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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: Advice for Steps  (Read 528 times)
Grady

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« on: September 06, 2019, 12:30:10 PM »

I'm new here but not new to my situation...although I've only recently started to really learn about BPD.  Here's an brief synopsis (as short as I can manage)...H had an affair with a BPD about 5 years ago.  I knew there was something off with her and all my predictions came true.  H wound up getting her pregnant and we separated.  H and I never made it official and he was constantly trying to end things with her only to start right back up.  Once SS was born (he's 3 1/2), he moved in with her and stayed a little over a year.  He's been home for 2 1/2 years after finally getting away from her.  I am public enemy number one and my H learned a long time ago that there was no sticking up for me.  I ruined her life by not divorcing my H.  Meanwhile, she went through all his money, retirement, put him in debt, etc.  H filed for joint custody after he moved home but she convinced him to agree to a bogus agreement which included SS not being allowed in our house or around me and all visitations were with her.  So she could continue to control and manipulate him.  Fast forward to him finding out she was using him for money and everything else while seeing other people behind his back so he finally filed to go back to court and get the custody corrected.  We finally got a temporary agreement in June where SS was allowed to be with us every Wed for 24 hours and every other weekend from Fri-Mon.  It was working and we all were adjusting to this new person in our lives (we have 2 D14 and 1 D11).  About a month ago, she went completely unhinged and her family kicked her out (she had moved in with them a year ago and quit her job and basically used them so she could sleep all day and stay up all night).  She has a S15 from a previous relationship who has nothing to do with his dad as she alienated them.  Her parents filed for custody of him.  So, becoming homeless and losing her son is huge but her only focus was that her family came to me and told me what was happening so I could get word to her.  She turned off her phone so her family had no other way to reach her and had no idea where she was. My H was literally the only person left who would speak with her so she's been digging in and saying all of this is his fault and he needs to take care of them.  SS is being emotionally abused and begs to be with us and not around her.  SS told me how mommy says I'm bad and she hates me and I'm a piece of s***.  This is a 3 1/2 year old.  He says he likes me and wants to be with me all the time and he wants his mom to die (she constantly threatens suicide and when she leaves him says goodbye, this is the last time I'll see you).  She has run out of money for hotels and has had no where to go the past two nights.  H let her sleep in his car one night and last night who knows what she did.  But she made H bring SS to see her and he told her he wanted me to be his mommy and that she is the piece of s***.  It just breaks my heart.  I don't know what to do.  This boy needs to be away from her and H feels so guilty about forcing it with the courts to get full custody even though he knows he needs to.  H also isn't strong enough to let her figure it out and go to a shelter or hospital.  I am at my wits end.  My SS needs stability. 

So, I guess my questions from the other step parents out there are how do you work with someone who is so irrational and sees you as the enemy?  How have your gotten your spouse to let you be the one who deals with the contact?  Etc...Whatever advice you have, I would love to hear it.  H and I have been married 21 years today actually and he is tortured by this.  As am I.
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worriedStepmom
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2019, 01:49:16 PM »

Goodness gracious, Grady, I just read your other post too.  I am sending you lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of hugs, because it certainly sounds like your family is in the midst of a nightmare.

There are a whole bunch of things that screamed at me from your post.

The most important - is SS physically safe?  I would seriously consider calling child protective services, given a) his mother cannot seem to make plans for him to have a place to sleep b) medical neglect and c) given the kinds of things he has said to you, it sounds like he has been emotionally abused. 

Your H would be within his rights not to return SS to his mom since she does not have a safe space for him.

Second most important - your other post says that your husband is in therapy.  Are you and your girls seeing a therapist also?  Self care is going to be absolutely critical for you.

Boundaries are going to be critical in dealing with H's BPDex.  Have you and H worked on this in marriage counseling, or have you read any books about setting and enforcing boundaries?

What actions is your H willing to take to protect SS right now?  How much is he willing to listen to you at this point?
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Grady

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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2019, 02:55:56 PM »

Hi Worried,

Thanks so much!  Definitely need lots and lots of hugs.  It has been quite the nightmare.  I don't think SS is safe when he's with his mom alone.  H can't seem to keep her from him so he tries to be there so he can take care of his son which then gives her prime time to control and isolate and abuse H some more. 

H is in the FOG and knows he is but can't seem to do that much about it.  He tries and does little things, but every tiny step is hard for him.  H knows his son needs to be with us full time and the courts would definitely side with us for the one fact that she has no place to live let alone all the abuse. 

I am in therapy which helps me navigate this nightmare.  Our D's refuse although did some therapy when H was out of the house.  H's therapist started out as our marriage therapist, but switched to his individual one when we determined he had to work through a lot of things before we could begin to work on our marriage and he trusted her more than any other therapist he had ever worked with.

