Home > Abusive relationships, Borderline Personality Disorder, divorce, Marriage, Narcissistic Personality Disorder > Divorce and High-Conflict People: Borderlines, Narcissists, Histrionics, Sociopaths and Other Persuasive Blamers

Divorce and High-Conflict People: Borderlines, Narcissists, Histrionics, Sociopaths and Other Persuasive Blamers


Dr. Tara,

I’m a few days away from being divorced from my spouse.

I’ve been married for a most of eight years and up until about 9 months ago I have felt I am crazy… actually some days I still do. My spouse isn’t particularly violent but has consistently abused me mentally and emotionally for most of the marriage (constant criticism, control of all finances, isolation from friends and family, etc).

I met my best friend a year and a half ago and she has recently become my girlfriend. I got to really know her well as she was wrapping up the divorce from her Borderline Personality Disorder spouse. He tried to destroy her every way possible. We worked together at the time and she would remark how I looked like a POW or shell shocked most days. Along the way we began to compare notes and I started to recognize that maybe I wasn’t the one who was crazy. She found your site and sent links of specific articles. For once in my life it was like someone knew what it was like to be married to my spouse.

My spouse has, up until just recently, been pretty well-behaved, however now that there is a clock ticking we’ve had plenty of engagement time to discuss the details of our divorce agreement… go figure it’s never exactly right regardless how many times we modify the language and it’s always my fault. My tolerance for her has shrunk considerably and I regularly find myself feeling worthless, unloved and apologizing for anything and everything that goes awry much the way I did when I was living with her.

Why does she persist in dragging this out? Why is she being so aggressive, punitive and malicious? What recommendations do you have for how to extricate myself from these sorts of feelings… and how do I learn to not react to her verbal attacks in the first place?

Sincerely,

Max

Hi Max,

What you’re describing is typical divorce behavior for Cluster B Personality Disordered individuals (Borderlines, Narcissists, Histrionics and Antisocials) or, what attorneys refer to as High-Conflict People (HCP). Not all HCPs have full-blown personality disorders, but they share many of their traits such as emotional reasoning, all-or-nothing thinking, minimizing the positive while maximizing the negative, chronic blaming and an inability or unwillingness to take responsibility for their actions. William Eddy, LCSW, Esq, has written two helpful books on the subject:

High-Conflict People: The Issue Is Rarely the Issue.

Eddy believes that most conflict is personality driven. This means that it’s not the amount of money at stake, who gets primary custody or who left the toilet seat up or down. Your ex is prolonging the divorce for a reason and it’s probably not about the amount of support or who gets the wedding china. In high-conflict cases, the stated issue typically isn’t the real issue. The real issue is the personality (or personality disorder) of one or both parties.

“Not everyone with a personality disorder becomes a high-conflict personality (HCP). Only those who are also Persuasive Blamers seem to become HCPs. Persuasive Blamers persuade others that their internal problems are external, caused by something else or someone else. Once others are persuaded to get the problem backward, the dispute escalates into a long-term, high-conflict situation. One that few people other than persuasive blamers can tolerate” (Eddy, 2006, p. 29).

Not all Cluster Bs are persuasive Blamers, which makes their craziness, distortions and bald faced lies easier to detect, contain and redirect in a dispute. “It’s only the Persuasive Blamers of Cluster B who keep high-conflict disputes going. They are persuasive, and to keep the focus off their own behavior (the major source of the problem), they get others to join in the blaming” (Eddy, 2006, p. 30). This is why many Narcissists, Borderlines, Histrionics and Antisocials effectively employ smear campaign and mobbing tactics when they target someone—be it a spouse, attorney, court evaluator or therapist. By blaming others for everything that’s wrong in their lives they keep the focus off the real problem; themselves. This is nothing more than a primitive ego defense mechanism at play.

Divorce Is the Ultimate F— You.

When a man divorces, he’s basically saying, “Living with you is so intolerable, I’m willing to risk giving up half or more of my assets and losing my home and children to be free of you.” (*Please note: 70% of US divorces are initiated by women and women are typically the “winners” in state-run Divorce Lotto Court. They typically walk away with half the assets even if they didn’t contribute a dime to the marriage and get primary custody even if they’re not the better parent). Most women who divorce don’t stand to lose as much as most men). Therefore, divorce is the ultimate narcissistic injury and ultimate abandonment. Even if the HCP/Cluster B/Persuasive Blamer initiates the divorce, they still view it as a zero sum/winner take all/destroy the other party battle to the death.

According to Eddy, High-Conflict People, Borderlines, Narcissists, Persuasive Blamers—whatever you want to call them—are driven by 4 primary fears:

  • the fear of being ignored
  • the fear of being belittled (includes the fear of public exposure)
  • the fear of being abandoned
  • the fear of being dominated (includes the fear of losing control—control over you, control over money/assets and control of herself)

The divorce process triggers these fears and pushes all of their hot buttons, which explains why many escalate their controlling and abusive behaviors during a divorce. Divorce represents a final loss of control and means that their flaws and faults might be exposed to friends, family, mental health professionals and the court system. Most Cluster Bs fight tooth and nail against having their abusive traits and other nasty qualities exposed. Now that you’re no longer together, you know too much about her and, therefore, must be discredited and destroyed so that no one will suspect that she’s actually the one with the problems. This is her logic.

Why Do They Drag Out the Divorce Process?

1. “Blamers are not usually good at negotiation and other forms of compromise. They have all-or-nothing thinking, they personalize even the most minor issues, and they may feel that giving in to the other party’s requests is a form of abandonment or threat to their superiority” (Eddy, 2004, p. 36). This type of individual sees compromise as losing and people who are willing to accept a fair compromise as losers. Eddy (2004, p. 36) makes this interesting diagnostic distinction: “Borderlines feel that they must refuse compromise to avoid feeling abandoned. Narcissists feel that they are superior and should receive more.” Although, I think in most cases both of these cognitive distortions are often at work.

This is also is why so many of them have a difficult time articulating what they want in terms of a settlement at the onset of the divorce process. She’s reluctant to agree to anything because she wants to extract the maximum amount from you. “If he’s willing to give me this, maybe I can gouge another pound of flesh.” The actual monetary amount/degree of custody is meaningless; if she gets more, in her mind it means she wins and is right and will be viewed by others as the winner who’s in the right.

