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Family Court Strategies: When Your Partner Has BPD OR NPD Traits. Practicing lawyer, Senior Family Mediator, and former Licensed Clinical Social Worker with twelve years’ experience and an expert on navigating the Family Court process.
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« on: January 05, 2011, 01:04:29 PM »

The lessons and workshops below were developed over a period of years, but the stories and advice are still very relevant. Take each section slowly, and really think about the questions that follow. Not everything will apply to your specific situation, but much of it may. Our goal is to provide you with the tools and knowledge to begin to make changes in the only thing you can control - yourself.
 
Lesson 1: Psychological and Emotional Aspects of Divorce
 
Lesson 2: Strategies and Tools for Dealing with Legal Conflict
 
Lesson 3: Anatomy of a Divorce Proceeding
 
Lesson 4: Child Custody, Visitation, and Parenting Plans
 
Lesson 5: Healing from Divorce
 
Lesson 6: Understanding BPD Behaviors
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2011, 04:20:24 PM »

Lesson 1: Psychological and Emotional Aspects of Divorce
 
Objective: The decision to end a relationship can be traumatic, chaotic, and filled with contradictory emotions. The emotional process typically extends over several years and is confounded by each party being at different stages in the emotional process while in the same stage of the physical (or legal) process. It is also quite normal to try to create distance from the former partner while divorcing. Unfortunately, this distancing often takes the form of fault finding. Much of your healing will involve acceptance, focusing on the future, taking responsibility for your own actions, and acting with integrity.
 
Directions: Read through the following articles and workshops, which discuss the psychological and emotional experiences of real life stories and examples. You may recognize your life in the stories and tales of others.
 
Contemplating Divorce
 
TOOLS: Isn't Marriage Supposed to be Forever?
 
To succeed or eventually give up are both reasonable outcomes. What matters most is how we approach it - our character, our ability to see our role, and our ability to make good choices through the process. We can remain stuck in indecision for overly long periods (years), or unable to see our roles and not be willing to make as much change as we are asking of others, or becoming resentful victims, or be stuck in recovery afterward (years).
 
TOOLS: Therapeutic Separation
 
Sometimes the bad habits of the relationship are so ingrained on a day to day basis that recovering from within the current living situation is nearly impossible. Many couples hang in there hoping for the best and when it doesn't come, end up in a divorce that neither may have really wanted. There is an alternative - therapeutic separation - members here have had varying levels of success and failure with this.
 
What's Best for the Kids?
 
PERSPECTIVES: Is it better for the kids if I stay or leave?
 
There have been studies that show that kids who grow up in divorced homes have more problems in life than kids whose parents stay together. Would having a BPD/NPD parent (or other abusive parent) change this outlook? If you leave, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex? Would things be better for your kids living in a two-parent home situation? If you are the father, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids? Read more.
 
ARTICLE: Typical Reactions of Children to Divorce
 
Much of children's post-divorce adjustment is dependent on (1) the quality of their relationship with each parent before the divorce, (2) the intensity and duration of the parental conflict, and (3) the parents' ability to focus on the needs of the children in the divorce. Typically, children whose parents are going through a rough divorce engage in behaviors which are designed to help them feel secure. Read more about typical experiences of children to divorce and separation.
 
Psychological and Emotional Aspects of Divorce
 
ARTICLE: Emotional Stages of Divorce
 
The decision to end a relationship can be traumatic, chaotic, and filled with contradictory emotions. There are also specific feelings, attitudes, and dynamics associated with whether one is in the role of the initiator or the receiver of the decision to breakup. For example, it is not unusual for the initiator to experience fear, relief, distance, impatience, resentment, doubt, and guilt. Likewise, when a party has not initiated the divorce, they may feel shock, betrayal, loss of control, victimization, decreased self esteem, insecurity, anger, a desire to "get even," and wishes to reconcile.
 
POLL: The Emotional Roller Coaster of Divorce
 
Few divorcing people find it easy to see or accept their own feelings of guilt and shame. These powerful negative feelings often remain under the radar, hidden and invisible, where they do the most harm. Strong feelings of guilt or shame can make it difficult or impossible to take in more balanced information, to maintain your perspective, and to consider realistically your best alternatives for how to resolve problems. Guilt can cause spouses to feel they have no right to ask for what they need in a divorce, causing them to negotiate unbalanced, unrealistic settlements they later regret.
 
