Articles Posted in BPD and Divorce

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“Could you become a high-conflict person’s (HCP’s) Target of Blame? If you’re not watchful and careful, yes. HCPs generally pick on people they are close to or people in authority positions. These close personal or supervisory relationships usually involve the types of people we’re inclined to invite into our lives, often without knowing much about them.

Avoiding and deflecting high-conflict behavior is like avoiding illness. You can protect yourself from becoming someone’s Target of Blame by vaccinating yourself with knowledge of the personality patterns of high-conflict people. I call this personality awareness.

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In fact, with personality awareness you will be more confident in dealing with people, because you will know how to recognize the warning signs of dangerous personality patterns before they do you much harm.”

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” Is your partner emotionally explosive, regularly picking fights, and blaming others for all their troubles? Bill Eddy sheds light on how to manage conflict and communication with a high conflict person.”

https://www.modernseparations.com/podcast/04 

Christina: What type of preparation do you recommend?

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I came across this podcast that features Megan Hunter, and offers some useful information about Personality Disorders and Divorce.  A significant of my practice involves divorces and child custody issues that feature traits of personality disorders that affect the custody and wellbeing of children. Megan distinguishes between a situational aspect of divorce, where parents under high stress exhibit negative behaviors, and that of divorces that involve Personality Divorces, False Allegations, and potentially toxic levels of Parental Alienation.

Megan is an executive with my colleague Bill Eddy’s High Conflict Institute. Bill Eddy is the author of Splitting and I was privileged to work with Bill and Randi Kreger on the 1st Edition of Splitting, having offered the name of the book to Bill (it was a natural thought…splitting indicating a synonym for a divorce, and the psychological phenomenon that some PDs have), providing some limited content, and writing the foreword for the 1st Edition.

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Megan Hunter is the CEO of Unhooked Media – a company focused on relationship and conflict resolution through print, digital, and the spoken word. She is the co-founder of the High Conflict Institute and currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Personality Disorder Awareness Network.

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In my practice, aside from managing my client’s important cases, I have some role as a “coach” to help my clients manage interactions with a former spouse with BPD, NPD, or traits thereof, that make communications with the former spouse toxic and stressful.  My colleague Bill Eddy has introduced the BIFF technique of communications with a toxic ex-spouse: Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm.  See: http://www.highconflictinstitute.com.  Also helpful is this article that I found today, that discusses the approach called “Gray Rock.”  Akin to BIFF, the idea is to be nonreactive in dealing with the narcissist. In other words, if you have to interact with them, understand that the narcissist feeds on conflict and chaos, and that you, in communicating with them (as you may be forced to do if there are children of the marriage)  learn to disempower the NPD’s need for chaos and toxic control.

” If you can’t go “No Contact” with a Narcissist because you have children with them, or you are somehow unable to get them out of your life for whatever reason,  you can implement a technique called “Gray Rock”. Gray Rock is where you become as exciting and interesting as, well,  a gray rock. The goal is to blend into the background, and become the most boring, unreactive person they’ve ever met. The reason being is that if you can quit being a source of supply for their drama and attention, they will eventually leave you alone.

How to go gray rock?
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Representing many clients through the past 20+ years in relationships with people with borderline traits, it is helpful to see new artciles that discuss the experiences of people in these relationships. Here, a discussion about the triggering on anger in borderlines, many times without an apparent reason.

I’d say from the two people I know with it that things can be going really well and you can forget sometimes that they have the disorder, but then the littlest things can set it off, which just makes the episodes all the more jarring and violently abrupt.

There are several different subtypes of BPD, but my closest experiences have been with the ‘Petulant Borderline,’ sometimes called the ‘angry’ subtype.

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I stumbled upon this article today doing some research on profiles of Borderline Personality traits in marriages and divorce. One of the things that is unique about the case presented in this article is that the victim of the Borderline rage and abuse is Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a scion of the Kennedy family and currently a lawyer and environmental activist. I include this article today as it captures rather well and completely the nature of being in a relationship with someone with a very aggressive form of BPD.  The articles details the physical and emotional abuse that the victim spouse suffered, along with the suffering that the children on this marriage endured. Unique about this case, as well, is the level of detail and analysis that is involved in identifying the traits of BPD, and the efforts that Mr. Kennedy made to demonstrate this level of abuse to the courts in the pursuit of his child custody case. The full article appears here: http://shrink4men.com/2012/06/11/the-new-face-of-borderline-personality-disorder-mary-richardson-kennedy-abused-her-husband-and-children-and-committed-suicide-as-a-final-act-of-revenge-for-perceived-abandonment/

“Whenever Bobby mentioned divorce, she would threaten suicide, but the next morning she would be calm and gentle. She would say she was sorry and didn’t know why she was acting this way. For a time she would be her old wonderful self at night as well as during the day, and Bobby had renewed hope, the affidavit said.”