I have tried reading up on boundaries and really anything I think could help him (and us).  He hears what I say but can only implement a small amount of things.  H is listening to me and gave his therapist permission to speak with me so we could try to help him together.  I left her a message and am waiting to hear back.  She's wonderful but I don't know how much she understands about BPD.  But, she's in a practice so I'm hoping one of her partners can offer some guidance. 

I am thinking that maybe it's harder for me as this was an affair versus someone whose spouse left a relationship with a BPD prior to meeting their current spouse as far as listening to the spouse and not necessarily having the BPD blame everything on the spouse?  Our BPD literally blames everything on me and I'm pure evil.  For example, she must have been in our home a couple of weeks ago and found the Father's Day card I gave H this summer.  On the front (in marker) she wrote C**T and on the inside she wrote stupid b****h.  Nice and classy person huh?   Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post)
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worriedStepmom
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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2019, 09:02:20 PM »

Here's a too long summary of how we got there -

I met my H two years after he and his uBPDxw divorced, yet according to her I am the reason they can't be a family for their daughter and I am evil personified.  It's part of the splitting - H is good (because he is SD12's father), so therefore I must be the reason for all of her bad feelings.

H had trouble with setting boundaries. Too many years of verbal and emotional abuse.  We had 8 years of baby steps - he was conditioned to respond to her in a certain way, and I had to gently suggest alternatives that allowed him to rescue SD but not mom.  It took me a year to convince him not to go running to help every time she called at midnight to say her car wouldn't start.  

This summer was exceptionally dramatic (with many a pointed conversation between H and I that led absolutely nowhere)... culminating in a situation where my biokids were mildly traumatized by uBPDex and SD was starting to crack under her mom's emotional abuse. I had a meltdown of my own and told my H point-blank that he was just as much a part of the problem as his ex and he was damaging his daughter.   That's when he started to listen to me.

The impact to my biokids was the tipping point where I could take action and he could step back without losing face.  I love SD dearly and consider her one of my kids, but I don't have authority over her welfare.  I *do* have authority over my biokids, and I *do* have a say in what happens at *my* home (thanks to poster GaGirl for reiterating this to me).  

You have a responsibility to protect your daughters, even from their father's poor decisions.  You also have the right to have your home be a safe space - a refuge free of your H's ex - ESPECIALLY given that she was his affair partner.  That woman should not be in your home under any circumstances.

I set a boundary that uBPDex will not derail my time with my family.  No constant dings from his phone because she's texting or calling nonstop.  No more evenings where we abandon our plans to manage some emotional meltdown either on the phone or because she showed up in person.  I gave them both a warning of the consequences.
  • Next time she shows up unannounced  I *will* call the police and have her physically removed from our property.
  • She couldn't stop texting/calling, so I blocked her on H's phone.  He set up a parenting app for communication.  H agreed to a trial period where I could make all the responses in his name and give him a sanitized overview of what's happening.  Two months in, he's happier because he doesn't have to deal with her and can start to heal from the emotional abuse, I'm happier (because now H has stopped being part of the problem) and uBPDex continues to be a hot mess because nothing we do is going to fix her.


Step 2 was No allowing SD to be emotionally abused on my watch.
My H did not grow up in a verbally abusive household.  I did.  He sincerely thinks I am exaggerating the effect mom is having on SD12.  He is wrong.  We had a heartfelt conversation and I told him that I love him dearly, but if I have to choose sides, I will choose SD.  She needs one adult in her life to focus on her needs, and if he can't be that person, I will.  (*This was powerful, but he was pretty angry at first*)

I called H's lawyer and made an appointment for H to file for another custody modification (and I go with H to all the lawyer meetings).  I write most of the emails to the lawyer - some H sends from his account, some I send from mine and copy him.  H told me recently he's relieved - he has no idea what to do so he freezes and does nothing.

It's been a rough last 3 months, but we're coming out of it okay. (It helps that uBPDex is terrified of court and backed down recently.)

I'm guessing your marriage is in a shakier spot than mine.  Your T and your H's may have ideas on how tough you can get or what steps you can take by going around him.  Now, with her housing difficulties on top of everything else, is the time for him to file an emergency petition for custody.  SS is screaming for help.

You deserve a lot of kudos.  This is a tough situation for any woman, and for you to be concerned enough about this child to start posting here says a great deal about who you are as a person.  I am grateful that he has you in his life, and I hope you can figure out a workable plan.
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2019, 11:05:13 PM »

For example, she must have been in our home a couple of weeks ago and found the Father's Day card I gave H this summer.  On the front (in marker) she wrote C**T and on the inside she wrote stupid b****h.  Nice and classy person huh?   Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post)

That woman should not be in your home under any circumstances.

I agree boundary number one is she no longer comes into your home!

Hi ladies,
It always amazes me how similar our stories are.  I met my Partner when he and his undiagnosed BPD ex-wife (uBPDxw) had been separated 3 months and I too was the evil homewrecker (she told their daughters that dad and I had been having an affair before he moved out/they separated...Nice...Not!). 

