Friday, July 23, 2010

Can Borderlines Share Parenting?

In my new book (Don’t Alienate the Kids!), I suggest that it is important for children to have two parents – especially to prevent child alienation which can lead to difficulties in adult relationships. This means shared parenting in separation or divorce, even with a parent with a personality disorder, including borderline personality disorder (BPD). Of course, safety issues must be addressed, to protect children from physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and emotional abuse. In some cases, this means supervised visitation, but in most cases this is not realistic or necessary. This means that there may be more time with a reasonable parent, or even equal parenting time.

But this is not an easy question. I have had cases as a therapist and as a family law attorney in which a Borderline has attempted suicide after losing a custody hearing. I have had cases in which a Borderline left town after losing primary physical custody. It is very hard for a Borderline to share parenting, because of their all-or-nothing thinking.

Yet to exclude a Borderline parent is to teach children that all-or-nothing parenting is appropriate. And to seek court orders that exclude a Borderline parent, or takes away primary physical custody from a Borderline, just feeds a high-conflict battle that goes on for years. This is especially true because family courts are generally uninformed about personality disorders, and the adversarial setting reinforces extreme behaviors while minimizing mental disorders.

Borderlines (and I use this term to indicate a condition, not a whole person – just like an alcoholic or diabetic) typically share their all-or-nothing thinking repeatedly with their children, and the DSM-IV (the manual used by mental health professionals) says that the children of Borderlines have a 5 times greater chance of developing borderline personality disorder (BPD) themselves.

This means that shared parenting with a Borderline requires a very reasonable other parent, who can teach the children lessons that will help them not develop the disorder themselves – lessons such as flexible thinking, managed emotions and moderate behaviors. I have had a few cases where this did work, even in a 50-50 arrangement. In some cases, the Borderline has had 60% of the parenting time. In others, the Borderline has had a much smaller percentage, such as 15%, but it has been stable after a lot of work and clear court orders.

I am interested in the points of view of parents who are sharing parenting with a Borderline – whether after a separation or divorce, or even currently during a marriage – and professionals who address this issue in family court. As a parent, are you sharing parenting successfully with a Borderline, or has the Borderline made it impossible to raise your children to be reasonable themselves? As a family law professional, how do you decide what to recommend or what orders to seek? Please check out my book, Don't Alienate The Kids!

Can Borderlines really share parenting?  I value your opinion so please leave a comment, Let me know what you think.

76 comments:

Lisa said...

I am sharing parenting time with a borderline. It's approximately a 50/50 split. My daughter does not want to spend time with her father. While there is no visible sexual or physical abuse, there is emotional abuse as she says that her father yells at her and is not always around. I try to suggest that she find something she can connect to with him and she says there's nothing. He wants 50/50 and doesn't see the emotional damage. My question is how do I help her with her experience with her dad? She's 11 and says she can't wait until she can make the decision to stay with me.

Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. said...

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for sharing your situation. Overall this is a hard dilemma. Yelling and not being around are not usually sufficient basis to limit a parent's time, but can still be hurtful to the child.

The key is in influencing what lessons she is learning about life at this age. It sounds like you are trying hard to do that in a positive way, to your credit!

I have several thoughts about how you might help your daughter.

First, let her know that the strategies you give her for dealing with someone she's uncomfortable with will help her throughout her life, such as: finding an activity to do with him or on her own while she's with him; talking about interesting recent events with him that might get a positive conversation going; and/or reminding herself that other people's intensely upset moods are about them and not about her. In a sense, you are teaching her how to manage an upset person, which is very useful these days.

Second, lots of research has shown that its important to have both parents involved in a child's life, so let her know there are ways she can't see today that this will be helpful.

Third, you might be able to get him into a short-term counseling setting by volunteering for the New Ways for Families program we have developed (see website), in which each parent attends 6 separate counseling sessions to practice key skills that borderlines are weak at: flexible thinking, managed emotions, and moderate behaviors. Then, each parent has 3 separate sessions with their child. This might improve his skills enough to make it more positive when your daughter spends time with him. By volunteering to do this in order to get him to go, you avoid having a battle over who is to blame and instead both of you agree to strengthen your skills–which will also help you deal with him better.

Lastly, a day may come when he's more open to discussing changing the parenting percentages with him, without making it a huge battle. By attempting to work with him rather than against him, you are protecting your daughter from an endless court battle - which is often the worst outcome of all.

Best wishes,
Bill Eddy

Anonymous said...

In the article, you state that there must be clear court orders, will you go into that more in a future post?

Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. said...

Yes! That's a great topic - and key to managing many alienation cases. Thanks for the suggestion. I will address soon in another blog.

Bill Eddy

Anonymous said...

Is there an oultine for an Amica Curiae brief or other tool that can be used to educate Judge/Court about BPD and the impact on divorce proceedings in particular custody issues? Is there a similar source for info on Parental Alienation? Is it perhaps more useful to hire an expert to testify on these issues and if so is there a guide listing questions an attorneys who might not have much background skillfully dealing with axis II disorders can ask that will serve to educate the court?

Anonymous said...

Is there an oultine for an Amica Curiae brief or other tool that can be used to educate Judge/Court about BPD and the impact on divorce proceedings in particular custody issues? Is there a similar source for info on Parental Alienation? Is it perhaps more useful to hire an expert to testify on these issues and if so is there a guide listing questions an attorneys who might not have much background skillfully dealing with axis II disorders can ask that will serve to educate the court?

Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. said...

In response to the question about an outline for briefs educating the court about BPD and alienation:

First, I don't know specifically of any such outlines, although the issues explained in my book Don't Alienate the Kids helps explain common patterns of behavior in alienation cases, and my book High Conflict People in Legal Disputes help explain patterns of borderline behavior.

Second, these are complex patterns of behavior which are generally best explained by having a mental health professional in the case, rather than trying to sufficiently address them in a legal brief.

Third, information about BPD and alienation do not automatically resolve anything about a specific case. Some borderlines do well as parents and others can be quite dangerous - depending on the individual's pattern of behavior.

With that said, the most common three concerns are a pattern of "all-or-nothing thinking," unmanaged emotions, and extreme behaviors. Such a pattern can be contagious, so that children of borderlines and narcissists (see next blog) are at much higher risk of becoming alienated against a parent as an "all-or-nothing" solution to the unmanaged emotions and extreme behaviors of one or both parents. Listing examples of such a pattern in a specific case can often be helpful to a judge in making decisions about that specific case.

Best wishes,
Bill Eddy

Scott said...

My child was very effected by her mother's borderline traits. Primary custody did not work with her and I had to fight for years to prove I was not abusing my daughter. My daughter was put through numerous investigations and therapy sessions where she was convinced by her mother and others that she was being abused by me. Her mother's BPD hatred and projections caused her to tell people I am a psychopath. She went to my daughter with suggestive questioning and my daughter tells her what she wants to hear to such an extent that she makes up lists of things while on visits just so that she has something negative to complain about when she sees her mother again. He mother was extremely manipulative when dealing with the therapists and social services and made every attempt to mislead them in the investigations. At the age of 8 my daughter learned to manipulate therapists to make quite sophisticated statements of neglect and abuse against my wife and I even know we are good parents and do everything for her. Her mother lacks insight into how she affects my daughter and my daughter is emeshed with her mother in many ways. My daughter was diagnosed with "splitting" which is how alienation can be experienced by younger children (pre-pubescent). I just received sole custody and now my daughter is going to a properly qualified therapist who will try to help my daughter integrate her feelings and ravel them from her mothers. I think Bill's books have really helped lawyers deal with and understand high-conflict cases.

Scott said...

Lisa: I am troubled by your post. You say "while there is not visible sexual or physical abuse" and "she's 11 and says she can't wait until she can make the decision to stay with me" and "my daughter does not want to spend time with her father". Are you sure that your attitude does not contribute to your daughters perceptions of her father or how she accounts for her relationship with her father to you? Surely there is some good in every parent, despite their weaknesses. I hope you are honestly supporting the other parent. You sound like you want to find abuse sexual abuse. When your daughter says their is "nothing" she can do to connect with him, this sounds very implausible. Maybe it is time for some self-reflection as some of your words sound like that of an alienating parent. My ex lost custody in part for holding similar attitudes.

Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. said...

Hi Scott,

Thanks for your comments. It sounds like a very difficult situation you have been through. It's tragic that in some cases it may be almost impossible for one parent to share the child and that you have to constantly fend off false allegations. It's especially tragic when a child becomes hooked into the process of taking sides - a big element in alienation.

I wanted to add some thoughts to your suggestion to Lisa: It isn't unusual for a child (especially 11-15) to speak in all-or-nothing terms about anyone, including the other parent. What's important is how the parent then responds. I like Lisa's approach of suggesting to her daughter that she find something she can connect with her father about. Also, she is asking for tips on how to help her daughter with her experience with her dad. While we always have to examine our own behavior around children, I think her approach indicates that she is using generally positive methods and may be quite different from a parent who only reinforces negativity - which sounds like what you experienced.

Thanks for contributing to this conversation. I wonder what others think about how or whether you can share parenting with someone with a borderline personality.

Best wishes,
Bill

Frederic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frederic said...

Thanks for this insightful, brief and helpful blog post, Bill! I am still negotiating a settlement agreement with my children's mother, and have been for 7 months... (after a report from the Guardian ad Litem of our kids that favored my time with them). I'll post more after it is signed and sealed. I just wanted to say that your work on this topic (and this blog post) are very HELPFUL!

My dilemma is accepting two statements in your blog post that appear to go in different directions:

1.- "it is important for children to have two parents – especially to prevent child alienation which can lead to difficulties in adult relationships."

2.- "DSM-IV says that the children of Borderlines have a 5 times greater chance of developing borderline personality disorder themselves." (Can you please provide a reference for this? I can't find it, though i can believe something like this.)

Your book on Don't Alienate the Kids has a whole chapter titled "Emotions are Contagious". Hence, spending time with a borderline parent might increase my children's chance of acting like one, isn't it? Can young children distinguish the differences? What should i do to help my children grow into wonderful adults who are good at managing their emotions?

In the end, i find peace in your key statement:

3.- "to exclude a Borderline parent is to teach children that all-or-nothing parenting is appropriate."

In our situation, the borderline parent is loving to the children; she just has a hard time managing her emotional anger... I hope to end up with a shared schedule that give me slightly more time, and final decision-making on some important life decisions for the children.

I wanted to point out a great documentary on emotions called "This Emotional Life" that recently aired in three 1-hour part on PBS: http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/ - It's well worth watching and easy to order on DVD. It shows that there are many other dimensions to emotional control, besides the ones confronting borderline co-parents. (I find it helpful to embed my life challenges into larger ones, so i can feel connected to a community of people all working for a better world.)

Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. said...

Hi Frederic,

Thanks for your comment and questions. I'm glad to see this has been helpful.

Regarding DSM-IV, here is the exact statement on page 709: "Borderline Personality Disorder is about five times more common among first-degree biological relatives of those with the disorder than in the general population." Therefore, I should qualify my statement about children developing BPD, as the DSM-IV says first-degree relatives, which also includes siblings and parents. This could mean that children have a slightly less than five times greater chance of developing BPD.

