From a book I’m reading – and nodding along to – called Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
Most people reflect on their own thoughts: Is this true? Am I overreacting? I should check this out. But people with PDs [Personality Disorders] don’t seem to have the ability to reflect on their own thoughts or behavior. Like someone who is drunk, their thinking is continually “under the influence” of their cognitive distortions. They can send, but not receive, new information. Because they are unaware of their cognitive distortions, these distortions can underlie serious misbehavior, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, and even legal abuse (using the legal system to attack a target and to promote false or unnecessary litigation).
Information that does not fit the distortion is rigidly unconsciously blocked as too threatening and confusing. Instead, people with PDs defend their distortions in an effort to protect themselves. Blamers repeatedly react to “false alarms” caused by all-or-nothing thinking, jumping to conclusions, and so forth. They truly believe that they are in danger, and they feel powerless and out of control inside.
When a divorce is initiated, regardless of who files with the court, blamers particularly feel threatened. Many cannot handle seeming in any way responsible for the divorce, which triggers their lifelong fears of abandonment and inferiority. Therefore, they split their partner into all bad. It feels like a war between good and evil to blamers, so they create one. Their extreme feelings create their own problems.
It’s not just me or this book; I started wondering if she might have some sort of mental disorder when I reflected on her keeping David from me for almost three years now, and that it seemed only an unfeeling psychopath (psychologically, someone with Anti-Social Personality Disorder, or ASPD) could do such a thing. I talked to a psychologist, who had spoken to Honey a few times and was aware of the situation, about it, and she didn’t think ASPD was indicated but that Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD), or a related disorder were likely. The “co-morbidity” (likelihood of one occurring given the other) of BPD given her diagnosed Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is quite high.
A diagnosable and treatable (if not “curable” as such) PD actually gives me hope, and we can get the court to order a mental evaluation; the alternative is just “evil” – harmful actions toward my son and I for selfish reasons, like wanting to take David and live with her parents. BPD requires a lot of treatment – couple psychotherapy sessions a week for a few years or more – so it’s not likely to go away without intervention.