My Partner was struggling with boundaries and FOG back then along with dealing with his daughters spying on him, going through his things, reading texts and reporting back to mom...Parental Alienation. 

He was on a phone call with mom got frustrated and threw the phone in the couch.  The girls complained to their mom and that became (in mom's mind) the phone was thrown at them missed and shattered into a million pieces, then it became (in mom's mind) dad wouldn't let them call mom, and finally it became (in mom's mind) he would not let them leave the house!  Mom filed abuse charges with the court for an event that she wasn't present for and then exaggerated it further (then didn't even bother to show up.  What was she doing?  Was she sick like her attorney told the court...nope...she was out getting a mani/pedi with her daughter) I miss the barfy emoji sometimes!

We didn't have the ex show up at his place her weapon of choice was the kids and the phone.  I can't tell you how many times they interrupted a perfectly good date with drama about nothing.  My brother who rarely comes to visit came for a visit and my partner, son and brother went out to dinner, the ex called and kept him on the phone for close to 2 hours while we all waited for him (this is still a sore spot for me...mad at her but also my partner)

When I arrived here I was angry not just at the ex, but my partner, and their daughters!  That was about 5 years ago now.  It has taken a lot of work on my partner and his daughters parts...unfortunately mom never changes and she sabotaged her own relationships with her daughters.  As for me it was about learning what I can and can't control, and letting go of the things I can't control. 

Anyway, just wanted to let you know you're not alone. 

For me the big tools have been...

     Reading about/learning about BPD, what is it, what's going on with the ex
     Joining this site an learning practical tools in real time from people who
     have been there.
     Accepting I can only control me and what I do. (Don't obsess
     about what uBPDxw is doing)
     Setting and enforcing boundaries consistently (this can be as an
     individual/couple/family)
     Parallel Parenting (we do what we do at our house/mom does
     what she does at her house)
     Sometimes we can't protect the kids from the other parent and
     they learn things the hard way (my partner's daughters were 10
     & 14 when they separated and are now young women of 18 &
     23 so older than a 2 yr old)

I'm sure I'll be in the shower tomorrow morning and think of 5 more things I forgot on my list but you get the idea  Smiling (click to insert in post)

More on Boundaries...     
https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=61684.0
https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=167368.0

Take Care,
Panda39

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Grady

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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2019, 07:54:55 AM »

Wow!  Thank you both so much for sharing your stories. It is scary to see the similarities. And it’s sad to see I’m not alone and others have to deal with the same nightmares. For the record, I have let it be known that she is never allowed in our home. And that I will call the police if I catch her. The problem is that she won’t come near the house when I am home. If my daughters are home, she will stay outside. There was one time I found out she was here and did call the police. She stole my husbands wedding band off the counter along with some of his adhd medicine and some other things. Well, absolutely nothing came from it. The police came and interviewed H who said he didn’t want to press charges and that was it. They called her to tried to get the ring back but she “threw it away”.

I know the big issue here that I can begin to control is my H. I need to get him to accept that he’s hurting his S. He knows it but gets paralyzed with fear and he’s super fragile. If I can get him to let me reach out to the lawyer that will be huge. Also, he can’t seem to block her on his phone. So even if I did, he would unblock her quickly. I love the idea of the parenting app.  But I don’t know how to get him ready to go to that level.

This homeless situation is making everything a thousand times worse. Yesterday for our anniversary he was stressing all day about how to get rid of her so we could go out and celebrate. She wanted to go camping since she can’t afford a hotel. He said he would drive her to the campsite and figure out a way to leave her there. Well, around 8pm, he was texting saying she refused to let her S go with H (mind you S has a cold and a fever so camping is NOT a good idea). That’s the last I heard from H. He stopped responding to me and our D’s. So Hapoy Anniversary to me. Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post). That makes five years in a row she has had her hand in doing something to ruin our day. I had a big cry and went to bed.

I am wondering if I can show parts of what you guys wrote to H to see if it will get him to let me help him more and set the boundaries. He knows she is only choosing H because she is desperate and has no one else to use right now. It’s funny (ironic) because her family said she had to stop using in order to be let back in their lives. H said she doesn’t even use drugs too much (she smokes a lot of pot and pops whatever pills she can find). I had to explain that’s not what they meant by using. Her lies and using people to get what she wants is beyond. She feels the world owes her. It’s so warped.

I used to just think she did it because she was NPD but now that I’m learning more about BPD, I see she really isn’t choosing to be this awful. Her brain just doesn’t work and there is no rationalizing with her. She will never get it so H needs to stop trying. I guess it’s my role to get H to get to that point.

Ugh. Another day to see what it bring.
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GaGrl
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2019, 09:56:35 AM »

Grady, there's definitely a group of us who deal with the BPD Ex situation. I don't think any of our spouses came out of their relationships with the BPD exes without some level of CPTSD.

