity will do whatever it can get away with; it only understands the language of force. The times I have sought to placate it, it has taken full advantage of my concessions.

The times when I tried to soften her words and bring her into harmony with me, she took it as a sign of weakness and a permission to drain my energy. So this time I let her words be what they were, and raised my shield.

“Yes, I’m leaving that disgusting mess,” I snapped back. “I have to go and work. I’ll wash it up when I come home at 12 o’clock.”

“You bastard!” she shouted. I left. I was determined to get to the office with enough energy and focus to do the work I had planned. She followed me out in the hallway and continued to shout at me. I made sure not to listen to her words. I just mimicked her nagging tone and got into the lift.

As I sat in my office, my phone kept lighting up next to my laptop. I looked out of the corner of my eye at the text messages that were rolling in.

“Now I understand why the real estate deal is so delayed. It is so that I would understand what a monster you are. I regret that I made the mistake of becoming pregnant with someone like you. You are not a human being. I have monitored you and hoped, but you are not a human being. I will manage somehow. I will buy the apartment on my own. Somehow I will manage to pay the huge mortgage. This is too much for me to bear, but I will manage.”

This was the first out of elleven messages that came in quick succession.

When she got home that evening, she refused to talk with me, but her body language was very loud. She put on one of her favourite TV programs. It’s about a bunch of billionaires’ wives getting into cat fights and having plastic surgery. The atmosphere was toxic. I went to sleep wondering if I would wake up with a knife in my body. I realise those were my own fears. She has never done anything like that. I guess it was the stress that made me think along those lines.

The next day I got out of there before she woke up. I grabbed my laptop and went to a cafe to work. A new string of toxic text messages followed. When I got home, she was lying on the couch, holding her belly and moaning. She pointedly refused to talk to me but called a friend and told her she would have to go to the hospital because her belly was hurting. When she hung up I asked how I could help and said that we’d better go to the hospital now. She said, “You had a chance to help me, but it’s too late now.”

I replied that I’m done feeling guilty, but that I want to help.

I stuck around in the uncomfortable silence interrupted by the frenetic sound of a celebrity plastic surgery programme on TV. I repeated that I wanted to help.

She started shouting at me to fuck off, to get out of her house, to stop ruining her life.

I said that I wanted to help.

She continued to shout. I said that I would leave if that would make her feel better. She kept shouting to me to fuck off.

I started packing a bag. She kept shouting. Finally I lifted it hesitantly and walked towards the door. She stopped shouting and started sobbing loudly. I walked over and held her in my arms. She sobbed on my shoulder. I asked her if she wanted me to stay. She said, “I don’t care!” I knew that meant that she wanted me to stay.

I stayed and consoled her. Her behaviour improved, and now everything is back to “normal”.

So there you have it: call the Borderline’s bluff. Borderlines will go as far as they can, but I’m beginning to think that they will usually not go any further.

 

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy, BPD and smoking

“I went out there and was met with a nightmare vision: my girlfriend, with her pregnant belly and a lit cigarette in her mouth.”

The other day I was hanging out with a new friend. He was telling me that his longest relationship had been with a BPD woman. He told me that no one has the power to withstand the negativity of someone with BPD. “These people are survivors,” he said. “They will put on an emotional show, but if they see that it doesn’t work, they will retract and go into survival mode.”

He was telling me that I shouldn’t buy an apartment with my girlfriend out of guilt. He said that I didn’t owe her anything. He said that I obviously don’t feel like doing it, so I shouldn’t let myself be bullied into it.

On the other hand I do feel like I owe something, since I’m having a baby with her.

It was the night before my girlfriend would sign the papers to sell her own apartment, and my friend was telling me that the universe was giving me this chance and that it wasn’t a coincidence that we were sitting there talking exactly then.

My girlfriend called and said she had lost the keys to the apartment and asked if I was home. I wanted to ask her to come join us but she said she was so tired and she just needed to get in now and sleep. I said I would pay and come. But my friend kept talking very convincingly. I stayed for a little bit more and then a little bit more. In the end I stayed quite long.

When I did get a taxi and came home, she was waiting outside the building. I had told her to wait in the cafe beside the building but she had waited on the street instead. She was shaking with rage.

We went upstairs and she went into hysterics. I realised it was my fault for being late, but also that I’m completely mind-scrambled from this situation. She shouted and threw things around. Then she covered her pregnant belly and went out, saying that she was going to buy cigarettes.

If this had been during the first two years of the relationship I would have run after her. But now I know she feeds on that, and that it is a power game. I didn’t believe that she would really buy cigarettes. So I stayed home. She came home about 20 minutes later only holding a water bottle. I breathed a sigh of relief.

But she continued the drama, with lots of negative energy (but less overt violence than she used to because she knows that my new policy is to leave when she gets really violent. Suffice it to say I didn’t sleep much that night, and the next day she told me to move out. I didn’t take that very seriously, because she’s told me this hundreds of times.

She didn’t answer messages that day. When I came home in the evening, she started a new argument. I started packing my bag to go down to the local cafe and do a bit of work.

