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Spouses/Partners with Personality Disorders

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WornDown posted 6/19/2019 07:24 AM

FamilyMan -

No matter what her diagnosis, the fact that YOU think her behavior is unacceptable, and that your friends see it as well should be a big sign that something is seriously wrong.

Her being personality disordered may be the reason, but it's not an excuse. You don't have to stay and take that abuse.

WornDown posted 6/19/2019 07:30 AM

Anyone read the breaking story about Patrick Shanahan, the acting Sec of Defense?

His wife would attack him and berate him; tried to set his clothes on fire. He divorced her, and she took the kids and moved to FL (he lived in WA).

Later, the mom followed the oldest son (17 at the time) around the house berating him for hours. The kid snapped, got a baseball bat and hit her with it, leaving her unconscious; she ended up in a bloody pile with a fractured skull and elbow. Younger son called the police.

You can read about it for more details, but damn that hit home. My ex did that to me, and then when I left she went after my oldest (and later my middle when the oldest left). Thank goodness my oldest just got out of the house and didn't start swinging.

The whole story reeks of her being personality disordered.

FamilyMan75 posted 6/19/2019 15:04 PM

No matter what her diagnosis, the fact that YOU think her behavior is unacceptable, and that your friends see it as well should be a big sign that something is seriously wrong.

My few close friends don't know what she had done. My closest friend that I've known for over 20 years and was the best man at my wedding, likes my wife and thinks we are a good fit. It's just my family, my therapist, and a few random people who have told my wife online that she sounded like a sociopath.

Her being personality disordered may be the reason, but it's not an excuse. You don't have to stay and take that abuse
.

I'm not looking for an excuse for her behaviour. Just an understanding. Her psychiatrist who she has been seeing for a year now says she doesn't have a personality disorder. That pretty much her issues likely stem from depression, low self-esteem, and emotional immaturity.

[This message edited by FamilyMan75 at 3:08 PM, June 19th (Wednesday)]

KingRat posted 6/19/2019 16:12 PM

The thing is my wife has seen a psychiatrist who says while she has some symptoms, but not enough to diagnose her with any personality disorder.

I'm not saying the psychiatrist is necessarily wrong, but a few people who haven't met my wife in person have said she sounds like a sociopath, and is detached, selfish and has no emotion. There are times where she was emotionally detached and selfish, but that isn't her to the core.

So I guess I'm wondering, what to make of this.

I'd listen to the psychiatrist. The criteria is used to preserve the integrity of the diagnosis. A cough is could be a symptom of a minor cold or stage IV lung cancer, along with many ailments in between. Being selfish and making poor choices aren't just traits of those with personality disorders. Those are traits everyone has.

ThisIsSoLonely posted 8/12/2019 10:16 AM

FamilyMan75 - I have wondered about the diagnosis (or lack thereof) for my WH as well. He scores high (very) on the narcissist scale, but there are certain characteristics that go along with NPD that he does not have. There are times when I have hoped (as f-ed up as that is) that he got a full blown NPD diagnosis because it would have made it easier for me to just say "your problem is beyond repair" and walk away. But I eventually had to ask myself, do I need an NPD diagnosis to say the problem is beyond repair where HE doesn't want to do the work to try to fix himself? The answer that I came to is "No" precisely because if he doesn't want to fix it/work on fixing it to a more normal level, then it is beyond repair.

To use NPD as an example, the DSM is changing the characteristic from DSM IV to V therefore potentially diagnosing individuals with NPD who would have not been diagnosed before (and excluding others, but not many). Basically, the diagnosis is changing

NPD for example is classified using DSM IV as follows:

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).

2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.

3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high status people (or institutions).

4. Requires excessive admiration.

5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.

6. Is inter-personally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.

7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.

8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.

9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

My WH meets 4 of the 9 (missing 1, 3 (he doesn't care about associating with people of "high" status or what they think of him) and 5 and 8-9 but scoring exceedingly high on 4-7 and high on 2). Therefore under the DSM IV he is not NPD but has severely high narcissistic traits.

DSM V changed the diagnosis to the following:

The essential features of a personality disorder are impairments in personality (self and interpersonal) functioning and the presence of
pathological personality traits. To diagnose narcissistic personality disorder, the following criteria must be met:

A. Significant impairments in personality functioning manifest by:
1. Impairments in self functioning (a or b):
a. Identity: Excessive reference to others for self-definition and self-esteem regulation; exaggerated self-appraisal may be inflated or deflated, or vacillate between extremes; emotional regulation mirrors fluctuations in self-esteem.
b. Self-direction: Goal-setting is based on gaining approval from others; personal standards are unreasonably high in order to see oneself as exceptional, or too low based on a sense of entitlement; often unaware of own motivations.

