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BPD BM - How to deal?

ny7890's picture

This morning I got the first "You're not their Mother and never will be" when I did a drop off by myself as my boyfriend left for a business trip very early. It came from nowhere and all I could stumble through was "I respect you as their mother and never have done anything intentionally to undermine you." - no response except reiterating she is their Mother.

We are a year and a half into our relationship, and about 7 months into living together and me being full time involved with the skids. I am lucky in that they are young and girls and I am the shiny new toy still...there is no problem with the kids. And my BF and I both come from divorced homes, so I think we have some leg up on how to deal with this. We have made every decision in the best interest of the kids - whatever that means and will you ever really know until they are grown and fucked up or not? They are happy in our home, and we can usually diffuse any poisoning from their BM in a visit, by reaffirming they are loved by all of us and they have 2 wonderful parents plus some extras! 

Anyway, he has long suspected his ex-wife and BM has undiagnosed BPD. Having a best friend who grew up with diagnosed BPD I was skeptical, but having lived it for the past 7 months I have to agree. During drop off this morning I got the full threatening brunt of BM, completely unprovoked. I came home to an empty house and BF called me as soon as he landed, but  I am still reeling and losing hope it will ever get better. 

He is a wonderful partner, telling the kids we are all a family despite BM telling them I am not part of their family.  I know I need to disconnect and ignore what doesn't go on in our own home, but how? BM and I have communicated openly in the past and found common ground. She knows I don't want bio-kids. I don't pretend to be their Mother, I don't get involved in parental conversations or scheduling conversations and BF hasn't changed his stance or opinions since I came around, yet she is continually up and down and treats him terribly. How do you get used to being a constant threat to another human that can hurl any abuse at you they want and you can't do anything back? She uses the kids as pawns to benefit herself and punish my BF, and I am helpless. All I can do is support him and be available when and where I can to facilitate whenever BM decides they can come to our house. 

I worry for the long term, will they be poisoned against us as they get older? Will my relationship with them suffer because BM will tarnish me? How do you cope? How do you deal with an irrational person that can't be reasoned with? How do you support your partner and look after yourself without being too selfish, whats the boundary? 

tog redux's picture

Oh boy. Buckle your seat belt.

"I worry for the long term, will they be poisoned against us as they get older?"  Most likely, YES. Young kids tend to be harder to alienate, the most vulnerable age is from 9-15. They are being poisoned now, that's when it starts to be harder to undo and more lasting.

"Will my relationship with them suffer because BM will tarnish me?"  Probably. Though I will say, BM in our situation, who I believe is NPD/BPD, did not ever target ME, but I flew way below the radar.  I didn't do anything on my own, like drop offs and pick-ups, except very rarely, and usually, at school when she wouldn't be there.

"How do you cope?" It's not easy to deal with, you are likely to end up dealing with all kinds of drama and withheld visitation, family court visits, police contacts, and quite possibly, the kids will be alienated entirely.  My SS liked me a lot, and he loved his dad, but he ended up alienated for over 3 years, from 15-18. He's back now, but there is no real relationship, and he's still BM's puppet.

"How do you deal with an irrational person that can't be reasoned with?"  You set iron boundaries around yourself and you do not try to reason with her. Your BF needs to be the only person who deals with her, he needs to follow the CO to the letter, and he needs to protect you from any targeting by her.

"How do you support your partner and look after yourself without being too selfish, whats the boundary?"  Be selfish. You did not knock up or marry this woman and it's not your job to deal with her at all.  I'm not kidding when I say I've said 10 words to BM in 9 years, and most were hello at an event or something.  Protect yourself, and expect your BF to protect you, as well.

Be very sure about what you are signing up for.  We have been dealing with this for 9 years, SS is 19, and still we are not rid of this crazy woman.  And SS is basically lost to us, despite living 20 minutes away. DH has done most things right, that's why I'm still here. But it has been a very hard road.

ny7890's picture

Thank you for your honesty. I will be backing down and going off the grid.

Losing the kids is not an option. We can't control what they decide as they get older, but we will do everything in our power now to ingrain in them that they have a loving home with us and they have our full support in everything they do. 

What already hurts is they are already starting to say things like, "Mommy says we only have one house and one parent." Heartbreaking. And how do you combat that wihtout saying what Mommy says isnt true? Teaching them their mother is a liar isnt good for anyone, at their ages it will also just backfire in our faces.

GoingWicked's picture

I don’t know.  BM seemed to go back and forth.  Like one day she’d be jealous, then the next thanking me.  Or telling SD she doesn’t have to listen to me, to telling SD she should.  Or telling DH, I’m not SDs mom, to telling SD   she can come to me for advice, I’m her parent too.   Kinda crazy.  Anyway SD has borderline tendencies as well which just tops the cake.

