© 2011 By Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.
Excerpted from Splitting…
Borderline Abandonment Rage
Mental health professionals are very familiar with the fear of abandonment of the person with BP traits. This may have been a very real issue in childhood when the child’s life depended on a secure bond with a parent. In adulthood, this fear often drives people away and is no longer productive. Regardless, people with BP traits alternate between the extremes of clinging behavior and rage when they feel their relationship security is in any way threatened. Once a divorce is obvious and clinging won’t work (and again, it doesn’t matter who initiated the divorce), they often become enraged against the perceived target. They may do anything to harm the target, both for revenge and for validation that they are innocent of any responsibility for the breakup.
They may physically batter their former loved ones (Dutton 2007). They may attempt to dominate or alienate the children. They may make allegations that will publicly humiliate their partners. Sometimes they are conscious of the wrong they are doing, but it seems justified because of the intensity of their sense of abandonment. Sometimes they completely believe that their domestic violence is necessary: “She deserved it after what she did to me.” And sometimes they truly believe in their false allegations of abuse, despite all the evidence to the contrary: “He must have harmed our child; I just know it, after what he did to me by abandoning me.”
The above was excerpted from Splitting, to read more of this passage, order your copy of Splitting by visiting our 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.