Randi Kreger has brought the concerns of people who have a family member with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) to an international forefront through her best-selling books, informative website, and popular online family support community Welcome to Oz.
Are You Considering Divorce? Read This First!
The book Splitting: Protecting Yourself When Divorcing Someone with Narciccistic or Borderline Personality Disorder by Bill Eddy says that the more prepared you are for a divorce (no matter who initiates it), the less likely you will be to have a high-conflict divorce. While these hints can't fully protect you, the sooner you take action on them, the better off you will be.
1. Develop an emergency plan. Your partner could assault or evict you at any time. Figure out a safe place to go, get some ready cash, and think about who can help you on short notice. Copy important records and keep them in a safe place.
2. As soon as possible after they occur, write down accurate details of problems and events between you and your partner (and others) that could become issues in court. Keep a journal or other written record of anything pertinent. If other people were present, write down their names.
3. Communicate very carefully and respectfully with your partner, because anything may be introduced into evidence. Make any e-mails, whether initiated by you or in response to your partner, brief, informative, friendly, and firm. This is especially true if your partner's e-mails are hostile. Avoid setups for violent confrontations, such as physically fighting over papers, pushing, and shoving. Indicate that you want to settle issues out of court to keep things calm, but always be prepared for the realistic possibility of court.
4. Protect your children from conflicts between you and your partner. Don't say anything against your partner, no matter how provoked you might be, because anything could become evidence.
Avoid: • Asking your children questions about the other parent • Discussing court with your children or within their hearing • Asking your children to compare you and your partner • Giving your children choices between their two parents • Exposing your children to your negative emotions
5. Obtain a therapist to help you understand your partner's behavior, anticipate problems, deal with your emotions around the divorce or separation, and learn about yourself.
6. Hire an attorney with good communications skills and consult with this professional to prepare for predictable crises and accusations. If your attorney isn't experienced enough, have him consult with Bill Eddy or find another attorney.
7. Shut down any public networking web pages you have. You may wish to erase your browsing history from your computer. Make sure your passwords are secure. Make sure that what you want to keep private, such as letters, texts, or lists, is kept private.
8. Tell your family and friends what to expect, how to respond, how they can help, and how to avoid splitting either of you into being viewed as all good or all bad.
Begin all of these steps right away, even before separating, if possible. If your partner is a potential "persuasive blamer," there's a risk that the blamer might use anything you do:
• As an excuse for abuse or violence • To spread rumors against you • To publically humiliate you • As the basis for allegations and decisions against you in family court and possibly other courts
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