Spoiled Children of Divorce


Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder is an unwanted diagnosis. Therapists dread treating it. If you want to know more about it you can google the endless entries on the web. It’s kind of like being trapped in a kid’s mind as an adult because the personalities swing back and forth between hot and cold feelings very quickly. There is a fear of abandonment, a lot of self injury and suicidality. Sound like Child of Divorce issues?

While looking up well-known people who struggle with this disorder I found that a huge percentage come from divorced families. I also noticed that children who are diagnosed as Borderline have step-parents which could indicate they are victims of stressful homes.

Here’s is an article which says that Children of Divorce are more vulnerable to Borderline Personality Disorder. Here is a quote from the article on research from back in 1996:

JoelParis(1994,1996)suggested that biologicalvulnerabilityis necessarybutnot sufficient to cause BPD. Varying psychological factors can precipitate BPD inthe presence of biological vulnerability. Paris maintained that the impact of socialdisintegration and rapid social change, such as breakdown of the traditional familyand changing social norms, are nonspecific risk factors in the etiology of BPD.Cross-cultural studies reveal the possibility that structured traditional societiesdiminish the emergence of this disorder.

(PDF) Children At-Risk for Borderline…. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257827646_Children_At-Risk_for_Borderline_Personality_Disorder [accessed Jul 22 2018].

I wonder if this is one of those psychological diseases which could be deactivated if the therapist could actually talk about divorce. It really doesn’t take much. If you’ve read about how the ACE study brought remarkable results for adults who had traumatic childhoods, you will understand that often the practitioner just has to mention the problem, maybe fake concern, maybe add a couple of knowledgeable details. But, denial is the reality of growing up with leftover divorce trauma.



Movie – Divorce Corp

Just saw a great movie which portrays Divorce as a huge industry. It’s called Divorce Corp. The movie says that Divorce is a 50 Billion dollar industry in the United States. The way Divorce is handled in Scandinavia is compared. People rarely bring in a lawyer. Custody problems are rarely an issue, at least for the parents. Some information is given about how children who don’t have Fathers have a much more difficult time in life, 200 percent higher suicide rates, for example. It’s really interesting that a movie like this doesn’t interview a single child victim of a custody battle. That 50 Billion $ would grow massively if one calculated financial loss of children from divorce both through career, divorces of their own, health problems, etc.



Borderline Personality Disorder Among Children of Divorce

Borderline Personality Disorder is an unwanted diagnosis. Therapists dread it because they say it’s not treatable. If you want to know more about it you can google the google. It sounds like being trapped in a kid’s mind as an adult because there is a problem with emotional regulation. The person’s moods swing back and forth between hot and cold feelings very quickly. There is a fear of abandonment, self injury and suicidality. While looking up well-known people who struggle with this disorder I found that a huge percentage come from divorced families.

Here’s is a list of famous people I’ve found who may be Borderline along with whether they are from Divorce:

Amy Winehouse – parents divorced
Pete Doherty –
Britney Spears – parents divorced
Courtney Love – parents divorced
Lindsey Lohan – parents divorced
Princess Diana – parents divorced
Angelina Jolie – parents divorced
Marilyn Monroe – parents divorced, maybe never married
Darrel Hammond –
Scott Levy –
Brand Marshall – parents married Age 3, divorced age 6
Anais Nin – parents divorced Age 2
Ernest Hemingway –
Elon Musk? – parents divorced

This is an interesting list. I’m not sure if these are real diagnoses since they are from off the internet. Borderline Personality Disorder is said to be a predominantly female illness but it looks from this list that it could be a predominantly male illness since the male examples may not come from divorce. That’s interesting because psychological studies have generally commented on how boys suffer the most from Divorce. (Scott Levy only lists his Father in his biography so he may be from divorce.) The Diagnosis isn’t made until after the child turns 18.

PTSD diagnosis can’t be made from Death or Divorce but there is now a trauma from childhood diagnosis which might take over these diagnosis. The ACE study includes loss of a parent through death or divorce.

Therapists seem to agree that childhood trauma is a major influence.

