In Oct 2007, I was at my wits end and ready to walk away from my raging husband after 4 months of marriage. He had been in therapy for over a year, yet still raging almost daily, beating himself half to death, lying to me about the most ridiculous stuff and destroying our home. All this chaos was causing my 2 teenagers to alienate me out of fear of him. As a Project Manager, I had participated in many classes and seminars on effective communication in the workplace through my job, but it seemed that nothing I tried worked with my husband… most of the time, it only seemed to make things worse. I truly felt helpless. I knew I loved him and I fully understood the complexity of this disorder and how my own (natural) reactions to his behavior contributed to the dynamics of our relationship, but I also realized I didn’t have what it took to provide the healthy and supportive home environment I knew he needed in order to heal from his past.
At the urging of my own therapist (whom I had retained for my own sanity), I decided to join an online support group for loved ones of people who suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. I found a group called Anything To Stop The Pain (ATSTP). As time went by (with me lurking in the group), I realized that the founder of the group (Ben Dobbs, the author of this book) was promoting a very similar approach with group members that my husband’s therapist was using with him during their sessions. I got more involved with the group and learned how to use this approach, at home, with my husband (and, consequently, with other family members also.)
Ten months later, I’m happy to say that my husband’s raging has reduced to, maybe, once every few months and the intensity is nothing like before — despite the fact that he hasn’t been attending therapy on as regular a basis as I had understood was necessary for improving his emotional health. We are finally enjoying the closeness we both wanted in our marriage. My house feels and looks like a home again (rather than a battlefield) and my kids are back to spending more time with us again. He is slowly changing his maladaptive coping methods to more healthy ones… and working out his past by using this same approach with his own family. It feels good to get genuine apologies (versus “FINE! IT’S ALL MY FAULT!!”) and ‘thank you’s’ (versus daily blaming and projecting) for my patience and understanding.
I have read many books on this disorder. I found ‘Stop Walking on Eggshells’ to be quite validating to my feelings as a loved one (a NON) to a borderline. In that sense, it was very healing for me, personally, but it didn’t help me improve my relationship. ‘I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me’, ‘Sometimes I Act Crazy’ and ‘Get Me Out of Here’ were beneficial to me in that they helped remind me that my husband’s erratic behaviors really were not about me at all. From my personal experience, this book is the next progressive step for those who recognize that they cannot FIX their borderline loved one, yet still have a smidgen of hope that there is a way to find peace and harmony with this person IN their life.
I have read the book and it amazes me how so much valuable information can be condensed into such a quick and easy read. It is written in a style that most anyone can understand and it is filled with useful examples on how to use this approach in everyday situations we all face with highly emotional people. Used correctly, the information provided in this book can help you improve your relationship right now… not next year, not next month, TODAY.
I highly recommend it for anyone who truly wants to learn how to effectively communicate with someone (spouse, parent, child, friend, co-worker or boss) who is struggling with an emotional regulation disorder. You don’t have to give up your rights or go without getting your needs met anymore to stay in this relationship! And the nice thing is, it doesn’t require therapy or counseling to be successful. All you need is an open mind and a desire to try something different… something that works!
WHINE (When Hope is Not Enough) is available at Amazon and other Internet retailers.