Do i explain ex BPD to teens

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saheleni

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Do i explain ex BPD to teens
« on: November 05, 2016, 06:21:36 AM »
I have two teenagers with bpd ex. He also has wife and young daughter. He has moved to a city 400 miles away for a job opportunity leaving wife and child here. He comes back once every 4 - 6 weeks for a visit.

He is mad as hell with me at the moment because i have asked for maintenance. He owes me money, not maintenance related, that he is refusing to pay me but has said he will split between the two teens bank accounts. I have said fine, that can cover their school lunches for the next month or so, i won't pay anything into their accounts until it evens out. This has infuriated him and he is now trying to dictate how the children spend their time.

They visit their little sister once a week for a few hours. Last night they told me he has insisted that they go and stay the night at their step mothers so they can see their sister. They want to go for a few hours but want to come home at night. He is giving them a really hard time and telling them they have to put family first. They are being guilted into doing something they don't want to do.

I told them he is being like this because he is angry with me and that he can't dictate to them. I explained that he can be very unreasonable and that i would help them deal with it if they want me to. They don't want me to talk to him.

At the same time, there have been articles in two local newspapers about his amazing job opportunity and about his BPD diagnoses.

The older they get, the more difficult they are finding him. He can't control them anymore and it means he's using all sorts of emotional blackmail to try to control them.

My question is, do i talk to them about BPD and how to deal with it, based on a) his behaviour at the moment and b) the fact that there are newspaper articles out there that they will probably see?

I know reading up about it has helped me deal with him. I want to help them too, but is it my place to tell?

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Liftedfog

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Re: Do i explain ex BPD to teens
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2016, 07:21:50 AM »
As their mom I believe it is your place to explain their dads illness.  Age appropriate xas they grow older.  PD dad won't do it as he doesn't think there is anything wrong with him.  Hugs to you. 

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saheleni

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Re: Do i explain ex BPD to teens
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2016, 08:22:52 AM »
Ok. So what is age appropriate for 14 and 15. I wondered about showing them the articles and explaining it to them that way.

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cmh1984

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Re: Do i explain ex BPD to teens
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2016, 01:00:23 PM »
I'm sorry for what you are going through. Thank you for posting this, I'm sorry I have no advice, but I pray you all find peace soon. I have two teenagers that I have a lot of explaining owed to, this is a very helpful topic for me to follow.

Wishing you and yours the best.

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saheleni

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Re: Do i explain ex BPD to teens
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2016, 02:10:37 PM »
Thanks.

I'm trying to speak to them about various bits and pieces. It's been left to me to emphasise that the money in their accounts is for lunches.

They've also just told me that he has paid for an online gaming thing for them, something that i would usually make them buy with their own pocket money. So he's the good guy, paying for the fun stuff and i pay the bills. Classic.

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Rose1

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Re: Do i explain ex BPD to teens
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2016, 07:16:22 AM »
At about that age I had to start explaining bpd to my oldest in particular.  She  knew something was off.  She also thought it might  be her fault.  So that was a good place to start.  I explained it wasn't her fault,  her father had a mental condition but that he also behaved in ways that weren't acceptable in our house.  Gave  some examples.  If you have a religious belief I found it very helpful to have a higher authority to cite,  especially with moral issues like lying,  deception,  abuse etc.  That way it wasn't just my idea or opinion. 
It was also difficult for exbpdh to refute since he professed to have a spiritual side as well.  Oldest was medically inclined so she looked up stuff on the internet.  It was also  good,  but difficult,  to separate the person from  the behaviour. Ie the behaviour is wrong but he's your father and you need to obey while with him except if he asks you to do something illegal or wrong. 
Kids managed it fine actually.  Issues around abandonment,  very unhappy with him for constant pas,  but that wasn't anything we could do much about.
Interestingly his excuse for pas was to present his side because he knew I'd be running him down.  Kids often said "no,  you hardly ever come up in conversation"  which was true unless they had seen him  and needed to vent.  I don't think he believed it because he naturally assumed I would behave in the same way he did.  We aimed for peace and respect in our house,  and it has turned out well in general.

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Whiteheron

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Re: Do i explain ex BPD to teens
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2016, 09:16:19 AM »
I spoke with my DS12 about his dad's behavior. He was curious and receptive, but the best thing I did was take him to his doc for a consult, who let him vent, validated his feelings and most importantly told him it was something going on with his dad, that it was not his fault. I could see DS visibly relax at this (even though I repeatedly told him it wasn't his fault, I'm mom, so it didn't count - he needed to hear it from someone outside of the situation). DS is more at peace with the behavior - can now see it for what it is and will stand up for himself most times. He still had difficulty accepting the behaviors though.

