What Can I Do to Protect My Unborn Child from My BPD-NPD Ex-Girlfriend?
Dear Dr Tara,
I’ve recently gotten out, or at least mostly out of a relationship with a very uncompromising and controlling woman. I say ‘mostly’ out because unfortunately to make a long story short, I didn’t become aware of her nature until about the time she became pregnant with my child.
Now, even though the relationship is over I’m still attached to her for life through my innocent child. She masked herself very well and with the exception of one major fight before her pregnancy, everything seemed great. Once pregnant, the fights started. She had to have her way with little or no compromise. When she pushed hard (for example, she wanted to move in with me and I felt we weren’t ready because of the fighting), I started to push back.
Ultimately the relationship ended over many small disagreements many over stupid trivial things and we are now in a cold war with little communication except for lots of emotional vomit from her side. I’ve been doing lots of reading and talking to different people and learned about what is called a ‘high conflict personality’ and ‘Cluster B’ personality traits, which describe her very well. She also closely matches many of the qualities you describe as BPD/NPD.
My first question is with a baby on the way, how do I deal with her as to not jeopardize having a relationship with my soon to be daughter?
Secondly, is she a danger to the social development of my daughter?
Third, what resources such as books, websites, doctors local to the ********* area can you recommend for me? I’m asking for me because she is firmly against any sort of counseling. Her opinion is counseling doesn’t work and is non-productive.
Thank you for your time,
P.S. – Please feel free to use anything I’ve written above (anonymously of course) as material for publishing or helping others.
What an ordeal this must be. She’s already using the baby as a weapon and she’s not even out of the womb yet.
1. Keep all of your communication with this woman short, to the point, courteous and business-like. The business at hand is protecting and caring for your unborn child. Try to limit your communication to email and texts (this way you have a paper trail of what was actually said between the two of you). If you have to have face-to-face contact with her, invest in a small digital tape recorder you can keep on your person.
2. Do not be alone with her. Women like this often call the police claiming violence to jeopardize your ability to get joint custody.
3. There’s nothing you can do to have a good relationship with her. She isn’t capable of it. With much effort, you may be able to have a civil relationship with her, if you can get enough distance and build your immunity to the traps these women set. Bottom line, you can’t appease or please them.
Even if you allow her to totally dominate you, it won’t be enough. Therefore, you have to take steps to protect yourself from her and remain strong and healthy for yourself and your daughter. Start establishing boundaries for acceptable behavior now. She may or may not respect them. Avoid antagonizing her, but don’t capitulate just to keep the peace because there is no peace with a woman like this.
4. Get a well-seasoned attorney now, not after your daughter is born and begin to build the case for joint custody. You want to try to lock this down before the confusion and exhaustion of having a newborn sets in. Plus, if you can get her to act out now and expose her crazy side to court evaluators before the birth, all the better.
5. BPD/NPD is my shorthand for Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. They both lie on the same continuum known as Cluster B. These are also the same people who are referred to as “high conflict personalities” and “persuasive blamers” in the legal system—they’re all terms used to describe the same type of individual.
6. Yes, your daughter’s emotional and psychological development is going to be compromised and impinged upon. Having an emotionally abusive, personality disordered mother who doesn’t manage stress and conflict well, who can’t tolerate the slightest criticism or challenge to her “authority,” who doesn’t take responsibility for her behaviors, who treats people like disposable hand puppets and is incapable of having a healthy relationship is never a good parent. Your ex will also no doubt interfere with your relationship with your daughter, which is why it’s important to start working on custody NOW.
7. Your ex is right. Counseling probably won’t help her and would be highly unproductive for all parties involved. However, you can certainly benefit from some extra support. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone in the ******area. I offer private phone consultation and coaching services if you’d like to go that route.
As for books, check out William Eddy’s books High Conflict Personalities in Legal Disputes (available through Amazon) and Splitting (available through BPDcentral.com for much less), and check out a blog I just saw today, http://www.mrcustodycoach.com/blog/ . There are lots of books available on parental alienation. I’m reading a book now which touches on this re: custody issues, Defusing the High Conflict Divorce: A Treatment Guide for Working with Angry Couples by Gaulier, Margerum, Price & Windell (available through Amazon).
I hope this is helpful.
Dr Tara J Palmatier, PsyD
Private Consultation and Coaching
I provide confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. My practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit Services and Products for professional inquiries.
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