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Family Court Strategies: When Your Partner Has BPD OR NPD Traits. Practicing lawyer, Senior Family Mediator, and former Licensed Clinical Social Worker with twelve years’ experience and an expert on navigating the Family Court process.
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Author Topic: Finally divorcing my BPD wife... oh wow  (Read 438 times)
FriarC

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« on: April 14, 2019, 07:30:32 PM »

Hi everyone,
I just filed about a month ago for divorce from my wife (sorry I don't know all your acronyms).  I would have been married 14 years this Oct to someone who has never been diagnosed with BPD, but is spot-on for all of the symptoms.  In addition to dealing with deep depression and having severe OCD and anxiety, she has extreme anger issues, alcoholism, and a spending problem.  All of that with two kids (girls, 7 & 12).  It's been real fun.  A few years ago she was  arrested for assaulting me, and was hospitalized for several days after a suicide attempt.  She hops off her meds without medical advisement, shops therapists when forced to go, and is a very emotional and persuasive blamer who has driven everyone out of my life. I could go on.  Sound familiar?
I filed on her about 2.5 years ago when her drinking and anger was at an all-time high.  She behaved while that was looming, and convinced me she'd seen the error of her ways, so I lifted it.  It was soon after that happened that she quit therapy and started drinking again.  It was manageable for that first year, but that second year was difficult.  It came to a head again this past fall when I finally started standing up to her control - especially to her frequently berating our kids for little stuff.
This time when I filed, she abruptly went from trying to convince me within a week that she had turned her life around 200% and there was a bright rosy future for all of us.  But I wasn't buying it.  For two weeks she went back and forth between "give us a chance" and "I hate you and wish we'd never met".  Then I think she finally accepted it.  And this time, she really worked over our oldest daughter and has her hating on me now too.  And she's telling anyone who will listen, the "horrible" things I'm doing to her, and conveniently leaving out key details.  For example:  my moving most of our joint account money to a private account was a direct result of her repeatedly threatening to drain our accounts and drown me in debt.  But she only tells the part where she's a victim.  And there are lots of stories like that.
So I'm working this through the system, but my question is this:  how can I get her out of the house sooner?  We have a six month minimum waiting period here, but I know these things can drag out when the BPD gets nasty (and they usually do, right?).  But what incentives work with them?  She's not entitled to my retirement (pre-marital) but I'm thinking I could offer her something to make this quick.  She also wants 75% of the kids, whereas I want 50/50 (but that's non-neg).  Right now she basically bullies me around the house - patrolling the core areas and making a scene in front of the kids when I "intrude".  If I speak up, she says she feels "threatened" and that she'll call 911.  So I keep to myself upstairs, but I can't live like this - watching her rule the roost and claw away at my relationship with the kids... how can I bring a swifter end to all this?

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Turkish
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2019, 09:20:59 PM »

Hi FriarC,

Your first post was in 2006 and you spoke of divorce back then just after your daughter was born.  You certainly stuck through a lot of what was going on back then. Did the communication tools help at all?  My ex wasn't nearly as dramatic,  and we only had a 1 and 3 year old,  but I let her live with me for four months until she found a place. I made it like two ships passing in the night,  ate separately. 

Is she really abling amping up the things you've had to deal with all this time?
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FriarC

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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2019, 05:47:01 AM »

Wow, I remember being here before but I didn't realize it was so long ago!  It's not showing my that post when I try to view my posts from my profile - is there a trick to it?  (or do you have that good of a memory?)
I honestly don't remember the tools you're referring to - could you point me to them again?
It's kind of like ships in the night now, except for her horn blaring at me as she passes, and her shooing the little tugs away.
She's always been angry, always drank - always been pretty much the same way, in fact.  But yes, the anger and control has ratcheted up and up and the OCD is a lot worse (diminished quality of life).  I've just learned through therapy that I've been playing along as a care-taker and  co-dependent this whole time and making it ok for her.  When I stopped doing that, that's when she started her insidious campaign against me.

I would still love some ideas on accelerating her timeline.  Does anything work?  I will probably offer her a bit of the retirement, and maybe a higher initial spousal, but our lawyers have yet to talk.
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livednlearned
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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2019, 08:22:41 AM »

I would still love some ideas on accelerating her timeline.  Does anything work?  I will probably offer her a bit of the retirement, and maybe a higher initial spousal, but our lawyers have yet to talk.

You probably don't want to offer her what you think is reasonable first thing out the gate. Start with what you want ideally and leave yourself some room to gift things away.

My ex needed to feel that he was winning (even at the expense of what was best for him, if that makes sense). I had to strategize everything so that he would feel like he was in a one-up position.

