Your thoughts on this would be appreciated:
Hey BoB. We need to sit down with Pastor and talk about whatever we need to get out. I feel you are very negative and spend your time trying to undo everything. I am finishing the semester in 2 weeks, i have tutors, i have finals, im getting called into work alot, people have been calling in sick and i just broke down and cried this morning.
Ladie called me and said everyone had a great time, then you came to pick them up and had nothing nice to say about me. Fine. Then say thank you to Ladie and be on your way. Telling people I'm bad and all will be revealed and the kids cant stay with me anymore is complete evil. This is business you and I will sit down and make mature decisions about. Spreading unnecessary gossip is just wasting alot of energy that could be used for better things.
This is enough. When people ask me how you are I say "from what I can tell your doing great" we dont speak, but your working, and got a great condo on XYZ drive. The kids think its cool that dad has a condo.
I refuse to sink into the negative. I spent my whole life being told my ideas were stupid. and why would I wanna go to school and waste my money on college. The only one backing me on anything is NO ONE. I pulled two 12 hour days, doubling up work and school, and woke up to basically being called an asshole. and i will work til midnite again tonight, and I will smile and help people and wish everyone well. I will not spend one more day of my life wasting time or hating everything. I also will not comply to you insisting the kids will not sleep here anymore. I was advised not to argue with you, but I've had enough. I miss them more than you could even imagine. But i figured they were having fun with you instead of watching me read text books.
I really want to sit down and set a schedule. I can set up some time with Pastor on Sunday if that works for you. Thanks STBXPDW
Thanks ((((Tribe)))) of "Toasters and Lightbulbs" (LOL).
ETA: For identity cloaking.
[This message edited by bobelina at 10:22 AM, December 7th (Friday)]
(((Its))) Your posts these days just make me smile- you are doing *so* well & I am just so incredibly happy for you (and with you!). Life is beginning to be sweet again. I think I've finally taken off X's NPD goggles...and can see clearly (sometimes) what a crazy warped view I had taken previously. I also was raised with incredibly high standards, and have been in therapy over the years for feeling like I just didn't/couldn't measure up no matter *what* I did. I'm starting to realize that all my parents ever wanted for me was to value myself and be happy, so I'm very lucky in that way. It's just taken my making mistakes and their supporting me anyway to see that. I'm always going to be a work in progress, but I am fabulous just the way I am- and N's approval is not desired or required for my happiness. I have a good job, a wonderful family, my health, and most importantly a beautiful baby girl- and I can teach her to value herself by valuing myself. But I digress...
In answer to your first question, its, (as you already know, just weighing in) yes, Trail of Tears was already married when we met (tho I didn't know) and got divorced about 2 weeks before we got married. (Note to self: have background check done *prior* to tying the knot!)
In answer to your 2nd question, most definitely *YES* I do feel pity for him. I know he's sick. So many times he would tell me that he had demons (and other dark things) swirling around inside of him. BUT like (((Threnody))) I also go back and forth between rage and pity. And sometimes throw in a little sadness, and a swift kick in my own ass for being so naive as to fall for it all. But basically, this is how I feel about Trail of Tears at the moment (an old Wyoming sentiment): I would not piss in his ass if his GUTS were on fire!!!
(((BoB)))- great posts and very helpful, as always. You keep doing what you're doing, and eventually that "lady" and everyone else who knows your STBXFucktard will see thru her too. You're a great Daddy, so hold your head up.
(((squirrel)))Great to see you again & I *love* the watering the desert analogy. You have nailed it.
(((Veritas))) I am sick of mean, pushy people too! But clearly your friend has great taste- you are one hot little mami!
(((Longlost))) Your posts are like salve on my wounds. I look forward to reading what you have to say. And I loved the tough talk! You are just one in a million!
(((Dream))) just sending you a shout out!
(((Sad))), (((CJ))) I miss you guys but understand the need to step back sometimes. Just know you're supported and missed.
(((ALL))) Festivus Merrius!