Here’s is an article which says that Children of Divorce are more vulnerable to Borderline Personality Disorder. Here is a quote from the article on research from back in 1996:

JoelParis(1994,1996)suggested that biologicalvulnerabilityis necessarybutnot sufficient to cause BPD. Varying psychological factors can precipitate BPD inthe presence of biological vulnerability. Paris maintained that the impact of socialdisintegration and rapid social change, such as breakdown of the traditional familyand changing social norms, are nonspecific risk factors in the etiology of BPD.Cross-cultural studies reveal the possibility that structured traditional societies diminish the emergence of this disorder.

(PDF) Children At-Risk for Borderline…. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257827646_Children_At-Risk_for_Borderline_Personality_Disorder [accessed Jul 22 2018].

A child going through a divorce can be observing Borderline type of behavior from the parents and so the behavior may be from the stress of coping with that.

Don’t have the link anymore but I think there is a Psychology Today article about the divorce rate and Borderline Personality Disorders. I may not be remembering this correctly so don’t quote me. Borderlines are less likely to marry in the first place, have the same divorce rates, when they do divorce they are less likely to remarry.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Carol Knuth

Just watched this video of ex-Foster Child, Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking Victim Carol Knuth describing her childhood. I’m feeling a little queasy. I had no idea that a huge portion of trafficking victims grow up in Foster Homes but I guess it makes sense. Like everyone else I thought this is something that immigrants go through.

People like Carol are coming out to try to educate the rest of us about the Foster Care System along with Trafficking and Sexual Assault. Her survival is totaling amazing. She has since married, had children, has received two degrees, and has held powerful jobs.

The complaint about growing up as a “Child of Divorce” seems to be overpowered by the rest of the story but I feel that it might be the seed. Knuth’s parents divorced when she was two. She was the youngest of three girls who her Father sexually assaulted. He had told his daughters that their Mother had died. He remarried and divorced her Step-Mother when Carol was around 6th grade. Sorry I didn’t write very good notes so can’t provide the exact age. Carol and her sisters went to their first Foster home when she was three. When she was in her early teens she had to testify that her Father molested her. His daughters were taken away from him but he was never charged with any crime. Carol bounced in and out of around 21 homes. At one point her Foster Mother was dating her Father. The lack of concern for her feelings is such a major theme in her childhood. She tells the story so stoically. There seems to have been no end to the amount that people would not stand up for Carol until she was a working adult. Knuth tells how a co-worker assaulted her while they were in the break room. She just figured “same old, same old” and went back to her seat. But, this time another male co-worker had seen the assault and reported it. The offender was fired. This seems to be the first time in her life that anyone stood up for her.

Wow. That’s all I can say right now. She looks so straight. I would never have known from looking at her that she could be a survivor of this type of history.



Exemplary Children of Divorce / Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia

The Black Dahlia murder keeps showing up in my internet play. When looking up James Elroy’s biography I didn’t read about the victim of this murder, Elizabeth Short. It turns out that Short was not really a Child of Divorce, but her parents were separated in a weird sort of way.

After going bankrupt in 1930 because of the Depression, Short’s Father faked his suicide so the family could receive insurance. Short was 6 years old. He moved from Massachusetts to California and rebuilt his life.

Short’s Mother moved her 5 daughters and took a job as a bookkeeper. Short moved to California to be with her Father when she was 19 but he threw her out of the house. Short partied and slept around and moved around a lot. She dated some servicemen during World War II but one, who she was set to marry, was killed.

Her murder is said to be a mystery to this day. She died when she was 22. This was very close to her 2d Jupiter Return which is interesting because she would have been under the influence of her first Jupiter opposition when her Father disappeared. This would explain her charm and her risk taking life style.



Mr. Rogers Versus Mandated Reporters

Mr. Rogers had a way of talking with little kids that comforted the parents. In Divorce this is essential for the health of the child. Parents of Divorce Children are very busy and preoccupied. They are doing the best they can, but it is essential that they talk with their children about the divorce and about their own behaviors while trying to encourage the child to speak about his/her feelings and observations.

While working around some children I couldn’t help but notice that they will start talking about their parents and the divorce almost immediately if given a chance. It sounded like a cry for help to me. But, I didn’t feel I had the right to get involved. Children want an adult to discuss this stuff with. In one case I happened to tell someone who was a mandated reporter about one of the children. I wasn’t aware of the mandated reporter thing. Without any discussion, the child was removed from the problem parents’ custody within a day or two. I don’t know whether this was already in the works and that I had nothing to do with any of it, but the child stopped talking to me. The child was also crying a lot and the custodial parent became fairly grumpy. It’s surprising to me that most children of divorce will openly discuss what is going on at home and, although they speak about it in simple terms, they sound very stressed out. I guess most adults will hear a child say “My Mother is sick. I don’t see my Father very much. My parents are getting a divorce” and still not understand that an adult going through 3 such stressors would be drinking, yelling, calling in sick to work, going to the shrink, medicating, and who knows what else. For some reason, when a child says this most people ignore it. Maybe they tell the child to hang tight while their parents get their act together. This, of course, can take five years.

That is why I recommend that parents watch Mr. Rogers’ episodes on dealing with divorce. His understanding is kind of stupid. He makes a big point out of assuring the child that he/she is not to blame for the parents’ split. That applies to only a percentage of children, not all. In some cases a parent leaves because he/she can’t handle children, or they can’t handle having children with the ex so they vanish from the life. And the child knows it. And internalizes it because it is taboo to talk about and nobody can do anything to help. It’s amazing how the Blame Thing is the only element that gets through to adults. Obviously it’s a projection which arises from the Divorce because Blame is a huge fighting factor in the courts. It spills over on to the kids either directly or indirectly through observation.

At any rate, it’s best for a parent to talk with one’s children directly unless one wants one’s children discussing their problems with Social Workers. If the parent tell their kids that they are not to blame one can expect that a step-parent will come along who will.

In the end, let’s face it. Things go on behind divorced walls that aren’t good parenting. When the child goes to school they compare themselves to the other kids who are living much simpler lives. Okay, so that’s another stressor in addition to switching parents/home twice a week, having to talk about friends and school twice, having to monitor parents’ feelings about what happened while with the other parent…

Okay, okay, so there is stuff that Mr. Rogers doesn’t talk about…Kids going through divorce need extra parenting, not less. Instead, they get extra parents, which can often lead to even more stress. Would be great if schools would allow a child to talk with an interested third party without fear of mandated reporting.



Complex PTSD as a result of Divorce

Dealing with parents who are blaming you for everything, probably even dealing with parents who blame each other for everything, can lead to later psychological problems which are now being labelled “Complex PTSD.” A child who regularly experiences this along with alcoholism, drug addiction, suicide, mental illness, poverty, neglect, unreliability, blame, suicide, etc. etc. could develop Complex PTSD. Here is an article which discusses Learned Helplessness which is one symptom associated with complex-PTSD. The author does not recognize fallout from divorce. They never do. Get used to it. She connects it to feeling shame. Learned helplessness can result from trying to get your parents to stop arguing, witnessing domestic violence, trying to convince a parent to stop abusing drugs or alcohol, probably even waiting to be picked up from school if the parent is chronically late and the other kids have all left. It seems there are some studies about this for parents who go through divorce, especially the ones who divorce a Narcissist. I guess kids who are left to fend for themselves with a Narcissistic parent. A psychologist will not gloss over the fact that you had a narcissistic parent. A great Huffington Post article explains what this means. The writer Craig Malkin describes 8 problems which children of narcissistic parents face: 1. Chronic self-blame 2. Echoism 3. Insecure attachment 4. Need-panic 5. Fierce independence 6. Parentified child 7. Extreme narcissism 8. PTSD.

Psych researchers are picking through various talked about problems and trying to identify whether struggle s a child of divorce is dealing with is related to the divorce or whether it is related to the actual problem. Don’t have a link, but one study found that certain stress symptoms are related to being a child of an alcoholic rather than a child of divorce. I don’t think the study looked at children who experienced death of a parent or whose parents never married to compare. Maybe they have at the research level.

I’ve discussed the ACE Study before. The Huffington Post wrote a great 4-part article on the ACE Study. If interested try looking there. It’s a huge study of employed, functional people who developed chronic illness later in life. It found a direct link between chronic illness and multiple stressors in the life. There are more stressors than included in the study. All a Doctor has to do is to question the patient about the 9 stressors involved and then patients will have remarkably fewer problems with the illness. Something like a 30 percent reduction of office visits.