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Think About It.... It is very important to talk to children about anger, about what they see in the world, and to evaluate the effects of the behavior they observe. Otherwise, their observations become the lesson itself.~ Jane Middelton-Moz, Ph.D., LCSW, Ultimate Guide to Transforming Anger
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Author Topic: Dad has no boundaries w.18 month old son  (Read 857 times)
tcevans78
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« on: April 02, 2012, 10:50:39 PM »

Hello,

My uBPDx and I share an 18 month old son.   Dad has no legal rights, but I believed him to be a good person who would always do his best for our son, and I mostly want my son to have his father.  Right now, dad sees him on Sundays for about 5-7 hours, and maybe once or twice a week for 2 hours.

I posted here in the past for advice because I was questioning the safety and sanity of allowing my son to go with dad alone.  Several posters suggested I supervise the visits, so that is what I did for quite a while.  I would tag along and make sure all was ok.  I would model what needed to be done, appropriate care, responses, etc.  I saw plenty of evidence to support my decision as being a good one.  He clearly did not know how to care for our son, and we was listening to my suggestions and showing that he cared about being a better father.

Lately, dad has been saying that by tagging along on father/son time I am trying to make us a "family" and that he needs to assert that we are not together (he and I) and that he must have time alone with S because that is how it is going to be.  I did not say "actually, I'm just supervising visits because you are emotionally 3 yrs old).    

I have let them go alone together several times the past week or so, trying to trust that I have been a good parenting model so far, and to allow him to prove himself (he has up to this point shown major improvement).  But nowadays - that he is trying to 'assert' his parental authority and autonomy - he is not.  He is the opposite.  What he does with the child is his business, and his right, and I have no say.  All this comes at a time when his financial stress is soaring - and of course his 'degree of friendliness' is directly related to his stress levels.  

I am changing my mind about this whole arrangement.  I no longer actually believe this man can add value to my child's life.  

If dad is stressed he may not remember to feed or change our son (though this is RARE - and I think all parents have their moments of imperfection).  But there is more (of course there's more).  He holds S in his lap and almost force feeds him.  He torments him (in childish ways) and thinks it's funny.  He sits and lets him wander too far away shouting "no, stop, no".  In the meantime S is near something dangerous.  He encourages him to do bad things like bite - because he thinks it's funny.  He lets him hang onto the grocery cart and ride around, or lets him run far away in the store (I've seen him almost get smashed by someone's cart who didn't see him when I thought dad was watching him).  They do nothing but watch t.v. together. For an hour or several hours at a time.  He is 18 months old!  One foot away from a big screen t.v. while they eat french fries and cookies for dinner and the baby has no clothes on.  He bribes him to do what he wants with cookies.  

If I am nearby I always intervene and handle the situation.  I tell dad exactly why his actions are inappropriate and tell him what is appropriate and why our son suffers as a result of the bad parenting choice.  Sometimes he laughs it off (and listens) and sometimes he gets defensive and we end up fighting and he has an episode.  Dad says his time with son is spoiled by me interfering and causing him to have episodes.   

You can see that he uses our S to heal his personal insecurities.  But as S grows - he won't be this cute cuddly toddler.  He is going to need a real parent - not a buddy - and what happens when he doesn't fill dad's "love" needs?  

I'm sick of it.  I have stayed the course in an attempt to help my son have the best life possible.  BUT - I am now thinking it's time to cut and run.  Dad lies to me- and my trust is fading.  

I'm sure you all know exactly the childish, self-serving, love object behavior dad exhibits.  My q is this: In your opinion do I need to stay the course so that my son can have his father?  Or, are my latest instincts correct.  This man cannot be a father - he will always be an abuser.  Why maintain the fantasy he can be more?  I realize this is my decision to make.  I'm just looking for insight.  For things I have not yet considered or am unaware of.  

I am concerned I am letting my own personal feelings of fear/disempowerment/loss of control (while my s is with dad) lead me to making a rash decision (leaving in the night without a trace).  And that I am not putting my son's needs first.  But my instincts tell me I am neglecting my son by leaving him with this man - and I need to realize that losing a "father" is neither here nor there.  

