resources/suggestions

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sonto92

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resources/suggestions
« on: August 10, 2017, 01:10:01 PM »
I just posted about some issues I had with my BPDx in court.  As a lot of you probably know already, the chaos created by our ex's can cause a lot of stress and strain on a post-divorce relationship/marriage - especially when there are kids involved.  I was recently married and I think we could use some resources/suggestions for minimizing the impact that my BPDx has put on our relationship.  Any tips/advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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mamato3

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Re: resources/suggestions
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2017, 01:40:47 PM »
Marriage counseling! When there is an outside force that will continue to be present in your marriage that adds extra stress, seek counseling early and often!

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Stepping lightly

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Re: resources/suggestions
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2017, 09:00:05 AM »
Hi Sonto,

DH and I have had to figure out how to live with the impact of his ex trying to rule/ruin our lives.  There are a number of things we have implemented- some may or may not work for you;

- We have gone to counseling together.  DH has a therapist that is an expert in PDs.  We used these sessions 1- to get validation that "yes, in fact, you are experiencing something that most people do not have to endure, and it's not your fault", and 2- how to navigate some of the situations that were being presented.  As we all know PDs don't react like normal people, so as a non- it's tough to always know how to de-escalate, or circumvent the "traps" that were being laid out for us. 
-DH will only communicate with BM via email.  She tries to text him sometimes, but not often.  Our PC broke that habit.  She used to call and scream at him too, then when he would hang up, she would call back and if he didn't answer fill up his voicemail.  Not having that happen is a huge help.  This way he can control when he has to dive into the drama and read her emails, but then it is done.
- BM is not allowed to contact me in any manner unless someone is literally dying. I suggest this for your wife.  I refused to give her my phone number/email for a long time, and when our PC came on board I was forced to provide it to BM.  I did so with a strict requirement that it never be used.  That has been violated once, and I swiftly addressed it with the PC.  I am not sure what the PC said to BM, recently I've been wondering if the PC told BM that if she does use my contact info against my wishes, that I could go after her for harassment.  Something is keeping her from using it, other than just politeness.
-DH manages everything involved for the kids.  Since literally everything can become fodder for court, I "help" DH but he manages the main childcare aspects.  I NEVER give them medication, he is responsible for all things related to school and activities.  He determines their bedtimes, their diet, makes sure they brush their teeth, etc.  BM has created world wars over things as minor as chewing gum.
-DH manages communication with her- obviously based on my item above, and he doesn't give them the ins and outs of the accusations and rages.  He used to, we would discuss it, but it overwhelmed me and one day I asked him not to tell me what she was saying.  We have had to do "downloads" of drama at times when I am summoned to speak with a PC or therapist etc, just so I am not blindsided..but otherwise...it's better not knowing.  Sometimes I know something is going on, and I think I want to know, I've learned....I really don't want to know.   
- We try not to talk about her.  Sometimes we do better at this than others, but the less you talk about the PD, the less they will really impact your daily existence.  There are times where I want to make a comment BM related, and I stop myself and think, "is it really fair to drag DH into that mindset right now.....no....leave it alone".
-we have as little face time with BM as possible.  She will use any interaction to create chaos, she will lie that something was said or done, she will gaslight the kids later to say it was US that went after her. 

All of this is to say- remove your wife from the forefront of the battle.  For us, by doing this, I am able to remain a bit more centered and that helps DH let go of things a bit more and just focus on OUR life....instead of what the PD wants for our life. 

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WesternLover

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Re: resources/suggestions
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2017, 12:09:53 PM »
Hi Sonto - I think minimizing their exposure to the PD as much as possible is the best thing to do. Of course, the PD will always be trying to drag the other person into the mix, but encourage your spouse not to engage no matter what.  Fortunately what helps my situation is my husband is a Sargent at the local state penitentiary - basically a prison guard. 80% of the prison population has some form of personality disorder - particularly ASPD. My husband was able to size up my son's uNPD and uASPD son's father and say "yeah, he's just like all the other inmates I deal with on the daily..." So it really enables him to write him off and take him with a grain of salt.

I think, if you want to use an extreme example to drive the point home you could say to your significant other: "look do not try rationalize or engage with someone who brain and emotions are wired completely different than yours. Would you try to rationalize with a serial killer or engage the unibomber? It may not be that grandiose, but it will be equally unsuccessful. Just don't even go there. Please just let me handle it, not matter how much they try to draw you in. I don't want you to have to deal with that."  Be the buffer the best you can.

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Stepping lightly

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Re: resources/suggestions
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2017, 01:44:30 PM »
Just another though Sonto- one of the tools the PDs use is triangulation.  You need 3 to triangulate.  If your wife is at all involved, the PD will most likely use triangulation, which will be super hard for you guys to deal with.  Take out one of her angles, only allow her to deal with you directly.

This will probably escalate her for a bit- I know BM in our situation claims all different reasons for me not talking to her - DH is controlling me, I don't want to be a parent, etc.  She can think what she wants, as long as she keeps her distance.

