The worst kind of isolation
I feel like I am going crazy....
My wife is currently living separately from me due to her issues, my parents have both passed in the last 12 years, I was adopted and the rest of my family basically abandoned me when my mother passed, my wife and I moved state 5 years ago (she has kids, but I dont have any) & due to her own issues we never got a chance to create a new social circle here...
And so now with this self isolation I am literally on my own all day every day. I get to talk to work acquaintances (I am working from home), but other than that I have absolutely no human contact at all.
We are supposed to be trying to get to a point where we can live together again, and generally text each other most days. Our couples counselor got her to agree to a video catch up which we had a few days ago, but she just completely ignored me yesterday (seems to be a habit of every saturday which I dont know why). Then I get some lame excuse on Sunday, today's one being "it was a sleepy day", as to why she couldn't even spare 30 seconds just to respond to my good morning text. But even worse still, if I tell her it upsets me then all I get is "whatever", if I dont tell her than its my fault that I bottle it up... so either way... its always my fault.
I just cant get through to her that this isolation is affecting me worse than it is most people. She has others around her, she has a brother and sister she can call, parents to talk to, she made sure she made her own friends while she hasn't been home.
I dont need the "take a walk, get a dog, find a hobby, do some exercise, find a chat room" kind of response, I know all of that already. I wonder to myself if I just need to vent, or if it is the whole "misery loves company" kind of thing... maybe more than anything else what I need (and what others may need) is just to say how much this isolation thing sucks
(Please read my responses to Croix, I have responded there to your points regarding community representatives & appreciate you filling me in on a bad assumption on my part)
Re: Reasons why she would lie
Your explanation is pretty much where I have landed regarding the situation. I have witnessed her embellish/exaggerate when dealing with other people because those people would not accept her honest answer & understand from her condition & how she has had to deal with things in the past that sometimes lying has been survival for her & that she is acutely aware of showing weakness or vulnerability which being honest may expose, so I do believe fear is a motivating factor for her.
The confusion then stems from having me placed in the same category as others, especially when she knows that I am aware of her doing this with others. It is almost as if being married to her is both the best thing for her (ie someone she can trust) and the worst thing for her (ie someone who can hurt her) at the same time. We have had many discussions over how after 10 years of being together, she still thinks I am waiting for the right time to turn on her. I can imagine us sitting on the porch in our 90's & I finally go "Ahah! Gotcha. After 50 years of loving you and supporting you my long con has finally come to fruition & I am turning on you".
So what I cannot work out is whether she thinks she is the best liar & is fooling me, or whether I am not intelligent enough to work it out, or if it is just something that goes unsaid because she does it & I tolerate it because I understand where it might be coming from. Either way there is no asking her directly on anything, she is too well versed on dealing with direct confrontations to the point where she will simply pull out one of her arsenal of "counter-measures" to deflect, avoid or ultimately turn it around on me. When that happens I have revealed my hand, still not got an answer & left her at an advantage to manipulate the situation as she sees fit. Last time I was direct I got the "I am sick" remember. Was delivered with guilt trips of me not caring enough (as if the results she just claims she got was known to me earlier) & that has lead to nearly no contact (punishment for daring to ask)
I dont think people realize how difficult it is living with someone with BPD. All you ever hear are people who have it claiming how hard it is, but they should try being on this side for once. They wouldn't tolerate it for a second.
OK now you realise you are not talking to clinicians, and we, like you, are trying to find our way though our lives. Your assumptions was most probably natural, we do have fancy badges, but all that means is we have promised to answer a small number of post every so often. Something we would probably do anyway.
Your desire to set out your situation to another or others is not so much a conditioned reflex as part of the human conditon. I guess just about all of us need support. If you were initially somewhat forthright in your not wanting specious advice that's fine and understandable.
Now I'm probably not the best of people to advise on an unhappy marriage (leaving its reasons to one side for a moment) as I've been married twice, both very long term and loving. The reason we have stayed together is becuse we want to, we take pleasure in each other's company and wish to ease our partner through life as best we can. It is not a duty.
I'm sad to read you account of matters and I'm afraid I am going to be blunt as I don't understand. If someone left me and lied about me and showed no tangible signs of admitting mistake and trying to get together I feel I would leave as I'd believe the relationship over. Then again as I said it is outside my experience, I may well be missing something.
So may I ask why do you continue on in the relationship when in your posts, you have indicated your wife has built a life for herself, with both family and friends, but you are not part of it? It may well be her arrangement is based upon untruths and vilification, I guess in some ways that is beside the point, which is that she is not trying to look after you.
In order to talk with you in a way that makes sense - which I'd like to do - I'm asking why do you "tolerate it for more than one second"?
It is nice to be able clarify our roles here and sometimes people don't understand the forum and do come with a pre conceived notion that it is all "chin up" and "tomorrow will be better"..which I also understand can be very disheartening for a person that is trying to get support. This is peer support here, and that is what I find so magical about the forum, that one day you are chatting to a person to help them through a moment, a situation, the way they feel about themselves, then another day you see them posting to others, reaching back to another in need, true kindness of humanity.