I started out by letting him come to me with his questions and concerns. Answered as age appropriately as possible (didn't use any labels such as bipolar or PD, told him some of it was because of the way he was raised, grandpa had some bad behaviors that were passed on, changed the way his brain works in certain situations...since he didn't learn the appropriate way to deal with xyz situation when he was younger. even so it was no excuse for behaving inappropriately), we analyzed each situation DS brought up - , discussed what actually happened and why we thought PD responded the way he did, then discussed a better way he (PD) could have handled it. That's all I knew to do at the time.

I've tried this to some extent with DD, but she is younger and just interested in pointing out how wrong PDh is. When she is ready, I will try to have more of a discussion with her. She is in counseling, and the therapist knows what's going on, so hopefully she can answer any questions DD has that she isn't comfortable asking me.

I will soon need to have a hard discussion with both kids, as our situation has deteriorated at home and I'm seeking advice from L. I hope you get some good advice on here, I have a feeling I"ll be needing to give the kids a more detailed explanation soon.
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WeAreAllATadBitBroken

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Re: Do i explain ex BPD to teens
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2016, 12:09:10 PM »
I'm in the same boat with my 12 year old daughter,  trying to find the right words to say whenever the topic of 'we don't see grandpa any more' comes up.  It's been about 1.5 months NC now.  so everything is still very fresh.

I'm fairly certain my father has either NPD or is borderline.    But there isn't an official diagnosis so I can't go talking about something that isn't confirmed with my kiddo.   

so far discussions leave kiddo (at least this is how I'm seeing it) satisfied with how things get explained - that grandpa's behavior isn't going to be tolerated any more and it's up to grandpa to change his behavior or we won't be seeing him at all.   kiddo will reply with 'then we'll never see him again'.  I think she understands but the topic comes up frequently enough by her that I'm sure she has questions she just doesn't quite know how to ask.

so I struggle in my mind with better words to say the next time kiddo brings it up. 
I know now there is no bargaining with the PD- because via research and experience you learn that when you deal with PD you sure aren't getting a bargain!

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Latchkey

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Re: Do i explain ex BPD to teens
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2016, 08:31:59 PM »
Hi saheleni,

I have 3 kids now age 19, 17 and 5 with PD fathers. Older two have BPD/ASPD dad and younger one has NPD/ASPD dad.

The staff here put together this article a couple years ago and I think it can help guide you in talking to your kids.

http://outofthefog.website/what-to-do-2/2015/12/5/talking-to-kids

I will say, so much is unique to each situation that you really have to keep in mind the temprament of the child. My older two daughters witnessed a lot of very confusing behavior with both their Dad and former Step-Dad. I can say it has been a long term, slow process where I've built little by little what makes sense. Now I am in the process of helping my 5 yo process his 12 yo half brother's behavior who has recently re-entered his life as he moved back in with his Dad. His step bro is ODD and raging and doing school refusal intermittently and it is hard to explain it 5 yo terms.

Hope this helps.
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openskyblue

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Re: Do i explain ex BPD to teens
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2016, 09:35:26 AM »
It's been a slow process explaining to my kids (now college age/young adults) about their ASPD father. They love their dad , though they are also scared of him especially when they don't want to follow his advice or go along with the latest kooky plan.

I've learned that while it's important for them to understand that he's sick, it's even more important for them to understand that their lives are their own and that it's not okay when their dad gets revved up and insistent that they do something that they don't feel comfortable with. As they became teens they really have needed help making their own boundaries with there dad.

. In your family's case, it seems like your ex is using you sons as a stand in for visiting his own daughter. This is typical BPD/NPD behavior -- using others to make yourself look good or do tasks you don't want to do. Your boys shouldn't be required to visit their sister any more than they wish. They are not the parent in this situation, he is, and they shouldn't be guilted into acting as a father for him while he's gone.

As tough as this situation is, it's also a good opportunity for your boys to set some boundaries with their dad. Seeing a counselor really helped my kids a lot with this boundary-setting stuff and let me take my own biases out of the equation. They mostly needed to be reassured the saying no to their dad did not make them bad kids.  They  also to learned how to communicate with their dad in ways that reduced backlash (i.e. text instead of call). My husband would sometimes get angry and lash out, but every time they made one boundary with him, the next one was a little easier.


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saheleni

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Re: Do i explain ex BPD to teens
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2016, 06:56:10 PM »
Thanks all.

I think i'm going to try and have a talk to them, but do ot separately. They're very different kids and will respond to different things.

Interestingly, my eldest asked me about going to see a counsellor, so i'm going to try to do something about that.