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Auyaa

How to live better with a BPD partner?

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Auyaa

Hi everyone!

I'm new on this forum, in the hope to get some help :)

I'm French so my apologies if my English isn't completely correct,

I'm currently living with my fiancé in Amsterdam (who is Dutch), we have a certain age difference and we've been together for 3 years now (I moved with him a year ago),

He has been diagnosed with ADHD 5 years ago and probably has BPD as well, of course until the psychiatrist diagnosed it, it isn't 100% sure, but from what I've read so far on blogs & scientific articles, the symptoms feel very familiar (which also shows that I'm not alone being in such a situation). I deeply love him, and I know it would be easier for me to just break up and move on, but I do believe in him and in us, and he's been doing some great progress year after year and is willing to become better every day,

I truly love living with him and sharing all kinds of moments together, he's honest, open-minded, respectful, very smart, (handsome of course ;) ), generous, funny, and great support when it comes to helping me with my projects/ fears/ doubts/ life choices. And at the same time, our relationship is on a constant emotional roller coaster... Every 2 or 3 weeks an emotional crisis will happen based on various random aspects. I think I can divide these crises into 2 chronological parts:

(1) when I would unconsciously trigger something in him, regarding different things that would make him feel that: I don't listen to him, I don't support him, I don't take into consideration his perspective on important relationships' matters, I play with his trust, I don't understand him, I think he's not good enough, I talk only about me and not about him, I force him to do something (should/ have to, which I never say), I don't hear what he's telling me etc... These crises usually start by me asking a random/ impulsive question regarding important projects/ feelings he has (until that specific moment I didn't know these topics were so important/sensitive to him). So he would start explaining himself (not necessarily through anger), he would force himself to take a deep breath in, and try to explain "why and how what I asked hurt him and therefore makes him angry", "to which personal and childhood memory this pain is linked to and why" and "how next time I could better approach him". Until that point, I'm okay with everything, and I actually find it really great that he can express himself that way. But, after this explanation time, his feelings are usually triggered, and he's already angry inside even if he doesn't really show it.

(2) He would start getting agitated, try to re-re-re-re-explain for the 100th times why what I did hurt him because according to him I didn't understand him the 1st time, I didn't listen to him well enough and the more he re-explains the whole thing the more he gets angry and agitated and hurt and the crisis begins... Sometimes he would try to go for a run, sometimes he would go out and spend the afternoon outside, and sometimes he would go in the 2nd bedroom we have, close the door and shut down (because that his "protection mode, to protect himself from the rest, because if he doesn't do it no one will for him" (I partly understand that one) + he does it so "he doesn't affect his environment/ me, which of course doesn't really work..)... And sometimes he would just explode, and starts screaming and get angry, and blame me and everything/ everybody else, mix all his issues regarding work/ family/ personal projects into the actual discussion (or monologue) and the roller coaster would start. Of course, it's always a bit different for each crisis but the worse ones are when he either decides to stay in the room or when he explodes.

I know that in these moments he's deeply suffering, and drowning but the contradictory point is that: he wants to feel supported by me to help him to stop drowning and he also comes to the conclusion that I cannot help him. When he decides to stay in his room, he tells me that in those moments I should just do my own thing, enjoy my day and take care of myself. I think he's right. But the question is: How on earth can I enjoy my day if I know that my partner is suffering? How can I just put this crisis on the side, give him enough time (can go from hours to days) to let him calm down so we can talk again? How can I protect myself from the heavy negative emotions that are in our apartment? He's very charismatic, so as soon as he gets angry it feels like the whole house carries this emotion. One possible solution I found is to get out of the house, for instance, I'm actually spending 4 days at a friends' place right now. But is it the best solution? What do you guys do to deal with these intensive emotions?