“When you are negotiating with a Blamer, they will pressure you to give them much more than a court would give them because they were abandoned or are superior” (Eddy, 2004, p. 30). Mediation and other collaborative techniques are difficult for severe Blamers because “they cannot handle compromises, they cannot listen to ideas that conflict with their reality, the abandonment feels too intense, and they cannot handle the combination of physical closeness and emotional distance (ending their lives together while sitting together)” (Eddy, 2004, p.30).

2. The divorce process gives individuals like your wife a raison dêtre. Women with these issues often have no interests (other than controlling you), identity or personal/career goals. Divorce and annihilating you becomes their new full-time job. Even after you both agree to a settlement, individuals like your wife will have their attorney try to revise and rewrite the terms in an effort to prolong the process and the attention she receives from it, to get more than her fair share, and to maintain her control over you by not letting you get on with your life. If you think about it, it’s actually pretty pathetic. People who are in their right minds want to end this adversarial and emotionally and financially costly process as quickly as possible, not prolong it.

3. High-conflict people feed off of conflict and chaos. It gives them a buzz. For many, the only way they know how to relate to others is through aggression, blame and playing the victim. Once it ends, what does she have left? Nothing.

4. Oppositional withholding. This is more leftover baggage from your marriage. Many of these women are withholding partners. Meaning, if there’s something you really want, she doesn’t want you to have it. The more you want something, no matter how insignificant and small, the more she finds reasons that you shouldn’t have it or actively obstructs you from getting it. In this respect, these women are like oppositional, defiant toddlers. The more you want to wrap up the divorce; the more she digs in her heels and tries to delay it.

The Endless Bag of Cluster B Tricks: Derailing and Tangenting.

Like you, many of the men I work with often become stonewalled by their exes just as they near the finish line. These men are neither personality disordered nor high-conflict; they just want to be done. Every time they get close to a settlement, their ex derails, blows up or delays the process by not responding to letters, canceling appointments, making new allegations and demands and/or walking out on settlement talks with mediators, evaluators, etc. This is a Cluster B trait that is appropriately called derailing.

In your case, derailing is an attempt to intentionally try to destroy the progress you’ve made in your settlement talks. For example, during negotiations, you’re able to get through most of the issues calmly and reasonably. The process seems to be going well and you’re hopeful that you’ll be able to resolve the matter. Once you’re close to an agreement, your ex jumps to a hot button topic (e.g., having to support herself, your new girlfriend, your family whom she hates, accusations that you’re hiding money—it could be anything).

“The topic is usually one in which somehow something that you have done, are thinking of doing or [she] believes you have done or are thinking of doing. The rationality of the accusation, despite any information to the contrary, is irrelevant. Then [she] escalates that topic to its worst, going into a rage” (bpd411.com). This may end in her storming out of the session and reneging on items to which she previously agreed. This behavior destroys any progress that’s been made and puts you back at square one.

Tangenting is a less explosive form of derailing, but with the same end result. For example, when you’re just about to reach a solution, your ex will “change the subject, go sideways to a related, but different topic and refuse to return to the original issue. She may even project and blame you for obstructing the process, which is just another a side topic to keep you from returning to the original topic and its solution. These side topics are also never resolved.

“There is some logic to the connection between the topics that, on the surface, appears rational.” This second topic is usually a recurring one that makes you the target of more blame. These make convenient side issues when a solution is too closely approached. When you attempt to bring the discussion back to the original topic, [she] will usually accuse you of being too controlling or that you think the world revolves around you” (bpd411.com). Both tangenting and derailing are often used to prolong the divorce process during negotiations and anything else this type of person wants to avoid—like discussing your feelings, your needs or how she hurt you when you were still together.

So What Can You Do?

Attorneys and mediators approximate that they accomplish 5 minutes of work for every hour spent with a high-conflict person. This is all well and good, but legal services aren’t cheap and why should you get stuck footing the bill because your ex has issues?

1. Tell your attorneys what your bottom line is and stick to it. Let him or her communicate with your ex, since it doesn’t seem that you’re able to bring this to a conclusion with her. She is probably too stuck in the role of opposing and punishing you for you to make any headway with her.

2. Maximize any leverage you have. These women tend to be transactional in their relationships, so you might want to find something to withhold from her in order to get a more equitable outcome. Also, stop being so damned reasonable. Being fair and reasonable doesn’t compute for this type of individual. When you’re generous and give away more than you’re obligated, she sees it as a greenlight to push for even more. She doesn’t think, “Wow, he’s being so generous. I’ll take it.” She thinks, “Sucker. I’ll bet I can get even more if he’s willing to agree to this.”

You are probably a very nice guy and want to be seen as a nice, reasonable guy. She knows this and is working you. The reality is that no matter what you do, your ex thinks you’re a jerk. When you’re reasonable or make concessions to her demands, she thinks you’re a stupid jerk. No matter what you do, she’s going to see you as the bad guy, so do what you need to do protect your best interests. High-conflict people/bullies only respect people who push back hard. Don’t sink to her level, but it may be time to play hardball, which is also probably best handled by your attorney.

3. Choose your battles. Determine what’s most important to you, but don’t let her know. Remember, most of these types withhold to punish. Pretend like you don’t care about the things you care about most and care about the things you don’t really care about. This doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a shot.

4. Get it in writing. If you finally do reach a settlement via mediation or another process, don’t let her leave without signing something! Don’t give her time to think it over. Whenever possible, get commitments from her in writing right then and there. Verbal agreements from this kind of person are meaningless. Often, their written agreements are also meaningless since many Narcissists, Borderlines, Histrionics and other high-conflict types believe they’re exempt from the rules by which the rest of us mere mortals abide. At least if you get something from her in writing you’ll have some legal recourse if she later tries to obstruct or make new demands.

5. Practice emotional detachment. As for dealing with your emotions and not reacting to her verbal jabs; don’t engage (easier said than done, of course). I suggest you read the following articles on no contact and emotional detachment and try to put the techniques into practice:

Hang in there. You’re in the home stretch.

Shrink4Men Coaching and Consultation Services:

Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.

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  1. finallywokeup
    September 5, 2010 at 2:49 am

    Thank you for that, akn. After getting over the personal trauma of such a relationship/divorce, the one weak spot in my armor remains my child and the low, false, materialistic example his mother sets in front of him half the time.

    It’s good to know that “the life of integrity” still works, because the world doesn’t seem to give it much credit in the short run. Until now I have always operated on that principle by faith – your testimony is very welcome.