My mind is spinning this plan (which I know sounds ridiculous): be prepared to leave quickly.  tell dad that if he will take parenting classes we will stay.  be direct and firm.  If he won't - then leave fast before he can intervene and make crazy.   But if he actually does it - and improves - then stay?  I just don't think he will.  I hope that if he knows I am serious about leaving he will do it.  If he agrees, it will be with so much resentment.  I am also considering a direct conversation that says "you are sick. you know you are sick. what you do is abusive and I won't tolerate it."  He will either cry and agree that he is terrible in all ways - or point the finger back at me.  But I don't know any other strategies.  

I know you'll suggest I speak w my T (I have an amazing T to whom I owe money due to my deductible sneaking up on me - so I'm alone right now).  

My son is so young - and in absolute love with his daddy.  He deserves to be in love with his daddy.  My heart breaks that he doesn't get to have him every morning and every night to kiss and hug.  I have to keep reminding myself that the love he gets from dad comes with a HUGE pricetag.  Too huge.  I remember how in love I was with his daddy - and how it ended.  Why kid myself that our son will have a different experience?  This man will NEVER change.  

I guess I am trying to weigh the pain caused to my son by his father's behavior against the consequence of being raised without his dad at all.    

**Someone mentioned there being research published about the long term negative affects on children raised by BPD parents.  I haven't come across it on this site and would love if someone could point me in the right direction to find it.

Thank you for reading and for any insight/wisdom you may have to offer.      
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 11:17:53 PM by tcevans78 » Logged
JustSaying
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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2012, 11:37:32 PM »

When I separated, we were required to take a co-parenting class. One of the take-aways was that each parent needed the freedom to develop an independent relationship with the child, and each parent needed to recognize that the other parent might do things in different ways.

If he's an unsafe parent, then he needs supervision unless he's judged to be an unfit parent. But he doesn't sound unfit, just inexperienced and maybe misguided. To the extent he needs supervision, that supervision should not come from you. It should be from almost anyone else, because with you there--he's right on this--he won't be able to develop an independent parenting identity. He shouldn't be in a position of being judged by you. By a therapist, a judge, a social worker, sure. But not by the mother of his child and a person who he is no longer in a relationship with.

He might need a parenting class. Someone other than you could determine that. If he wants to be involved with his son's life, then he should have that option if health and safety can be ensured by the appropriate authorities.
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tcevans78
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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2012, 12:03:35 AM »

Hi JustSaying,

I really appreciate your response.  I agree with all you have said.  My main concern is how to get him evaluated by a third party.  I contacted the place in town that does supervised visits - and it must be court ordered.  Right now the courts are not involved. 

I would love to reconnect with my therapist and ask that she evaluate us as parents and make recommendations - assuming dad would go along with it. 

I am trying to figure out how the supervision would be arranged without a court order. 

Maybe your point is that it doesn't happen - unless it's through the courts.  I need to stop trying to "dream up" solutions and hoping they will work because obviously they don't.  And you're right about the dynamic created when we are fighting for control. 
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GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Are you on the right board?

The focus of this board is about understanding the child, their needs, and supporting them in an intelligent and non self-sacrificing way.

If your topic is mostly about the other parent and you are divorced, please go to Rebuilding our Life. If your topic is mostly about legal/custody issues, please go to Family law, Divorce, and Custody. If your topic is mostly about the other parent and you are still married, please go to Staying: Improving a Relationship with a Borderline Partner. If you need help moving a thread, please contact a moderator. We are glad to help. :)

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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2012, 07:58:49 AM »

Hi JustSaying,

I really appreciate your response.  I agree with all you have said.  My main concern is how to get him evaluated by a third party.  I contacted the place in town that does supervised visits - and it must be court ordered.  Right now the courts are not involved.  

I would love to reconnect with my therapist and ask that she evaluate us as parents and make recommendations - assuming dad would go along with it.  

I am trying to figure out how the supervision would be arranged without a court order.  

Maybe your point is that it doesn't happen - unless it's through the courts.  I need to stop trying to "dream up" solutions and hoping they will work because obviously they don't.  And you're right about the dynamic created when we are fighting for control.  

Would you truly consider him a danger to his own child? or that maybe just your bad thoughts are taking over?

There is not a rule book on how to be a parent and becoming a dad id said the father doesnt bond with the child until after the birth whilst themother bonds before the birth so the 2 parents can seem very much at different places with a young child. It doesnt make either of you bad parents as becoming a parent for the 1st time is a major change in life & sometimes a change that makes us grow up very quickly indeed, although very stressful and hard work it can and usually does change most people once they strike up a bond with their child.