My DH married his ex in 1972 when he was in SE Asia serving in the Army, so there have been cultural issues along with the BPD/NPD. He saw red flags but attributed it to her immaturity.  He believed that it would resolve once he got her home to the U.S. and settled into a good, Christian marriage -- she's Buddhist, by the way. (Bless his heart, as we say in the South.)

Infidelities started about 18 months into the marriage. His sister overheard her tell a friend that the only reason she married DH (Dear Husband) was to come to the U.S. Over the years, she has been arrested three times for violence against a boyfriend -- bashing in a windshield with a tire iron and two incidences involving a gun, once with the gun being fired).

She has never been violent with DH. Instead, she parentifies him and looks to him when her life starts to get out of control. Fortunately, she moved 1500 miles away to live near our granddaughter, so 99% of DH's contact over the past 10-13 years has been by phone.

I determined boundaries for our/my home after she came to visit the daughter/granddaughter who were temporarily living with us, and she insulted me in Thai -- not realizing that our daughter would later let me know what was said. She was calling too frequently, and then came the biopsy for lumps in her breast that turned into the Great Breast Cancer Scare -- it was cysts -- that involved multiple calls with hysterical crying night and day, funeral and will arrangements (yes, DH is Executor), you name it. That disruption was the final straw.

She left DH when the children were late teens but never divorced (not necessary in her culture). DH felt he was damaged goods because she had given him herpes and no one would want to deal with that. Her sexual behavior had resulted in one child that we are 90% sure is not his biological child, as well as the loss of a command because her affair with an enlisted man was being conducted flagrantly on the post; she never believed DH that it was her fault until another officer's wife told her it was.

After leaving DH, the ex got a job with an Asian friend that turned out to be an Asian massage parlor. Ex eventually opened her own business, bribed law enforcement, and operated the business for about seven years, making big money. It is where she met her current boyfriend. DH was always afraid she would get arrested and be connected to him, since she uses his last name. Fortunately, that never happened. You can imagine how the adult children reacted to that career stint.

DH and I knew each other as teens, were crazy about each other. Our parents were friends, and I spoke with him when his mother died, but he was only then admitting his marriage was dead. He had a full military career, I was successful in Corporate America, he had a second career in financial investing and advisement -- when I contacted him and asked how his life turned out. We were married within the year -- he so sweetly says that only the strength of our being together could pull him out of his deep depression. The only bumps in the road have been related to the Ex and the havoc she can cause (mostly with the adult children).

We describe our boundaries as being protected by concertina wire.

I hope some of this helps you identify commonalities of experience and make you feel less isolated. Your husband will definitely need your help. Your SS needs to be there in your home and stable until the Ex can work through her unacceptable situation.

Is your house alarmed and with video?
« Last Edit: September 07, 2019, 10:03:57 AM by GaGrl » Logged


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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2019, 11:03:41 AM »

H is in the FOG and knows he is but can't seem to do that much about it.  He tries and does little things, but every tiny step is hard for him.

You could be describing my H. His ex is BPD but she lives in another state thankfully. Our point of contention is SD22 who seems to be BPD like her mom.

I found it more helpful to think of what I could control, rather than controlling H. Focusing on what he needed to do created conflict in our marriage. Which is a common effect of having a BPD person in our lives.

It sounds like you have two specific issues. One is custody of SS3 and the other is boundaries with H's ex.

What do you want? Do you want SS3 to live with you?
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ForeverDad
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« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2019, 03:51:38 PM »

I ruined her life by not divorcing my H.

That's pure emotional blaming and blame shifting, hallmark BPD traits, as I'm sure you know.  All it takes is one spouse, either one, to go to court and court will take it from there and administer the divorce process.

So, I guess my questions from the other step parents out there are how do you work with someone who is so irrational and sees you as the enemy?  How have your gotten your spouse to let you be the one who deals with the contact?

I'm just a parent but... You just can't reason with someone who refuses to to won't reason.  That's where strong boundaries become most essential.  Being nice, accommodating, acquiescing, whatever - nothing works, at least not for long.  You and your husband need to be the "immovable objects" confronting the "irresistible force"... the rocks along the seashore dealing with the unrelenting winds of the storm.

Have you read Henry Cloud's Boundaries?

Boundaries are for you, not her.  You already know you can't tell her what to do or not do.  You can't force her to do or not do something, your power is in your response.  However, what can and does work (though there are limits) is something like this... .
"If you do or don't do ___ then I will do or not do ___."

Examples:
If you start blocking me from our kids... .
... .then I will enforce the parenting schedule, in court if that's what it takes.
If you want extra time for ___... .
... .then I may allow it but with a trade for equivalent time for ___.

When done right "if... .then... ." is powerful.  It took me years to figure how to make boundaries such as these.

Oh, and since this would be a change to your behavior pattern, expect her to flame out with extinction bursts in attempts to make you retreat back into prior compliant, appeasing actions.  She may never fully accept that you will run your own life, but in time she ought to realize you're not acquiescing to her demands as before and not push your boundaries as relentlessly.

If she is now homeless, there may be legal basis for the child not to return to her care until her life gets some stability.  What does H's lawyer say?  Is there basis to seek an urgent order for temporary custody?  Needless to say, H can't be extending help to her.  Probably she has been getting child support?  That's by the court but court won't require him to be "nice" or "gifting" her extra. And him helping her could also be enabling her.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2019, 03:57:13 PM by ForeverDad » Logged

Grady

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« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2019, 04:34:14 PM »

Thanks everyone!

GaGrl - yes this does help to read about other experiences that have a lot of common stories. I agree that H is definitely not strong enough to tackle this on his own. He is miserable and I don’t think he’s doing any of this on purpose. He feels so powerless. It’s not ideal for SS to live with us but I know it’s the best option for him and he is a package deal with H. SS is an innocent victim and he needs a chance at life. This is his only chance. I never had the desire for a 4th child and was happy to be done with the stages of toddlers etc. but life throws you curves and you have to roll with them. He has not ever received real parenting or consistent care and it shows. I am big on routines and structure at that age so I would love to give this to him. He is sweet and craves this so much.

Lived - you make a good point about controlling what I can but his lack of being able to control the situation is negatively impacting me, our D’s, SS, and H. So how do I deal with that? 

Yes those are the two issues I a definitely dealing with. What do I want?  My life back...normal and boring. To have full custody of SS so that we can get him in school/daycare/speech therapy/ activities. For H to be able to focus on his new business venture so he can finally see personal success and give himself the confidence he is lacking after all this abuse. And to be able to contribute financially to our family. Since he met BPD, he went through all his money and lost his job and hasn’t been able to help us financially so the burden has been solely mine. I do well but it’s been a struggle and I am ready to not be strapped financially and be able to do fun things If I want.

Forever - Yes, H could have divorced me but never wanted to. And she blames me for that.

I agree that there is no negotiations when it comes to her. But I need to get H to be in sync with me which he is in theory but not practice. It’s that darn FOG. And it’s so frustrating for me. I know it is for him as well but ugh I am so sick and tired of her place in our lives.

I will look at that book on Boundaries. Maybe I can work with H to establish some of them to give him confidence to do more.

As far as the lawyer is concerned, she doesn’t know about the homeless situation. H hasn’t contacted her yet. I keep on asking him too. Maybe I can corner him and get him to allow me to reach out to his L with him so that it’s “me” doing it to get the ball rolling. He knows it needs to happen but again, the FOG. makes him keep on saying “but she’s his mom”. Yes, he has been giving her support but he didn’t since she has been homeless. I’m sure he has paid way more than that in his help for her which has not helped his son one bit.

I just filled a friend in on what has been happening. Her ex is most likely bipolar and makes her life awful with his rants and irrational behavior. But even knowing that, her view is that I don’t deserve to be treated this way or have to live like this and I should just kick H out and let him figure it all out with her and then come back. She feels it’s not fair that we can’t ever focus on us as BPD consumes us so much that we can’t work on our marriage. She sees how I’m hurting and doesn’t have compassion or understand that H isn’t doing this on purpose. While I get where she is coming from, it’s hard that people can’t understand our plight. How do you guys deal with that?

Thanks again for all your sharing and advice. It’s helping so much!
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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2019, 05:24:35 PM »

While his lawyer may not have permission to discuss matters with you, I am not aware of any law blocking the lawyer from finding out, somehow, and reaching out to him seeking confirmation. Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2019, 05:35:20 PM »

Very good point Forever. If she somehow finds out and reaches out to him, it’s her obligation to do something if she feels a child is in trouble. Isn’t that part of her oath similar to a therapist or doctor?
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« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2019, 07:59:14 PM »

For that matter. You could also consult a pediatrician or therapist who would be obligated to report.I

What is stopping you or your husband from seen my help for Child Protective Services right now?

I would take the stand that WE doesn't go to his mother until she has housing. Period. Done.  Let her challenge in court and explain to the judge why she is sleeping in her ex-husband's car.


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« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2019, 08:05:07 PM »

That’s another really good point. I wonder if my therapist would be obligated to report it. She does know what’s going on. Hmmm. I see her on Tuesday. My H won’t report her or do what he needs because he is scared of how much crazier she will get. That’s what he told me earlier. I tried to explain how he isn’t helping her and is actually causing so much more harm and that he’s part of the problem. I have been throwing him quite a few truth darts today. He says he doesn’t disagree. Sigh... I feel as if I need to take the power away from him by getting the lawyers/therapist/cps/etc involved. That’s how we finally got the agreement we had in June. His lawyer forced it.

The wheels are starting to turn in my head. If he is paralyzed, I need to force it for the sake of my SS and really everyone’s sanity.
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« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2019, 09:52:13 PM »

I share your concern. That precious SS has no choice in the matter right now and is getting no rescue from adults who should be protecting him. H needs to step up. If his own pathology "freezes" his ability to do so -- you should feel you can do what is necessary.

So H hesitates because she would be worse than she already is? How much worse could it be -- sleeping in cars and campgrounds, SS not having by a bed to call his own when he is with mother, ex entering your house and stealing/vandalizing your home? SS needs to go to sleep each night feeling safe -- you may be the only functioning adult in the family that can help make that happen. If H can't handle "worse, " I would suspect PTSD.

Will ex get worse? Maybe. She might completely deconstruct and end up in jail or hospitalization. That's on her if she continues to resist help or guidance.
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« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2019, 11:59:12 PM »

Tell the therapist, a mandatory reporter.

Your husband's obligation is to keep his son safe. He isn't seeing it. Punt this into the therapist's court.

Kudos to you for being the strong one in a very messed up situation.

You didn't sign on for this, and your SS didn't either. 
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« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2019, 01:28:02 PM »

My H won’t report her or do what he needs because he is scared of how much crazier she will get.

She might get crazier. She might get so crazy that she will end up being admitted somewhere and start getting treatment she desperately needs.

People with codependent traits tend to want to protect people from suffering the worst. Sometimes the worst can help blow the doors open so that the right kind of professionals get involved and start helping the family get healthy.
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« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2019, 07:33:45 AM »

Okay, I did it last night.  H showed he clearly isn't able to do anything and I told him if he can't help himself and SS, that was it.  He was forcing me to do it for him.  I didn't specifically tell him what I was going to do.  But, last night, I went into the portal for his lawyer and filled her in on everything.  I did say it was from him and said that she should allow for me to be involved in everything.  I said H was paralyzed with fear and needed her to step in and do the right thing as she has done in the past.  So, we shall see what happens.  I didn't tell H after.  I want to allow for time for the lawyer to read it today before saying anything. 

His therapist also called me last night and we chatted for a bit.  I know he isn't lying to me because she was telling me that he has been saying the same things in their sessions and she said he has gotten to the point recently where he truly sees BPD for who she is and regrets ever getting involved with her.  In the past he would lie to himself and justify and try to remember positive times with BPD.  My therapist said she will work with me and my therapist to find ways to help him and they will notify the authorities as well if need be.  I want to see what happens with the lawyers.  His therapist wants me to set up a time to meet with her to discuss further.  We all can clearly see that H is miserable and letting his FOG overwhelm him.  H told me he is ashamed of himself and his actions and feels completely defeated.  He has to understand that he is part of the problem right now.

I have no interest in any of his other personal issues he's dealing with in therapy.  My interaction with his therapist is purely about helping the current situation with BPD.  H needs to know he can still trust and rely on her.

I was speaking about this with my aunt yesterday and she told me my mom's step brother (completely messed up guy who never got his life together and the family wrote off long ago.  I only met him a handful of times in my life) is also BPD.  It makes a lot of sense.  My grandmother was the sweetest person ever who was adored by everyone.  What he put her through was awful.  I'm sure it was the worst to cut him out of her life but they gave him chance after chance and he abused her so much.  She was left with no other choice.  So sad to have so many stories about BPD.  Mental illness is just awful.
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« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2019, 08:45:25 AM »

How do you feel today?   Yesterday, you took some of your power back.  I hope that's helping to center you a little bit.

This is an important step for you, and one that all of the rest of us steps had to figure out - we cannot always wait for/rely on our partners to do what we know is necessary.  Sometimes we have to take action ourselves, even if we feel like it isn't our job.

If I were in your shoes, this morning I would file an anonymous report with your state's child protective services about SS.  While it's likely that the therapist might report, by waiting for her you are still passing on some of your power.  You believe this child is in danger.  Why wouldn't you call and report it? 

After I set the boundary that Sd12's mom isn't allowed at my home, I had cameras installed.   Now I know if she's been there. 

For you, the boundaries, and enforcements, aren't going to be around ex's behavior.  You can only focus on what you will tolerate from your H.
Can you tolerate him texting or speaking with his ex when he is with you or in your home?
      or, in a lesser boundary, can you set certain hours of the day when he isn't allowed to text or speak with her?
Can you tolerate that he allows ex into your home or on your property (including cars)?
Can you tolerate that he is driving his ex places?

Even if you *can*, *should* you tolerate those things?  You've got some FOG of your own to battle as you try to save your marriage.

You'll have to enforce your boundaries.  That may mean kicking him out until he complies.  It may mean that you and your girls go stay in a hotel until he complies.  It may mean that you leave the room immediately.  Or .....  your therapist can help you with this.

It doesn't work very well to just wait for your spouse to come out of the FOG on their own.  The FOG is very, very thick.  My H has been divorced from his ex for 10 years.  A few months ago,  I asked him to post on the parenting app that we were blocking his ex on SD's phone.  His immediate response was "NO, she's going to get crazy."  SD was at our house; his ex was blocked on his phone; she couldn't show up at our house without me calling the cops.  So what was he really afraid of?  He had no answer, so he finally sent the message.  The fear was a habit.