  2. akn
    September 5, 2010 at 1:21 am

    More than 10 years ago I separated from my children’s mother. She wasn’t BPD/NPD. That person came next when I was supremely vulnerable. My children’s mother, however, I think a high functioning Asperger’s (yep, I can pick ‘em) set out to destroy me emotionally and economically and succeeded. For the purposes of this thread what I want to say, however, is that the only thing that matters is your children’s tender hearts and their future psychological health. At an early stage, after consulting some sage people (therapist, Buddhist teacher), I determined on the following two part strategy in my children’s interest: i) be absolutely honest with them about who you are as a person; ii) trust that your honesty and integrity will see them through the long game of standing by them by being there.

    It works. I cannot tell you how many shit sandwiches I had to eat in regard to contact and access, poverty, backward career steps, not being kept in touch, watching the damage accumulate within them as their father was systematically trashed by their mother’s manipulations and deceit.

    Ten years down the track, however, with a girl at 19 and a boy at 15 years, this strategy works. They are both loving, decent and accomplished young people with whom I have an excellent and very open relationship. And they choose to be in my company which is the only thing that counts. They trust me because they know they can subsequent to their own direct experience. Having now had their own experiences of their mother’s perfidy and manipulations they are aware that the life of integrity is the only choice.

    That is a massive victory and I wouldn’t swap that outcome for any other. Take heart, be strong, take the hits and play for time. It’ll work.

    • September 5, 2010 at 5:33 am

      I agree that parents should, whether separated from their PD or non-PD spouse or not, try to live by your points i) and ii).

      At the very least this should give you a clear conscience at the end of the day.

      However, I’m not sure it will guarantee success in terms of your children growing up to be “good people”.

      I say this as someone who has spent quite a bit of time since their early teenage years thinking about and researching exactly what makes people, and other things, “tick”.

      And at this point, I still can’t decide whether this is “nature” or “nurture” or some combination of the two … or whether it is one in some cases and the other in different cases.

      On the “nuture” side, I’ve noticed PDs often seem to attribute some childhood trauma as being the cause of what they are.

      I think it is fairly safe to say that vast numbers of human beings have throughout history grown up in conditions that we in the western world today would view as “appalling”.

      Obviously however, this hasn’t resulted in most humans being sociopaths or PDs, otherwise our societies likely would have collapsed long before now or we’d find ourselves in a living hell.

      So, how much does “nurture” or the lack thereof or abuse in early childhood figure into adult PDs?

      I really don’t know however, am not really into taking their word, or excuse, for it. Particularly since my own childhood was far less than ideal and I have never found myself having any need or “uncontrollable” urge to hurt the people I love.

      Based on my own observations, the “nature” side seems a better explanation for PDs.

      The confusing part is that the “nature” may not come from either parent but could be the surfacing of some genetic quirk from ten generations back that chose to pop-up in a particular child.

      Having seen many families in which the parents have apparently tried to do their best but one child ends up being rather less than what most might see as a “good” person, while the other children in the family seem to do just fine, I really have to wonder.

      In my situation, my wife had two children aged around 3 and 5, from a different relationship when I became a permanent fixture in their lives. We had our own child some years later.

      My wife’s oldest child is in my view a full-blown PD and the younger, while having a few “issues”, is doing pretty much what you’d expect from someone his age.

      Our child seems pretty level-headed and is doing fine so far, though who knows what will happen in the teen years.

      With variances attributable to my own aging and learning, I never treated any of the kids different than another and am pretty confident that my oldest sees me the same way as the youngest because I have been consistent as to who I am and what my values are.

      The only difference in the dynamics is that throughout early years of our marriage, my wife made it clear that the two older kids were “hers” and if she left, so did they. And I felt that she consciously or subconciously sabotaged the realationship with the kids and myself because she felt some need that they only “love” her or “love” her most.

      So, while not conscious of it at the time, in retrospect I think I did to some degree detach myself emotionally from the two older kids to avoid being really hurt if some day she just up and left with them.

      That dynamic was never there with our youngest child.

      I’ve read that children’s personalities are to some extent fixed by the time they are three.

      If this is the case, I wasn’t really in the picture before this age for the older kids but have always been there for the youngest.

      Which could be seen as support for the “nurture” side.

      On the other hand, my wife, her siblings and her parents fall, from all accounts and my observation, into the “screwy” category and the two younger kid’s father was from all accounts “not nice”, e.g., physically abusive, and while I’ve had my own issues to deal with through the years, I’m not the same type of person … nor does our younger child seem to be.

      Which might fall on the “nature” side or be some combination of “nature” and “nurture”.

      Anyway, the only reason I’m posting is to point ou that while parent can try to live with integrity, etc., there is no guarantee, based on my xperience, that their children will choose to do the same and when this is the case, it may not be due to any failing on the part of the parent or parents.

      Conversely, kids can grow up with parents who are complete jerks and still end up being decent people.

      All you can really do is the best you can do and hope for the best for your kids and that they make the right, i.e., become a good person, choices.

  3. anon.father
    September 4, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    my wife can have every single wedding gift. she can have everything in our home besides documents that actually belong to me. she cannot have my computer or “the” piano. she simply cannot have full custody of our daughter. that would be dangerous. also, it does not make any sense at all for me to pay her any kind of money. she can have all the stuff i’ve bought during our marriage, except the computer and the piano (i’m selling the piano). she can have the fridge, the washing machine, the couch, the closets, the shelves, the bed, etc. etc. etc. she, honestly can have it all…just please, i need a place to sleep where i won’t be subjected to constant criticism, verbal and emotional abuse, etc.

    the other day she told me “the problem is that you’re convinced that i’m abusive.” and it took me a while to decipher that…well…THAT’S A PROJECTION. she incessantly tells me what i’m thinking, what i’m convinced of, how i’m acting, how i feel…and she’s always always MAD AT ME for what she surmises i’m thinking/feeling/doing/convinced of/ etc.

    …and of course, i don’t get even the faintest chance to explain how i really feel…what i really want, what i really mean, what i’m actually “convinced” of, etc.

    i just want her to stop doing things that are abusive. that’s what i want and that’s what i say.

    my wife seems to “think” that I’m doing the constant “blaming,” but i’m honestly just trying to have some kind of predictability, i’m just wanting to live without the constant chaos of her promising to do something, not doing it, then losing her keys, then stomping around the apartment because something is out of place, it’s scary, and the way she is acting in front of our daughter…that’s getting more and more out of control.

    …i don’t have a safe place to live yet. i need money to get out. i have a business coach and am working on it. i have social services help, but there ain’t much out there for men…

    god, i honestly wish i had a safe place to go to sleep for me and my daughter.

