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Was I wrong to be angry?


Breaks and Breaking Up It happens to most everyone at some point in life! Share your experiences!

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Old 3rd January 2018, 9:21 AM   #1
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Was I wrong to be angry?

Hi, I was wondering how folk feel about expressing anger in relationships, during break ups. Is it ever acceptable?

I was with my girlfriend for around 6 months. During the relationship, after the first 2 months of bliss, I found her increasingly judgemental, erratic and very suspicious and untrusting. I had always felt myself to be a good, honest person, so after months of being ground down, and broken up with about 6 or 7 times, I ended up doubting myself and lost my confidence and self-esteem. I stuck with it because I loved her and she did have many qualities I admired. I think, however, she displayed various traits that pointed to maybe her being on a bipolar spectrum: she would quickly swing from expressing strong feelings to having absolutely no feelings at all and treating me in a dismissive and cold manner. She was erratic, unpredictable and quite quick to find reasons not to trust. I know it's problematic to make snap diagnoses in these situations, but her behaviour certainly wasn't normal, and I had never come across it before.

In writing this, I can see that I shouldn't be with her, and yet I love her and I suppose I wish, at some point, she will heal enough to want to get back in touch. The normal pattern is 2 weeks NC, but this time it has been almost a month.

I think I could ask advice on lots of aspects of this experience, but in the end, after yet again feeling I was loved and respected, and yet again a week later being dumped without empathy and treated without compassion, I wrote a message that was very sweary and angry, saying exactly what I thought. I regret it now, but I think sometimes anger is a natural consequence of things and is part of the healing process towards acceptance?

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 3rd January 2018, 11:39 AM   #2
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Estuarykid,
Anger is a very normal part of this kind of experience.

There is no "right" or "wrong" way to feel about a breakup.

Anger can be good because it gives you energy and motivates you to do somethng - make sure that "something" is positive, like creating a new life for yourself.

As time passes you'll see that this relationship was flawed. 6/7 break-ups tells you that it ain't going to work. If she demonstrates erratic behaviour and mood swings then this is something you don't want to be involved with, it's far too draining.

You need to let her go and find a better relationship where you are treated with respect.

Stay strong and keep NC.

I'm sorry it didn't work out for you. x
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Old 3rd January 2018, 11:44 AM   #3
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Never write anything in anger and never write anything that you won't like to be the one receiving such a letter.

A lot of people say to write something.. put it aside and read it a few days later to see if it's valid.. For me.. that's pointless. Anger never solve anything when it comes to matter of the heart..

One either love you or not and anger won't charge the affection.

The only good anger moment is one which leads to angry make up sex.

But you've wrote the letter so it's done.. move on.

Be strong..
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Old 4th January 2018, 2:43 AM   #4
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She doesn’t sound bipolar to me; rather it sounds more like borderline personality disorder. Sadly, most of these folks don’t “heal” enough to ever be in a healthy relationship.

Do a Google search and some reading about it and see if she doesn’t indeed fit the profile.

Best to steer wide from this imbalanced individual.
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Old 4th January 2018, 4:04 AM   #5
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Thanks Clam, I think you're right.

Unstable relationships. Unclear or unstable self-image. Impulsive, destructive behaviours. Emotional swings. Feeling suspicious.

Unfortunately, I allowed it in my life for way too long, and it became kind of normalised, with a lot of effort being put in by her to justify these difficult behaviours. I started to change myself, too, in order to accommodate her, and this was used against me.

She was kind of aware that something wasn't right though, and she entered therapy. I think that can be a long road though - I admit that I still hope she will return and want to try again but I imagine I will have moved on by then. I think that is partly why I saw the red mist - being understanding and showing compassion for so long but having this ignored and destroyed.

Thanks guys for your insight - it's really useful.

Last edited by Estuarykid; 4th January 2018 at 4:22 AM..
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Old 4th January 2018, 5:46 AM   #6
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Thanks for sharing. Itís very hard to support a person who has mental issues and you have done a wonderful job journeying with her. But at the same time, itís clear that your own state of mind is at risk here too. Iím glad she seek treatment and she is on a recovery road. You have to take care of yourself as well. If you feel that the relationship might have taken a toll on your own mental health, do seek counselling or therapy to help you cope. You cannot love her with an emptied out love bank. You have to self-care before you can care for her. Take care and be well, praying for you. God bless!
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Old 4th January 2018, 10:06 PM   #7
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Kid, I agree with Clam that you're describing some of the warning signs for BPD behavior. If you're interested in learning how to spot the red flags, I suggest you take a quick look at my list of 18 BPD Warning Signs to see if most sound very familiar. I suspect they will.