AND

2. Impairments in interpersonal functioning (a or b):
a. Empathy: Impaired ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; excessively attuned to reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to self; over- or underestimate of own effect on others.
b. Intimacy: Relationships largely superficial and exist to serve self-esteem regulation; mutuality constrained by little genuine interest in others‟ experiences and predominance of a need for personal gain

B. Pathological personality traits in the following domain:
1. Antagonism, characterized by:
a. Grandiosity: Feelings of entitlement, either overt or covert; self-centeredness; firmly holding to the belief that one is better than others; condescending toward others.
b. Attention seeking: Excessive attempts to attract and be the focus of the attention of others; admiration seeking.

C. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual‟s personality trait expression are relatively stable across time and consistent across situations.

D. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual‟s personality trait expression are not better understood as normative for the individual‟s developmental stage or socio-cultural
environment.

E. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual‟s personality trait expression are not solely due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, medication

My WH may meet the new standards as he is borderline A.1.b., meets A.2.a. and b. (severe lack of empathy and relationships to fill personal needs), does not meet B, meets D & E (not normal for his age/sociological standard, and not a result of substance abuse), C is unclear (does not seem to be stable/standard across time).

A few other things weighing against NPD - he is willing to seek treatment/recognizes there is "something wrong" with him. He wants to "blame" a lot of his problems on his depression that he cannot take meds for, and I think he hopes that the meds (when he can take them) will "fix everything" as he's said as much. He feels like he lives in a cloud where nothing matters and he seeks out things that will distract him from his life - aka "fantasy land" and "cheap thrills" to avoid whatever is going on in his head. But all that being said, he is keenly aware that there is something "not right" with him - that is a big checkmark against NPD as that type of awareness and acceptance is generally absent.

Basically, my WH does not seem to have full blown NPD, and if he did, it would be on the lesser scale. Does that really matter? He lies, cheats, devalues, has control issues, is easily angered and upset by minor things but is "afraid" to address his issues (I think because he fears there is something MAJORLY wrong with him that would end up causing him to lose his job and have people look at him in a negative/weird way). He is so filled with fear and low self esteem that he just can't see a way to dig himself out, and no one can help him but him. Yet, in his own words "What is the key? What would change look like? I am afraid."

My WH's therapist basically said the same thing your WS's therapist said (just substitute "him" for the word "her" and you're there:

That pretty much her issues likely stem from depression, low self-esteem, and emotional immaturity.


When you add in the fact that my WH was beaten and largely ignored as a child, and that major depression runs in his family (both parents are on meds and his brother is an untreated mess as well), and that no one ever talks/talked about any of it, and you have a perfect storm of fucked-up. The diagnosis really doesn't matter much - it really is their behavior. My WH doesn't want to change, or maybe he does and he's too afraid to do anything/admit how screwed up he really is. For me (and for you) that really is the bottom line.

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 10:20 AM, August 12th (Monday)]

crazyblindsided posted 9/3/2019 13:57 PM

I have a question for those of you with kids.

How do you keep the Narcissist from brainwashing the kids?

My son seems to see through him but my daughter thinks the sun rises and sets by him I have to be VERY careful with how I speak about WS even to other people when my daughter may be eavesdropping.

This really hurts my heart the most because I raised these kids practically by myself. My WS was not around for most of their childhood. Only as a Disneyland type of dad. Since I have been able to master the grey rock he has completely ignored me and any of my needs and now focuses solely on the kids, I'm assuming they are a supply to him.

I worry about D now with my daughter about a year away from graduating high school and I do not want to upset her studies in any way. She is very gifted and smart. I also worry that if I initiated D daughter will see me as the bad guy and my WS will of course frame it that way.

[This message edited by crazyblindsided at 1:57 PM, September 3rd (Tuesday)]

KingRat posted 9/3/2019 15:41 PM

What do you mean by "brainwashing?" How is he attempting to change her thoughts and beliefs against her will?

[This message edited by KingRat at 3:45 PM, September 3rd (Tuesday)]

HeHadADoubleLife posted 9/3/2019 16:11 PM

Crazyblindsided, does none of his wrath/rage come out at the kids? Or have they not seen that side of him yet? Or is your daughter the golden child and your son the scapegoat?

