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Dr. Amy Baker is a nationally recognized expert in parent child relationships, especially children of divorce, parental alienation syndrome, and emotional abuse of children. One of her books occupies a permanent place on my office bookshelf: The High-Conflict Custody Battle Protect Yourself and Your Kids from a Toxic Divorce, False Accusations, and Parental Alienation

Dr. Baker helps targeted parents navigate the legal and mental health systems. Topics addressed include:

How to find the right attorney for your case.

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I receive many calls from men and women in toxic relationships with people that have narcissistic personalities. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and often others. It is a DSM cluster B personality disorder.

One important tactic in dealing with a narcissist is proper boundary setting. This must be done carefully, and with skill and training, but it is necessary in order to defuse anger and chaos in the home. Preston Ni has published a set of methods for dealing with a narcissist, one of which includes boundary setting.

Know Your Rights and Set Boundaries:

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I reviewed an interesting article this morning on men, and how men fare in society in light of divorce and changing roles in life in a man’s middle aged years.

Divorce is difficult and traumatic for both men and women, but it seems some women have a resiliency that allows them to move forward in life more successfully than men, generally. The article points out that women traditionally have been better suited to forming relationships with other people, and have certain social skillsets that many men lack in middle age.

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Further, the majority of women in divorce are awarded the residential custody of children, leaving some fathers in middle age without a household of children to wake up to, without a partner to look after, and without the funds to explore other activities.

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As part of my law practice, I track interesting articles relating to BPD and NPD. My clients are often benefited by having some coaching about these disorders and the best strategies for dealing with high conflict and toxic spouses. Here’s one article today from PsychCentral of interest:

How are Complex Trauma and Borderline Personality Disorder Related?

By Sara Staggs, LCSW, MPH

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A Father posted this photo from his Son. If anyone wonders why Illinois needs statutory presumptive shared parenting, or why competent and loving Fathers are necessary to the daily lives of their children, this picture tells a thousand words:

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In my divorce and custody practice, I have always been an advocate for shared parenting plans for the right set of parents. When both Father and Mother are good and loving parents, there is no reason to cause one parent (typicaly Dad) to suffer the stigma of having “visitation” with his own children. The more opportunities that each parent has to parent their children allows the children to grow into better adolescent lives and behavior patterns. Children of divorce that experience two loving parents in their lives tend to do best long term.

A recent study from Denmark supports shared parenting:

The Copenhagen Post: “While equal custody arrangements became increasingly common in Denmark over the past decade, in 2007 they became the rule of law when a unanimous parliament passed the Parental Responsibility Act and made equally custody the default.

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The Law Offices of Michael F. Roe is pleased to provide the new logo for Michael Roe’s association dedicated to advocating for a shared parenting statute in Illinois:
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Psychologists familiar with child custody issues generally agree that children, and the parents, do much better long term after divorce when the parents and kids share a balanced parenting plan. This preference among clinicians assumes that both parents are fit and proper parents to have the joint and shared custody of the children.

Illinois is still a “winner-loser” state in child custody matters. Fathers, many times, lose out on a healthy parenting plan, post-divorce. Some of our neighboring states, Iowa for example, have embraced a statutory (legal) preference for shared parenting in divorce. Establishing shared parenting as a legal preference would go a long way, I believe, toward taking the competition and bitterness out of divorce cases with custody issues.

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I and others are doing some research into the phenomenon of parental alienation, and the onset of PAS in children as a result of a campaign of denigration and alienation by one parent against the ” target=”_ parent. I found a video program below that you might find interesting.
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BPD is a devastating disorder-both for the person who has it and their family members. Partners often find themselves becoming isolated, losing both family and friends to the craziness and jealousy that sometimes comes with living with a BP partner.

The Effects of Isolation
Isolation is an extremely powerful weapon. It can be used to break people down, causing them to lose hope, self-esteem, and even their individuality. It is effective and swift.
It very unlikely that your partner is consciously using isolation as a tool to get what they need. But it doesn’t matter. It works just the same.
Following are some questions to help you determine if you have become isolated:

· If so, is it because your partner insisted you stop visiting others, was jealous of other friends, or made threats?
· Would you be embarrassed if people knew about your private life?
· Are there absurd “rules” you must follow that you would never tell anyone? For example, one BP was furious at her husband because of the way he chewed. So for the next 15 years of the marriage, he ate in the kitchen. His children thought all fathers ate in the kitchen and were surprised to learn it was different at their friends’ houses.
· Have you made large sacrifices for your partner that have taken you away from friends and family for a long time? For three years, one husband worked two jobs and took care of their three children by himself to avoid “stressing” his BPD wife. Yet at a group therapy session, she angrily claimed he had done “nothing” to support her in years.
· Do you feel so responsible for your partner that you avoid leaving the house?
· When was the last time you made a new friend, took a class, went to a movie your partner didn’t want to see, or took a day trip out of town?
· If you’re on the phone when your partner comes home, do you quickly hang up to avoid answering questions about the call?
· Do you avoid contact with members of the opposite sex when you’re with your partner so you won’t be accused of wanting to have an affair?

Credit: Randi Kreger www.BPDCentral.com Continue reading →

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Technology has improved many aspects of divorce practice and helping families adjust to parenting in two separate households. One example that I think of immediately is the use of ‘virtual visitation,” that is, using high speed internet connections to permit video and audio contact with low conflict parents not able to visit in person with their children. This type of visitation is appropriate in very low conflict divorces with parents that actively support the other parent’s active parenting, and in cases where the nonresidential parent lives a great distance from the children, and is otherwise unable to “visit” the kids consistently in person.

Technology has now come to the Coping and Caring” classes required of divorcing parents in DuPage County, according to the DuPage Family Center:

The Caring, Coping and Children Co-Parenting class is now available online!
Your clients will now have the option to take the course over the internet or in person. Both options have been approved by the 18th Judicial Circuit and meet the State requirements for parenting education in divorce cases.
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