When I had finished packing my bag, I noticed that it was very quiet. The light was on on the balcony. I hadn’t seen it on for months, since before we found out she was pregnant, and she stopped smoking. I opened the door to the balcony. There she was, looking out onto the street. But I was certain she couldn’t be smoking. Still, it smelt like tobacco smoke. I went out there and was met with a nightmare vision: my girlfriend, with her pregnant belly and a lit cigarette in her mouth.

I thought about taking the cigarette from her, but as a borderline she has a certain investment in causing accidents. And I didn’t want to risk a scuffle with her in her condition on the balcony. But I found the pack of cigarettes and her lighter, and pushed them over the edge so they fell down on the street. Then I went into the kitchen and poured out all the alcohol I could find. Then I made her promise not to smoke again. She first protested violently then reluctantly agreed.

The fact that she can be so vehement and then flip over to the opposite opinion illustrates the point made in a previous post, Borderlines without Boundaries.

 

 

 

Borderlines without Boundaries

Borderlines are experts at walking all over your boundaries. My relationship has taught me that. But a few days ago I had an epiphany: they don’t have any boundaries themselves.

Since I discovered that my pregnant girlfriend has Borderline Personality Disorder, my incessant reading has been transforming me into an expert on personality disorders.

My research on the subject has led me to understand why it is that my writing slowed down until it ground to a halt; why it is that my income went down; why it is that I lost so much sleep I became depressed.

I was letting my girlfriend walk all over me. It wasn’t that I never protested; it was just that her breaches of my boundaries were so frequent and insistent it became the new normal.

This does not mean that I’m a victim; far from it: I attracted her into my life, and it is obvious that I have lessons to learn from her just as she has things to learn from me.

The number one lesson that I have to learn is about personal boundaries.

It is pretty clear that I had and to some extent still have issues with boundaries. For instance, why did I allow her to shout at me for 48 hours straight (no kidding)? I did tell her to stop several times, but I never left the house. I thought that she needed me. As I sit here reading this, my rationalisations at the time are incredible to me. One thing is for certain, though: there is a part of my own psychology that has worked to enable the abusive behaviour of a severely personality disordered individual.

I would never stand for such an episode today; that is why it doesn’t happen anymore. I used to think that I needed to console her and make her see that I am not that bad man that she was saying I was. It was quite an epiphany when I discovered that she wasn’t interested in all that; the only thing that worked was simply to leave or show that I was willing to leave when she became violent.

This flies in the face of my upbringing, where I learnt that many men are abusive and don’t care about anything but drinking and cheating on their wives, and that to be a good guy you need to really listen to your woman to make sure you don’t mess with her emotions. Well I tried it, and it doesn’t work – not even a little bit. Even if, as I write these words, there is a lingering doubt inside me. Because part of me is still attached to this delusion. I’ll talk about this in a future blog post.

The thing is, when it comes to borderlines, they will do whatever you allow them to do. It’s kind of like a river. It won’t help to explain to the water that it has no reason to be angry with you, or that it will damage you if it floods your city; the only thing that works is for your dam to be watertight.

I have started acting in accordance with this insight, and it feels like I have made many gains. The latest one may seem insignificant, and it certainly is a small thing, but I think it is an important milestone: I insisted on keeping my laminated list of daily exercises in plain view in our place. She would otherwise always remove it to some unknown place after I had used it, and I would have to look for it. I explained that I wanted it in clear view because I want to see it and be reminded to do my daily exercises. She fought me as I knew she would; but I was calm and unyielding through the storm and in the end I prevailed. This was a couple of days ago, and she hasn’t touched the list since. It is a significant victory because otherwise the apartment is 99% decorated with her stuff.

A year ago I would never have dared to insist on something like this, and I wouldn’t have felt it was worth it. This is because at that time she would have thrown a ten-hour fit about it. Now that I know I will not accept such a fit, I am able to work on getting my life back.

I have to fight for every cubic centimetre of air, and I have to be ever ready to defend my boundaries. But it’s worth it: this is my life, and it is the only life I have. Perhaps if I continue to reconquer my space I will be able to go back to writing books.

So now I have talked about my issues with boundaries. But what about hers? Why do I say that borderlines don’t have boundaries?

Well, it was a discovery I made a few days ago. We were talking about the purchase of a new and bigger home. I was trying to keep the discussion rational, and I insisted through her tears that emotions don’t have a place in a discussion about property transactions. I was marvelling at hearing myself talking like that; it wasn’t long ago that her tears would have convinced me to take responsibility for the mortgage while allowing her to be the sole owner of the new place.

While caught in her emotional storm I somehow found the strength and clarity to tell her how concerned I am by the whole Borderline situation while having a baby on the way. Of course she took it as an attack and got extremely angry and started shouting and hurling insults. But I calmly insisted. She said everything she could possibly say, including how disappointed she was with me and that the whole Borderline thing was something I was saying to hurt her. I explained that I didn’t want to hurt her, which was why I had held back and had read about it silently, but that it was only fair that I told her what I was thinking. I said that tackling psychological issues should be the number one priority before the baby is born. I’m almost sure she broke up with me, but I can’t remember. She’s broken up with me hundreds of times. The main point was that she was extremely angry and opposed to what I was saying.

