CrazyBuster, Micksbabe, gives us some more “food for thought” with an interesting article about female manipulation and how it is used in the family court system. – Dr T
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
~ Genesis, Chapter 3, Verse 6, King James version of the Bible
I’m not going to argue the accuracy of a story “written” before not only written language, but also, before language itself existed.
Suffice to say, since humans invented written language, humans have been writing about how the “weaker” of the human species, manipulates her stronger counter-part.
- Sarah cast out her husband Abraham’s second wife, Hagar, and her son Ishmael (her husband’s first son), into the desert to die, out of jealousy, spear-heading a war that is still going on today.
- Helen of Troy’s face caused the Trojan Wars and launched a thousand ships.
- Cleopatra conspired with Mark Antony against Augustus, resulting in Antony (and ultimately, Cleopatra, too) committing suicide.
- Catherine the Great had affairs with her military chiefs, who gladly did her bidding to kill her imbecile husband when she gave the orders.
Women have been manipulative since the very beginning of time. The Feminist Movement didn’t start it – not by a long shot. Women learned to be manipulative as a survival mechanism, as a means to securing a livelihood for ourselves and our children.
As a young girl growing up, not too far back in recent history, these were the messages and “rules” that I was taught, literally and implied:
1. Get thyself a husband – preferably one who makes a lot of money.
2. A man will love you more if you bear him children, but he will love you even more if you bear him a son. My parents tried (me) and tried (my sister) until, FINALLY, my brother was born and then they quit breeding because they had succeeded.
3. Sex is a tool, to be guarded and used as a reward to the man who treats the way you OUGHT TO BE TREATED (whatever THAT means). A woman who “gives it up” freely is a slut.
If you think I’m exaggerating, check out the book called, The Rules. I find the premise of this book insulting, but not shocking. At least Fein and Schneider are honest about it.
Being a rule breaker, I failed to adhere to most of “The Rules.” I managed to have some relationship luck without being manipulative, though. Thankfully, my husband doesn’t consider me slutty because I don’t demand a new car every time we have sex.
The scary part of the inherently manipulative nature of women is that manipulation works well in the court system. Can you imagine the amount of alimony and child support that Cleopatra would have received for bearing children to both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony? Toss in an entitled Personality Disorder with the ability to believe their own lies, and that woman is in HCP (high-conflict people) Heaven in family court.
The problem, in my opinion, is that Judges are not, in most cases, mental health professionals. And their egos are too huge to consider that they, themselves are being manipulated. While some divorce/custody cases include mental health evaluations, getting a diagnosis of having a personality disorder is rarely enough to reverse custody or, for that matter, significantly factor in the outcome of the rulings. It definitely should factor, though.
I know a man who was ordered to not only give custody of his five children to his high-conflict, personality disordered wife, but also ordered to fork over almost a million dollars to her, which she promptly blew, and within five years, was penniless and living in a mental institution. No Judge would order money to be handed over to a 10-year old to manage on their own, yet HCPs with the emotional maturity of a 10-year old (or younger), are regularly awarded custody and alimony and child support, with no accountability, ability to manage, or supervision over the funds.
Having a personality disorder is a disability of sorts, but in cases of child custody and divorce, having a personality disorder should be the kiss of death. The people who suffer most gravely from these disorders are their children and spouses, not the high-conflict, personality disordered individual.
Given the HCP’s propensity for emotionally abusing and PAS’ing (parental alienation) their own children against the other parent, high-conflict, abusive personality disordered individuals should NEVER be awarded primary custody of a child. Nor, given their emotional immaturity and lack of personal accountability, should these individuals receive unmonitored amounts of monies from their former spouse.
I think the only hope for reform and fairness in family courts is to mandate extensive mental health evaluations in contentious divorce cases. Paying for mental health evaluations up front, could actually be more cost effective than the alternative endless court wranglings with a litigious high-conflict PD.