I have been thinking about this situation and something came to me, that maybe none of what you are considering is actually happening to your wife. You said "So what I cannot work out is whether she thinks she is the best liar & is fooling me, or whether I am not intelligent enough to work it out, or if it is just something that goes unsaid because she does it & I tolerate it because I understand where it might be coming from." What I am considering here is that not only is she so versed at her lies that other's believe, that she says them in front of you and of course to you for you to believe, that she is so sure of the "Lie" that to her, it now becomes truth, she actually believes it. She has said it to many, thought of it many times to remember the information to recall it that it now actually becomes her truth. That we you do call her on it, she defaults to "I am sick", which to me is the very end of the process if that makes sense. She is sick, you know she is sick , she knows she is sick so it is almost her "ticket" to freely lie and it be ok. That maybe the lies make her life bearable, her life seem interesting and her life have purpose. Not that she is coming from malice or trying to be manipulative, even though that is what happens, I think she is so encrusted in her "lie" that it is actually "her truth".
I have no idea what living with someone with BPD is like, I can say what i have learnt here it is both frustrating and heartbreaking. You mentioned that being on your side, most would not tolerate it for a minute, what keeps you there Alwaysforgotten? It seems your wife is "living" with the ways she "lives" if that makes sense, she is fine, but you are not, she has to "change" for your marriage to improve or admit she has a problem, and seek help, but what if she does't think she has a problem?
Hope to chat some more to you
So where does the line of mental illness stop & personal accountability begin? This is what I am grappling with. Where is the line that says "Her acitons are completely her own & therefore it is clear she doesn't want this" versus "Her mental illness is preventing her from acting in the way she wants and it isn't what she wants"?
If you have never had to deal with a person who has BPD before, I can understand why you would be asking these questions.
I have no doubt that there are things which she has convinced herself are true, and I pay great attention to things which fall into that category. For the most part, these entail things which occurred a long time in the past where she has been able to "time travel", reworking the facts of what happened into a new structure that she believes are true (ie omitting things that dont support the new narrative while injecting from different times things which support it). We all know that memory recollection isn't perfect & with each time we remember something it changes, that is part of being human, but when you perceive the world differently, this can take on a whole new meaning as the repetitive retelling in her head will lead to this.
But the situation I described was something that just happened, so I can identify it is different. It also conveniently came directly off the back of me asking her to help me with something & what went from something she has said (but done nothing) for weeks suddenly turned into a severe infection she is taking multiple medication for with imminent hospitalization, etc, etc... I have seen the behavior before many times & know the difference between when it is real & when it is exaggerated.
So why do I stay? Its a combination of many different reasons, all of which overlap in different ways to varying degrees. She freely admits much of this is due to her condition so much of it is that she has never given me a reason to doubt the underlying issues. Part of it I can tell is the result of being adopted & abandoned, not wanting to do that to someone else, part of it is just integrity (I would hate for someone to make their own mind up that somehow I was doing something wrong when I wasnt & leave without getting to the bottom of it first), yet another part of it is pure logical analysis & I just cannot categorically say that she is aware of her actions & is lying to me for malevolent reasons, so until I have some hard evidence I wont act on "what ifs". Yet another part of it is the reflection I saw of my mother who cared for my father when he was ill, you just dont leave the people you love, I made a vow to be there good or bad & I honor that.
Having said all of that, there are some very specific situations/scenarios under which I would end the relationship immediately & without hesitation, one of which is her continuing to get help both on her own & us together.
Let me give you a mundane example to help illustrate where I am coming from.
Several months ago, when we were seeing each other sporadically, she was going to come around & visit me. Time was agreed upon.
She arrives late, says traffic was bad & that she can only stay a few minutes because she has another appointment to get to.
1. She could have been absent minded about the time even though she knows full well how bad traffic can be. It could be 100% true & she just is too focused on what she is dealing with so to her she did what she could
2. If she really wanted to visit me & cared about the fact it got cut short she could have offered to come by after her appointment or said she would just come by after. The fact she made no attempt to even try to see me or make up for the mistake makes me wonder if it was just an excuse
So why would she lie about being delayed to cut seeing me short? I can think of three possibilities.
1. Complete absent minded, no ulterior motives, just not thinking & too caught up to make up for the error (Possible, but she always seems to make her appointments so contradicts her usual behaviour)
2. Doesnt care at all, doesnt want to see me, completely made up to make it short (Then she could have made a different lie where she didn't see me at all instead of making it short)
3. Was nervous about seeing me but knew she had to still make some effort, so the lie was to not make it her fault it was cut short, so she cant be held responsible but still got to see me so doing what little she can to hold on
Those are just the surface ideas that go through my head, ranging from the totally naive & optimistic possibility that it was completely above board & not her fault & everything is wonderful, right down to the worst case where it was carefully conceived & executed & she doesn't care at all & is just stringing me along.
Ultimately what I landed on was that she constantly makes excuses that put her outside of being responsible, it is always something that happened beyond her control, so while she is struggling she doesn't want me to know (thats weakness), knows she still has to maintain contact even though she isn't doing well, so fabricates these little lies thinking it disappoints the least number of people & gives the minimum she thinks is needed.