[This message edited by NoControl at 10:31 AM, December 7th (Friday)]
Hey BoB. I need a little attention from you, so let's sit down with Pastor (because I'm too into myself ot notice that he resigned awhile ago, and am playing coy about it) and let me drain more emotion from you. Even if it's anger, I'll take it. My battery is a little low and I need to suck yours dry. I have alot going on so feel sorry for me.
Don't tell my friends anything because I'm still working on getting what I can out of them, and I don't need you fucking that up before I can take my pound of flesh. This lady is MY mark.
Blah, blah, blah, attempted mindfuck, blah blah...feel sorry for me some more because people think I'm stupid and no one's there for me because I've burned bridges and am a sorry ass ho...your patience and decency have pushed me to the limit (stop being so mean with your dignity and your aloofness!)...I'm going to say I miss the kids so you'll feel sorry for me some more...and then finish with how I am sacrificing by letting you have them, even tho I'm too busy with my "textbooks" (so that's what they're calling it these days... )
I really want your time and attention. So give it to me or else. Thanks.
P.S. I don't get that you were put in this position due to my actions nor do I accept any responsibility for them. I'm still a filthy gutter rat, so deal with it.
Here's another thing I find helpful when debunking these messages:
Total # of times she says "I" or "me" (or close derivatives): 28
Total # of times she says "you": 13
Yep, you're not half as important as she is...
I realize I'm being a bitch here, but I don't want you being pulled in to her self-serving pity-tripping bullshit. You're too good for that.
If Pastor is willing to be available on Sunday then we can set up arrangements.
Also, it is clear that your wife does not want you to talk about her at all. It doesn't matter how nice Ladie is; that's her friend. Just keep things simple: I'm here to pick up my daughters; no nothing's wrong, it's not your fault; this is supposed to be the custody arrangement. Make no hints at all about the future, because she will probably run back to your wife with them. Just smile and wait for your day in court. I know it is rough, but it sounds like your wife is already trying to make a case for alienation. She's trying to take back "control" that she "voluntarily" gave up, so now you can't be trusted. Don't give her any ammo whatsoever.
((((Veritas)))) For the time being I will ignore the email. It's funny that she pals with ladie, as ladie and husband were friendly with me before...
Yeah, alienation (or is it "alien-nation"? LOL.). I kinda figured she'd eventually play the PA card (Parental Alienation). I've done my best with words and phrasing so as not to do those things. Kinda hard to navigate as it's hard not to give an answer or opinion when the DDs are asking for one. I just listen, ask how they feel, what they think and what they would like to see done about the issues or not, etc. It seems to help as it allows the DDs to figure it out for themselves. Kinda sux when they realize that STBXPDW behaviors and actions are so "inappropriate." It's a hard minefield to navigate. I don't want to make a judgement on STBXPDW when/with talking with DDs.
It is very strange. My ex always wants me to take notice of him; he is always looking to see if I am listening to him etc. I wonder how long it will take before he realises that I am not interested. Forever??? After all, how could I reject him???
They are all the same - the crazy cookie cutter crew!!
If you cannot be present during their visitation time with you, I can and will make other arrangements.
As stated in previous emails:
I would like it clarified and clearly stated that the children do not live with you. They live with me. My house is their home. They visit with you. Your house is not their home.
They will no longer be staying overnight with you. This includes your friends, family and associates.
As you have been uncooperative, deceitful, manipulative, abusive, etc. etc. in Marriage Counseling, Individual Counseling and Mediation with Pastor, I would like all matters to now be handled through the courts.
As you have provided an unstable, chaotic, etc. environment for the children, as you have continued to lie to, deceive, manipulate, blame, insult, alienate, neglect, and otherwise abuse the children, as you continue to attempt to alienate the children from me, as you continue to lie, manipulate, misrepresent, omit, forge signatures, falsify references, falsify financial statements, etc. etc. etc. so to shall you be held accountable and exposed. Consequences of your actions.
Thank you for your consideration, Tribe of Lightbulbs and Toasters. LOL.
I know where you're coming from, and you are totally right, but she AIN'T right in the head, and you're trying to deal with her as if she's a normal human being (and even a "normal" human being would feel obligated to argue with this message, I'm afraid.)