With that said, I recognize the dilemma of sharing parenting with a BPD parent, while protecting the children from developing it themselves. That is, in many ways, the focus of my book: explaining how borderlines, narcissists and other high-conflict parents might be managed by reasonable parents, professionals and the courts, to reduce their negative influences and enhance their positive influences on the children.

One way is to have very clear court orders, such as I describe in my blog dated August 14, 2010. Another is to have reasonable parents teach their children the 3 Big Skills of flexible thinking, managed emotions, and moderate behaviors, during their parenting time, whatever it is. Lastly, avoiding all-or-nothing solutions as problems come up.

None of these are easy tasks and I have an incredible amount of respect for your efforts to do this. Your children will benefit greatly in the long run.

Best wishes!
Bill

Frederic said...

Thanks for your reply and for the DSM reference. Now that you mentioned the sentence, i found it also in a few good websites: http://www.borderlinepersonalitytoday.com/main/dsmiv.htm and http://www.mentalhealth.com/dis/p20-pe05.html

I wanted to add that in my case, like in many cases i am aware of, i do not know for sure if the co-parent really has borderline. Therefore i am not (i should say, no longer) discussing this topic openly with the mother of my children. She does not want to be evaluated, and i am not a trained psychologist to make myself a diagnostic. I rely on my own observations. I can see when another person has a hard time managing her or his emotions.

The techniques that i read in your books (and in "Stop walking on eggshells" by Paul Mason and Randi Kreger), have been very helpful for me. It is incredibly challenging to remain calm and composed in the face of powerful emotional storms that occur when interacting with a borderline-like co-parent. Thanks for your words of encouragement!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill, First off, thanks so much for your books and your insight! I am the proud owner of "It's All Your Fault!", "Splitting" (which I also gifted a copy to my husband's attorney), and mostly recently, "Don't Alienate the Kids!". I can't begin to tell you how much your wisdom has helped our family!
My husband has an extremely high-conflict ex-wife (diagnosed BPD by two different therapists). You name it, she has done it. False allegations, alienation, denial of access, enough bad behavior to fill several lifetimes. The kids (3, teens) were running away from her home. Finally, a judge switched custody to my husband, so we are now rearing these kiddos. We have had them in counseling for a year now, and they seem to be doing pretty well, mostly. Your recent book "Don't Alienate..." was especially helpful for my husband and myself to check our own behavior and keep things moderate. You see, the ex-wife is still engaging in awful behavior. She cancels every visit, then tells the kids that it's their fault, for "choosing" their father over her. She says "you made your choice, now you have to live with the consequences". Although the judge was very careful to explain that the custody switch was his decision, the ex-wife still blames it on the kids. She also accuses my husband and I of denying access, even though we never have. Now the 17-year-old is reacting with extreme behavior of her own: she refuses to have anything at all to do with her mother. Won't call, or even acknowledge her existence. She even introduces ME as her "mother", although I have actively discouraged this; I told her that as long as her relationship with her own mother was strained, I wasn't okay with being a cheap substitute. It felt as though the 17-year old was just using me and using the title "Mom" to get back at her own mother. I couldn't allow that. It seems mean and harsh to refuse to be called her mother... I am happy to do mothering-type things, of course, but I'm not okay with her calling me "Mom" when it's done in hatred toward her own Mom.
I'd like to know what else my husband and I can do to help all of the kids, but especially the 17-year old, to become more effective at managing their emotions, and avoiding extreme behavior. Some of it seems "normal" teen development. How do we tell the difference?

Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. said...

Hi Anonymous,

I'm so glad you found my new book(Don't Alienate the Kids!) helpful. It sounds like you are having some success with its key messages of flexible thinking, managed emotions and moderate behaviors. Adolescence is when kids really start learning these skills (with a lot of steps forward and backward), so it is hard to know which is "normal" and which is not.

I'd suggest that you talk about and model how you are going to use flexible thinking, without struggling too much with trying to change her thinking right now about her mother. May you could say something like "I understand that's how you feel now. Someday you may be able to see her as having a mix of positive and negative qualities. I understand this may take some time and I'll try to be supportive of that. Just please don't call me mother, as it puts me in a difficult position. Maybe you can just call me [your name]. Then we'll do "[your name]and [her name]" things together. I'd like that."

Unfortunately, if she's grown up with a parent with severe BPD anger and all-or-nothing thinking, she may have to go through the opposite way of feeling and thinking before she can get to a flexible thinking place. I've seen this opposite swing with some late-age teenagers when they can get away from a BPD parent, and it often softens by the early 20's.

Best wishes,
Bill

Anonymous said...

My husband's ex-wife has BPD (undiagnosed) and is extremely difficult to deal with. She picks fights with both me and my husband on an almost daily basis. She lies to the kids telling them such absurdities as, "daddy sneaks around my house at night looking in the windows." She manipulates the kids (7 and 9) to the point where they are terrified to talk to her about anything substantial (like her boyfriend being mean to them, etc.) because they are so worried about hurting her feelings.

The current schedule has the kids at her house Mondays and Tuesdays and at our house Wednesdays and Thursdays with them alternating every other weekend with either parent. This schedule forces too much contact between the parents causing constant conflict. The 9-year old has been doing poorly in school. My husband and I want to go to a week on/week off schedule, but she refuses. None of the educators or healthcare professionals want to get involved. The kids' counselor says we should be happy we get to see the kids 50% of the time and stop fighting for a schedule change since most divorced fathers don't even get to see their kids that much. The commissioner issued a temporary order enforcing the current schedule since we have followed it for the past year (before that, the kids were at her house Monday, ours Tuesday, hers Wednesday, ours Thursday, and alternating every other weekend.) Their mother has told us she refuses to go to a week on/week off schedule because she can't handle the kids for more than five days at a time. She tells the court that it is because the kids are too young to go more than five days without seeing their mother.

This whole thing is totally exhausting and we are at our wits' end. In typical borderline fashion, she plays the victim well and is very good at convincing everyone that she has the best interests of the kids at heart. As she tells us all the time, she is "such a good mom."

Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for sharing the dilemmas you face with your husband's probably BPD ex-wife. Until the courts have a better understanding of BPD, you may be truly fortunate to have a 50-50 schedule, rather than much more limited time.

However, any ways to reduce exposure of the children to conflicts with their mother are to be encouraged. One idea that is catching on in many court systems is "parallel parenting." This means that the parents don't have to have any contact with each other and normally don't have contact with the children while they are in the other parent's home. Perhaps this could be suggested, even if the schedule doesn't change. In reality, it may be better for the children to see their father more often than alternating weeks, especially if they are exposed to their mother's frequent anger and mood swings during her time.

Ideally, the courts would learn about the problems of BPD and encourage treatment for parents with this problem. Until then, do the best you can with your time - especially teaching the children that the best skills for life are flexible thinking, managed emotions and moderate behaviors. This may help them avoid absorbing all of their mothers' habits.

Best Wishes,
Bill

Rachel said...

Bill,

Thank you so much for your response to my post about my husband's ex-wife. I am currently reading your book "High Conflict Personalities in Legal Disputes." My husband and I have also gotten a few other books in an effort to best understand her thought process and work with her on legal issues regarding the children. Parallel Parenting sounds wonderful, but seems like it would be a difficult option to implement given the frequent exchanges of children. What would be the solution if we were to implement a Parallel Parenting style and we needed to get a forgotten piece of the kids' homework from their mother's house? And what of visits when family comes to town (hers or ours) and either party would like the kids for extra time? Are there any resources you could recommend that discuss Parallel Parenting? I have tried to get a copy of your "Don't Alientate the Kids!" book, but have been unsuccessful. Will more be printed? Printing more of the HCP:Legal Disputes book would be great, too. A new copy is more than $280 on Amazon! We were luck and found a used copy for $44. I hope you kept a couple to sell on ebay! :)

Rachel

Rachel said...

Bill,

I just found your page that has all the books for sale! I will definitely be buying a copy.

Rachel

Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. said...

Hi Rachel,

I'm glad you're finding this information helpful. You definitely have a tough situation.

Many counselors now know about Parallel Parenting and there may be someone in your community who could give you more details about how it can work on a daily basis. In the most high-conflict cases, it is used without allowing for any deviation - such as picking something up from the other house or changing the schedule for visits from relatives out of town. If both parents agreed to use this approach, there could be more flexibility than if it had to be ordered by a court.

I'm glad you found our website (www.highconflictinstitute.com) for ordering books. Amazon has some listings of my books for $200-400, which is absurd. You can easily get each of them from our website for $20 - $29, depending on which book. The book Don't Alienate the Kids is the most recent book, focused on the issues in this blog at this time.

Take care,
Bill

Anonymous said...

