Legal matters can be trying enough without the presence of mental health issues, but often they do coincide. If possible prior to filing, for custody or divorce, meet with area attorneys removing other more litigious attorneys from your spouse’s selection list. Secure an empathetic counselor both for any children involved and for yourself as well. While your attorney will likely care what you are going through, he or she will not be able to provide the depth of emotional support and logistical guidance you will likely need. If you are dealing with an ex diagnosed with a personality disorder, they experience distortion and can make legal mtters much more difficult while convincingly putting on a show for others.
If your ex is diagnosed with Narcissistic, Borderline, Sociopathic, Psychopathic or personality disorder, all these types flourish in the limited pockets of the legal system, especially if unknown and unchecked. It is unfortunate that often a treatable mental illness such as depression/anxiety is confused with these more serious personality disorders which often cannot be treated. Further, they are often unfamiliar to guardians, custodial evaluators and the court system at large when they require a very different approach to secure children’s safety and needs met.
It is imperative when dealing with personality disordered ex-spouses to limit communication, to track everything said, done, and reimbursed or unreimbursed. The program, Our Family Wizard, can be helpful here. Try not to “react” to any provocation and instead give all responses at minimum 24 hours before you send or say a response. This teaches the other party you are self -ontrolled and they cannot manipulate you. Be aware that they unknowingly project a great deal of what they are doing and feeling onto you and that they will be convincing in doing so. Keep your reality in crisp perspective.
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