SPLITTING: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, by Bill Eddy, LCSW, JD, and Randi Kreger, coauthor of Stop Walking on Eggshells
Review by James Sullivan, Ph.D.
Advertised as “the legal and psychological advice you need,” this is an invaluable guide for those in the vulnerable position described by the title. This is a most readable book, the text supplemented with helpful charts and bulleted notes.
The authors pay attention to the myths and realities of the courtroom and the “dynamics of persuasiveness.” They warn against thinking that judges will find the behavior of the PD (personality disordered) person obvious. In fact, the very features of PD people make them believable. These individuals are, as we know, charming, usually good-looking, and usually intelligent. So their manipulative personalities and blaming attitudes can be seductive. Even experienced judges can be duped by the manipulation and dual personas of the PD individual.
A few quotes from the book:
“People with PDs”¦are operating ”˜under the influence’ of constant cognitive distortions: exaggerated fears, all-or-nothing thinking, jumping to conclusions,emotional reasoning and projecting.”
“If you question blamers’ thinking, they take it as a personal attack.”
“In divorce, you become the target. Blamers come to court”¦ and legal professionals may totally believe their concerns about being victims.”
“The best overall strategy for targets of blame is to take a very assertive approach”¦By explaining the pattern of your blamer’s behavior and organizing your information well, you can educate your attorney, therapist, evaluator, and judge.”
As important as it is to have a seasoned attorney and a therapist, the authors warn that you should expect to do a lot of legwork yourself. Part of this legwork does not have to be analyzing all there is to know about personality disorders at least in regard to your presentation to the Court. “Courts are more persuaded,” these authors, claim, “by strong evidence of a pattern of misbehavior”¦than by an explanation of PDs.”
There are chapters devoted to working with other Court officials, like expert witnesses, evaluators, psychologists, guardians ad litem, appraisers, and accountants. They even advise on what to expect from the blamer’s attorney.
In sum, in all my years as a professional counselor, including work with divorcing couples and with the Court system, I have not encountered a more comprehensive guide for those struggling to divorce a person with a personality disorder.
James Sullivan, PhD holds four masters degrees and a doctorate from Fordham University. He has worked with individuals, groups, couples, and families for over 45 years.
SPLITTING: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, is available on Amazon.com.
Thank you Dr. Sullivan. I have a earlier version of this book and it does contain good information.
My spath stood up at our divorce proceeding saying, “I don’t give a sh– about the kids” (I’m just out to devastate YOU, no matter what it takes.) How very prophetic that was…more than 40 years ago!
Despite being charged with child abuse by the Ct. Child Protective Services in ’80, despite stealing all my funds and dumping us, he now has made the 5 children in his image…complete psychopaths themselves. So my spath made good on his threat; he knew exactly where and how to devastate me the most…through the children I so lovingly raised as a single mom. They were all a mother’s dream-come-true when they entered adult life but slowly the spath traits appeared, despite all my efforts to the contrary. So if you have offspring with the sociopath…BEWARE!
flicka, It is genetic and I am so sorry. I must be hard for children whose parents live in colliding universes even if we try to get along for the children. One of my children is at the least a minion, at worst a full fledged psycho like her dad and we are estranged. Once a sweet lovable darling, she is now a coldblooded bitch. My son has some traits, some he learned some maybe some innate but he is clearly not like his dad and sister, his wife sees his dad clearly for what he is. He was always so much like me and my daughter was so hard for me to understand, so delicate and a born liar. I pray my daughter will come to her senses someday and that she is just lost in the fog of his delusions. Meanwhile, I am so thankful to have my son.