But this kind of thing happens frequently, too much to be coincidence or just bad luck. Too conveniently it happens at exactly the perfect moment to just be random chance.
Yesterday I had another couples counselling session with my wife. Going into it felt great, the previous session we had touched on how making the relationship the primary focus would help us & her not ever having a good example of this, the concept was foreign to her, so it really felt like she had come to the realization of where she has been going wrong all this time & maybe we could then build on that moving forward.
And then by the end of the session it was clear nothing had changed, she has still been as selfish as ever, keeping things to herself for herself regardless what it means to the relationship & basically just doing whatever she feels like to just keep getting what she wants. In fact her actions & the way she has deceitfully gone about doing things makes me wonder if that is all she is doing with me, biding her time, making sure she has everything she needs before turning around & suddenly ending it when she feels she is in a good position.
What kind of person can do something like that? Lies & deceives someone, makes them think they want to have a relationship when really they are just going through the motions to keep you hanging on because it benefits them.
She even told me that she isn't good at relationships (A decade into the marriage!?!?), that when she is in one she wants to do her own thing, but when she is out of one she just wants to have one. What am I supposed to do with that? It basically confirms that knowing it wont be permanent she still actively wanted to get married & this whole time knew she wasn't committed, but still has been deceiving me all along because its "better than not having it".
Its no wonder I am misanthropic, why I struggle trusting people, because the people who you should be able to trust the most are just in it for themselves & I am just a means to an end for them
You do not need her to tell you she is not good at relationships, you are well aware of that, however as Sarah says she most probably believes all the lies, excuses and bad behavior as truth.
Even so I'd be hesitant to believe you are being used in the sense of allowing her to build up sufficient material resources to leave you. I'd think perhaps she regards you as that stable base from which she can carry out all the actions she does.
Do you think that might be the case? Not so much respect as belief in your steadfastness.
I would think by now you have a pretty good idea of the future in your current partnership, and you have given good, valid and selfless reasons for continue in it.
I did ask you before why you stayed and you've told me, I guess my next question is are those reasons enough seeing the feelings you have inside? And if so are you strong enough to live like that ? It is not a question of character, far from it. It is a physical and mental question. Already you class yourself as a misanthrope and strongly suspect all will use you given a chance.
While this is understandable under the circumstances may I suggest that these experience have already given you a poor view of the world. There are, as I have found, many who are not users, are loving and trustworthy.
To continue live as you do and not grow more embittered and isolated. More self-dislike at putting up with such treatment. That is what I mean by are you strong enough?
Oh I know she isn't good at relationships, it was more the fact that she knows she isn't, yet she does it anyway knowing it wont be positive for the other person. This is what I keep wondering about how people can be that selfish. They want something & even though getting it means the other person gets the sharp end of the stick they still put their own needs ahead of everyone else.
I am hesitant to believe it is true, but there are just those moments when it really does leave me wondering exactly when you have drifted across the line of being understanding into being gullible. At what point do I become one of those people making excuses for why I am being mistreated. At the moment I am taking her at her word, despite it conflicting with her actions.
In this instance my main reason for venting was the 180 turn around in only an hour, that I went into it feeling really good about the path I thought we were on, wanting to build on what we had achieved from the previous week, only to come away at the end of it completely dejected & wondering if she even wants to make this work.
So here is an example. The therapist was talking about us making friends & stating the obvious about me making my own friends, her making hers & we make friends together. In a normal relationship there would be a blend between all 3 of those to varying degrees where it would find its natural balance. I know this wouldn't be the case with us. With us it would be a case of her making her own friends, absolutely keeping me away from them, telling me to go make my own friends (which still stating she gets the final say & treating them poorly if she ever saw them) & not caring to make friends together at all. What compounds this is that her ex was so controlling he would dictate to her what friends she had & isolated her from people on purpose (typical abusive behavior). So now it feels like I am being punished for the way others have treated her in the past.
I will just have to take your word for it that there are people who are different, I have yet to find them
One of the strengths of human beings is that they can make decisions -and follow them up with action, when not all the facts are available, and important factors unclear.
I would imagine you are going though that now, not because uncertainty of your wife's past and future behavior, which you seem to have pretty well mapped out, but on the question of your boundaries and limits, or as you put it -gullibility.
I can't answer that, I guess you have to. The point I was trying to make before, which I probably did not present very well, is how you personally will fare if you either leave or stay, or as a third alternative enforce stricter boundaries and see where that leads.
The other matter is of course the children, and if you can leave them in her care or feel the need balance in their lives and how much you may have to sacrifice to remain with them (not ideal as that sacrifice may paint a picture itself)
In case you might be wondering I would suggest an example of stricter boundaries is to make clear that any friends you might have should be treated with courtesy and interest.
Yes, you probably are being inadvertently reaping the effects of what your wife has gone though before, however that is not a license for complete disregard. If genuine affection is not there , and again you have to judge that, than I'd question the whole matter.
I'm sorry I can't really be of much help except to point out some alternatives, which I'm sure you have already mulled over in depth before.