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Once again, I am happy to report that Illinois Divorce Lawyer Blog has received recognition as a Top 100 Divorce Blog. This blog is a labor of love, and designed to bring helpful information about Divorce, Custody, Finances, and Psychological Issues in Divorce.

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Top 100 Divorce Blogs & Websites For To-Be Divorced & Divorcees

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Spouses with NPD can be toxic to live with. One aspect of life with a narcissist is the emotional abuse that accompanies being in a relationship with NPD. In the following article, Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D discusses a scenario with a partner with NPD, and the emotional damage that these interactions cause.

” Have you ever noticed how some people will throw a deaf ear at your plea for change and your cry for help…just because. And then, the more you speak, the less you are heard. It’s as though they want you to believe that no matter how you ask what you seek, it will not be forth coming…just because.

Take Andy and Rebecca, for example. Andy has a habit of engaging restaurant servers into conversations about matters unrelated to the meal at hand. On this one evening, he was chatting with Rebecca in a back and forth banter over a recent physical assault/encounter of theirs.

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I have been a member of the APA for many years, and benefit tremendously from the APA’s publications, research papers, and educational materials, such as the podcast below. Children involved in a divorce do tend to experience worry, anxiety, and some depression, and these symptoms and illnesses are often situational, and not long lasting. Other children can be affected by anxiety disorders that are more chronic, more severe, and require proactive treatment.

Podcast: Anxiety Disorders in Children

Fear and anxiety are part of most normal children’s lives. But how do we know when anxiety is a problem in need of professional help? In this episode, Golda Ginsburg, PhD, talks about how to recognize the signs of an anxiety disorder in your child and what are the most effective, evidence-based treatments.

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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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I receive calls almost every day from people considering filing for a divorce. I always take these calls seriously, and try to get a phone or personal meeting set up as soon as is possible as every person that I meet with has good and thoughtful questions. My policy has always been to never push or encourage people into a divorce filing (absent other factors like Domestic Violence or other pathology, where an Intervention is needed) , and of course, to never promote a divorce when a divorce is not needed between a couple. Sometimes, people that I meet with simply wish to know what their options are, and what a divorce might entail if they decide to separate from their spouse and improve their life and family system.

Yet, with the new rules regarding maintenance, a single point needs to be made. If you’re going to pay (the majority of time, this is the Husband), it might be beneficial to file before the new statute’s benchmark dates kicks in for maintenance (spousal support).  If you are going to receive maintenance (the majority of time, the Wife), be mindful of the benchmark dates; you might wait a month or two (assuming there’s no pathology or domestic violence in the marriage) if you’re on the threshold of a higher maintenance percentage.  Here what the new statute requires:

The duration of maintenance is calculated by multiplying the length of the marriage at the time the action was commenced by whichever of the following factors applies: 5 years or less (.20); more than 5 years but less than 10 years (.40); 10 years or more but less than 15 years (.60); or 15 years or more but less than 20 years (.80). For a marriage of 20 or more years, the court in its discretion will order maintenance either permanently or for a period equal to the length of the marriage.

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Couples starting the new year with a divorce may find untangling finances is no easy feat. Data from the University of Washington found that divorce filings start to pick up in January — a trend researchers theorized could be fueled by a rough holiday season. Filings peak in March and then again in August, they found, before declining in the fall. Many people try to time a major change like a divorce with periods in their children’s lives that are most stable. such as the start of a school semester, or the end of summer.

If you’re in the midst of a divorce, or thinking about initiating a divorce, here’s how — and when — to update your financial plan.

Remove your spouse from power

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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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In my law practice, a divorce with a narcissist involves unique issues and challenges. Many toxic narcissists, in divorce, use emotional abuse to denigrate and control their partners, and are notoriously difficult in the case to achieve settlement with, even on minor issues. In my view, boundaries need to be set with narcissists in the case, and I have years of experience understanding these traits of NPD in divorce and custody cases, as well as managing NPD personalities in the litigation. Again, boundaries are critical, as well as establishing control over the NPD in the case. In other words, I try to disempower the NPD, and then empower my clients, many of whom no longer feel they have any power or voice in the relationship.

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Relationships require give and take. They are built on mutual respect, love, trust, and compassion. When you are in a relationship with a narcissist, those components often cease to exist after a short period of time. Narcissistic people are not empathetic. They aren’t willing to hold another up the ladder of success. They need complete attention and expect their partner to put them up on a pedestal.

In a case study by Susan Heitler, Phd called Narcissism: A Redefinition and Case Study of Treatment, she points out the conflict-focus in couples therapy and how narcissistic personality disorder affects relationships. In her findings she lists,

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PsychCentral has an interesting summary for one of the more pervasive forms of personality disorder that some people face in a marriage or divorce, and yet this form of Personality Disorder is not well understood. There is a significant comorbidity ( co-existence) with other personality disorders. This personality disorder/trait exists in about 2.5 percent of the population, and like NPD and BPD, and the toxic behaviors can be aggravated by a marriage that is failing, or with a divorce. My firm has been dedicated for many years to a) understanding these traits and toxic behaviors, and b) managing them within the context of divorce and custody litigation.

” People with paranoid personality disorder are generally characterized by having a long-standing pattern of pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others.  A person with paranoid personality disorder will nearly always believe that other people’s motives are suspect or even malevolent.

Individuals with this disorder assume that other people will exploit, harm, or deceive them, even if no evidence exists to support this expectation. While it is fairly normal for everyone to have some degree of paranoia about certain situations in their lives (such as worry about an impending set of layoffs at work), people with paranoid personality disorder take this to an extreme — it pervades virtually every professional and  personal relationship they have.