 I think the key is to try not to take offense or overthink what they say and do.  They’re ruled by whatever emotion is driving them at the time.  You really just got to roll your eyes, shrug your shoulders, and repeat to yourself not my monkey not my circus, and really I find distancing myself helps.

My DH is altogether better at dealing with both of their crazy.  It doesn’t stress him out.  He gets it at a level I never will.  He had lots of practice being married to BM, and she was a whole lotta psycho.

ny7890's picture

My experience with BM sounds so familiar thus far. In the beginning, she was supportive of me meeting the kids, with encouraging words, like they'll love you they love girls. And we did the right things, like meeting her first, letting her get to know me. Opening lines of communication, so if she had something she wanted to discuss she could come straight to me instead of going through DH. We'd hug when we saw each other. 

Now I get evil glares and short terse threatening statements if she speaks to me at all. DH is used t this. He's used to the rollercoaster and for the most part he just puts his head down to get through the lows. Until she started withholding the kids and using them as ransom to get her way. This just makes him angry and ready to go back to court.

I just don't know how a mother can make the decisions she does and claim they are in the best interests of her kids? They are 4 & 6 and she regularly asks them to choose between their parents. Even though they don't have the emotional capacity to weigh what that decision actually means they know enough to choose the parent that is standing in front of them, which is her. We would never ask them to choose, we don't even ask them to choose between which one of us puts them to bed!

I think distance is how it has to be. I need to stay under the radar, and I hate that I can't help DH more to deal with these, but being behind the scenes supportive I think is the best way so I don't trigger her. Doesn't hurt to try I suppose.

Goodluck's picture

Tog has said it all.

You dont deal with her.  BPD is an intense mental health illness that hopefully your bm is in comprehensive treatment for. Is she?

She owes it to her kids TO be 'in'' treatment.

Today would be the last day that I would have any contact what so ever with BM. Hopefully your boyfriend will be back in town for the next pick-up and drop. IF he has a habit of leaving town he should make other arrangments with his parents or his adult siblings.

YOU are no ones punching bag. First on that list is BM.

Make sure BM does not have your personal cell phone number or personal email address either. You have a right to privacy. Dont let bm or boyfriend tell you she needs it IF there is an emergency. In the unlikely event there is one..HIS parents can call BM or gosh forbid something happens to boyfriend ...HIS lawyer will call HER lawyer. OR if that fails...the police will get ahold of bm with a knock on her door.


overloaded's picture

I don't know a lot (new stepmom) but I do have a history of dealing with crazy (exhusband). Early on my DH told me BM of SS11, SS8 was "crazy". I've heard it from quite a few people (without me asking). So I told him I didn't want or need ANY contact (this is what I did to protect myself from my crazy ex and guess what? I haven't heard from him in 7 months- granted my kids are 18, 16, 12 so they can communicate with him on their own). Anyway, in 3 years together I have seen her once in passing. I don't have her phone number or email and I told my DH not to give her mine. No contact. Boundaries are your best friend. Protect yourself and your sanity. You can still be a good wife and a good stepmom without engaging crazy BM. 

ny7890's picture

No she is not in treatment, and is completely undiagnosed. She needs therapy at the very least, but we can't dictate that. And if he brought htat up she would just withhold the kids more. She does owe it to her kids to get help, but she doesn't see anything wrong with ehr behaviour. My ex is exaclty the same so I know what hes dealing with, but i didn't have kids with my ex so I was able to walk away. Shes also extremely spoiled and used to getting her own way with everything, so that just enables a constant martyrdom and playing victim.

I don't need to help with pick ups and drop offs, I do to make things easier on both of them. I think I need ot stop for a while or only from school or afterschool where there will be no interaction. 

It's getting to the point where we are thinking about taking legal action to revise the custody agreement, but thats going to be a battle. I'm also battling taking on a big job with a startup that will mena I can't help out as much and thats not what DH wants but I think I need to do this for myself, because I can't handle the rollercoaster like he can.