    • September 5, 2010 at 3:55 am

      Have you ever just suggested to your wife that she leave … given that, despite her projecting, she seems to be the one who’s unhappy with your family life?

      If not, why not? Is she the family “bread winner”?

      I’ve lived through the whole projection thing myself … and am still doing it as I ended up “reconciling” … on a very “so long as you do this” basis …with my wife … and have often been lectured as to what “I think”, why I do what I do, yadda, yadda, yadda.

      Extremely tiresome from someone who has never been able to get her own act together as a woman, wife, mother or in the work world but, what can you do?

      While I certainly understand that you’d like you and your daughter to be out of the situation as quickly as possible, this isn’t likely to happen and you need to find a way to deal and prepare until such time as it does.

      Your most recent comments come across to me like you’re not feeling very grounded, which I can fully understand from a “been there” perspective. All I can suggest is that you need to try to clear your head of your wife’s games and BS and develop a strategy that works for you for short-term coping and long-term satisfaction for you and your daughter … hopefully without your wife being significantly in the picture.

      You can only do what you feel comfortable with but, from my perspective, and I’m say this only to try to help, you should consider being blunt with your wife about where to get off and what you’re willing/not willing to accept.

      As Dr. Tara points out, being reasonable, fair, logical, civilized or whatever doesn’t work with PDs and you come across as still, in my view, leaning way too much towards this at this point in your relationship … with her taking advantage of it.

      I’d suggest you do what others on this blog have suggested and get a mini-recorder to tape her “out of control” and abusive episodes and, if possible, surreptitiously trigger these in front of other people.

      PDs know what buttons to push with us.

      But, we also know what buttons to push with them. We generally just avoid doing so because we don’t want idiotic confrontations and scenes, particularly in front of others.

      I’d suggest that at this point in your relationship, you do want her showing her true colours to others to the greatest possible extent, and should push her buttons whenever possible to achieve this so that other eye witnesses see it.

      For example, you’ve mentioned your wife has some “difficulty” doing basic things, e.g., making dinner, to take care of you and your daughter.

      I’m geuessing though that when other are around, she projects herself as being a wonderful mother, etc.

      If you quite reasonably, in a way most non-PDs wouldn’t really notice, examples where she hasn’t quite lived up to the mother of the year image she might like to project, she may “lose it” in front of other people … which can only work to your advantage.

      This may not seem an ethical or overly “evolved” way of doing things but, you’re not dealing with an ethical or overly evolved person yourself and while, as Dr. Tara points out, we don’t want to sink to their level, we still have to develop strategies, e.g., respond to them strongly and firmly, to protect ourselves and our and our children’s interests.

      You can’t use cream puffs to defend yourself against an enemy who is quite willing to use a bazooka against you whenever and wherever it suits their fancy.

      Nothing is likely to ever change with your wife and unless you just decide to chuck everything and walk away and leave her and your daughter on their own, not much is likely to change in your own in the near future.

      So, you have to plan for the long-term and the best interests of you and your daughter.

      And, if this means doing whatever to surreptitiously obtain verifiable evidence of her “instability” and lack of anything more than the most basic parenting skills … or perhaps making her so miserable that she walks out on her own … then, to my mind, so be it.

      It may not be a happy time but meeting the inevitable conflict with your wife head on, rather than doing the “walking on eggshells” thing and trying to mollify or change her … or deal with her as you would an emotionally mature adult, will at least leave you with more of a grounded, in control of your own life feeling than your current circumstances seem to be doing.

      I say this having gone through many sleepless nights or aggravating mornings before having to head off to work due to my wife’s interestingly timed tantrums, etc. … and trying to deal as decently, reasonably, respectfully, etc. as possible with her, as I have tried to do with other people in my life, through the years.

      Didn’t and doesn’t work.

      I’d also suggest that in any discussion of separation or divorce that comes up, you make it clear you want your daughter living with you and, failing her agreement in this regard, are willing to give your wife full responsibility for your daughter’s upbringing and will absent yourself from having to view the process of your wife screwing her up or financially supporting the same, e.g., you’ll move to another state or country and leave them to their own devices.

      Doesn’t matter whether you mean this or not … just that she believes you mean it and gives her something to think about in her PD way and presents things in the black and white terms … and their personal well-being and comfort … terms they think in.

      As well as changing the rules of the game they expect you to live by and exploit.

      If she starts in on the abandoning your daughter stuff, just point out that all you’re doing is stating your reaction to whatever choice she makes, i.e., leaving your daughter with you or fighting to keep your daughter for her own purposes … which have nothing to do with anything an emotionally mature adult would see as “love” and likely everything to do with your daughter being “Mom’s little paycheck” and/or her fearing that others might see her as being a “bad mother” and/or her view of your daughter as being her “property” or whatever other nonsensical notion she has in her mind.

      Just my thoughts, nothing more.

      • anon.father
        September 7, 2010 at 11:18 am

        here’s some progress i’ve made: to gain some control over my current life, i am going to try the following. i call it “reflect abuse into absurdity.”

        Wife: You’re just dying to…
        Husband: And you’re just dying to have lollipops stuffed up your rear by an elephant scooby doo zoompuf dog bongo ding prrrt
        Goal: she’s either laugh and there might be a moment to explain what a projection is, or she’ll try another abusive statement, which you also deflect into absurdity, or she’ll go away.

        Wife: That’s ridiculous
        Husband: Hoboken noodle salad with carburetor nutmeg car acid peanut flakes sure are ridiculous (and then you stand there)
        Goal: She just called something you said ridiculous. What you said wasn’t ridiculous at all. So you say something that is actually ridiculous and just stand there. The result will likely be similar to above.

        I’m going to copy this out so I can write out some work regarding types of verbal abuse.

        We’ve got: withholding, bullying, defaming, defining, trivializing, harassing, interrogating, accusing, blaming, blocking, insulting, countering, diverting, lying, berating, taunting, putting down, discounting, threatening, name-calling, yelling and raging.”

        From wikipedia.

