Speaking with teen children about divorce from uNPD/uBPD

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WearyHusband

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Speaking with teen children about divorce from uNPD/uBPD
« on: October 08, 2021, 02:03:52 PM »
Does anyone have advice about the proper way to speak to teen children about divorce? Or about how/if to speak with them about personality disorders?
I have four kids, age 19-13. They are smart, amazing kids. My uPDw is also an amazing mother. This is one reason the FOG has been so hard to clear. How can she be such an amazing mom, friend, etc. and yet I experience such extreme, bizarre and abusive behavior? I don't want to hurt their relationship with their mother. I don't want to speak ill of my wife. I also am learning from therapists and others who have experience with PD's that I need to be prepared for the possibility that if I divorce my wife that she may find a new source of supply and that could possibly become one of my children. That's still hard for me to believe, but I want to be prepared.

My therapist is telling me that the best thing I can do at this point is to protect myself so that I'm alive to walk my kids down the aisle and be there for them as I get older. He tells me the extreme nature of my marriage dynamics with my uPDw will literally shorten my life unless I remove myself.

Any advice about how to talk to my kids about divorce if it does come to that? (which is looking likely)
Any advice about how to prepare for the possibility that my kids would be affected by her PD as I have been if she were to (likely) receive joint custody, or hopefully now, full custody?

Even as I write this I'm thinking, "What the F. I can't believe it's come to this. Am I crazy? She's a wonderful mom and woman. I love her so much. We've had so many great times together." Sometimes the FOG feels more like quicksand I'm trying to pull myself from. I never could have even gotten to this point without some great resources, great friends, good therapy, and the OOTF community.
-WH

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Bunnyme1

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Re: Speaking with teen children about divorce from uNPD/uBPD
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2021, 02:45:49 PM »
In Start Here and Out of the FOG, Dana Morningstar addresses this sweet/mean cycle and how PDs will make the good times so good and the bad times so bad, how that keeps us hopeful and hooked, etc..  if you know the basics of the PD lingo, you can likely start with the second book, but I found even the first to be reinforcing and helpful.
I'm struggling with talking to the kids as well, so I dont know how helpful I can be there.  Mine are younger.  I can say, I wouldn't mention divorce unless it is a reality.  Kids pick up on things and likely know that there are issues.  I wouldnt mention personality disorders specifically.  If the problem behaviors come up, address those as they happen, but it sounds as if the kids arent directly targeted by your wife.  They don't need to know the ins and outs of the relationship.  Your therapist may be able to help you formulate a plan for talking to them.  If you can present a united front with your wife on it, all the better.  Consider counseling for them if it comes to that.
Good luck to you!

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Poison Ivy

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Re: Speaking with teen children about divorce from uNPD/uBPD
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2021, 02:58:45 PM »
I recommend not telling the children about the other parent's PD. I do recommend saying something along the lines of "we have irreconcilable differences," e.g., "We don't get along with each other anymore, and we have decided to get a divorce."

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escapingman

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Re: Speaking with teen children about divorce from uNPD/uBPD
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2021, 03:32:58 PM »
Weary, I am in the same boat as you. I am seeing a lawyer next week to discuss my options. Things has been really bad for a long time, but when I started to really do GR and MC she has replaced me with the Golden Child as her narc supply. Now lately even the normally Scape Goated child is placed in her golden gang and is providing narc supply. Both kids love it, she has put them both on pedestals and all they need to do to get all her attention and love is to dismiss me - which they both do right now. I am sure my uNPDw is as good mother and friend and it all, when she WANTS to. But if your friendship is conditional, it's not worth anything. See it for what it is and get out, I would like you not live a very long life unless I get out now.

Also, the books by Dana Morningstar are gold dust. I listen to "Out of the FOG" from start to finish within a couple of days and its my bible.

Good luck Weary, both you and me deserves a life without abuse.

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SonofThunder

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Re: Speaking with teen children about divorce from uNPD/uBPD
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2021, 08:12:56 PM »
Hi Weary,

I personally believe that the TRUTH is always best with kids and my now married adult children have expressed that in both directions.  They wish they had been told the truth about difficult situations, not sheltered from it, and also appreciate when they were told the truth directly.  They will also experience very raw and real situations in life and the raw truth (age appropriate on certain matters) taught early in life, imo, will help them deal with the raw truth later, and also know they can come to dad and get a straight-shooter.  😉

Divorce: 

The truth is, that sometimes, two people end a marriage covenant because they find out they are not compatible.  Frankly imo, i believe it can be, in specific situations, that separation/divorce is the most loving (desiring and potentially assisting in facilitating what is best for another person) thing that the couple can do for each other in those tumultuous unions, but its always tough for very young kids, caught in the middle.  Theres been plenty of past discussion (for and against) on this topic in the religious boards, so not discussing here.   But its also the truth that dad will always be dad and mom be mom, regardless of any legal contract that gets dissolved.  What’s also true is that no matter if legal marriage covenants end, attempted love of the other person doesn't have to end.  Again, depends on ones definition of love. 