If so, I would suggest you also read my more detailed description of them at my posts in Rebel's Thread. And Sal provides a concise and insightful account of what it's like to live with a BPDer for 23 years in his 3/16 post. If those descriptions ring many bells and raise questions, I would be glad to discuss them with you. Take care, Kid.
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Old 5th January 2018, 3:54 AM   #8
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Thank you so much, Downtown. That is so helpful. If I may write a bit more about my experience, there are few traits I recognise from your list:

1. Black-white thinking, wherein she categorized me from one polar extreme to the other based on a minor comment or infraction.
2. A strong sense of entitlement that prevented her from appreciating my sacrifices. A double standard.
3. Flipping between wanting me and devaluing me.
4. Creating drama over minor issues.
5. Sometimes low self esteem.
6. Always convinced that her feelings accurately reflected reality - to the point that she regarded her own feelings as self-evident facts.

I would also add:

Quickly (within a few weeks or less) ending the relationship and starting it again. About 7 times I think.
Regularly edgy and difficult.
Looking to find something wrong with my personality and not accepting who I am. Judgemental.
Dismissing my own feelings of love and care.
Tendency toward being cold, brutal and blunt.
Closed, narrow thinking where my opinions were not respected or heard.
Often suspicious of me and finding it difficult to trust.

I think the strongest and perhaps most upsetting quality was the way she would swing from expressing feelings and interest in me and the relationship, to absolutely none at all. To a state of zero compassion, empathy and warmth. It was pretty horrible to experience. There were never any angry outbursts or verbal abuse, but there was hostility at times. I had started to wonder whether it was just normal behaviour, having been saturated by it for so long, and that there must indeed me something pretty wrong with me in order to provoke these behaviours in someone. But itís kind of a relief to look through that list. The fact that BPD relationships are notorious for experiencing multiple breakups also adds weight to this.

Thank you so much Downtown.
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Old 5th January 2018, 4:04 AM   #9
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I do regret becoming very passive in the relationship though, as she became more tricky and aggressive. I suppose I can't come out of it without some regrets - my original post about feeling ashamed about my anger is an aspect of this. I do feel more compassion towards myself though, since I tried every which way for 6 months to be loving and understanding. I suppose I longed for the person I experienced in the first two months - even though that honeymoon period was, looking back, not without some subtle signs. I think even the first time she broke it off was down to feeling engulfed and suffocated, which seems like a BPD trait. We expressed love towards each other only for it all to be thrown angrily back in my face the very next day. I was utterly dismayed, and my feelings of grief and dismay were criticised too.

But in the end, I had had enough of being emotionally discarded so brutally.
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Last edited by Estuarykid; 5th January 2018 at 4:18 AM..
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Old 5th January 2018, 5:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Estuarykid View Post
Hi, I was wondering how folk feel about expressing anger in relationships, during break ups. Is it ever acceptable?

I was with my girlfriend for around 6 months. During the relationship, after the first 2 months of bliss, I found her increasingly judgemental, erratic and very suspicious and untrusting. I had always felt myself to be a good, honest person, so after months of being ground down, and broken up with about 6 or 7 times, I ended up doubting myself and lost my confidence and self-esteem. I stuck with it because I loved her and she did have many qualities I admired. I think, however, she displayed various traits that pointed to maybe her being on a bipolar spectrum: she would quickly swing from expressing strong feelings to having absolutely no feelings at all and treating me in a dismissive and cold manner. She was erratic, unpredictable and quite quick to find reasons not to trust. I know it's problematic to make snap diagnoses in these situations, but her behaviour certainly wasn't normal, and I had never come across it before.

In writing this, I can see that I shouldn't be with her, and yet I love her and I suppose I wish, at some point, she will heal enough to want to get back in touch. The normal pattern is 2 weeks NC, but this time it has been almost a month.

I think I could ask advice on lots of aspects of this experience, but in the end, after yet again feeling I was loved and respected, and yet again a week later being dumped without empathy and treated without compassion, I wrote a message that was very sweary and angry, saying exactly what I thought. I regret it now, but I think sometimes anger is a natural consequence of things and is part of the healing process towards acceptance?

Thanks for your thoughts.
OP - I can relate to so many of the traits you have described here regarding your Ex. Mine to had many fine qualities to admire (honesty, affection and inelegance) , but I often found her cold, unpredictable, angry and lack of trust in me....all these pushed me into becoming the forced dumper (3 times). I have been far from perfect to her, regret massively some of the things I have said to her and how I have reacted...but honestly see now how she manipulated many of these situations. Yet now 6 weeks post breakup, she has never been so cold....one big mess....NC for me now.
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Old 5th January 2018, 5:17 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by clam View Post
She doesnít sound bipolar to me; rather it sounds more like borderline personality disorder. Sadly, most of these folks donít ďhealĒ enough to ever be in a healthy relationship.

Do a Google search and some reading about it and see if she doesnít indeed fit the profile.

Best to steer wide from this imbalanced individual.
What would you suggest be the Google search terms? I would like to do this search on my ex as I found personality to be erratic too.
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Old 5th January 2018, 5:32 AM   #12
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Hi - I would check out Downtown's links above. They're really useful and insightful.

I think, also, NC really is the best policy. I don't feel my ex can be reasoned with or will ever see things from my point of view. At least time out of contact gives a better perspective on the issue. The fog disperses as to why the dynamic played out as it did - and, with some research, the heart, though broken somewhat, feels a little less heavy.