But then towards the end of the next day she stopped sulking and said she had liked that I had stuck to my guns. A coupe of days later I texted her the number of a psychologist. She texted back less than a minute later to tell me she had made an appointment.

This was a mindf*ck to me: she had been so vehemently opposed to even talking about it, and now she was making an appointment with a psychologist.

There are a lot of insights to be gleaned from this. The world is not as we were taught. I will go deeper into this matter in Borderlines without Boundaries II.

 

 

Transurfing the Borderline Pendulum

A great deal has happened since my first post. I posted on Rollo Tomassi’s blog, The Rational Male, and one of the readers, an old hand in the Married Red Pill community, who goes under the name of SJF, started posting well-considered answers to my questions. Thus started our exchange of posts. Eventually he offered to mentor me on the red pill and my relationship situation. We started exchanging emails almost every day. It is of immense value to have such an exchange who comes from a completely different reality than my girlfriend, and who is able to shed some light on my situation and what I can expect.

SJF tuned me on to a book called Transurfing. About a week ago I finished the first volume, entitled The Space of Variations. In the book the author, Vadim Zeland, talks about the concept of the “pendulum”. A pendulum is a direction of thinking that may be associated with an organisation or company or religion or person or group of people or whatever. The point is that the pendulum controls its adherents’ way of thinking. It doesn’t really matter whether people think negatively or positively about the pendulum – as long as they think and especially feel something about it, it starts swinging more powerfully. It does so by drawing on its adherents and opponents’ energy. So as long as you can avoid having opinions or feelings about a pendulum, you can stay out of its grasp.

After I had read about the pendulum, my girlfriend started one of her freakouts. By the way it started it looked like it was going to be very bad. When she started like this on previous occasions, it meant that her rage would last for several hours and be incredibly destructive. However this time instead of trying to make her stop by not responding or by agreeing or apologising, which I had tried so many times before without any effect, this time I focused on my inner state and not feeding the pendulum with anger or opinions about how unfair this all was or any other emotions or thoughts directed towards the pendulum. It worked like a charm. I was very surprised by how fast the pendulum fell through. I was able to talk about something else and direct the energy in a different direction, as soon as there was a lull in the pendulum’s swinging. Since I was being honest and not harbouring any hidden resentment about how unfair the situation was, or how harsh her words were, she followed my lead. We went back to a good feeling as if nothing had happened. Within five minutes a situation was diffused that would otherwise have lasted for hours and resulted in copious amounts of stress and lack of sleep.

Since then I have used the technique of making the pendulum fall through many times. I have also used the technique of extinguishing the pendulum. This is when you think about what it is the person really wants, and then visualise them in a situation where they have that. You see them really comfortable and at peace. This makes the person feel comfortable around you. After all, you’re sending nothing but good will towards them. It has to be for real, though – you can’t do it if you’re feeling resentment towards the swinging of the pendulum.

Countless situations have been diffused. We’ve been having some really good times together. I have to be prepared to be conscious and watch my actions as soon as a pendulum starts swinging between us; but the fact that I’ve been able to make the pendulum fall through consistently for the last days has made me feel that I have a new superpower.

My new superpower has turned out to be self-reinforcing: the fact that I’ve allowed the pendulum to fall through has meant that I have been getting more sleep. (Anyone who has lived with a borderline knows that your sleep suffers, since borderline rage usually explodes around bedtime.) The fact that I am getting more sleep means that the clouds of insomniac depression are lifting and I’m more able to be conscious in challenging situations.

Having a Kid with a Borderline

My pregnant girlfriend suffers from a serious psychiatric disorder that entails frequent fits of extreme rage. I don’t want the kid to be damaged, and I don’t want my life to be a train wreck either.  

Welcome to my blog. This is a journal of my descent into the particular brand of human suffering known as Borderline Personality Disorder.

My girlfriend of two and a half years has it.

For the first two years of our relationship, I blamed myself for her frequent episodes of extreme rage.  I stuck around when she freaked out. I tried to console her and show her I was there for her. I swallowed her foul words and curses. I tried to avoid snapping and getting angry myself. Mostly I was successful, but not always.

I was so in love that I ignored what was really going on.

It was only after I got her pregnant that the truth started to sink in.

One night after a particularly bad episode of rage on her part,  I was taking refuge in the restaurant next to our place. I started to read up on psychology online.

I discovered that she’s a textbook example of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

The DSM-IV lists nine symptoms of BPD. Five out of nine of these symptoms are required for a diagnosis.

My girlfriend has all nine.

Since then I have been reading up frantically on the disorder.

I found a psychiatrist who is specialised in personality disorders, and he confirmed the diagnosis from my description. He told me I have to rigorously enforce my boundaries, and that I should move out if the situation continues to be unbearable. We talked about how both my health and my career have deteriorated since I met her and he told me he knows of cases with very bad outcomes for people who stay with personality disordered individuals who refuse to seek help. But how can I move out if we have a kid together? Wouldn’t it be irresponsible towards the kid?

What a quandary. For now I’m hanging in there. We are currently looking for a bigger apartment.