Tag: Borderline Personality Disorder

When my BPD ex filed for divorce, she went silent on me (provocations, mixed or erratic social media behavior stopped). I counter filed for divorce. Now she’s back to old behavior, unblocked me, jealousy baiting me (bluffing). What is her goal?

If you described your wife accurately, she’s probably trying to do to you exactly what you suspect: annoy, worry, anger, embarrass, and provoke you. You’re wiser than most to ask 1) whether you should be concerned and if so, 2) what to do about it.

I just received the book “Splitting” by Randi Kreger, Bill Eddy, William Eddy, and I’ve heard it’s an excellent description of what is happening, why it is happening, and what you can and should do about it. Let me know if you read it and whether you found it helpful. I’d love to trade notes with you about it.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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How can I reveal my soon-to-be ex as having NPD in our custody case?

How can I reveal my soon-to-be ex as having NPD in our child custody case?

You’re asking the wrong question. You shouldn’t be asking how you can prove your spouse has NPD (or some other mental or emotional disorder), but whether your spouse in some way unfit—due to mental illness or emotional disorder—to exercise custody of or parent-time with the children. 

There are so many people who believe that if he/she can prove that his/her spouse or the other parent merely suffers from a mental illness or emotional disorder he/she will somehow win the custody battle. 

It seems as though people believe that mental illness or emotional disorders automatically disqualify one from exercising custody or parent time (visitation) with one’s children. It’s not true. I don’t know where this misconception came from. 

First, merely having a mental or emotional disorder does not make one an unfit parent. Merely having a certain mental or emotional disorder or disorders does not automatically make one a danger to himself or to others. 

Second, even having a mental illness or emotional disorder that could render one a danger to himself or others does not mean that one cannot function as a fit parent. Many parents with serious mental and emotional disorders take medication to treat and manage those disorders successfully. Merely having a mental or emotional disorder (or other kinds of disabilities) does not automatically disqualify a parent as fit to exercise child custody and parent-time. 

Third, proving that one has a serious and disqualifying mental or emotional disorder or disorders is extraordinarily difficult. Diagnosis of many mental and emotional disorders is highly subjective. And if there isn’t associated seriously bad behavior to provide tangible, verifiable proof of actual serious harm resulting from suffering from mental illness or emotional disorders, then accusing a spouse or other parent of suffering from mental illness or emotional disorders essentially comes down to a matter of “your word against mine.” 

Fourth, even if a parent is self-absorbed, hot-tempered, hypocritical, etc., that doesn’t make the parent inherently unfit to exercise custody or parent-time. There are innumerable people suffering from some form of mental illness or personality disorder who still manage to function adequately in society. We may not know exactly why they’re so difficult to deal with, why they’re such jerks, why they won’t change, but they still meet minimum standards of behavior for normal society. 

Finally, accusing the other spouse or parent of suffering from mental illness or emotional disorders as a means of poisoning the opinion of the court against your spouse or other parent (and thereby obtain an advantage) can backfire. Making unsupported allegations comes across to courts as cheap shots (which they are). Unsupported allegations damage your credibility. It can make you look like the crazy and unstable one. It’s trendy to throw around these terms and accuse your spouse of suffering from NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) or BPD (borderline personality disorder), or other defects and disabilities. Mere allegations are a dime a dozen. Mere allegations and uncorroborated stories of mental illness or ability disorders don’t usually get a court’s attention (false claims of child abuse and domestic violence, however, are a different story altogether). 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

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How do I show the court about my sons non-diagnosed NPD mother to get a sole custody?

How do I show the court about my sons non-diagnosed NPD mother to get a sole custody?

Oh, ho, ho, ho! So you want to prove your wife has Narcissistic Personality Disorder do you? And you believe that proving it (if you can) will result in you being awarded custody of your son?

I wouldn’t do it, unless you can prove your case virtually beyond a reasonable doubt—and that’s a tall order.

In my experience (21 years as a divorce attorney), trying to win custody by trying to prove your spouse suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) or Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is an exercise in futility at best, and an undue risk of backfiring on you at worst.

Such claims are greeted with heavy skepticism from courts. “Personality disorder” sounds like pseudoscience (much of what gets presented to the courts on the subject is). Claiming someone has a personality disorder can also cause you to appear to be something of a wimp: “So your spouse is hard to get along with. Quelle surprise. Is it any wonder you’re getting divorced? ” And claims that your spouse has a disorder often carry that whiff of the self-serving (“Oh, so it’s your spouse and her ‘personality disorder’ that are to blame, huh? Nothing you did, eh? ‘Looks like you’re trying to avoid responsibility for your own mess.”).

Don’t get me wrong. I believe that personality disorders can be, in some cases, are so severe and so ruinous of a marriage and family. But it’s so hard to prove. There are many reasons. One, courts these days generally don’t take diagnoses of personality disorders seriously. Two, some people with personality disorders can be quite adept at fooling the diagnostic tests.

Some people think, “If I get an expert witness, then the court will really take notice!” I disagree. Courts appear to be growing less and less trusting of expert witnesses. That’s probably a good development overall because for years much of what was passing for “scientific” and “expert” opinion—particularly in the family law arena—was junk science—there was nothing scientific about it. It ruined lives. So again, you run into skepticism and even resistance to expert witnesses on the subject of personality disorders.

Rather than focusing your case on proving the existence of the other parent’s personality disorder, focus on providing the court with evidence of your spouse’s specific behaviors that are causing so much harm to you, your children, and the family collectively. If you have clear-cut evidence—and enough of such evidence—then the court will be more comfortable with this kind of evidence and more accepting of it.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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