US: The Five Stages of Grieving a Relationship Loss
 
Where are you going? It's important to see healing as a process and to constantly be marking your progress. You need to know where you are going and the pathway there if you are ever going to reach healing. Without this, many just get stuck in a stage without realizing that it is a stage. You may not experience grieving stages in one fluid order. An event will trigger us to experience one of these stages again - like hearing your ex-partner is to remarry.
 
TOOLS: Exiting a BPD relationship
 
Many individuals fail in attempts to detach from someone with BPD (or someone who is abusive) because they leave suddenly and impulsively, without proper planning, and without resources. In many cases, the person with BPD has isolated the non from others, has control of finances, or has control of major exit needs.
 
PERSPECTIVES: Our emotional health
 
After riding the roller-coaster your emotional system is out of whack. Things don't feel normal anymore and you have lost a solid feeling what normal is. A therapist certainly can help here. Some tricks from the DBT toolbox can be beneficial too. Emotional balance can be enhanced through mindfulness.
 
Changing Our Role in the Dynamic
 
PERSPECTIVES: Our Dysfunctional Relationships with Others
 
The purpose of this workshop is to discuss the dynamics of difficult family and partner relationships and how we become caught up in them. The Karpman  Drama Triangle is a very useful tool for understanding "stuck" relationship dynamics. The idea is that we often find ourselves playing out scripts. These roles feel safe, but they are very limiting. They keep us trapped.
 
ARTICLE: What it means to be in the “FOG”
 
Fear, obligation and guilt (FOG) are the tools of emotional manipulators. "Emotional Blackmail" and FOG are terms coined by psychotherapist Susan Forward, Ph.D., and are about controlling relationships and the theory that fear, obligation or guilt are the transactional dynamics at play between the controller and the person being controlled. Understanding these dynamics are useful to anyone trying to extricate themselves from the controlling behavior by another person.
 
Minimizing Conflict and Dealing With Anger
 
TEST: What's your conflict style?
 
Peter Neidig, a psychologist who studied spousal abuse, developed an interesting system for identifying conflict styles. There are 4 styles that fall on two scales: relationship goals and personal goals. What is your style? Is it affecting the cycle of conflict in your life?
 
US: Venting - Is it healthy or unhealthy?
 
When we are resentful, we try to balance the wrongs we feel by demeaning the person that hurt us. We bash them, feel disgust for them, feel hatred or look down in pity. We may even wish them harm or lash out to hurt them or their reputation. The problem for us is that we create a dysfunctional and false reality to sooth our pain.  And in doing so we cling to a futile need to be right or be superior, which overrides our capacity to heal and to make healthy changes in our lives. 
 
ARTICLE: What are the ten anger styles?
 
Anger is a tricky emotion, difficult to use well until you learn how. It is a real help though, as long as you don't get trapped in any of the anger styles aforementioned. People who use anger well have a healthy or "normal" relationship with their anger.
 
The more you know about your personal anger style(s), the more control you will have over your life. You can learn to let go of excessive anger and resentment.
 
Coping with Emotions and Divorce
 
TOOLS: Practicing mindfulness--how do you do it?
 
Your inner resources served you well as a child, and they likely still do today, even though at times you may feel that they've been tapped out. One way to rebuild and connect with those inner resources is to increase mindfulness or self-awareness. The more you know about you you're feeling, what you're thinking, what you're sensing, at any given moment, the more strength, power, and control you will have.
 
TOOLS: Ease your pain by reframing your thoughts
 
Three Minute Therapy distinguishes clearly between two very different types of difficulties: practical problems and emotional problems. Your flawed behavior, unfair treatment by others, and undesirable situations, represent practical problems. Regrettably, your human tendency is to upset yourself about these practical problems, thereby unnecessarily creating a second order of problems — emotional suffering.
 
TOOLS: DBT for Non Borderlines- Mindfulness
 
What is mindfulness all about?  In the simplest sense, we all develop thinking patterns that do not serve us well. When we do, we are easily "triggered" -- having non-constructive reactions to specific words or actions based on prior experiences. Mindfulness is a type of self-awareness in which we learn to observe ourselves in real time to see and alter our reactions to be more constructive.
 
US: What does it mean to take care of yourself?
 
We read it all the time - "take care of yourself," but rarely are we told how. Many of us are so trapped in the FOG of emotional blackmail, that we have no idea how to even begin to "take care of ourselves." This workshop talks about what it means to truly take care of yourself.
 