Last edited by Estuarykid; 5th January 2018 at 6:03 AM..
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Old 5th January 2018, 12:17 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Estuarykid View Post
I tried every which way for 6 months to be loving and understanding.
Kid, trying "every which way" doesn't work with BPDers (i.e., those exhibiting behavior on the upper third of the BPD spectrum). You are in a no-win situation. The problem is that the BPDer's two great fears -- abandonment and engulfment -- lie at opposite ends of the very same spectrum. This means you are always in a lose/lose situation because, as you back away from one fear to avoid triggering it, you will start triggering the fear at the other end of that same spectrum.

Hence, as you move close to a BPDer to comfort her and assure her of your love, you will start triggering her engulfment fear, making her feel like she's being suffocated and controlled by you. Yet, as you back away to give her breathing space, you will find that you've started triggering her abandonment fear. And, sadly, there is no midpoints solution (between "too close" and "too far away") where you can safely stand to avoid triggering the two fears. I know because I foolishly spent 15 years searching for that Goldilocks position, which simply does not exist.

Quote:
I think even the first time she broke it off was down to feeling engulfed and suffocated, which seems like a BPD trait. We expressed love towards each other only for it all to be thrown angrily back in my face the very next day.
Because a BPDer has a fragile weak sense of self identity, she has very weak personal boundaries -- making it difficult for her to know where "SHE" leaves off and "YOU" begin. This means that, during intimate moments, she can get a frightening feeling of losing her self identity in your strong personality.

Hence, as you move close to a BPDer to comfort her and assure her of your love, you will start triggering her engulfment fear, making her feel like she's being suffocated and controlled by you -- or perhaps feel like she is vanishing into thin air. Although a BPDer craves intimacy like nearly everyone else, she is too immature to handle it for very long.

This is why a BPDer will push you away -- by creating an argument over nothing or by leaving you -- immediately after an intimate evening or great weekend, or right in the middle of a wonderful vacation. And this is why a BPDer typically exhibits her very WORST behavior immediately after (if not during) the very BEST of times.

Quote:
Often suspicious of me and finding it difficult to trust.
If she exhibits most BPD symptoms at a strong level -- as you suspect -- her paranoia and inability to trust is largely the result of a great fear of abandonment. Indeed, I've never heard of a BPDer who doesn't have a strong abandonment fear. It typically manifests itself, in her outward behavior, as irrational jealousy (i.e., perceiving threats where they don't even exist).

I therefore am surprised that you don't mention warning sign #3 (irrational jealousy) and sign #9 (fear of abandonment). If you really did not see those signs, and if she really is a BPDer, the only explanation I can think of is that your relationship was so short (i.e., six months) that they had not yet appeared.

Quote:
There were never any angry outbursts or verbal abuse, but there was hostility at times.
Again, if she is a BPDer, you almost certainly would have seen childish temper tantrums and hissy fits if you had dated longer than six months. I say this because the vast majority of high functioning BPDers turn their anger outward onto their loved ones -- in much the same way that a young child throws a temper tantrum.

This does not happen with all BPDers, however. A small portion of them -- I would guess maybe 5% -- turn their anger inward and usually do not exhibit the outward yelling and rages. Instead, they usually punish their partners with icy silence, cold withdrawals, and passive-aggressive comments. Not surprisingly, these BPDers are called "quiet borderlines" or "waif borderlines."
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Old 7th January 2018, 9:56 AM   #14
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Thanks so much DT, all this helps a lot. I think one of the main aspects of my experience is the way in which she pretty much maintained an unswerving position of being in the right - with at times an astonishing lack of empathy or ability to see things from my point of view. Is this common?

It is a month now NC... I am okay generally with resisting urges to make contact, though some days it hurts enough to think about it. I think, though, I said everything I could say, in any which way, and it made no difference. So there's no way I'm going to open myself to more rejection or more self-righteousness. I suppose I hope that she will continue therapy and - perhaps miraculously - gain some insight into her behaviours enough to want to get in touch.
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Old 7th January 2018, 10:30 AM   #15
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She pretty much maintained an unswerving position of being in the right - with at times an astonishing lack of empathy or ability to see things from my point of view. Is this common?
Yes, if she is a BPDer, she lacks affective empathy whenever she is splitting you black. (A narcissist, in contrast, has no affective empathy at any time.) As to always "being right," a BPDer has such a fragile ego that she keeps a death grip on the false self image of being "The Victim."

She "validates" that self image by projecting all her hurtful thoughts and all misfortunes onto you. Because that projection occurs entirely at the subconscious level, a BPDer is absolutely convinced -- at a conscious level -- that you are the source of her unhappiness and you are the one who is wrong.

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I hope that she will continue therapy and - perhaps miraculously - gain some insight into her behaviours enough to want to get in touch.
I hope so too. Yet, sadly, if she really is a high-functioning BPDer, there is little chance of her having both the self awareness and ego strength required to seek therapy -- and stay in it long enough -- to make a real difference.
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