Bill - I am so glad I found your website. My experiences with my now ex-husband make so much sense to where I understand his actions, words and behaviors. I, however, was in the process of serving him with a contempt motion because he has been extremely difficult and has refused to communicate and co-parent with me until the lawyers got back involved. After reading this information, though, I'm not sure whether going back to court is the right option. He was already found in contempt 6 months ago for the same issues and has a 15 day suspended jail sentence hanging over him. Although we have joint custody, our sons (a teen and pre-teen) chose to move back to our home state several states away with him. The judge stated he wanted to see us back in court in a year to assess progress or sooner if things had not changed. He made it very clear to both attorneys that my ex could not step away from co-parenting or the custody arrangements would drastically change. Now that my ex knows a return date has been set for the next couple of weeks, he is panicky and has told the boys they will be moving. I've made it clear that I understand they love living where they are, have made friends, are doing well in school, etc. but that I just want to be involved. I've ordered some of your books and am waiting for them to come so I could get some more insight. I spoke with him for 5 hours last night. The first 3 were him getting out again, all of his thoughts, perceptions, accusations, etc. of things that led up to our divorce when I finally left when he became physically abusive towards me. I remained calm and listened to him and told him that I believed I understood him and why he has acted the way he has. I think he appreciated feeling heard. He has maintained that he never wanted the divorce and wants to rebuild some sort of relationship. Although I've learned quite a bit now, I don't know how to proceed legally or with him in general. I told him I would consider a consent order that specifically outlined what needs to happen from here on out. He seemed agreeable to that. I approached the idea of counseling and he said he had actually wondered if we could both go. I feel all over the place right now. My friends and family just think about all of the abuse and terrible things he has done to me and our family. I just want to be sure that whatever decision I make is the right one. My ultimate fear is that if the boys are removed from him, not only will I have to deal with their behaviors, anger, etc. for taking them from a place they love and their father, but I also fear that my ex will try to hurt himself. He has alienated his family who all live close by to him now. He trusts no one. It's so sad. Any thoughts or guidance you have would be appreciated. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Bill - I am so glad I found your website. My experiences with my now ex-husband make so much sense to where I understand his actions, words and behaviors. I, however, was in the process of serving him with a contempt motion because he has been extremely difficult and has refused to communicate and co-parent with me until the lawyers got back involved. After reading this information, though, I'm not sure whether going back to court is the right option. He was already found in contempt 6 months ago for the same issues and has a 15 day suspended jail sentence hanging over him. Although we have joint custody, our sons (a teen and pre-teen) chose to move back to our home state several states away with him. The judge stated he wanted to see us back in court in a year to assess progress or sooner if things had not changed. He made it very clear to both attorneys that my ex could not step away from co-parenting or the custody arrangements would drastically change. Now that my ex knows a return date has been set for the next couple of weeks, he is panicky and has told the boys they will be moving. I've made it clear that I understand they love living where they are, have made friends, are doing well in school, etc. but that I just want to be involved. I've ordered some of your books and am waiting for them to come so I could get some more insight. I spoke with him for 5 hours last night. The first 3 were him getting out again, all of his thoughts, perceptions, accusations, etc. of things that led up to our divorce when I finally left when he became physically abusive towards me. I remained calm and listened to him and told him that I believed I understood him and why he has acted the way he has. I think he appreciated feeling heard. He has maintained that he never wanted the divorce and wants to rebuild some sort of relationship. Although I've learned quite a bit now, I don't know how to proceed legally or with him in general. I told him I would consider a consent order that specifically outlined what needs to happen from here on out. He seemed agreeable to that. I approached the idea of counseling and he said he had actually wondered if we could both go. I feel all over the place right now. My friends and family just think about all of the abuse and terrible things he has done to me and our family. I just want to be sure that whatever decision I make is the right one. My ultimate fear is that if the boys are removed from him, not only will I have to deal with their behaviors, anger, etc. for taking them from a place they love and their father, but I also fear that my ex will try to hurt himself. He has alienated his family who all live close by to him now. He trusts no one. It's so sad. Any thoughts or guidance you have would be appreciated. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Bill - I am so glad I found your website. My experiences with my now ex-husband make so much sense to where I understand his actions, words and behaviors. I, however, was in the process of serving him with a contempt motion because he has been extremely difficult and has refused to communicate and co-parent with me until the lawyers got back involved. After reading this information, though, I'm not sure whether going back to court is the right option. He was already found in contempt 6 months ago for the same issues and has a 15 day suspended jail sentence hanging over him. Although we have joint custody, our sons (a teen and pre-teen) chose to move back to our home state several states away with him. The judge stated he wanted to see us back in court in a year to assess progress or sooner if things had not changed. He made it very clear to both attorneys that my ex could not step away from co-parenting or the custody arrangements would drastically change. Now that my ex knows a return date has been set for the next couple of weeks, he is panicky and has told the boys they will be moving. I spoke with him for 5 hours last night. The first 3 were him getting out again, all of his thoughts, perceptions, accusations, etc. of things that led up to our divorce when I finally left when he became physically abusive towards me. I remained calm and listened to him and told him that I believed I understood him and why he has acted the way he has. I think he appreciated feeling heard. He has maintained that he never wanted the divorce and wants to rebuild some sort of relationship. I told him I would consider a consent order that specifically outlined what needs to happen from here on out. He seemed agreeable to that. I approached the idea of counseling and he said he had actually wondered if we could both go. I just want to be sure that whatever decision I make is the right one. My ultimate fear is that if the boys are removed from him, not only will I have to deal with their behaviors, anger, etc. for taking them from a place they love and their father, but I also fear that my ex will try to hurt himself. He has alienated his family who all live close by to him now. He trusts no one. It's so sad. Any thoughts or guidance you have would be appreciated. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Bill - I am so glad I found your website. My experiences with my now ex-husband make so much sense to where I understand his actions, words and behaviors. I, however, was in the process of serving him with a contempt motion because he has been extremely difficult and has refused to communicate and co-parent with me until the lawyers got back involved. After reading this information, though, I'm not sure whether going back to court is the right option. He was already found in contempt 6 months ago for the same issues and has a 15 day suspended jail sentence hanging over him. The judge stated he wanted to see us back in court in a year to assess progress or sooner if things had not changed. He made it very clear to both attorneys that my ex could not step away from co-parenting or the custody arrangements would drastically change. Now that my ex knows a return date has been set for the next couple of weeks, he is panicky and has told the boys they will be moving. I've made it clear that I understand they love living where they are, have made friends, are doing well in school, etc. but that I just want to be involved. I've ordered some of your books and am waiting for them to come so I could get some more insight. I spoke with him for 5 hours last night. The first 3 were him getting out again, all of his thoughts, perceptions, accusations, etc. of things that led up to our divorce when I finally left when he became physically abusive towards me. I remained calm and listened to him and told him that I believed I understood him and why he has acted the way he has. I think he appreciated feeling heard. He has maintained that he never wanted the divorce and wants to rebuild some sort of relationship. Although I've learned quite a bit now, I don't know how to proceed legally or with him in general. I told him I would consider a consent order that specifically outlined what needs to happen from here on out. He seemed agreeable to that. I approached the idea of counseling and he said he had actually wondered if we could both go. I feel all over the place right now. My friends and family just think about all of the abuse and terrible things he has done to me and our family. I just want to be sure that whatever decision I make is the right one. My ultimate fear is that if the boys are removed from him, not only will I have to deal with their behaviors, anger, etc. for taking them from a place they love and their father, but I also fear that my ex will try to hurt himself. He has alienated his family who all live close by to him now. He trusts no one. It's so sad. Any thoughts or guidance you have would be appreciated. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Bill - I am so glad I found your website. My experiences with my now ex-husband make so much sense to where I understand his actions, words and behaviors. I, however, was in the process of serving him with a contempt motion since he has refused to communicate and co-parent with me. After reading this information, though, I'm not sure whether going back to court is the right option. He was already found in contempt 6 months ago for the same issues and has a 15 day suspended jail sentence hanging over him. Although we have joint custody, our sons (a teen and pre-teen) chose to move back to our home state several states away with him. The judge wants to see us back in court in a year. He said that my ex could not step away from co-parenting or the custody arrangements would drastically change. Now that my ex knows a return date has been set for the next couple of weeks, he is panicky and has told the boys they will be moving. We spoke last night. I remained calm and listened to him and told him that I believed I understood him and why he has acted the way he has. I think he appreciated feeling heard. He has maintained that he never wanted the divorce and wants to rebuild some sort of relationship. Although I've learned quite a bit now, I don't know how to proceed legally or with him in general. I told him I would consider a consent order that specifically outlined what needs to happen from here on out. He seemed agreeable to that. I approached the idea of counseling and he said he had actually wondered if we could both go. I feel all over the place right now. I just want to be sure that whatever decision I make is the right one. My ultimate fear is that if the boys are removed from him, not only will I have to deal with their behaviors, anger, etc. for taking them from a place they love and their father, but I also fear that my ex will try to hurt himself. He has alienated his family who all live close by to him now. He trusts no one. It's so sad. Any thoughts or guidance you have would be appreciated. Thanks.

Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. said...

Dear Anonymous,
I am glad that this information has been helpful to you. You have a really difficult situation, yet it sounds like you are making efforts to manage it well without going to extremes. It sounds like you have opened some communication doors.

Regarding counseling, I strongly encourage you both to use the New Ways for Families method at our website in which both parents learn and practice flexible thinking, managed emotions and moderate behaviors with separate counselors, then each meets with the children and teaches these same skills. Generally, this will help you manage the children's behavior in the midst of all these changes.

However, if he has had violent behaviors he needs to participate in a program for that before any couples counseling can really work.

Then, if it seems appropriate and safe, have some counseling together as you suggested. The main thing is that counseling with a high-conflict co-parent will not be successful, unless he is also working on managing his own emotions and behavior in better ways. This takes time and lots of practice. By each of you working on your own skills, there's a better chance of success.

Best wishes!
Bill

Anonymous said...

Personally, I believe the only way a narcissist or borderline should have access to children should be supervised. It's a matter of simple mathematics. They will abuse, confuse or alienate whenever they have a chance. If they are toxic to you, they are toxic to your kids (and many sites downplay just how dangerous their behavior can be). If a parent is a known drug addict or alcoholic, do courts allow unsupervised time? I would hope not. Unlike addicts, people with PDs cannot, a majority of the time, control their emotions.

Anonymous said...

I share parenting with my boys' father, and we did well for several years until he remarried a woman who is almost certainly borderline personality disorderd (undiagnosed). I had never encountered such a person and was thrown completely off balance by the never-ending false accusations against me, constant court battles (it has been going on for 8 years).

At first I kept treating her as though she were a reasonable, rational person who had just somehow formed the wrong conclusions or received bad information. (same applies to my ex, because he allows this to happen when he has the power and obligation to put an end to it for our kids' sake). It took me a whole year, being dragged into court every single month, to figure out that she actually enjoys the conflict and goes to some effort to create it where it does not narurally exist! Whoa!

It took a tremendous toll on me but the big losers were my kids. When I discovered what was happening, I learned that my boys had been told a great many lies about me, specifically calculated to destroy any positive feelings they had for me. I corrected the lies, but I had to actually prove to them thatI was telling the truth because they had been taught to distrust me. When they saw the proof, things changed quickly, and we made a promise to each other that we would not accept as true negative things that are said about each other without checking in with each other and discussing whatever has been said. I promised to always tell them the truth, and they learned to trust me again (which actually supported their own experiences and what they deeply felt all along).

I was very angry at what had happened to my family, but the step mother was there to stay, so I had to figure out a way to make it work for my kids. Eventually, I found that having no contact with her is what works best. In that manner, she has no ammunition to use against me, she cannot draw me into conflict and intense negative emotions, and my boys never have to worry about whether we can get along because there are no interactions for them to observe. It has also put things back in order in the sense that any co-parenting that occurs must take place between their father and me -- as it should be, since we are the two people who love and care for them above all others.

It has been difficult, but i committed to be the best parent I can be and take advantage of the time I have to raise my boys. I am happy to report that after 8 years of this, my older son is 18 and will soon graduate and go off to college a very secure and well adjusted young man. And my younger son is 16 and is very close with his dad and with me and has developed a knack for knowing just when to let his step mother's outrageous behaviors just roll off him without it getting in too deep. Both of my sons have developed a great deal of trust for me and are comfortable enough talking to me about challenging personal issues and really anything at all.

It has worked because I "let go" of trying to change the HCP and stopped expecting her to magically become a reasonable person. I had to put more time and energy into teaching my boys about good amd healthy behavior, but that just brought us closer.

Anonymous said...

Can Borderlines Share Parenting?

From my own experience, no. My ex-wife is BP, BPD, OCD, ODD.. a Narcissistic Sociopath. She used false DV charges to gain full custody. She perpetuates the exact same dynamic she was raised in (her mother moved in with her & our children). Our children have been raising themselves very much alone since they were 9 & 12. She constantly interferes with access. Her "parenting" is inconsistent at best.

Neither my ex-wife or mother-in-law have any remorse of cognizance of what they are doing. All of their actions would seem to be fueled by their own abandonment fears & need for control & codependency.

They do not understand what "parenting" is. Rather than wasting time & money interacting with them, I drafted a very creative "settlement agreement" which avails me equivalent legal parent status with Educational & Medical professionals. I have used this to make sure the "right thing" (rational decisions) get done.

I have provided my children with "Understanding the Borderline Mother" & a few more texts in the hope that they can endure 8 years of these women's abuse without permanent harm.

From my own experience, I would say that Borderlines cannot "share" anything. They are toxic to the core & should be shunned to avoid the harm & generationally repetitive problems this character disorder brings.

