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Borderline Personality Disorder

Started by IndigoMama, Jul 25, 2007, 01:24:00 PM

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Okay, now you have talked about Narcissistic personality disorder how about Borderline Personality Disorder? What are your recommendations in co-parenting with someone who has this disorder? Both my ss's bm has this disorder and my dd's bf has this disorder. My husband and I have sole custody of both children which really helps. We have learned to set boundaries as hard as this can be because they want to break any boundary you have set. And we do all communication in writing with ss's bm so we can prove what was actually said. Any other advice?


I can't offer any advice but I am really curious to hear if there are any helpful suggestions on dealing with an ex who has BPD.  We are going through the same thing, and it is unbelievably difficult to co-parent.  It's nearly impossible for him to have a conversation with his ex, and I have never in my life dealt with someone who is so mentally unbalanced.  I have zero communication with her but she is consumed with finding ways to hurt both of us.  The only thing we have learned to do is the same that you have been doing - document everything!  We have had to file numerous police reports due to her violating the restraining order he has against her, court orders, etc.  She keeps getting in trouble with the courts but cannot control her impulsiveness.  Anger controls her.  Unfortunately their children are exposed to all of this, and even with her violent history, they still share custody.  She has been working very hard at turning the children against their father, because for her, custody time = money.  She refuses to work.  The children are becoming very confused due to her "stories" about their father.  He just started therapy with them again.  She refused to take part in it and blamed all of their problems on him.  I think it's typical for a person with BPD to blame all of their problems on everyone else.  Her explanation to the kids about her violations of the orders was that she wasn't doing anything wrong, their dad is "harassing" her!  

They can't communicate via e-mail (which would have been best) because she told the judge that she was worried he would send a virus to her computer.  So he is forced to have conversations with her, which generally are nothing but screaming and yelling by her.  I suggested he text message her, but she won't respond in writing.  My opinion is she knows anything in writing could be used against her, so she won't leave a paper trail.  If anyone can offer any suggestions on how to better deal with this, we would greatly appreciate it.  It's just amazing how emotionally draining this had been.  


I wish I had the answers as well.  We have a BPBM (Borderline Personality Biological Mom) as well.  It's very difficult.  We're still in court, but here's what we're doing:

1.  Set firm, clear boundaries.  These people are living examples of "give them an inch and they'll take a mile".

2.  Document absolutely everything.  My suggestion is that you record all your phone calls.  If your state is a two-party state, then every time you start a conversation with the person, state calmly and clearing that you are recording the conversation for your records.  They can either talk calmly in a way that they would like a judge to hear, or they can hang up.  Both options are better than getting yelled at.

3.  Do not share any more information with them than is absolutely necesary.  They are manipulators of the highest order, and will use everything they get to inflict their misery onto you.  

4.  Make a "BP Free Zone" in your house.  That means that, when you are "in the zone" you do not discuss the BP.  It's really easy to get caught up in all thier craziness and let it disrupt your life.  You have to talk about it sometimes, but not all the time.

5.  Ask the judge to assign a parenting co-ordinator.  This person is usually a qualified therapist who will help mediate between you and your BP.  The BP will most likely stop complying with them after a short period, but then you have a witness to thier behavior.

6.  If your BP has been diagnosed, ask the judge to require them to attend individual treatment.  If they refuse to attend treatment, ask for supervised visitation.

7.  Have a detailed parenting plan.  This means that everything it spelled out.  Instead of "weekend visitation" it should say "visitation commences each Friday at 5pm and concludes Sunday at 6pm".  Days and times for phone calls should be in there, transportation, and a conflict resolution plan should be in there as well.  This way you have a limited need to communicate with the BP without it interfering with their ability to have a relationship with their child.  This way everyone knows when visitation is, how they will get back and forth, etc, and there's no need for discussion.  This is hard for the BP, and they won't follow it, but it gives you the option to ignore their attention seeking behavior without looking like a non-cooperative parent.

8.  Don't try to "figure out why they're doing this".  You can't, and you'll just make yourself crazy trying.

9.  Try to limit how much influence they have on you and your life.  Set a good example for the kids.  Be healthy.  The kids are going to have to learn how to deal with a mother who is mentally ill.  That's a huge challenge.  Expect that they will struggle with it.  Help them develop the tools they'll need.  There's no way to protect them from it, so you might as well let go of that wish and help them learn to deal.

If anyone else has suggestions, I'd love to read them!



