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How to communicate after a contentious divorce... Following a contentious divorce and custody battle, there are often high emotion and tensions between the parents. Research shows that constant and chronic conflict between the parents negatively impacts the children. The children sense their parents anxiety in their voice, their body language and their parents behavior. Here are some suggestions from Dean Stacer on how to avoid conflict.
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Author Topic: Precedent for Parenting Allocation  (Read 220 times)
Wilkinson
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« on: July 10, 2019, 04:56:39 PM »

I talked with a lawyer and moved into an apartment two days ago because I couldn't take the constant berating and yelling from my uBPDw and she kicked me out of the house for 10 days as an act of control.  My hope is that this would be a period for both of us to heal and that perhaps she would participate in some sort of therapy. I have not accused her publicly of having BPD.   However, she won't let me see our kids, so my lawyer said after I move out, she will file a petition for divorce and start a hearing for custody.  My goal was to have my kids to be able to stay with me for at least 50% of the time and we could put the divorce on hold and treat it like a separation. 

Last night she suggested going to a Gottman Marriage Intensive weekend with a one - on - couple therapist.  I checked their website and it looks pretty promising. https://couplestherapyinc.com/  We won't be able to get in for 8 weeks.  Besides the fact that I don't want to be away from my kids for 8 weeks, my other concern is that I set up some sort of status quo or precedent that the kids stay with their mother.  I have asked my lawyer and waiting to hear back, but I was curious what others experienced.  It's only 8 weeks away and I've been dealing with this behavior for my wife for quite a while, so I'm not opposed to living at home again or most of the time while we wait.
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maxsterling
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2019, 02:19:09 PM »

Well, I feel I will be facing similar soon.  Your L should be able to advise you on what you can do in the state/country where you live.  What I was told by an L where I live is that I would file for temporary orders that would specify 50% parenting time and what days/times I would have the kids. 

If I were you, and having already moved out and found a place, is stay out (there is a reason you left, don't forget that), take the time to organize yoruself and catch your breath, and then file for temporary orders.  I would not approach the idea of therapy right now - see how she takes to you living away and taking legal action.  Should things go ok, then perhaps agree to some kind of "marriage weekend", but definitely maintain your own place until then. Don't step back into that hell once you have taken steps out, and don't let her use kids as emotional pawns. 
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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2019, 03:07:36 PM »

Can you explain this all in a little more detail. Things that are confusing to me  

Did you leave or did she kick you out?
What does you lawyer think she will file for divorce?
Do you want a divorce?

If this is just the two of you exploding but still with hope - sign up for Gottman (they are good) and make a plan for how you will work through the next 8-10 weeks.

You can stay out for 3 days a week (pressure relief), be home for the others, plan events with each other, with the kids together, with the kids apart - put together a calendar. Block in some date nights.

I'm presenting the opposite of MaxSterling... but I only to show you another equal option.

Can you detail your story a bit more. What happened?  What direction do you want this to go?

I'll be living poor in a tiny apartment and trying to figure out how to set it up for my kids to stay in.  I feel so hopeless.  The fights are so bad at home, it is making my kids miserable.  They are now mad at me because I won't just give into her to end the yelling.  I don't know why things ramped up so bad recently. 

I get the hopeless 
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Wilkinson
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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2019, 04:32:18 PM »

Did you leave or did she kick you out?
So both really.  Over a month ago, I said I wanted to separate because of how bad things are. She begged me to stay and scared me with legal stuff so I didn't and things just got worse.  She then said, you need to do _____ and you cannot live here until you do.  I refused to.  If you care to read more about what's in the blank the detail is here: https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=337583.msg13060818 While she had me kicked out, that is when I got the apartment.  I had talked to my lawyer before hand and she said move out, let me know and we'll file for divorce to start custody.
What does you lawyer think she will file for divorce?
I don't know.  She has threatened so many times over the past six months and paid several consultation fees for lawyers.  My gut says that she was really doing that to scare me.  In my heart, I actually feel that the thought of divorce scares her.  That's why I think she has BPD.  Her intense fear of abandonment and insecurity seem to be leading her to cause the very thing she wants to avoid.  The phase, "I hate you, don't leave me" resonates so much with what it feels like I'm living with.
Do you want a divorce?
No, that's why I've put up with so much and why I'm always second guessing myself.  We have four kids.  If she will always be an emotionally abusive person, divorcing her doesn't protect my kids from her.  It also doesn't protect me.  She will always be in my life.  I will see her from time to time for kids things.  Divorce won't solve anything, it just makes a horrible situation slightly less horrible, some of the time.

Can you detail your story a bit more. What happened?  What direction do you want this to go?

So, I have been married for 17 years.  For most of those years, I would never have suspected that she had BPD.  We had our moments and times where I really felt like I didn't want to be married, but so has every couple.  We got through it and we had some great times.  In the past two years things started to go downhill, but never came back up.  Six months ago things took a steep dive.  It is now something that definitely qualifies as emotional abuse. I have tried to hold boundaries for certain things, but she would be relentless in doing whatever it took to get me to cave.  Like using children as pawns.  Like one time I refused to let her go through my phone, so she told our daughter that her friend had to go home because Dad wouldn't let her see his phone.  My daughter begged for me to let her have my phone. 