Successful strategy, my daughter is coming up 18 & ready to leave that hell hole for good. My son is simply waiting to be asked for his own exit. I do not believe that any psychologist or social worker advocating a different path has any real direct experience with such women. "Seeing" them as the damaged psychotics that they are (parent-infant relationship) makes dealing with them (total avoidance with legally granted rights) easier.

A parents job is to prepare children for their exit from the home. That is what I am doing. Unfortunately there are two women who simply want to stop their growth & demand their affection. That is not how it works.

Anonymous said...

My husband has no parental responsibility for his child yet has care 40%. His ex has been very effective at accusing him of so many things such as multiple rape, drug abuse, workaholism, theft, even sexual abuse was reported by her of the child and then she denied any knowledge of it in court, claiming we were insane only to finally admit making the accusations to authorities. The claims are so well constructed. We sought help and she used that against us.
We have seen this child saying and acting out in so many inappropriate ways. The latest, the child is mixed race but identifies only as white and comments that black people cant be nice or beautiful. We've been asked if daddy will hurt her like he does mummy because he is black and they are white. Daddy never hurt mummy but the mother has followed his friends home and also their children, called his workplace to complain that they are employing a serial rapist or drug addict or socio-path etc and then complains via on-line forums if he has less income and its effects on child support.
My work place has been called, we & many of our friends have been slandered either at work or on the internet. Its a nightmare but the biggest nightmare is the way the child can one visit be absolutely happy and then next almost stop in fear because of "the bad house" or daddy might cut me up or mum says daddy touches my rude parts or are they mean because they're black or whatever. Its affecting our other children. Its like a time bomb in the house.
We wonder if its best to walk away. We have seen it happen to her other ex, a hugely talented man who can barely deal with leaving his home anymore.
She seeks out friends and spreads things in such a way it divides people, and she befriends people we have kept at arms length or no longer deal with just for the hell of it, even if she doesn't like them or respect them.
I am a professional yet I've been painted to the police & other authorities like some absolute crazy junkie and I have never used drugs apart from once at 16. They can see once they come over on the numerous fake call outs that its garbage but its still a phone call on record to be potentially used later.
The effect on the child is so strong, its like a switch and I think that the child has been conditioned so much that if the dad dropped down dead and the mum said yay then the child would celebrate.The child thinks its funny when mummy jokingly says that daddys dying. Its like the only human person is the mother. All friends and other relatives notice that when the mother has an axe to grind or a game to play the child is either scared of them at first or says strange things or acts inappropriately (such as "why are you trying to make mummy cry" "why do you call the police on mummy" when none of that ever happened.
We wonder would the child have peace if we walked away because the mum wouldn't need to use her to play games with us any more? How much will all of this screw the child up long term & would it be better for the child not to have to be in this predicament? Or will the child become a nuisance because they aren't as useful and therefore not be cared for.

Anonymous said...

Hi, The thought that a Borderline Parent can parent children is very concerning. I am separating at present and the thought of my wife getting custody of the children is frightening. My eldest is getting treatment for sibling incest and all children are suffering from their mothers abuse, agression and mixed messages. If the courts award primary care to her it is highly likely that I'll be looking at putting as much distance between myself and the situation as there's no way of working or agreement with this woman, Best situation for her is to take up the offers of hospitalisation and have her children visit her there. It's the less damaging result for all concerned.

Anonymous said...

My husband's ex wife has BPD and over the last several years she has self medicated with alcohol. She is now dealing with full blown alcoholism as well. What I find so tragic is that even though there was evidence that she was emotionally and abusive from the time the children were born, she had to become an alcoholic before we could protect the children. She is a pathological liar---after saying something once it becomes her truth. She creates guilt in the kids by telling them she may be dying of cancer (she isn't), and she models grandiosity , arrogance and extreme judgement of others....everyone is dumber than she is. The sad thing is that she is very bright but she has lost job after job after job and quite frankly I don't think she is employable anymore as her professional reputation has been ruined by lack of dependability, dishonest and poor work ethic. She acts entitled---like she is too important for the work that needs to be done---little people can do the work for her and she can coast on connections and reputation. She has falsely accused my husband of beating her (never happened). She accused my children of molesting her children (that never happened either) Anything she can do to make us all miserable she does. And now she is drunk most of the time. In the past year the court has put a consent order in place which gives us the ability to determine where the kids will be. They have lived with dad now for nearly a year and he has bent over backwards to make sure they feel free to see her for dinner occasionally, call her whenever they want, etc. The message to the kids is that we hope she gets better and if she does they can return to a 50-50 schedule someday. The outlook however is bleak. This woman has alienated every friend and family member she has. Everyone who has tried to help her eventually gets demonized if they don't mortgage their own futures for her. I may be collateral damage one day soon. The pressure this has put on my husband has been so enormous that he is incapable of supporting me emotionally. His 16 year old daughter who is brilliant and beautiful , like her mom, is already showing BPD signs. She lies consistently, demands to be the center of attention always , is arrogant and judgmental, has been caught shoplifting, sneaking her boyfriend into our home during the day for sexual relations, and getting incoherently drunk. It's terrifying....and yet she is number one in her high school class and is defiant that she is "ok"........It's all too familiar. I worry that I will never escape BPD. I always thought that once my husband's kids were out of the house we would not have to deal with his ex anymore. Now I'm worried we will be dealing with his daughter's illness (which by the way he doesn't see as clearly as everyone else in the family does) for the rest of our lives.

I have not read your book but look forward to reading it. Bottom line is that we have always believed in 50 50 co-parenting. That's what I do with my ex and we are good friends and good coparents. But I hate to tell you that I just don't think it works very well with an extreme cue of BPD.

Anonymous said...

I am a family law attorney who has the distinction of dealing with borderlines as litigants, and also being married, and presently being divorced from one.
As a litigator, I saw things from the outside, but was also able to relate with my clients. I understand that the situation is almost impossible to manage. The other parent must be a saint, but also an extremely wily, strong-willed one.
In my own situation, besides the costly litigation, I have had to endure endless false allegations and multiple violations of court orders, all of which thus far just cost more money, and leaving us near bankrupt. Luckily, I was the one primarly responsible for raising our now teen-age daughter (who thankfully was adopted), and who is much more closely bonded with me. Even with weekly counseling, and her having a basic understanding of her mother's all me all the time thinking, every day presents another challenge for her
Being married to a borderline is exhausting. They suck the life out you. Being divorced provides some respites, but I know that every day is a challenge because the other parent has no ability to think beyond her own immediate needs and desires. Our order is for email and text communication only, but that does not prevent her from deluging me with bizarre requests for more custody time, or for demanding personal property that exists only in her mind.
The ligitation is now 15 months old. The borderline parent has been through four attorneys, the last one was finally willing to try the case. I realize that I have at least three more years of endless demands, and the hope for survival. If the borderline litigant loses -- or does get everything she wants -- she will punish our child, or play the victim as she has continuously done.
My only advice to others in my situation: Watch your back. Don't ever assume there is good faith in anything. They are the most selfish, self-involved people in the world, and have no conscious. There is no program, no drug, no change for their disorder, and they only get worse with age.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill,

We are in British Columbia, Canada, and have your new book. I am a lawyer and my partner has a BPD ex-wife (not formally diagnosed but fits the criteria). I do not practice family law (and don't want to) so had no idea that it could be this difficult and stressful.

My own experience of separation was difficult but both parents put the kids first and we never even thought to go to court. My kids spend half the time with their dad and I see the benefits for us all in the positive relationships they have with each of us.

Anyway, it has been pretty heartbreaking to watch events over the past year.

My partner's sons are 9 and 12. The mother's behaviour is so destructive including things like calling the police when my partner went outside to clean the car in the driveway and left his nine year old in the house.

What I have come to realize is that she lies, a lot. She is persuasive in her lies and has some authority as she is a social worker. She makes up events or versions of events change to suit her reality.

The older son is allowed to use computers all day and evening on weekends and is obese. He doesn't attend school half the time and spends this time on the computer. She has excuses for everything or just lies and says that she has limits. She is a victim in everything and portrays herself as the only good parent.

I could go on and on about the subtle and overt ways she puts down their father, but I won't. I'm sure you've heard it before. Suffice to say that she is actively alienating the children from my partner and justifies it as "in their best interests". The older son is viewed as old enough to make decisions on his own by her and she "won't force him" to come. The younger son is made to feel guilty for leaving his brother on weekends - plus there are rules at our house about computer use and exercise and food choices that she and the older son play off as unfair given her lack of rules.

So, my partner is supposed to have the boys on the weekends from Fri-Sun night. The end result is that the older son won't come and the younger son complains to his mom about coming - but is fine and has a lot of fun when my partner can get him although there are a lot of phone calls from the mom during his time with us.

The mom spends quite a bit of time frustrating access as she feels it is the boys' best interests to be together on weekends and the younger child should be with his brother - even though all they do is play on the computer as she is at work on the weekends.

I have given up on the older son coming and there may be little we can do about it. We've gone to counsellors and their advice is that he is too entrenched with the needs of the mom and he will avoid changes to the permissive environment he has at his mom's. He exhibits a lot of similar behaviours to her (very self-focussed but bright and charming and willing to lie when needed to get something).

Anyway, the younger son is feeling the pull too. There is a written agreement stating that he has access and setting out a neutral place to drop off, but she ignores it.

I don't think we are up for a big court battle to prove parental alienation as it would really create a lot of chaos and we know a better outcome is not guaranteed. It has been so stressful already and the kids feel it. She takes it out on everyone when things don't go her way.

Do you have any advice in this situation that would be helpful? We've tried to arrange counselling which she agrees to but then does not attend.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I am also a step-mom married to a man with a possibly-diagnosed BPD former wife; we have 50/50 custody of their two kids. I have been involved with my husband for almost 5 years, living with him and his two kids about 3 years, and married for almost 2 years. My husband and his ex separated permanently about 5.5 years ago, and his ex initiated divorce proceedings at that time. The divorce was finalized 2 years later, but with no parenting plan, just 50/50 custody. Last year, my husband engaged in custody litigation to get a detailed 50/50 parenting plan, and to have some other perameters placed around his ex's behavior. She is now court-ordered to attend therapy, must communicate in writing, and so forth.
As to diagnosis, several therapist friends told us they suspected she might be borderline, and her boyfriend (who is friends with my husband also) told my husband that he took her to a psychologist who diagnosed her as having severe BPD.
Here is my experience with 50/50 custody. On the one hand, I really appreciate your perspective that attempting to get more than 50/50 custody can be triggering to a borderline person. This was a big reason why my husband did not request more than 50/50 custody--he was afraid if she lost big, his ex would attempt suicide (she threatens a lot, has never attempted suicide), or would move away and abandon the kids; and that this would be traumatizing to his two daughters. The kids actually seem much happier and do not miss their mom when away from her for long periods. His younger daughter is 7, and has been with her mom and dad separately and equally since she was 2 years old. She says she wants to live with all her parents. She seems to miss her mom more, particularly on transition days, but tells us, "well, I really miss my mom today, but next week, when I go to mom's, I will miss you! And then I will miss mom, then you. It is okay."
In general, I think that 50/50 works okay for the kids. But it is hard on us, and thus hard on the kids. OR rather, being with their mom is hard on the kids, but they want to be with her because they love her...so then they are hard on us, so then we are less happy an hard on them. During the custody litigation, my 11 year old step-daughter got pulled by her mom into making false allegations of sexual abuse against my husband's female relatives. CPS and other professionals who interviewed both girls made clear that there was no way the alleged events could have happened (rare unequivocal assessment from these professionals), and that my stepdaughter provided no actual facts about the alleged abuse of her sister.
But this created a trend toward my SD11 being more secretive and trying to gather negative information about our family, and lying and creating conflict. We try to make clear that from our perspectives, there is no bad guy. That we care about her mom and that her dad would never want to do anything to make her not be able to see her mom. But at the same time, she is being told and telling us that mom says dad is trying to get full custody so that the kids cannot see their mom again. It is clear she has no tolerance for the kids being happy with us.
The result is that the kids, and especially SD11, have been trained to be very divisive and conflictive in ways that make parenting on transition days difficult. Dealing with an adult BPD person is hard, and dealing with a child who imitates these behaviors is also hard.
The result for me is that the custody litigation, including constant threats, false allegations, and scrutiny of everything I do as a step-parent, has really impacted my happiness, quality of life, and has resulted in me being a less tolerant, more irritable parent. This is so for my husband as well.

