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Author Topic: 3.02 | Is it better for the kids if I stay or leave?  (Read 22177 times)
JoannaK
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« on: August 19, 2007, 11:41:20 AM »

This topic has come up many times over the years, of course, and I just read posts by Methos and Worm and felt that it needs to be discussed again.

So I would urge those of you with kids, both who have left and who have stayed, to ponder the following issues and to post similar issues pertinent to this topic.  (Some are similar questions worded slightly differently):

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute?

2.  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?

3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision?

6.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected?

4.  Who here "stayed for the kids" and wishes he/she would not have?

5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... . and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?

7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?

8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations?

9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?
« Last Edit: July 15, 2019, 12:46:35 AM by Harri, Reason: fixed typos » Logged



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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2007, 12:23:28 PM »

Great discussion topic JK

My children were a huge motivator for me to leave their dad. I was adamant that I would not teach my children that how their father treated me was how a woman should be treated.  I stood up for myself. I have not once regretted my decision. There are many difficulties with the two households and my children are aware of the animosity between mom and dad, I can't help that.

I figure it is much better in the pro category that they have the life they do with me for the majority of the time. Their dad is financially and responsibility challenged. What I provide for them with my SO would never have been possible had I stayed.

Emotionally, spiritually, physically they are so much better off now.

I like the line Dr. Phil refers to. Its often better for kids to come from broken homes than to live in them. Their lives would be much more difficult if I stayed. Limited dad contact allows for him to be on best behaviour for the most part. They are with him EOW and 4 weeks thru the year. Considering his place is a one bedroom basement apartment in the roughest neighbourhoods in our province, thats enough. (yes my children sleep on a futon couch and cot in the living room of the apt)

Making the choice to stay or leave I can appreciate is a very difficult one. I know for most men, that it must be almost unbearable to giv up seeing their children every day. I take that and try so hard to have empathy for my exh, however the more I give, the more compassionate I am, the worse he treats me and in front of the kids too. SO I try to detach as much as I can.

All of my decisions and actions stem from my desire to do what is best for the kids. They are worth it and thankfully I can say they are terrific children, well adjusted, loving, confident, sweet and healthy.

Peace4us
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2007, 06:45:35 PM »

JK,

answer to #9, yes that is my fear.  I answer as a man who is still undecided and trying to get myself together.  my wife is financially and responsibility challenged.  but when it comes to the kids, they are 'hers' and ' will never take them from her!'

I have resolved that whatever haPpens, I will cherrish the time I spend with them and make the most of it.

otp
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2007, 03:28:47 PM »

I wholeheartedly agree with the saying

Excerpt
Its often better for kids to come from broken homes than to live in them

2.  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?

Yeah, I think that watching a parent walk on eggshells/take abuse is much more damaging than the divorce... .

5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... .  and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?

My mind has been on this exact subject lately, mostly due to the drastic improvement in my youngest daughter.  She had a really hard time dealing with stuff when DB was living in the house and in full BPD mode... .I know he does not have any clue to the damage done when it comes to her... .he thinks that just because they were close once, and because his anger/rage was directed at her sisters and me, not her, that he is still idolized by her.

She is doing so so much better now, happier, has friends over more, free to be herself, less emotional outbursts and with me and her... .lots more talking/hugging/hanging out... .absolutely the right decision in my case to divorce.


8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations? What I regret is not getting out earlier, before he made things so hard on the older two... .the marriage became more and more strained as the girls got older, asserted their independence... .only made him rage worse, react worse, behave worse... .and he still blames them.  The health problems my oldest daughter is still dealing with go back to all of it, he forced her out of the house, resulting in her quitting college... .she will likely never go back, her life is FOREVER changed because I STAYED... .she had gotten into one of the toughest schools in the northeast (a kid who had been through homelessness, living in the worst of circumstances, accepted at a top school, darn).  Her dreams, put off because of this.

So, my advice to parents on the fence... .before irepairable damage is done, think... .think about what kind of life you want for your kids... .

My relationship with each of my girls has improved since the split, their attitudes and level of respect for me has improved... .they have watched as I escaped a relationship that was causing me such pain, they are watching now as I heal and rediscover myself... .they watch as I become stronger... .they are as proud of me as I am of them.
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2007, 06:09:54 PM »

I grew up in a happy home. My parents loved me, my siblings, and each other. They still do. What I wanted for my children was the same environment that I grew up in. I made a mistake in who I married.

I came to the conclusion that I did not have a choice. I had to divorce my wife. NO other option. As I saw it... .if I stayed in the marriage my kids would grow up warped and abused. I was seeing it happen at very young ages and I felt that the abuse/neglect would only get worse through the years. I saw my kids growing up hating me and having idenity problems because of their mother. I saw them growing up in therapy, on psych meds. Not to mention I did not think they would be able to grow up and know me as the happy/optimist I view myself as... .I was becomming bitter and was walking down a road where affairs would have been in my future... .not an environment that would be conducive to teaching my kids what a man/father is about... .not to mention what a woman/mother should be like... .I knew  they'd never see that from their mother.

I figured if I asked for a divorce and she got the kids the kids would end up in therapy on meds and in general screwed up... .But I also never really saw my wife taking the kind of responsability to raise the kids and if she got them initially I figured in time I would get them back.

For me the decision was absolute... .Having children grow up wittnessing abuse or being abused should never be considered a legitamate option... .IMHO when it is rationalized it's a cop out, period.  The Foremost responsability of parents is protection of their kids, mentally and physically.

Studies unless done scientifically are flawed and can be biased easily by the opinions of those doing the study. Likely studies that show kids happier in married homes are not taking into account PDs, alcoholism, drug abuse, battered women, etc... .From the shear volume of divorces in the USA the studies would suggest broken homes are not as happy because most divorces are not involving PDs... .Ask a kid how it makes them feel when dad comes home drunk and beats mom... .There are reasons for divorce... .good ones... .absolute reasons... .There are also reasons for reconciliation... two good parents that have drifted apart, have kids, still feel for one another but quit communicating somewhere along the way... .those people should do all they can to "work it out"... .but that is not the typical situation on these boards... .For those of you questioning staying... .Go read the accounts of the kids who grew up in homes with BPD parents.

I fought for my kids and I have custody. I'd do it again. My kids are very young 1yo, 2yo, and 4yo. My 4yo has some issues he is in therapy for... .But since X has been out of the house I can tell a major difference in him. He is much happier. He is playing better with his siblings. He is less angry. My home feels like a totally different place. I enjoy going home. There is no tension. There is no chaos. I'll have to keep you all posted on how they grow up... .But I can promise this... .They now have a better chance at growing up normal and happy.
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2007, 06:13:16 PM »

if I knew ten years ago what was to come Id have left for the kids .If the kids are targets staying for there benefit is ludicrous ,denial and a selfish excuse
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2007, 06:34:26 PM »

Great questions that I ponder every day.

I stayed as long as I could because I knew that once I left, I would have no idea what was really going on in the paternal household.  Our kids had just turned 6 and 3 when I moved out.  I am doing SO much better myself to be out of there, and yes, I do worry about how it is for them during the time they are there.

It's been about 20 months, and we have been doing 50/50 most of the time.  He doesn't work (permanent disability) and I work full time.  This has been the worst part.  He does the child care during the summer and school holidays, and it sucks for the kids.  He is often sick in bed all morning, has anger management issues, is socially isolated, depressed, etc.  There have also been three times now when he has taken off two to four weeks with varying amounts of notice - basically fallen off the planet in terms of parenting.  And I have to scramble and take time off work and figure out how to manage.

I don't think the 50/50 arrangement is the best for the kids, and he refuses to consider any other.  We are doing a "collaborative process" divorce (can a BPD ever truly collaborate?), and finally making some progress toward getting a sort of psych and custody evaluation to get outside input on his mental health and what is best for the kids.

Some days I wonder if I should have stayed.  But whenever I mention that to any of my friends or family, they help me put it into perspective.  I am so much healthier and doing well in my life as a result of being out of there, and the kids benefit greatly from that.  Yes, I worry about what really goes on over there (it's like having 3 kids living by themselves and I can never trust what any of them tells me).  This will change as the kids get older.  And already I am seeing how they don't completely respect their dad and question his judgment and mental health in their own young ways.

I have read that children of divorce do fine as long as one parent is stable.  That is what keeps me thinking I made the right choice.  If I had stayed, they would not have experienced a happy and harmonious household.  And now I am in a healthy relationship with a man who is a great father, so they are even seeing how adults can have positive communication and men can be good parents.

I have also talked to adults who say they wished their parents had divorced, that living in a broken home was awful.  

As soon as we became parents together, I realized that it would not be the partnership I was hoping for and that he had promised.  So I am used to being the responsible parent.  My moving out has allowed me to do a better job.  In other words, I was and always will take on the majority of the parenting repsonsibility, and now I know that I can do it from a healthy and strong state of mind, which will greatly benefit the kids in the long run.
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2007, 09:23:02 PM »

I think my son would have benefitted from my being honest with him. Not candid or becoming critical of his father, but honest about my h and I being happier and not having as many problems if we lived at different places. Sharing things he was doing, but not responsible for each other any more. Trying to fake it or saying nothing at all when there were signs of stress seems to have made him a very careful and guarded person. There isn't anyone more pragmatic than he, and I've said before that I wish he'd loosen up, but fatherhood hasn't done it and he has more things to keep track of now.

It is hard to explain, but here are two examples that may sound silly, but he worries me:

Ex. 1) His wife, 5 mo. old, and MIL in town from AZ go shopping for the day. When they get home, per my DIL, he asks if they fed the baby. (No, they were laughing and buying stuff and didn't notice her--what kind of question is that?) I feel personally responsible that he keeps track of everything under the sun and thinks if he doesn't, no one else will.

Ex. 2) I'm going to give the baby a bottle and he tells me not to stop and burp her as she is not eating well and sometimes won't drink the last half of bottle. So I start the bottle and then have to take it out of her mouth! He is standing there watching me (to see if I do it right, probably), and so he asks why did you take it out, Mom, and I said because milk was pouring out of her mouth. He actually told me not to take it out unless she was gagging. I wanted to say that he must be joking, but didn't and she took ALL of the bottle, without problem.

But most of all, I should not have put myself through this, and the kind of decent man he is, he wouldn't have wanted me to do so. Things that shouldn't be happening should be stopped. I thought I'd made an absolute decision to remain a "close" family and I immediately began compromising my values, self-esteem and strengths, and I think not realizing a family cannot be made under those kinds of circumstances because lies breed a feeling of uneasiness. You have it or you don't.

All that time and it was just a long struggle and nothing more. Just looking like an intact family isn't very rewarding in the end. The fallout is real however. I felt dishonest and part of the problem, but I could have made him a deal that I'd get a divorce and keep all his secrets. If he gave me a bad time over it, I'd tell everything I'd seen and ask that the divorce be sealed.

My son is a good husband and proud father, has a responsible job, several degrees, and feels close to me and my h. I don't know what he would have experienced with his Dad alone, although his Dad was always kind and generous to him, but he would have had a different mother than the one he had, and that's what was needed. At any point I could have changed my mind, so I don't believe the decision to stay is absolute. I've found life to be full of change anyway and staying won't prevent other very unpleasant experiences if the decision is like mine was--to stay. No one should be that unhappy and I taught my son life was about being very, very careful.

