Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with a Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Blamers and Targets

© 2011 By Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.

Excerpted from Splitting: Preparing for a Difficult Divorce

Preparing Yourself

Sarah was scared. She didn’t know what to expect. For three years, Sam had verbally abused her, constantly blamed her, and sometimes even hit her. She was considering separating from him, but still loved him and hoped it could work out somehow for them to be happy together, as they used to be. Then again, she wondered, If I actually separate from him, would he come after me and really hurt me? Or would he respect me and try to treat me better?

Thomas’s wife, Tammy, had extreme mood swings, from extremely demanding to overwhelmingly loving—all in the same hour!—and was very inconsistent with their daughter. Thomas worked hard at his job, but Tammy sometimes showed up at work and claimed he was hiding money. Thomas didn’t know what his wife would do if he pursued a divorce. Tammy had hinted that she would say he abused their daughter if he ever abandoned her. He wondered, Would the court believe me—or her? Should I get a lawyer or try to represent myself?

Personalities in Difficult Divorces

These days, handling difficult divorces is less about legal issues and more about difficult personalities. Sarah and Thomas have partners who may have borderline personality disorder (BPD) or narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). If you can relate to the types of issues they are facing, or other issues in a difficult divorce, this book is for you—whether or not your partner has one of these disorders and regardless of where you are in the divorce process (before, during, or after).

We have learned that these personalities, in particular, can affect every step of the legal process. Most books on divorce don’t explain this. We will show you how to protect yourself with this knowledge so that you don’t just overreact or give up. We will brief you on what to expect and offer many strategies for what you can do, following Sarah’s and Thomas’s examples along the way.

To read more of this passage, order your copy of Splitting by visiting our company bookstore.

Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist, and mediator. He is the co-founder and Training Director of the High Conflict Institute, a training and consultation firm that trains professionals to deal with high conflict people and situations. He is the author of several books and methods for handling high conflict personalities and high conflict disputes with the most difficult people.

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