Anonymous said...

I have BPD and after a split with my childs father he took my child due to suicide attempts I kept making. I felt better after the split and stopped doing them. Though in spite he took my child. This led me to attempt suicide twice in one day though failing due to police restraint. This did me no favours in winning my child back but I felt I'd lost him already. After a gruelling 6 month battle I got my son back full time. I've had him back a year but because of what happened I believe strongly that my son, only four, will leave me. I know it sounds very childish but the feeling is so strong I cry every moment he is not around. Also his father, who I got back with, messes with my head so badly I am emotionally unstable alot of the time. I'm so worried I have extreme nightmares and feel like maybe I should pass my son over to his father and end my life as they dont want me around anymore. Is this just the disorder speaking or do I have a point?

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to add that it upset me to read hte BPD bashing. Not all of us are like the people you have explained. You're obviously not very nice to these people and they act out. We are very lonely people and any rejection is so hurtful we hit out. If only you know how it felt. It disgusts me how you stereotype BPD.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend and I have been living together for 6 months now. He has a 3 1/2 yr old, I have a 19 yr old and an 11 yr old. While the children in our care, get a long great, I am extremely concerned for the toddler outside of our care. The parents share 50/50 custody and it took almost two years for that to happen. The toddler now spends every other weekend with us and two nights during the week with us. She is a happy, bright beautiful child. She will be 4 in September and up until I moved in, she was still wearing diapers, sucking a pacifier, using a sippy cup etc. I used a reward system and shortly after she was potty trained fully, using a big girl cup and going to bed at night in her room. She oftens says that she has to wear diapers to bed at mommys because those are the rules and she still is given a pacifier. In addition she states she misses mommy and mommy is crying because mommy misses her. Recently, I was doing her hair and she picked up a comb and acted as if she was cutting herself. This action was brought up in the custody evaluators office but the mother threw her arms up and showed everyone, saying "look do you see any marks?" The mother has been told that the evaluator is only to discuss things regarding to the well being of the child but insists on talking about her ex husbands drug problem, hookers, cheating, gangster affiliations etc (all of which are untrue). She emails the evaluator daily sometimes 5-7 emails, attaching court paperwork from years ago. She has been told and warned repeatedly to stop but she refuses and the evaluator keeps giving her "chances" to stop. I want to clarify that I do not speak to the mother nor any court appointed representative. My only concern is the toddler who deserves a healthy fulfilling life. My concern is this, if any person acts out in front of people how does she act in front of the child when no one is watching? The toddler has adjustment issues that I feel are normal. It takes us about two hours after she gets here to adjust to our schedules. We use a star chart to reinforce positive behavior and teach her responsibility. We use the time out chair to discipline negative behavior and these methods seem to work. However, 50% of the time she is in an environment that has no rules and I worry. There has not been a day that we have picked up the toddler from daycare after mother has taken her that the child looks presentable. Her hair is tangled and a mess, she wears sweats in 100+ degree weather, she is allowed to wear dress up (princess plus heels) to school. On one occasion she wore slippers and out here the outside ground can be so hot she could have burned her feet. An email was sent and the mother said they were not slippers they were "soft soled shoes." we live in Arizona, children burn thier feet all the time from not wearing shoes outside. The mothers outbursts and accusations are alarming. She is on medication for ADD but being an outside third party, I believe she may have BPD. It is almost as if she can not control her outbursts or her thoughts. I don't believe any child should have to deal with this. How do you get the court to recognize there is more than ADD?

Anonymous said...

Yes you ARE hated because you ARE exactly like that -a MONSTER. This is not some estrogen filled support forum for BPD people. Your actions are harmful to children both in the short term & later on (as you are teaching your kids how to repeat the pattern in their adult relationships).

Typical "shaming language" from a BPD claiming ultimate victim hood. Get it strait. YOU are a VICTIMIZER. Because you are doing this (purposefully or unconsciously) to kids then you are also a CHILD ABUSER by definition.

I have had 27 years of this crap, my kids 19, count in the lifetimes of all the other posters here.. You are a MONSTER. Own it, get in a car & wrap yourself around a tree, We don't care about you, WE DON'T HAVE TO.

Anonymous said...

I am in a custody battle with my ex who has been diagnosed as 1) depressed, 2) Borderline Personality Disorder, and 3) on cross examination of his Psychologist he admitted he also fits enought of the DSM IV criteria to also be classified as a Sociopath.

This man is a con man. He faked cancer. He lied about being sterile from cancer that resulted in a now 2 year old. He lied about being single. I found out 3 days before our wedding when he attempted suicide that that he was still married to his first wife the entire time and didn't tell me. His family all knew this and hid the truth from me too, amoung many other truths such as, he had a gambling addiction, theft convictions, defrauded unemployment twice. Now I have recently found a flashdrive where he had a letter he wrote impersonating a cancer doctor and it had pictures of potential child porn that I turned over to police. He has also recently defrauded his own bank and doesn't pay child support. This man has been financially, emotionally and psychologically abusing me for YEARS now.

My question to you is - how can you coparent with someone like this. I don't feel safe in his presence and I don't feel that my 2 year old will ever be safe alone in his presence. Please Help

Mr Jess said...

Hi, I am currently in the situation. My bpd ex left to the other side of the world but was given Skype conversations on s a week with our son who is three. Her visits in our town are supervised by myself or a professional agency. I work full time, so I would only be able to do.visits after work, but if she wanted day visits, could she force these visits to occur with my parents, seeing how my son stays with them during the day. They do not want anything to do with her though.
My second concern is, I'm sure she will want to try to get supervision removed, but she has told me she has dOne nothing to treat or help her bpd, she has just "forgotten" it. No more meds either. She has threatened suicide, mutilated her legs, eating disorder, emotional extremes. I believe my son who is only 3, and does not understand what a mom is yet, as she left him when he was one, would be put into harms way. Is this likely to occur down the road?

Anonymous said...

Hi have three kids at risk 8 yo boy mine, an 13 an 15 yo old stepdaughters
my ex flipped on me in dec but luckily our baby sitter who finally saw sanity warned me just before my ex dissapeared with the children and her new huusband to be ( who the children had never met)an hit me with an avo (Aprehended violence order she had convinced the baby sitter who worked on weekends when i worked and didn't know me i was abusive etc ) the kids decided to stay with me an my ex launched her legal assault luckily there was an oversight so she missed getting me in court in the first few days when i was still shell shocked.
her eldest who is now 21 has refused to talk to her scince december an her eldest daughter said she would of shanked one night if she had gotten away with it ( she is also bi-polar an a heroin addict)
when things didn't go according to plan she "attempted suicide " making her 13 yo daughter fully aware i was to blame ( in reality ironically enough her then current partner was probably to blame he grabbed an strangled her then took an AVO out against himself!! to keep away from her they soon got back together though) her insanity continued with continued extreme texts some who she sent to her daughter that she forced to read to me on how she was going to kill herself with copper sulphate an anti cool ( gruesome) finally
after her one surviving ex long term partner other than me died from methodone complications (eldest sons father died heroin overdose girls parents commited suicide she herself her eldest son have had to be medically revived and her eldest step daughter is lucky to be alive various reasons but rooted in her being bpd)
who she had "kept in her stable" died she tried to kill herself again then when she released herself traked down who had fled
( he rang me theday after she went to hospital pills /walking over broken glass previously it was thirteen stitches to her arms saying he hadnt slept for three days an was afaid she was going to knife him )
tried to run him over forced him into the car abused him etc etc
that night i drove up to her
"secret " adress with her brother
who took her away while the police collected the boyfriends stuff from her house when she returned she complained to her brother "it was a waste of money and that "he'd be back" amazingly
such is the power of the (in this case believe it or not extremely effective) bpd they did indeed shortly thereafter get back together again finally in may the mediator negotited a final no contact break up between them an she went into hospital again. this time she stayed an when she came out our 13 yo decided to try an live with her mum she has improved marginally scince then though our 13 yo has scince returned to me and now my 8 yo was visiting her on weekends then i discovered she was using heroin again i belive she had stoped for 6 months ( aprox aug to may )
I only recently a few weeks ago worked out she was bpd and not just bi polar after putting it all together .
she went into hospital againg for tms ( magnetic treatment for bi polar) for three weeks an while she was in there i sent her an e-mail saying our 8yo would not be returning unless she took a naltrexone tablet before she took him ( i believe she would have dried out in hospital but doubt she will stay off once she is out)
she is capable of violence to me an the children if she flips again an though i can get a protection order i am trying to work out some way through this mess that will limit the already imense psycholgogical damage she has inflicted to everyone around her
our 13 yo psychologist was on the border of breaking down in tears when i spoke to her briefly after she last saw her ( many problems there but not as bad as the elder step daughter) does anyone have any advice 25

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have recently been entered into the world of BPD. My boyfriend has a verbally agreed 50-50 joint custody arrangement with his borderline ex gf, his son is six. We do not have many issues with how the child is treated although some interrogation of the child by the mother is evident and manipulation. We believe she interrogate him about things until he simply agrees to make her leave him alone to get back to his video games. He does not understand or care what he's agreeing with her about. Overall the BPD is a loving mother although often has fights in front of the child with her various boyfriends, involving stabbing furniture or punching things. Our main issue is her consistent need to mess with everything and constant calls/texts which are mostly abusive and sometimes she just calls my boyfriend to fix her problems like if she has a fight with her boyfriend. She also always messes with the arrangement making last second changes or saying she can't get him till later or things like this. She also will not allow my boyfriend to have his son at Christmas ( my bf has his son Christmas morning till 11 only and no more) she also constantly threatens leaving and taking the child with her and the child has never been on a real holiday with his father as the mother makes it extremely difficult with her tantrum throwing and hysterical behaviour, despite my bf allowing her to take the child on holidays if she wishes (she hasn't yet as she's cancelled the two times she's told him she will take him somewhere).
Also she is highly insecure about me being in her child's life she constantly threatens me and abuses me (through my bf, no way is she ever getting my number) she becomes more insecure and unstable and uncooperative each time she enters a new relationship (all the men get introduced to the child within 2 weeks of dating, there's been more than 3 just this year, and even lived in more than 2 houses this when the mother moves out of the grandmothers house(also has BPD, don't get me started) and into boyfriends various houses)
Currently looking into getting a set legal parenting plan so that we can stablize the parenting arrangement so the child has more of a schedule (he becomes upset when the schedule changes and often asks what is happening, he likes to know when how where things happen) also so we can not have changes last minute as these greatly impact our own relationship and plans, and also so that the constant abusive calls and texts be put to an end,
Ultimately the goal is so that BPD cannot contact father unless specifically about the child, and only if it is important (she makes many excuses "about the child" to call or text, and ultimately ends up abusing us)
So as we are only just begining the legal journey of BPD and court and child arrangements,
What are the suggestions to get the best outcomes for everyone? And how to deal with it all?
The BPD grandmother is also very much involved in manipulating the BPD mother and the child, it's a horrible messy cycle.