She really is using the kids to punch your buttons and get you to feed her need. Beware.
Oh, I wish you had said all this to an attorney and just said exactly what Veritas told you to say to the crazy girl.
Hope I'm wrong, but I think you're in for another turn on the coaster. ((((BoB))))
I wrote this as to restate that which has already been discussed/agreed/unagreed to.
I put details in, as should this be shared with her attorney (she is said to have one), he may want to know whats going on. Hopefully the attorney may get more cooperation from her. He may see the apparent corner she has painted herself into. Hopefully this can be worked out and be less adversarial. Who knows.
[This message edited by bobelina at 1:50 PM, December 7th (Friday)]
Gotta get back to work for now. I'll check back later.
So you sent a letter and got some shit off your chest, good for you if it made you feel at all better.
Now just make sure you have a good attorney (you do, right? I hope?), keep them informed, and start IGNORING INGORNING IGNORING. As soon as she realizes you're not going for any of it, she'll go underground for a bit.
I know, it's hard not to let them get to you, isn't it? But it IS the goal. Keep your eyes on the prize (indifference).
“I don’t understand it. I can be in a coliseum of fifty thousand people, and I am going to somehow fall in love with the only alcoholic in the crowd. It is uncanny. I just draw them in like moths to a light.”
“If there is a control freak in the entire state, I will find him and think I can’t live without him.”
“I keep going to work for jerks. It seems that if I get offered a job by a jerk, I automatically think it is the best company in the world . . . until I have been there for six months.”
“I keep finding losers. What is it about me that attracts these guys?”
“Why do all of the women I am attracted to turn out to be so needy?”
“I keep finding myself in the same relationship over and over; the only thing that changes is the names.”
You know what I love about these statements? Whenever I hear them, whether it is about dating, friendship, business, or choosing a community, I know the people who make them are on the road to finding better relationships. Why? Because they are finally noticing that the people they are finding are not the problem after all. Instead, they are seeing that they are the problem, or at least a big part of it: They are realizing that the real problem is that their own “people picker” is broken.
They keep choosing the ones who are either going to hurt them or let them down or not be good for them in some way. And they are beginning to realize that it is no accident that these people show up in their lives: they themselves have something to do with finding—and attracting—them. When I hear that insight, I know it’s only a matter of time until the pattern ends. Once they notice it, they can get to the reasons for it and change them. And you can too.
Like Attracts Like
But it is so, so hard to get people to realize that they have a part in attracting these people into their lives, and for being attracted to them too. They often do not see that what is so attractive to them about the person in the beginning has something to do with their own dysfunction and that they deny obvious warning signs. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard, “I saw little signs that, looking back, I ignored. I guess I just wanted it to be right so much that I ignored some things that really were red flags.” They did not listen to “that little voice inside.”
There is a law of attraction in this area of life for sure. Dysfunctional people attract dysfunctional people, and healthy people attract healthy people. It’s uncanny how consistent it is. There is just no such thing, for example, as someone who is in a long-term relationship with an addict who is not in some way codependent. Those two are always able to find each other. The question is, why?
The Secret would say that it is the law of attraction working in the sphere of energy. The energies of each person literally draw them to each other. I have no scientific way of knowing whether or not that is true. But we certainly see the reality of the attraction itself. I do believe that we have energy fields that are part of our character, and there probably is something to that. For example, you can just feel it when someone is full of love and also when someone has a “dark” energy to them as well. Some people can just walk into a room and either light it up or turn out the lights. You can feel the whole mood change. Maybe someday there will be a meter to measure people’s energy or light and dark levels.
But I can explain it in more natural ways than energy alone. There are character dynamics that explain attraction and how we are drawn to certain kinds of people and not to others. Let’s take codependents, for example. It is part of their makeup to need someone to fix, to repair, to make better. They are rescuers. Now think about this. What do rescuers need?
