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What is the script for divorcing a borderline with severe abandonment issues?

(18 Posts)
ANewDawn Fri 13-Jan-17 17:13:48

Am 10 months post split with STBXH. Still in the same house, living separatly. 2 kids 10 and 12. He has emotionally manipulated me and now is to put it bluntly, bullying me. Although he would argue with that. Twat
I've agreed with solicitor that we will start divorce proceedings shortly. We will see how he takes it but it's likely to not go well
I think he has borderline personality disorder. I've tried to do this gently and nicely but more fool me.

Hermonie2016 Fri 13-Jan-17 17:47:12

I suspect my stbxh has trauma (bpd) issues from childhood which are triggered by a number of things, it's what makes it so unpredictable. Not sure I know a script but this is what I have noticed.

I have learnt that I have to stand back and watch for the mood changes, literally try to be an observer (which is so hard when he is venting at you).
Do not get defensive no matter what the allegations are.Try to communicate you are hearing him (not accepting his verbal abuse) " I think you are feeling upset, maybe now is a good time for a break".My husband won't ever admit to anger despite him raging.

Expect backlashes, so if you go to a solicitor then he will retaliate. Factor this into timing, I. E. don't do stuff which will cause a reaction when you have a heavy week at work or feeling emotionally weak.

In communication try a non confrontational approach. Losing control seems to be a big fear.It's not about capitulation but getting the result you want as calmly as you need.

I am trying to detach, it's has been difficult but H moved out a few months ago and a few weeks ago I saw his mood change, the trigger was a innocent comment by dc and I believe he felt slighted.A darkness came across him and it hit home that I was not the cause. I was straight back to walking on eggshells.However on reflection I have been able to reflect and realise he is in deep pain BUT no one but him can help.
He trusts no one.

It's now about managing my interactions so I feel safe and get the divorce done.

This week I sense he is "up" so I have suggested dates for mediation and confirmed my house move.All ok so I have the result I want😀
At mediation I have decided to assess his mood ahead of time as that will determine if I will get a positive session.
I will withdraw if he is angry as I know he will be in fight mode which means I will likely not get the result I need.
The moods I notice are, fight, disconnected and overly nice (referred to as fawning).
Fight mode appeared very frequently when he felt I had abandoned him.It appears to take him 4-5 weeks to soothe himself

Just my observations but each situation very different

ANewDawn Fri 13-Jan-17 19:39:08

Christ hermoine you could be describing my STBXH!!!! That is so spot on its spooky. He also had a traumatic childhood and I think is being treated for c-ptsd.
I think the triggers for him is not feeling in control esp if he's highly stressed. Which he is on a regular basis. There are others
He is paranoid and thinks everyone is out to get him. I made a massive mistake and recorded a convo when he started ranting after the first solicitor letter. Christ knows what I was thinking but it's done now.
I'm worn out by it all. Thinking of other stuff, can't bloody concentrate atm

ANewDawn Fri 13-Jan-17 19:40:10

You're right, it is very unpredictable and I'm walking on egg shells.

ANewDawn Fri 13-Jan-17 19:42:09

I have always stood back and watched his moods. I've waited until the right moment and then talked to him about whatever is the issue. It's so strange that you mention that. It's so spot on!!

ANewDawn Fri 13-Jan-17 19:43:44

I think he has problems admitting to anger too. And expressing it in a healthy way but I'm the same in that respect I think. It one of the things I will work on when I'm out of this hell hole

ANewDawn Fri 13-Jan-17 19:47:08

I cannot talk to him at all now. He has a habit of rail roading me so I refuse to discuss anything about the split now.

I also recognize he's in deep pain and I can't help him. I don't think he will ever be healed enough to live an ordinary life

ANewDawn Fri 13-Jan-17 19:51:04

I think I will look at the cycle of moods.
I thought he was relatively ok yesterday. I sent him an email about jobs that needed doing on the house before sale. He hit the roof, which threw me.