As for the battle over the hearts and minds of your kids, I recommend reading Divorce Poison by Richard Warshak and Don't Alienate the Kids by Bill Eddy. Anything by Dr. Craig Childress is also good. Learn the specific relationship and communication skills that will help your kids feel emotionally safe. They may not understand immediately but on some level they will recognize what emotional safety feels like, and it happens with you.

The skills are not intuitive and must be learned.

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mart555
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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2019, 09:54:47 AM »

From what I've learned in the last few months: Negotiating with a BPD is like negotiating with a terrorist.  my soon to be ex-wife wants the moon and feels entitled to everything so I guess she has some narcissistic traits in addition to BPD.  It's a frigging nightmare to deal with and of course everything is my fault and that's what she tells everyone. 

"Thankfully" she assaulted me so she cannot come back home and there is a no contact order but it makes things way more difficult.  Court paperwork will be filed shortly, there's no way mediation would lead anywhere. 

In your case, with kids, you may want to look into filing for exclusive possession of the matrimonial home if there's any risk to the kids.  You could try to buy her out depending on what "flavour" of BPD she has..   

Buy a digital recorder and keep it on you at all times.  Setup hidden cameras if you can.  Record all phone calls on your cell phone (cube ACR if android, test to make sure it works). This will save you in the end.  It sure helped me.   Do NOT move out of the house until you consult a lawyer because "status-quo" may bite you in the end (ie: if she keeps sole custody for months, it's difficult to get them back) 

Are you sure about 50-50 custody? is this really in the best interest of the kids?  I used to think so but friends, family and lawyer made me realize in my case that it's not and I should get them more than 50.  Think of the kids first.   

Hang in there. it's really difficult.  And remember one thing: she wouldn't hesitate to throw you under the bus so try not to feel too guilty. 
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MeandThee29
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2019, 10:55:35 AM »

And remember one thing: she wouldn't hesitate to throw you under the bus so try not to feel too guilty.  

Well said. It's divorce, after all. And usually their attorney wants to shaft you, and usually your attorney wants to shaft them. Different personalities and approaches of course. A friend who is a retired family law attorney warned me about that. She told me to grow a thick skin and get good legal representation.  

I'm by nature an accommodating person, and sometimes over-the-line that way. I have to watch myself.
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FriarC

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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2019, 04:03:17 PM »

"You could try to buy her out depending on what "flavour" of BPD she has.. "

Where can I find the list of BPD flavors and what motivates them?
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Turkish
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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2019, 12:19:15 AM »

Divorce by definition is adversarial. You are, however, co-habitating. A few of us here are there or have been there.  In order to reduce conflict,  it would be good to get familiar with the communication tools in the Lessons at the top of the Bettering Board.

Tools for communication, validation, and reinforcement of good behavior

Not only do you have to live together,  you also will have to parent with her apart in the near and distant future.  The tools can help reduce conflict.  Think of them not as a panacea (nothing is), but rather as tools to help you cope and do what's best for not only your kids,  but you.
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mart555
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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2019, 07:43:10 AM »

"You could try to buy her out depending on what "flavour" of BPD she has.. "

Where can I find the list of BPD flavors and what motivates them?

Far from official but from what I've seen and read:  Some have narcissism added to the BPD and feel entitled to the moon (that's what I have to deal with), others mainly fear abandonment so as long as they see kids frequently they may reasonable.  Others turn violent.   See the book "splitting", and various BPD books.   
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livednlearned
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« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2019, 08:31:25 AM »

Where can I find the list of BPD flavors and what motivates them?

She does not want to submit to you or anyone. She's fighting to survive. She has to win. You're witnessing more openly how she feels inside. It's not a place of reason.

She's experiencing chronic emotional and psychological chaos and the things that have helped her cope in the past have also hurt her, and she's losing one of them (you, money, married status). The more control she loses, the tighter she will cling to what she does have (the kids, the house).

Instead of focusing on appeasing her, focus on what is best for you and the kids. The more you own those pieces, the more she may escalate. Last time that led to a stark truth for her. That she is ill and needs help, and possibly another round of inpatient treatment.
 
You have to focus on you, and look at past behaviors (for both of you). Has giving into her worst impulses ever worked out for you?

Is there alcohol in the house?
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mart555
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2019, 08:57:31 AM »

She does not want to submit to you or anyone. She's fighting to survive. She has to win. You're witnessing more openly how she feels inside. It's not a place of reason.
...
Instead of focusing on appeasing her, focus on what is best for you and the kids. The more you own those pieces, the more she may escalate.

Well said.   The way I see it, it's like "negotiating with a terrorist".  It doesn't lead anywhere. 