AB
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2007, 09:32:33 PM »

Great topic.

I stayed and stayed with my ex husband, thought I was doing the right thing for my children.  But when I finally left him (my kids were 19, 17 and 13) I realized I had been wrong. 

My children watched me endure cruelty and meanness and craziness --- they watched me cry so often -- and my daughters watched me take crap for all those years.  It wasn't until I left that I realized that it was actually better for the children to see me be strong and get out and stop taking the crap. 

I was so scared they would be ruined by my leaving -- yeah, well, all 3 of them have significant others now 5 years later (one's engaged), they have good jobs or are still in school -- they're okay, they really are, in fact I'm amazed by how okay they are!

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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2007, 05:57:48 AM »

I come from both sides of the story. My father has NPD and I married a BNPD.

I remember very well the day my heart broke and I don't believe it ever mended properly. I was a teenager and my mother was going to leave my father. Even though I was 19 I still felt a huge sense of relief. Finally, I thought, I will have a quiet peaceful home to come to during breaks from college. My mother was going to once and for all choose her children over the raging alcoholic sadistic lunatic who made day to day living hell. Or so I thought. I helped her find an apartment and I begged and begged her to make sure he never came back. 2 days later she forgave him. It wasn't only that he had been so cruel growing up it was that in one event he had finally exposed himself to her. She found out he had been cheating and I had found the other woman in my childhood home wearing my mother's clothes.

So in my mind for the final time she had chosen him over the health of her children. A little piece of me died that day. I learned what it means to be trapped, all alone and I learned that as a human being I wasn't worth much. As much as I hated my father... .I hated her more. Yes. I hated them. I hated their selfishness and their weakness. I hated that they forced four children to endure their sick codependent relationship. I remember looking out of the back door and looking at the sparkling water of the swimming pool and thinking that my own mother sold me down the river for a stupid swimming pool.

After that I was running all of the time. Escaping from who knows what and everything. I was never the same. Something broke and I couldn't fix it. My grandmother ,who gave me the only unconditional love I ever experienced, died so I had no refuge or sanctuary from the difficulties of life. All of my life I had watched my father abuse my mother and siblings verbally and mentally. I remember her teaching us to be good or your father will get mad or her sitting silently as she allowed us to be the targets of his rage. I felt betrayed by her inability to stand up for us and her silence was louder than his yelling.

My views on marriage and men were not very positive so I avoided them at all cost usually breaking up with a guy because I couldn't stand to get too close. I did not want anything to do with anyone like my father so when I saw something even faintly reminiscent of him I bolted. I would not let anyone close and I avoided commitment.

I was like this for a long time. When I met my stbxBPDh he seemed like a breath of fresh air.

He behaved exactly opposite of my father and I felt that at last I would have the love I so wanted and I could create for my own children what I never had. For once I was going to let down my guard and surrender to love.

Not only had I married my father, I had married someone worse who was also a chronic underachiever. I married him and got a BPDMIL in the package. NPFIL was part of the deal too.

I left my marriage because I absolutely never wanted my daughter to feel about me as I did/do about my mother. I was forced to be a mini adult on guard for trouble. There was no childhood. I watched my mother's face crumble when she was attacked and would sit and dry her tears while swallowing my own. I was helpless to save her or more importantly helpless to save myself.

But not this time. My stbx has no idea that I am fighting a battle for my daughter's life and a battle for my own. I will never be like my mother. I never want to be the cause of my daughter's heartbreak. I saw the beginnings of her changing from the happy sweet child she is into a sullen nervous angry little girl.

I will never be who I could have been had I grown up in a safe home. I could have stomached some weekends with my father if it meant 5 days a week of freedom. 5 days to breathe and be myself. I can only imagine what I could have achieved had I had confidence in my self worth.

No child deserves to be the victim of their parent's decisions. It is my duty to my child to ensure that she has chance to reach her full potential. I want her childhood to be fun and safe. I don't want her tip toing around wondering when the next bomb is going to explode.

I want to model for her what strength looks like.

I want her to see a woman who took her life back and did something meaningful with it.

So I left and I am so much better for it. I can go to sleep every night knowing that I did what was right. My life is my own. Our home is our sanctuary. She is smiling big cheesey grins again, making wry jokes(did I tell you how bright she is?) and we fall asleep on the sofa watching High School Musical for the thousandth time. None of this would have happened if I chosen to stay.

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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2007, 07:27:16 AM »

My ex husband was Antisocial but there are some similarities among the PDs and a lot of the behaviors are similar. In additon, he had issues with alcohol and drugs. He was impulsive and we never had any money. My marriage bankrupted me and at the ripe old age of 27, I had two small children and a fresh bankrupcy.  I toyed with the idea of leaving and I thought long and hard about what it would do the kids for us to separate. Not to mention, I'm Catholic and traditionally, the church frowns on divorce but the more progressive churches also recognize that a marriage to someone so mentally ill that they are spiritually and emotionally unable to live the bonds of Christian marriage is by definition, not a marriage at all. Most of all, I questioned my ability to raise the kids on my own because I knew he was not be a big part of their lives going forward. One St. Patrick's Day, my ex h did what most drunks do on that day and that was the last straw for me. It occurred to me that I shouldn't even be wondering if I can do it on my own. I had been doing it all along. And like Peace, I didn't want my daughter thinking this is how a husband should treat his wife and I didn't want my son thinking this is how he should treat his either. I left my marriage and have not had one regret along the way for doing so. Ten years later, I met UdBPDx and we have a child. Though my experience with my ex husband didn't result in me having any better taste in men, I was able to recognize that this person was no one I wanted to committ my life to. I made the decision to raise our D regardless of what he decided to do.

It's been about 12 years since I left my ex H. My children have had some rough spots but, they aren't felons, they do well in school, and they are fairly well adjusted... .as much as teenagers can be I guess. I can't even surmise what it would be like if I had stayed. I didn't stay for the kids. I left for the kids. My guess is that the studies about what happens to kids after divorce has less to do with the separation and more to do with the acrimony afterwards when the parents continue to fight.

I know when you're a man with a BPD wife there are different considerations. Maybe you fear the games and the manipulations and the use of the children as pawns against you, or you feel you need to police her, or you have a distrust for the legal system. I can empathize with you on that. Even with sole custody, I've had to deal with the games too and I always will to some degree as long as my D is a minor. My attorney pointed out we are a few years away from recognizing legally, PD'd parents. THere are always some clouds to the silver lining. The outcome depends largely on how you decided to handle them.

K.
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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2007, 07:58:09 AM »

I stayed and stayed with my ex husband, thought I was doing the right thing for my children.  But when I finally left him (my kids were 19, 17 and 13) I realized I had been wrong. 

My children watched me endure cruelty and meanness and craziness --- they watched me cry so often -- and my daughters watched me take crap for all those years.  It wasn't until I left that I realized that it was actually better for the children to see me be strong and get out and stop taking the crap. 

I thought the kids would be better off if I stayed.  I was the product of a broken home and was raised by a BNPD single father (My sister and I were adopted.  The woman my father was married to ran away with another man when we were 2 and 3 and signed away her parental rights).  I remember the loneliness and sadness I felt as I grew up.  My father was absorbed in his teaching (professor) and research (always wanted his articles published, was determined to be a famous researcher/writer).  

I felt my children's lives would be different because at least they had a mother.  At least I was protecting them from their father's wrath, for the most part, by fielding it.  At least they were observing that their father and I had differences but we worked them out.  What a selfish way of thinking.  My children were learning that my marriage was the norm.  My children were learning that it's ok for a wife to be treated the way I was being treated.  My son was learning an unhealthy way to treat a female.  My daughters were learning that it was ok to allow another guy to treat them like crap.  

My D16, who was 14 at the time, had a boyfriend who slapped her across the face in the classroom because she was wearing another boy's jacket.  A week later, she was sneaking and calling him again.  She had forgiven him and wanted to help him.  She thought she could fix him.  I knew then that I was providing an unhappy atmosphere for the kids.  That's when I changed my thinking.

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute?

My answer to this is a resounding YES.  I was absolutely positive that I wanted to leave.  I'm never one to make hasty decisions.

2.  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?

Absolutely.  I don't feel these studies are accurate due to the fact that there varying circumstances surrounding every divorce.

5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... . and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?

It hasn't been easy on the kids, but I don't regret my decision for a minute.  I have become and am continuing to become a better parent.  I'm focused on them and not my unhappy marriage.  They deserve and need my attention.

7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?

The friction has hurt them, but it's inevitable with a person like Stink Weed.  My consistency, stability, and strength will hopefully outweigh this eventually.  The "two homes" thing sucks, but it is what it is.  I hate that the children are victims of parallel parenting, but I can only continue to be consistent with them and hope that it will have a positive impact on them in the end.

Again, I don't regret my decision for one millisecond.  I look back now and shudder.  I'm angry at myself for not leaving sooner.  There has been some damage done to my 2 oldest.  The 2 youngest are victims of his attempts at enmeshment and parental alienation.  I knew it wouldn't be easy to leave Stinky and I would have my obstacles, but the kids and I can get through this.  My son is showing the signs of the lack of a consistent male figure in his life.  As maturity comes, he will make his own way through it.  My oldest D has some depression and anxiety issues, but she has a good therapist and a mother who is determined to make sure she has a better life.

2.  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?

I would love to see the results of a more in depth study before I can accept these results.  I can understand how kids from divorced homes have more problems in life, that's obvious, but I can't believe that those whose parents stay together have it better.  Not without knowing all the circumstances.  Look at New Life, her parents stayed and she wasn't a happy kid!



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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2007, 08:03:31 AM »

Excerpt
I know when you're a man with a BPD wife there are different considerations. Maybe you fear the games and the manipulations and the use of the children as pawns against you, or you feel you need to police her, or you have a distrust for the legal system.

This is the only thing that is keeping me trapped in here.  My situation is different from most.  The kids don't really see her behavior towards me, but over the years I've discovered that they realize that she is "different".  They are both boys, 9 and 11 now, and I know that the older one would prefer to barely ever see her again.  The younger one is totally enmeshed.

I'm getting my ducks in a row.  Was going to file last week, but the attorney said I needed to document my time spent with the kids and to get a case set up before filing.  I should have taken everybody's advice in this regard and started this long ago, but any journaling I did was more in relation to her BPD - I needed to focus on my time with the kids and her behavior towards them.

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute?  No - I considered staying "for the kids" until they were old enough to choose me, but now I realize that I need to take care of me, and THAT is the best thing for the kids, particularly when I get to see them after the D.

2.  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?  Hell yeah, but I don't think the courts fully get it yet.

3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision?  It seemed like it was right for a while, but now I don't think so.

4.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected?  More than I originally realized.  The older one is painted black continually, and he's really showing signs of it.  I'm feeling a bit guilty about it.

5.  Who here "stayed for the kids" and wishes he/she would not have?  Me!

6.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... .  and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?  We'll find out soon.

