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Will mental illness even matter?

Biostep7777's picture

We knew BM was crazy but after her 11 hour (yes....11 hours!) deposition she seriously seems delusional. Like something is very very wrong with her. After the second day of her deposition I sincerely started to feel bad for her and came to realize this woman is severely mentally ill. Like off the charts. She seems paranoid and delusional and DH is starting to worry about the kids being with her. I mean the things she was saying was so outrageous. Not just about us but about all sorts of things. After the deposition his attorney called him and said she's never witnessed anything so strange in a deposition before.  She was speechless. But, what do we do about it? She needs help. She truly needs help but she sees nothing wrong. The kids are messed up. She refuses to put them in therapy and said she's not going to punish them by putting them in therapy. Which...what??? Therapy is a punishment?? Cray! What do we do with this? We do not want to take the kids away from her or anything like that but she NEEDS psychological help. Badly. 

Rags's picture

Take the kids. Mentally I'll or not, she is a danger  to the kids.

Behavior that is detrimental to children, or anyone else, cannot be  tolerated regardless of the illness of the toxic perpetrator.

Biostep7777's picture

Right but try to prove it. Close to impossible. They are well taken care of, they get good grades, play sports and tk the outside world they look like a happy healthy functioning family. What she's covering up is super hard to prove. 

Rags's picture

Except that she just spent two days proving how delusional and batshit crazy she is while being deposed.  All of that can go to court and there will be little  question that these kids need to be removed from her world of insanity.

Not easy, I am sure it has been hell.  But her drive to depose you, just gave hundreds of pages of official documentation of her toxicity.

I hope the Judge hands her her own ass on a platter. You will have plenty of rolled up deposition pages to beat her back under her rock for the duration of your Skid's CO years.

Good luck.

Winterglow's picture

"We do not want to take the kids away from her "

Why on EARTH not? This woman is damaging to her kids. She needs help. This is not the time for compassion, this is the time for action and protection.

Can you ask for a mental evaluation? I should think there is enough evidence in her depostion to justify one.

Biostep7777's picture

Because at this point the damage is done. They are teenagers (well a teen and tween) I'm not sure taking them away from her would be the best for them and trying them prove her dysfunction is close to impossible. She is obsessed with these kids and obsessed with making the world think she's the perfect mother with the perfect children and the problem is my husband and I. She has went to ever length to try and prove we are unhealthy just to come up with nothing and the therapists, judge, doctors, teachers, school counselors stating that we ARE healthy and we have a loving safe secure home and she is the problem but nothing is ever done. There's like a zero chance of then being taken out of her care. She gets them to school and doctors visits, they have good grades and tk the outside world they look like the picture perfect family. Nobody understands the secrets and dysfunction she's hiding. That is HARD to prove. 

tog redux's picture

No, it won't matter unless she's harming the kids physically, or you can prove she's harming them emotionally (which is hard to do). 

You can try to have the judge order psychiatric and psychological evaluations for both parents (they generally won't just do it for one) and see what comes out of it. At the very least it should help your DH's case by making her completely unreliable to the judge. 

ETA: when you see these women and the damaged mentally ill people they are, it can help with the anger a lot. She's probably truly terrified that you and DH are a danger to the kids. 

skell76's picture

While we know HCBM is doing damage - we can't really "show" it and for most parts she's a decent mom.  

Our lawyer even advised unless it's very clear and obvious DH would look unreasonable going for full custody so we did what we could to get legal decisions for DH and secured that. 

A psych evaluation was requested and all had to do one. It helped DH's case - the judge used the data in there for her decision making and it did help us in some senses realize there is zero reasoning with this woman - I will lose sight and my mind sometimes but reality is she thinks SD is unsafe as she testified in court the sole reason she thinks she should have custody is "it's so hard to keep SD safe"

SD isn't unsafe but she will never see that. Thankfully SD "sees" HCBM and the issues and doesn't play to the victim anymore like she used to. I'm proud of the strong young lady she has become. 

ESMOD's picture

Honestly, No... what you are percieving as mental illness.. likely won't make a difference if it isnt dangerous to the kids.

And.. personally, I do think in steplife there is situational mental illness.  BM.. is likely NOT mentally ill.  She behaves in crazy ways due to the circumstances of steplife.  She will grasp at any straw to win in this fight.. even saying things that others might say are patently untrue.  