        Wife: Where were you?
        Husband: At the store where were you?
        Wife: I was home stupid, why did it take so long?
        Husband: Where is Poindexter Billy Wong Poookeeetahheeglodooey?
        Wife: What?
        Husband: Poookeeetahheeglodooey! Where are you? I’ve been keeping a little imaginary pet under the couch, and now he’s not there and he’s just so happy and fuzzy…please help me find billy wong noodle salad german practice ball zeebop baloobop
        Wife: What, you stupid ass…what are you saying?
        Husband: My ass hole is talking someone find a video camera…

        …uh this one is not going so well…

        oh well…there are more coping strategies on this site…

        • shrink4men
          September 7, 2010 at 1:51 pm

          I don’t recommend doing this for a variety of reasons. First, she’ll use it later as evidence that you’re crazy. Second, you’re still trying to get your wife to see that she’s abusive, which is probably not going to happen. People like your wife usually won’t admit they’re being abusive or have problems. If they do, they qualify it with rationalizations or deny it completely and then act out in even more bizarre and abusive ways to prove they’re not abusive.

          Telling her she’s abusive or that you suspect she has a PD won’t work either. In most cases, people with these issues will turn it around on you. You’re the abusive one. You’re the one with a PD. If you’re going to stay with her, my advice is to avoid her triggers and humor her. Set boundaries where and when you can and get ready to walk on eggshells.

          Best,
          Dr Tara

  4. D
    September 4, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    It is some place at the intersection of amusing and depression how each subsequent article on this site, along with all of the personal stories it spawns in comments, have their parallels in the experience w/ my ex.

    We attended an mediation session to bring a close to the divorce at the start of the summer. With her attorney, mine and a judge, we both swore on tape to agreements that brought everything to a close.

    It’s now September and I’ve had to file a motion to enforce the agreement, effectively asking the court to issue an order compelling the divorce agreement on her and forcing a closure to the divorce, because of all the hooey she’s thrown up at it in the time since. Her own attorney dumped her over the BS.

  5. XFiles
    September 4, 2010 at 12:16 am

    My husband’s separation and divorce process to a T! The only thing that expedited it in the end was that the new guy she snagged apparently finally popped the question (bless his trusting soul) so in order to get to indulge in her princess wedding fantasy, she had no choice but to wrap up things quickly. And “quickly” here means two years from the time she walked out. I suppose she was not too worried since the kids were still living with their dad, so she still had her access to the ex – for a while.

  6. Stefano
    September 3, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Hi D…Yes they are all from the same mould. I just wish someone would break that mould! Even now my work phone rings and its her number coming up. What the hell does she want from me. Luckily I can see her number and don’t answer because it would start meek and mild with the “I miss you horribly” and then when that didn’t work the poison and threats would no doubt kick in.

    I really do feel for you guys that can’t just throw them out of your place. To have had a joint house with this demon would have been hell. I could have seen myself having to leave and sleep on my parents couch.

    I can honestly see now why so many people choose to remain single, sure they date and go out with friends that is where they draw the line. So many guys I know are like that now. So many have had really bad violent experiences with women…One guy I know was having a quick game on his Playstaion and because she was not getting any attention she threw it through upstairs window and down onto neighbours car! Just what the hell is going on these days? Is it something in the water? Is it some Government conspiracy/air bourne drug to make us all single to slow the birth rate? I just know when you talk to the older generation of ladies they are mortified at what we put up with. Sure everyone has arguements but to flip out so much that you break things or hurl punches/slaps at a person you supposedly love…Just very, very odd what is happening.

    Here is an article for you Dr T…Modern day media/TV is it warping the minds of women and turning them into “I want it now” monsters. I’m all for womens lib and equal rights but some of the grot just makes women think they can act like they are on sex and the city in real life.

  7. Chris
    September 2, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    D –

    I feel horrible for you, man. Really. You are living the worst fears of people like me who are in the middle of this process. It’s scary as hell. And I agree with you totally. Some states are starting to adopt a flat out 50/50 custody arrangement right from the get-go. That’s how it should be. I see the place for custody evaluations, and I think the basic concept makes sense. However, all of the power to decide the futures of children and parents is placed into the hands of ONE PERSON – again, who may or may not be qualified to make such decisions. In your case, the person clearly was not qualified, at least, and at worst, completely unethical. How is that fair?? And now you just have to live with it… is there anything more unfair? Seriously. Dude, I feel for you. I really do. Hang in there, buddy.

    • D
      September 3, 2010 at 3:10 am

      Thanks man, and I wish you the best of luck with your own struggles.

  8. DEBBY
    September 2, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Dear Stefano:

    I am not surprised that she is an excellent manipulator and has lied her way out of many situations with the police.

    The she devil I wrote about was the same way. You said that you are 6 ft 4 in and 18 stone. You are obviously using a weight measure that Europe and the Middle East still uses. I entertained the “Fantasy” that legal matters might be better in other countries.
    I have yet to meet a BPD without a violent streak. Even the BPD who displays more Waif manipulation by staying helpless has usually acted out impulsively with anger or has been verbally violent attacking people with hate. It wouldn’t put the B for Bull—-in BPD. I know one who was largely a waif and yet she threw her coffee in the air of her shrinks office. It hit the ceiling and was dripping off it. She got up and tore pieces of his plant off and ripped off pieces of his magazine on her way out. I asked her why she wasn’t allowed to go back for to months. She aid she didn’t know. More BS. Her Histrionic PD kicked in and she used the clueless routine from that disorder pretending that she didn’t know her or his motives. She then went into waif mode, got depressed and waited until the next shrink rescued her from that. The waif mode is another she devil defense to appear innocent and helpless. People then say, she/he isn’t capable of that. It is a mask they put on to fool people and garner rescues. If they do admit it, there is always a poor me attitude to go with it.

  9. Stefano
    September 2, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks people. Your comments have once again helped a lot. In the early days I tried to reason with her that it was over and we should leave each other alone but she seams incapable of getting on with life. Maybe she just wants to get back in my home because basically she is living under her sisters roof now…I have no doubt I will have to remain strong and total no contact if I am ever going to be free of her fully.
    I will give the cops a heads up about the threats but she has dealt with cops most of her life for one thing and another and believe me she is very good at acting and were most of us are appalled at having to deal with the Police, well it’s water off a ducks back with her.
    As to is she capable of serious physical violence…well during a temper rage I would say anything is possible, hence the staying away and out of contact. I am not proud to admit during her rages even me at 6 feet 4 and 18 stone would just cover my head and get the hell out of the way, often whilst blows rained down on me as I legged it if I tried to restrain her then she would try and bite me, scratch me or try and punch me in the face!
    None of this is made up and shocks most people who have not experienced a BPD with a violent streak. I know her temper swing shocked even me, I guess some people just have the nature to flip out and as they say see red.