SELF ASSESSMENT | Depression Self Testing: Are you depressed?
 
It is normal to feel depressed for a while following divorce. Being exposed for a long time to the extreme and unpredictable ups and downs of a BPD relationship is also disorienting. You may not be sure anymore how you feel at all. Depression often is temporary and will heal given time. However clinical depression is serious condition where professional help is need. If in any doubt please seek help to prevent escalation and speed up your healing. No advice below can substitute for an individual assessment and targeted treatment.
 
Finding Peace After Difficult Relationships
 
WORKSHOP: Success Stories: How I gained control of my life
 
Success comes in many forms.  For some it means staying with the disordered partner but in a healthy way, for some it means getting the strength to move out of a unhealthy relationship they developed, for some it meant creating a healthy environment for the kids after the divorce, for others, it means reclaiming oneself despite what is going on with the parents or children. Read about members' success stories here. 
 
WORKSHOP: Are you ready for a new relationship?
 
Most people have two bottom-line fears when it comes to relationships: the fear of rejection and the fear of engulfment, which means the fear of losing the other or the fear of losing yourself. These are deep fears that start in childhood and may continue throughout your life, making it difficult for you to be fully emotionally available in a relationship. Until you develop a powerful loving adult self, you may take rejection personally and not know how to handle loss. Without a strong loving inner adult, you may allow others to control you, giving yourself up to prevent rejection.
 
BOOK REVIEWS
 
Book Review: Contemplating Divorce: A Step by Step Guide to Deciding
 
This practical guide will help you evaluate your marriage to determine whether you should stay or go. Without bias toward or against the option of divorce, this book includes helpful tools to guide you to the right decision.
 
Book Review: Splitting: Protecting yourself While Divorcing a BPD by Bill Eddy
 
This is an honest and supportive book, with practical suggestions for handling the many predictable issues of legal manipulations, abusive behavior, false allegations of abusive behavior, finding an attorney, and a prolonged legal process. 
 
Book Review: It's All Your Fault by Bill Eddy
 
Eddy finds ways to put complex psychological concepts into simple, clear, everyday language. This is a very helpful book for understanding BPD, especially at a time of crisis when a lot of the psychological language in other resources can be a bit bewildering.
 
Questions
 
* How would you describe your emotional and psychological state as you work through the divorce process?
 
* What are some skills you can learn to reduce your emotional suffering?
 
* What kind of support do you have in place to help cope with the sometimes overwhelming feelings that divorce can trigger?
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2011, 04:27:14 PM »

Lesson 2: Tools and Skills to Deal with Legal Conflict
 
Objective: We know the marriage is over, and yet the conflict continues to plague the divorce process. We may feel trapped and frustrated, not only by our soon-to-be-spouse, but by the legal system, which is often punitive and expensive. Our own feelings and limitations may intensify our struggle, and this can make the conflict worse. The tools listed below offer suggestions on how to make it easier for yourself as you go through this painful process.
 
Directions: Read through the following articles and workshops, which discuss the psychological and emotional experiences of real life stories and examples. You may recognize your life in the stories and tales of others.
 
Whatever has happened before is less important than what to do now. Avoid trying to emphasize how bad the problem is. With a high conflict person, this just triggers more defensiveness. Plus, people never agree on what happened in the past anyway. Picture a solution and propose it. ~ William Eddy, LCSW, Esq., author of "It's All YOUR Fault!"
 
ARTICLE: Taking an Assertive Approach to High-conflict Family Law Matters and Personality Disorders
 
This article was written by lawyers for lawyers -- it was intended to guide lawyers who find themselves representing clients with high-conflict (soon to be ex) spouses, but it provides some really good points to help us find an assertive (as opposed to an aggressive or passive lawyer) attorney, and to get in step with our own assertive approach. This is a good article to print out and give to your lawyer to make sure you both understand what it means to take an assertive approach.
 
ARTICLE: A Theory of the Pattern of Blame
 
Since the cognitive distortions of those with personality disorders generally cause them to interpret events as all external, they desperately seek something or someone else to blame. It is a psychological process of diverting attention from one’s own unacceptable behavior onto the behavior of another. It appears to be a sincere, but misplaced, effort to change the cause of their distress and problems. Understanding the different types of persuasive processes during a legal conflict is important if you wish to protect yourself from false allegations.
 