I mean.. the things you have relayed that she says are things she would have little to no first hand knowledge of right?  She is exagerating.. or saying these things to try to paint you all in a bad light.. so that her attempts to PAS her kids seem justifiied.. and in fact... she may well have a negative opinion of you and your husband... but that is her opinion.. and others may well have a different one.

And therapy as punishment is in other words for her not good because it means that there is some acknowledgemnt that her kids do have issues.. and she doesn't want to admit that there is anything wrong with the kids.. or doesn't want them to feel that they are defective and make themselves feel bad about themselves.

Biostep7777's picture

She definitely is. Most likely multiple personality disorders. This has been brought up by every single therapist we have seen, the kids therapists too. There is something deeply wrong with her and she's always been this way. We have emails that she sent to teachers, principals and even the board of education telling them they are not caring for her kids correctly. She has emailed coaches giving them an itinerary of how she expects them to run their practices to best suit her "exceptional children" she emailed the school board and asked them why they are trying to spilt up families when their youngest child didn't get in the same school as the older child. She told them that their behavior is "disturbing" and they need mental evaluations and it's sick that they did this to her children on purpose because they want to hurt them. This was a lottery and the younger one simply did not get a slot. For her to think the freaking school board did this purposely to hurt her kids?? This was years before they were divorced. It's never stopped. She does this to everyone. She thinks the world  is out to hurt her and the kids. She even said to keep the kids away from our dogs because she thinks they will attack the kids. My dogs have never attacked anyone! It's absolutely absurd! 

ESMOD's picture

Your therapist's opinion on something you describe to them is NOT a valid diagnosis.  

Nothing you are describing sounds like mental illness.  Entitlement?  Control Issues? yes to both of them.  And lots of parents have grand "illusions" of their children's capabilities.. it doesn't mean they have a mental illness.

She is using the dog thing as another excuse to keep her kids out of your house.. 

Again.. nothing you describe is really mental illness from what I can see... she is a HCBM.. but that isn't necessarily a diagnosable

And.. I am NOT saying that makes it easier for you to deal with.. I'm just saying that you trying to assign a diagnosis.. or claim one from YOUR therapist.. who has never had a session with her?  It will NOT help you in court if you go down that road... 

Biostep7777's picture

Not my therapist. The family therapist. Both of them. As well as the children's therapists. She fired all of them when they try to talk to her about her mental health. This has been 4 therapists. They ALL have had multiple meetings with her, they all (all at different practices) state there is something going on. Most likely multiple personality disorders. This isn't my therapist. These are therapist who know her well. I have discribed about 10% of the insane things she has done. I'm going to rely on the professionals opinion on this. 

ESMOD's picture

If this is truly the case... I would think your DH could get a recommendation for a mental health evaluation based on those therapist's recomendations to do so.  What you describe isn't necessarily "multiple personality" stuff.. having delusions of grandeur of your kid's abilities etc.. but if there are legit reasons those therapists have concerns.. your DH should pursue getting that evalutation and having his kids full time if her illness proves dangerous or makes her custody unwise.

Biostep7777's picture

Yeah they are going to testify. But, I don't think the court will see her as "dangerous" I do think she is doing some serious damage to their mental health but overall it appears these kids are doing ok. The therapists had serious concerns but she fired them. We have to wait for court. It's really disturbing. She absolutely hates my children and myself. She is so jealous and she has no moral compass. She will bring anyone down who gets in her way and she's proud of it. This is what she's teaching these kids. Entitled much? Ugh! They are going to have a very hard road in front of them when they realize the world actually doesn't revolve around their every want. 

tog redux's picture

You are describing personality disorders. She's mentally ill. She may be worse due to court, but she clearly has mental illness. 

Biostep7777's picture

For sure!!! At least 5-6 therapists have stated this. She is an absolute nightmare. Narcissist like you wouldn't believe. She's in her deposition stating she's a perfect mother. A PERFECT MOTHER. That right there is a personality disorder. 

tog redux's picture

Yes, there is no question. While a therapist can't officially  diagnose someone they've never met, that doesn't mean their opinion of that person's behavior and what it might mean isn't valid. Your BM most likely has a personality disorder.  I don't get why that's even being questioned. 