I finally just had it and I was hoping a separation would help.  However, she said she will not let me take the kids at all and won't sign a separation agreement, so that means I would have to file to get through a custody agreement and then we could just put the divorce on hold to see if staying separated like that could let us cool down and heal.

Because of the quick decline in her behavior, it has always made me think there was a sudden cause, which means there might be some cure.  She had a tough upbringing and something happened in her family recently that goes along with the timing of when things went downhill, but I can't cure that myself.  Maybe there's something psychologically wrong like diagnosed BPD, or maybe something physically wrong like hormones or thyroid.  It just seems like the behavior change was too sudden to have just always been there and I just now noticed it.  So, I've been reluctant to actually divorce, but we can't keep living the way we are.

Counseling has been a bust.  I've tried to tell certain people in our community what is going on, but they don't believe me that this delightful loving mother in public could be doing these emotionally abusive things behind closed doors.  It seems to make more sense to them that I'm making things up to justify a divorce.  Or, at least, that's what she tells me they say.

This couples therapy inc got me excited because it looks like something that would be really diagnostic.  Like neither of us could sway it in our favor, it will get to the truth.  It looks like it has a lot of potential to save help her and save the marriage. And if it doesn't, I feel it will finally give me the peace I need that I did everything I could and this marriage just won't work anymore regardless of how good the history is.
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PeteWitsend
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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2019, 10:45:36 PM »

No, that's why I've put up with so much and why I'm always second guessing myself.  We have four kids.  If she will always be an emotionally abusive person, divorcing her doesn't protect my kids from her.  It also doesn't protect me.  She will always be in my life.  I will see her from time to time for kids things.  Divorce won't solve anything, it just makes a horrible situation slightly less horrible, some of the time.

I also agonized over this same issue, but you should also consider the harm you're doing to your kids by staying together and fighting in front of them.  I didn't want my kids to think this was "normal" and someday accept that same sort of treatment in their own relationships. 

You can't protect your kids from her behavior (unless you eventually get full custody of them), but you can show them what a calm, stable household looks like, and model adult behavior for them. 
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« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2019, 07:47:33 AM »

There is no "good" options in this drama. You are dealing with a bunch of bad options and trying to chose the best. That's hard.

The most important thing is to find inner strength and to make a commitment to a direction and see it through. It will be a bumpy ride and you will make it through.

What is really bothering her? You say things went down hill after a family event. Can the two of you work through this? The issue with the Pastor is hearsay, you don't know what was said.

Divorce can be constructive or it can be a Parental Alienation nightmare. We have many cases that were improvements for members - just as many were worse.

Now that you are out of the house, are things calming down?

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mart555
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« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2019, 08:01:38 AM »

You can't protect your kids from her behavior (unless you eventually get full custody of them), but you can show them what a calm, stable household looks like, and model adult behavior for them. 

Yes!  That's one of my intent as well.  It felt weird when my kids would bring friends over, give them a tour of the house and say "this is my mom's bedroom, this is my dad's bedroom, ..", and when my oldest one came back from a sleepover at a friends house and said "His parents are nice and they spend time together.  I thought that all parents were mad at each other until I met them last night".  Telling her "yell at me instead of the kids if you need to yell" isn't normal.  I don't want them to grow up and feel like it's ok to be abused like this.   I want them to see a normal relationship.
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mart555
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« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2019, 09:51:54 AM »

So, I have been married for 17 years.  For most of those years, I would never have suspected that she had BPD.  We had our moments and times where I really felt like I didn't want to be married, but so has every couple.  We got through it and we had some great times.  In the past two years things started to go downhill, but never came back up.  Six months ago things took a
....
Because of the quick decline in her behavior, it has always made me think there was a sudden cause, which means there might be some cure.  She had a tough upbringing and something happened in her family recently that goes along with the timing of when things went downhill, but I can't cure that myself.  Maybe there's something psychologically wrong like diagnosed BPD, or maybe something physically wrong like hormones or thyroid.  It just seems like the behavior change was too sudden to have just always been there and I just now noticed it.  So, I've been reluctant to actually divorce, but we can't keep living the way we are.

The way I see it based on my experience, and what my ex wrote:  She always had BPD. She was feeling suicidal when she was a kid.  She was just good at hiding it.  You did not notice it.  It might have gotten worse, but you were used to it.  Boiled frog syndrome.  Once you're out of there, you'll realize how messed up it was. 

Then something triggers them.  Either a divorce request, loss of someone, someone getting ill, and the volcano that was brewing for years finally explodes.  I don't think that the monster can go back once it's out. 

Add some co-morbidity to this (narcissistic traits? bipolar? ) and it makes it even more difficult to diagnose.  Maybe she's bipolar as well and some cycles aligned and you end up with the perfect storm.