As a result, Family Court Judges may be less likely to be manipulated into believing that the Mother is automatically the better parent by virtue of having the Uterus.
Thanks, Micksbabe! – Dr T
Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.
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Amen. Same selfish women who will use the child support on their OWN hair, nails, expensive shoes, clothing and just LOVE to tell your child that it is YOUR fault that they have to shop at Good Will and the Dollar store for them and that you are the reason they can’t have something. (Or better yet she’ll tell your child, whom she keeps from you, to ask you for the expensive gifts!) Try your best and not let your child see that what she is doing is just killing you. But you truly wish you could scream why doesn’t your lazy, crazy mother just get a job?! Why does your mom call here 100 times when you are here but noone can answer the phone when I try to call you there? Why is it I am only looked at for entertainment purposes or as an ATM? Personality disorders = great parenting. NOT.
Couldn’t agree more! We have so often heard “I can’t afford gas to come to little league” and “I can’t afford to drive them to karate class” Meanwhile, hair done perfectly, nails done at a salon, tan, and a corvette in the garage! That of course, disclosed this way “By the way, when you drop the kids off, you may see my husband in the driveway washing my Christmas present” Boys and girls, can you say “Sociopath”? I knew you could! How did this woman get custody? Oh, right, by lying in court! When confronted about perjury and the fact that it’s a felony? Oh, I didn’t say that in court! Are you kidding? It’s in writing sister!
OK, I have a question for those of you with diagnosed exes. How did you get the diagnosis to happen? I absolutely want that, I just don’t know how to get there. I even talked to our family Dr. about this, and she didn’t really know how to go about it.
In most cases, getting an official diagnosis won’t affect the court’s decision. If anything, they’ll think you’re picking on a handicapped person.
I think they are mostly self-diagnoses. In my own experience, a close family friend who’s cousin is a PhD psychologist first observed that my now ex had borderline characteristics. He also based this on the ex of a close friend who WAS diagnosed borderline by a psychiatrist and the girlfriend of a colleague who is so obviously BPD it’s truly painful.
The marriage counselor of my ex and I refused to go into Cluster “B” territory, even when I asked. She preferred going with “low to no sense of self” which has many of the same symptoms. Based on other things she’s said to me, I suspect the real issue is that she believes you can’t do much with cluster “B”s but can do something with people with very low self esteem and image. I think she has a point.
This is all why the most important thing for you to do is document everything. I kept a journal and saved emails. Had there been fights, I would have started recording them. I’ve also learned a few trigger points with my ex (including one so personal that I have no idea how extreme her reaction would be if I used it. I honestly hope I never have to.)
Interesting distinction. It seems to me that a Cluster B would naturally target someone with very low self-esteem, as it would make it easier to make the target believe that the crazy behavior really is his/her fault.
You may have misunderstood, or I didn’t make it clear; my marriage counselor and I believe that in actual behavior there isn’t much difference between a borderline and a person with little to no self-image. After talking with a lot of people familiar with all ranges of borderline personalities, I tend to agree. My observation is that while borderlines often seem confident, they have little to no sense of self (which is different from, though related to, low self-esteem.) I believe it is this lack of sense of self is what enables them to do things which most people would consider immoral if not evil.
Borderlines have no self esteem. They “suffer” (and I use that term lightly) from self-loathing, and they go to great lengths to hide this fact by portraying the opposite. They are control freaks because they know deep inside that no one really wants them, and the only way they can force someone to stay with them, is to beat down their mate’s self-esteem, as well.
B Experienced says
I don’t agree with your perception and the therapists of a person with their self esteem problems being like everybody else. That is the reason why a differential diagnosis is necessary. A normal person with low self esteem will take steps to correct it and NOT sabotage it by relapsing or excusing their behavior. People who are normal with low self esteem problems don’t project, split, twist and use pathological defenses. They accept responsibility for the cause of their low self esteem and change it.
If anybody has BPD, there narcissism is very high to begin with. When you look at the ones who say they have recovered they still diminish the harm they have caused others. I don’t see the appropriate empathy and depth of remorse for others to believe that psychopathy isn’t involved in that either.
person with their self esteem problems being like everybody else.
I didn’t say that. I’m not just talking about low self esteem, as in low self-confidence or feeling rejected, but radically low to no self-esteem, to the point where the person has almost no sense of self. It is hard to explain because it is so hard to imagine–how can someone not understand what “I” means?
That said, you are wrong; people with very low self esteem DO “project, split, twist and use pathological defenses.” This has been observed in studies and is well documented. It is one reason why there is a legitimate question of borderline is a valid diagnosis and even if so a useful one. (Moreover, “[t]hey accept responsibility for the cause of their low self esteem and change it.” isn’t a universal statement even for those whose condition isn’t pathological.)
One thing to be very aware of is that the symptoms of borderline behavior are also symptoms of other behaviors and conditions. There is also a mistake to not realize that all psychological conditions, disorders and non-disorders occupy a multidimensional spectrum. There is also confusion that extreme behavior must always been an active thing–for example while borderlines tend to display extreme sexual behavior, it’s not just hypersexualily, but hyposexuality. While most BPDs will rage with violent behavior, others may become extremely insular.
B Experienced says
I would really have to look at those studies under a microscope because there are many BPD advocates who are trying to blur clinically established boundaries and make the BPD normal somehow. I firmly disagree.
I am very aware of other similar disorders because I have studied most of them in school. I am well aware of variations on a theme of BPD and that each one of them differ in both the degree of their psychopathology, display and comorbid disorders.
I understand the concept of them having no self either. However, I have yet to meet any BPD who had zero self. Their self is more predictable and present than you think when you look very closely at it.
My point of contention is that you appear to be rationalizing their behavior somehow to diminish it and appear to be highly defended since you didn’t want the therapist to use the term Cluster B.
Explaining behavior is not rationalizing it. Quite to the contrary, it helps to understand just why dealing with cluster “B”s is so difficult. Simply demonizing them may make us feel momentarily, but are unhelpful in a therapeutic sense. (This, in fact, is one thing that I dislike about this site; it dwells too much on complaining about symptoms and not enough on how to successfully deal and/or cope with them.)
There is a tendency to project onto cluster “B”s an evil intent that they rarely have. This is the mistake I made since consciousness (self-awareness, even more primitive than intent) implies rationality. My ex had something of a conscience, but you couldn’t reason with her and guilt took therapy only so far. My persistent believe that there was consciousness behind my wives behavior, not only kept my trying to fix my marriage, but I now realize made it worse since it reinforced her instinctive responses. THIS DOES NOT EXCUSE HER BEHAVIOR, it merely helps explain the dynamic.
My hope is that people in these relationships don’t make the same mistakes I did. And it really doesn’t matter what the diagnosis is of the offending partner; they are still culpable and the other is still suffering.
appear to be highly defended since you didn’t want the therapist to use the term Cluster B.
You’ve read without understanding. I never said that, it was the other way around. Moreover, your insistence on placing labels accomplishes little.
As it turns out, there are therapies that can help borderline patients. My guess is that the success rate is directly related to the patients sense of self–please note the phrase–as has been said many times; a person can be helped only if they acknowledge they have a problem and work to change themselves. For this reason alone, though there are others, there is little difference between a non-borderline with little to no sense of self and a borderline (I hasten to add that I believe the former is an intricate part of the latter.)
A final point: there are no clinically established boundaries for BPD. This comes up over and over again with the acknowledged experts in the field and is a great frustration to them. Some progress has been made–there are some fascinating studies on physiological differences of BPDs with the normal population (one study very much explained some my ex-wife’s behavior, which is why I disagreed with our therapist in diagnosis, but didn’t in her view of possible treatment.)
B Experienced says
I disagree totally. My insistence with labels is productive. Many people will put their sneakers on and run. I really don’t get where you insist that there are no established criteria for BPD or other Cluster B’s, and “experts” who believe that. Perhaps the people telling you about BPD aren’t really “experts”. However, if that is want you want to believe you most certainly can. People on this site focus on the behavior because there is not much you can do with them,and they have been damaged. It is part of their healing and integrative reconstructive process which is usually extensive. I am on the true victims side and I don’t care if they were abused and that is why they are abusive. I myself don’t care what happens to the Cluster B. Where are all these therapies that help? Look around on the Internet because many of them don’t like DBT. DBT is limited. I took a look at it, and I am not impressed, far from it. I find your optimism naive, and that tells me that your experience and understanding of them is far from being competent and/ or extensive. Good luck with your approach.
One more thing; narcissism amongst cluster “B”s isn’t due to high self-esteem. The narcissists sense of self is pathological and can’t be satisfied. It isn’t anywhere within the norm of human behavior. (People can have overinflated self-esteem and can act narcissistic, but that isn’t the same as having a disorder any more than being very angry is the same as a cluster “B” raging.)
I like the following author’s observation: “they [narcissists] have no authentic self-esteem and look to others to provide a substitute for it.”
I think overinflated self-esteem is most likely related to a disorder. Almost like overcompensating for what isn’t there (or what the disordered person knows not to be there). I dated several men that pumped themselves up in order to dominate social situations and to preserve their egos.
Men that I have known do this either by putting their victim down (privately or publicly), or by “distracting” the rest through the use of entertaining. It’s like they create a diversion.
Being angry is one thing, “raging” is another. Narcissism is one thing, abusing others to sooth your ego is another. I definitely agree that we’re all prone to such tendencies, but the extremes lie in the pathologies of those that are disordered.
B Experienced says
I agree. Most of their suffering is deserved and that the reasons for nobody wanting them are valid ones. The pain that they inflict and the harm they cause others is horrendous. I picked my side decades ago. I am on the side of their victims and not the Cluster B’s. When you chose a behavior, you chose the consequence of that behavior as well. Loathing their bad behavior is a healthy and correct emotion.
Did you ever see any Cluster B say that I was a horrendous person, and I feel like total crap about it. I own it, and I am making amends when I can and moving forward with good behavior without any pathological defense operating? I haven’t, and I have looked high and low to give them the benefit of the doubt over a 30 year period.
I don’t give a hoot about their brain abnormalities either. I have a family member with Schizophrenia who never used it as an excuse and has worked for 30 years and is independent. Nobody knows what they are talking about or what goes into managing that illness if they compare how serious of a neurological and biologically based illness Schizophrenia is to a BPD. It is more than insulting to the person who suffers from Schizophrenia.
It is a living hell to watch a loved one suffer with Schizophrenia on a daily basis for long periods of time and years on end. I never once lashed out at anybody given the pain I was in watching this either because there was no reason to. I never once had a thought of that kind come to mind either. I had BPD’s in my family who didn’t suffer nearly an ounce of what the person with Schizophrenia did. I did have a family member who still took the liberty to abuse the family member suffering from Schizophrenia because the person wasn’t snapping out of it. Any problem I had after helping and watching my family member with Schizophrenia was put in perspective. I became more humbled and grateful.
Give me a person who “suffers” from Schizophrenia, a true victim of Mental Illness, any day, and I will let the clergy deal with the evilness a BPD has. However, I remember when I worked for Priests that even they got rid of them and referred them for treatment because they could see how crazy and disturbed their “person” is by choice. A few Cluster B’s even tried to seduce a priest I knew. One stalked the priest for a long time. The priests knew evil when they saw it. Why is it then, that a lot of clinicians and judges don’t?
Regarding the statement, “I had BPD’s in my family who didn’t suffer nearly an ounce of what the person with Schizophrenia did. I did have a family member who still took the liberty to abuse the family member suffering from Schizophrenia because the person wasn’t snapping out of it.”
Yes, in my experience, ‘high-functioning’ BPD’s tend to be very emotionally abusive, maybe even more so, to people dealing with mental illness, or other challenging adversities. If they don’t just “snap out of it,” the emotional abuse goes to no end. NO END. They smear campaign, double-bind, shit test them, and on and on. They are the ones that ‘appear’ to be holding it all together, but are many times the true source of the problem. Their reactions are embellished, distorted and half truths are told, usually to present their target in a negative light, in order to make them, the aggressor, appear better and ‘normal’. They like to position themselves as ‘martyrs’ and their targets as useless low lives that offer zero utility, or value. This is their world. Where’s the love? There is none. They are not capable. They may say that what they do is out of ‘love’, but their love goes about as far as a Hallmark card.
They will boast about the riches they have acquired, and all of the things it buys. Most of which from being handed jobs with no education, or related experience, or given a gravy train by their significant other. With whom they usually hold in contempt. Can you say, ‘hostile dependency?’ In many instances, they have never had to educate themselves in anything substantial, or look for a job on their own, ever. They will tell people with addiction problems that, “no I don’t know what you mean, I have never done drugs,” but will tell someone else, “yes, I’ve done coke in my past,” or “I smoked pot last week at the XYZ concert, given to me by a friend who smuggled it out of a police evidence room.” Their hypocrisy is ASTOUNDING!
They will project every problem they have with one person onto everyone else. They will manipulate and maneuver against anyone who is an easy target with harmful intent. They will reduce them to NOTHING…if for anything more than to “make a point,” and bring them some sick satisfaction they need to feed their narcissism. They will create divisiveness among their families. They will undermine the goals and ambitions of others. They will suck the joy out of any positive experience. They will minimize the accomplishments of others. They will pull people down, but never do much to help lift someone else up. All of this to no end. NO END.
In my opinion, no contact, is still the only way to go. In my opinion, understanding this character disorder and labeling it provides a cue to prepare an exit-strategy for anyone on the receiving end of this type of on-going abuse.
B Experienced says
The low functioning ones are dangerous too in other ways. They are great at being pathological liars and passive aggressive (silent treatment, pouting, denial). They may purposely regress when they have to move out on their own because they fear abandonment, etc. They are maddening and disturbed toddlers. Nobody normal should or does have that much patience to bear. Nor is it helpful to have that much patience with them because it enables them and they end up exploiting that as well.
I knew a low functioning one who lied to everybody around her because she wanted love for being sick. She had mono and was in the stage of transmission and said it was something else. I myself had been around her, and I have a compromised immune system from an illness. That is evil and psychopathy. I know so many people who gave her chances, and she sabotaged and exploited them all. She had so many shrinks none of them could take her anymore. I don’t blame them. They are their to help not be tortured. She gets what she deserves.
I would agree that the high functioning ones are the most dangerous. They tend to get away with murder. My high functioning BPD ex knows how to behave when she wants to. She can keep it together when she is front of a judge or my son’s therapist. The fact that she knows how to behave when she has to also convinces me that she knows right from wrong. She very purposely knows when to turn on and off the venom. This is very purposeful. Her bad behavior is no accident. I believe that they should be held accountable. I consider them to be some of the most evil of monsters. They are truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Re: Child support
I’ve discovered that having two older (20+) children who learned what the child support is and who are tired of the crap they’ve gotten from their mother works wonders at getting the ex to spend more of the child support money on the children for whom it is intended.
My oldest is not remotely borderline but can be quite manipulative, having learned from the best I suppose and being totally tired of the bullshit. While there is some feeling of my ex deserving it, it was more wonderful to see my youngest dressed in fashionable new clothes.
Both of my step-kids are teenagers now and are beginning to become vocal about their mother’s hypocrisy. They’ve both surpassed her emotionally and that gives me hope that they will one day stop drinking the Kool-Aid altogether.
I was in my early 30’s before I came to the conclusion that cutting my own BPD mother out of my life was the healthy thing to do. But my parents are still married. I think there is a great benefit to children of borderline mothers, to be able to see at least one of their parents stand up to the craziness and model a sane life instead.
B Experienced says
That is true, you deserved someone to stand up for you. People are trying to fix the BPD and feel sorry for them. I feel sorry for their victims. I don’t validate any Cluster B, only their victims who aren’t Cluster B’s themselves.
I am sorry that you had two disordered parents. You had a tougher road than I in that area. Mine was so much easy because of my Mom. I only had a couple of things to work on because of her. That just makes me want to support and help others who are damaged, lost or confused because of a Cluster B.
Thanks Micksbabe another good contribution! I think Peter Parker said it best. With great power comes great responsibility. Harnessing that responsibility is what is missing from the women’s movement or any movement where people milk their supposed victim status to abuse others.
“No Judge would order money to be handed over to a 10-year old to manage on their own, yet HCPs with the emotional maturity of a 10-year old (or younger), are regularly awarded custody and alimony and child support, with no accountability, ability to manage, or supervision over the funds.”
The thing about personality disorders while some of the “symptoms” can be treated the overall prognosis is not good. The behaviors become so ingrained into the person to the point that it’s just a part of who they are. Most don’t realize they have a problem and it’s highly unlikely that they will agree with any health professional that tells them that they are the one who needs to change. People in general are hard to change. The problem with co-parenting with one (especially in the case of parental alienation) is that the law doesn’t recognize the “mental illness” part of it unless someone has a lot of money to put out and have psych evaluations done. That usually includes BOTH parents and any/all children involved (which is very costly). Take the woman in San Antonio, TX who recently killed herself and her two children. Where was the law when their father was trying to get help? The system continually fails fathers and their children. The same system who tries to ensure child support by taking away drivers licenses or throwing dads in jail; needs to take a look at the mother. Looking at mom means looking at how the kids are actually living…does mom look like she is living “above her means” and the kids appear the opposite? Are the kids thriving? Are the kids barely making it in school? Are they eating right? Is mom at home at night? Is mom “supposedly”suicidal but still dressed in designer clothes and doing her make-up during those times? THOSE MOMS are the dangerous ones. You’ll probably find personality disorders present along with other co-morbid issues! The same moms regularly receiving child support but tell anyone who will listen that dad (who does not get to see his children *through no fault of HER own*)is a “Deadbeat”.
I loved the article – my thoughts exactly! and unfortunately, my husband and I are living this now, him having a daughter with a BDP…
thing is: people are not yet educated well enough to even know to suggest a mental evaluation, and considering the high level of manipulation these BDPs are capable of, it`s quite impossible to actually get an accurate one, especially in small communities, since most likely she`s got everyone in town already fooled, and she`s made the ex (the victim) already to be the crazy, unreasonable, unfit parent…
really sad to see this happen before my eyes without being able to do anything…and in the meantime, she continues all her games on the child – who is already displaying signs of depression, and DPD…all of it blamed on my husband, and lately on me…I do wonder how come the system works this way, how come being able to reproduce is reason enough for a woman to have all the rights – when we know so much about mental disorders?!
I am happy to find this site though, as it seems you guys share the same opinions I have on this matter…
my husband comes from a similar environment as the one you describe here, which was an even bigger shock for me – as I come from an environment and society that puts all the responsibilities on the mother (work, kids, food, cleaning, shopping, …), while the father only works (if he works) and watches tv in the evening…and divorce is actually quite impossible since child support is not always granted…
I think both systems/environments/societies need to find a balance – take the good of both systems, and create something healthy, balanced, realistic, and fair…but luckily, more and more of us become aware of what`s really going on, and learn to deal with this in a healthy way…it`s not easy, but freedom from BPD feels awesome!