Legal Support for Divorce Involving Borderline Personality Disorder
Going Through a Divorce With A Partner With BPD Can Be a Challenging Experience, Particularly When They React Emotionally and Impulsively
Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD, is a mental illness not discovered until the late 1970s. It is sometimes confused with bipolar disorders I and II, and diagnosis is further complicated when a person has BPD and depression. Also, there are several types of BPD, but they all have the same core symptoms. 75% of those with BPD are women, although studies have shown that this data is skewed due to gender bias in mental health.
Slightly over 14 million Americans have been treated for BPD. It typically starts in young adults between the ages of 20 and 30. It can be a genetic condition, usually passed down through the mother, but not always. Another recently discovered cause detected differences in BPD patients’ brains where emotions and impulses are regulated. Another contributor to BPD could be an unstable childhood, trauma, abuse, or other mental or emotional issues. 20% of psychiatric patients admitted have BPD. Fourteen percent of those with BPD will attempt suicide an average of three times when in an untreated state. Self-harming is also prevalent. Those with bipolar disorder and BPD are three times as likely to attempt suicide than those with BPD alone. BPD is also related to substance abuse and anxiety. It is treated with a combination of psychotherapy and psychopharmacology, and when treatment is successful, a person can live a balanced life.
The Signs and Symptoms of BPD in New Jersey
No two people are the same regarding health, be it mental or physical. Just as you couldn’t diagnose a brain tumor for someone with blurry vision and cephalalgia alone, BPD cannot be diagnosed with a simple checklist, if not an observation of the complete picture.
Many people with BPD have impulse control issues. They will say or do something on impulse that they almost immediately regret, be that a harsh tone, text, or negative response. They can also be impulsive shoppers and gamblers, participate in unsafe physical encounters, drive recklessly, have substance abuse issues, and binge eating problems.
Individuals with BPD have a history of volatile, intense romantic relationships and a paralyzing fear of abandonment. They will sabotage their relationships to avoid rejection as they suffer from a fluctuating and blurry sense of self. They may experience a lack of identity and have trouble pinning down what they want for their future and with whom they would like to share it.
Your ex may experience an emotional emptiness or sense of being incomplete. This feeling can lead to a thirst for external validation through attention-seeking behaviors and even going as far as infidelity. Self-destructive behaviors, such as burning, cutting, or scratching oneself, are common in people with BPD. It is almost like a drug or alcohol to release tension, anger, sadness, or anxiety. Cutting is the most common, and it is usually done just below the first layers of skin in areas of the body that can be covered, such as the stomach, arms, and legs. Self-harm is not always a precursor to suicide.
Another critical characteristic is emotional instability. Emotional changes can happen on a dime, with or without an obvious cause. Emotional episodes may last for minutes, hours, or days and can fluctuate from one emotion to another seamlessly as a response to external events or none at all. Finally, you may have found your ex-spouse to be someone whose thinking process leaves minimal grey areas. Something either is or is not. That idea is right or wrong. This makes them inflexible and difficult to negotiate, as compromise is viewed as a failure.
Challenges of Divorce when Your Ex Has Borderline Personality Disorder
Divorce is hard enough when BPD isn’t in the picture. The stress and emotional turmoil are exponentially augmented when a mental illness complicates decision-making, extending the divorce into a much longer and more arduous process. Someone with BPD can display impulsivity and unfiltered emotions without the ability to self-soothe, which can spiral their state into severe depression.
With a spouse who can become reactive, irrational, and at times threatening, seeking compromise when making key decisions may prove incredibly challenging. They may make unfair or even untrue accusations in fear of being abandoned. Agreements may be made one day only to be reversed the next. It can be a grueling process.
Communication as the Key to Avoid Co-Parenting Issues Affected By BPD
Many topics must be in balance when co-parenting. The toughest one is communication. Schedules must be coordinated, decisions must be made, and discussions about everything from school supplies to vacation time must be discussed. If that cannot be done civilly, use written communication or a third party to keep the focus on the matter at hand and not on each other.
Parenting styles and boundaries are other critical topics. Co-parents should set similar boundaries such as bedtimes, chores, and screen time to provide stability for the children. Eating in a balanced, nourishing way and maintaining proper hygiene are also necessary for parents to agree on. Personal boundaries should be set as well. Sometimes parents can overshare and involve their children in topics such as child support, personal relationships, details about the divorce, etc.
The most valuable behavior exes can have for their children is acting like grown adults and having a civil relationship. There is probably a laundry list chock full of reasons why you wanted a divorce, but you needn’t rehash them, especially in front of your children. By maintaining an amicable relationship as co-parents, your children will be less anxious, adapt more willingly to the changes experienced in the home, and won’t feel as though they were the problem.
Handy Resources Available for Spouses with BPD Going Through Divorce
Divorce involving someone with BPD may require some out-of-the-box thinking, such as using mediation or alternative divorce strategies to lessen the abruptness of conflict that divorce can present. Also, mental health professionals can play a significant role in supporting the whole family. Having a treatment plan in place can help everyone make these life-altering decisions.
Some courts may require therapeutic sessions for the spouse with BPD for their safety. It is crucial that they maintain their medication and therapy schedules to make solid, lucid decisions as uninfluenced by their condition as possible. This benefits both sides as the process may move on more smoothly.
Benefits of Hiring an Experienced Lawyer Handling Divorce Cases Involving BPD
A lousy lawyer couldn’t handle a divorce case where BPD is in the mix, even on their best day. You must have a lawyer who knows the law and is experienced enough to have the tools necessary to do the job. You must have a lawyer familiar with BPD, whether the client or the defendant is concerned, and can think on their feet. Your best bet is someone creative, a problem-solver, and who thinks out of the box. A significant characteristic of BPD is impulsivity, so you need someone who can land on their feet and keep going. An excellent lawyer can make all of the difference.
Contact Seasoned Lawyers for Couples Facing Divorce with BPD Issues at our Brick and Sea Girt Offices
Our experienced attorneys can provide sound strategies and advice if you are considering filing for divorce. Whether you are someone with BPD or whose spouse has BPD, we want to offer you our legal services and support during this troubling time. It’s not always easy to make life-changing decisions that will affect not only your family. The lawyers at The Bronzino Law Firm will not leave you to make them on your own. We are passionate about providing our clients with the unique help they need throughout the divorce process in Mantoloking, Manalapan, Middletown, Jackson, Berkeley, Howell, Sea Bright, Manasquan, Wall, and elsewhere in Ocean and Monmouth CountY.