Chosen Relationships is the term that we use to describe those of us who are in a marriage, partnership or romantic relationship with someone who suffers from a personality disorder. We call these relationships "chosen" relationships because they are relationships which we choose (or at one time chose) to participate in and to distinguish them from family relationships which are known as "unchosen relationships".
Chosen relationships with an individual who suffers from a personality disorder presents its own unique challenges and issues. There are no two people who are identical - therefore there are no two relationships that are identical. However, there are some common problems and situations that most "Chosen's" find themselves dealing with.
- Staying Committed to someone who suffers from a personality disorder.
- Separating or Divorcing someone who suffers from a personality disorder
More than any other section here, "Chosen Relationships" is a potpourri. We have people in friendships, dating situations, and marriages. Many people are committed, some aren't sure, and others are on the brink of separation.
We are all here to support each other and we try to refrain from telling people to "RUN FOR THE HILLS!!!" We understand the hurt and we understand that everyone needs to choose their own path.
It's a delicate balance, as most of us are so used to being patient and trying to change something about ourselves to try to bring about the change we want to see in others. Part of getting through these situations is discovering that our situation is not as unusual as we may think it is, discovering that others have faced similar struggles and recognizing our own anger and our need to Work on Ourselves rather than just trying to change our partners.
The Chosen Relationship
To be in an unchosen relationship can be a frightening and frustrating experience.
We are the husbands who drive home from work afraid of what awaits us when we get home.
We are the wives who dare not make any friends without asking first for approval from our partner.
We are the boyfriends who have been cheated on and told it was our fault.
We are the girlfriends who are frightened of our partners but are afraid to leave because we fear what will happen to us after we do.
We are the fathers whose children are verbally harassed by our wives.
We are the mothers whose husbands are addicted.
We are the healers, the fixers, the debt payers, the rebuilders, those who hope against hope. We are the loyal, long suffering silent ones who try to hold things together while our partner behaves destructively.
We are lonely from inside a relationship.
We have put off taking care of ourselves because of the overwhelming "needs" or demands of our partners. We live in a FOG - full of Fear, Obligation and Guilt.
People on the outside of our relationships often have no idea what we live with. Some of us are constantly torn between trying to protect and heal ourselves, and trying to take care of a demanding partner. Others have decided that they no longer want a relationship but don't know how to protect themselves on the way out. So many of us have been subjected to years of emotional, verbal, physical and sometimes sexual abuse. Sometimes, the worst scars cannot be seen.
The Wall of Silence
It's very common for those of us who find ourselves in Chosen relationships to construct an invisible wall of silence. It's a wall that tries to hide from the outside world the embarrassing truths about what is going on in our lives behind closed doors.
Our society does not encourage us to be forthcoming about the situations we may find ourselves in. To be a social success we sometimes think that we need to be successful in the world of personal relationships.
We sometimes fear that any sign of failure in our marriage or partnership could be interpreted as a sign of weakness.
Some of us fear to leave our abusive partners because of what others - friends, family, neighbors, churchgoers, might think.
Some of us are afraid to speak out about what is wrong because we don't believe our partner will really change and instead we think we will just make matters worse.
And we hide it behind a wall of silence.
Support for Chosen's
Everyone who comes to Out of the FOG is at a different stage in their relationship and their personal journey. Here, we try to respect those differences and exercise patience and tolerance. Sometimes we learn the most about ourselves by reaching out to others in similar situations.
There is a section of our Support Forum dedicated to supporting people who find themselves in Chosen Relationships - relationships with spouses, partners and significant others who suffer from personality disorders.