Help!!!

Also definitely going to buy your books, which do you think would be most helpful?

Did I mention I'm studying to be a psychologist? If this BPD doesnt scare me off it.

Brianna Blackburn said...

I am going through a high conflict divorce with my husband who has BPD.He has slandered me publicly online,saying I'm a cheater etc. I have proof of it.Is there anything I can do about that and is there anything I can do about preventing him slandering me again? He is making multiple accounts on facebook and slandering me using my name in reference to the post.

I am also extremely concerned about our child.She is 14 Months old and he has never cared for her, or been alone with her.I did 100% of everything but now he's using her as a pawn.He is living with his mother (who hates me and has been waiting for the day we break up) and I have a feeling she's hiring him an attorney.I just saved him from going to jail for a second time for domestic violence on me only hours before he dumped me. The DV occured three days ago. Please give me any advice you have to offer.

John Thoreson said...

Bill,I don't know how to sum up nearly seven years of hell but i'm going to try.I met a girl from another country,and what seemed to be a story book romance was clearly all a lie.She left me over a year ago,and two days before she moved out she told me about her childhood in a severe nervous breakdown. She was abandoned by her dad for 15 years(who she holds in hi regard)She was molested by her step dad for years,when her mom found out she did nothing and is still with him and she and this man adopted three girls.My x absolutely abscesses about her mom and her mom likes to look at kids naked. I was raised in a good home with no drinking of abuse so I was blind to all the symptoms for years. She is a master manipulator,After she left I begged her to go to counseling(though the church),she went, long story short after two times they asked us to go separately, they quickly filled me in as to what i have been living with my years with her. I finally filed for divorce(hard decision) She did continue to go for a while but ran from the truth,he told me she most likely has borderline personalty disorder,and post stress disorder. She drug out the divorce and wanted outrageous stuff. during negotiations there was a social worker there (because of our child) She saw the illness in her and got her to agree in a psychological,which backed fired she lied in it and she said she was fine.He did not follow through with the people we talked to earlier. I did get 50/50 physical legal. I have seen some behavioral problems however i have a good family and friend support system. I know I'm in for a world of trouble with my x any suggestions, I know she is a pathological liar.She is unwilling to get help and has blamed me for everything you can image. Thankfully for me her mom still lives in another country and her dad lives in another state. luckily for me the court has held my child's passport because shes a runner. There's so much more but that's it in a nutshell. any advice please. thanks john,mn

Anonymous said...

My experience with a borderline ex is very similar to all the posts. I can relate. I whole heartily agree that a well defined custody agreement is essential. I insisted on this even though the GAL was against it. Borderlines operate better when structure is provided as they rarely lived in such environments when growing up. I established and enforced many boundaries as they violate all of them. This worked after i got a no trespassing order placed on her. Extreme but very effective. I agree the rational parent has to be a saint, wiley and tough as nails. This is the most successful approach. I established only email and text as contact with her and this drove the GAL crazy as she did not understand how BPD works. She was a can't we all get along type. indirect contact limits the chance of manipulation and exploitation. It is also in writing and thus documented. They cannot say you did not say it or they did not hear it. It has been nine since my divorce. It has been tough but i have found the following tactits work best. Realize they lie, manipulate, and steal. Approach every "crisis" with those thoughts. When the borderline behaves badly or you belive they have then act quickly and decisively. Text and email her/him immediately. outline the offense, state your displeasure, show why it is harmful, explain the proper parenting action, list all consequences of such actions. Ei: no talking to the kids on the phone, no extra time with the kids, full documentation, legal action if necessary, and even outing the borderline to the public. Outing them is most effective as they operate much like a wolf in sheep's clothing. They are always protecting their image. Saying the emperor has no clothes is their greatest fear greater than abandonment. My divorce and family therapist knew she was borderline (queen) and narcissistic. This was kept from until recently. Remember the court is not your friend and rarely gets it right, therefore they knowingly or unknowlingly enable the borderline. Only after extremely bad behavior do they act and then timidly. I recommend tracking your borderline's bad behavior as they have a cycle or pattern. This allows you insight as to what they will do next thus you can anticipate it and act quickly. As repulsive as this sounds you must parent the borderline and regularly. Other words every day or at a minimum every other day. While they hiss and blow they are listening. They want structure and unfortunately you have to be the one to give it. You will have to repeat your self infinitely times as they cannot retain the most basic information. Your children will thank you. As for the borderlines who posted that we are horrible for "attacking them", I have the following to say. You are using manipulation and victimization as a shield for your behavior. That is called projection. You may keep it as It doesn't work on us. Remember our children and us are on the receiving end of your bizarre, irritating, and harmful behavior. You want it to stop the go to counseling. See a psychiatrist for mood stabling meds. Otto Kernberg stated the hallmark of a borderline is stealing, lying, parasitism, exploitation and bribery. All of us have consistantly experienced that.

barrettfraser said...

I spent several years trying to convince my son's mother to put his interest first. She was physically abusive to my 2 year old son and she left him at the babysitters house over night for several years. She refused to in any way co operate to make things work for my son. She would just scream and yell all the time, refused to go to counselling, refused mediation, had her boyfriend attack me, accused me of molesting my son, had me arrested for asking her to stop sending men to my house to threaten me.
Eventually I had to give up. I still love my son very much, but I've realized that there is nothing I can do. I know she will abuse my son and feel she is the victim. How much is my son likely to be affected by his mother?
Barrett Fraser

Anonymous said...

Some truly heartbreaking stuff here. And still I find relief in the fact that so many of you have suffered something that I thought I endured alone. My bpd ex-wife convinced me not only that my child hated me, but also that I deserved it. 10 months ago I had never heard the words "parental alienation" and I had only a cursory understanding of bpd. But as it turns out I am an expert having co-parented with a sufferer for the last 13 years (divorced for the last 8 years). I was granted a custody evaluation when my daughter stopped coming on my days (we were 50/50). My exs symptoms were so pronounced, her behavior so egregious, I was granted sole legal and physical custody of my daughter. Mom cannot contact her in anyway until a court ordered psychiatrist clears her for supervised visits in his office. Given that she is sure that she is well and merely the victim of some conspiracy at the highest levels of family court, I don't imagine she will ever get through the front door of that doctors office. That's the problem with bpd, having it means that you can never admit that you have it. When my daughter refused contact with me I did everything I could to get her back. I spent well over 200k in lawyers, shrinks, evaluators, and court costs. I spent countless hours in doctors offices and courtrooms. I responded to every insane claim made by my ex. And I held out hope that I would have my baby back in my life. And now I do. And she is relieved. Despite how enmeshed she was with her mom she is relieved not to be the adult in that horrible, broken relationship. Do everything you can to rescue your kids. Never give up. My daughter has a chance now. And despite what I feel is a noble idea, I can never let her back into her mother's orbit. Post losing her daughter her only actions have been in her own defense. She only cares about what people are saying. The irony of this after years of her horrible accusations against me. Often with my daughter in earshot. Bill, they can fix her. She doesn't want to be fixed. And I won't let her near my daughter until the doctor says it's ok. And by then it won't matter anymore. Meanwhile I have my baby for thanksgiving. It will be the best one yet.

Book Help said...

Bill, it seems you are no longer replying to posts, but I will post this with hopes you will rejoin. I am a step-mother to 4 year old boy (have had contact since he was 1 yo). My husband’s ex-wife was diagnosed with BPD, who was even taking medication at one point. I have very little to no contact with her. As a mother, I believe she deserves to meet and converse with the woman who is taking care of her son, but she is very irrational and difficult to deal with therefore my husband and I do not believe it would be the best idea. She has made repeated attempts of ill-will towards me, writing very obscene, vulgar emails allegedly between my husband and her, coming to my working place accusing me of adultery, etc…We currently share 50/50 custody, but “deal” with her antics almost daily. She often states she is looking out for son’s best interests but her actions are almost always in her favor. She ‘one-ups’ us if we ever do anything with him, presumably to ensure she is the ‘better loved’ parent. We are not overbearing but do instill discipline and we do not believe that is the case with her. He has changed daycares six times in his short years and she has had just as many residences and occupations. Upon the last mediation, they agreed to a parent coordinator, but she is always ‘too busy’ or doesn’t have enough money to cover the 40% of the cost (the judge recently ordered a hearing after learning she was documented in contempt). Additionally, she has a daughter whom she gave up parental custody after the legal battles became too tough. I have never tried to replace her as a mother, though I am very motherly and supportive towards him. I hope that our own rationale behavior will prevent him from eventually getting this disorder. Can you recommend which of your book would be better suited to my situation? Would it be “Don’t alienate…”

Anonymous said...

Anyone know how/where you can buy the book 'don't alienate the kids' within Europe? Amazon only ships within the US/N.America.

Anonymous said...

Won't work because ex will emotionally, verbally and possibly physically abuse the kids. They will alienate them as well as my ex is trying to do. The system is rigged to believe the most outrageous claims, and those are usually made by the borderline parent. In all honesty, I think the kids would be better off with just one "normal" parent than spending even part of the time with the negative influences of a borderline parent. You said yourself that kids of borderline parents have a 5x greater chance of having BPD themselves. Lets not forget about the other issues like anxiety, PTSD, etc... that living with someone with BPD can cause. I see the detriments far outweighing any benefit that having a BPD parent in a childs life would bring.

Numb said...

50/50 with a borderline will not work. My husband's ex thinks 50/50 works just fine-as long as HE follows the agreement and she does not apply it to herself, or be accountable when she won't follow it.
Now that the kids are teens, we wanted them to come and try living with us for a more structured environment, since they do seem to like spending time with us. The agreement said we are supposed to be able to have them stay half of the year. But one chose not to, the oldest outright refused-preferring no rules over our simple, non-chaotic structure.

After enduring many of her exhausting tirades and threats , we have decided will give her full custody, which is what she's threatened to go after for years. Based on her actions and anger issues, she appears to be a high functioning bpd-in counseling, but who knows what the real diagnosis is as she isn't sharing that detail.
She is not expecting to receive full custody, in fact, I'm sure she's gearing up for a custody fight. I'm sure she'll be surprised how much work being a single parent will actually be.