Exactly. A person to rescue. And what kind of people needs rescuing? Responsible people? No. Responsible people take care of themselves. The kind who need rescuing are those who are not taking responsibility and ownership of their own lives and are a mess. So codependent people will always have irresponsible people or addicts in their lives until they realize that their codependency is what makes those relationships exist and necessitates their having problem people in their lives.
Likewise, on the other side of the equation, if people are not taking responsibility for themselves, what kind of people do they need? Rescuers. Someone to take care of them. Voilà! There’s your match. They find each other. In some sort of unconscious way, they have the ability to sense each other, and the match is made, even across a crowded room. They hear fireworks when they meet. They just like each other. It feels right or familiar. They have no idea what is driving that attraction, but they just know that it feels good in the beginning. It’s after the dynamics begin to kick in that it all unfolds.
Let’s take another example. If someone is really controlling and does not respect another person’s boundaries, what kind of person is he or she going to be looking for? What kind of person “fits” with a controller? Answer: Someone who will allow that behavior. It’s a perfect match. It all feels so natural. So they are drawn to each other like magnets:
the selfish one and the selfless one
the perfectionist and the guilty people-pleaser
the detached one and the one who is afraid of real intimacy
the emotionally unavailable person and the one who has
been abandoned all her life
the one with the negative self-image and the critical one
the self-centered one and the giver
the narcissistic one and the flatterer
the overly “good girl” and the “bad boy”
I heard someone say once that you are attracted to people at your same level of sickness or health. That is definitely not true. I have seen pretty healthy people with a few issues pair up with really sick—and even evil—people. They were not “equally” messed up. But here is what was true: their issues were compatible in a sick sort of way. An abuser is often sicker than the passive person he abuses. You can see how their dynamics fit well together, nevertheless. They may not be equal, but they are compatible. It works, if you will.
It’s about You
So here is the way to unlock this secret: take responsibility for the fact that if you are drawn to dysfunctional people in friendship, romance, business, or spiritual community . . . there is a reason.
It is about you, not them. Find out why you are attracted to them. Here is an example: I have a friend who is single and for a couple of years has been griping to me about the guys she dates. She whines and complains about how noncommittal they are and how they don’t follow through or take initiative in the relationship. She always feels they don’t plan or do normal responsible things required in a relationship. Finally, I was tired of the same story and her saying, “What is it with guys nowadays? There are no good ones.” So I told her what I thought.
“I think that you are getting what you are attracted to, which is little boys,” I said.
“What are you talking about?” she said.
“Just that. I think that all these guys are little boys. Everyone of them is in his late twenties or early thirties and somehow still tied in to ‘Daddy.’ One of them worked for his dad, not able to make it on his own. Another lived at home with his father. Another worked in the same company as his father, where his father got him the job; and another one had financial ties. All of them, still not on their own, and they dated like it. They just wanted someone else to please them and didn’t want to do anything that smacked of an adult relationship.”
I explained this over and over, but she would not agree. To her, it was all about there being no good ones “out there.” Then it happened.
“Oh my,” she said. “I had a moment of enlightenment.”
“What happened? One of your little boys get a job?” I asked.
“No. I had a date with what I think you would call a ‘man.’ He is a portfolio manager, put himself through law school, and takes lots of classes on leadership, personal growth, and all that stuff. It was so different,” she said.
“That’s awesome,” I said. “So, what happened?”
“I was sitting there listening to him at dinner and just finding out about his life when I found myself wanting to leave and end the date. So I tuned in to what was going on with me and realized . . . I felt about one inch tall around him. Being around a real adult, I realized, threatened me. I need to be in control, and with this guy, I felt really out of control—even though he was exactly the kind of guy I have been griping that the others were not! I am totally afraid of what I say I want. I can see what you are talking about. I choose little boys so I won’t be threatened,” she said, amazed and convicted. Caught.
At last I felt hope for her.
Play Your Own Game
I once told a woman who asked, “How do you deal with critical people?” to just be honest with them. “If you will, you will never hear from them again.” The tip is this: stop playing their game. Stop playing the game that works with their dysfunction, and you will stop attracting them. And the people who are already playing the “unhealthy” game with you will get the picture and begin to play your game—the healthy one. Honesty, responsibility, love, faithfulness, commitment. Let that be your game, and the only kind of people who will come knocking will be people of like character. The others want no part of it.