And there is the other outcome: when he explodes (that can also happen after staying in the room for hours). It can last for hours and days. For instance, last Saturday I asked him a question about a project he put on the side for 2 months because he's dealing with some stuff at work and his family (after his dad passed away, his sister and step-dad (gay couple) got depressed). I was just curious about what were his plans and what he wanted to do etc. He got the feeling that I was forcing him to get into this project again (you should do it), that I wasn't trusting him ("I don't trust you and your projects") and that I gave him the feeling that who he was at that specific time wasn't enough for me, which of course is not true. I love him the way he is, I don't want more, I just accept him the way he is, even though - it's true - I'd like us to deal better with his emotions. Anyway, he got really mad (1st he tried to explain it as I said earlier, but noticing that apparently, I wasn't understanding him, he explained again and again). He went for a run, came back (still angry), went out the whole afternoon, came back (still angry), went to his room, spent his evening there. Sunday, we tried to talk about it, but he was still very angry. It basically ended up me listening to him for one hour at least, without saying ONE word, and he was screaming and crying and getting angry and because it was so intense I quietly cried as well. I couldn't move, couldn't speak because of the stress I had. I didn't know what to do, so I stayed on my chair and I just received all his emotions, again and again and again. I'm realising now that I probably let him abusing me both verbally and emotionally.

How should I deal with these moments? What can I do to protect me and at the same time making sure that he gets the feeling that I understand and hear him?

I think in the evening he felt a bit better, Monday was okay if I remember, not great but okay. Tuesday, it started again (from the same angriness than Saturday) he got up cranky and I don't think we talked that much, (we did eat together though) he mostly went to work and stayed in his room. And yesterday, the crisis reached its summit: the whole evening he kept coming back into the living room to try to talk. He would start talking, expressing himself, would get really angry and leave when I tried to talk.  At some point I wasn't even reacting just nodding my head, looking through the window, I had no clue what to do or say. Once he was done he would ask me to say something, to say how I feel. So I would try to start a sentence to say how I feel, and after two words he would tell me that I only talk about myself, that I don't listen to him, that I don't understand him" and that he wanted me "to say how I feel but to not make it about me" (??). he also said that when I'm not doing well he brings me support by listening to me and by echoing my emotions (How do you echo someone's emotions??)  So I would stop talking, and when I would stop he would tell me that I don't care and that I don't understand him... Get angrier, would go back in his room, come back, the same thing, go back etc... Until the moment he would come back and start telling me that I'm not bringing him the support he needs (while when he's doing well, I apparently give him all the support he needs), that we're not working, that we should break up (while when we're doing well, breaking up was a stupid idea) and we end up thinking that the relationship isn't the working and it's all drama... I think I should set up some clear boundaries for my own well-being but also to give him a chance to calm down. Usually the next days he feels better, and he apologies, he asks me what did he say that hurt me, he doesn't want to break up, he says that he's been way too emotional, that he doesn't know how to deal with that pain and anger. For 2 weeks it would be fine again, but of course, more and more I watch out every day how he's feeling and when it could explode again.

He's not suicidal, he doesn't insult me, he doesn't hit me, and he doesn't break stuff, he doesn't use drugs and he's not alcoholic, and he's in the process of seeing a psychologist/ psychiatrist (as the process is long he might have the first meeting in July, he's very enthusiastic about seeing a psychologist, after the crises he makes notes to keep in mind what he would like to talk about with the shrunk). After each crisis, he is able to take a step back, look at what he said and notice what hurt him and why he felt that way. He doesn't want to be angry like this all the time - it makes him so tired -, he wants to find some emotional stability and peace he wants to get better, he meditates, write, read, exercise, talk as much as he can to become a better a person.  I truly think he's on a positive path and he doesn't want to lose me because of this. I really mean a lot to him, and breaking up would probably be one of his biggest regrets. 

 

For the last 3 years I saw radical changes in his behaviour, he became more and more positive, ambitious, motivated, smiling etc on his good days. I really believe in him and I think there is some hope. Knowing that before it was way worse (10 years ago he would throw stuff away and break stuff)

 

So I'd like to know what you think if some of you could answer the questions that are in the text, maybe if someone has BPD and could explain to me what my fiancé goes through, it hurts me so much to see him suffering like this. I know it's not my fault, I can't change it and I can't control it, but I believe that the more aware we'll be about it (it's actually him who told me that he might have BPD), the more chance we'll have to make it work. I'll take into consideration any good advice, and will try to stay as open-minded as I can. I'm also aware that it would be easier for me to just break up and leave him, but that would be a regret, and I don't want to because I deeply love him like no one else before him.

 

Thank you for those who'll read that post, I know it's quite long but it's the 1st time I openly talk about it to people who might understand what he and I are going through.xx :)

 

 

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