But we are finally aware the purpose (for her) of a 50/50 split was to keep the fight going. We came to realize that it is NOT in the best interest of the children to continue being subjected to the fighting and her abuse of my husband- which was the reason the marriage failed and will settle for structured visitation times and do what we can to set good role models for them.

Anonymous said...

I am divorcing my bpd husband. He only wants alternate weekends. I hav been told I am lucky and not to fight. But I still wonder if he could harm them to get back at me.

Tracey said...

My 13 yo niece is being raised by grandparents. Her Mom is a suspected BPD+ has not consistently been around, Mom and Mom’s boyfriends are priority in her life. Mom also has 3 yo daughter (different dad) that she lost custody of in 2010 due to overdosing in flop house with daughter who was 6 mo at the time along w/addict husband. 13 yo niece spent some time w/her mom last year but not consistently because Mom lied to her about some issues and 13 yo niece stopped talking to Mom in November. After court mediation, unsupervised visitation was granted to Mom and 13 yo niece began spending every weekend with Mom and Mom’s live in boyfriend in early January 2013. Since that time, 13 yo niece has become markedly depressed (was put on Prozac this week), has had raging episodes against her grandparents, stopped spending time w/her girlfriends as she’s w/Mom every weekend and has had arguments w/her boyfriend. She has been in and out of counseling over the last several years. Most recently saw counselor for last few months, but counselor moved to new practice and must find a new therapist. Mom has always been divisive, to other family members. Mom is extremely manipulative and subtle about it. 13 yo niece may not always recognize manipulation. Statements she’s made as of late lead all to believe she is being manipulated. 13 yo niece is outwardly hostile to other family members (myself, my other sister, my brother and his wife). Another factor in this is that my parents are not good about disciplining 13 yo niece. My mom said when she has rage episodes where she is screaming, yelling, crying and blaming them for the way they raised her Mom. Have told my mom that she must enforce consequences for behavior but she states the my 13 yo niece “seems so fragile.” Oh it’s all so dysfunctional!

Anonymous said...

Numb, I am in the same boat. The fighting seems to never stop it has just become less frequent. We realize we cannot win. You just have to go along with them and wait for the kids to realize you are not as bad as the other parent makes you out to be. We are actually leaving the state for the most part over this. But I will do everything to remain a positive force in their lives and be as good a role model as possible.

Anonymous said...

My husband is healthy, I'm not. I realized this when my son's psychiatrist told us parents that our son feels alone and left out- and he's only six! We've tried our best but looking back I now understand what a horrible mother I've been...I've been abusive, neglective, unstable etc. and while my husband has done the best he could, he has been working so I've been taking care of our son for the most. Not a good scenario.

Anyway, here's what we'll do: I'm moving away but we're all staying in the same area (or even block). This way I can have the peace and privacy I need and calm down AND our son can breathe without me nagging behind his back all the time. I'm going to seek for professional help with handling my emotions (I've done therapy etc. in the past but it didn't help enough) and trying to support both my son and husband. As for our marriage, we've not going to separate. We love each other and my husband understands borderline behaviour; it was his idea that I should move close by and visit anytime I want. I think it's a good idea as well but for some reason other people do not understand this at all..? We're not that typical couple, been together since kids so we really understand each other, maybe that's why?

Anonymous said...

Draw the lines clearly, make legal boundaries, keep contact as little as possible and only on a need to know basis. Exercise and do things for yourself and the kids. You deserve it with what you've been through. Avoid letting these people affect your day or your good mood because that is exactly what they fuel off of....drama.....conflict. You cannot cure them, it's not your job to diagnose them or analyze them. Our jobs as parents are to raise our kids the best way we know how with what God has given us as hard as that may be with a bpd coparenting. Basically, coparenting with a BpD parent is like raising another child except this child is riddled with behavior issues and will turn your hair gray if you let them. Don't play their game....be the loving parent who will not fight that custody battle or any battle with them. Trust me, you will be wasting your money....unless of course there is abuse that's different altogether. Laugh more, live often, and smile. 10yrs out, there's hope and a light at the end of the tunnel!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I hate always reading negative stories about BPD. I am a father of one 5 year old boy and yes, I struggled immensely with unstable emotions. However, I think each should be evaluated on a case by case basis. I have been seeking help and in therapy for over 2 years and take mood stabilizing medication. I have overcome many of the problems I had and am a full time student in a University who just competed a BA in psychology with a 3.81 GPA. I was also accepted to grad school as a school psychologist and will be working directly with children. Despite BPD being extremely difficult and an affliction I'll likely live with til I die, there are exceptions and there are people that succeed at parenting. It is the knowledge of what I was missing as a child, the love and unconditional support that makes them especially salient messages between me and my child. I don't want him to go through what I did which makes me all the more invested. I do worry however that if I lost custody or he was taken away how I would handle it. In my experience that's what makes a BPD vulnerable is that they feel that everyone leaves them, and it can feel devastating and reaffirm deep seated feelings of shame. Shame differs from guilt in that it focuses on the individual rather than the behavior; to feel unworthy of being happy or being loved. Can you imagine feeling like that? That what you most deeply desire as a social animal is out of reach for you? To be loved, needed, accepted? Just keep in mind this originates in childhood, with parents that are supposed to convey love and security leave you instead associating those feelings with fear and anxiety. UGH! like the last comment that was on here, people are individuals. If someone is an alcoholic, it doesn't mean that they drink till they pass out, it's different for each individual and is affected by environment. Most of the people on here seem to have as black and white thinking as I supposedly do. Life is not a binary people, but a spectrum and subject to environment and number of resources. Anyone with BPD should look into Compassion Focused Therapy, as well as anyone seeking a deeper understanding of human emotions and motivations.

Bill Eddy said...

Dear Anonymous, I'm so glad you left your comment and helped explain what its like for someone struggling with managing and overcoming this problem. You are to be congratulated on your efforts to manage your emotions and your successes. You are right that childhood should be a time of love and guidance, not shame and blame. You make a good point about avoiding black and white thinking. We're all learning! Best wishes, Bill Eddy

Anonymous said...

Wow! The comments dating back three years suggest how close to people's hearts is this issue! If you're still interested in people's experiences, here's mine:

My now-husband split up with his borderline ex-wife after only about 18 months of marriage. Their son (their only child together and her only child, at all) was an infant, then. For five years he returned to court as often as once a month, simply trying to maintain contact and involvement with his son, in the face of his ex-wife's masterful and dogged efforts to alienate their son from him; circumvent all of his court-ordered parental rights; and discredit him in our community.

You suggest it may be desirable to avoid court - or trying to take primary custody away from a borderline - because those things tend to bring out the borderline's worst behaviors. It's true that when my husband's ex-wife felt more secure - when she won court cases - she could seem downright pleasant and encouraging of my step-son's time with his father. However, if my husband tried to see their son more than four hours/month; or have phone contact; celebrate holidays with their son; or have any involvement whatsoever in his education, extra-curricular activities or friendships, that pleasant facade disappeared and she immediately returned to making false accusations, calling police, requesting protective orders, moving without warning and dragging their sons to different psychiatrists, trying to unearth repressed memories of abuse.

For my husband there was a clear and unavoidable choice: press his rights in court as doggedly as she violated them (and ultimately fight for custody); or leave his son largely isolated with a mentally ill and emotionally abusive parent.

The court finally gave my husband sole custody, when their son was eight. We were married by then and both wanted to show my step-son that his life needn't be so rigidly divided into "Mom's territory" and "Dad's". My husband asked to waive child support, so his ex-wife (who had moved thousands of miles away) could use the money for extra visits. He invited her to visit for all their son's special events and gave her more parenting time than the court recommended, when she did visit. He bought her a web cam so she and their son could video-chat and suggested she use it to be virtually involved with his homework time. He gave their son a cell phone. He did everything he wished his ex had done, for him.

It didn't matter. She was - and is - relentless in her belief that their son's life cannot involve both parents simultaneously. She visited very little and stopped altogether, a couple years ago, very clearly telling their son she refuses to be in the same city as my husband and if their son wants more time with her, he must fight to move back where she lives. She has never once used the web cam. She calls (and takes my step-son's calls) irregularly. She ignores every opportunity to be involved in their son's education or activities, here.

Don't misunderstand: she's not cold toward my step-son. She says the sweetest things to him and seems to live for his visits to her. The longest close relationship she's ever had (that hasn't been punctuated by years of enmity and silence) is with him. My step-son's growing attachment to his school and friends here (not to mention our family) and her unfulfilled dream of a custody-change reversal and joyous "reunion" seems to have left her heartbroken and dependent upon anti-depressants and anxiety meds. It's just not enough to make her consider moving back here and sharing her son's life with his father.

The cause of her losing custody has not changed: she's incapable of putting her child ahead of her rigid ideas about her divorce. That's just not something my husband can fix, no matter how he has tried to give his son two parents.

Donald Little said...

Mr. Eddy,

My dicvorce has been a nasty one. Since my divorce, my ex has violated several aspects of the decree and has recently had a DUI with kids in the car. I have since filed a supplemental petition to modify time-sharing based on this and other events that have endangered the children. Since, I filed, relations have been hostile and she has made a few false allegations to me. I know she will try to paint me as abusive, inflexible, etc. However, I am confident I can disprove these allegations. I am concerned about my level of assertion being construed as aggression. I am also looking how these allegations made against me will effect this case. How would you recommend handling this sort of situation.

Anonymous said...