I've been ignoring the last bunch of snyd remarked emails. We email maybe once a week. Maybe.
Anyways, I really appreciate everyones insight and the fact that you care. It's really sad that we all find ourselves here on this thread dealing with those that are "impossible" to deal with, but we do have each other. Together we'll figure it out and get through these messes.
((((Tribe)))) of Lightbulbs and Toasters. LOL.
[This message edited by bobelina at 4:25 PM, December 7th (Friday)]
I don't mean to set off alarms all over the place. I just don't want the creature to do any more harm.
Has she responded?
Just worried you may have to deal with repercussions of "poking the bear" by emailing sense and reason to someone who has neither. Then again, you're already dealing with the repercussions of her NPD stuff and WW lifestyle or whatever you want to call the aftermath. So I guess whether it's repercussions of speaking the truth or of life after NPD, it's about 6's...
Seriously BoB, you're wonderful. SO don't let her pull you down.
we all find ourselves here on this thread dealing with those that are "impossible" to deal with
LL, That just kills me !!! That was funny.
No email from her, she usually cools her jets after this kinda exchange. There's been a few emails where I'd said that the kids would no longer be staying overnite, one of which mentioned abuse as the reason.
I'm trying not to be a dink about this. I've been told that as a parent I can say "No" to them staying at STBXPDWs if the DDs feel that they are being abused, neglicted, etc. I'm trying not to say "No" as "No". Hence mentioning again the "infractions" that have led to DDs not staying at STBXPDW. STBXPDW still doesn't know of the kids having fear and other issues of and with her, nor does she know that they are in counseling and have discussed these things with counselors. They are afraid she'll possibly retailiate against them if STBXPDW knew. Hence, I've tried to be patient and move slowly with the D, etc. processes. Maybe slow isn't the way to go, no 'mo. LOL.
She is working this evening. I'd picked up DD8 from school as she was sick. I texted STBXPDW that I would be picking uo kids from school although she was scheduled (but then again she starts work about the time the get out of school).
I saw her drive by DD8 and I as we left school as she was on her way to pick up DD8. She texted about DD13 getting her hair done tonight.
It's just goofy that on her time with DDs she's working and handing them to others with what appears no real plan of action, as in yesterday and today, just sorta a plan. Maybe. If things work out. Then again, I lived through that with her for 15+ years, so I guess I can see it. Yes, I have been a dumbass. Should have seen all this years ago.
I've put a call to an attorney to get him "officially" on board. The D process was started thru a Pro Se, but it's starting to feel as though the big guns need to be brought in.
Like I said early, this whole thing is just so annoying. DDs and I have a nice life when STBXPDW isn't involved. When she is involved or they spend time with her, the monkey wrenches start flying. It's just really annoying. Kids and I got better things to do than deal with STBXPDW messes. Like live.
I so appreciate everyone's comments.
((((Tribe)))) of Lightbulbs and Toasters (I say that with affection).
How Personality Disorders Drive Family Court Litigation
I was first exposed to the concept of personality disorders in 1980 when I was in training as a therapist at the San Diego Child Guidance Clinic at Childrens Hospital. The DSM-III had just come out and Axis II of the five diagnostic categories required the therapist to diagnose the presence or absence of a personality disorder. (The current DSM-IV uses the same approach.) I quickly learned (often the hard way) that the presenting problems on Axis I (e.g. depression, substance abuse) were simply replaced by new ones, if an underlying personality disorder was not addressed in therapy.
Now that I have completed five years as a family law attorney, I have frequently witnessed the same underlying issues in hotly contested family court litigation -- yet these remain undiagnosed and, therefore, misunderstood. As those with personality disorders generally view relationships from a rigid and adversarial perspective, it is inevitable that a large number end up in the adversarial process of court. Since more flexible and cost-conscious people nowadays are resolving their divorces in mediation, attorney-assisted negotiation, or just by themselves, those cases remaining in litigation may be increasingly driven by personality disorders.