  10. Another Scarecrow
    September 2, 2010 at 7:00 am

    I’m so glad I found this web site. I know now I’m not alone. I know it’s not always me. I know someday I can be happy. Maybe some day I’ll stop counting the scars both inside and out. Maybe some day there will be less wounds to clean less tears to dry.

    Maybe some day.

  11. Lilangilyn
    September 2, 2010 at 1:22 am

    The oppositional withholding has been very hard on my husband. His ex has consistently withheld their child from him. This was very painful. But now, he has disengaged from the battle and is acting like he could care less about the kid. Funny, but now she is trying to reel him back in by offering access to the kid. Hoovering. When he refused to take the bait, she started in with name calling and blaming.

  12. September 1, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Hi:
    When my AXH (couldn’t tell you if he had a PD or not…but he most certainly qualified as some form of Abusive A-hole) kept taking me to court, and back and again, the last time because he wanted to take out a life insurance policy on ME who does that?!?) and I refused, so he was actually going to take me to court to force me.

    I had no attorney at this point – my $$ had dried up (part of their tactics, I believe, in hopes of leaving you flailing in the wind), so I wrote a letter to his attorney, basically stating that she was very lucky that he was so gullible to let her keep charging him for taking me to court for such frivolous matters.
    I stated to her in no uncertain terms the legal reasons I would not allow my XH to take out a life insurance policy on me (too bad for them, I had just become trained to sell life and health insurance for my job, so knew just how to phrase it).
    Also during this time, I had been pregnant, had a baby, he dragged my name through the mud, saying I cheated (after promising me he wouldn’t accuse me of that; we of course had paternity tests when she was a month old…he now pushed the life insurance on me issue, stating he could then afford to take care of the baby.

    So in my letter to his attorney, I stated that should I die, he would no longer have to pay child support and therefore would have $XXX.xx more every month…and if he thought he could not afford to care for her with that amount of money , then perhaps I cannot afford it either and should be taking him to court for more child support.
    I worded my letter professionally, but was also pi**ed off enough to get my point across. It worked. My baby is now 12, and I never heard another word or threat to take me court ever since.

    Food for thought….

  13. Pamela McCoy
    September 1, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    You should put aside whatever preconceived notions you might have about Alec Baldwin and read his book. It details not only the hell he went through in trying to “save” his daughter, but also the futility in it, and more importantly, how hiring a “top gun” attorney only meant that his legal wranglings with Kim Basinger would NEVER come to an end, and in fact, didn’t until he gave up the fight, himself.

  14. Stefano
    September 1, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Hi. I wonder if anyone can offer any advice. I managed to get rid of my BPD girl friend from my property about 2 months ago. Basically cutting it short she attacked me physically and verbally in the 6 months she lived at my house so I asked her to leave and said I would get a court order if she didn’t…so she left. I changed my locks, house phone number and my mobile number. But I needed to go on my old sim card to get a number I had not transfered over to my new sim card and their was a text message from here saying…don’t worry Stefano I haven’t finished with you yet, I have a few tricks up my sleeve for you.

    I didn’t reply but it is eating away at me. Do you think I need to worry? Is this normal hot air from BPD’s that get rejected? I thought I was out of this and am doing so well to stay away and remain completely no contact.

    • jp
      September 1, 2010 at 3:00 pm

      Stefano,

      You might want to report the threat to the police. A friend who is a cop says they often will go have a chat with the person making the threat and that that usually puts a stop to any shenanigans. And, although I’m not a lawyer, I would think that at the very least there will be a record of her making the threat and if she carries anything out the charges against her will be more serious–because of premeditation–and easier to prove.

      JP

    • September 2, 2010 at 12:43 pm

      I don’t disagree with the “report to police” idea so that there is a record of her ongoing, unwelcom communications.

      However, I suspect if the police spoke with her, she’d explain the message away as meaning she wasn’t “ready to give up on the relationship” and the “tricks up her sleeve were simply ideas to “win back your love”.

      You and the police might know this is BS however, in our modern day society filled with popular music about “winning back love” and romantic comedies in the same vein, people who have never expoerienced a close relationship with a PD person might actually buy it.

      You know better than we what your ex is capable of.

      All I can offer is that the PDs I'[ve had dealings with have been full of bluster and dire threats whenever things haven’t gone their way but, nothing really harmful to me has ever materialized from these threats.

      Obviously these individuals can be very destructive if they have children or financial ties to use against you however in your case, I don’t see where she could actually do anything that might cause you lasting harm.

      Unless of course you believe she’s capable of extreme physical violence, e.g., smacking your head with a claw hammer.

      My own wxperience is that the veiled threats are their way of maintaining the belief the have power/control over you, which they need and apparently enjoy, and/or an attempt to re-engage you in the discussion/relationship.

  15. SM
    September 1, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Excellent article Dr. T. My experience in a nutshell. Glad I am done finally.

  16. geronimo
    September 1, 2010 at 3:27 am

    Someone once asked Willie Nelson why divorces cost so much money. “Because they are worth it,” he replied.

  17. Holy Order of Garlic
    August 31, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Let’s not forget that many lawyers are also benefit from and often prolong conflict by behaving like “persuasive blamers” themselves!

    They will make promises and assurances to their clients at the beginning, then trade expediency for long, drawn out mud-slinging…which puts everyone on the defensive (their own form of tangenting)why? It pays them well, regardless of the outcome. They can be predators who FEED off conflict. Believe it.

    • Chris
      August 31, 2010 at 8:03 pm

      This is TRUTH. A few people tried to tell me that divorce lawyers do nothing but drain your bank accounts… and it couldn’t be more true. Some suggested mediation… all I could say to that was HAHAHAHA! Those people apparently never tried to split from one of these people. When you try to divorce a NPD/BPD, expect that you’ll end up broke (financially, emotionally, mentally) from legal fees and from the constant beating you take from your ex… but there is light at the end of the tunnel… I hope.

      • jp
        August 31, 2010 at 9:58 pm

        However much money you have to spend on your divorce, that’s how much it will cost.

        JP

  18. Chris
    August 31, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Great read… as always. I was just telling a co-worker of mine that everything you write sounds like you’ve been following me around for the last 2 years of my life! I’m in the middle of a NASTY, bitter, ugly, contentious divorce and custody battle. I was her whipping boy for 5 years – until I thought I was crazy and started therapy – and then wanted out. I’m an extremely loving and involved father, yet my ex keeps my children away from me for no reason whatsoever. We’re in a custody evaluation right now that is taking forever.

