Borderline Personality Disorder and Parental Alienation Involve Similar Abusive BehaviorsWritten by: Rob Print This Article
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While the old research on BPD reflected in the DSM-IV indicates that females Borderlines far outnumber male Borderlines, newer research indicates that is not so. Yet there has still been a strong focus on BPD being an illness affecting primarily women. We’ve previously shared a video produced showing the emotionally manipulative conversations some Borderline females have in about a minute and a half. A year later, it’s still a popular article as it resonates with folks who have had relationships with Borderlines.
Recently I ran across a set of three videos about a Borderline male made with the XtraNormal animation tools that have been popular with many of those trying to explain what it is like interacting with personality disordered emotionally abusive people. After watching them, I’d say the conversations are quite plausible representations of how these people reason and speak. The guy in these videos, represented by a cuddly looking teddy bear, seems to engage in the “magical thinking” sometimes seen in Borderlines. In particular, he seems to believe that his girlfriend is inhabited by demons because she doesn’t do what he wants. This sort of twisted thinking is typical of Borderlines. If you don’t do what they want in every way, something must be wrong with you. And they are not afraid to tell you that and to make threats, such as the “withdrawal of affection” threat seen in these videos, to get you to comply with their demands.
The Borderline Male, Part 1: Date Night
The Borderline Male, Part 2: The Exorcism
The Borderline Male, Part 3: The Breakup
You might suspect, as I did, that these videos were produced by a female suffering from a Borderline male. But it turns out the producer is a father named Michael Chicca who has struggled with the effects of severe parental alienation on his son induced by the boy’s mother.
Chicca has also produced a couple of videos on parental alienation. If you watch all these videos he’s done, you’ll note the common theme of the twisted selfish thinking, bossiness, emotional manipulation, blame-shifting, and inability to hear and understand what others are saying that are common between the Borderline male and the alienating mother. Given the alienation video content and some of Chicca’s website content, I suspect that he may have based the parental alienation videos on actual interactions with his ex-wife.
Parental Alienation in Action, Part 1
Parental Alienation in Action, Part 2
It’s to Chicca’s credit that he can see that personality disorders and parental alienation are connected in their behaviors and that both harm women and men, girls and boys.
It’s no coincidence that BPD and parental alienation behaviors are so similar. Many books focusing on one topic also mention the other precisely because Borderlines who have kids tend to alienate their children against the other parent and parental alienators often suffer from a personality disorder. Both conditions generally originate from an abusive childhood.
If you’re in a relationships with a Borderline, you should fully expect that your children will probably become victims of parental alienation. This is especially the case for “acting out” variants of this personality disorder in which the focus is on trying to control and manipulate others rather than harming themselves. Such people have major trouble with relationships and as a general rule are very self-centered and have difficulty empathizing with others. These are also fundamental personality traits of parental alienators, although the difficulty with empathy may not always be apparent because often what appears as “empathy” coming from these people is really emotional manipulation for their own benefit.
Borderlines often regard those emotionally close to them as “love objects” that belong to them. This is tied to their emotional insecurity about relationships. They tend to have very severe fear of abandonment and as their adult love relationship crumbles, they tend to cling to their children in unhealthy ways. Not only do these types of fears create a great degree of distress in them, they also become motivated to do what they can to ensure that their remaining “love objects” (the children) will not stray by having affections for others. Borderlines and alienators alike tend to believe their children cannot love the other parent without ceasing to love them. Thus they strive to ensure this will not happen and often use a parental alienation campaign as a major instrument to control the outcome and protect themselves from their deep fears of abandonment. Parental alienation often starts during the relationship or marriage, but this may not be apparent to the target parent. In nearly every case, it is likely to become far worse after the separation or divorce starts.
While there is certainly no absolute rule that a Borderline will always alienate children, it is so common that it should be recognized as a significant risk. In my view, Borderlines who are not undergoing treatment showing long-term significant reduction or remission in symptoms probably should not have children. They are not emotionally capable of being mature parents who can put their children first and keep them out of conflict with the children’s other parent. Their insecurities and habits of emotionally and verbally abusing others makes it almost a certainty that they will drag the children into conflicts, perhaps nearly every conflict, with the other parent.
Conversely, if you’re experiencing parental alienation directed at you (whether you are a parent or a child), you should take a long, hard look at the background of the alienating parent. The odds are strong that you will find, if you dig deep enough, that he or she was abused as a child, shows many behavioral signs of a DSM-IV Axis II Cluster B personality disorder such as BPD or NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), and is in denial about the behavioral problems. You may find that reading more about BPD, NPD, and similar personality disorders gives you a lot of insights into what drives the alienating parent in your life and helps you to find coping mechanisms for dealing with them.
|BPD, Child Abuse, Children, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Family, NPD, Parental Alienation, Partner Violence, Psychology|