NoWireCoatHangarsEVER's picture

And like anyone with BPD they rage and then are calm.  They rage and then calm down within an hour.  Over the top emotions.  When she would target me, I would simply say to her, "I didn't marry you and I didn't have kids with you and if you can't speak to me respectfully then you don't get to speak to me until you can.  I owe you nothing."  It's been hell on earth dealing with BM (North Korea) over the years.  BPD don't think logically like we do and they are slaves to their volatile high conflict emotions.  They stomp on boundaries you try to enact.  I would tell North Korea that has long as she was texting me specifically about an emergency with one of the children or a request for say my dental insurance number, that was fine but if she was going to stomp on my boundaries than I would warn her and then I block her.     

elkclan's picture

The thing that drives me the most nuts is that in their calm/rage cycle you're supposed to be all nice when she's in calm mode and pretend the rage never happened. That's what she expects and we're the 'bad guys' if we cant do that. I am not going to forget that she blamed her son's 'behavoiural problems' on my son and me. I'm not going to forget that she made her son write an email to his dad saying "I just want to spend time with you here in  ____shire and to feel like I am 'enough' for you." WTF? If OSS was 'enough' for anyone, then BM wouldn't have been so desperate for baby number 2 or had a boyfriend or got a dog or had friends. I'm not going to forget that she slaps and rages at her son at a level which is bad enough and then that he tells my son about it and leaves my son feeling helpless and upset that his friend is living in a situation like this. 

So no BM, we are not friends, I don't want to be your friend. I could see how we could. Yes, we are both SO's type - clever, sciencey, outdoorsy women and yes, on the face of it we ought to be friends. But I've already left one emotionally abusive relationship, I don't want another. She does not even have my contact details. (I do have hers in case of emergency). I have only once needed to contact her and I used one of the kid's phones. (She could get my contact details if she really wanted they are on SSs phones.)

The next time you see BM it may be as if that never happened. Or it may be that she's in some new rage. Do not drop kids there unless it is an emergency. Give those kids a refuge and a place of calm - that's the best you can give them. Remember that they do not have the skills to navigate this yet and won't for a long time. Remember that if they primarily live with her they do have to manage their moods and part of that is showing their mom that she is "NUMBER ONE". Once OSS hugged me in front of BM, he sure hasn't done it twice. I was frightened for him. I saw the rage on her face. Shortly after that she started the weird emotional manipulation of keeping him out of my house. 

But how to get her out of your headspace when she acts like this - please let me know when you find out. I'm getting better, but it IS upsetting behaviour. Forgive yourself for reacting, because it's normal to react to attacks. Stay calm on the outside at least. 

shamds's picture

see it this way... you and your husband are the only positive role models displaying the healthy way a marriage/relationship functions. Of course you shouldn’t need to go out of your way to do this but you married or got into a relationship with your husband knowing these kids existed so they to some degree will be involved in your life

in my case 3 skids had a neglectful mum from day one so age wasn’t a factor in them being brainwashed by her crap, they don’t know any better and my husband has felt it was never ending and couldn’t fight the issue.

ex wife is being petty with all that nonsense

Coco72's picture

Read the book "Say Goodbye to Crazy", it is great!! Keep it next to your bed, mark pages, highlight paragraphs, have your SO read it too. My DH didn't even realize he was being manipulated until he read the book. It helped my sanity, and helped my and DH's relationship.

ny7890's picture

Thank you I just purchased it and "stop walking on eggshells"... what a swell valentines day gift for us!

Rags's picture

I find that blended family opposition folks who play the "you are not their mother/father" card have performance anxiety as parents and in all likelihood are not being the parent that they should be.

When a SParent is actively participating and parenting the lacking BioParent gets all kinds of butt hurt and nervous.

In my experience just keep parenting as you have been.  The major change that you need to make is to stop with the "I respect you as their mother" perspective and look at how to mitigate the negative impact of BM on your marriage,  home and family.  In my experience that relies heavily on the facts. Keep the kids abreast of them in an age appropriate manner, and have them readily available to give the lacking BM clarity.

The Xs get zero say in what goes on in  your home, marriage and family and that includes any say in how Skids are parented in your home.  Part of the the responsibiltiy of the resident bioparent and their partner is to mitigate as much as possible any toxic manipulative crap that the lacking parent in the blended family oppostions is slinging.   I have found that the facts are the best tool for this.

If she is reasonable, then deal with her rasonably.  Since by all appearances she is not reasonable, then you use the CO and the facts to beat her into submission..... and keep her there.  A big part of that is ensuring that the Skids have fact based clarity in an age appropriate  manner.

Ispofacto's picture

At this age, the kids are old enough to walk to the front door by themselves, you can stay in the car and out of range for her bullcrap.  Go No Contact, and don't respond to anything she says.  Hold up a camera and record her tantrums if she approaches you.


catmiao's picture

Seriously, it's not like you're trying to rob the kids away from her.

I don't understand the mentality of BMs who are obviously taking advantage of the Step parents and still act like a jerk like that. If she was so bothered that you helped to drop off the kids, she could have gone to pick them up herself. 

I have my own but I never assume that everyone wants to steal my daughter.  Some parents are just nuts.

If my SS's BM dare to play that card with me she is to be met with a "great, take him back. you're welcome" response. Except she won't..because she doesn't want him either. (so sad for the kid, so sad for me too haha)