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Discussion Starter #21
I understand your concern.

Have you ever talked to your children about what's going on?

Does anyone besides you and your children know what she is like at home?
Also, I have told a couple of close friends and siblings about it, not a lot of details just that there are serious issues.
 

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Also, I have told a couple of close friends and siblings about it, not a lot of details just that there are serious issues.
It's very typical for abusers to behave abusively at home, behind closed doors. I dealt with this with my son's father. Everyone thought he was a great guy because he behaved one way with everyone else, and another way at home.

Have you thought about getting audio and/or video evidence of her abusive behavior? This might help you explain the situation to people who are supportive of you.

You really should talk to an attorney, explain the situation and ask them for help in getting primary custody of your children. Your lawyer can petition the court require a custody evaluation. That will give you a chance to bring up your concerns. In divorcing my son's father, this is what my lawyer did. The custody evaluators spent a lot of time with each of us and our son. The evaluators were able to pick up on the fact that my ex is an angry, violent abuser. Their final evaluation gave me primary custody and stipulated that my ex had to do weekly counseling until they determined that it was safe for my son to have more time with him. It took my ex 2 years to get more time. The court also mandated that I could put our son in counseling against his father's wishes. With the counseling, my ex knew that our son had the ear of someone who would call the police if he mistreated our son.
 

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The only way to protect them is to remove them permanently from her presence.
Protect them! Get her away from them!

keeping them in the house with her is like throwing them to the wolves. Her 100% physical custody and require supervised visits if she sees them.
 

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Also, I have told a couple of close friends and siblings about it, not a lot of details just that there are serious issues.
quit covering for her bad behavior. Read Codependent No More. You’ve been helping her harm your children. Start exposing her behavior. Stick to the evidence when exposing.

show that evidence in your court papers when you file ASAP!!
 

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I talked to my son once, when wife was spreading rumors and making sick "jokes" about my having a girlfriend on the side ( which of course I do not and never did ). I took him aside and told him that it was totally untrue, that his mother was having some health issues that caused her to overreact etc. etc. Tried to be truthful without seeming to attack or insult his mother. He listened and took it well. That was a year ago. He seems to be taking things in his stride and planning his future.
It's good that you did that.

You say that your wife blows up at you and even at the children often. They would benefit from you asking them what they feel and think and then just listen to them. All you need to do is to affirm their feelings/thoughts. Something like "Yea, i understand why you feel that way."

Sometimes, children who grow up in abusive situations end up being abusers as adults. Yet some don't. I have read that the difference is that usually the abused children who do not group up to be abusers had a sympathetic adult in their life who listened to them and assured them that they were not the problem. I think that is in the book "The Dance of Anger"... great book for a situation like yours.

This is good. But you need to talk to your other children as well. The best way to handle this is probably for you to get into individual counseling. Talk to your counselor about all this and discuss about what to say to your children. After a bit you could get a counselor/therapist for your younger children so that their counselor can help you with this. You have to walk a fine line talking to them about their mother. Once role their counselor can fill is that the counselor can address the issues your children brings up and can give them help in dealing with their mother.
 

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I think it’s easy to say, “take them away from her” but is much more difficult than that. I feel for your predicament. I understand your reasoning to stay, to protect them. I did this also, though my XH
never laid a hand on us, but has since been diagnosed with BPD.

If she is abusive, and she gets joint custody of any sort (which is likely) then there they are without you. Unless you can prove it.

If you can stand another 5 years, that would protect them. I wished I could have stayed longer with my XH just to get the kids older before them having to endure a divorce and splitting time between homes. Also, I worried about the kids having to take the brunt of his down swings.

i guess I’m saying it isn’t always a cut and dry decision. An attorney can help you tremendously with what you should do and what the scenarios would look like. I hope you find a good resolution. I’m sorry you and your kids are going through this. hugs
 

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I'm very sorry for the situation that you and your 2 kids that are still at home are in.
I'm guessing that you're in your 40's.

This doesn't get better, you can't fix her, you can't fix this marriage. Both are out of your hands.
My only advice would be to divorce and get the best custody arrangement you can. You didn't mention their ages, but if they're in their teens, I'd have to think where they want to stay would have to be taken into consideration.

As I said, you're a young man, you have plenty of time to recover from this. You should've seen a lawyer long ago, I'd make it my new priority.
Best of luck to you and your kids.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
I think it’s easy to say, “take them away from her” but is much more difficult than that. I feel for your predicament. I understand your reasoning to stay, to protect them. I did this also, though my XH
never laid a hand on us, but has since been diagnosed with BPD.

If she is abusive, and she gets joint custody of any sort (which is likely) then there they are without you. Unless you can prove it.