7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?  The friction between us is mostly not seen by the kids.  Mostly because I just absorb it.  But she's been a horrible role model - they continually call her lazy and a butt (though that word isn't often used directly)

8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations?  This doesn't apply to me, but being a male, if the kids were younger, it'd be that much tougher for me to save them given the legal system.  She's a Stay At Home Mom (I hate applying that term to her - more like SAH bum)

9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?  She is so high functioning, that I'm afraid that it'll probably mean that I will, unless I get a good judge.  I'm starting out by getting the best lawyer.  Money isn't an object - I'd spend myself broke to rescue them.  I even told the lawyer this - I don't care if I make him rich, just get me out of here with the kids.

I'll have to add - the successes of Mr. M and doc101 have given me the spine to give it a try.  Yes, there are other male success stories, but both of these guys came into this forum after I did, and they're both "done"... .and here I sit.
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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2007, 09:06:04 AM »

I have a girlfriend that has been married for 25 years to someone diagnosed with BPD.  Her grown children have told her they wish she would have left because they hated watching her being mentally abused.  She does regret not leaving, but still hasn't gotten up the courage to leave. 

I grew up with a mentally ill step father, who was abusive to all of us.  I wished my step mom would have left, but she didn't.  He ended up in prison when I was 16.  I did turn out OK (other than being horrible at picking men) but my sister is very mentally ill (BPD, go figure) and has continued her father's pattern of abuse. (she and I have the same mom different father)

One of my biggest reasons for wanting to leave is for the children.  They have already made it clear that they don't like it when daddy "yells."   This is not what I want them to believe is a normal healthy relationship, because it's not.
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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2007, 11:34:44 AM »

There was a time when I believed that it was imperative to stay together for the kids.  But her behavior had become so pervasive and so destructive that I developed a real fear for both my and my kids emotional/psychological welfare.  Before separation, I’d never heard of BPD.  It was only after all of us worked with a therapist for nine months that she finally told me she thought my ex had “characteristics of BPD”, recommended SWOE, and my worldview changed dramatically and forever.

I absolutely believe that my kids are much healthier now than if we had stayed together.  When we were together I didn’t realize how much she had isolated me and the kids from each other.  We were afraid to talk about the problems.  Only after separation did the lines of communication open between me and the kids to the point where I learned that they had desperately wanted her out of the house, that they were depressed and frightened of her, that they were suffering from self-doubt and self-esteem issues, and that they were walking on eggshells not only to protect themselves but to protect me from her.  And these feelings were very, very strong.  Since we’ve been separated and divorced, I’ve approached my ex twice (never again) about trying to engage in a counseling process to attempt to address the real problems.  Twice I’ve been impressed by two things.  First, that she remains who she is.  She will use any advantage, any power, any crack in the door, to start wreaking havoc and destructiveness.  Second, that my kids cringe at the very thought of her being back in our lives in any significant way.

Luckily I did not have to leave my kids.  I was a stay-at-home dad for 9 years before we separated, and had a very good relationship with my kids.  When we separated, she moved out of the family home, and we worked out a “custody” plan with a therapist (no court order) that included a heavy focus on the kids welfare and wishes.  They always spent the vast majority of their time with me, and for the last 18 months have lived exclusively with me.  We (the therapist and I) worked with the kids to help them develop their own boundaries with their mom, and they made it clear to her from the start that if she tried to force them to do anything they didn’t want to do (court ordered custody) that it would be the end of their relationships, so she never forced anything.  In addition, I believe her attorney was very open with her about the her slim chances of ever getting a change on custody.  They were 13 and 17 when we separated.

Now, my kids and I live with me in our home and we talk about everything.  We discuss problems, we work them out, we live and let live, we take care of each other.  Sure we occasionally yell at each other, but we apologize, we talk, and we make it better.  None of us would ever step back into that Gestapo-like environment where you were afraid to even make eye contact for fear of being accused of being in concert against her.  Her control over our lives was preventing us from knowing who our kids really are as people.  Gone are the days where we are afraid to talk with each other.  We are free to expand and grow and be ourselves.

I do believe that since the divorce the kids have had to witness and be participants in conflict and stress that under normal circumstances they would not have been exposed to.  But most of that has been to establish and maintain boundaries with their mother, skills they’ll need for the rest of their lives.  We do have financial issues, but there is no harm in learning to economize.

I believe that if they are negatively affected, it is much more because of their exposure to BPD than the divorce itself.  They did not grow up with a loving person as a role model for a mother.  They did not grow up with our marriage being a good model for a healthy relationship.  But when we were together, they did see me fight back.  They saw me take steps to end the marriage.  They saw me openly seek professional counseling to solve problems.  And since then, I believe they have been healthy, safe, and thriving in the family we have left, and hopefully that will be a model for their future relationships.

In the end, when they finally understood that I gave up on attempting any form of reconciliation, they were greatly relieved.  For reasons that I don’t completely understand, they were much more accepting of the permanent nature of their relationship with their mother than I was.  But they were right, and I see that now.

My only regret is for family relationships that could only have ever existed in my fantasies.  But what we have now is real and enduring.

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« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2007, 12:46:45 PM »

9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?

I'm one of these guys.  I stayed a long time for fear that i would lose my kids.  The logic makes perfect sense for so long, but then one day it no longer made sense.   I wasn't really able to protect them when I was in the house.   I was fooling myself. 

At least now I can protect them 1/2 the time and give them a peaceful, happy, loving place to be.  If my x continues to self destruct, I will be able to give them a peaceful, happy, loving home much more than 1/2 the time. 
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« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2007, 12:54:13 PM »

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute?... .For me, YES

2.  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 the study was comprised only of familys with one BPD parent I believe the the children from the divorced parents would be more stable

3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision?... .I stayed for 10 years and it was absolutely the wrong decision

6.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected?... .After 10 years the kids had accumulated a lot of fleas, after the first 8 mos. out the difference in them was remarkable, happy, voiced their own opinion's, respecting other peoples property, meeting new people, etc.  

4.  Who here "stayed for the kids" and wishes he/she would not have? Hind sight is 20/20 I should have left 10 years before I did

5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... . and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?... .I shudder to think how they would have turned out if I had stayed

7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?... .Since my stbx is so low functioning there is very little contact from her to me or the kids. She doesn't even have a place of her own.

8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations?... .My boys are only 10 & 11, but if your home life was like mine do whatever it takes to get the kids the hell out of there!  

9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?... .I thought that for a long time, the reason I stayed for so long. I'm a 14%er and darn proud of it. It can be done

   W
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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2007, 08:59:28 PM »

Regarding this question:

2.  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.

This was an interesting study with some very significant results.  But I believe there is a problem inherent in that kind of study... .there is no study of the effect of unhappy but intact marriages... .there is no study of the effect of abusive but intact marriages... .and there is no study of the effect of domestic violence in marriages that remain intact.

They can't take 2 marriages, and compare them side by side, one being happy and intact, one being abusive and intact.  They can't do this because no one married to an abusive spouse is going to admit it and allow their marriage to be studied.

Anyway, my answer is also YES that if one spouse is BPD or abusive and violent, then it skews the studies back the other way -- it is better for the children to have that abused spouse to be safe.

marymac

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« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2007, 03:14:04 AM »

Premise:

* Things were going downhill for years and got really bad

* I initiated my intention for divorce, though it was a common subject for about a year already

* I moved out, but nothing filed

* After a week, I got epiphany #1... .I realized I didn't trust my then-wife and I moved back in (then-wife had pledged not to "play dirty" on a number of things, such as custody... .she later broke each of those pledges... .it was a very good thing that I moved back in)

* I was considering the "standard" every-other-weekend thing... .I didn't know what divorce was like... .no idea

* I got epiphany #2 which stated that I was never a part-time dad before, and I wasn't about to start now

* Divorce filed soon after, I went for 50/50 everything... .money, children, etc.

* It was almost a year, but it finally went through... .with about 95% of my original proposal

* That year of being in the same house... .I don't wish it on anybody.


1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute?

It took me a few years, but I made it absolute.  Even near the beginning of the "absoluteness" I questioned myself and prayed asking if such a choice was the right track.  Call it an answer, call it karma, but very soon after I received very strong, harsh, negative behaviors from my then-wife and my resolve was strengthened.  I'm not trying to go into a religious discussion, but the part I'm expounding on is that I had many occasions where I confirmed my decision.  I'm divorced now, and even this evening while attending a school function, the Ex confirmed my decision once again.


2.  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?

I've read many studies on many topics.  But when it got so personal as my marriage and the harsh things happening there, I really could have cared less about the studies.  My Ex was on a 3-7 day cycle of ups/downs for much of the time, and I was narrowly focused on surviving to the next cycle.

Most of the studies I had heard talked about children of divorced homes vs children who's parents stayed together.  This always bugged me a little bit, my childhood was pretty good... .we grew up, didn't really have those oddities that we hear so much about, it really was good.  I think studies between divorced vs awful-together homes is more appropriate.


3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision?

I absolutely stayed for the children for about a year.  I was intentionally a buffer for them for longer than that.  I now see that such an arrangement would have been an extremely poor long-term solution.  As far as the "right decision"... .y'know... .I think it was... but not for the children's sake, but it was a big learning step for me personally.

It was difficult though.  One occasion just came back to me.  One buffer moment when my then-wife was really verbally going after one daughter something fierce... and quite unfairly too.  I did the buffer and as was typical, my then-wife came after me... but this meant that she typically stopped harping on our daughter.  I retreated to a back room and was sobbing a little when my older daughter came in and told me what a good job I did "getting mom off" her sister.  I cried some more wondering who would get her off me.  I'm mortal and don't have an "S" on my chest... .buffering was not a life decision for me.


6.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected?

Being a buffer or staying specifically for the children... .that time was one of the worst times for them and myself.  I feel that we grew quite a bit closer during that time, but the house was a very negative place.  I'm not sure of the exact effect on the children.  They recognize what a bad time it was.  They also can see big contrasting differences between my Ex and myself and they told me so on many occasions. 


4.  Who here "stayed for the kids" and wishes he/she would not have?

I wish I could have learned that lesson sooner, but looking back, I guess I needed to learn that lesson the hard way.  I've been able to learn other lessons from others, but this one?  I took the tough road on it.  And once I came to the point where I did move forward on the divorce, I know I would have regretted it if I kept staying for the kids.


5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... .  and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?

The children are fast-adapting.  They're great at that.  They're rapidly noticing differences in the parenting on their own.  At the very least, I'm going to give them a good example of how to live life.  I don't regret it.


7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?

I don't think the friction was good at all.  I pleaded many times for her not to go to war in front of the children.  It didn't stop her.  Didn't even seem to slow her down at all.


8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations?

The oldest is barely a teen.  I don't regret the decision a bit


9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?

Absolutely not!  Though for a short while I did... .I didn't know any better, I had no idea, I had never been in the divorced world... .no clue.  There's studies and all sorts of information that say that children need both parents.  But since I was so close to the situation, the studies just didn't ring much inside me... .but I came around anyway, went for 50/50 and got it.