You mention feeling 'safe' in your interactions. In what way do you feel unsafe? I feel unsafe quite slot of the time but I argue with myself thinking I'm making too much of it. I'm so confused

Hermonie2016 Fri 13-Jan-17 20:37:13

I ended the marriage after a holiday where he blew up, not so much loud anger but a quiet more menacing anger.It was scarier as he was so disconnected I felt like I was nothing to him.He ran for 2 hours but still came back angry and I realised he had ruminated on the argument such that I was definitely wrong, out to get him etc.I just felt unsafe, a viseral feeling that I knew I should listen to.I doubt he would be physically violent, too much to lose but I believe he came close.

Outwardly my H is highly successful corporate manager.He functions very well with the rigidity of HR processes, its safe, everyone knows how to communicate and actually if you leave your feelings at the door it's an acclaimed trait.The super calm exterior but underneath a seething ball of emotions.

Pete Walker does an excellent book on the subject of cptsd but my H would not read it.My H had an abusive mother (very abusive) and witnessed his parents destructive fighting and violence.
H emotionally detaches but after 15 years I have "forced" him to feel emotions and he explodes rather than copes with negative feelings.Triggers for my H are being slighted, fear of losing contact with his children, fear of his children seeing the real him, fear of financial instability.He fears being controlled so has to control to maintain internal stability.

I thought with loving compassion I could help him however counselling a few years ago made everything worse.Now I realise that the recommendation is for specialist trauma counselling as person centred counselling makes it worse.

Hitting mid life has made it much worse.I have had to remove myself as I am not part of the solution (only the problem). I think I he needs to hit rock bottom BUT he has just enough coping skills with hobbies & work to keep off the bottom.

ANewDawn Sat 14-Jan-17 09:18:15

His DM was also very abusive and I think she too is borderline. His DF is lovely but a wet blanket.

His triggers are similarly; not feeling in control, fear of losing his kids, financial instability. Therefore I am the one who is 'trying to control everything' also 'taking the kids away from him' and 'gold digging'. Again, in a similar pattern, he ruminates and there is no way I could persuade him of anything else.

He is a very intelligent man with a business of his own. He comes across as a lovely and funny man. Christ know what he's been saying about me but I don't care anymore. I have to let it go. He's very good at saying the right thing but his actions do not reflect the words

He makes me nervous now. He's incredibly stubborn and I can't see him willingly moving out. I'm on edge when he's around. I also am having a huge problem with the hatred I feel for him. So I will see how the next solicitors letter goes, I'm actually scared. I have visions of me moving out sharpish tbh

FlyingElbows Sat 14-Jan-17 10:54:39

Op there's a forum based website called which is full of people in exactly the same situation as you. It's primarily American but lots of UK users as well. I've found that, unlike other forums for pd issues, it doesn't get hijacked by borderlines which makes it easy for threads to stay on track. It would be worth a look smile

ferriswheel Sat 14-Jan-17 11:00:40

So much of what you have all written is similar to my situation. On a separate note, how do you think you are going to get over the loss of the man you thought you married? I am so desperately sad and I guess scared too.

Hermonie2016 Sat 14-Jan-17 21:53:02

ferris, I think I am slowly coming to terms with the loss and it is scary to have someone like this in your life.. I married a man who I felt was gentle, I would have put money on his gentleness. I remember speaking wth my sister who had a moody husband and I said my H had a steady mood. How wrong was I???

Underneath H was anything but calm, he was getting anxious, lots of different triggers going on at the same time, so hard to determine what caused the change but he morphed into the real him. This angry, blaming, paranoid man. I believe he loves me but can't cope with the feelings a mature relationship brings, there is a constant fear of control and abandonment.

Pete Walker books are excellent as he lists the types of characters and you will hopefully identify with your H. Once I realised I was trying to have normal relationship in an unhealthy relationship it helped me to get out. I know what normal boundaries are and my H is not capable of them.

It's actually healthy for me to remove myself as I can't fix him. Being with him I'm either propping him up or in conflict. Either way I lose myself and that is not good for my children.