I'm sharing custody 50/50 with my ex-husband who has been diagnosed Bipolar, but shows all the signs of being BPD. He is trying to accuse me of child abuse and gain full custody of our child himself. He is squeaky clean, very charming, well-behaved in court, taking a ton of anti-psychotics, but unsupervised, so who knows what he's on now. He is coaching our son to come to my home full of conflict and hate towards me and his half brother. He is called a bully at school. The father has interfered with attempts to get therapy for our son for almost 2 years. It was not until I submitted a court order to request therapy and an inconclusive CPS case (with allegations that I am abusing my own child) that therapy is becoming a possibility. The man is dangerous, threatening and a liar. He pushes my buttons and tries to do everything in his power to make my son living hell when the boy comes to my home. So sad that this boy is the victim of this man's projection. I understand what his happening psychologically, to a degree, but I'm not sure how to help my son when we get to court. I've made my mistakes, lost my temper, but not to the point of abuse. Any suggestions on how to deal with false allegations of abuse and a father who coaches his son towards parent alienation would be much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. Eddy!
I have been through a horrific divorce and custody battle for my son. My ex-wife was diagnosed with several things over the years of our relationship: Schizoaffective Disorder; Bi-Polar; Anger Issues; Manic Depression; Anxiety; Mixed Moods; Adjustment Disorder; BPD. She was put on several medications, and they seemed to help. She would drink alcohol on top of her meds, and this created un-predictable behaviors, situations, and occurrences. Before our son was born, her daughter from a prior relationship began showing genetic propensities to her mother's mental illnesses. Shortly after our son's birth, she filed for divorce. She got into a relationship with another man, and I spent approx. 40k in legal fees trying to protect my son and myself. The system failed! A custody evaluator psychologist was appointed, and she overturned all prior diagnoses from the original forensic psychiatrist, therapists, etc., and stated that my ex-wife only suffers from PTSD. From my understanding, this is also a very serious mental illness. My ex stopped taking her meds of her own volition when she found out she was pregnant, and has chosen not to go back on them. I had found out that a neurologist prescribed her a high dose of Naproxen since then, and from my research, this is typical to BPD's, because it only is treating a symptom of the actual problem. Am I correct? The evaluator stated that she does not require medication. My little boy has been harmed numerous times within her care over the last 2 years, but no-one has helped him or myself to stop this insanity. Our communications are limited to email, and it is virtually impossible to receive open and honest communication from her with regards to our son. The email strings become very elongated, because I can never receive answers to questions about the welfare of our son initially, which then requires me to keep inquiring. We have 50/50 parenting time, but co-parenting or shared parenting with her seems impossible, and it is very frustrating. I am very close with my 3 year old boy, and I have chosen not to involve another woman in his life or mine. He and I spend a lot of one-on-one time together, and I am very concerned about how this situation is going to evolve moving forward over the next several years. Her intent is to control, and it seems to never stop. What can I do? How do I address this horrific family court system? How do I protect my son from the damage potential when in her care? It seems that no matter how polite, rational, caring, etc. that I am with her, she translates simple English into something completely different. She projects, she gaslights, she splits, etc., etc. Anyone who has to share parenting time with these type of people seemed to be doomed. The other part is that our corrupt family court system in the U.S. specifically states that the only chance for something to be done, is only if a catastrophic event occurs. What kinda crap is this? I don't want to wait until something catastrophic happens to my son, nor should anyone else have to as a parent. I agree that a child needs both parents, but I believe they need to be healthy. The system's entities declare best interests of the children, but this does not seem to be the case. It is a $50 billion a year industry, which does not understand the dynamics of harm that goes on without catastrophic events. Any advice?

Anonymous said...

Hi
I am a stepmother to 4 children. They have lived with my husband-their father- and me for the last 6 years related to their mother's condition.

Well and truely we know the status of living and psuedo-interacting with a person with BPD.

I would love to have a chat with you!

My experience is limited to only what I have experienced in our situation.

I agree that children should have time with each parent and be able to establish relationships with both-- and benefit from them.
However, with these children spending 50% of time with their mom I believe would be detrimental to their growth/development.
Currently, there is an eow and 1/2 of holidays with their mom. Typically the chidren's grandparents help when the time is longer than a few days.

Putting the pressure on the other parent to take the responsibility to reorient the child to culturally appropriate or non-ill relationships seems to be a bit far reaching. I know my husband spends a great deal of time just wondering if the children will be safe.

Perhaps our case is a more severe case.

In the last week their mother picked them up from school and kept them over night-- when not her scheduled time and she is court ordered not to drive them (related to drug use).
Then she wrote a letter through the court and said her 16 year old son told her it was okay for her to do this.
When we asked the son he said no. (not that he could give approval).
The next day she showed up screaming outside of our house. She has been a high powered person in the past, so not someone on the streets.
Anyways, this is our situation which occurs typically every 3 months or so.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I am dealing with this situation and in court NOW. It has cost me over 10,000 for a court ordered custody evaluation and another 15,000 for my attorney. She constantly has to be involved and in contact with the father or his attorney any time we have to directly exchange the children now that school is out. I am continually attacked, insulted and put down and this is done in front of my children, also, as the psychologist who did our custody eval stated in court. My daughter has Aspergers and she has become her father's puppet and is terrified to do or say anything that may upset her father, which was also stated by the psychologist as well as the counselor my children see twice a month. If I attempt to explain this person to anyone, I sound like the I am crazy because nobody understands how irrational the behavior can be and what we have to deal with on a daily basis. He has been diagnosed with mixed personality disorder and has 4-5 different disorders listed in our custody eval that had to be court ordered per my request. This helps even though it is very pricey! I have been through hell for 10 years trying to explain to my children's guardian ad litem what was going on and never got through to her until this eval. Now she is hearing from a professional exactly what I have been explaining for 10 years. If you don't have the money to do this, you are basically screwed and that is the sad part of this whole thing. I feel for anyone that has to live and coparent with someone like this and wish you all the luck in the world!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill-
I'm not only divorced from a man with BPD but the new gf has it too I think. My daughter has come home from visitation telling me the gf has told her and my 17 yr old son she has "spies" and knows everything I do and I that I'm a horrible incompetent mother. My other son (also 17) hasn't had anything to do with his father in a year. It makes it awful. I try in the worst way to be amicible, but he turns every attempt into an issue. He took me to court 5x in the past year-once to put the kids on my med ins even though I had approached him 3 months earlier and he out and out refused. I signed the paper-and then he didn't pay me. I try so hard to not let it bother me but it does. My daughter wants to stop visitation-my other son gets into the manipulation trap.
Any advice?

Anonymous said...

If you are still collecting stories -

I haven't seen too much written about BPD parents who are not only alienating the other parent, but are enmeshed with the chosen child (i.e. dependent on the child for their emotional needs, basicall y replacing their ex-partner with the child). The combination of these two - alienation and enmeshment - are brutal to the child leading to severe behavioral issues and a likely personality disorder unless dealt with - along with a very diminished capacity to succeed in life.

How to deal with it? In my son's case his therapeutic team feels his best hope is to be removed from the family dysfunction so that he can develop his own identity, improve behavior, heal his relationship with me, and develop an appropriate relationship with his mother. I agree with them but of course his BPD/enmeshed mother does not, and is pulling out all the stops to fight it and has dragged our son into the middle of it. Extremely damaging! Unfortunately I have little confidence that the courts will do what's in his best interest. From the outside, his mom looks like such a doting, loving, parent, with a son who thinks she can do no wrong, while I am completely evil/abusive etc. Few people can understand what is really going on. I pray the court will come to the right decision, otherwise I will basically be banished from his life, deeply worried for his future.

noo toffee said...

My partner is struggling with this big time. He hasn't seen his child in over a year now and can't get anyone on his side. The child is three now and his ex has bpd & eupd. I don't know if she's actively self harming or what but she don't allow him access at all. I know it's going to be a horrible long journey ahead of us :/

Anonymous said...

I don't see how anyone can expect children to remain with or be raised with a BPD parent. If it's bad enough for a spouse to leave, why on earth would you let your children still be around the parent with BPD. My kids are so messed up because of their BPD father. And to the BPD who said for everyone to stop hating on them in the comments above, you obviously are still playing the victim role. It's not alienating a parent. It's about saving your kids souls. Any counselor who would suggest a child be parented by a psychopath needs counseling themselves.

educate the public said...

My husbands ex wife is undiagnosed borderline. She is known as a functioning borderline. She has her Masters in psychology. She is a pathological liar. Mental health problems and family court do not mix. The ex has 2 previous suicide attempts before marriage, rape by an uncle when she was 4, eating disorders including bulimia.
She had my husband arrested while at work as a fire captain on claims of uttered death threats that she claimed 10 days prior. She warned my husband that come June 2008 if problems in the marriage weren't fixed she was done. My husband was arrested without evidence on June 30 2008. She has managed smear campaigns, interfered with access (she hid our 2 boys for 72 days) which resulted in my husband being awarded custody. She has stalked me, showed up at my ex husbands claiming that my husband had absconded with the children, ran my licence plates to find out where I lived, enrolled the boys in school out of district and without consent, called protection agencies dozens of times, read the boys court documents and told them that daddy went to jail.
The ex has episodes of self talk and auditory and visual hallucinations in front of the children, she has panic attacks and has physically restrained them for trying to phone dad.
My husband has spent $300,000 on lawyers fees as she continues to bring him back to court on false accusations. She has forged court documents, lied to judges and withheld financial disclosures for 4 years. The boys are terrified of her. They believe there are ghosts that live in the walls at her house as she talks to people that are not there. Children's Aid society has been called in again as a result of concerns raised by the boys therapist.
This is maybe 1% of the terrible things she has done over the last 8 years. Our boys are 9 and 10 now.
So for all of you out there that believe it's better for children to be exposed to what our boys have been exposed to please I beg you to reconsider.
This last summer we had paramedics at our home 3 times in 2 months as our eldest son has had severe and demulating anxiety attacks.
If an adult is unable to handle a bpd ex how can anyone think small children can? That to me is child abuse.

Anonymous said...

What she posted was done in true BPD fashion. And seems more like seeking to justify her actions. Than to truley find a solutions to the problem that are of benefit to the child.
Yikes!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I know BPDs are difficult, but this person sounds pretty toxic all on his own. You really gave your children a book about BPD mothers? Why not steer them to simply manage their emotions in a healthy manner? You refer to your children's mothers home as a hell hole? All of these behaviors and attitudes are unhealthy and damaging to kids. After all, you picked her and procreated with her. They had no choice in the matter ... That's why the non-BPD parent carries the higher burden of having to rise above the negative traits. We owe it to the kids and if there is even just 1 out of 2 parents that can do that, there is hope that a child can learn coping skills that will help them manage difficulties throughout their lives.

Anonymous said...

BPDs are not just difficult. They are complete nightmares. There is no winning. There is no solution. You can only do damage control. All you can do is try to focus on the child and ignore them as much as possible. Get your child in therapy as soon as possible. Support them through their struggle. Don't engage. Don't fight. The BPD wants you to fight with them. They want to prove you are combative like they say. My daughter's mother even changed her birth certificate illegally to take me off. There's nothing you can do past a certain point except just calmly manage the problems without engaging. Just try to focus exclusively on the child and cut off all contact with the BPD parent if at all possible. The child will see eventually that you are calm and reasonable and not the person that the BPD parent says. They will come around. But you have to stay focused. You have to stay in. You have to have a laser focus on the child and completely disengage from the other parent. You have to build a framework around the child, like therapy, where they can get their own perspective. If possible, you remove them from the situation, but if not you have to manage the situation. Buy your child a phone so you can contact the child directly. Don't badmouth the BPD parent. Don't even acknowledge they exist if you can. Change the subject when they come up. You can't engage on any level. You can't do something nice. You can't respond to anything unless absolutely necessary. If you have to talk to them, talk about the weather. You can't engage in any way.

Anonymous said...

Currently engaged in a year-long custody dispute as a stepmom to children with a borderline mother. Years of emotional and verbal abuse (some caught in audio recording by my oldest step-daughter) culminated in an incident of physical assault - mother recently plead guilty to 1 charge of Assault 4 DV and 1 charge of Disorderly Conduct. Her ability to develop rapport with attorneys, the GAL, and other supporters is quickly disintegrating as the stress increases and her worry over losing blossoms and that despair is increasing the difficulty and conflict in the case. The GAL, the kids' counselor, and her therapist are all aligned in her diagnosis. What we are struggling with is creating plans and structure that set all up for success. Given the DVPO, she is currently in supervised visitation and yet every other part of the orders is heavily contested (how bills are sent, but what date vacation requests are delivered, what specific word is used, etc.) I would greatly appreciate some guidance or references on building plans for use with BPD's.