person with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder
famlies should set boundaries about rages
bipolar disorder rages
borderline personality disorder rage
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Replies to Family Member Letter about Rages

Family Member and Consumer - Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder

With respect to your request for replies to this lady's letter, I'm not sure that my response is quite what you are looking for. However, I'll let you be the judge of that, and you have my permission to use it as you see fit. The lyrics from a song come to mind ... "I've looked at life from both sides now ..."

I have been receiving your newsletters for over a year now, and this is the FIRST time I have felt truly compelled to write. To be honest, I really don't know for sure if I have borderline personality disorder ('though I do have many of the same traits) and I don't "think" I am bipolar. But I do know that I am a terrible mess - confused - depressed most of the time - exasperated - overwhelmed -angry and impatient at other times. And, like the lady who wrote to you, I also exhibit the characteristics of someone with a "dependant personality", not to mention "avoidant behavior". The thing is, her letter could have just as easily been written by me - the only difference is that my husband (who has been diagnosed with bipolar & borderline personality disorder) is no longer living with us.

One would think that now that he's no longer here (it's been over a year), and I'm no longer walking on egg-shells, that I would be doing better - "NOT". I do need some kind of help, but I'm basically "Therapied - Out" so to speak. After spending six years in counseling trying to get to the bottom of my issues and trying to "FIX ME" (thinking that I was the CAUSE of his blow-up's, anger, rage, physical and mental cruelty), I was thoroughly exhausted - not to mention emotionally and spiritually depleted. 

Nevertheless, dear lady, you need to know that what your therapist says - about your reluctance to remove yourself being "dangerous", is likely very true. Especially if your husband is becoming destructive (throwing/breaking things - in particular, your things) or violent. By choosing to remain in this situation, you are not doing yourself nor your husband any favors. To answer your question about whether there is any hope ... there is always hope ... but not while the two of you remain in this "addictive relationship", and in such close proximity of one another. The only way to make it stop is to end the addiction. And the only way to end the addiction is to remove yourself - and for your husband to remove himself (this is a two way street remember) from the substance of your addiction - Your Destructive Relationship. Only then can you both take the time you need to heal (if you're both willing to do that), to become "whole" and reasonably "healthy individuals". This means "NO CONTACT" for at least one year. The old relationship has to end (die), in order for a different kind of relationship to emerge (hopefully).

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Unfortunately, I had to find this out the hard way ... 

I kept "holding on", insisting that there had to be some other way or something
we could do to make things better without having to separate. I simply couldn't accept the idea of living without him. During one of my husband's explosive episodes and what I used to call "all-nighters", I summoned what little courage I had and asked him why he didn't break something of his own for a change? That's when he beat ME. I also know what it's like to feel paralyzed, and "cringe" in fear. It was "our" therapist (we saw him individually, and occasionally as a couple) who helped me to "hold him accountable". I went to see him that morning after being beaten, hoping that maybe he would suggest what I should have done (or not done) differently. Do you know, it took him 45 minutes out of an hour long appointment to convince me that I needed to call the Police? It's not the therapists responsibility to hold your husband accountable - it's yours. If your husband is in fact physically abusive to you, there are people who will assist you in holding him accountable ... they're called "The Police". My therapist couldn't make the phone call for me (not that he wasn't willing to at least dial the number for me), because it was crucial that I not only learn how to stand up and be "accountable" for myself, but for my husband to learn that he would not be permitted [by me] to treat me that way. 

Some of us (myself included) just happen to be slow learners. 

Later, and while we were still together, I did manage to put a couple of suggestions from our therapist to use - - those suggestions may very well have saved my life!:

1. When (so and so) speaks to you that way, say "I don't deserve to be spoken to that way, and if you can't speak to me with respect and in a manner that allows my dignity to remain intact, then I am not going to have this conversation. THEN END IT

(I was only able to do this over the telephone with him - face to face, I'm not so sure I'd have had the nerve.)

2. When things begin to escalate, take a "time-out" (sounds easy enough doesn't it?) "You don't ASK for a time-out" he said, "you TAKE IT!!" ... "If that means having to leave the house for a while, then LEAVE! If it means having to phone a taxi and spending the night in a hotel, then GO!" 

So I did ... 

He had been screaming and swearing at me over the phone. I could hardly get a word in edgewise. Then, I remembered what Al (our therapist) told me to say. So I said it. That just made him angrier, and he continued to scream obscenities and accusations. So I hung up. I then knew one of two things was about to happen ... he was either going to call right back, or he was on his way home. When the phone didn't ring within a minute or so, I knew he was on his way and I knew I needed to take time-out. The children were spending the night at Grandma's, but I couldn't go there as he would likely show up looking for me - if he saw that my van wasn't there, he hopefully wouldn't disturb them. So I spent the night at ... 
you guessed it ... a hotel. 

I fully expected that after a nights rest - we'd be able to talk things over calmly. However, upon my return home the next morning (knowing that he'd already left for work), I soon realized it was a good thing that I left the house when I did. It was trashed ... pictures torn off the wall and smashed on the floor, the stereo I'd given to my son for Christmas was destroyed, broken glass lay everywhere - even the newly planted flower beds and perennials were ripped up and stomped on - our beautiful home looked like a war zone. Once again I returned to Al's office looking for advice on how to "handle" the situation, and once again he handed me the phone. Only this time it was my husband's probation officer that I had to speak to. This time Al told me that he was "extremely concerned for my safety", and this time I finally began to take him seriously.

We are apart now. I can't expect him to change (maybe he will, maybe not). I can only work on me, and as I see it (even at 44 yrs of age) I still have a fair bit of growing up to do. Maybe once I am able to fully respect and love myself, he will too. Or not.

My heart goes out to you both. May God bless and keep you.

Permission by Anonymous



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