I ask because my two step daughters definitely fell into the golden child and scape goat roles, so of course the scape goat got a lot more of the rage than the golden child, but ultimately they both did encounter the rage. Especially toward the end of our relationship as he felt he was losing control, the rage came out full force to anyone who got in his way, no mater who it was.

The rage forced them to see him a little more realistically - he was no longer up on the perfect daddy pedestal.

My younger step daughter (the golden child) has always been a daddy’s girl, but honestly I think there is some mutual manipulation there because she learned that she had him wrapped around her finger and could get away with a lot. Do you see any of that behavior in your daughter? In a weird way they start feeding into each other, and that might be why she is so protective/admiring of him. Because when she gives him his supply by being the good little girl who gets good grades and is going to a good college, he in turn gives her praise and validation, and it becomes a cycle.

Just my two cents from how I’ve seen the relationship dynamics play out with my X and his two daughters. Scape goat got the fuck out of there as soon as she could and doesn’t speak to him. Golden child will do anything she can to avoid his anger, therefore becoming the perfect source of supply. She is graduating from HS this year as well, and as much as she says she is bothered by his behavior, I think she secretly likes being the golden child/favored one, so as long as she can avoid his anger she sees no problem with it.

crazyblindsided posted 9/3/2019 18:28 PM

What do you mean by "brainwashing?" How is he attempting to change her thoughts and beliefs against her will?

He does it in little ways like asking if I made them dinner yet when he gets home. To make it look like I'm not thinking of them.

He has also said he's changing the narrative that I am as bad as he is for cheating which I agree with but he is still acting awful.

He does EVERYTHING fun with the kids and buys them whatever they want.

He is acting like my daughter's best friend now and not really being a parent. When I parent the kids think I'm being mean for saying No or lazy for not taking them where they want to go.

My daughter defends his bad behaviors

crazyblindsided posted 9/3/2019 18:32 PM

Crazyblindsided, does none of his wrath/rage come out at the kids? Or have they not seen that side of him yet? Or is your daughter the golden child and your son the scapegoat?

Yes BOTH have seen his rage. My daughter forgets easily as she is the golden child. My son is the scapegoat but I read that NPDs usually treat the same gender child as their competition

Especially toward the end of our relationship as he felt he was losing control

I believe this is happening now because I do not see any good days from him anymore. He is always miserable and giving me the silent treatment or completely ignoring me. Many times when i talk to him he won't acknowledge what I said.

Do you see any of that behavior in your daughter? In a weird way they start feeding into each other, and that might be why she is so protective/admiring of him. Because when she gives him his supply by being the good little girl who gets good grades and is going to a good college, he in turn gives her praise and validation, and it becomes a cycle.

Just my two cents from how I’ve seen the relationship dynamics play out with my X and his two daughters. Scape goat got the fuck out of there as soon as she could and doesn’t speak to him. Golden child will do anything she can to avoid his anger, therefore becoming the perfect source of supply. She is graduating from HS this year as well, and as much as she says she is bothered by his behavior, I think she secretly likes being the golden child/favored one, so as long as she can avoid his anger she sees no problem with it.

Yes I believe you hit the nail on the head here thank you. I believe this is exactly what is happening with the relationship dynamic with my daughter.

[This message edited by crazyblindsided at 6:34 PM, September 3rd (Tuesday)]

crazyblindsided posted 9/4/2019 17:26 PM

How do you all deal with the silent treatment. My WS has been implementing silent treatment for weeks now and I have just ignored and given indifference, but how I really feel on the inside is awful. I want D but am scared. I know I'm stuck in some type of trauma bond and need to work this out. I can't stay in this M it is going to kill me

DashboardMadonna posted 9/4/2019 17:43 PM

Hi Crazy,

You ignore him and 180 his little ass. It's a passive-aggressive behavior, he is using it as a manipulative method of control, to keep you feeling helpless, so you dont run away. It's essentially their method of a temper tantrum.

My SA covert does this all the time. His last little bitch-outburst was in a public parking lot, where he started yelling at me for confronting more shitty behavior. He attempted more gaslighting, in order to try and shut me down. He ran away into his man cave (per usual), where he belongs.

It's harder to detach the longer you are with someone, but in cases of abuse, there is a good chance you have been more independent than he wants you to believe....it is a turbulent and lonely place with them.

Start looking at homes, in places you might want to live....what I have been doing and the fantasy gives me hope.....I would rather live in poverty, than live with this treatment any longer.

[This message edited by DashboardMadonna at 5:44 PM, September 4th (Wednesday)]

WornDown posted 9/5/2019 09:24 AM

Right now YOU are the scapegoat for your H; that's the story your daughter is getting.