PD:

I also believe the truth is, that i am incapable and unqualified of truly diagnosing anyone’s disorder, therefore i am not also qualified to truthfully label.  But, i can truthfully know what i experience with PD’s and other difficult personalities.  Even if i could diagnose a disorder, the diagnosis itself wouldn't make any difference, because it doesn't change anyone else or assist what i experience/whats needed to protect.  The truth is, that the toolbox is effective in dealing with ANY difficult personality, regardless of diagnosis.  Therefore the toolbox methods are truth. 

I believe kids should learn the protective methods of the toolbox, but not specifically method names/terms related to PD’s or OOTF, as kids are sharp and can connect the dots with internet searches.  You are surely creative enough to come up with new acronyms for remembering and use examples of potential  ‘difficult personalities’ in the real areas of their lives (teachers, future boss, coworkers, coaches, random adults, friends etc..). Learning these skills will help them the rest of their lives. 

SoT
« Last Edit: October 08, 2021, 08:16:25 PM by SonofThunder »
Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

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Poison Ivy

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Re: Speaking with teen children about divorce from uNPD/uBPD
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2021, 08:25:32 PM »
Another spot-on post, SonofThunder!

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escapingman

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Re: Speaking with teen children about divorce from uNPD/uBPD
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2021, 08:35:35 PM »
I really have to disagree with you SOT. Yes you are right in what you are writing, but what in my case for example where my uNPDw have turned the kids against me? She has lied so much and manipulated them so they both laugh at me in my face. I can't tell them off as they run to their PD mum and she tells them I am the crazy one and to not listen to me. There is no toolbox in the world that can solve this. The reason we got to this is I am using GR and MC with uNPDw and she doesn't like it, so her current narc supply is the children.

The only way to live with a Narc is to comply with the demands, if not you are their enemy and will be vilified.


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SonofThunder

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Re: Speaking with teen children about divorce from uNPD/uBPD
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2021, 10:16:31 AM »
I really have to disagree with you SOT. Yes you are right in what you are writing, but what in my case for example where my uNPDw have turned the kids against me? She has lied so much and manipulated them so they both laugh at me in my face. I can't tell them off as they run to their PD mum and she tells them I am the crazy one and to not listen to me. There is no toolbox in the world that can solve this. The reason we got to this is I am using GR and MC with uNPDw and she doesn't like it, so her current narc supply is the children.

The only way to live with a Narc is to comply with the demands, if not you are their enemy and will be vilified.

Escapingman, i am sorry you experience this regarding your wife and children.  I do not desire to derail Weary’s thread about divorce and PD, so will try to spin this reply back into his board post subject. 

I agree with you regarding the toolbox.  The tools are are very truthfully helpful in protecting ourselves as best possible, and in providing us an understanding of what we are dealing with (What it Feels Like), what methods we can utilize to protect ourselves (What To Do), and what actions/reactions that are counterproductive to self-protection (What Not To Do).  The toolbox is NOT designed for us to attempt to convince or change others. 

Adults have adult rights and depending on where you live, that will outline your adult rights.  Children do not have adult rights but are, depending on where you live, hopefully protected by certain laws.  Regardless of laws, i believe parents (and other adults if both parents are the problem) have a moral obligation to protect children, the elderly, handicapped and animals, from abuse. 

Escapingman, in your opinion, are your children being abused by your spouse, in a way in which authorities would label it as abuse?  (Just a simple yes or no question, not a thread spin-off on abuse).

As for Weary, he stated his wife is a “wonderful mom” and so i will assume his teenage children do not experience (or notice) direct manipulation toward them.  But they surely do witness her possible PD traits in relation to her actions/reactions toward Weary (consider his beer fiasco at home) and possibly experience their mother’s vocally negative opinions toward their father.  The toolbox does not protect from either of those, but rather helps Weary determine his actions/reactions to his wife’s actions/reactions.  On that note, Weary's children also experience/witness Weary’s choices for himself and his choices regarding them, which help them to form their own opinions about their Dad and his choices. 