WORKSHOP: Boundaries: Living our Values
 
Independent core values determine our decisions and guide our lives. Boundaries are how we define our values to others. A boundary is nothing more than the outer perimeters of our independent core values -  it's like a fence  - anything inside the boundary is consistent with our core values and anything outside the boundary is not. Even when we live our values responsibly, we can still encounter boundary busting.
 
EXAMPLES: Boundaries
 
This thread talks about examples of our values, our boundaries, and how to defend those boundaries.
 
BPD Behaviors: Extinction Burst and Intermittent Reinforcement
 
What does extinction burst mean and why should you care?  Because when you try to implement boundaries you will most likely see an increase in bad behavior. The BPD sufferer isn't getting the response he or she expects. They become confused and frustrated. You've changed the rules by not giving your typical response. This will increase their bad behavior to try to get the response they are used to.   
 
TOOLS: Triggering and Mindfulness and Wisemind
 
Mindfulness is a type of self-awareness in which we learn to observe ourselves in real time to see and alter our reactions to be more constructive. Wise Mind is that place where reasonable mind and emotion mind overlap.  It is the integration of emotion mind and reasonable/logical mind. There are several ways that mindfulness can help reduce the intensity, duration, and frequency of unhelpful habitual response patterns. Read more.
 
TOOLS: US: Do not allow others to 'rent space' in your 'head'
 
Many of us have been habitually "renting out" the precious space in our minds to totally undeserving, and sometimes quite malicious, people for many years. So long, in fact, that it can actually be very tough to simply "turn off" this type of ultra-self-defeating behavior after all this time and practice. This gives others a considerable amount of emotional power and control over us. Don't let them rent space in your head! 
 
ARTICLE: How to "ex" communicate
 
Tension between parents, whether together or divorced, creates anxiety for the children as well as the parents. To significantly reduce or entirely eliminate the anxiety for all of the family the parents should follow two simple rules for the first two years, in order to control the communication and contact between the parents. Number one: Eliminate all face-to-face communication between the parents (including telephone contact), for a minimum of two years. Number two: All communication should be done in writing, using a memo format to communicate. Read more.
 
TOOLS: Dealing with Hostile Communication After the Divorce
 
During divorce and beyond, hostile emails are common. Bill Eddy and Randi Kreger, authors of the book "Splitting," came up with something called the B.I.F.F. method for responding to them. Blamers love sending these hostile messages and use them to attack you, your family and friends, and professionals. It’s extremely tempting to respond the same way. Hostile e-mail has also become huge in family court, as a document used to show someone’s bad behavior. While you are encouraged to save copies of hostile e-mail sent to you, it is very important that you not send hostile e-mails to anyone. They will be used against you.
 
TOOLS: Communication using validation. What it is; how to do it
 
When it comes to emotional intelligence, one of the most advanced skills is knowing how to better validate others. Validation opens people up and contributes to the feeling of comfort and safety when communicating with you. Conversely, if you are experiencing a communication breakdown, if there is a wall between you and someone else, it most likely has been built with the bricks of invalidation.
 
TOOLS: Dealing with narcissists by reinforcing the positive
 
A common mistakes people make in this community is thinking they’re dealing with a borderline when they’re really coping with either a narcissist or someone with narcissistic traits. Bill Eddy (author of Splitting: Protecting Yourself when Divorcing a Narcissist or Borderline) explains what NPD is and gives several tips on handling people with it. As you go through your divorce, if there are instances when you can make positive statements, do so. This helps with the inevitable narcissistic injuries that will occur. You will also make yourself look better to court officials.
 
Questions
 
* How can you avoid letting your spouse "rent space in your head"?
 
* What are some ways you can communicate with your soon-to-be-ex spouse to minimize the conflict?
 
* How can you assert effective boundaries to protect yourself from abusive behaviors?
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2011, 05:03:27 PM »

Lesson 3: Anatomy of a Divorce Proceeding
 
Objective: Divorcing someone who has BPD presents some unique challenges. In this lesson, we attempt to outline the common steps of a divorce or custody battle when one party has BPD, a process that is difficult to summarize because family law courts vary by country, state, province, and also by situation. Because our situations aren’t always the same, it’s important to consult a local attorney to understand exactly how things work where you live.
 
Directions: The following summarizes some of the expected steps in a divorce with a BPD spouse. This list was compiled by senior members who have been active on the Family Law board for several years, none of whom are lawyers.
 