In my case, I never suspected BPD over ~20 years.  But after being out for a few months, I realized a lot of things: I should have suspected it earlier. How could I be so blind? What's wrong with me?  How did I get myself into that for so long?   And I realize I'm not alone. Many of us wonder the same. 
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Wilkinson
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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2019, 09:59:01 AM »

What is really bothering her? You say things went down hill after a family event. Can the two of you work through this?
I don't know what is really bothering her.  When I've had alone time with either of our marriage counselors I would tell them the back story and express that I think that has something to do with it.  I know she has always had trouble with her mother.  She was pretty close with her sister, but found out something pretty bad happened in the house after she moved out.  After that, she started to distance her self from her sister, but because she thought it was necessary not because she wanted to.  I can point out actual events, but I don't know what it has done to her emotionally or mentally.  It is more along the lines of a trauma event.  She does not want to seek help for it.  Maybe it has nothing to do with what it going on or maybe it has everything, I don't know.
Now that you are out of the house, are things calming down?
No, it only seemed to ramp things up.  It breaks my heart.  Do people just snap?  Like they are ok and cope for decades and then within a year or two become a totally different person?  My parents accused her of having BPD a long time ago and we both got upset because we thought that was overboard.  However, now it really seems like it.  Assuming that's what I'm really dealing with and not some mental breakdown from emotional trauma, does that happen.  Where you are functioning just fine for years and then take a 180 turn?  I keep thinking because things were fine for so long, there was a cause to why things are so bad and if we can find the cause, we can correct it and work back to where things were.

I'm now at the point where I don't know if there was a cause or not, but at any rate, I have done everything I could to try and save our marriage, but I can't be the only one working on it. 
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mart555
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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2019, 10:16:04 AM »

...After that, she started to distance her self from her sister, but because she thought it was necessary not because she wanted to... ..... Do people just snap?  Like they are ok and cope for decades and then within a year or two become a totally different person?  My parents accused her of having BPD a long time ago and we both got upset because we thought that was overboard.  ..... Where you are functioning just fine for years and then take a 180 turn?  ....

Read my post above.  There was a trigger.  My story is similar: my sister / mom said a bunch of times that something was wrong and I stupidly did not listen.   Mine stopped seeing her sister who has BPD or other illness and opted to leave her kids with the husband for a few years before she screwed them up.  My ex did not like that.. but I now realize that it was the best thing she could do for the kids.  And now I know why my ex didn't like that, she's afraid of having to do the same. 
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worriedStepmom
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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2019, 11:01:21 AM »

BPD can flare, when the person's coping mechanisms just can't keep up.  Sometimes this is because of events - someone dying, breakup/divorce, other small series of things that imply abandonment, or even non-abandonment things that cause stress.  Sometimes the person just doesn't have the emotional energy to maintain the coping mechanisms - they get tired, and then all the crazy comes out.  Often the spiral downward starts out slowly, and those closest may not notice at first, until it gets bad.

If your parents accused her of BPD a long time ago, then she's been showing signs for years, but perhaps able to cope well enough to be considered high-functioning.
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ForeverDad
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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2019, 04:05:38 PM »

Because of the quick decline in her behavior, it has always made me think there was a sudden cause, which means there might be some cure.  She had a tough upbringing and something happened in her family recently that goes along with the timing of when things went downhill, but I can't cure that myself.  Maybe there's something psychologically wrong like diagnosed BPD, or maybe something physically wrong like hormones or thyroid.  It just seems like the behavior change was too sudden to have just always been there and I just now noticed it.  So, I've been reluctant to actually divorce, but we can't keep living the way we are.

That was my case, more or less.  We'd been married for over a decade and little trigger (traumas?) had made life more difficult, she started conflicts with workmates, etc.  Well, I thought if we had a child then she's be happier.  Ack!  What was I thinking?  Rather than seeing life through a child's eyes of discovery, she relived her childhood terrors.  She started comparing me to her abuser SF now that I was a father.  It made things vastly more complicated when we divorced.

It seems you do think some of the family events did trigger her or remind her of past traumas, right?  Frankly, you're too close to her for her to now get past the baggage of the past.  A neutral professional, a therapist or counselor, may get through to her.  However, don't place too much hope on her recovering sufficiently to continue married.  Beware of her attending a few sessions and declaring herself fixed.  Years of therapy are almost surely needed and success depends not on sessions but on her diligently applying what she learns in her perceptions, thinking and life.  That's too tall a task for many disordered persons.

Counseling has been a bust.  I've tried to tell certain people in our community what is going on, but they don't believe me that this delightful loving mother in public could be doing these emotionally abusive things behind closed doors.  It seems to make more sense to them that I'm making things up to justify a divorce.  Or, at least, that's what she tells me they say.

One member years ago stated he knew when his ex was lying... when she opened her mouth.

Okay, that's blunt.  But the fact is you can't trust what she claims.  Of course she will try to deflect blame from herself, and you're the convenient target.  Also, most pwBPD are excellent Blamers, very convincing until the facts become apparent.
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