The fact that you even wrote this to me says so much:
“I don’t think I’m indifferent of your distress or suffering. If I was indifferent, it would have been bye-bye for good. That’s for sure.
Look… Last Sunday you said you’d let me have time to think no matter how much time it sort myself out. Next, you sent me an “assertive” email and gave me maximum 2 weeks to get my shit together or else. Next, you said you said you loved me and weren’t going to abandon me. And, next you said your BPD was being triggered and whatever. Somewhere in that you also said you were calling Craig to get the car.
I don’t know how to deal this flip-flopping! That kind of behavior happened in November too. So how do I deal with you? Do I give you space — do I reach out and talk to you? Do I have to be prepared for another “assertive” email or the opposite because you’re all sad? Please give me a hint.”
You do not seem to understand me on my deepest, most fundamental level. All this “flip flopping” has been triggered by what I interpret to be you distancing yourself from me and shutting me out. I am, at my core, a wounded child who was abandoned at the age of six months by her mother. I am highly sensitive to abandonment and my fear of it is almost pathological. I know that I have been doing a lot of flip flopping but that is because I can’t handle ambiguity in our relationship at all. I feel like you have thrust me back into that insecure place I lived in within our relationship for so long and it is tearing me apart on the inside. My behavior toward you is what is known as “splitting” in the world of BPD. It means that when someone is in a relationship they see the other person as “all good” but when something negative happens they see the other person as “all bad”. I have been quite aware that I have been doing this and that also compounds my distress because I recognize it as a very destructive behaviour on my part.
But the way you have been distancing yourself from me causes me to feel unbelievably vulnerable and my reaction, as I wrote in that blog piece I forwarded to you last week (which I’m sure you probably did not even read or you would not have written what you did last night) is to leave you before you have the chance to leave me. I’m sorry for that but my fear of abandonment will not allow me to put myself into a position where the other person (you) abandons me. I have worked for years to try to get past this fear but apparently I have been unsuccessful. So, I apologize. I don’t know how else to explain it to you. You might want to go to a website called anythingtostopthepain.com which is run by a guy who has been married to a woman with BPD for many years. It might give you some insight into how to “manage” me when I get like this. But then again, maybe you are not interested in learning about that. I don’t know.
As long as things are relatively “okay” between us, I am pretty much able to ride herd on those feelings but when you said what you said to me last Saturday night, they went into overdrive. I told you that I would wait for you to “get your act together” because I know that is the right thing to say and do. But inside it is almost impossible for me to tolerate the uncertainty, the ambiguous place we have come to once again.
I have waited for you to get your shit together for more than three years. It took you 2.8 years to decide to get unmarried. I have been able to accept that you have a bit of OCD, are an introvert and are pretty much set in your ways. But we are fast approaching critical mass here, Jeff, the point of no return in our relationship. We are having a train derailment and this is something you need to pay attention to if we are going to be able to move forward. The fact that you have been unable or unwilling to make any kind of serious commitment to me is very bothersome indeed. Have I been wasting my time with you on this relationship? At this moment, it certainly seems that way to me.
I can and have accepted all those things about you. Have you been able to accept the things I am writing to you about myself right now? I don’t think so because you really don’t even understand them, where they come from or how to respond to them. If you did you wouldn’t do the things you have been doing because you would understand the kind of anxiety they provoke in me. Do you understand what I am saying???
As I have said to you in the past, I am a very complex and complicated person. Our relationship, if we decide to try to move forward will not always be about “having fun” even though that is very important and it is something we do quite well together. You say you love me to pieces but lately I do not see any evidence of that and that is very difficult for me and THAT is what provokes the flip flopping. This is now the second time we have hit what I would consider to be a major bump in our journey and your response to it and to me is extremely disappointing and upsetting for me. I have longed for our relationship to go to the next level but you drag your feet and drag your feet and drag your feet and I don’t understand why. All I know is that it sends a very clear message to me and the message makes me very unhappy, turns me inside out and wrings me out and fills me with so much despair I can hardly stand it.
I don’t know what else to say except that you should have called me last night and the fact that you chose not to spoke volumes to me. As I said, I think the biggest problem right now is that we have vastly different communication styles. You avoid conflict at almost all cost and I confront to try to deal with things, communicate issues and talk about feelings. I think that is why we are having so much trouble. One thing I think I have learned is that when a person tries to avoid problems they end up compounding them and that is where we are right now.
You want to know what you should do? You should come closer, not run farther away and distance yourself even further from me.
The fact that you can not seem to understand who I am at my deepest, most fundamental level is a huge concern for me because I think I understand YOU.
I think you have “ghosted” me for the past week and that has triggered a gigantic emotional reaction in me.And I have indeed been “reacting” instead of “responding” to you. The flip flopping is largely because I have wanted to end things with you but have not wanted to take that final step because I still have hope that we can work things out between us because I love you very deeply. I think we both love each other very much and that is why I have been able to keep my hope going. But I also know that love isn’t enough when it comes to relationships. Relationships are based on mutual respect and trust and I don’t feel like you understand, respect or trust me. I don’t think you have ever understood me even though I have tried to explain to you who I am so many times. I think you just have either not been listening or not paying attention or it has not mattered enough to you. Regardless of what the reason is, I have come to believe that is intentional on your part. Because if it weren’t you would take steps to remedy it and you don’t.
I have mentioned to you twice now that I would like you to arrange to get some counseling. You don’t even acknowledge that I have communicated this to you. This is why I want to bang my head against the wall in sheer frustration.
Does all this mean that I am trying to change you? I don’t think so. I am telling you what I need and you are either not listening or just not hearing the message. Why is that? I am begging you to pay attention to this for the sake of our relationship. Please.
Vic used to tell me all the time whenever I was thinking about leaving the marriage that I would “never find anyone who loved me as much as he did”. I am starting to think that’s true. What I do know and have known for a long time is that there is no such thing as unconditional love. What are your conditions for loving me? I would like to know but I’m sure that you probably don’t even know what they are and/or if you do, you won’t be able to articulate them to me. Are they simply that we “have fun together” all the time or that I am not” difficult” or don’t challenge you? Are they that I just let you do what you want to do all the time and continue to not make any demands on you? Because if that is the case, that’s not fair to me and I can’t do it anymore. I have told you many times that I make very few demands on you.I don’t ask for your money or much of your time. I don’t even ask for you to listen to me that much but I DO insist on you being present and lately you have not been present when we have been together. We spend such a small amount of time together surely you can’t blame me for not liking that.
My condition is that you do not distance yourself from me and help me not feel insecure because the place in my head that it sends me to is next to unbearable for me. Because the kind of anxiety that I feel when you do that is too hard for me to cope with. I have also tried to explain this to you many times but, again, you are either not listening or not paying attention because you keep sending me there over and over again.
You apparently did not appreciate or like the assertive message I gave you. Okay. That’s fine. I was willing to take that risk because it was THAT important to me that I tell you those things. I needed to tell you those things. You’ve dealt with this problem the same way you did back in November — by just choosing to NOT respond. The fact that you have been unable to respond to the message tells me pretty much everything I need to know about you, I think.
I went to class today because, frankly, I needed the distraction. Distraction is one of the core principles of DBT. But like I told you earlier, I am all out of gratitude, self-love and self-affirmations.