Today, my children spend at least half of their time at a fun and peaceful home.  Blaming and many other behaviors are things that we don't do here.  Though they seem to try for the first 1/2 day they're back, but children are fantastic survivors.
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« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2007, 03:14:58 AM »

I wasn't really able to protect them when I was in the house.   I was fooling myself. 

Yes!  I totally hit that point too!  At one point I realized I wasn't protecting them anyway.
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« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2007, 06:29:13 AM »



Excerpt
I wasn't really able to protect them when I was in the house

Excerpt
At one point I realized I wasn't protecting them anyway

I think this is a major point.  I too became overwhelmingly aware that the kids were being harmed and I felt I was left with no choice - no other options were available - but to divorce in order to give them a haven away from her influence.

It was literally "fight or flight", and we couldn't fight anymore.  We were losing.
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« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2007, 07:31:19 AM »

This is a great thread that I hope keeps going.

I think all of us were stuck thinking that staying for the kids was the right thing at one time. But being a child of one who thought this I want to import how just the act of leaving and fighting for your own autonomy is one of the best lessons we can teach our children.

We teach them to be courageous in the face of adversity. Maybe we don't see the results until years later but the seed is planted. It is never too late to change your life.

You know almost 40 years ago my father fought for custody of my older siblings and won. I think it can be done. It may be a harder road than it is for women but somewhere I read that the fathers that don't quit too soon can win in the end. I hope this is the case.

After I first left my daughter said to me-I hope Daddy apologizes to you so we can be a family again. He better call you.

I told her that sometimes apologies aren't enough and sometimes it is too late.

I don't want her to think an apology heals everything. It doesn't. I hate that she has to learn these things at such a tender age but these lessons are so much better then learning twisted thinking from her father.

I am finding it so much easier to be an effective parent.

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« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2007, 07:41:30 AM »

Excerpt
Regarding this question:

2.  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.

I think this study too is warped. There are issues for sure dealing with divorce, but for cases where mentall illness abounds and abuse is rampant, those effects on the chidlren are far more severe than the breaking up of the family.

Had I stayed I can not imagine the sacrifices I would have had to make to survive and that to me is a horrendous role model for my children to witness. They now have a strong, successful, loving mother who is studying and becoming well versed in how to deal with BPD dad.

Life is far from perfect, but a hell of a lot better than it would have been and thats the point.

Peace4us
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« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2007, 08:17:17 PM »

I have mulled this discussion over in my mind for about a week now and decided to provide my experience of staying the course till the kids were gone. My ordeal started in 1984 when my youngest son started first grade. Little bit of the empty nest syndrome and wife started work part time and back to college. Within three to four years I was fully living in OZ and confused and hurting. My wife had issues and I had seen many little red flags over the years but when she started going outside the home the crazy days started and she became less of a parent and started enjoying a lifestyle of having many affairs and pulling all the BPD tricks out of the bag on me. Attempts were made at marriage counseling and individual therapy that were of no benefit to her and I believe mislead me to some wrong conclusions at the time. I lived in a county that was only medium sized in out state but it had the highest divorce rate in the state at the time with only two family court judges seated. At the time men never received full custody of the children and joint custody was just evolving there. Off and on for 10 years I had made a trip to an attorney’s office and kept finding out the hard truth about a contested divorce settlement would totally strip me and I would have very little oversight with my children. Discussion and threats ensued many times about divorce with my wife and her position was she would take the kids and I would pay for everything and access to the children would be the very minimal afforded under the settlement. At the time some fathers could only see their children for 2 hours on the weekend and maybe have them for one week in the summer. So for the next 14 years I continued on and was there for my children everyday and every night. I felt like a single parent living in a so called normal home. This was very trying but I believe it was the best thing for I was able to prevent direct projection upon my kids from her bad behaviors even though they saw a lot of her odd behavior just due from not being around for them and not the normal husband / wife relationship when she was. I refused to have argument in front of them, never talked bad about her to them but I would never make up excuses for her when they were disappointed in her. The time I spent with my children was a good investment, not only was I there but I was active and participated with them as much as I could. Now way was I going to leave them with a detached mother who spent more time away from home then being at home for them. Much of her time was taken up with married men and I doubt if that would of changed much if I wasn’t around.

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute? - Not making a selfish decision the answer is NO, I put my children before myself for I could not endure the thoughts of them being under their mother as a role model and provider. I paid dearly and endured additional years of craziness and this was all done before I knew anything about BPD and kept trying to understand it as a normal relationship issue.

2.  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? – At the time this was happening I was surrounded with lots of other people dealing with divorce, being single parents, fights over visitation and also was observing effects it had on children. I believe if we could have had a mutual separation and had at least joint custody things may of worked but looking back that would not of solved her issues and me not being in the primary home would of improved the environment the children lived in.

3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision? - As stated I believe my children are better people today then if I had left, not only was I there for them I was better off financially to provide for them and today they have all finished college and two with advanced degrees. They appear to be very stable and responsible adults with successful careers of their own today. Yes, I stayed and believe I made the correct decision for the situation I was in. I have never played the martyr roll and never will. They are my only children and I only had one life and chance to be their father.

6.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected? - There were effects from our relationship, it shows and to my disappointment they as adult children have been very mum about it for going on seven years. I have been NC for these seven years but know all three keep in touch with both of us and I enjoy my time limited time with them since all have moved hundreds of miles from their home state. Some are closer then other to her and I but nothing is said by me about her and I never ask. I do get a lot of hints their relationship is strained a bit with their mother but I don’t get into it. My biggest fear at the time of the divorce that they would take sides with one or the other and provide a lot of alienation but this didn’t happen.

8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations? - I could cry the blues and feel angry that I wasted 15 years of my life in a disastrous marriage but I don’t. I could of left earlier and gotten a divorce, maybe gotten remarried and had a secondary or second family but I would of still been the father to my first three children. I can not even fathom to think what and where my kids would be today if I had left except I know they would have had to of done a lot of things for themselves a lot sooner in life then they should of. Everybody would have to make the decision that fits the situation they are in, if the primary caregiver is not capable or available to care for the children who will?

9. If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids? - Again, what’s the situation? If your leaving places the children in the care of a BPDex then what are leaving them leaving them with? I’m glad I did stay but I can also say I wish I had never gone through the life I lived but I am my children’s only father and their mother is their only mother.

This whole discussion can be very convoluted and broad in situations and impact upon children and the fleeing partner’s needs and desires. It’s so unfortunate that the number of factors that play upon making the correction is filled with so many Catch 22s and conflicts between our own desires and responsibilities coupled with social expectations and the legal system we have to live within.

This happened to me a long time ago, before Stop Walking on Eggshells was published and before I knew anything about BPD. Knowing what I know today and with more enlightened family court decisions being made I know if I was in the same situation today I would fight harder to keep custody or at least a 50/50 arrangement and leave the marriage much earlier than I did.

LA

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« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2007, 05:10:24 PM »

The amount of tension in the home and the mental state of the healthy parent are important considerations. I also believe being given an opportunity to see another way of life is beneficial to children, and there isn't anything better than seeing a parent who is happy.

My husband suffered because his parents stayed together until he was an adult. Then he saw his mom marry someone who didn't have such a rocky relationship with her for whatever reason. Circumstances had changed with kids growing up and herself aging including serious health problems.

His parents could have continued fighting for another 25 yrs until her death from bad health. Instead, her grandchildren enjoyed going to her house. When he was a toddler, before she divorced, my son and H would return on Sunday afternoon from visiting her, and her grandson talked about his grandmother crying. Now, unlike his Dad, he has no memory of her being anything but content.

This affects more than one generation. My own H has already upset me with sniping when I was visiting our grandchild. I won't even keep her at our house because of him and I claim it is for everyone's convenience. Although I hate to drive at night, I found a well-lit route through a commercial district so I can turn down rides with him and go alone.

Kids don't stay kids and they have a long time to think things over and make rational decisions as adults.

AB
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« Reply #25 on: August 24, 2007, 09:31:23 PM »

I'm trying something a little different, and I'd appreciate everyone's thoughts... .

After 11 years with a pretty high-functioning BPD (but I had never heard the term) she melted down in December and I moved out.  I got a place only a few blocks away so my kids can safely walk to and from.  Though I keep contact with BPD minimized, I have the kids every weekend and lots of other times too - when BPD mom is feeling bad, or busy, etc.  I probably have them about half the time.

I chose not to file for divorce yet, but she filed as another way of attacking me (cause she knew I didn't want to go that way yet).  When the divorce was nearly final, she asked if I would go to a counselor to see if we could "save the marriage".  I said sure, thinking maybe the counselor would nudge her toward getting diagnosed and treated.  After one session the counselor suggested I read "Eggshells" which I did (and of course bells went off).  Now I don't know if BPD will get help - she seems to be moving in that direction - but in any case I have an OK short-term situation:  kids here pretty often and I have very little contact with BPD so I don't have to deal with her craziness (much).

If she gets help I think it's possible (but a long-shot) that the marriage could be made healthy, over time.  If she doesn't get help I'll decide at some point to finalize the divorce.  The main problem short-term is I'm not really free to pursue another relationship.  I can't be alone forever, but it's not forever.

What do you all think - a reasonable approach or am I missing something?

Thanks.
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« Reply #26 on: August 24, 2007, 09:41:38 PM »

Matt,

Her being high functioning probably puts her as a master at projecting to everybody she is normal and nothing is wrong with her. That being I would advise you to start documenting everything that happens, document it in a journal with dates and names of others who you can reference later.

The short term approach sounds good but if you hit that point down the road and go for divorce what arrangements will be acceptable then? Do you want to live that close and develop a new relationship?

LA

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« Reply #27 on: August 24, 2007, 09:58:31 PM »

(JoannaK:  Sorry for hijacking the topic but I think it's kinda relevant... .)

LA:  Thanks for the reply.  She certainly is a master at projecting normalcy;  she makes friends well and as far as I know never gets crazy on them.  She says "Everybody else likes me and doesn't see anything wrong with me" which I think is true because she doesn't treat them like dirt like she does me.

Up til now she has never been abusive with the kids either (except my stepson many years ago before I was in the picture).  I am such a big part of the kids lives they tell me everything, and they tell each other even more, so I am pretty confident I will know if BPD starts dumping on them now that I'm not available to her.  It's been several months separated and it hasn't happened yet;  I really think she loves the kids and does her best not to hurt them (though when we were together she sometimes attacked me by saying stuff like "Kids, your dad doesn't care about anybody but himself so how would you all feel if we got a divorce?".  Sick behavior, but it seems not to be happening anymore.

We have already agreed that we will both stay in the school district, so the kids won't have to change schools (it's an excellent school).  So that means we won't be too far apart.  I still see more of BPD than I would like to but it's just annoying not a real problem, and has real benefits for the kids.  But I could imagine moving a little further (like a mile or two) and making the kid schedule a little more rigid.

Not at all sure what might happen if/when I meet someone else.  BPD has frequently accused me (often in front of the kids) of infidelity (with specific women including co-workers and even relatives!) though I have never been unfaithful in any way.  She has acknowledged that her accusations were wrong - they were obviously just nasty attacks.  Not sure if seeing someone else would trigger her craziness or if she would take it out on the kids.