Therefore I believe Weary should not attempt to label his wife as a PD to his children as:

1. Weary may not be truthfully qualified to accurately diagnose, therefore he may be spreading potential untruths to his children.

2. Weary faces the risk of his children being self-protective toward their mother as they experience his attempts to tell them she has a problem, which may put a very confusing divide between him and his children.

So therefore, i believe its truthfully very helpful (pd or no pd) for all children to learn the METHODS of the toolbox without the use of PD terminology and OOTF terminology, so they can better self-protect, negotiate and interact with difficult personalities in the lives (my list above).  These lessons should be done in private and not be recognized by the children as being helpful in dealing with their mother, but with future others.  After teaching is understood, its up to the kids to recognize behaviors, regardless of who is displaying them.   We parents imo, must teach wisely and step out of the way, and then be prepared to wisely and generically counsel, if our children turn to us for counsel. 

As Ann Landers wisely wrote:

It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.

Escapingman, you wrote:

“and she tells them I am the crazy one and to not listen to me.”

Im not certain what “crazy” she believes your children are potentially experiencing from their dad, but I believe children are very high-radar and capable of determining whether the actions/reactions they witness from a parent are abnormal or out of self-control (“crazy”).  In addition, I personally do not believe that children's prolonged experiences with a parent can be swayed by the short-term negative comments of the other parent.  For Weary and other parents here, im hoping the many years of being a calm, trusting dad/mom, a mentor and a friend have solidified a relationship and an opinion of children.  Im hoping that the moms and dads here have invested and sacrificed the time necessary, over the years, to develop that strong foundational relationship base with their children that cannot be altered by short-term, backhanded comments or attempts at altering a truthful reputation, by an angry spouse.

Again Escapingman, im sorry you (and others here on the boards) witness a spouse trying to manipulate children into believing potential untruths about the other parent, but i will stand by my opinion that the toolbox is indeed truth regarding its application into protecting oneself and also the truth that the toolbox is not about trying to alter the actions and reactions of others, including our children.

SoT
« Last Edit: October 09, 2021, 10:24:43 AM by SonofThunder »
Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

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Poison Ivy

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Re: Speaking with teen children about divorce from uNPD/uBPD
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2021, 11:27:54 AM »
This is another great post, SonofThunder. Thank you.

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escapingman

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Re: Speaking with teen children about divorce from uNPD/uBPD
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2021, 01:31:47 PM »
Thanks for your posts SoT, you are of course right in everything you write. Your advice to Weary is excellent, maybe you should get paid for it  :thumbup:

I was quite emotional yesterday after being thrown under a bus by SG, but I stayed calm and used the toolbox. Yes the toolbox doesnt work on changing anyone, but you will win in the long run as you keep your sanity. Today SG has been good to me and kept coming to me, GC still shouts at me but she also shouts at uNPDw. I think in my case that the charade is starting to fall apart from my wife, she just can't keep it up forever.

For you Weary, if your PD (or whatever she is) is truly good to the children and don't drag your name through the mud, but still abuse you. Just leave, you will only have good times ahead. I have come to the point I don't care whatever diagnosis my wife has, she is abusing me and that's bad enough (thanks Dana Morningstar). She is abusing my kids, mostly emotionally, that's bad. But I can't highlight it to them as they run to her complaining about me, I have to play the long game.

Good luck again.

And to you SoT, sorry if I came across badly, that was not my intention at all. Your advice is worth gold dust.

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Lauren17

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Re: Speaking with teen children about divorce from uNPD/uBPD
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2021, 02:36:02 PM »
I posted a similar question not too long ago. The advice I received and followed, has worked out well.
Keep things simple and stuck to the facts as they pertain to the kids.
Mom and I are getting divorced.
We’‘ll still be your parents.

I, too, am worried that one of my kids will become the new supply. That’s where the tools come in. I’ve been doing by best to teach them to my kids without bringing our family in as an example. Best wishes to you.
I’ve cried a thousand rivers. And now I’m swimming for the shore” (adapted from I’ll be there for you)

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SonofThunder

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Re: Speaking with teen children about divorce from uNPD/uBPD
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2021, 07:15:36 PM »
Escapingman, you surely didnt “come across badly” to me in any way, as you provided your input to the good conversation, in the same manner as myself and the others here, as equals at OOTF.  I thank you for the kind words and also the same for Poison Ivy.