The only solution is for you to get out of the picture (divorce and separate) and let her get the full brunt of your H's NPD. It'll hurt her, but it's the only way - she has to see the truth.

Let him be responsible for dinner. Let him (be forced to) be the parent - pick her up, get her things, discipline her, say no.

If you try to "combat" it by talking to your daughter (or S) and saying, "But honey, here's how it really is...," you'll just be putting them in the middle and they will (likely) end up resenting you as well.

This is a long game. It will take years (likely) for them to really see him for what he is. So just be the best parent you can be.

ETA: But you've got to get out of that situation. Please see a lawyer and start the D process. Every word you type just screams that you want out - so get out.

[This message edited by WornDown at 9:25 AM, September 5th (Thursday)]

crazyblindsided posted 9/5/2019 12:47 PM

If you try to "combat" it by talking to your daughter (or S) and saying, "But honey, here's how it really is...," you'll just be putting them in the middle and they will (likely) end up resenting you as well.

Yes this was starting to happen and I've since nipped it in the bud. I only discuss my WS with my IC and my good friend who is a PHD in Psychology.

Let him be responsible for dinner. Let him (be forced to) be the parent - pick her up, get her things, discipline her, say no.

He is now. Ever since I started to detach I stopped all the taking care of things for my WS. He of course has read this as me abandoning him so I must be punished.

This is a long game. It will take years (likely) for them to really see him for what he is. So just be the best parent you can be.

Please see a lawyer and start the D process. Every word you type just screams that you want out - so get out.

Thank you this is my goal plan really appreciate your feedback!

WornDown posted 9/5/2019 15:16 PM

He of course has read this as me abandoning him so I must be punished.

Yeah, that's a hallmark of the PD's (a book on BPD is called, "I Hate You! Don't Leave Me!"

It'll probably ramp up more before he finally realizes that you're not going to take the bait. We've basically trained them to expect us to respond, so when we don't, they amp it up.

Hang in there.

totallydumb posted 9/15/2019 13:05 PM

Not sure where to put this, although I suspect my XWW is bipolar, she has never been formally assessed.

This is more of a vent than anything.

My now adult daughter graduated with her B of Sc in April this year.

My XWW did not attend the grad ceremony.

This morning my daughter stopped by for coffee. She was clearly having an emotional problem. I incorrectly assumed it had something to do with her current BF.

Apparently DD went and had lunch with her mother yesterday. This is the first time DD and her mother have interacted since the grad.

DD brought her framed degree to show her mother.

XWW did not even acknowledge DD's accomplishment of 4 years of university.

This hurt DD terribly. According to DD's vent to me, mommy would not even look at the framed degree, did not give any type of congratulations, and kept the conversation on XWW current love interest.

I listened to DD vent, and did not react in anger. Told DD it is unfortunate that her mother is this way, and to realize that she has some sort of personality disorder, and that is just the way mommy is.

I feel bad for DD, it is hard watching my daughter try and deal with the emotions that her mother brings into her life. I realize, there is nothing I can do, other than come here and vent.

Thanks for the vent!

crazyblindsided posted 9/16/2019 13:44 PM

(((totallydumb)))

Oh good god that is awful your poor daughter. Thank god she has one good parent who is there for her and acknowledges her wonderful achievements.

Your XWW is probably jealous because same gender children they try to compete with (Narcissists do this). Not sure if this is the case I am just speculating here, but she sounds like it and that is horrible she did that!

[This message edited by crazyblindsided at 1:45 PM, September 16th (Monday)]

WornDown posted 9/16/2019 14:32 PM

No matter the cause (mental illness or no), that's just horrible behavior by your ex.

You've got the right attitude though - nothing you can do about your ex's relationship with your DD, just be there for you DD to vent/cry.

It always amazes me how my ex can be so dismissive of my kids.

totallydumb posted 9/16/2019 19:23 PM

Thank you for your support and understanding, it means alot to know there are others that have BTDT.

My daughter is now reading some of the literature about people with personality disorders, and how to cope with them.

On another note, my son has completely cut her out of his life a few years ago. He is married and has 2 children that his mother has never seen. Very sad.

Thank you again for your understanding and words of support.

20yrsagoBS posted 9/16/2019 19:48 PM

Does stupidity count as a Personality Disorder?

If it does, scoot over and make room

My IC says WH has “narcissistic tendencies” despite never meeting him

[This message edited by 20yrsagoBS at 7:49 PM, September 16th (Monday)]

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