One of the priviledges that I have as a lawyer for some wonderful people going through a significant life change is the ability to interface with them about anxiety and depression. In some cases, the symptoms are being experienced by the children of divorce. In other cases my own clients are struggling with situational depression, or a resurrection of symmptoms while undergoing stressful events. One of the most important features of this discussion is that these symptoms are normal, and universal. As a society, we don’t discuss depression and anxiety well, or openly, but the time has arrived to have these discussions. It is good to see such prominent people taking public their own expereinces with mental health issues.
Is it possible for someone with BPD to overcome it by themselves with awareness?
The short answer is no. The basic reasons why someone cannot overcome Borderline Personality Disorder on their own are:
It is hard to be objective about one’s own problems.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Remove your spouse from power
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.
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: