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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: Co-Parenting With BPD ex wife  (Read 176 times)
Meandmytwins

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« on: November 09, 2019, 07:43:13 AM »

Hi all,

I am a recently divorced dad who has shared custody of 2 young second graders.  My ex wife has strong BPD traits, and it’s been a long, hard journey.  I joined this site to share my story, and to continue to learn from others, in hopes that I continue to claw back to the more complete person I once was.  I am particularly interested in doing anything I can to fuel the minds and hearts of my kids with love, positive energy and provide them with tools as they continue to discover that “mommy is different”, or “I can tell when I talk to her about my feelings, she doesn’t understand.” 
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Meandmytwins

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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2019, 02:31:19 PM »

I was recently called in to discuss my son’s academic performance at school (second grade) with a panel of School officials including the principal and his teacher, among others.  He is doing fairly well, and Is a great kid, and well liked.  But he is having some focus issues that are affecting his performance.  During the meeting, the topic changed to discuss home life.  I am divorced from my BPD ex (just 1 year) and we split custody 50/50.  The teachers noted that they have observed a big difference in his behavior on the days that he spends w me, vs the days he spends w my BPD ex. It’s worth noting that I have twins, and so teachers have been observing both kids and sharing notes to better understand patterns.  They noted that when my BPD ex wife has the kids, that

-the kids are frequently late to school (approx 40%)
-they are sent without lunches and/or snacks
-they are stressed and don’t know who is picking them up or where (school at 3pm or after care at 5pm for example)
-kids are very tired from being out way too late w their BPD mom night before
-kids are not properly dressed (no coat, or dirty clothes etc)

This is in very stark contrast to the way I manage my children.  They have never been late to school, ever.  Every day I prepare and pack their lunches, snacks and insure they know exactly what they are doing, and prepared for the week if transitioning to my ex that day.  

So the school figured this out on their own.  They provided other concerns as well.  I started to break down but managed to keep my composure.  They used the word “neglect” and told me they thought I was a great Dad, and that they wanted to help.  Their main concern is the children and that when external factors start to impact performance, than its their time to get involved.

Despite attempts by my BPD ex to ridicule me by using social media, or just sending lies causally into the atmosphere, I have been very careful not to react, or disparage her in any way.  Or to label her.

Before I provide more details about how I responded, I am curious to hear from others how they would handle this situation.  

Do you tell the school your ex has BPD? Talk about patterns of behavior? Explain to them that this is not a simple discussion w your ex that will lead to any persistent behavioral changes?

This experience can feel very isolating and I truly have empathy for my BPD ex.  Her life must be miserable, and who would choose to live like that.  I don’t hate her, but I often hate the things she does, or doesn’t or won’t do that cause turmoil relating to your children.

Hoping there are some responses out there.  Thanks for listening.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2019, 02:38:17 PM by Harri, Reason: moved from son/daughter to co-parenting board » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2019, 02:43:57 PM »

Hi and welcome.  I am glad you found us.

I moved your thread to the family law/co-parenting board as I think you will get better responses to suit your situation.  We have parents posting here who have managed through similar situations and will be better able to guide you.  I can't give you much guidance as I have not been in your situation so please hang tight while others come along.   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

In the meantime, I hope you settle in and get comfortable here.  We all work together to support and guide each other.

Again, Welcome
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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2019, 06:02:29 PM »

If the school is documenting such things I would try to get that documentation. I would talk to an attorney, if I get the documentation, and figure out if it is worth going to court to change the custody arrangement. Your attorney might say you need someone from the school to testify in the childrens'
 behalf.
When my ex and I first split up I tried co parenting. Nothing good ever came of it. I triggered ex with any suggestions I made. I never figured a way to communicate to her without her saying I was trying to undermine her. We actually had court ordered co parent counseling for ten months. After three meetings the counselor asked me if I thought continued counseling would help. I explained that the same things that were going on in the counseling had been going on since we separated and I couldn't find a way to communicate that would change things for the better. He ended my need for counseling by writing a letter to the judge saying so. I don't know if ex had to continue going or not.
If you don't want to go to court,  I am sorry to say, besides court.  but I never found anything that
worked for me besides court. Every situation is different so you may find a way to communicate that is helpful.
One thing that has worked for me is to find a way to convince my ex that it is her idea to do whatever. The problem is that I only could do that a few times when the situation presented itself in just the right way.
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Meandmytwins

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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2019, 06:30:44 PM »

Thanks David for your response.  I did discuss getting a summary of the meeting from the school.  It will be interesting to see what they include.  It’s also worth noting that my BPD ex was supposed to attend but was a no show.  She now has a meeting set up this week with the team I just met with.  I’m sure it will be interesting to say the least.  So far, I have been able to keep our issues out of the court system.  We mediated our divorce, which involved a mediator, lawyers and her therapist.  Not cheap and stressful as hell but was able to get it done on the last day of 2018 so that Alimony is tax deductible to me.  It was a major win (of sorts ) and I’m trying as much as possible to keep her away from the courts.  She loves an Audience, is financially reckless and in blink of an eye could cause severe financial damage to both of us. I feel like I have an opening with this school discussion to leverage that, but I feel it’s still early.  I’m not optimistic but would like to see her step up, and make much more of an effort.  I encourage my kids to have a great relationship with her, but know it may not be possible.  I see them trying to protect her, and I see her trying to control them.  It worries me. Currently co-parenting doesn’t exist.
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« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2019, 06:54:11 PM »

My story:  I separated in 2005 when my son was 3 years old and divorced in 2006-08.  I noticed that when mother was in charge of kindergarten during the temp order, the school was reluctant to report issues with her.  That all changed because I was able to hold out for being named the primary parent for school purposes.  (Lawyers had insisted it meant nothing but I felt I needed that slight edge - and I did!)  Within a few weeks the district's board gave me a day's notice to get him registered in my school district just a month before the school year ended.

Every teacher from K to 3rd grade told me he was bright but kept losing focus, was distracted and distracting to the class.  It improved right about the time I got custody in 2011, though it might have been coincidental with him gaining a bit more age and ability.

Who is the primary parent such as for school and other major decisions?  That would surely help you, even a little bit.  Many courts are reluctant to shift to sole custody without trying smaller steps first.  If your court isn't at that point to grant that, you also may want your lawyer to investigate whether you can get the next best thing, some sort of Decision Making or Tie Breaker status.
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« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2019, 08:45:52 PM »

Very interesting re Decision making or Tie breaking status. Thank you for that. She is primary for school purposes, and I was ok w that bc school system In her town is great.  I ditched my lawyer after the divorce bc I did 80% of the work and negotiation and felt like her main interest was my wallet and her guidance was always geared towards prolonging the battle and playing off fear.  So that’s out as an option.  But I have captured almost 100% of our communication in Our Family Wizard.  It shows a very clear pattern that should help me immensely, along with school attendance records, and their commentary if I can obtain that.  I don’t know if a judge would care or not but she also has 3 DWIs in her lifetime.  She has an alcohol abuse and prescription pill issue.  Her face becomes expressionless and it’s like she disappears.  I have never seen that happen to anybody else before.  It’s scary. 
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« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2019, 09:13:11 PM »

My first lawyer liked charging for billable hours but wasn't very good at law. My second attorney charged more per hour but my bills were less. He didn't charge for a lot of things the first attorney did. I also was better at "playing the game" of family court by then. I knew what my attorney needed and he also was very good at communicating what he needed.
I found in my situation the school wanted nothing to do with court and was very cautious about what they would say.
I originally was EOW and one dinner day. Ex did nothing to help our boys with school work. I started copying every homework. I signed and dated each one too. My ex always wants to "be better" than me so she started signing and dating too. I filed for more time and my main reason was ex did not help with school work. Ex dragged things for three years before we actually had a court date. I had a pile of homework that was over 10 inches high. The boys did over 95% of all their homework when with me even though I only saw them one day during the week and EOW. Amazingly my ex never changed her behavior for those three years so the evidence was overwhelming. My attorney had three piles made, one for me, one for ex, and one for the court. I made a single sheet of paper on the top summarizing the pile. It had the total number and percentages done at moms and at dads. On top of that less than half of the homework done at moms was complete and/or correct. Boys were in elementary school at the time. Introducing the pile as evidence was the key. Judges must make decisions based on the evidence and documented evidence is much stronger than verbal testimony. The judge looked at the pile and saw the top sheet. He asked ex if the top sheet was correct. Ex had a choice: agree and just submit the one piece of paper or disagree and we had to go over every single piece in the pile. Ex was smart enough to know I was telling the truth and if she disagreed all she would do is piss the judge off big time. After that things went smoothly. Our court order was changed to exactly what I petitioned for.
I wrote the order and included every issue I was having with a solution. I did not spell out thew issues but just wrote the solutions. I also included a point that anything in the order could be changed with an email exchange from both parents consenting to the change. It saved me going to court. I only used it a few times but it helped. My email agreement also stated it was a one time agreement and not to be considered a permanent change.
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« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2019, 10:27:04 PM »

M,

ForeheaD and David are masters of the "can't-coparent-so-how-do-we-figure-out-what-works-best-for-the-kids" wars. They can coach you through this!

You sound as if you have a common sense and realistic view of where you are now -- the question is how best to go forward.

My husband did not leave his first wife (uBPD/NPD), thinking she could handle his absences with his Army assignments.  With three teens, she could not -- eventually, Child Protective Services became involved due to domestic violence with the oldest teen daughter. And it was because services at the school -- counseling services-- were involved and observant and tested by the children (all three ended up being interviewed, as well as Dad making the trip home to interfere and be interviewed. I highly recommend leaning on school counseling services for your twins.

How prepared do you feel to potentially be the primary parent?

How responsible do you continue to feel for your ex's well-being? Does that ever interfere with your twins' well-being as a priority? Or is there internal conflict there?
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« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2019, 01:26:39 AM »

Go with this support.  I wouldn't mention BPD.  Let her actions speak for themselves.

Our kids, now in 2nd and 4th, attend a small school which covers pre-K through 5th.

When S9 was in kinder, there were bullying issues.  The kids' mom took it upon herself to talk to the mom of the bullying kid.  She told me so I made sure to show up. D, then 3, was at a preschool nearby. I was corraling the kids, but I made sure to be close by to listen. My ex threatened the mom with a lawyer if she didn't stop her son from bullying. I did a mental head slap. Not how I would have approached it.

The mom told the principal and we were called into a meeting with the site counselor, school nurse and the principal. We (my ex) was told that they didn't allow such confrontations. She was told not to do it again.

The next year, I felt I trusted the principal enough to share with her that my ex wanted to transfer schools. It's a low score school,  sure, but the staff really cares. I felt a bit weird, like I was triangulating, but the principal told me,  "thanks for telling me that.  It's good to know what is going on." I told her that my ex had moved 3 times by then, but that I was staying put. I had no status over joint custody, but that I wasn't going to move any time within many years.

S hit 2nd grade and was put into a combo 1st/2nd grade class with the same teacher, who is great. D7 has her currently for the second year, having done 1st.

My ex asked to transfer our son into a solid 3rd grade class. The principal declined. Then my ex demanded he be moved.  The principal declined, slapped her down. My ex copied me on the emails. I didn't comment.  It was was an epic BIFF slap down.

Last year in 3rd grade, I received a form letter for tardiness with a threat of referral to truancy enforcement. I emailed the principal who copied the secretary to pull the dates, all on mommy's time.  She has a 12-14 minutes longer commute than I do (on her way to work), even though the school is 7 blocks away from me. No excuse.

Things have been ok this year and my ex has been going to PTA meetings and is finally vested into this school, yet she profiled herself early. I felt guilty talking to the principal back then, but I needed to do it. 

If staff at your kid's school is supportive, embrace this. You don't need to mention BPD, her behaviors speak for themselves. 
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Meandmytwins

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« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2019, 05:25:02 AM »

M,

ForeheaD and David are masters of the "can't-coparent-so-how-do-we-figure-out-what-works-best-for-the-kids" wars. They can coach you through this!

You sound as if you have a common sense and realistic view of where you are now -- the question is how best to go forward.

My husband did not leave his first wife (uBPD/NPD), thinking she could handle his absences with his Army assignments.  With three teens, she could not -- eventually, Child Protective Services became involved due to domestic violence with the oldest teen daughter. And it was because services at the school -- counseling services-- were involved and observant and tested by the children (all three ended up being interviewed, as well as Dad making the trip home to interfere and be interviewed. I highly recommend leaning on school counseling services for your twins.

How prepared do you feel to potentially be the primary parent?

How responsible do you continue to feel for your ex's well-being? Does that ever interfere with your twins' well-being as a priority? Or is there internal conflict there?
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Meandmytwins

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« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2019, 05:57:37 AM »

Thank you for your response and the advice.  I am not sure if I am ready to be the primary parent (ie more than 50%) just yet, but I have been working towards that.  I work as a Sales Manager for a large company and have Global responsibility, which means international travel.  And as a single Dad, I have done all I can to limit my time away so that I can be a rock for my kids.  I’m the one that get it’s done for them.  Assignments, play dates, extra curricular activities, exposure to music, arts, sports.  Everything.  Luckily, I have performed very well at work w/o having to travel much, but that won’t be sustainable.  So I feel that in order to provide for my kids, and cover my Alimony and child support requirements, and take on more parenting time, I need to have the right support system in place.  It took 3 years to get Divorced and I had no emotional attachment to my ex at the end.  I used to focus on trying to catch her when she falls, but I don’t play that game anymore.  It’s not my job, and it’s emotionally draining.  I can’t worry about her and have to let her succeed or fail on her own- even knowing how hard it must be for the kids (and that’s what tugs at the heart strings).  At the tail end of our Divorce, I started dating.  I wound up meeting an amazing woman who I have been dating for a little over a year.  I waited 10 months before introducing her to my children and they are in love with her too.  I’m not one to run into relationships, and it took years of self reflection, therapy and understanding before even trying to date.  My ex beat the crap out of me emotionally and I was a shell of myself.  Fast forward 1 year, and I have been promoted at work, and find myself with the love of my life.  Someone who has so many shared values and interests, and kids of her own.  She very effectively coparents w her ex, and it’s inspiring to see, and great for my kids to learn from.  We are planning to get engaged, but will be long term engagement bc she still receives significant alimony and child support.  Ironically, it’s the same amount I pay my BPD ex.  So long story, short - I think in the next 12 months we will be engaged and living together and I will be able to handle it all - because of the additional support and care she is able to provide.
  As a caveat, I am very concerned about how the kids would react if they see mommy much less.  What the impact will be on them psychologically.  But Im sure that however hard that may be in the short term, the longer term benefits of raising them in a loving and nurturing home will outweigh- probably by far. 

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« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2019, 09:58:39 AM »

There is a book called "An Umbrella for Alex" that is geared towards explaining BPD to young children.  It stresses that it isn't their fault when a parent has episodes. 

At some point, you are going to need to ask for more custody.  If mom can't handle 2nd grade, mom will be absolutely unable to handle middle school (when the children began to differentiate from her in major ways).  It sounds as if you have a long-term plan  Smiling (click to insert in post)

Do your children see a therapist?  I would highly recommend that, if not now, then when you go for more custody.  The therapist will help them grieve the dream they have of the mom they wanted.

My H and his ex had 50/50 from the time SD was 2-10.  When he got primary custody (70/30) last summer, he was concerned how SD would react.  Mom is constantly telling us that SD would rather be with her.  SD, however, was relieved to have less time with mom.  The hope was that the time they had together would be of a higher quality. (That didn't happen, so we're currently negotiating a new schedule.  It will be 85/15 and mom will no longer have overnights.)
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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2019, 08:00:35 PM »

Our boys were around 4 and 7 when the s*** hit the fan (2007). I was very concerned for their well being and their future. They closed down for a while not knowing ( I later realized ) who to trust. I identified trust as an important issue for me even before I realized how important. As they got older they started questioning things their mom said or did. They opened up about two years after our separation. I never went back to their mom to discuss something they said was going on at her place. If I did they would have stopped talking to me in order to protect themselves.
I went to parallel parenting early on since I could not figure a way to communicate with ex without triggering her.
I have stepsons (her kids from her first marriage). I have a great relationship with them.  Two are married and doing fine. They have limited contact with their mom but there have been "family" events where she was included. Most of the time she is pretty good but she has pissed off quite a few of the family in laws because of her behaviors. She showed up four hours late for one of her own kids wedding ?  I have come to accept the things she does and no longer try to figure it out.
 
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Meandmytwins

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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2019, 08:35:44 PM »

David and WorriedStepMom,

Ty for your insight.  I will def check out Umbrella for Alex and Im sure your advice is spot on.  As kids age, and scheduling gets more complicated, there is no way my ex will be able to keep pace.  I know that in my gut, but hearing it from others that have been through this helps to make it more clear.  I’m an optimist, and it’s probably that many of us guys are problem solvers.  We think we can find a solution, but not in this case.  Not with this. 

My kids are seeing an art therapist at school.  They like it a lot and really helps them.  I’m also lucky (at least so far) in that both kids communicate with me about their feelings.  We talk many nights about how they are doing and feeling and they share a lot.  They are very sweet kids.  I also bought them Gizmo watches so we can text daily and chat. When they go to my ex wife’s house, unfortunately i often get cut out.  No FaceTime, watches go unused and I have to show up at her house and demand to get them back. 

David, I also don’t share what I learn from the kids unless it’s an issue that I feel puts them in danger.  Unfortunately, my ex is super pissed that I am in a very happy relationship.  She has almost completely stopped communicating with me.  It’s rough sometimes.  She hoards clothes that I transition to her, sending them back my way later w crappy clothes, no backpacks, no lunch boxes, no gizmo watches.  My view is, our kids own their stuff and they should have what they need, when they need it.  Her view is, she owns the stuff, even if I buy it.  My problem if I don’t have it back.  She tells me I can’t call or  text unless an emergency. Everything should be communicated through aOur Family Wizard - yet she hasn’t logged in for 20 days.  She is cutting me off. It’s nearly impossible to coordinate on transition days.
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« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2019, 09:03:57 PM »

Honestly, the silent treatment is better than the alternative (ex constantly calling and texting to say awful things about your or your gf).

The key to navigating the silent treatment is to take the choices out of her hands.   Follow the court order precisely.  If it says the kids get picked up at place A at B time, then that's where all exchanges will happen, period.

If you have a question, add a deadline, and say explicitly,  "if I don't hear from you by X date, then I will go ahead and do Y."

We had a problem with clothes, too.  I resigned myself to buying about 3x as many clothes as SD actually needed, because the stuff that goes to mom's never comes back (and for years mom would send her back in clothes that were at least 4 sizes too big).  If there's something valuable that SD needs at our house, it doesn't go to mom's.  I hate doing that to SD (my biokids take whatever they want back and forth), but SD's mom won't send anything back.
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« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2019, 09:30:40 PM »

Excerpt
There is a book called "An Umbrella for Alex" that is geared towards explaining BPD to young children.  It stresses that it isn't their fault when a parent has episodes.

Caution about this book, it does mention BPD in the after story recources. The content is good, but keep kids from reading more than the story itself, especially if the other parent is not diagnosed. 

Excerpt
She tells me I can’t call or  text unless an emergency. Everything should be communicated through aOur Family Wizard - yet she hasn’t logged in for 20 days.  She is cutting me off. It’s nearly impossible to coordinate on transition days.

This is a concerning problem. 
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« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2019, 11:56:26 PM »

I learned that most professionals - yes, even court - don't want to seek or expect a diagnosis.  My lawyer just called my ex crazy and more with expletives.  We were 8 years in and out of family court... separation, divorce process and post-divorce.  Not once did the court name or suggest she get a diagnosis.  When I was seeking custody, the court noted her testimony was not credible.  When I was seeking majority time also, the court noted her disparagement of father and stated she should get counseling but added that it wasn't required in case she couldn't afford it.  Of course, court didn't ask whether she had insurance or could afford counseling.

By and large everything is based on the documentation of behaviors and behavior patterns.  So while a diagnosis can provide a little relief, most of us don't get one.  Besides, she is an adult and adults are allowed to lived their lives as they wish.  except fr the parenting aspect, court won't intrude on the lives of the adults.  So focus on the documentation.

Were any of ex's DWI's while the children were in the vehicle?  If so, that could be actionable to set limits on wife's behaviors when she has parenting time.

She has an alcohol abuse and prescription pill issue.  Her face becomes expressionless and it’s like she disappears.  I have never seen that happen to anybody else before.  It’s scary.

I've seen that in my ex, a transformation into another persona.  I had come home one day toward the end and my then-spouse started telling me her day and something she said reminded her of something else, nothing about me at all, and suddenly her face morphed and she got sidetracked into rant mode.  I think that's called dissociation.

You can't fix your ex.  If you could have,it would have happened long ago.  It is what it is.  You just have to accept that and deal accordingly.  BPD is a disorder that becomes more evident the closer you are.  And what is closer than a spouse?  Sadly, a person with BPD (pwBPD) generally cannot truly listen because of all the emotional baggage of the past relationship.  That's why - maybe - an emotionally neutral professional may help the pwBPD get past the Denial and Blame Shifting and work with long term therapy.  Most accounts here report that therapy is often refused or misused to manipulate claims of recovery.

Don't worry about whether the children can handle less time with a disordered parent.  I recall my son (then age 4) was desperate to have more time with me.  He would always come running to me at exchanges.  I would struggle if I had to think of a time he sincerely said he wanted more time with his mother, even after I got majority time.

Disappearing clothes is a commonly reported issue.  My ex one time sent my son, then about 4 or 5, to me in size 2 pajamas.  Admittedly she had less resources than me, but still.  Some parents here couldn't afford resupplying the kids for every exchange so the kids learned that they'd generally be returned in the same clothes they had been sent in.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2019, 12:07:22 AM by ForeverDad » Logged

Meandmytwins

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« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2019, 02:37:08 AM »

Caution about this book, it does mention BPD in the after story recources. The content is good, but keep kids from reading more than the story itself, especially if the other parent is not diagnosed. 

This is a concerning problem. 

Turkish,

Ty for highlighting, and I agree.  In your view is court the only option? It seems clear from responses that this will be required. But wondering if there is anything else recommended that I try until that point. 

She has an appointment with the school this week and they are going to voice their concerns to her about the patterns they are seeing with the kids on her parenting days.  I’m optimistic that in the short term that she will improve and also start to communicate with me about the kids . They need to feel more secure about who is picking them up on her days, at what time and where. 

One of the requirements I put in the MSA is that transitions occur at school, or aftercare.  So, essentially I never have to see her and it’s drama free for the kids. 
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« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2019, 03:21:10 AM »

I

By and large everything is based on the documentation of behaviors and behavior patterns.  So while a diagnosis can provide a little relief, most of us don't get one.  Besides, she is an adult and adults are allowed to lived their lives as they wish.  except fr the parenting aspect, court won't intrude on the lives of the adults.  So focus on the documentation.

Were any of ex's DWI's while the children were in the vehicle?  If so, that could be actionable to set limits on wife's behaviors when she has parenting time.

ForeverDad,

Ty for all your comments and insight.  I will focus on documentation of behaviors as you suggest.  That’s typically my strategy.
   I admit though that I do fall into the occasional trap of wanting to suggest that others “read up on cluster B” as an example.  When I was in couples therapy w my ex, the therapist (who my ex also saw individually), was concerned about our reactivity to each other.  She noted we were in a “high conflict relationship” and thought that if we each took medication than we could better manage ourselves and try and use the conflict resolution tools she was teaching us.  So she sent us to see a psychiatrist who interviewed us together, and than a couple of times individually.  The guy told me he wasn’t convinced I should be on meds, and that it was my choice.  I had committed to do the therapist and my ex I would try, and I did.  Although I also knew that I had no examples anywhere else in my life where I struggled with conflict resolution.  It’s actually a strength, and I am more patient in many ways than the average person (I’m told ). So I went on meds for about 3 weeks, and they did nothing for me.  So I stopped (but I never told my ex).  She magically started seeing major changes in my behavior and raved to our therapist about the wonderful affects the drugs had on me, which of course I wasn’t taking.  
Fast forward 6 months.  My ex wife’s brother in law sends me a NY Times article on NPD w a note stating, “not saying she has this, but seems very familiar based on the stories you have shared w me.”  Eye opening! I couldn’t believe it.  It was 100% spot on.  
I booked another appointment w the psychiatrist, who I hadn’t seen in 6 months (neither had my ex) and I showed him the article. Everything in that article had happened to me.  His comments were, “I think you are poking around the right area.  I suggest you research cluster B.”  I only point this out because those events changed my life dramatically.  I didn’t know any of this existed. It all just felt crazy to me, but without the ability to direct my attention to something I could quantity, I didn’t know how to learn to cope.  My therapy was too vague.  Too general.  And when explaining issues to others, I get the sense that most people just don’t really understand that her behavior is not gonna change. I don’t ever say these things to Parents in the community, but this one time at school, with all teachers and principal, and other concerned staff clearly telling me that they know there is a problem w her, and that my kids are being “neglected” I broke down.  I asked them, “have you ever heard of cluster b?” And left it at that.  They know to focus on behaviors and that’s what I know they will do.  But they were also asking me how she would react if I gained full custody.  They were suggesting these things.  Before I said anything.  I was in tears.  I probably screwed up, but there was no malice. No intent to disparage.  Just desperation and likely the wrong response.  I guess I wanted them to know that a simple meeting w her is not going to change that.  But as I reflect back, they must clearly already know that!



[/quote]
« Last Edit: November 11, 2019, 07:59:45 PM by I Am Redeemed, Reason: added quote box » Logged
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« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2019, 07:56:56 PM »

I changed my way of looking at things along the way. I used to be concerned about ex getting better and wanted our boys to have a relationship with her. I evolved into putting myself in her shoes. If I was like that I would want her to do everything she could to protect our boys. If I got better some day she could always change the circumstances.
 
My situation started in 2007. Things have improved as far as minimal communication between us. Yes, I had the clothes issue early on. My ex actually took all their clothes in the beginning. I went out and purchased a shopping cart full of clothes for them and they eventually all disappeared. I then started sending them back with the clothes I picked them up in. This appeared to work and then I ran out of underwear ? Ex was sending them out without underwear. I talked to the boys and told them they needed to have underwear when I picked them up. I let them figure it out and they did.

This last Mothers Day ex asked in an email if she could pick both boys up because they were with me that weekend.  I agreed. When she dropped them off they told me a story about how their mom told them I was the number two distributor of marijuana in the city of Phila. According to ex she learned this from a recent conversation with my mother. My mother had passed away years ago and ex knew that. I was growing all my supplies in city parks too. I assume she isn't getting any better. Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)  You can't make this stuff up because even I have a hard time believing it.
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« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2019, 08:09:09 PM »

I learned the less reaction she got from me the less nonsense she sent my way. It used to be said on this site, negative engagement is still engagement. The less you engage the less you have to deal with.
Having the school on your side is helpful.
Years ago we were having an issue at school. Ex had me as the problem. We had lots of meetings and nothing positive. I finally had a one on one with the principal. I suggested a solution which involved me going to the school and having a meeting. Once a decision was made the school would contact ex for a meeting. Ex was made to "feel" she was the one making the decision. She would always disagree when we had meetings together. The principal didn't think it made sense but he was willing to try it one time. It worked exactly as I thought. The principal called me to let me know how it worked and he wanted me to explain. My reply was that I understood how my ex operated but I could not explain the why. From that point on the school always worked that way. Never had an issue.
When the oldest started middle school ex started a campaign there to make it difficult for me. I went to the school and talked to a person at the front desk. She got on the computer and I could see something wasn't right by her expression. Instead of trying to fix it myself, I simply asked her to call the principal at the elementary school and he would be able to explain everything. I told the person I would wait for a call and left. Within 20 minutes I received a call. The person apologized and said everything was fixed. Never had a problem after that.
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ForeverDad
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« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2019, 09:11:50 PM »

I suggested a solution which involved me going to the school and having a meeting. Once a decision was made the school would contact ex for a meeting. Ex was made to "feel" she was the one making the decision. She would always disagree when we had meetings together. The principal didn't think it made sense but he was willing to try it one time. It worked exactly as I thought. The principal called me to let me know how it worked and he wanted me to explain. My reply was that I understood how my ex operated but I could not explain the why.

Years ago I read a description of why what we say triggers and yet others may succeed.  As I explained before: "BPD is a disorder that becomes more evident the closer you are.  And what is closer than a spouse?  Sadly, a person with BPD (pwBPD) generally cannot truly listen to us because of all the emotional baggage of the past relationship.  That's why - maybe - an emotionally neutral professional may help the pwBPD get past the Denial and Blame Shifting and work with long term therapy."

So as long as the professionals don't slip up and give you credit or appear to be siding with you, they may get some positive response from your ex.  It may not last, though.
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