ESMOD's picture

I think it's fair to ask whether the therapist has any personal experience with the person in question.  Because, obviously, we all have our own internal filters and bias that may come into play when we relay information about another person to a third party.  I'm not saying that this is the case, but OP and her DH's version of the truth could be exagerrated or embelished or twisted.. just as BM apparently twists what she sees/hears about them.  So, if a therapist was making a judgement based soley on their testimony of what BM said or did.. and had never met BM?  it isn't something i would necessarily take as a solid indication of mental illness.

That these therapists have personal knowledge of BM makes a difference and is a more independent view than we might see from OP or her husband.

IMHO.. just being a HCBM "MOTY of the year of gifted kids" doesn't in and of itself mean you have a mental illness.  Sometimes people are just Aholes.. and sometimes they are situational aholes.. and sometimes they have disorders that cause them to be aholes.. but it isn't a 100% correlation I don't think.

Biostep7777's picture

I totally agree.  I wouldn't say that unless a trained professional said it who knew her directly.  We have had 4 say the same thing. Lol. 

tog redux's picture

Wait, so you think you can better judge the lack of mental illness based on anecdotal information than a therapist can? Lol. 

ESMOD's picture

Tog,  Not sure what your problem is, but I really didn't say that I am a better "judge".  I said that you shouldn't accept a diagnosis from a therapist that hasn't had personal experience with the person in question.

I also said that just being HCBM doesn't mean that someone is necessarily mentally ill.  I mean, I clearly said that they "could" be but that based on someone relaying ancedotal information.. ... there is no way to 100% tell.. and there is as much likely hood that she could or could not.. 

Having a blind spot about your kid's "specialness" doesn't necessarily make you mentally ill all the time.  I think that most parents would fall on that spectrum somewhere.

My main point was that if those therapists had no personal knowledge of BM then it would be risky to press the mentally ill point in court.. that isn't the case here apparently since therapists HAVE had session time with the BM.. so the caution was not applicable to OP's situation.

We all draw conclusions or make guesses about what is going on here.. with or without professional qualifications.  I actually would hold an actual licensed therapist to a higher standard to NOT make attempts at a diagnosis via third or fourth hand information than some stranger on an internet board.  Because THEY should know better.


tog redux's picture

You pretty much invalidated the OP's concerns and said effectively that you don't think she's mentally ill, despite several therapists saying that they believe she is. So you are substituting your judgment for theirs, based on the exact same anecdotal information that the therapists have.  So where is what I said wrong?  

ESMOD's picture

Actually no.. I stood corrected when she said the therapists actually HAVE personal knowledge of BM.

I said that absolutely makes a difference.

And.. I did also speak in general terms that not all HCBM's are technically Mentally Ill.. which is where I based my observation from to begin with.

The bottom line is that BM may or may not have a diagnosable mental illness.  Certainly she is a PITA to OP but I have also seen many instances described on this site where the tables get turned on someone acusing the other side of mental illness.. as if they are "picking on them"...   And.. in the end, it doesn't matter if she does have it.. because apparently, OP and her DH aren't trying to get custody from BM.  Not sure how it would help them in that case, even if there was a diagnosis.

I would caution anyone from grabbing at a diagnosis that is spouted off by a "professional" with no personal knowledge.  THAT did not happen her apparently.. these therapists HAVE seen BM in action.  And.. I would also tell people looking for advice on a free, anonymous site that the advice and opinions you get may be worth exactly what you have paid.  I'm sorry if OP didn't feel validated by what I posted.. lots of stuff gets lost in translation when there are posts.. none of us see the full picture.. we can only comment on what we "think" is happening.


GrudgingSM's picture

as a kid left behind to be raised by a mentally ill mom, yes, it does some damage, but a) I can't imagine the courts taking me away, b) when my brother did try and leave to live with my dad it cause so much extra trauma, and c) my dad remained my image of stable emotional health and I personAlly think it made a world of difference to at least have one sane parent. I think that's all you can do: be a model of stability and solid mental health. Oh and therapy for the kids. It took me a long time To figure out I'd normalized a lot of atypical and even toxic behaviors. Our culture is so much better at having conversations about mental health these days and maybe the kids won't need as much time to see what took me over a decade to fully figure out, but be there as people who are safe and stable and hopefully the kids will be able to tell the difference and make healthy choices for their boundaries and self care. Because even though my mom was a total nut bar, I loved her fiercely.