Wow, it sounds like gemeni3, sweetpeas and IndigoMama are describing my SS's BM to a T.  I'm almost speechless, as I assumed she was the only person on the planet that could possibly do the things she has done to this child's mind.  Any updates from anyone since these postings?


We're done with court, and were able to get visitation outlined very specifically (drop-off, pick up times, etc.) and a co-parenting counselor was assigned.  It cut down on the back and forth a lot.  We still have issues, of course, but we are learning to deal with them without it making our lives unbearable. 

I recommend these websites if you're dealing with a BPD:

http://www.thepsychoexwife.com/ (http://www.thepsychoexwife.com/)  - the author has a BPD ex-wife, and it details his experiences through divorce and custody.  It's interesting to read about his experiences, and laugh about the similarities.  What I found most helpful is that outlines a plan called "low-contact", which we instituted with success

http://www.bpdcentral.com/index.php (http://www.bpdcentral.com/index.php)  - THE place for BPD info.  I highly recommend the books "Stop Walking On Eggshells" and "Splitting".

This is a helpful article as well:

http://counsellingresource.com/ask-the-psychologist/2008/07/02/suspect-mother-has-personality-disorder/ (http://counsellingresource.com/ask-the-psychologist/2008/07/02/suspect-mother-has-personality-disorder/)


Thanks for the immediate reply and wealth of information.  It's a relief, but sad at the same time, to know that my husband and I are not the only ones dealing with this type of behavior from a BM.  I don't know if she has this disorder, but it sure does seem to describe her perfectly.

DH and BM have a very specific court order from their divorce proceeding years ago, but we've since had it modified to be even more specific, for the exact reasons you suggested doing so.  BM still manages to create conflict where there should be none.  According to her, we're the ones responsible for all of it, even though she creates it.  I feel so sorry for my SS, the emotional turmoil he must be going through.  We know he's a good kid and knows right from wrong, he's demonstrated that every time he's with been with us, but as soon as he's back in the BM's care, she seems to manipulate him into going against everything he knows as being right.  She is teaching him to lie by coercing him to do so, hide his whereabouts from his father, make up stories about non-existent illnesses or exaggerate them to the point of us suspecting that he's deathly ill, when in fact he may just have a common cold, etc. etc. etc.  We have tried tirelessly to understand why she does the things she does and tried to reason with her during her bouts of extremely unreasonable behavior, but finally realized that it's impossible.  We avoid interaction with her as much as humanly possible because any and every point of contact with her becomes an opportunity for her to act out.  Other than loving my SS unconditionally and trying to lead by example, I'm not sure what else we can do, but we're going to review the information in the links you provided.  Hopefully, that will help us through another day.  One day at a time, it's all we can handle.


Parallel Parenting - How it Evolves and Implementation (http://www.thepsychoexwife.com/parallel-parenting-how-it-evolves-implementation/)

A very good article on the subject of parenting with a BPD.
Mr. Custody Coach - Win Child Custody "Better Prepared, Better Outcome"

*The opinions in this post are solely my own and do not represent the only way to address any particular issue.


Us too. And walking on eggshells w/the workbook was an absolute godsend for us.


BPD - I've been studying it on my own for at leat six years, been married to one for 26 years and have had five children with her. She filed for divorce charging me with 26 years of emotional abuse! Reverse projectionism at its best! I think I understand it better than most. - Quick wisdom: You have to think beyond their words. Their ulterior motive (not even known to them) is that they have an immense and urgent need for "validation of self". They will demand it from you and/or suck it out of thier children. Setting up boundries against them to manage their behavior intensifies their anxieties. The will escalate the fight without limit in order to get it (self validation) because they are desperate. Other psychological problems arrise as secondary effects and can mask the root-cause disorder - BPD. Their behavior appears to be so illogical but yet it is amazingly so predictable! That means there is a "different logic" at work. I call it "emotional problem solving" and it works because it gives immediate gratification to the ulterior motive I mentioned above. You could also call it emotional terrorism if you dare. Bottom line for now: Understand that "to think beyond their words" gives you better insight as to what they are really attacking you for. The fights usually have nothing to do with what they are saying it is about.


This is EXACTLY what we have been dealing with... She NEEDS to win in order to justify all that she has done! If the courts were to allow BD to see his daughter then how will she explain all she does done to the people around her, much less herself. The web of lies and the unbelievable destruction she has caused is almost unfathomable, she literally lives in a different reality than the rest of the world. What she has done is so blatant and impossible to ignore I hope to be posting good news soon! The social investigation suggests the Judge order psychological testing to determine if she has any pathologies... I am sure that will not go well.. Pathological does not even begin to explain it!!