    My question to you, Dr. Tara – my ex has been extremely vindictive, viscious, malicious… on top of keeping my kids from me. She lies, cheats, steals… she’s even handed over emails to our custody evaluator – emails between me and friends of mine – that she got by hacking into my email. Our custody evaluator is the president of my state’s psychological association. Are these traits and subsequent actions obvious to any trained psychologist? Will my evaluator be able to readily see that my ex is a narccisist whacko?? I’m so worried about losing my kids to her… I’ve done nothing except respond angrily at times, only because I just can’t take anymore. What do you think? Are these people easy for a trained person to spot? God, I hope so. Thanks SO MUCH for what you do.

    • shrink4men
      August 31, 2010 at 8:55 pm

      Hi Chris,

      I hope your evaluator is skilled at detecting personality disorders, but many are not. Some fold like a house of cards the second a mother puts on the waterworks and does the poor little victim shtick. Also, many Cluster Bs are natural actors/actresses. They know how to charm and persuade when it’s in their best interests to do so.

      The fact that she hacked into your computer ought to signal that she has no boundaries or respect for the law, but who knows. Document all her crazy and abusive behaviors and get sworn statements from friends, family, teachers and other childcare workers who can attest to your parenting skills and character. Documentation is so very important in these kinds of cases.

      Best,
      Dr T

    • jp
      August 31, 2010 at 9:57 pm

      Chris,

      There is no reason you should presume you’ll be treated fairly in the evaluation. You might be, but don’t count on it. Most custody still goes to mothers and if one assumes most of those cases involved an evaluation then it follows the evaluations are prejudiced against fathers.

      If the evaluation leaves you sucking wind, think about other options for negotiating more parenting time than the dreaded Wed dinner and every other weekend.

      For example, because I couldnt’ afford a custody battle (and was told I couldn’t win by my attorney) I negotiated with my ex and agreed to a proposal of hers that I gave up all Xmas eve & mornings in exchange for an extra weeknight dinner (for two per week) and longer every-other-weekend, figuring it was more important to have more frequent regular contact throughout the year than every other Xmas. It made me sick to my stomach that she would even ASK for EVERY Xmas (who the f*ck thinks like that? and she also wanted EVERY New Years Eve!) but I sucked it up and took it. Xmas now officially sucks but I seem them almost every other day which is key.

      Good luck!

      JP

      • D
        September 2, 2010 at 3:17 am

        If you are in a state that allows you to privately record conversations, absolutely without question you MUST record your sessions with the custody evaluator. The fact is that you will sign a contract stating that the evaluation is NOT confidential, so it’s probably legal even if its illegal under other circumstances, because the contract explicitly states that there is no expectation of privacy.
        But bottom line: record it.
        Someone told me to do this and I didn’t because I was misled to believe I had an evaluator with integrity.
        He had none. Zilch none whatsoever at all. Liar, fraud and he committed what amounts to easily provable medical malpractice.
        But, one instance of medical malpractice isn’t enough to tar him as badly as he deserves. For that we’d need the recordings of the evaluations, where we could show that I said “A” and he wrote down “Q, D and Y” in order to tar and feather me so as to make me seem on paper to be roughly equally bad as my ex … who is so bad he couldn’t bother making her look good so he had to settle for making excuses for her and tarring me, including invention of fictions and lies. An audio recording would show this, I don’t have it.
        If your values are anything like mine, there is nothing in your life you’ve done until now that is as important as the custody evaluation, so don’t minimize this. In retrospect when I was so comprehensive about everything else I can’t believe I sluffed that and didn’t record it, but I was so exhausted and thought I could trust the evaluator. You have too much at stake to trust him.
        Oh, FYI – the stature of our evaluator in our state’s community of evaluators makes things WORSE. It means he can arrogate incredible powers of discernment to himself to justify any manner of criminal mis-judgment.

        • Chris
          September 2, 2010 at 4:01 am

          Wow.. all of these posts are really comforting! I mean, as a guy, I walked into this custody evaluation already feeling like I was at a disadvantage. I don’t think I’ll be shocked if things don’t turn out my way.. even though I’ve done nothing wrong and I’m clearly not the problem. One thing that I’m hoping helps – my ace in the hole – is that my personal therapist thinks my ex is NPD, or worse, she says, and a marriage/co-parent counselor that we’ve seen a few times recently agrees.. we’ll see what happens.

          Bottom line – I wouldn’t wish this experience on ANYBODY. Kids make it so much more painful, watching them get hurt by this person, and having your heart ripped out every day when you’re reminded of the kids and you realize how they’ve been torn from your life by somebody who probably has no business being a parent in the first place. It’s sad… and my heart goes out to all of you who have been through this or are thinking about getting out. It’s painful… but possibly worth it in the long run for your own sanity and for the kids, really. I wish you all the best.

          • D
            September 2, 2010 at 5:38 pm

            Here is how bad my custody evaluator was.

            I asked him to talk to all three of our former marriage counselors because that would have shown that there is a long-term pattern of her being crazy and me being cooperative. He only talked to the latest one and he only recorded of that discussion that “the marriage counseling sessions were contentious”. Not another word. Obviously he didn’t hear what he wanted from the counselor.

            Secondly, I asked him to speak with two medical doctors who would have provided medically documented evidence that my ex was prepared to medicate our son with a powerful drug rather than stop her own abuse of our son – this factor was devastating to any claim she had for legal custody.
            So he just didn’t call the doctors. The only doctor he called was our pediatrician who is completely in the dark on the abuse or what my ex was going to do with drugs in order to “fix” the problem.
            To cap it off, without contacting these two doctors, he: (1) wrote that I “interfered in the delivery of medical care to the minor” because I opposed treating our son with drugs that he should never have been prescribed and (2) he disparaged me for one of the behavioral techniques that I use with our son, when the technique was explicitly recommended by one of the medical doctors who is a pediatric behavioral specialist.

            • D
              September 2, 2010 at 5:44 pm

              The technique, by the way, that the evaluator disparaged me for, was that I touched my son’s shoulder to gain his attention during one of our visits to the evaluator’s office. Literally that. It was that small of a detail.

              The behavioral pediatrician diagnosed our son as having an auditory deficit, so he recommended that we should use other forms of sense-contact to gain his attention, such as lightly tapping a shoulder.
              I do this now with our son, I did this in the evaluator’s office, and it worked, it always does, but this was used as evidence of both my son having an untreated condition and of me being willfully blind to it.