Why do you suggest the documentation?  You mean document crazy behavior to use for custody?  We have agreed on joint custody, and I doubt I could get sole custody since her crazy behavior has only been seen by me and the kids.  Two of the kids are too young (9 and 10) to testify, a third has so many problems (addictions) he would not be a reliable witness (though he would tell the truth) and the fourth is very close to BPD, though she could be counted on to tell the truth too.  So I'm not thinking of going for sole custody unless BPD's behavior degrades.

Thoughts anyone?

Thanks.
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« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2007, 10:34:58 AM »

Excerpt
She says "Everybody else likes me and doesn't see anything wrong with me" which I think is true because she doesn't treat them like dirt like she does me.

My uBPex saved the harsh stuff for a select few

Excerpt
We have already agreed that we will both stay in the school district,

In my situation, and quite a few in which I am familiar, many agreements were made on both sides.  Typically the Non keeps the agreements and the BP breaks each one.  If you have court documentation of such (temp orders, divorce decree), then you have teeth in case she does break her agreement.

Excerpt
Up til now she has never been abusive with the kids either

... .

BPD has frequently accused me (often in front of the kids)

Dr. Phil disagrees.  It doesn't matter which accusation she's accusing you of, it doesn't matter whether the accusation is false or not, but the fact that she's dragging the garbage out in front of the kids is bad, bad, bad.

Quote from: Dr. Phil
Take it private and keep it private.  Fighting in front of your children is nothing short of child abuse. It can and will scar them emotionally

(reference)

Excerpt
Why do you suggest the documentation?

#1 - Custody

Doesn't matter if you're pre-agreement or post-agreement.  Documentation becomes a way of life.  Nothing fancy, but your journal is a key part for the custody thing.  Undocumented "crazy behavior" isn't crazy behavior to the court.  Document things such as

* wild communications from her

* your part in the communications

* which children spent time with you

* how long you were with them

* what you did in general

#2 - Self-Grounding

Keeping a journal will show you patterns, plus assists when she's tossing the false accusations (no, not to prove it to her... .to yourself).  People are mortal, and particularly with high-functioning BPs, they can turn on the high-beam charms and the Non will brush aside quite a bit.  A journal just keeps it real for you so that you can determine more objectively whether there's an up trend or down trend.
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« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2007, 03:36:43 PM »

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute?  Yes. I think that once the decision is made its final2.  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?

3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision?  I stayed for the kids, still with him but it was the wrong decision.  I should have left when they were young before he became abusive with them.6.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected?

4.  Who here "stayed for the kids" and wishes he/she would not have? ME!  My kids deserved to have a normal life without the BPD abuse!

5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... .  and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?

7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?

8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations?  Leave while the kids are young.  My kids (now adults) have after-effects from bNPDh.  I can't say enough that I wish I left when the kids were young.

9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?

Puddin

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« Reply #30 on: September 06, 2007, 04:00:45 PM »

To  add to tony's current topic... .
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« Reply #31 on: September 06, 2007, 08:22:59 PM »

 if you could see the damage done staying for the kids is ludicrous.No kid deserves to be screamed at mentally abused that way.look at the post of children of BPDs here.this is my sons legacy they will cary it with them till they die.I have no mercy for a BPD they show none for others.
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« Reply #32 on: September 06, 2007, 09:47:37 PM »

Leo I must agree.
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« Reply #33 on: September 11, 2007, 03:35:13 PM »

I had written this some time back, just saw it in my notes:

Excerpt
Ladies and gentlemen, please, please, please put your kids first! 

Even if the children themselves are not abused, children who grow up in chaotic homes in which the parents are constantly at each other's throats, or one parent is verbally or physically abusing the other are not growing up with ANY role model for how people should function in a family.  They often resent the parent who is abused more than they resent the abusive parent.  Please remember that emotional abuse  is often just as destructive to the child's development as the abuse of a parent who demeans, neglects, or abuses more directly.

Some parents think they will wait until the kids are out of the house, but it might be better if the parents split up earlier so the children have a chance to live in some peace and order.  My son has made it clear to everyone that he was relieved when we finally separated.  His test scores and his behavior improved significantly in the year after the separation.   

Dads, don't assume that your wife will get custody.  More and more men get custody of their kids if they can show that their wife is imbalanced or abusive.  Many men have described women who are completely unfit to parent their children.  What happens to the kids when you are out of the house?  Can a woman who has engaged in physical abuse or threats against dad really be an effective parent?

About counseling... .yes, of course, by all means, try to get things fixed up.  But some people here have gone through counseling for years and years... .some bp's have been diagnosed for years, and yet still no change.  Think of what specific changes you want to see in your spouse's behavior and in what time frame... .be reasonable!  Raging, name-calling, physical abuse, financial irresponsibility, threats of divorce, etc., should be gone... .plus whatever else is going on that needs to stop.  Don't assume that a divorce threat is merely a threat... .if the word "divorce" is being used in your home, you should prepare for it... .just in case.  Too many people here have assumed that the spouse is just venting, and ... .Wham!... .they are hit with papers, or the wife takes the kids and disappears. 

Don't bury your head in the sand; if your kids are little, don't assume that your sick spouse is a competent parent.  Your kids need to come first, no matter how hard it is!  Make sure that you aren't brandishing the flag of the "intact family" just because you don't want to do what needs to be done.  Believe me, parents should do everything they can to keep the marriage and the home healthy and happy... .but if it's impossible, the healthy parent needs to make a break and protect the kids.  Kids spending a good chunk of time in a healthy home with a healthy parent will be much better off than those spending all of their time in a dysfunctional family with parents who don't have the energy or the mental health to successfully parent.

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« Reply #34 on: September 11, 2007, 07:29:36 PM »

 I was raised in a family where divorce was almost non existent,You Married for life.Yo advise someone to get out of a marriage is something I have never done.late January 06 My then 12 year old son developed severe school phobia and a reversal of his sleep pattern that is going on now he was up all night and I cant wake him hes exhausted.It was not long after for the first time I was away from her in 1 week in three building a family cabin next state over.What was happening is she was alone with him and already in at least one affair She would scream and make those cutting remarks BPDs are so good at two years no school,her comment youre sons are just like you haunts Me.the child can be painted black and crushed.She works him to get her agenda and after 24 years of marriage  i know she can devastate a strong adult. It is My opinion her guilt plays a large part she went for$ and PAINTED US BLACK.  I do not envy any faced with the choice.I hope when i am able to be here for him as she wants me out of this little town.to Me blood is thicker than mud,I bear responsibility to the ones I fathered .
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2 months good stuff, then it was all downhill


« Reply #35 on: September 13, 2007, 03:52:37 AM »

my daughter's school performance improved significantly after we separated.

nearly three years now since the separation and my daughter seems to be very happy.

she seems to like the routine that has been established in terms of staying with me and then her mother so it seems to be working.

the thought of going back to what we had before does not bear thinking about.

i believe that my daughter is better off this way.

i hope i am right.

b2   

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« Reply #36 on: September 13, 2007, 07:04:29 AM »

I wish I had gotten out when my daughter was young. Looking back, I realize that things were getting bad when she was about 8 or 9. Now, she is 28.

At least she's out and on her own now. She's doing OK and working on herself. She's away from her NPD father. For her own self preservation, she only contacts him as rarely as possible and keeps her boundaries well in place. Still, the damage is there. She has had problems with self-esteem and cutting.

I should have left a long time ago. At the time I was frightened. I had a full time job and was the 'breadwinner.'  Child care was a major expense and issue. He was the stay-at-home dad and really milked it for what it was worth. Later on, in his convoluted logic, he would tell us that he 'sacrificed his career' in order to raise our daughter  , and conveniently blame all of his career failures on us. 

It was truly the land of FOG and circular logic. He convinced me(us) that we needed him.

We would have been so much better off without him... .

G2BH

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« Reply #37 on: September 13, 2007, 10:05:13 AM »

That is my problem.  I love my wife but can I risk the well being of our son if she and I reconcile?  Her therapist has told me it could take years for her to be able to effectivly deal with BPD and the other things that she has going on.  In 2 years my son will be 5 and very aware of what is going on.  Then it may take another year for she and I to work on our marriage (now he is 6) and after a year of living together we decide that we cant do it and divorce (now he is 7). At this age the divorce would be much more tramatic for him to deal with.   This is an extremely difficult decision for me!
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« Reply #38 on: September 30, 2007, 07:33:28 PM »

JoannaK, I agree this topic needs to be discussed often!

Like lapdr I have mulled this discussion over in my mind and studied the different perspectives posted here.

The first thing that struck me is how each person has to make their own decision.  Each of our BPD/NPD relationships are similar, yet specifically different in their own way.

I met my ubpw in 1989, married in 1991, have two boys 10 and 13.  Still together with ubpw, but not w/o event.  Had I known what I know now after SWOE, I would have seen the signs of BPD and ran!  The sad thing is that my uBPDw was open about the abuse she suffered as a child.  It felt good to be the white night!  Now my suit of armor is dirty and dented.   

Excerpt
Anyway, here's a reader's digest recap of my past two years:  (married 15 years, last 5 worst bp behavior)

6/05 – confused, all blame on me, isolated from FOO by ubpw, abused and trapped in bad marriage

12/05 - ubpw rages and physically attacks me.  Stop Walking on Eggshells reference from counselor and my world changes

1/06 to 9/06 - trapped in abusive situation feeling lessens, I gain strength and health, journal and documentation, got “Splitting” and “You’re My World” and ready for war, I push for MC

9/06 – MC begins and is pointless

10/06 - Attorney hired, about to file and I have confrontation with ubpw.  "Behavior stops tonight!", "Existing marriage is dead", I am willing to start a new marriage with different rules.  Ubpw agrees and MC turns from blaming to reconstructing.  Hold filing for divorce.

12/06 - Attorney on hold to see if behavior sticks, still keeping journal, trust building, praying not just a re-engagement and I unwisely stop MC due to financial pressures.

3/07 – Trust rebuilding, BP behavior good and we are in honeymoon, Got retainer back from attorney.

4/07 – April fools day, Adderall added to ubpw meds and behavior gets more edgy, aggressive, confrontational, others ask me, “What is going on? Is she OK?”  Am I OK?  I try to start MC again.

5/07 – Heart broken and feeling the fool with BP spike, Momster’s Day bad!  Paranoid, “I know what you’ve been doing the last 2 months!”  Mad because I have been “going behind her back” with children, undermining her.  Nothing about her undermining herself!  6 months of healing and trust building erased!  She won’t go to MC.  Blame, Blame, Blame!  I push for MC or think marriage is over.  I state, “ I am not the same person I was a year ago!”

6/07 – MC starts again, I stand up to blame and hold up a mirror.  I accept my part of issues in MC.  Ubpw never apologizes, just does nice things for me.  Typical bp inability to accept being wrong.

7/07  - Tension still there, MC continues, and will continue as long as we are married.

This whole time I have been concerned with my kids and my own well being.  I am concerned what my boys are seeing as a role model for marriage and what it means to be a man.  I am conscious of my vows.(and am not taking them lightly)  The grass is not necessarily greener and divorce is hard.  My w coddles my youngest, and expects perfection of my oldest or harsh rebuke to follow.  She pushes them academically, and expects them to try their best, as do I.  I am concerned about the damage she is doing to my oldest self esteem.