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sonto92

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Re: resources/suggestions
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2017, 12:31:35 AM »
My current wife has no contact with my BPDx at all.  She is very protective of me and is mainly struggling with the impact of my BPDx's manipulation of our kids.  When they come to our house, it feels like they never truly disconnect from the other BPDx household.  It's been walking a fine line between respecting the fact that they want (and should be able to) share their life at their other house - and -  we are sick of hearing all of the goings on from over there and we would like to hear how you enjoy being at our house and doing things with us.   

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mamato3

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Re: resources/suggestions
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2017, 12:20:11 PM »
What is your custody schedule? How many transitions per week do you have?

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WesternLover

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Re: resources/suggestions
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2017, 12:56:01 PM »
Hey Again -

I see what you mean. I agree you should always support your kids in wanting to talk about life at mom's house, but maybe try to put an unspoken time limit on it? Like maybe allot 20-60 minute a day of kids talking about life with mom, then try to steer things in a different direction.  Say something like "that's very interesting that happened at mom's house... so how are things going at school for you?, tell me about your best friend, what would you like to do over summer break? where would you like to go?" If they talk about it excessively, try to find ways to change subject and talk about something different related to them and their lives.

Maybe you can also plan fun activities and outings to get everyone's mind and conversation off of the other side of the street. Sometimes when we are "doing" more so than talking it allows everyone's mind to be occupied with something else. Take a trip to your local amusement park, go camping, fishing on a lake or maybe some sort of festival. I think not only will it take attention off of bio mom and step dad, it will allow you all to bond and have some fun? Focus on building a pleasant family life and environment that is unique to you and your wife? Easier said than done, I know, but it's something to strive for - keep looking forward at what you want your life to look like and go in that trajectory. Do not look sideways or backwards at the PD bio mom, look straight ahead and keep your focus there ;)

Also one the many things PDs suck at when it comes to parenting is nurturing the children's natural interests and talents that make up who they are as individuals. PDs are ALWAYS projecting their own interests onto their child and insisting they be an extension of their own wants and desires. For instance my DS-7 has quite an interest in math and engineering, and already thinks he wants to go to college to be an engineer. His father is a blue collar worker, and I'm sure will tell our DS he needs to be a blue collar worker as well and it's a waste of money to go to college. Truthfully there is nothing wrong with being blue collar worker in my humble opinion, but it's simply not what my son wants for his life.  It's not who he is. Also my son loves hip hop and break dancing. His father totally despises this notion because, being disordered, hateful AND racist he believes only gay men dance and hip hop is for black people. I signed my son up for hip hop dance lessons, not so much to spite his dad (although his notions are ridiculous), but because it is who my son is, it's his own innate interest. Maybe find out similar things your children love and really nurture that when they spend time with you. Find out what makes them tick and allow them to explore that in your time with them free from projection, judgement and prejudice.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 12:58:22 PM by WesternLover »

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Stepping lightly

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Re: resources/suggestions
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2017, 08:12:05 AM »
Hi Sonto,

A happy medium talking about both homes would be nice, but honestly it's probably never going to happen.  You can look at the bright side- at least you know what's happening at Mom's, and you can make sure your children are ok.  My stepkids don't talk much about their Mom's house.  I suspect there is a gag requirement from their Mom- they know better than to get caught telling us ANYTHING.  Every once in awhile they talk about things over there, and we encourage them to feel comfortable telling us what they want to..and don't force them to talk about what they don't want to.

On the other hand- my SKs are required to report every....single....thing...that happens while they are with us.  I have heard DSD on the phone rattle off "we at at XX restaurant with XX and YY, I had the XX and DSS had the YY.  Then we went to XX to see YY with XX..."  A full report down to what they ate and who they saw.  It was disturbing how routine the process was for her....hop on the phone...give details.

It can be hard to listen to, but as long as it's not the kids talking about how mom/SF are bashing you guys- it's REALLY good for the kids to feel free to tell you what they want without any pressure....this will help you immensely in the long run.  If you do get your fill, I agree with WesternLover that you can redirect the conversation to something else.  The other way to look at it- they are comfortable talking to you guys....and that is a huge win!

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sonto92

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Re: resources/suggestions
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2017, 10:45:14 PM »
The feedback is greatly appreciated.  That seems to be a pretty common rub with others here, that the kids get interrogated by the other PD parent about everything that goes on at the nonPD's house.  I often hear these discussions while my 2 kids are on the phone and it feels so intrusive and violating.  And Stepping Lightly - depending on the day, I usually agree that it is important that my kids feel safe about talking about whatever they need to talk about when they are here.  I get frustrated with this at times, but I know in the long run , this will pay off because when my kids are old enough to understand they will be able to see that I have been supportive of BOTH households and i have been consistent in doing so.  This is very hard to do.
We have joint custody and they the kids spend a pretty balanced time between both households.