It would seem from your writings, that you are currently headed in the direction of separation and I wish you the best, as you may also, like Weary,  be asked questions by your children, about your choices and the actions/reactions they will experience in your decision-making. I always looked at raising children as a long-term approach and no matter what small or even large speed-bumps occurred along the way, i would stay focused on the long term goal of my fantastic, growing and changing relationship with them, and my ability to teach them in a way that led them to be responsible adults.

I wish the same for you and Weary, 

SoT
« Last Edit: October 09, 2021, 07:19:57 PM by SonofThunder »
Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

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Poison Ivy

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Re: Speaking with teen children about divorce from uNPD/uBPD
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2021, 07:43:33 PM »
This: "I always looked at raising children as a long-term approach and no matter what small or even large speed-bumps occurred along the way, i would stay focused on the long term goal of my fantastic, growing and changing relationship with them, and my ability to teach them in a way that led them to be responsible adults." And it should continue when our children become adults, "it" being that we are good, responsible, loving parents to our children.

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SonofThunder

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Re: Speaking with teen children about divorce from uNPD/uBPD
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2021, 11:44:20 AM »
And it should continue when our children become adults, "it" being that we are good, responsible, loving parents to our children.

I 100% agree. 

Regarding myself, my relationship as their father (genetic/formal/respectful/protective), dad (informal, teacher, guide, example, loving discipline) and friend (flexible, supportive, alongside if requested, counselor if requested) was a steady transformation along the way.

Both of mine grew up in a FOGgy home and witnessed/experienced life with their uPDm, and watched me incorrectly caretake her.  But at the same time, my role as a father, dad and ever-developing friend has remained the same over the decades, just made harder because of the traits of my uPDw. In each stage of their lives, age-appropriate truth is/was required by me (many times in contradiction to my wife), in order for them to properly deal with their/our experiences and real life, not the facade-life that was attempted over the decades. 

The ‘hypocrisy’ of the projected facade-life is a multi-faceted difficulty for children in the home imo, as the developing children become pd-sheltered from some necessary raw realities.  When they are eventually on their own, they may experience these realities for themselves and believe they are failures in certain areas, compared to the confusing facade-life in which they were raised.  In addition, they incorrectly learn (by witness-example) over the development years, to shelter reality from anyone outside the home, and they begin to emotionally bottle up themselves, which can lead to emotional/psychological difficulties as adults. 

Therefore TRUTH along the trail of life in the home (age-appropriate) is imo highly necessary, so when children become adults, they are able to accept, process and deal with the very real difficulties in life in a balanced an accurate way, both in correct decision-making, but also in acceptance of themselves.  Imo, its very difficult to do the parental juggle (reality-non vs facade-pd) as a parent, raising children with a PD spouse, because of the conflict of opinion regarding the exposure of real-raw life vs the projected facade desires of the PD and even the regarding open conflict in that arises in the home. 

Therefore Weary, i want to encourage you to allow your children to experience TRUTH; the real-life in the raw, with a balanced father, dad and friend alongside, who may have to make the time with each child privately to teach and to process the emotions together over the difficulties, while reassuring them that no matter what happens to the legal-marriage, Weary will ALWAYS be father, dad and friend. 

In addition, in totally separate teaching (not connected with marriage difficulty), steadily and slowly teach them the toolbox concepts so they become masters at self-protection AND relationships with ANY personality type.

SoT
« Last Edit: October 10, 2021, 11:46:26 AM by SonofThunder »
Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

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Rose1

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Re: Speaking with teen children about divorce from uNPD/uBPD
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2021, 08:35:48 PM »
 :yeahthat:
I found each child different of course. Oldest asked questions around age 12 (about when exbpdh left) and by the time she was 15 and had done some psychology, very specific questions on bi polar and bpd.

If i had not answered them she would have had cognitive dissonance big time. Our kids will need to deal with pd long after we will and need the tools as well as validation.

I read stories of children sheltered from the pd reality and the outcome is not good. One day they will be targeted and have no clue as to what is going on and how to manage it.

Oldest is now in her mid 30s and dealing with father issues in therapy. It seems he had also manipulated her with suicide threats. She told me that she had watched my response  (fortunately not the fawning ones 😀) on saying he needed help and i would call emergency, and had done the same thing to good effect.

As well, we discussed house rules. Respect, politeness and sharing of chores in our single parent household. It didn't matter if the rules were different elsewhere   thats what they were in our house.
The results have been generally good long term and we have a great adult relationship.