Anatomy of Divorce: Part I
 
  • What can I expect?
  • Preparing for divorce
  • Start documenting
  • Filing for divorce
  • Hiring a lawyer

Anatomy of Divorce: Part II
 
  • Serving the papers
  • The response
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Temporary orders
  • Final orders
  • Divorce decree
  • Property division

Anatomy of Divorce: Part III
 
  • Discovery
  • Depositions
  • Hearings and trials
  • Motions for contempt
  • Ex parte motions

Anatomy of Divorce: Part IV
 
  • Custody evaluation
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Visitation
  • Rights of first refusal
  • Expert or third-party witnesses
  • Guardian ad litem
  • Parenting coordinator
  • Child advocate
  • Co-parent counseling

Questions
 
* What aspects of the divorce process apply to you, and how will you proceed?
 
* What strategy will you implement to reach your goals and desired outcomes?
 
* How do things work where you live, and what steps might be different or the same as those outlined here?
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2011, 05:10:17 PM »

Lesson 4: Child Custody, Visitation, and Parenting Plans
 
Objectives: Married or not, when a failed relationship involves kids, there are often ongoing issues with custody, visitation, and child support. Custody disputes can add intense psychological and emotional stresses to what is already a difficult time, often compounded by the challenges of an adversarial legal system that is largely uninformed about personality disorders. Child custody, visitation, and parenting plans create the legal boundaries that are sometimes necessary in high-conflict families when there are kids involved.
 
Directions: Read through the following articles and workshops we have developed, which discuss the psychological and emotional experiences of real life stories and examples. You may recognize your life in the stories and tales of others.
 
If you are currently co-parenting or parallel parenting children with a BPD parent, there is a series of lessons on the Co-parenting After the Split board to provide help beyond the initial stages of divorce.
 
ARTICLE: Understanding How Custody Works
 
What does custody mean? Child custody and guardianship are legal terms which are used to describe the legal and practical relationship between a parent and his or her child, such as the right of the parent to make decisions for the child, and the parent's duty to care for the child. Each state, and each country, has different ways of handling custody disputes and it's important to make sure you understand how things work where you live.
 
TOOLS: Custody & Psychological Evaluations
 
This workshop is meant to be an exchange by those who have undergone custody or psych evals in an attempt to compare and contrast various ways in which the evaluations were accomplished, and serves as a guide to those who will be undergoing such a process in the future.
 
ARTICLE: Divorce Rules for Parents
 
Even in times of great stress, such as a divorce proceeding, parents have a responsibility to conduct their legal affairs in a manner that will protect their children as much as possible from adult conflict. This will help reduce the potential long-term emotional and mental impacts of divorce on the kids. These simple divorce rules for parents will help keep us centered on our kids when they need us most.
 
POLL: Cooperative Parenting or Parallel Parenting?
 
Research on families of divorce suggest that there are primarily three styles of parenting for families after a divorce: cooperative, conflicted, or disengaged. Parents who are in conflict and argue a lot or need to disengage in their parenting. Even if you can sometimes parent cooperatively, you find it to be difficult and are in conflict too much of the time. Conflicted parenting is the worst for children, who are often in the middle of the conflicts. Your children will adjust to your divorce easier if you can avoid conflicted parenting. There are many psychological issues that lead to conflicted parenting. Read more. 
 
POLL: Co-parenting vs. Conflictual Co-parenting: Why Be Bitter When You Can Be Better?
 
One of the keys to understanding what needs to happen in these cases is that it only takes one parent to end the conflict and it only takes one parent to save the children from being permanently scarred by the fight. It is a waste of time to think the parents can "learn to get along" with each other, because if they could have done so, they would have already do it without a court order to "learn to co-parent." .
 
POLL: High-Conflict Intervention Program
 
In a break-up or divorce with children, there may often be high emotion and tension between the parents. This tension creates anxiety for the children as well as the parents. The children sense their parent’s anxiety in their voice, their body language and in their parent’s behavior. To significantly reduce or entirely eliminate the anxiety the parents should follow two simple rules for the first two years, in order to control the communication and contact between the parents. The rules are as follows: 1) Eliminate all face-to-face communication between the parents (including telephone contact), for a minimum of two years. 2) All communication should be done in writing, using a memo format to communicate.
 