The Nature of a Personality Disorder
Someone with a personality disorder is usually a person experiencing chronic inner distress (for example fear of abandonment), which causes self-sabotaging behavior (such as seeking others who fear abandonment), which causes significant problems (such as rage at any perceived hint of abandonment) -- in their work lives and/or their personal lives. They may function quite well in one setting, but experience chaos and repeated problems in others. They look no different from anyone else, and often present as very attractive and intelligent people. However, it is usually after you spend some time together -- or observe them in a crisis -- that the underlying distress reaches the surface.
As interpersonal distress, fear of abandonment, and an excessive need for control are predominant symptoms of personality disorders, they place a tremendous burden on a marriage. Therefore, intense conflicts will eventually arise in their marriages and the divorce process will also be a very conflictual process. In contrast to people who are simply distressed from going through a divorce (over 80% are recovering significantly after 2 years), people with personality disorders grew up very distressed. It is the long duration of their dysfunction (since adolescence or early adulthood) which meets the criteria of a personality disorder.
Usually they developed their personality style as a way of coping with childhood abuse, neglect or abandonment, an emotionally lacking household, or simply their biological predisposition. While this personality style may have been an effective adaptation in their "family of origin," in adulthood it is counter-productive. The person remains stuck repeating a narrow range of interpersonal behaviors to attempt to avoid this distress.
A personality disorder does not usually go away except in a corrective on-going relationship -- such as several years in a counseling relationship. Until then, the person may constantly seek a corrective experience through a series of unsatisfying relationships, through their children, or through the court process. In a sense, untreated personality disorders don't fade away -- they just change venue.
Personality Disorders Appearing in Family Court
Probably the most prevalent personality disorder in family court is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) -- more commonly seen in women. BPD may be characterized by wide mood swings, intense anger even at benign events, idealization (such as of their spouse -- or attorney) followed by devaluation (such as of their spouse -- or attorney).
Also common is Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) -- more often seen in men. There is a great preoccupation with the self to the exclusion of others. This may be the vulnerable type, which can appear similar to BPD, causing distorted perceptions of victimization followed by intense anger (such as in domestic violence or murder, for example the San Diego case of Betty Broderick). Or this can be the invulnerable type, who is detached, believes he is very superior and feels automatically entitled to special treatment.
Histrionic Personality Disorder also appears in family court, and may have similarities to BPD but with less anger and more chaos. Anti-social Personality Disorder includes an extreme disregard for the rules of society and very little empathy. (A large part of the prison population may have Anti-social Personality Disorder.)
Dependent Personality Disorder is common, but usually is preoccupied with helplessness and passivity, and is rarely the aggressor in court -- but often marries a more aggressive spouse, sometimes with a personality disorder.
Cognitive Distortions and False Statement
Because of their history of distress, those with personality disorders perceive the world as a much more threatening place than most people do. Therefore, their perceptions of other people's behavior is often distorted -- and in some cases delusional. Their world view is generally adversarial, so they often see all people as either allies or enemies in it. Their thinking is often dominated by cognitive distortions, such as: all-or-nothing thinking, emotional reasoning, personalization of benign events, minimization of the positive and maximization of the negative. They may form very inaccurate beliefs about the other person, but cling rigidly to those beliefs when they are challenged -- because being challenged is usually perceived as a threat.
People with personality disorders also appear more likely to make false statements. Because of the thought process of a personality disorder, the person experiences interpersonal rejection or confrontation much more deeply than most people. Therefore the person has great difficulty healing and may remain stuck in the denial stage, the depression stage, or the anger stage of grief -- avoiding acceptance by trying to change or control the other person.
Lying may be justified in their eyes -- possibly to bring a reconciliation. (This can be quite convoluted, like the former wife who alleged child sexual abuse so that her ex-husband's new wife would divorce him and he would return to her -- or so she seemed to believe.) Or lying may be justified as a punishment in their eyes. Just as we have seen that an angry spouse may kill the other spouse, it is not surprising that many angry spouses lie under oath. There is rarely any consequence for this, as family court judges often believe the truth cannot be known -- or that both are lying.