If you can stand another 5 years, that would protect them. I wished I could have stayed longer with my XH just to get the kids older before them having to endure a divorce and splitting time between homes. Also, I worried about the kids having to take the brunt of his down swings.

i guess I’m saying it isn’t always a cut and dry decision. An attorney can help you tremendously with what you should do and what the scenarios would look like. I hope you find a good resolution. I’m sorry you and your kids are going through this. hugs
Thank you.
 

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The 16yo would be free to choose where he lived, but the 13yo it could go either way. I wouldn't risk it just yet OP. Even if you could hang on another year, two max, then the 13yo would be guaranteed able to choose. It's just not right for you to leave because you can't handle being there anymore, but leaving your kids to flounder alone with her, it just isn't. Sorry to be blunt.

I agree with the poster who said to file for separation now though, under one roof. That will legally separate your finances.
 

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Thank you in advance for reading my post. My hope is to get some practical suggestions.

...

1) What strategies should I use to inject peace and mental health into the family to counteract her toxicity?
2) At what point should I talk frankly to my teen kids about what is going on? Of course they know what is going on, but not all of it and not the whys. What should I tell them? I have a teen son and teen daughter still at home.
3) Any other helpful hints would be appreciated.
1) I agree with what others have posted here. There's really not much you can do. There are some conflict-resolution and de-escalation techniques you can learn (a couple I can recommend: the book "Stop Walking on Eggshells," and the site www.bpdfamily.com, which has resources and message boards specifically for family and relations of BPDers).

Typical BPDers are hell-bent on creating conflict; it's how they exist really. They thrive on it. They cannot function or interact with others without it. Every interaction has to have a winner and a loser, and it's always everyone else's fault to them. So you're not going to be able to "inject peace and mental health into the family." Calming the seas in a hurricane is more doable. Accept her behavior for what it is, and focus on protecting yourself - NOT her - and your kids.

2) My feeling on this: when they're adults, out of the house and come to you looking for sincere answers or understanding, and confused about why their mom acts this way. Still, remember she's their mom and they may be reluctant to agree with anything that stigmatizes her as abnormal or bad in their view. I don't really know exactly what to say here.

It's very possible though that eventually they'll figure it out on their own, and stop talking to her completely, when her demands and behavior interferes with their dating life and their own adult relationships. I've read BPDers view their children as extensions of themselves, so when these "extensions" start fighting for their own independence and form their own relationships, the BPDers view these as a "threat" and it ends up severing their parental relationship completely (unless the kids decide to stay home and live with their mothers for the rest of their lives).

My child is young, and when she's asked why I left, I just leave it as "your mom and I fought a lot, and when that happens, people typically decide to move out and get their own places." I don't want her to go back to XW with "Dad said you did this" and then get roped into her accusing me of "parental alienation" and trying to fight more.

3) I gather from your handle you're in TX? In TX, kids can choose which parent to live with when they're 12. The courts will hear their testimony, and - absent a showing of abuse by you - would honor the child's request to have you be their primary custodian & primary residence.

You really should see an attorney, at least for an hour consultation (I paid $500 for one, and it was worth it), to hear the "lay of the land" with respect to family law, and what you can expect to receive and owe in a divorce proceeding.

Legal proceedings can always have unusual outcomes, but all states have family law guidelines; a judge will use these as the default outcome, absent a showing of abuse or fraud - which of course must be PROVED IN COURT, not just alleged.

Court testimony and evidence rules really screw with BPDers... they're used to playing for an audience, screaming, stamping their feet, and lashing out when they don't get their way. These things don't work in court. She can call you a cheater all she wants, but a judge will not tolerate it unless she can produce admissable evidence of it.
 

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Also, keep in mind there's an extremely high standard to a court removing a parent's visitation rights.

Don't worry about "getting your kids away from her" as some have suggested. While that might be a good thing for all concerned here, it's almost impossible to achieve right off the bat in a divorce proceeding. You would need to prove in court that your wife was abusive to them, and contact with her was harmful. Even then, courts will still order supervised visits, out of the basis that kids still need to see each parent for their own well-being.

While you're right to be concerned about what your wife would do and say to your kids when you're not there, you have to weigh this against the negative affects of them living in a house with parents who fight. And also, I considered the harm done to my child from seeing her father screamed at and picked on constantly, and alleged to be a "cheater" and a "thieft" or whatever (my XW made a lot of the same baseless accusations yours does). I didn't want her to view that as "normal" and think marriage involved abuse and fighting like that.

It might make more sense to view the divorce process and rearing your minor children like baseball... you don't have to hit a homerun (i.e. get full and complete custody) right off the bat. You can "single" (i.e. get out of the house, get your own place, and get joint custody) if needed, go back to court later to fight for more custody if you're seeing a pattern of abuse and negative behavior affect your kids.
 
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