” It is very common for the BPD to return “back to normal” after raging and spewing vitriol. I liken it to emotional projectile vomiting. As their partner, you are expected to pretend as if nothing untoward happened, even though you’re standing there, still dripping in their emotional vomit. If you do not accept her “apology” and apologize for “your part” in her rage, you will often be subjected to more rage and emotional projectile vomit.

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In my divorce and child custody practice, I have represented a number of very good, intelligent people who have been victimized by a narcissist spouse’s  gaslighting campaign. Gaslighting is a term that is used to describe the abuse inflicted so as to damage the victim’s perception of reality, in the sense of who they are as a person, whether they are to blame (though they are innocent), and a means by the narcissist or borderline to control their victim spouse with emotional abuse. “Gaslighting is a form of manipulation through persistent misdirection, contradiction, and deception in an attempt to destabilize and brainwash a target (spouse). Its intent is to sow seeds of doubt in the targets, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The term owes its origin to Gas Light, a 1938 play and 1944 film, and has been used in clinical and research literature.

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A recent article on PDAN’s site (Personality Disorders Awareness Network)  discusses gaslighting well. See:  http://narcissisticbehavior.net/the-effects-of-gaslighting-in-narcissistic-victim-syndrome/

From my experience representing victims of emotional abuse by spouses with personality disorders, some of the devastiting effects of gaslighting are found across the board in victims of emotional abuse by BPDs and NPDs. These are:

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One of the primary concerns that parents have about an impending divorce is the question of the resilience and adaptability of the children to divorce. In my practice at Law Offices of Michael F. Roe LLC, there has been a history of successfully managing cases that sometimes involve complex issues, such as a parent with traits of a personality disorder, Parental Alienation, or a toxic parent that acts out in the family with a lot of chaos, threats, and aggression. Cases that have these features make the protocols put into place all the more important in order to protect my clients and the wellbeing of the children. I have spent the last 20 years focused on the clinical and psychological issues in divorce and custody, and make every effort to apply this experience in each and every case in my Firm; there are no “cookie cutter” approaches and each family’s case is different and requires different solutions and plans.

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One of the goals of managing these complex cases is to create a plan for the developmental health of the children, both in the near term and the long term. A recent article has reflected on outcomes in divorce cases with children, and the findings of the varied research are interesting. The research speaks to the idea that kids that emerge from low conflict divorces, with mindful and respectful parents, do better over the long term. Kids from chaotic families tend do do more poorly, but my belief is that with good planning and protection, these difficult outcomes can be mitigated:

” Divorce affects most children in the short run, but research suggests that kids recover rapidly after the initial blow. Most children of divorce also do well in the longer term. Researchers have consistently found that high levels of parental conflict during and after a divorce are associated with poorer adjustment in children.

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The podcast below is one of the best opportunities to get a summary from Dr. Amy Baker about her work with Parental Alienation, and her efforts to mentor parents affected by Parental Alienation.

A large part of my practice involves complex and high conflict divorce and custody cases. Many of these involve one parent affected by a personality disorder, which can then involve active and damaging alienation of the non-disordered parent’s relationship with their children.

http://kprcradio.iheart.com/media/play/27301638/

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Law Offices of Michael F. Roe manages a number of cases where traits of toxic narcissism are involved. These personality traits can cause a lot of suffering in a marriage and eventual divorce, and the suffering is compounded when children are involved. One simple distinction needs to be made: what is the difference between narcissism and high self esteem?

A recent psychological study explains the crucial difference between being a narcissist and having high self-esteem. Although narcissists feel superior to others they do not necessarily feel that good about themselves.  In contrast, people with high self-esteem naturally feel good about themselves but do not feel superior to others.

The difference is highlighted in a new paper which shows how narcissism and high self-esteem diverge.