As for the "she's his mom" FOG ...this was really really really hard for both of us.  I finally drew a timeline of the ways that H's ex had emotionally abused their daughter.  That had some impact, seeing in black and white how many instances there were.   Good parents don't abuse their children and abusive parents shouldn't see their children as much.
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« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2019, 09:22:01 AM »

Hi Worried.  Today I feel better that I did something and stopped waiting for H to do it, but I have anxiety regarding what will happen.  What the lawyer will do, what H will do when he finds out, etc?  Unless the lawyer reaches out to me directly, I won't know anything until I get home from work and can get into the portal.  His user id and password are saved on our laptop at home so I can't get to it from my work laptop. 

So there is another reason I am hesitant to contact CPS.  H has a record with them for something stupid where he was railroaded.  Two of D14's friends got caught smoking and doing pot and they knew H did both (H has a medical marijuana card and had purchased a e cig to try to help him stop smoking...a habit he picked up when he met BPD...who starts smoking in their 40's?) so they threw him under the bus and said they got it from him.  It wasn't true.  They actually did steal a cartridge from my H (he knew he couldn't find it but didn't think anything about it as he didn't like using it anyway) but got the stuff from an older sister of one of the girls and a friend of the other girl.  My D was there during the incident and told CPS it wasn't true, but the girls stuck to their story and now it's in his record.  He had 60 days to protest the ruling, but got caught up in BPD's drama at the time and didn't contest it.  The ruling did say our D's were never in any danger, but they recommended H lock up any pot which he does in his safe.  He never uses it around the kids.  H was stupid to let the girls know he did it (being immature and trying to seem like the cool dad..hello insecurity) and to keep things out in the open to the extent he did.  But my kids are disgusted by it all (as am I) and would never touch it so it was not an issue.  So, I worry that calling CPS could result in putting SS in foster care.  BPD has a record as well with CPS because both she and SS tested positive for pot after childbirth.  What a cluster ***k.   

As for putting my foot down with her being at the house, he knows I will not allow it. But I need to be able to enforce that when I'm not home.  I feel the best way is to get an order of protection.  Cameras are a good option but can be avoided.  We have 6 doors into our home from the outside.  H is smart enough to figure out a way to outsmart the cameras as is she.  She did that at her parents house when she was living there and it became a big joke to her.  My neighbor across the street can let me know when she sees her there (she has in the past) and I can call the police.  But she isn't at home all the time nor is she watching my house nonstop while she is home. 

That is a good point about me being in my own FOG.  Kicking him out of the house is an option, but past experience has been that doesn't help the situation and actually makes him worse.  He has his own abandonment issues (stemming from unhealthy childhood) and that gets triggered.  I will speak with my therapist about it tomorrow when I see her. 

It makes sense the FOG becomes habit.  It's scary how quickly he can fall back into it with a lot of exposure to BPD.  I will start a list of all the abusive things she has done to SS so he can read it in black and white.  I believe that will be impactful and he can't just avoid the reality because it hurts him too much.
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« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2019, 09:53:36 AM »

If the L or the T decides this falls into mandatory reporting, they will call CPS.  You seem relieved at the idea that they would report, but that means whatever consequences you fear are a possibility even if *you* don't report.

If the worst-case scenario is that SS goes into foster care, is that worse than him being homeless with a drug-addicted and emotionally unstable mother?  Is that even a reasonable fear, or would CPS be more likely to place SS with other relatives?  Even with you, as the mother of SS's siblings (I've heard of this happening)?

You might need to consult a lawyer of your own.  This would help you to see if you have grounds for an order of protection, and it would be a source of legal advice for things like what the consequences would be if CPS gets involved.  (I've never had to deal with CPS; I've heard both horror stories and stories of caseworkers going above and beyond to help a child.)
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« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2019, 10:00:55 AM »

Yes, I have to be okay with the outcome if they do report to CPS.  I would hope they would award me the custody but I don't know enough as to how that all works.  I have never been exposed to this sort of thing.  Staying with family is important.  The other alternative would be to place him with her parents.  But, I know SS doesn't want to be there.  I think at this point, I just have to be okay with whatever happens to secure his safety.  Maybe they both need to lose him for a bit to get their lives together.  Maybe this is the wake up call H needs.  I just worry about SS being with strangers.  Her parents aren't great, but I do know they love him and he knows them well.  He's been living with them for the past year and his brother lives there as well. 

I will see what, if anything, happens with his lawyer over the next few days along with speaking with the therapists.  I can't afford a lawyer, but if I have to figure it out, I will.  I've already lost so much money due to the BPD and fallout.  What's another few thousand right?  Ugh, I just want to have a boring life. 
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« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2019, 10:18:00 AM »

What kind of response do you anticipate from H, after discovering the email you sent to his L?
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« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2019, 10:44:09 AM »

Fear and initially trying to backpedal because he feels completely out of control.  But eventually, relief once we make it to the other side. 

