Recently I read an article entitled “Personality Disorders in Divorce” by Jim Dolan. That got your attention, didn’t it? I can hear a lot of you saying, “I know my ex has one of those! He (she) is crazy! Let me just tell you….” As a divorce attorney, I see people on both sides of divorces do lots of “crazy” things that they would not otherwise do. Here in Spring, a woman was just recently arrested for putting a hit contract out on her husband who she is in the process of divorcing. Their court files shows ongoing conflict, threats, assault and charges on both sides. So, as Mr. Dolan correctly points out, many lawyers and judges believe that both parties are equally at fault. But aren’t some people really “crazy” anyway and it just gets worse during a divorce? Well, it turns out that might be true.

Mr. Dolan identifies three personality disorders (he calls them the “Big Three”) which can make an otherwise typically “crazy” divorce become one in which one person is truly the victim.

Here they are: the Narcissist, the Borderline, and the Anti-social

  • The Narcissist, typically male, is your charming “bad boy” with big ideas and not much to back them up, may not work much, doesn’t care about anyone else’s feelings. He is the one who is going to punish you if you try to escape. Be careful with this one. He is out to exact revenge on you for even thinking of leaving.
  • Then there is the Borderline, usually female, drug or alcohol issues, parental abandonment, chaotic family background, often a crime victim. She thinks she can “buy” a good, solid relationship with intense sex. All hell breaks loose when she hooks up with a Narcissist. Think Fatal Attraction with Michael Douglas.
  • The Anti-social, our third PD, is more often a man who is witty and charming and may be in a position of power. He looks for a woman who wants to be taken care of. He needs to control the woman he is with. Violence and drug abuse are unfortunately behind the charm.

If you are currently going through a divorce and your spouse exhibits these symptoms, you should seek counseling early on to learn how to cope and to help your children cope. You are not going to change the person so, as they say, you can only change yourself. You may be in for a long, stressful, seemingly never-ending road of conflict. You need to understand that you are not at fault. You will need professional help. If you see yourself in one of the “Big Three” then you also need counseling. You need help so that you find peace with yourself, and so that you do not permanently damage your children. If you are not married, then you will want to carefully consider any relationships so that you do not fall into one of the “Big Three” traps.

I am not a psychologist, but I have seen these personality disorders and the pain they cause. Mr. Dolan has written a very interesting article and I will be happy to share the entire article with you if you email me. If in doubt, contact a professional therapist or counselor.