To continue the history:

8/07 Birthday of youngest has big party and all goes well.  bp seems to be in check.  MC states we are having "communication problems".  I understand MC is trying not to blame and knows my side.

9/07  Oldest's birthday does not go well.  BP rears it's ugly head and the behavior is poor.  I call my w on the behavior and state, ":)o not ruin your son's birthday, stop this behavior now!"  30 minutes later, she is back in check and behaving better.  I attend a MC session on my own and state the need for her to be in continual therapy w/0 me.  I made an appointment with the MC who is a good, direct, challenging, family counselor for my wife and told her.  Her reaction was, "I don't need you to be my secretary!"  I stayed calm and let her know she could change the appointment if she wished and for her to call the MC.  Since then she has straightened up her behavior.  The bp is mostly in check.  I must admit, I am really tired of being a punching bag and never hearing, "I'm sorry."  I get a back scratch or a favorite dinner instead.  At least I understand her way of saying sorry.

Excerpt
All of my decisions and actions stem from my desire to do what is best for the kids. They are worth it and thankfully I can say they are terrific children, well adjusted, loving, confident, sweet and healthy.

My goal is the same.  I spend most of my bpdfamily.com time in "staying", hoping for insight from those who have gone before me.

To the point of this thread, I have not stayed for the kids; however, did feel trapped for years until I got the proper counsel and attorney to explain my true rights.  This gave me the confidence to stand up to my ubpw and draw the line in the sand.  It is a tough road, two steps forward and one step back.

My oldest did not want a divorce and told me, "you'll be sorry!"  He took a lot of the blame on himself because he could not blame me and ubpw was so good at telling him he caused our fights.  I always told him it was not his fault or responsibility.  I make sure he knows this is between Mom and Dad!

Questions from JoannaK:

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute? No.  However, once you make the final decision, I would stand strong and not get sucked back in by a re-engagement.  Once out, stay out.  I'm not out yet.

2.  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?  Yes, the studies done have nothing to do with the situations here on this board.  IMHO, it is obvious that a child will be better of away from abuse.

3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision?  I have not stayed for the kids.  I have stayed because my ubpw has changed her behavior.  My eyes are wide open and I am watchful everyday.  It is not easy.

6.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected?  I am concerned my w is projecting onto my oldest since she knows I will not tolerate her behavior.  He is standing up to her and I am backing him up.  Makes for some touchy situations, but I will not allow her to abuse him instead of me.  I call her on it every time!  Sometime after the fact and ask her to apologize to him or right then and there.  It is tiring.

4.  Who here "stayed for the kids" and wishes he/she would not have?  N/A  Very interested in other's responses.

5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... .  and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?  N/A  Very interested in other's responses.

7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?  N/A  Very interested in other's responses.

8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  NO, I stayed, with boundries.

    Or think it was the right thing to do?  Yes, I know it was for now.  We can only make the best decision today, knowing what we know today.  Tomorrow, with different information, it may be a different decision.

    What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations?

A. Love your kids! Spend time with them.

B.  DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT!

C.  Seek the best attorney you can find and interview to see what your rights really are and how to protect them.

D.  Get yourself evaluated by a good counselor to validate you are not the issue, as your bp is so good at blaming you.  I took an MMPI which is used in custody evaluations and it validated me by saying I was well balanced and a bit too honest!

E.  Read bpdfamily.com and post here for support.  There is a wealth of knowledge in these posts and lessons can be learned.  Remember, you have to make your own decision.

F.  Take care of yourself first!  The best analogy is the airplane oxygen mask you secure upon yourself first before you assist a child.

G.  Get the bp out in the open if possible, so others see the behavior.  This will help validate you and help for witnesses in a custody case.

H.  Be selective with who you speak to about the issue with your bp.  You need a close trusted friend.  Be careful not to broadcast your problems and look like the bp to the outside world.

I.  IMHO, it is not necessary to get a BP diagnosis from a shrink.  The behavior is the focus.  My ubpw would never  accept a BP diagnosis anyway.  The worst pain I see here of bpdfamily.com is people who have bps that use the BP as an excuse or a crutch.


9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?

NO!  I WOULD NEVER LEAVE MY BOYS!  I believe the key is a good attorney.  Dad's do get the kids these days.  The other thing I read is that a lot of good evidence is gained during the divorce proceedings when the bp shows her BP!  The key is to be prepared and document, document, document!  "You're my world" (CDs) and "Splitting" are outstanding references for prep for a fight.  And from what I have read, it will be a fight.  Thankfully I am not there yet.  I am not holding my breath and am still documenting behavior to this day!  If the time comes, I will use every resource I have to ensure my boys are with me.  I know my w will always be part of their life.  I guarantee I will be a major part of their life!

I hope this will help someone.  I know I have needed encouragment many times. 

God bless, Exhausted


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« Reply #39 on: October 01, 2007, 04:28:26 PM »

I read a bunch of posts on this thread, but there are so many now I couldn't read all of them, just wanted to put my opinion in. My mom has BPD. and as a child she started fights with my dad,  then would drag me to shrinks like a victim,  as if I would be upset about them divorcing and I would always say " i would like them to divorce to stop the fighting ", which was true. They did divorce but the drama and court cases continued for my entire life. These people feed off drama. Although most people are outraged by their behavior, its best for the children to leave them out of it completely! until they are old enough to understand. The BPD will do everything to trash talk you to the kids,  create drama and the more energy you give back the more they will mess with you. Shut up, keep your distance and they will mess with someone else. This includes extended family,  always say good things about the BPD to the kids or nothing. You can trash talk them but only if the kids are a good 30 miles away. My father fighting back just extended my moms drama more, and I was left with a life of their messes instead of my childhood. It really didn't matter who was the cause, this is what my time was taken up with period. Going for custody is tricky because if you show you want the kids, most likely your BPD spouse will fight you for them harder. If you don't make it into a war, they may even get bored and surrender the kids, maybe even after a year. My mom really wanted nothing to do with us except for the control alot of the time. Of course try to spend as much time with the kids as you can, keep them in their regular routines and make their life calmer as they will always have alot of chaos from the other side. My mom wasted a bunch of my time with her drama, I never kept a steady school of friends or of activities. If you kid plays on a soccer team, for example, do your best to keep them there or at least keep in contact with their old friends, make sure if you move your kid still keeps up their interest in soccer. I actually do suggest moving at least an hour away from BPD, as these people will not bug you and mess with your life as easily, they will find other people near by to do this to.Def. put kids in therapy, warn the therapist about the others BPD, but do not tell the kids, this is to ensure the kids not develop the disorder and have a place to talk about the crazy behavior they experience with the  BPD/ keep a firm grip on their own normalcy and lives. Just give the kids all the love and support you can and if you have a chance to get full custody without showing the other you want it/. example: BPD person drops the kids at your doorway one night or says I don't want them, act like you don;t want them either but have other write a statement from lawyer and say you will talk in court,' but I can't keep them', once you get this letter, the grab custody and say actually 'I do want them', but now you have a letter from BPD saying they do not want the children. In other word you have to beat them at their own game, but leave the kids out of it! The goal should be full custody from you always. Maybe when splitting say you have no prob. keeping the kids or assume you will have joint custody. Then make a big stink over how you get the tv, and the dishes or something and this is where the BPDs energy will go. good luck. don't forget to enjoy your own life.
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« Reply #40 on: November 06, 2007, 02:40:22 PM »

As there are some new discussions on the Staying board about this (and some new posters), I'm going to again push this to the top. 
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« Reply #41 on: November 06, 2007, 03:05:07 PM »

OK, I'll bite:

(Background:  Married 11 years, separated since December, kids 9 and 11 and stepkids 18 and 30.  Divorce in progress, too soon to say if it will be peaceful or not.)

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute?

Not sure how to answer this.  I thought I was committed to never getting a divorce no matter what.  I took the AA slogan "One day at a time" as my own:  Whatever she does today, I can live with it, and I'll worry about tomorrow tomorrow.  I counted down the days til the kids are grown, then found myself re-defining "grown" to convince myself I could make it that long.  When she threatened divorce I told the kids "Momma doesn't mean that, when she'd mad she just says things to hurt Daddy."  (Which was true.)  I only changed my thinking while in jail, because she had called the cops and lied to them (told them I pushed her down the stairs).  16 hours in jail and I came out determined not to take it any more.  So, I guess my decision to stay was absolute, but then she crossed a line, and then my decision to leave (unless she took responsibility for her actions and committed to change) was absolute.

2.  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?

It would probably change it, but I am still very aware of the statistics (though I can't quote them).  Boys who grow up without a dad are way, way, way more likely to become substance abusers, abuse children and/or women, end up in prison, commit suicide, etc.  You name it - any problem in society - and it's largely driven by boys without dads.  What I don't know is, can I be an effective dad without living in the same house?  Is that good enough, or is it just a tragedy on a smaller scale?  I'm optimistic, but I also read that about half the kids who grow up in a BPD-dominated home have big problems as adults.  My stepson (30) has big problems which are easy to track to growing up with his only parent a BPD sufferer.  My stepdaughter (18) seems fine.  So there's your 50%.  But where does that leave my son (9) and daughter (11)?  Will one of them suffer?

3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision? 

I stayed 11 years for the kids and I'm glad I did.  I also think I did the right thing leaving when she became violent and had me put in jail;  once she crossed that bridge it wasn't safe being with her, and I can't support the kids if I'm in jail.

4.  Who here "stayed for the kids" and wishes he/she would not have? 

5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... .  and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?

I think it's probably the right decision.  The kids seem OK so far.  I worry a little about abuse:  My wife abused my stepson but that was about 20 years ago and his dad was not around to watch out for him.

6.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected?

7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?

It made them cry.  I don't know what the long-term impact might be.

8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations? 

9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?

I see them about as much as I did before.  I have them every weekend.  I don't know where the "EOE" thing (every other weekend) came from but it seems stupid to me;  even if I am working long hours why can't I have them every weekend?  I would recommend that to dads who work full-time - at least have them with you every weekend.
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« Reply #42 on: November 06, 2007, 06:56:44 PM »

I'll bite too,

*although I already posted on this topic*

If I had to do it all over again... .

No No No. No way.

They say hindsight is foresight.

I hope this helps someone, somewhere.

G2BH
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« Reply #43 on: November 08, 2007, 09:52:25 AM »

We have a 7 year old daughter and I have to say that she's absolutely the only reason I stay. 

I spoke to several lawyers and studied up on father's rights quite a bit as I was preparing to leave about five years ago.  The outlook I came away with was not good.

The fact that I have about a 0% chance of gaining primary custody, along with the threat of parental alienation and the brutality of the child support system holds me here.