My ex didnt want me to have our D overnight when she was a baby, i understood her concerns but i let her know my concerns as a father and that she was not to overlook my position as an equal parent and vice versa that the loss shemay feel when D with me that i also feel when D was with the ex.
We both have different parenting styles but in general we both wanted happiness for our child, i accept she does things differently, i accept she has different ways of doing things, i accept they eat differently, live differently and have their own family life.

I get on with my job as a parent in the knowledge that the ex can be what ever mother she feels is right for her to be unless that has a negative physical or emotional effect on our child then i will voice my concerns where necasary.

Is the ex a threat to the child? or is just an immature parent? i was an immature parent once, but just by becoming a parent and willing to be a parent i learnt the way to be a good parent. ( i hope)
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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2012, 12:53:20 PM »

I would say that a parenting course would be reasonable, given that he has let your son be hit with a shopping cart. The other stuff is irritating, but unlikely to cause lasting harm. I would just be concerned that a parent who would let their child run off and be hit with a cart, may also be difficult to trust around cars. Some people think that children should know better than to step out onto the street, or in front of this thing or that, but they don't. At 18 months, their depth perception still isn't developed enough for them to realize they may get hit by something oming toward them, let alone the lack of ability to recognize consequences.
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tcevans78
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2012, 06:42:14 PM »

I agree a parenting class would be great (and I've looked into them myself because - heck, why not!)  but he says he's too busy.  Parenting is my job, he wants to do it his way, he just wants to hang out with him and not have to parent, etc.  I mentioned a parenting class as part of a serious ultimatum in my first post (saying that even then he probably wouldn't - he would say I am trying to control him and need to worry about becoming a better parent myself, then start criticizing me). 

My concern is not only the examples of neglect or abuse mentioned above in themselves.  Anyone's parenting can be critiqued by others, and probably improved upon.  It is his "oh, he's fine."  attitude.  He is unable to put our son's needs before his ego.  It is apparent almost every minute they are together that their entire time spent is serving his emotional needs.  I have to guilt him immensely and pick a fight to get any change.  I also suspect he does it anyway when I'm not around.

I'm not only afraid he'll get hit by a car - I'm afraid he will seriously bite another child (which he has done - I took it personal that he was biting - until I saw daddy teaching it to him).  I am afraid he will run into all kinds of danger that I've seen him close to already - concrete stairs, traffic, falling off of, out of, being hit by a shopping cart; being choked to death.  Just yesterday he was telling him no - and so grabbed his hand and twisted it really hard - you heard a little pop from his wrist.  It wasn't enough to make him cry - but it scared him silly.  I can only imagine what it will be like when he enters his "terrible 2's" stage - or worse age 3.       

Dad uses scare tactics with me - and isn't afraid to use them on S.  I don't particularly see these things as a parenting style per-se.  I will admit I interfere when it isn't necessary sometimes - and apologize and say that I was wrong when it happens - and try to be aware.  But I am fearful.  I have nightmares.  I am terrorized by him - and his parenting.  I hate it. 

I guess this is just a vent.  I don't know.  I appreciate folks giving me a little perspective in terms of 'parenting styles' and being patient with a first time father.  I needed to hear that.       
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2012, 06:35:32 AM »

I could be wrong, but from several of the things you have said in your most recent post, you have every reason to be concerned. Twisting a child's hand is not a parenting style. Refusing to actually parent is not a parenting style.

IMHO, you should mention this to whoever you have as a custody evaluator.

Quote
Just yesterday he was telling him no - and so grabbed his hand and twisted it really hard - you heard a little pop from his wrist.  It wasn't enough to make him cry - but it scared him silly.  I can only imagine what it will be like when he enters his "terrible 2's" stage - or worse age 3. 

It is so easy to dislocate wrists, elbows and shoulders at this age. I'm not saying your ex is anything like my stbxNPDh but there was a time when this was the worst thing he had done, as well, and I am concerned for the time when you will no longer be supervising. Maybe you should ask your lawyer about his parenting style.
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Matt
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« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2012, 07:07:58 AM »

Yes, there is a lot of research showing that a child who is raised by someone with BPD is at much higher risk for mental illness, substance abuse, etc.  You can find that online - google "BPD parent" and other related terms.  Unfortunately it's not gathered anywhere that I know of.

At the same time, there is a ton of evidence that boys raised without a father are at much higher risk too.

So unfortunately, your decision is both a very important one and a very tough one.

