I have spent a good part of my legal career working in the area of divorce and custody in the context of a parent with suspected or diagnosed BPD and NPD traits. Borderline personalities in divorce cases make for higher conflict cases, and when the cases involve the custody of children, many times there are elements of domestic violence, false allegations of domestic violence or sexual abuse, distortion campaigns, and parental alienation. I was fortunate to write the foreword to, and help edit, Bill Eddy’s landmark book on divorcing a borderline or narcissist, Splitting.
Today I saw a reference to a recent Time Magazine article on BPD. “The Mystery of Borderline Personality Disorder,” by John Cloud.
“A 2008 study of nearly 35,000 adults in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that 5.9% – which would translate into 18 million Americans – had been given a BPD diagnosis. As recently as 2000, the American Psychiatric Association believed that only 2% had BPD. (In contrast, clinicians diagnose bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in about 1% of the population.) BPD has long been regarded as an illness disproportionately affecting women, but the latest research shows no difference in prevalence rates for men and women. Regardless of gender, people in their 20s are at higher risk for BPD than those older or younger.
What defines borderline personality disorder – and makes it so explosive – is the sufferers’ inability to calibrate their feelings and behavior. When faced with an event that makes them depressed or angry, they often become inconsolable or enraged. Such problems may be exacerbated by impulsive behaviors: overeating or substance abuse; suicide attempts; intentional self-injury.”
What concerns me most in cases involving personality disorders is the high likelihood of levels of parental alienation by the disordered parent, along with false allegations made by the disordered parent to harm the other parent’s custody case. If you are in a divorce with BPD or NPD, or contemplating a divorce from a disordered spouse, please contact my office to arrange an initial consultation.