I used to lay awake in my bed at nights unable to sleep. I used to think of all the things I could have possibly done that would deserve the ire of my daughter to such an extent. The thought that I could do something to my most precious child, so horrible that she was justified in treating me this way. "you fucked up, you abandoned both of us, you're an adulterer, you're going to HELL" were the words that came out of her mouth when communicating with me. How did this happen? What did I do to have my sweet daughter HATE me so. It didn't make any sense.
My friends and family were confused too. My attorney recommended a psychiatrist. Fortunately he was very familiar with borderline personality disorder. He was an older gentleman, probably past retirement age. He had personal and clinical experience with BPD's. I got lucky. If I had found any other MH Pro, they would not have been equipped to handle the situation with my ex wife. In fact through eight years of counseling, three different marriage counselors, two court appointed custody evaluators, my church pastor and a county social worker/mediator, NONE were able to detect her personality disorder.
Therein lies one of the biggest obstacles in Parental Alienation cases. Untrained, unskilled and inexperienced MH Pros. They are also afraid to diagnose individuals due to the "stigma" for the individual. Add to it that the longer they see you in their office (number of visits) the more money they make. Now I am not saying that MH Pro's are con artists trying to scam more money out of you. They have bills to pay too you know.
Borderlines and Narcissists are the main culprits in PA cases. Their own messed up childhood traumas (or perceived maltreatment) have turned the abusees into the abusers!!!! I guess it is all that they know.
Now that you have successfully left them (trust me, you ARE better off!) They feel that YOU have BETRAYED THEM! (I know, right?!) You see, they do not know how to regulate their own emotions. This is something you and I learned to do probably around Kindergarten. When yo got upset, the teacher, your parents or other loving caretaker taught you hoe to DEAL with stress and emotional upset. This is also when we shed our security blankets, stuffed animals etc. Those were our coping mechanisms in a physical form. Some people learn to use food for this. Others never learn. These individuals become the hair pullers, skin cutters, paranoid cowards in the corner or bullies. If they do not get their behaviors modified correctly, and if the emotional upset/traumas never cease, these people become Borderlines or Narcissists.
Borderline is an interesting name. It was coined by a psychologist that describes the personality disorder on the "borderline" between neurotic and psychotic. The APA is considering changing the name to Emotional Intensity Disorder (or something like that) to better describe it. We all know what Narcissists are. These "twin" disorders share many characteristic of which I know you are very familiar with.
the DSM (the Bible for MH pros) lists symptoms for NPD;
1. Grandiosity with expectations of superior treatment from others
2. Fixated on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness
3. Self-perception of being unique, and superior
4. Needing constant admiration of others
5. Sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others
6. Exploitative of others for personal gain
7. Unwilling to empathize with other's feelings, wishes or needs
8. Intensely envious of others and the belief that others are envious of them
9. Pompous and arrogant behavior
While BPD symptoms are;
1. Markedly disturbed sense of identity
2. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
3. Splitting (Black-and-white or all-or-nothing thinking)
4. Severe impulsivity
5. Intense or uncontrollable emotional outburst, disproportionate to event or situation
6. Unstable and chaotic interpersonal relationships
7. Self damaging behavior
8. Distorted self image
9. Dissociation (emotional detachment)
10. Often accompanied by depression, anxiety,anger, substance abuse or rage
Both deal with conflict in ways that are psychologically unhealthy and often detrimental to those closest to them or themselves.
Both live with an intense fear of ABANDONMENT. Yet, "intense and stormy relationships" are the norm for these people. (Self fulfilling prophecy, anyone?)
NPD's cannot look outside themselves and are thus emotionally unavailable and struggle to maintain relationships. "BPD's are often over-responsive to other's concerns, especially during the "idealization" phase of the courtship. But anger and resentment from putting the other's concerns first inevitably cycles around, causing resentment, at which point the relationship will enter the "devaluation" phase".
These Personality Disordered individuals can not be in a normal relationship. We have been their Emotional Regulators (security blankets, stuffed animals, parents) for years and now we finally gave up on them, found strength in ourselves and dropped them like the bad habits they are! They can not handle that even more! To them, we have pulled the rug out from under their feet. We are no longer their emotional/physical punching bags. They go into panic/survival mode. They, having dysfunctional childhoods have learned how to "survive on the streets" (but not how to live in a normal healthy relationship) so they do the only thing they know. Attack! In an adversarial setting you want these people on your side, right? They never back down, they need give up, they never lose. Because to them, every struggle, be it real or imagined becomes a fight for their very own survival. Well, now in the adversarial setting of the Family Law Courtroom, we are finally on the receiving end of that. This is why they can lie, cheat, make false allegations, keep fighting tooth and nail throw a temper tantrum, play the victim, essentially do ANYTHING they have to in order to win (really not to lose). They feel they have been the loser and on the the receiving end of things their entire life. This is why they go into battle every time now.
So you see, it isn't that YOU did anything to warrant such bad behavior from your children. It is the other parent reacting to their perceived life or death struggle against YOU that the child, living with the other parent perceives and emulates. MH Pro only detect the external hostility of the child towards YOU and their initial course of action is to believe the upset child. SO this is how YOU become the BAD GUY. If the untrained and inexperienced (and unqualified MH Pro) reports this to the Judge, then it is US that are screwed. Now we have a crazy ex, a colluding child and a MH Pro all saying that WE are the problem.
So remember. It isn't you that is crazy. It is them!
See how simple that is..........
credit given to; Susan Heitler PhD, Psychology Today and Beverly Engel - The Emotionally Abusive Relationship 2002