Biostep7777's picture

Thank you for sharing your story! Yes, the kids love her that's why we would never want to take them from her. She's delusional. The things she says are soooooo out there it's mind blowing and she's teaching the kids this is a normal way to think! My husband was severely emotionally abused growing up then he married her who was even more emotionally abusive towards him and yes, he thought that was "normal" he was not in a good place when we met. But, he has such a good heart and is truly an amazing man. I told him I would need for him to get into therapy if he wanted to be in a relationship with me because the dysfunction from his ex wife and his reactions to it was not something I would subject my kids to. He agreed to therapy and has been going ever sense. He has come a very long way!!! Once I was convinced he was committed to therapy and I saw a big change in him we got engaged. That took 2 years. He has had a lot to overcome and he's still working on things (he still gets very anxious when he gets messages from her. He has has panic attacks) she is brutally BRUTALLY emotionally abusive. He was diagnosed with autism as well and she tells him there's something wrong with him, he's weird and strange and just abuses the shit out of him. It's so sick!!! Unfortunately emotional abuse is not really taken seriously. Especially when it's a woman doing it to a man. Luckily he has a terrific therapist and he's working through his anxiety of her abuse. I mean it's bad. Like bad bad. She has said the most cruel sick things to him. It makes my stomach turn. So, she abuses the kids too but on a different way. Alienation, helicopter parenting, enmeshment. Not healthy parenting and her paranoid delusions of the way she views the world is just....I don't have the words. She's teaching the kids this too. For instance, I love to cook! Yesterday I went grocery shopping and got a bunch of fresh fruit, veggies. I roasted a chicken, made homemade applesauce, made cookies, made a beautiful casserole. Youngest SS said "there's no good food in this house. Just canned stuff" 

I didn't even know what to say. There are only a few canned things in my house like tomato paste but I have never even bought canned ravioli or soup. I make everything myself. There's NO CANS. Where the heck did that even come from??? It's disturbing. It's a little thing but the fact that he said that when there's literally nothing canned is freaking weird!!!  It's just things like that all the time. Little things and big things. It's just so disturbing. 

GrudgingSM's picture

Yeah, I think all you can do is keep modeling healthy things. It also strikes me that the situation you described in another recent post about her saying that the kids thought you were a bad cook is that the kids are trying to protect you and care about you. It's the kind of thing I can imagine saying to my mom to make it look like hi I am giving her the dirt she's looking for but also some thing that I know that if it made it back to my stepmom, she would absolutely no it's not true. 

and while I don't think all mental illnesses make people bad parents or even high conflict, I agree that it sounds like she has some Varsity-level pathological behaviors that probably are diagnosable, though she seems like the type who couldn't accept a Diagnosis anyway and would say the psychologist couldn't see how exceptional she is.

Biostep7777's picture

Wow!!! You nailed it. Several family therapists have tried to talk to her about her mental health. She fires them and claims my husband "tricked" then into believing his version of things. Lol!!! They are like ummmm this has nothing to do with him it's HER behavior that is an indication there's something terribly wrong. She fires them snd claims they are unethical. Lol!! This has been 4 different therapists at 4 totally different practices. 

Ispofacto's picture

Mental illness doesn't matter unless you can prove it's seriously harming the skids.  And mental health evaluations for both parents would cost about 15k.


shamds's picture

They're petty, unstable, manipulative and all kinds of crap but they play the system well in court as the poor single mum abandoned by the ex and raising several kids.

the show they put on for their lawyers and in court of fake bullshi* could win them an oscar performance at times.

Biostep7777's picture

Her own attorney sees it. Lol!! She's has already fired one attorney. This one is in his way out too. She has fired 4 therapists too. All this will definitely help us in court. But, these kids!!! They are sooooo messed up. But because they look ok on the surface, nobody can fully understand. The therapists picked right up on it and she fired them. Omg. Insane. 

Thumper's picture


It does not matter in family court. UNLESS mom is committed and kids need placement.