I tried to help for months, did all I could (beside taking her back).  That included spending lots of my time for hospital visits with the kids, finding her a place to live, helping her get settled, trying to calm her down during crisis, answering messages, this, that, ..  and what did I get in return?  death threats because I did not answer a text message within 30 minutes, bunch of personal items stolen, and I was assaulted in front of people.  That's when I realized that there's no point in trying to help.  I need to think about myself and the kids.  It's a sad reality.

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FriarC

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« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2019, 10:05:26 AM »

"Is there alcohol in the house?"

No, she stopped drinking after her first couple of consults with attorneys.  She is now taking CBD oil, as she says that helps with anxiety.

I kind of wish she was still drinking, as she'd be more apt to do dumb things that would not look good for her.  I get the downside though.
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livednlearned
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« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2019, 10:38:15 AM »

She is likely thinking exactly the same thing as you: How do I get this guy to move out?

She has already threatened to call 911. It's an effective way to get you out of the house. While focusing on incentives for her to move out, maybe also focus on how to protect yourself.

How do things work where you live if she calls 911? Different states have different rules. If 911 is called and she falsely accuses you of violence, do they arrest both adults? Or do they arrest the largest person (considered most capable of harm)? What happens next if they take you away and do you need a criminal lawyer? If so, probably a good idea to find one now and keep his or her card on you.

More along the lines of protecting yourself...some states allow one-party consent recording. Meaning, you don't legally need the other person's consent to record. That's helpful to know for legal reasons, but you may also need something in the heat of the moment to show a cop if it comes to that. Good questions to ask your attorney.
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myDisplayName

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« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2019, 07:22:11 PM »

I had a BPD partner. We were living in my own house.

I told her that I wanted to split. After two months of negotiations, my lawyers recommended me to leave the house. Her lawyer was making threats to make me removed out of the house by calling the police. The consequences were quite serious: having 5 minutes to get some personal stuff and leave, a restricted order to keep me off the house, losing contact of my kids until a judge resolve the issue (months/years), etc.

My recommendations are: take most of your personal stuff out of the house, record conversations, use the video camera of your cell phone and tell her that your videotaping (In my location, it make it legal), analyze if you should leave the house (this is unfair but might be your best option), no verbal talking, send text messages with no emotions in a very formal style.

Good luck! Find support.
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worriedStepmom
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« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2019, 07:42:46 AM »

Are you able to get your kids into counseling?  Most kids, even those without a parent with BPD, have a tough time adjusting to divorce.  It's even harder when the parents are still living together, so that everything "looks normal" when it really isn't.  For those kids whose parent has BPD, it can be even more critical to get the kids into counseling to help them learn to deal with the behaviors.

If you can't convince your wife to allow it now, make sure this is something that your L insists goes into the final agreement.
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FriarC

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« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2019, 07:52:13 AM »

"Are you able to get your kids into counseling?"

Yes, the oldest one is there now, and we are on the cusp of a consent order to have it maintained until the therapist is happy with things.  Our youngest will have a chat with the therapist this week or next, so that door is open.
It was something I pushed for the first time I filed, but the wife was dead against it (she was afraid it would make her look bad).  This time around she's got the oldest alienated to the point of telling me to F-off, so I'm betting she didn't oppose it because she thinks it will go the other way.
I am in regular comms with the therapist and meet with her every few weeks.  She told me last week that she thinks our oldest will get over this and she doesn't see any reason why custody shouldn't be 50/50 (wife is going for 75%).  But OTOH I think she's just starting to understand my wife's issues...
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ForeverDad
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« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2019, 10:33:57 AM »

I don't know what my custody evaluator's final report contained — I strongly suspect it added the details of my then-spouse's rage at pediatrician's staff and their subsequent "withdrawal of services" — but I did see the preliminary report that was discussed by the main judge and both lawyers.  "Mother cannot share 'her' child but Father can... Mother should immediately lose her temporary custody... If Shared Parenting is attempted and fails then Father should get custody."

The final report was sealed because we did settle on Trial Day.  Yes, the CE did lean toward 50/50 but, as with most professionals, he had hope that would work out.  Of course it didn't, a couple years later I went back for custody and majority time, walking out with custody.  It still left her too entitled, a couple years later I again went back for majority time, walking out with majority time during the school year.  Evidently that finally burst her entitlement bubble, or at least she realized she had lost her credibility with  officials.  It's been 5 years and we haven't been back to court since then.

So be aware that court, lawyers and many of the other associated professionals will default toward "typical" outcomes and be inclined to slow walk fixes to an order that doesn't work.  But it's your life, your kids, so you have a right to advocate for yourself and for them.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2019, 10:50:41 AM by ForeverDad » Logged

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