COMMUNICATION: Dealing with Hostile Communication After the Divorce
 
During divorce and beyond, hostile emails are common. Bill Eddy and Randi Kreger, authors of the book "Splitting," came up with something called the B.I.F.F. method for responding to them. Blamers love sending these hostile messages and use them to attack you, your family and friends, and professionals. It’s extremely tempting to respond the same way. Hostile e-mail has also become huge in family court, as a document used to show someone’s bad behavior. While you are encouraged to save copies of hostile e-mail sent to you, it is very important that you not send hostile e-mails to anyone. They will be used against you.
 
BPD BEHAVIORS: Problematic Parenting
 
BPD parents often engage in subtle behaviors that may not be overtly neglectful or abusive towards the children, but they can inhibit healthy development in children. There are forms of damaging parenting, and people who share children with a disordered spouse need to be aware of these other forms of difficult or problematic parenting, and how their children might be affected. Though we talk about "moms", please be aware that bpd/NPD dads do many of these same things.
 
WORKSHOP: When are the children of a BPD parent at risk?
 
Many parents and grandparents come to bpdfamily.com and are concerned about the interactions between the BPD sufferer in their life and the children. BPD patterns can lead to problematic parenting in several ways. For instance, a BPD sufferer is prone to black and white thinking and “splitting,” which can lead a parent to see a child as “bad” and thus deserving of punishment. A BPD parent's ways of coping can become a source of neglect (abusive or addictive behaviors distract the parent, leaving the child untended) or abuse (with impulsive behaviors and rages resulting in emotional and physical scars). Understanding when and how to intervene is important for the well-being of the kids. 
 
TOOLS: Fair Fighting Rules
 
When it comes to dealing with the children, it pays to learn the Fair Fighting Rules: Focus on solving a problem/reaching a solution rather than venting your anger or winning a victory. Deal with one issue at a time. No fair piling several complaints into one session. Stay focused on the present. Bringing up the past isn't fair. State the problem clearly - think through what your complaint is, make sure you have all the facts. Avoid blaming the other parent.
 
PERSPECTIVES: Shared Parenting
 
Shared parenting after divorce can be difficult under the best of circumstances.  Shared parenting with someone with a mood disorder or after a high conflict divorce can be personally draining and very hard on the children. The purpose of this workshop is to discuss the hard realities of shared parenting -  the compromises, the tools, and the attitude necessary to bring about the greatest stability to the children and the separate households and how to best approach it. In many cases the other parent is dysfunctional and not going to change - how do we best manage what we have to work with - with the people, with the family court, with our families. 
 
TOOLS: Things to cover in a parenting plan
 
Parenting plans are important tools when co-parenting with a BPD parent.
 
BOOKS:
 
Book Review: Putting Children First
 
Many of us here have children and are either in the process of divorcing our spouse, at least contemplating doing so or have already completed the process.  While we may not want to continue the marriage, we do want to do the best we can to help our children during and after the process.  This book was written for parents, grandparents and others who love our children.
 
Book Review: The Power of Validation (for parents)
 
The Power of Validation is detailed resource for parents seeking practical skills for validating their child’s feelings without condoning tantrums, selfishness, or out-of-control behavior. You’ll practice communicating with your child in ways that instantly impact his or her mood and help your child develop the essential self-validating skills that set the groundwork for confidence and self-esteem in adolescence and beyond. For all of us, learning to validate is a useful skill. If we are parents, whether parenting a child with BPD traits, parenting with a BPD partner or ex-partner, or parenting after having been raised by a parent with a PD, validation skills are especially important.
 
Book Review: Brain-based Parenting
 
The biggest challenge to parents, Hughes and Baylin explain, is learning how to regulate emotions that arise—feeling them deeply and honestly while staying grounded and aware enough to preserve the parent–child relationship. Stress, which can lead to “blocked” or dysfunctional care, can impede our brain’s inherent caregiving processes and negatively impact our ability to do this. While the parent–child relationship can generate deep empathy and the intense motivation to care for our children, it can also trigger self-defensive feelings rooted in our early attachment relationships, and give rise to “unparental” impulses.
 
Questions
 
* How can a custody evaluation help shed light on potentially harmful parenting behaviors?
 
* What items do you need included in your parenting plan? How detailed is your plan?
 
* What custody arrangement works best for your kids?
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2011, 05:38:48 PM »

Lesson 5: Healing from Divorce
 
Objective: Much of your healing will involve acceptance, focusing on the future, taking responsibility for your own actions, and acting with integrity. Focusing on the future you would like to create is an important step forward. The following lessons will help assist in your personal healing, and move you past the quagmire of ending a relationship.
 