His decision not to take parenting classes tells you a lot, and I'm glad you haven't yet told him, "Either take that class or I won't let you see your son."  If you did that, he might take the class, but it probably wouldn't do any good, because he would be doing it for the wrong reasons.  You already have his decision on that matter.

Another option is to go back to court to have a Custody Evaluator appointed, but if you do that you will be giving up some degree of control.  The CE would probably give him some time with the child - could be the same as now, or more, or less - and then it would be out of your control.  Might not make things any better.

I wonder if you can hire a CE without a court order - just as an advisor?  Our (court-appointed at my request) cost $5,000 and I think they often cost more, and I have the feeling your ex may not be willing to pay even half, unless you made it a condition of seeing his son.

I'm concerned that if you just leave in the night, then later in his life your son may not understand that.  Either you never tell him you did that - and keeping a secret like that probably wouldn't be good - or he may resent it very deeply.

What about a time-out?  "I am so concerned about how you parent that I have decided to end your parenting time for three months, to see if Son does better when he isn't in your care for awhile.  I will not discuss this decision with you now, but if you want to resume parenting time, let me know in 90 days and we can discuss it then."  That would be an extreme thing to do, but less extreme than leaving in the night, and it would give your ex some time to think about the matter, and decide how he will handle it in 90 days...
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Matt
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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2012, 07:33:12 AM »

Here are some links I found - some of them may not still work.

The best book on this topic (how a parent's BPD affects the child) that I have found is "Understanding The Borderline Mother" by Christine Lawson.  Unfortunately I don't know of a similar book about BPD fathers.  But Lawson's book has tons of footnotes which may lead you in good directions.

It's very, very clear that a primary parent (that is, a parent who is taking care of the child most of the time) who has BPD puts the child at much, much higher risk for big problems as an adult.  (This subject is very personal to me, since my adult stepson, who my other kids and I love very much, was raised by his BPD mom til I married her when he was 18.  He was treated very inconsistently and sometimes very badly - when he was 7 she hit him so hard his nose bled, for example - and was drinking by 12, on meth by high school, never clean and sober til his late 20s.  Now he's clean and sober for more than 3 years, and a very honest and wonderful person who I'm very proud to call my son, but he's in prison, halfway through a 7-year sentence, and it will be very hard for him ever to have a good life.)

You can read (but not post) on the "Coping with a BPD parent" board here, to hear the perspectives of many adults who grew up with a parent who had BPD.  That will give you a very good perspective on the impact.  But of course it won't make your decisions about this matter any easier;  as I mentioned, there is also a lot of very clear evidence that boys who grow up without a father are at much higher risk too...

BPD links

Note:  A search on “BPD” may produce some results for “bronchopulmonary dysplasia”, a heart disease which is not related to Borderline Personality Disorder.

http://www.psybc.com/pdfs/library/Abela_BPDParental.pdf

http://www.BPDfamily.com/bpdresources/nk_a108.htm

http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Borderline-Mother-Unpredictable-Relationship/dp/0765702886

http://BPD.about.com/od/forfamilyandfriends/a/BPDFamily.htm

http://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1725&context=utk_gradthes&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26source%3Dweb%26cd%3D20%26ved%3D0CHIQFjAJOAo%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Ftrace.tennessee.edu%252Fcgi%252Fviewcontent.cgi%253Farticle%253D1725%2526context%253Dutk_gradthes%26rct%3Dj%26q%3Dimpact%2520of%2520BPD%2520on%2520children%26ei%3Dm-yJTuGpMOWmsAKe3tmYDw%26usg%3DAFQjCNFxLxDlIjQcAfsBI-cjkTnQJn93-g%26sig2%3D4eq54lvzFusl9tMdlJChjw%26kb%3D1#search=%22impact%20BPD%20children%22

http://www.newharbinger.com/bookstore/client/client_images/NHpdfs/BorderlineParentWeb.pdf

http://library.athabascau.ca/drr/download.php?filename=caap-loi/danaleik.letter.pdf

http://www.borderlinepersonalitydisorder.com/

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200707/borderline-walking-the-line

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2819472/

http://www.ahealthymind.org/library/Newman%2007.pdf

http://www.mchlibrary.info/MCHBfinalreports/docs/fr00127.pdf

http://www.mendeley.com/research/the-impact-of-parental-borderline-personality-disorder-on-vulnerability-to-depression-in-children-of-affectively-ill-parents/
« Last Edit: April 06, 2012, 07:38:32 AM by Matt » Logged

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