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Hey team

My ex has been stalking me lately, coming to my house at night uninvited, buzzing, calling, tearing the window airconditioning unit in my bedroom halfway out and calling for me in the window, grabbing for me if I approach, demanding I come out, always reeking of beer at whatever time of day. Any attempts (precisely two) to actually talk to her and help make things better have backfired completely. Clearly seeing me makes things worse not better. She's mad because I won't see her, then freaks when she sees me. It rots.

Almost a week ago she showed up, very angry, and left worse. She sat in her truck in front of my house for over an hour, then called on the phone and asked to use the bathroom. There are literally about 90 restaurants within 3 blocks of my house (plus she was driving), so I said, politely, Go somewhere else. I can't, she said, I'm bleeding.

I opened the door and she stood there in her shorts. She had at least a dozen tiny straight razor cuts - not terribly deep or long, but many, bloody, and scary for sure - from the top to the bottom of her left thigh. She came in, cleaned herself up, then refused to leave. I asked her to get real help, to talk openly with her therapist, to go to the hospital, to go to AA, to consult with a psychiatrist, anything. She did a consult at one point and got a dual diagnosis BP1 and BPD, but never filled the prescription for her meds (Trileptal). This is months ago.

She countered that she would do all those things if she gave a shit about living.

Now I should say here that my dad made two suicide attempts about three years ago and was put in an inpatient mental health facility for two weeks by the state. Though he and I talked about it a lot at the time and I did some intense therapy, I never had the chance to really vent how angry I was, anywhere - as many of you know, it can be hard to express anger at someone who has attempted suicide. I found myself worrying I would set him off again.

So when something like this crops up, like when my ex threatens suicide or implies suicidal ideation, my response is probably the opposite of a helpful one. I get very angry and freak out in a way that can't possibly be helpful or reassuring.

MY POINT/QUESTION is: how do you help a cutter? what can you say? and, if you feel like it, help me understand how to address suicidal behavior _before_ it happens. Despite my up close experiences with suicide or suicide attempts (there have been others), I feel increasingly helpless in the face of those situations, and maybe I should.

Any general advice would be terrifically helpful. Thanks so much

-blackie

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Blackmilk,

Jeez, your bright, obviously know the ropes, but the truth is sometimes is just brutally painful to extricate ourselves from people in active addictions (i'm a recovered addict myself). Topping that or coupling that with non compliant MI, you are dealing with someone waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay beyond your depth or any laypersons.

Having said that, I can tell you, I was in a similiar situation some years ago, never had a history of domestic violence--ever, but almost was killed one Sunday AM when my partner, in similiar straights as your ex, snapped, the police who examined the scene and me said I was lucky to be alive. That in 20 years of investigatig domestic violence they had not investigated a scene as brutal as mine when death had not occurred.

I share that because what comes to my mind is that, of course, you can't help her. What you might want to do is see if the authorities perceive her actions to be threatening enough to you to provide you with restraining order, so YOU ARE NOT hurt. For real. There is nothing you can do for a person who won't do for themselves. Getting you back is not the answer to her enormous problems, and if she doesn't suicide, she's gonna die or go to jail soon just by the way she's living.

It's sad, but the best thing you can do for her is NOTHING. And it sounds like you've held your ground firmly, that's why I think authorities would give youa restraining order, even if she has never become violent against you, it's pretty clear (at least to me) that she could and has the capacity especially as long as she is drinking alcoholically. Nothing will get better until she gets sober. But that you know and so does she I'm sure. I know when i was acting like that, I knew I was way in over my head with drugs and alcohol, but I was terrified to stop. Fortunately a family intervention and a lot of support gave me the guts I didn't have to stop on my own.

Good luck to you, and I feel for you. I know for me, it was a dark place of despair prior to the assault because he would use and threaten to kill himself then he'd sober up and things would be okay, but it's a vicious cycle and that's no joke, vicious it was indeed. <shudders>

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I see this situation as different from that of your fathers, if I understand correctly.

Sitting in front of your house cutting followed by knocking on your door, is not a simple SI situation, but manipulation to influence you.

Certainly you want to protect her. However, this behavior is not normal. You must also remember your primary responsibility to protect yourself on all levels. She will not get better if she doesn't want to. Right now her focus is stalking you, not in helping herself. You are not responsible for her behavior.

You may be at the point where you need to keep an arms length from her and her problems. If she is stalking you and damaging your house, call the police. If she shows up at your door bleeding, don't let her in, but rather call an ambulance. After a couple documented incidents you may need to obtain a temporary restraining order. If she isn't using common sense or respecting your wishes, than it may require legal warning to pull her up short.

None of this is easy, I'm sure. Take care of yourself first.

a.m.

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i am assuming you do not want to reconcile with her in the following advice.

DO NOT TALK TO HER EVER. do not engage with her. get caller ID, and if it's her don't answer. if she calls, hang up. if she rips out your air conditioner, call the cops. get a restraining order if you need to. (you don't need a lawyer or anything to get one.)

it will only make it worse for her if you continue to engage with her. you can not save her, you can not help her. by seeing you, by having you engage with her, she feels like there is a chance she can get you back. i never stalked anyone, but a long time ago i went through feeling like my life was over because an ex wasn't in my life. i spent a lot of time thinking of ways to make him love me again. i spent a lot of time preoccupied with him. and then a family member, thank god, had the sense to call him and tell him to cut off all contact with me even if i tried to see him. and it worked. i stopped being preoccupied, i stopped feeling suicidal, i moved on.

i know it's hard when you see someone in so much pain, and when you still care about that person because they were a large part of your life. but the best thing you can do for her, and for yourself, is to stay as far away as possible.

this is an interesting article on leaving someone with BPD

i'm sorry you're going through this. i'm sorry your ex is in so much pain. i hope things calm down for you soon.

best,

penny

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