Directions: Read through the following articles and workshops, which discuss the psychological and emotional experiences of real life stories and examples. You may recognize your life in the stories and tales of others.
 
Thinking about yourself is hard and sometimes painful. But it is a necessary ingredient for growth. What was it in you that drew you into and kept you in this dysfunctional relationship? Who have you become after staying for so long? This is a process and takes time. Time away from "them". You are focusing 100% on yourself. Thus you have a protected and less noisy space on this board to do it.
 
PERSPECTIVES: Taking care of the basics
 
We read it all the time - "take care of yourself"... .We're told all the time - "take care of yourself"... .No one ever tells us HOW.
 
Many of us are so trapped in the FOG of emotional blackmail, that we have no idea how to even begin to "take care of ourselves."
 
PERSPECTIVES: Self respect
 
Our self respect, our self esteem and our belief in ourselves is slowly destroyed over time as we are exposed to the criticism and abuse of the pwBPD. The constant barrage of what we do wrong, how we aren't good enough, the listing of all of our faults and flaws - this toxic negative brew is bound to poison our sense of ourselves. The good news is: It can be changed.
 
BOUNDARIES: Rebuilding our lives
 
You are ready to start out on something new. And new is not necessarily a new intimate relationship. Best would be starting small and working your way up. Rebuilding or maybe setting up for the first time a robust system of values and boundaries that protect you. So how do you do this? Frankly the leaving board is the wrong place. Too much acute pain is here. What what helpful at the start to validate your situation and get better now may hold you back. It is now time to put one feet into the out to others in a similar situation dealing with a different set of problems.
 
PERSPECTIVES: Believing in yourself
 
Believing in yourself means knowing that you are doing the right thing. As easy as that sounds, sometimes it can be a struggle. We all live with doubt in various areas of our lives. We can't be experts in all things, (although some seem to enjoy acting that way). How do you know what you're good at? How do you know you're a good parent? A good employee? A good listener? A good friend? A good lover? We know this because we are constantly evaluating ourselves and we critique our performance as either good or bad. That voice we hear is doubt and uncertainty, our own worst critic. The BP in many of our lives magnified this inner critic of ours.
 
SELF-AWARE: Are you ready for a new relationship?
 
Most people have two fears when it comes to relationships: the fear of rejection and the fear of engulfment, which means the fear of losing the other or the fear of losing yourself. These are deep fears that start in childhood and may continue throughout your life, making it difficult for you to be fully emotionally available in a relationship. These fears do not just go away. Until you develop a powerful loving adult self, you may take rejection personally and not know how to handle loss. Without a strong loving inner adult, you may allow others to control you, giving yourself up to prevent rejection.
 
WORKSHOP: Success Stories: How I gained control of my life
 
Success comes in many forms.  For some it means staying with the disordered partner but in a healthy way, for some it means getting the strength to move out of a unhealthy relationship they developed, for some it meant creating a healthy environment the kids after the divorce, for others, it means reclaiming oneself despite what is going on with the parents or children. Read about members' success stories here.
 
Questions
 
* Where do you want to be in terms of your healing after the divorce? How do you want your life to look?
 
* How does holding onto anger and pain affect you? How does it affect your kids?
 
* Do you believe you have the power to release your anger and disappointment in the other parent for your own peace of mind?
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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2011, 10:27:36 PM »

Lesson 6: Understanding BPD Behaviors 
 
Objective: Whether you are divorcing someone with BPD or raising a child with them, this can create feelings of uneasiness and uncertainty where you never know when a situation will go suddenly and horribly wrong. Perhaps that feeling of dread is a constant part of your life, whether you are the biological parent, "secondary non” who has become a significant other, or step-parent in a very challenging relationship dynamic. Understanding the behaviors of the BPD parent is important so we can learn what fuels the conflict.
 
Directions: Read through the following workshops, which discuss the symptoms and manifestations through real life stories and examples.  You may recognize your life in the stories and tales of others.
 
BPD behavior - Poor executive control
 
Poor executive control is a core characteristic of BPD. Executive functions and cognitive control are terms used by psychologists and neuroscientists to describe a loosely defined collection of brain processes whose role is to guide thought and behavior in accordance with a person's goals or plans.
 
BPD behaviors: What's in the head of someone with BPD?
 