Just as an active alcoholic or addict blames others for their substance abuse, those with personality disorders are often preoccupied with other people's behavior while avoiding any examination of their own behavior. Just as a movie projector throws a large image on a screen from a hidden booth, those with personality disorders project their internal conflicts onto their daily interactions -- usually without knowing it. All the world is a stage -- including court.
It is not uncommon in family court declarations for one with a personality disorder to claim the other party has characteristics which are really their own ("he's manipulative and falsely charming" or "she's hiding information and delaying the process"), and do not fit the other party. Spousal abusers claim the other is being abusive. Liars claim the other is lying. (One man who knew he was diagnosed with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder claimed his wife also had an NPD simply because she liked to shop.)
How Family Court Fits Personality Disorders
Family Court is perfectly suited to the fantasies of someone with a personality disorder: There is an all-powerful person (the judge) who will punish or control the other spouse. The focus of the court process is perceived as fixing blame -- and many with personality disorders are experts at blame. There is a professional ally who will champion their cause (their attorney -- or if no attorney, the judge). A case is properly prepared by gathering statements from allies -- family, friends, and professionals. (Seeking to gain the allegiance of the children is automatic -- they too are seen as either allies or enemies. A simple admonition will not stop this.) Generally, those with personality disorders are highly skilled at -- and invested in -- the adversarial process.
Those with personality disorders often have an intensity that convinces inexperienced professionals -- counselors and attorneys -- that what they say is true. Their charm, desperation, and drive can reach a high level in this very emotional, bonding process with the professional. Yet this intensity is a characteristic of a personality disorder, and is completely independent from the accuracy of their claims.
What Can Be Done
Judges, attorneys, and family court counselors need to be trained in identifying personality disorders and how to treat them. Mostly, a corrective on-going relationship is needed -- preferably with a counselor. However, they usually must be ordered into this because their belief systems include a life-time of denial and avoidance of self-reflection.
Family Code Section 3190 allows the court to order up to one year of counseling for parents, if: "(1) The dispute between the parents or between a parent and the child poses a substantial danger to the best interest of the child. [or] (2)The counseling is in the best interest of the child." Even short-term counseling can help.
Therapists, in addition to being supportive, need to help clients challenge their own thinking: about their own role in the dispute; about the accuracy of their view of the other party; and about their high expectations of the court. Further, therapists should never form clinical opinions or write declarations about parties they haven't interviewed.
Likewise, attorneys need to also challenge their clients' thinking and not accept their declarations at face value. More time should be spent educating them to focus on negotiating solutions, rather than escalating blame. The court should make greater use of sanctions under Family Code Section 271 for parties and attorneys who refuse to negotiate and unnecessarily escalate the conflict and costs of litigation.
The court must realize that the parties are often not equally at fault. One or both parties may have a personality disorder, but that does not necessarily mean both are offenders (violent, manipulative, or lying). A non-offending, dependent spouse may truly need the court's assistance in dealing with the offender. The court should not be neutralized by mutual allegations without looking deeper. Otherwise, because of their personality style, the most offending party is often able to continue their offender behavior -- either by matching the other's true allegations for a neutral outcome, or by being the most skilled at briefly looking good and thereby receiving the court's endorsement.
The court is in a unique position to motivate needed change in personal behavior. In highly contested cases, counseling or consequences should be ordered. Professionals and parties must work together to fully diagnose and treat each person's underlying problems, rather than allowing the parties (and their advocates) to become absorbed in an endless adversarial process. Because their largest issues are internal, they will never be resolved in court.
32, sadtoo, cj, & lied2, how are you all doing? Sorry if I've left anyone out as I don't mean to. I've just woken up from a very long nap & it feels like I'm caught up in a bizarre time warp.
huge hugs, everyone
How do you get "regrounded" after dealing with "NPD Freaks"?
Thanks again (((Tribe))) of Lightbulbs and Toasters. LOL. (Maybe we should all get secret tattos?)