I grieve the life we should have but accept I can't change it. Several months down the line I think detachment is happening and I don't know how I would feel if he was 'cured'. Trust is such a big issue as he has caused so much hurt and I have learnt that life without him is more peaceful. I have suggested to a close family member of his that they try to get him support but as he is fine in work (detached superficial relationships) and his hobbies (mainly solo activities) the issue has to be with me. He has no close relationships but that is due to others, not him.

It will be hard to see him move on, as outwardly he appears lovely but I know he will be the same with someone else.

Fumbledore Sun 15-Jan-17 09:19:57

My exdw was BPD. She had an abusive childhood and as others have described, morphed into a paranoid, manipulative and EA partner. I left as a result of discovering a long term affair, we tried to deal with it but she followed the Script and was too stubborn to change. Lots of other stuff, blaming, projection etc.

When I said I was leaving she started (or rather, stepped up) the suicide threats. Elaborate things like buying lengths of hosepipe and tape, stockpiling paracetamol, trying to jump out of the car on the motorway etc. Leaving notes and disappearing for hours. It was terrifying and traumatic.

Lots of other things too like simply pretending conversations hadn't happened, forcing me to restart incredibly difficult and painful talks. In the background she was briefing friends and family against me, painting me as the abuser etc. I went on antidepressants to control the panic attacks.

It took me around 6 months to realise I should just leave. I didn't need her permission, understanding or agreement. It was hard but we all survived.

Here's what I did: I de-escalated all arguments, responded factually and minimally to texts. I put phone calls through to voicemail then picked up the discussions by text or email. Attempts to send messages via our DD were redirected back to text. Attempts to manipulate DD were ignored - I focused on simply having quality experiences with her and she learned that I wouldn't enter into blame discussions, and I spoke positively (but minimally) of her DM. This kept her out of as much as possible and she learned to cope.

Now we have both moved on. DD is a remarkably stable teen and we even parent well together. It's taken a few years but we got there.

One comment on BPD. It is treatable but often fails because BPD sufferers are frequently in denial. They are also frequently very clever and can manipulate those treating them into thinking it's working. It's a very difficult condition for a relationship.

ANewDawn Sun 15-Jan-17 12:19:40

Just noting down a thought whilst I remember it. Things definitely became more strained once we had kids. It was an additional. Focus in the family and he wasn't in the spot light. I think he finds that really hard. He honestly believes I should prioritize him and he reiterates so. Also, I think it triggered lots of memories especially because my ds is boardline adhd and very like dh in a lot of ways. They are forever locking horns, it wears me out.

ANewDawn Sun 15-Jan-17 12:36:15

Ferris - I know of that website. He goes on that site a lot. One of the reasons I recognize he may well be bpd as he recognizes it in his DM. He's talked extensively about that and the other personality disorders. His DB is a particularly nasty individual. As time has worn on, I have realized he suffers too. I would never dare mention my suspicions, it would send him into a rage.

He was receiving some EMDR therapy for his current diagnosis however, I'm not sure what that is now, I have totally disengaged with asking him anything about his life.

He has also talked lots about suicide, although very cleverly never threatening to do it. I do not believe he would now and if he did attempt anything, I'd just call an ambulance and let someone else deal with it.

I too only communicate with him via email now. I cannot bear it when he tries to engage me in conversation. I know it will just be a green light to piss all over the conversation. He often has rants in emails now. I have gradually learnt to ignore all the toxic shit and just reply with no emotion and factually. It still gets to me though. I do delete some of his emails without reading them now. Then I pick them up out of trash and put them in a folder to keep. I find if I read them weeks after he's sent them, then it takes the sting out and I can see it for what it is.

ANewDawn Sun 15-Jan-17 12:40:04

Sorry Flying- I meant you above. Ferris - I have stayed far too long and I now am full of hatred. So no mourning for me. I will have to be very careful how I process this as it will affect me. I can't wait to be free. Every second I'm here with him feels like torture. I just have to get through the next weeks and months any way I can.

ANewDawn Sun 15-Jan-17 12:47:29

Grr iPad playing up. Fumble - must have been really bad for you with xw having DD. Good to know it's worked out well. What do you think helped?

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