Although it may seem that a pwBPD's behaviors are irrational, there are underlying reasons behind their actions. The pwBPD may not be reacting to the situation at hand, such as what is happening at the current time, but to either something that had happened in the past, or to a kind of ready-reference list of beliefs about the world (schemas), which was usually learned in childhood. 
 
BPD Behaviors: Objectifying others
 
We all know neediness is common with BPD... .Distrust of others' motives (especially if the person with BPD was sexually abused) lends a coloring to all personal interactions: fear is a self-centered emotion, a defense mechanism. Neediness and fear are all about what is happening to the pwBPD, and they leave little room for empathy or even awareness of anyone else's needs.
 
BPD Behaviors: Emotional immaturity
 
Immature people often demand immediate gratification. They cannot wait, are impulsive, may seem thoughtless, and may appear loyal only while you are useful. Their emotional impulsiveness (lack of executive control) results in chaotic social and financial lives.
 
ARTICLE: BPD: A Clinical Perspective
 
People with BPD often have an unstable sense of who they are. That is, their self-image or sense of self often rapidly changes. They typically view themselves as evil or bad, and sometimes they may feel as if they don't exist at all.  An unstable sense of self can affect the dynamics of a relationship, which typically results in turmoil.  People with BPD often experience a love-hate relationship with others. They may idealize someone one moment and then abruptly and dramatically shift to fury and hate over perceived slights or simple misunderstandings.
 
ARTICLE: How a Mother with Borderline Personality Disorder Affects Her Children
 
Children of mothers with BPD show a significantly higher prevalence of "disorganized" attachment than children of mothers without BPD. Disorganized children face stress management problems, frequently engage in externalizing behaviors, and may even face dissociative behaviors later in life. Evidence suggest that, even in middle childhood, children of mothers with BPD may display problems with interpersonal relatedness and affective regulation.
 
POLL: Children of Mothers with BPD
 
Characteristic symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder are likely to hinder the ability of a mother with BPD to parent effectively, thereby negatively affecting the social and emotional development of the child. For instance, adults with BPD typically display a pattern of unstable relationships and a host of interpersonal problems. They generally show a disorganized way of dealing with interpersonal stress and frequently fluctuate between extreme idealization and devaluation of others. It is suggested that the mother-child relationship is not protected from these interpersonal problems.
 
BPD Behaviors: Problematic Parenting
 
BPD parents often engage in subtle behaviors that may not be overtly neglectful or abusive towards the children, but they can inhibit healthy development in children. There are forms of damaging parenting, and people who share children with a disordered spouse need to be aware of these other forms of difficult or problematic parenting, and how their children might be affected. Though we talk about "moms", please be aware that bpd/NPD dads do many of these same things.
 
WORKSHOP: When are the children of a BPD parent at risk?
 
Many parents and grandparents come to bpdfamily.com and are concerned about the interactions between the BPD sufferer in their life and the children. BPD patterns can lead to problematic parenting in several ways. For instance, a BPD sufferer is prone to black and white thinking and “splitting,” which can lead a parent to see a child as “bad” and thus deserving of punishment. A BPD parent's ways of coping can become a source of neglect (abusive or addictive behaviors distract the parent, leaving the child untended) or abuse (with impulsive behaviors and rages resulting in emotional and physical scars). Understanding when and how to intervene is important for the well-being of the kids.
 
BOOKS:
 
Book Review: Understanding the Borderline Mother
 
Dr. Christine Ann Lawson vividly describes how mothers who suffer from borderline personality disorder can produce children who may flounder in life even as adults, futilely struggling to reach the safety of a parental harbor, unable to recognize that their borderline parent lacks a pier, or even a discernible shore. This book has been described by some members as being relatively academic with many footnotes, but it is considered one of the most well-researched when it comes to describing how an untreated BPD mother can impact healthy development of her children.
 
Questions
 
* Do you recognize these symptoms in your child's BPD parent?
 
* How have any of these symptoms impacted you, or your ability to effectively parent your child/ren?
 
* How do you feel knowing that there is an explanation for the behaviors of the BPD parent?
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« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2012, 04:45:09 AM »

Other resources:

TOOLS: Domestic Violence Against Men

TOOLS: Domestic Violence Against Women

Lessons: Leaving: Detaching from the Wounds of a Failed BPD Relationship

Family Law: Suggested Reading
« Last Edit: July 16, 2019, 01:54:42 AM by Harri » Logged

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