If I could just leave and take her with me as primary parent, I'd do it first thing tomorrow.
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« Reply #44 on: November 09, 2007, 08:29:36 AM »

wBPD wife in her joint custody has manage to turn my son against me OUCH.for the first time he has cussed me and made life hell all week,shes out of town on another pretend honeymoon i could care less.Hes mean remarks sound like his mother.Ive had to miss three days work dealing with him.from sweet kid to a mean spirited ,hateful kid?get youre child away from the BPD as soon as possible       .ps when he came home from being born she gave me the job of raising him i never spanked him or even yelled at him he was a great kid.now hes a little nightmare.OUCH The one thing i asked her not to do she did the gloves are coming off now im going to legally use the info to bring her down.I could have all along but didnt gloves are off.
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« Reply #45 on: November 09, 2007, 09:04:58 AM »

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute?

Of course not (assuming children).  Many factors weigh on that decision - the gender of the non, the expected custody time you would hope to have with the children, the adjustments that would need to be made financially, the cost of doing so... .the collateral damage (friends, family, employment impact).  So many things.  If children are not involved, I think that the decision, while not absolute, is much much easier.

2.  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?

I'm not qualified to say.  Regardless of mental health issues, a household without love between the parents, with violence, without care and compassion, without rules and boundaries... .will invariably end up negatively impacting the children.

3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision?

I did (for a while) and I can't second-guess my decision.  Ultimately, she's the one who pulled the plug.  I stayed for "selfish" reasons (term used loosely).  I knew, as a male and father, that the likelihood of having a major share, even an equal share, of custody would be tough to obtain (given all of the surrounding circumstances, details of which aren't necessary to re-divulge here).  Over time, I really became indifferent to her existence in the home and focused my energies towards my children.  I served as that "buffer" that many of us all try to be in these circumstances.  For the most part, it worked.  Also, for the most part, my expectations in terms of custody time were correct, too.  It took 3+ years and my life's savings just to get to the point I am today... .50/50 - and the madness will not soon end.

I can certainly tell you that had *I* decided to pull the plug much earlier, it probably would have cost significantly less and I would have made fewer poor decisions that came with managing the household under those circumstances.

4.  Who here "stayed for the kids" and wishes he/she would not have?

I don't know what would have happened... .only guesses.  I do feel that I "wasted" more years investing in getting the marriage righted, but most of those years I was unaware of what BPD was/is and that my efforts were futile.

5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... .  and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?

It was absolutely the right decision because the BPD would have ultimately continued her escalations which, in an extreme case (and we've seen several here on the forums) - could have left disastrous results for me (and the children) had I been left in a position for those things to possibly occur.

6.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected?

N/A

7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?

Well, they're subjected to two different parenting styles.  That's a problem because they understand the expectations in one home (with care, discipline, and love) and no well-defined expectations in the other (little discipline, if any, and a mom who buys their love and still rages inappropriately when faced with stressful situations).

Yes, I think that they've been harmed because as they get older, they're aware that things "aren't good" between us and that must be quite sad for children who want nothing more than to be with two parents who love and care for one another.  There is a profound sense of failure or gloom associated with "knowing" that the people who brought you into this world really don't like each other very much.

No, I don't think that the situation would have been better without the "two-homes" thing because that would mean that the two parents are still together under atrocious circumstances... .and no matter how much you think you're "managing" the situation appropriately - the situation is not appropriate and still is atrocious.

8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations?

Staying in a horrible situation gives you the "opportunity" to:

- Grow up in a horrible situation.

- Learn how not to treat people you are supposed to love and care about.

- Fails to put them in a position to learn how a "normal," loving relationship is supposed to work.

Those are life lessons that are hard to teach later in life and (in my opinion) - you are setting them up for failures (to varying degrees) in relationships later in life.

While it won't be a lot easier having left - you are in a better position to teach them the right stuff.

9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?

Yes.  Because the family court system remains horribly biased against men/fathers - and you leave knowing the deck is stacked against you.  If you choose to escape this horrible relationship for the benefit of you and your children - you do so knowing that you have an incredibly difficult fight on your hands to spend meaningful time with your children and putting them in a position to learn about how to treat others.  You fear you're a failure because you know that there is an inherent risk that they will have to spend MORE time ALONE with a person you find to be a horrible person and with little hope that there are ways out there to see her get healthy.

Probably the worst thing I heard in the aftermath of our split was If she's so horrible, why would you leave your kids with her? ... .even from some in my own family.

That's the price paid by the BPD's inate ability to manage their "public/private personna."
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« Reply #46 on: November 10, 2007, 07:31:02 PM »

Mr M,

I read your answers to the questions and look at question 3 you could almost be me for those first few sentences with respect your relationship with your ex-wife and your kids.  My BPD wife left me and the kids last night to "try and sort herself out" ... .and she is getting help from a psychiatrist.  I sincerely dont know if I will want her back as talking to my counsellor has shown me how abused I have been emotionally and now i can see if happening to my eldest son.  Thank you for your post it helps me a lot
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« Reply #47 on: November 10, 2007, 09:37:26 PM »

I was asked by a concerned citizen to post some experiences for a certain other unnamed poster.

I have a particularly difficult time reading the threads in this forum because after everything I've gone through, I have a near-zero tolerance for those of you who have no idea what you're in for and who remain stuck in limbo.

It isn't fair to anyone who posts here but I'm making a very, very concerted effort to remember that we're all in different places.  I get so frustrated for the undecided posters because I am so truly sympathetic, but all I want to do is SCREAM "RUN!  RUN FROM HIM/HER AS FAST AS YOU CAN AND DON'T LOOK BACK!" - but I have the benefit of 2+ years here and a great deal more understanding than many newbies currently have.

I have to be very careful in this forum because I want to shake the life out of some of the posters... .but only because I really do care and don't want to see anyone suffer at the hands of a horrifying BPD partner.

--------------

Addressing your situation specifically - this is where I usually cross the ill-defined line and say "file for divorce, she isn't going to change EVER" if you truly believe she has BPD.  File now for divorce.  File now for custody.  Don't let her figure out that she has the upper-hand in everything and file first on you!

But I don't know if that's the right answer.

What I can tell you is that after 10-years of what was truly a mostly horrible relationship - and despite all the struggles I've had over the last 3+ years and will continue to have - I realize that I wasted a lot of time and "good life."  I've been fortunate enough to reconnect with friends and some family.  I've been fortunate enough to find real love after swearing off women for good not more than 4 years ago.  Despite all of the struggles, some of which rear their ugly head as often as weekly with that Psycho - my life is better off and we're (mmm and I) managing out family pretty darned well given all we've been through.

I KNOW I should have bailed years earlier... .and hindsight being what it is... .should have bailed on the relationship before it ever became a marriage and children.
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« Reply #48 on: November 11, 2007, 09:30:40 AM »

Mr M,

This is why I want to tell people without children to chalk it up as a life lesson and move on and don't look back. Like that story in the Bible where the woman turns into a pillar of salt.

My dtr was becoming a different child and I knew I needed to get her out of that house.

His first visitation is coming up. We will see. I wish none of this was happening. I should have left while I was still in my 20s. My dtr was a toddler but we could have made it. I could have remarried and had more children but I had cancer so that is impossible now. In the end you lose so much.It is bad enough I have to suffer the consequences but watching my dtr have to absorb some of the toxic mess is really hard. She is a sweet child who deserved better.
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« Reply #49 on: November 12, 2007, 09:40:45 AM »

New life-

If you had to leave your daughter behind, would have done that?

This is a very different question for women and men.
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« Reply #50 on: November 15, 2007, 12:38:31 PM »

I stayed married for 25 years.  I overlooked a lot.  I lost myself, became somebody that my kids weren't proud of.  The last few years of married life were dead. He was struggling, but would not accept help, until he turned on me in a vicious manner about 8 months before I finally made him leave.  My girls were older, 19 and 15-16. They tell me know they saw things so clearly and their own mom could not.  Ex turned against all of us, attacking us, doing everything in his power to destroy us.  Now, 1 1/2 years after the divorce and coming up on 3 years after the initial blow-up, my kids are doing fantastically.  If I had stayed, their lives would have been much worse, both emotionally and financially.  My younger D told me she would have run away rather than live with her dad anymore so I would have totally lost her.  Now she's working and about to graduate from a paramedic program.  Older D graduated with her B.A. and is working at a great job. But most proudly, they have boyfriends who treat them with honor and respect, don't belittle them or make them feel inferior. 

I was NOT a good role model to them as far as relationships go.   I'm still trying to fix my life, both financially and emotionally, from years of damage that I couldn't, heck, I WOULDN'T see.  And I'm with Mr. M - I have a lot of intolerance for those who stay.  I wish those who are struggling could spend one hour in the future free of BPD influence.  That might make the decision much easier. I know when I decided to break free, it was HORRIBLE - I didn't know how I could make it, if I could make it. But now since I'm out of Oz, it's amazing, as my therapist used to say, "how little I accepted for myself", just to say I was married. 
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« Reply #51 on: November 16, 2007, 08:28:52 PM »

Being a father severely limits your options. I have stayed because I feared losing custody and having the kids banished to her nightmare without me being there to provide emotional support and some level of defense. "Mother always wins in divorce " was the mantra I heard over and over from my uBPDW. Noe that the youngest is going to be a teen, the balance of power is starting to tip!
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« Reply #52 on: November 16, 2007, 09:41:48 PM »

I would never leave my kids.  I stuck it out for 16 years and like M-Dad, the balance of power has tiped!  I will no longer allow myself to be treated with such disrespect.  I am going to be the role model I need to be for my boys.  Spoke with my attorney yesterday and at 13YO my oldest can file a preference that is accepted 90% by the court.  We shall see how he does.  He may feel guilty about leaving his mom.  He may be relieved.  She paints black and he is seeing the bp-BS clearly.  I am clear today, but I still have times of "Am I doing the right thing?"  Exhausted
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« Reply #53 on: November 17, 2007, 08:57:54 AM »

I am clear today, but I still have times of "Am I doing the right thing?"  Exhausted

Of course you'll have that.  No one gets into a marriage planning on having kids and then getting a divorce.  You'll second-guess yourself a lot, but rest assured, this place is full of evidence that people "did the right thing" - both for themselves and their children.
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« Reply #54 on: December 07, 2007, 11:20:29 AM »

In life many decisions are not final ones.  For example, if we're cooking supper and the fresh peas and carrots burn, do we still serve them or do we make a subsequent decision to pull out a can of peas, beans, corn or whatever as alternative to serving the ruined food?  Same goes for a decision to stay or leave.

If we decide to stay, can we, will we, monitor that decision going forward so that if circumstances change for the worse that we can and will take appropriate action?  Remember, life with a Borderline spouse is, to varying degrees, intensely unpredictable, inconsistent, unbalanced, pressuring, manipulative and volatile.

"Staying" is generally a fluid decision, you have the right and obligation to review that decision if anything doesn't improve sufficiently or changes for the worse.

Thank you for your words.  I needed to hear that options *do* exist.  I have no plans on not staying, but it's nice to be reassured that I'm not boxed-in for as far as the eye can see... .and beyond.

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« Reply #55 on: January 19, 2010, 02:39:49 PM »

This is an older thread, but this topic comes up over and over. 
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« Reply #56 on: February 26, 2010, 10:35:06 PM »

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute?

