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When Your Spouse Has a Personality Disorder

A “normal” Texas divorce is hard enough for any couple. But if you find yourself having to end your marriage with someone struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), your journey ahead will be exponentially more difficult. Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness characterized by extreme mood swings, narcissism, impulsivity, poor self-image, and extreme reactions to stress, all of which can wreak havoc on their closest relationships.

Spouses with borderline personality disorder are prone to feeling intense bouts of anger, depression, and anxiety, leading them to lash out at their families. Unfortunately, the possibility of a broken relationship, more so a failed marriage, can cause a person suffering from BPD to engage in self-destructive behavior, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts.

Obviously, divorcing someone with BPD requires lots of patience and a much gentler approach. If you find yourself facing this situation, below are a few things to consider.

If Necessary, Make Yourself and Your Children Safe and Secure

If you believe that your partner’s mental state will put you and your family in danger, you need to prepare for the worst. Formulate an action plan that includes where you can go to be safe, how much cash you will need, and who you can turn to for help.

Take Down Notes About Your Marriage

As soon as possible, write down the details of problems, altercations, and other events that took place between you and your spouse, as well as other members of your family, which could become issues in the divorce proceedings. Keep these notes, complete with names, dates, and locations in a journal for your divorce attorney to go over. These will be crucial when establishing the urgency of divorcing your spouse.

Be Patient and Empathize

When divorcing a spouse with BPD, you need to remember that you are dealing with someone who may become more reactive than usual. Expect to be insulted, threatened, and accused of things you never did. While the natural response is to defend yourself and react in a similar manner, as you may have seen firsthand during your marriage, acting this way may only do more harm than good.

Be patient and remind yourself that your spouse can do little to avoid lashing out and seeking attention. You don’t have to agree with your ex’s demands or arguments, but acknowledging them anyway can go a long way towards calming down the person and having a reasonable conversation.

Communicate Clearly

Miscommunication with a person with BPD can lead to confrontation and delays in your divorce. Avoid the arguments that your spouse may be craving by choosing your words carefully and wisely. If you know of any hot button issues that trigger conflict with your spouse, try to avoid talking about them face to face as this makes it harder to control the conversation. Instead, communicate through text, email, or your attorneys.

Insulate Your Children from the Divorce

Your children’s emotional and mental wellness of the utmost importance during this difficult period in your lives. Avoid bringing them into you and your spouse’s disagreements or conversations that cast a negative view on your spouse and vice versa. At the same time, however, you can tell your kids the truth according to their ages (i.e. how capable of understanding what’s going on).

Last but Not Least, Get an Attorney

Get in touch with a Texas family law attorney to discuss how to go about the divorce process as quickly and smoothly as possible. Schedule a consultation with Texas divorce attorney Daniella Lyttle by calling the Lyttle Law Firm at 512.215.5225 or by using our contact form.

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"Daniella, you helped me during the darkest and most difficult time in my life. You were always honest, gave me realistic expectations, and you were prepared for anything in the Courtroom and out of the Courtroom. I will be forever grateful for what you did for me and my children. Because of you, I feel that I got a settlement that will put me on the right path for this next chapter of my life as a divorced parent. Thank you and your wonderful team! you all are great!" A.R.
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