I just explained to him that I don't feel safe with her being on our property at all (let alone inside) and that I will call the police and have her arrested.  H said he understood and that's why he's been trying to keep her away. 

H told me he's been completely miserable and I have to understand that he knows we are all suffering but he's suffering a lot as well.  He just told me he wished he could disappear and not have to deal with it.  Sigh...
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« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2019, 10:54:33 PM »

All of us who faced contact (through allegations by the ex) with police, CPS, family court, etc, we all feared the worst, that we would be condemned for {whatever}.  We lived it for months, even a few years.  However, our catastrophizing was much worse than - and not anywhere close to - reality.

Yes, we have to be careful not to sabotage ourselves by being too confident or oblivious, but the real culprit is unregulated emotional fear.  Others standing outside the situation - not being overwhelmed by the emotional involvement - can observe and determine the risks aren't nearly so bad as we fear.
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« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2019, 07:28:58 AM »

I just have to be okay with whatever happens to secure his safety. 

And probably your own safety, too.

It might mean a lot less conflict for you long term if SS stays with his grandparents.

That's if CPS takes seriously her homelessness. I never cease to be amazed by the decisions CPS and judges make.

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« Reply #26 on: September 10, 2019, 08:07:15 AM »

Forever - I know that's true.  Anticipation always gets the better of you.  I need to get H to understand that as well. 

Lived - Exactly.  It all depends on the caseworker assigned and if that person can decipher truth from fiction.  So sad.  I know they truly want what is best for the child, but sometimes they overlook the obvious.  I don't think SS's grandparents house is ideal as they are part of the problem.  All three of their children have had major issues and even though they are better than their kids, they enable and there is a ton of dysfunction.  BPD's older son literally lives in the storage section of the basement.  They blocked off a little area and put a futon there.  I wouldn't say that's a great way for him to live.

So, the lawyer never responded on the portal.  I don't know if she read it yet, called my H or anything.  He didn't mention so I didn't bring it up.  H did read the FOG link I sent him last night and said it made a lot of sense and that's what he's dealing with.  I also read to him worried's backstory and how she's been dealing with things.  He saw how similiar the situations are.  I told him I would send him and share with him small bits at a time so as not to overwhelm him as he is super fragile right now.  He is so mentally exhausted. 

SS was at my house when I got home last night.  H was driving my D's somewhere.  Of course BPD was freaking out that I was at the house with SS so she "made" H pick her up on his way back after dropping off the D's.  She told him he had three seconds to go inside and get SS.  He told her it wasn't that quick so she dropped him off and took his car to wait for him.  She got so mad that he was "taking too long."  SS obviously didn't want to go.  Her plan...drive to a Walmart and walk around until they were tired and then the three of them would sleep in H's car.  She saw nothing wrong with having SS sleep in his carseat.  H and I spoke about it and he knew that was an awful idea.  H went to meet BPD and tell her SS was staying at the house.  Of course he always feels the need to do this in person which is the kiss of death.  Well, of course that was the last time we saw him.  He said he had to sacrifice himself for SS and agree to stay with her so SS could stay at our house.  Grrr...  H came home at 5:30 completely and utterly exhausted.  Meanwhile SS got a bath, dinner, time with his sisters, and a good nights sleep. 

H has therapy this morning.  Fingers crossed she can help him.  Yesterday I asked if he felt relief from having an afternoon away from her (since he was at our house and she was elsewhere).  He said no because he is constantly scared of upsetting her.  And she is upset if he's at his house with his son while she's stuck alone just hanging out somewhere to kill time. 

He was crying yesterday because he said what he was giving was never enough for anyone.  We all wanted more. He knows D's and I deserve a lot more than what he's been giving since BPD became homeless.  But, no matter what he does give BPD, it's not enough.  He just feels so defeated and like a failure.   
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« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2019, 10:37:39 AM »

Almost everyone who has dealt with a laBOR has said the same thing -- " No matter what I do, it's never enough. "

So...your H bemoans that, but he has not yet accepted it as her reality. It has been described as a black hole.

Radical acceptance means taking it fully in that the pwBPD is who she is, and you can't depend or plan on her getting better, being different, behaving better. What that leads to is the realization that "helping" or enabling them is wasted energy and that the only change you can affect is by changing one's own behavior.

Until your H accepts that the change needs to start with him, your family will continue to experience these violations by her. Really -- how much is different now than when she was taking him away due to the affair? I can care for SS without creating her little "three member family within a family. " She is getting exactly what she wants -- your husband and the son, and the illusion they are together and that she is a priority.
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« Reply #28 on: September 14, 2019, 01:17:15 PM »

Staff only

This thread reached the post limit and has been locked and split.  Part 2 is here: https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=339480.msg13075356#msg13075356

Thank you.
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