              Again – the bastard – and that is SUCH a charitable term for this disgusting excuse for a mental health professional – didn’t even contact the doctors. He didn’t do his job.

              Doing so would have provided evidence for my version of events and since I pushed for it, he knew that it would have, and he didn’t contact them, but just cast everything in a manner to appear to make me look bad.

              The whole thing still makes me so angry I tremble just trying to write about it.

            • Chris
              September 2, 2010 at 5:48 pm

              Wow, man. Sorry to hear this. It’s scary and unfair that the futures of our children are put into the hands of another person who may or may not be qualified to judge us as parents. It’s not fair, and the system needs to change. After my eval is wrapped up, I plan on joining every father’s rights group I can freaking sign up for. The system is severely broken, and severely unfair to parents and children.. especially fathers.

              • D
                September 2, 2010 at 6:04 pm

                Yes. Definitely this experience causes me to question the way the system is designed. Some people have called for an abolition of custody evaluators, though that’s been called for for the wrong reasons as often as for the right ones.

                What I think is that a mental health professional has a PLACE in a custody evaluation, but there’s really no place for the mental health professional to be the decider. It’s really strange that psychologists got a lock on this at all when you think about it.

                A custody evaluation is only tangentially related to mental health.

                The questions are: PRIMARY: are the parents violating laws or norms of parenting and childcare? SECONDARY: if so, is there a mental health issue at play?

                That is not a psychologist’s role. It makes sense to me that attorney’s and even police investigators have a competency here. Basically they know the law and they know rules of evidence. Psychologists only have a competency for the secondary objective.

                It would make more sense to have a panel of 3, with only one on the panel being a psychologist, and it’d be questionable whether the psychologist even gets a vote.

                In other words: it actually is IRRELEVANT that there are mental health issues, BPD or any cluster B issue included, IF the parent(s) do not allow that condition to negatively impact their child-rearing. Completely irrelevant.

                Vice-versa, it’s actually ALSO mostly irrelevant if either parent is abusive. An abusive parent should not be getting custody, it doesn’t matter if they are alcoholic, BPD, bi-polar or what.

                The only way the psychological assessment actually matters in any meaningful way is that if there is abuse, then a parent who acknowledges he or she has a problem and who actively seeks help for the problem should be considered in their favor.

                Otherwise, the whole psychological angle is basically bunk. It’s irrelevant.

                My ex: physically and emotionally abusive, to me and our children. Those are facts. Mental health has little or nothing to do with it.

                But instead of doing his job and investigating the overwhelming evidence of my ex’s abuse and providing a report to the court that validates that the evidence stands to muster, he wrote a long report providing excuses for her, ignoring the evidence, and disparaging me.

  19. William
    August 31, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    As usual, perfect timing Dr. T. Thank you!

    • Brian
      August 31, 2010 at 7:15 pm

      Wow! Dr. Tara hits another grand slam in the first inning!

      As for Max, he needs to move over and take a number because the story was almost entirely the same with my ex! It is so uncanny how similar our PD ex’s are – scary similar!

      Cheers to Dr Tara and others who frequest this website and support her work…. well except the “Lady from Long Island”!

      – Brian

  20. db
    August 31, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I can vouch for a lot of what Dr. Tara covers very well…as usual…here. Been 8 months since I filed in court to have ex removed from the home and succeeded. But little did I know of the unending, non-stop backlash I was in for. One thing not mentioned here are if children are involved. That is a built-in excuse for frequent contact and unending manipulation and control in her world…seemingly every waking minute. Stunning, considering when the marriage was intact, she paid little attention to the children and rarely home.
    I have primary custody, but now nightly phone calls to say good night to the kids become an ordeal, her drop-offs are dramatic and chaotic, school planning and extracurricular acivities a constant source of confrontation and don’t even get into the issue of medical care. Luckily I have involved a series of mental health workers for me and the kids.
    While you would think they would be sympathetic to mom and her wild finger-pointing accusations, as more than one has said ‘her issues are not that hard to spot’..thankfully.
    But the sadest thing is the anxiety and impact on the children…I feel like I’m watching a slow-motion movie I can’t stop or do anything to change in terms of how her high-conflict personality disorder…some say narcissistic. others say borderline…has eroded who they once were and I fear what they will become in the end. They are two girls 9 and 6. If it’s impossible for dad to sort through a lot of this, imagine how they feel.
    Divorce is the end and we are not even close.
    She did extend one settlement offer that was so outlandish, that my lawyer didn’t even respond. She has been railed against by 2 different judges for conduct to the children…yet that only makes her get worse…rules don’t apply to her.The latest tactic because so many other things have failed is sleeping with a former friend.
    Divorce is the end…so what in the world would she have after that…absolutely nothing. Especially compared to the daily dose of sick behavior she dishes on me and the kids…and gets off on it.
    So on and on it goes…
    Worth it??? You better believe it. At least I have peace in my own house.

    • C. De Leon
      April 2, 2012 at 5:02 pm

      I did the same thing with my wife and had her removed with a protective order and have primary custody of the children and have the home. My middle son confided in me that he was thinking about killing himself to end the abuse from his mother. This woman was an emotional bully with a very foul mouth. Every sentence that came out of her mouth at home behind closed doors included the F*&% word. She would beat the children with shoes and belts and strike them on the head and torso while yelling obscenities at them. She would take the children’s toys and smash them in a rage when she could not hear the TV. She repeatedly called our kids fucking bastards and fucking pieces of shit and she wished they were all fucking dead. Now that she has been out of the house, she’s going to church and has found Jesus and is playing the role that she is the victim and has been wrongfully accused. She has asked me to go with her to counseling and our kids tell me “No, Dad, don’t do it, she’s gonna trick you”. After almost 10 years of dysfunctional living I had to end it and give the children a fresh start. Life at home is very peaceful and the kids are in counseling and have done very well. We have gone through a Social Study and the recommendation from the forensic psychologist was that I should have primary custody of the children due to the long history of abusive behavior by the mother. She is not in agreement with the social study findings and has filed a motion for a jury trial and listed the children (ages 11 and 15) as “witnesses” for her case. The children have conferred with the judge and psychologists and do not want to live with their mother and want to stay with me. Their perception is that their mother is “acting” and being nice to appear like a normal parent. We are going on almost 15 months of feuding over custody and it is taking an emotional toll on all of us. I wish this would end so I can get on with having a normal life. But having this attachment with this abusive woman will keep me in contact with her for many years.

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