My decision was absolute.  It had to be.  I spent a year in therapy before making the decision b/c otherwise I would have been guilted right back into the relationship.

2.  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? I am tired of the statistics.  There was no way that my daughters were going to continue to grow up in that household on a day to day basis.  No way that they were going to see mom being treated as "less than".



5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... .  and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?

My oldest is seeing a therapist for anxiety. But she's a gifted kid and that tends to be par for the course.  My youngest was 1 when I left and is pretty resilient.  Absolutely no regrets.


7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?

Yes, I do my best to keep them out of it but he continues to draw them in. Child study expert has commented that they are being traumatized by the constant court battles and discussions about grown up issues.  The trauma they were experiencing before I left was far greater. 

8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations? 

Give your kids an example of peace in their lives even if it is only every other weekend.

 

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« Reply #57 on: January 15, 2016, 11:18:45 AM »

This is an old topic, and since I am going through a similar dilemma I thought I would answer.

Before I get to the bulleted questions, I thought I would give a case of two live 'case studies'

Me: I didn't grow up in a great household. The dynamics between my two parents are pretty much a BPD/NPD combo.

I am not going to label it, but raging of my mother and a lot of that unconscious manipulation is still there.

They stuck it out, and well at least till my younger sister graduated. (I had already graduated from college).

From my perspective both my sister and I, don't have that rage. We probably both ended up a little codependent and have issues.

But we are both courteous and respectful (if not overly so) to other people.

The Wife: Her household was about the same. Lots of fighting, arguing, cheating between the parents.

Temperament wise I would say their parents were very close. The difference here is they got a divorce around age 3 for her.

As an adult, she is full of anger, has tons of abandonment issues, failed relationships, etc.

So if I look at this at face value. When a spouse leaves they are doing it for themselves (their own health).

That is admirable. But I think, we undermine that our happiness rubs off on our kids. From what I seen on first hand experience that does not seem to be the case.

That is the dilemma I am in. I don't want my kids (ages 3 and 4) to be full of anger because I left. It's like choosing the lesser of two evils. That is a hard decision.

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute?

No.

2.  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?

No. Though we would like to believe it so. Unless the kids are being abused directly (physically or emotionally). Usually they are spectators, so I would say no.

3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision?

I am leaning this way, do to the statements listed above.

6.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected?

Their angry outbursts, fears of abandonment seems less when we are together even though the parents fight.

Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations?

9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?

No, they are two separate items.
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« Reply #58 on: February 08, 2016, 03:21:47 PM »

Hello Group,

I don't have kids, but I thought I would add my 2 cents from my personal experiences for additional food for thought ... .



1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute?

N/A

2.  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?

IMHO, my mother is a BPD/NPD & father was absent alcoholic who died before the age of 50. Growing up with my mothers flying monkey's that would rage every other day was beyond what a child should be subject too.  They would argue at least once every couple of months about divorce for the 20 plus years they were married before my father died. As the oldest I would try to protect my siblings from the flying monkey's that my mother would let fly at twice a week. The house I grew up in was COMPLETELY DYSFUNCTIONAL and never ever showed me what a mutually respectful relationship between two people should be. Instead i saw rages, hate, deregulation, along with ALL the other behavior.  Because of this I grew up as a codependent and have had my own bad relationships in the past. Only after the last one where I learned when she told me she was  BPD and dove into my life and found out what I was ... .that & hours of therapy, education, reading. NOTHING good can come from raising kids in this environment. MY exBPDgf  has been divorced now for 4 yrs ... .her ex-husband recognized that the example of that relationship isn't what he wants his girls to know ... .he is now engaged to a wonderful woman with 2 kids of her own. They are setting the example of what a blended family should be and I commend him for being man enough to leave and provide his 2 kids a environment that they can actually learn what a normal relationship is suppose to be.

3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision?

Never stay for the kinds IMHO, kids are smarter then you give them credit and they learn, they know that you're not in a healthy relationship ... .but they also learn from example and you have to ask yourself is this the type of example I want my kids to learn?

6.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected?

I'll will be forever the recovering codependent ... .I have spent hours in therapy ... .hours reading, learning. I have spend thousands of dollars trying to make a BPD/NPD vs codependent relationship work with NO success. I know I'm not the only one that has lived this ... .stop the madness if not for yourself ... .for your kids 

4.  Who here "stayed for the kids" and wishes he/she would not have?

5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... .  and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision?

I can't tell you how many times I wish my parents would divorce ... .at least the arguments would stopped

7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?

AS tough as the 2 homes things is going back and forth for custody reasons, I saw how they were much happier with their father & the new blended family. They were learning to be happy and what a loving couple can be like. No couple is perfect, but at least they would of been out of the mentally / physically draining relationship of a BPD.  Imagine how it would affect your kids if you didn't. Would you be ok with your kids becoming codependent and perpetuating the situation that you're going through? 

8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations?

Having lived the life first hand ... .I'm north of 50 and still dealing with my BPD mother ... .and the side affects of growing up in that house is a constant reminder of how a relationship is NOT suppose to work.

9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?

As I pointed out before, my exBPDgf ex-husband is providing a much more stable home for 2 weeks out of every month instead of the constant chaos their mother provides almost on a daily basis. I've seen her release her flying monkey's on her kids and because I've been told I'm not their father I have no business giving my opinion how she raises her kids ... .I can say at least their father is providing some sort of normalcy for 1/2 the month and that's better then nothing.

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« Reply #59 on: February 08, 2016, 05:42:13 PM »

Living in a calm and stable home, even if only for part of their lives, will give the children a better example of normalcy for their own future relationships.  In other words, do you want them to seek out or drift into relationships with someone appeasing or targeted — or someone like your spouse?  It may not be their comfort zone but staying together means it's all they would have known.  Nearly 30 years ago the book Solomon's Children - Exploding the Myths of Divorce had an interesting observation on page 195 by one participant, As the saying goes, "I'd rather come from a broken home than live in one."  Ponder that.  Taking action will enable your lives, or at least a part of your lives, to be spent be in a calm, stable environment — your home, wherever that is — away from the blaming, emotional distortions, pressuring demands and manipulations, unpredictable ever-looming rages and outright chaos.  And some of the flying monkeys too.
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Panda39
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What is your relationship status with them: SO and I have been together 9 years and have just moved in together this summer.
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« Reply #60 on: June 18, 2019, 08:56:15 AM »

Really good topic - lots of opinions and approaches so I thought I'd answer the questions (I come at this as a partner of a man with an uBPDxw) and bring this out of mothballs for others...

1.  Is the decision to stay or leave ever absolute? I think if you stay it isn't absolute but once you leave it is.

2.  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?

As others have mentioned in this thread it depends on who the married parents are.  Two happy healthy parents then that's great, but an alcoholic parent, or mentally ill parent or worse both then no that is not better than divorced parents.

3.  Who here has "stayed for the kids" and believes they made the right decision? 

I don't believe the kids were my partner's only reason for staying.  He believed in the commitment he made to his marriage, for a long time he did care about his wife, some of it was normalizing behaviors that weren't normal, I think on some level he enjoyed the conflict - enjoyed winning, enjoyed solving problems, enjoyed being the rescuer. There was also co-dependence and in someways issues with his own self-esteem. 

What where the catalysts that turned staying into leaving...Years of drama, an emotional affair that reminded him he was lovable/desirable, and seeing...really seeing an episode of emotional abuse by his wife against their oldest daughter.

6.  If you stayed (either are still together or until the kids are older), how have your kids been affected?

Both daughters have been affected by their parents marriage.  D22 was 14 when their parents separated and D18 was 10.  D22 was the golden child, care taker, parent to her parent and parent to her younger sister.  She can be Passive/Aggressive, and holds everything in...we have and do suggest she go to therapy.  D18 was the scapegoat, was infantized, is a people pleaser, diagnosed with PTSD. 

Both girls are bright, funny doing well in terms of work/school and have friends.

So it is a mixed bag, but I have no doubt that things would be worse if the family remained in tact.  When the family was still together all energy, financial, time, emotional etc. went into the girls mom and there was little left for anyone else.

4.  Who here "stayed for the kids" and wishes he/she would not have? 
Hind sight is 20/20 but I'm sure if my partner knew then what he knows now he would have left earlier.  It should be noted that he/we didn't discover BPD until he was separated over 2 years and in the final throws of the divorce.

5.  How has divorce affected your kids (if you left)... . and do you regret it?  Or do you think it was the right decision? See#3

7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?

8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations?

9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?

I have got to get to work...will answer the final questions later.  I hope others will add their stories to this thread.

Panda39
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"Have you ever looked fear in the face and just said, I just don't care" -Pink
Panda39
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner’s ex
What is your relationship status with them: SO and I have been together 9 years and have just moved in together this summer.
Posts: 3332



« Reply #61 on: June 18, 2019, 11:43:22 AM »

Just Finishing up...

7.  If you left, do you think your kids have been harmed by the friction between you and the ex?  Would the situation have been better for your kids without the "two homes" thing?

I'd be lying if I said the divorce wasn't high conflict and things weren't really rough for my partner and his daughters during the divorce.  There was parental alienation, neglect of the girls by their mom, mom had the girls spying on dad, false allegations of abuse etc.  So much of what we fear did happen to my partner and his daughters. (my partner and his daughters now call these the "dark times")

Mom was evicted 3 times and convicted of fraud for writing a large bad check (she received probation). 

Once the divorce was final things began to die down in terms of conflict, we discovered BPD and later this site so we learned better coping strategies regarding my partners ex.  (Radical Acceptance, don't JADE, don't respond to the invalid etc.)  My partner was awarded majority custody, Education, Medical and Dental decision making.  The girls started seeing their dad more, they had a stable home.  Mom on the other hand just kept sinking.

The girls continued visitation with their mom when they could in between evictions, couch surfing and living in hotels.

The two households were/are very different one stable one unstable and if they stayed married they all would have been unstable.  The ex was dragging them all down with her.


8.  Regardless of whether you stayed or left, if your kids are teenagers or older, do you regret your decision?  Or think it was the right thing to do?  What advice would you give other parents (with younger kids) in similar situations?

It was absolutely the right thing to do, my partner and his daughters have stability, consistency, financial stability, emotional constancy, responsibility, have had/are receiving therapy/support  etc. 

My advice...show your children that you love them and want to spend time with them, let them know the divorce is not their fault, don't badmouth the other parent, be open to conversations about the kids feelings (keep these conversations private - sharing with the BPD parent can lead to the kids being punished and lead to them not trusting you), validate their feelings, own what is yours to own, parallel parent (co-parenting was an utter failure in my partner's situation), get your kids into Therapy...

9.  If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?

Speaking for my partner...no.  Leaving the marriage meant leaving his wife.
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"Have you ever looked fear in the face and just said, I just don't care" -Pink
Arthur J
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« Reply #62 on: August 01, 2019, 06:26:58 AM »

9. If you are a man, do you believe that leaving your marriage means leaving your kids?

Even though this is an older thread it is absolutely relevant to my current situation. I am faced with this difficult decision at the moment and all your input has greatly helped me gain insight and perspective. Thanks for sharing. I’ll have to brace myself for the road ahead with my 3 little girls.
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