QUESTION:

Dear Dr. Heller,

First I am giving you only one side the story, knowing that…My wife is a child abuser and undergoing a court mandated Psychological Exam (in 1 of 2 court proceedings that she has been accused of Child abuse in).  She has been abusive to children even under supervised visit situations taking them off away from the supervisors and mentally tormenting them (they are in therapy now, disclosing horrible events from the past, both 6yrs old.)

My wife’s past is atrocious, filled with so much junk that you feel very sorry for her (I mean bad).  But currently we have an infant together and I fear for his safety.  What kind of future may this hold.  She WILL NOT get help, she lies almost compulsively, Dysphoria, gaslight, etc.  She is a 9 of 9 in the DSM-IV with many extreme case examples, and other PD’s also.

I have been coordinating with many professionals and I am looking for as many resources as possible to help the infant now because of my mistake (the other boys are from a previous marriage of hers and a non-marital pregnancy while she was exotic dancing).  What dangers does a 9/9 BPD person pose on an infant?  According to the boys counselor she has deeply damaged the boys psychologically over several years and now they suffer identity disorders, anger mis-management, on and on.  I have copied your cover, and your message to BPD’s because first she needs help, and I haven’t been able to help her, but I also could not watch her attack and beat children.  This has been very difficult.  But it seems so text book, as long as your reading a BPD or addiction text.

 

ANSWER:

Certainly some individuals with the BPD are significantly tougher to manage than others, and hers seems a prime case.  I’ve seen many “severe” borderlines go on to become stellar human beings, and those with “mild” cases become extremely abusive, manipulating, hurtful, and destructive.  It’s very hard to predict, and I’m extremely reluctant to pre-judge. Fitting 9/9 criteria doesn’t suggest to me that someone is a higher abuser risk than others.  There’s no direct correlation with number of criteria.  If she has been abusive in court appointed supervised visits, the courts may choose to step in and stop the visitations for a while.  Your best approach for now is likely to take care of yourself and become happy and serene.  This will do more for your own children than anything a court can do.  Focusing on your wife, her problems, and her behavior will likely make everything worse for all of you.  You’ve probably done all you can at this time.  Therapists and attorneys will likely need to guide you through the maze you and the children are now caught in.

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