Too Real, or Too Fake?

Social media following – endure criticism and harassment both for being too real and for seeming too fake, according to a new study from Cornell University. 

This leaves women on Instagram caught in an “authenticity bind” – the nature of social media compels them to share details from their personal lives, but these details make them vulnerable to abuse or charges that they’ve ‘curated’ or faked their online personas.
“Across social networks, content creators are compelled to be authentic and ‘real’ but in ways that are quite narrowly defined,”said Brooke Erin Duffy, assistant professor of communication and co-author of the study. “If they’re deemed too real, if they express inner thoughts that seem too personal or intimate, they may face criticism. But if they aren’t considered real enough, if audiences view them as highly curated or excessively performative, or so aspirational that they are unrelatable, they experience blowback. Essentially a woman on social media, especially one with a large following, can’t win.”

( Research has found harassment on Instagram can be common, particularly among those with a significant social media presence. And abuse is more prevalent – and potentially more harmful – for women and people from marginalized communities.
Yet few controls and restrictions exist on Instagram, leaving harassment victims particularly helpless when the success of their businesses depends on social media prominence, Duffy said.
For the study, Duffy and co-author Emily Hund of the University of Pennsylvania interviewed 25 professional or aspiring female Instagrammers in the areas of fashion, beauty and lifestyle. They found the women tended to censor themselves in anticipation of criticism.
Women also said they noticed viewers were more engaged with posts confiding personal or private information about their lives, but they also said they felt reluctant to share anything “that’s not elevated and inspirational/aspirational.”

Duffy said she hopes the study calls attention to the lack of safeguards for female Instagram influencers, whose challenges are often disdained by a skeptical public.
The study, “Gendered Visibility on Social Media: Navigating Instagram’s Authenticity Bind,” was published in the International Journal of Communication.
For more information, see this Cornell Chronicle story.
Cornell University has dedicated television and audio studios available for media interviews supporting full HD, ISDN and web-based platforms.

Does Crime Really Rise During a Full Moon?

      

Photo by Thomas Brenac

 

 

 

 

New York University researchers looked into it, just in time for Halloween. 


Just in time for Halloween, the BetaGov team at NYU’s Marron Institute of Urban Management is releasing a three-country study on the “lunar effect.”

Betagov, which carries out randomized controlled trials for, and collaborates with, stakeholders in the field, looked into the purported relationship between crime and the full moon. The investigation resulted from a conversation with a police official in Vallejo, CA, and an article on the phenomenon he pointed out from Australia.

To start out, BetaGov researchers conducted a review of the overall research literature on the “lunar effect,” which, surprisingly, is mixed. Some studies have found evidence of a lunar effect on crime and negative behavior, and others show none at all.

The Vallejo police official, meanwhile, pulled together his agency’s crime data from January 2014 through May 2018. He researched phases of the moon for each crime event, and sent BetaGov his data for analysis. According to the analysis, the data demonstrated that there’s no association between crime events and full moon. In Vallejo, California, at least, people don’t commit more crimes when there is a full moon.

Other police departments heard about this analysis and were curious whether there was evidence for the lunar hypothesis in their own data. To make sure North America was represented, BetaGov teed up replication studies with the Barrie (Ontario) Police Service in Canada and the Irapuato Citizen Safety Secretariat in Mexico. The team merged moon-phase data into their calls-for-service and crime data.

What was found? Again, nothing.

“Although these kinds of analyses are fun, the findings have practical implications for policing such as in developing staffing assignments and distribution of other law-enforcement resources. The bottom line is be vigilant in questioning your assumptions and use your data to explore. It might just surprise you,” said BetaGov director Angela Hawken (PhD), a professor of public policy at the NYU Marron Institute.

To see the individual research briefs, or to speak with Dr. Hawken, please contact NYU public affairs officer Robert Polner at robert.polner(at)nyu.edu .

ABOUT BETAGOV: Our team includes psychologists, economists, policy experts, clinical researchers, statisticians, and consultants with decades of experience planning and conducting randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and collaborating with stakeholders in the field. Supported initially by funding from Give Well and Good Ventures, and by subsequent funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and the Smith Richardson Foundation, our services are provided at no cost. Visit http://betagov.org/index.html

The Iceman

Credit: Dickson et al, 2019

FrozeBuried alongside the famous Ötzi the Iceman are at least 75 species of bryophytes – mosses and liverworts – which hold clues to Ötzi’s surroundings, according to a study released October 30, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by James Dickson of the University of Glasgow, UK and colleagues at the University of Innsbruck. 

Ötzi the Iceman is a remarkable 5,300-year-old human specimen found frozen in ice approximately 3,200 meters above sea level in the Italian Alps. He was frozen alongside his clothing and gear as well as an abundant assemblage of plants and fungi. In this study, Dickson and colleagues aimed to identify the mosses and liverworts preserved alongside the Iceman.

Today, 23 bryophyte species live the area near where Ötzi was found, but inside the ice the researchers identified thousands of preserved bryophyte fragments representing at least 75 species. It is the only site of such high altitude with bryophytes preserved over thousands of years. Notably, the assemblage includes a variety of mosses ranging from low-elevation to high-elevation species, as well as 10 species of liverworts, which are very rarely preserved in archaeological sites. Only 30% of the identified bryophytes appear to have been local species, with the rest having been transported to the spot in Ötzi’s gut or clothing or by large mammalian herbivores whose droppings ended up frozen alongside the Iceman.

From these remains, the researchers infer that the bryophyte community in the Alps around 5,000 years ago was generally similar to that of today. Furthermore, the non-local species help to confirm the path Ötzi took to his final resting place. Several of the identified moss species thrive today in the lower Schnalstal valley, suggesting that Ötzi traveled along the valley during his ascent. This conclusion is corroborated by previous pollen research, which also pinpointed Schnalstal as the Iceman’s likely route of ascent.

Dickson adds, “Most members of the public are unlikely to be knowledgeable about bryophytes (mosses and liverworts). However, no fewer than 75 species of these important investigative clues were found when the Iceman (aka Ötzi) was removed from the ice. They were recovered as mostly small scraps from the ice around him, from his clothes and gear, and even from his alimentary tract. Those findings prompted the questions: Where did the fragments come from? How precisely did they get there? How do they help our understanding of the Iceman?”

 

A narcissist Generation

Picture from Canva

By Susan Krauss Whitbourne 

You hear it all the time about the millennial generation, or those born between the late 1970s and 2000 —they’re just a bunch of entitled narcissists. Despite the fact that the “me” generation was first identified in the 1970s and referred to the Baby Boomers in Christopher Lasch’s book (The Culture of Narcissism), the millennials are regarded as being even more me-oriented than their parents.
It’s not clear where the narcissism label came from as applied to this entire generation, but the idea certainly has been reinforced in the popular press. The rise of Facebook, selfies, and other social media have certainly contributed to the narcissism attribution as well. Another theory is that millennials were overly pampered and revered as children by parents whose “me-ness” led them to focus on their offspring as reflections on themselves. In any case, the label is sticking and doesn’t show signs of going away.
New research on millennials in the workplace suggests that it is definitely time to drop this misnomer, and particularly, to stop lumping everyone in a single generation into one diagnostic category. University of Scranton’s Robert Giambatista and Texas Tech University’s J. Duane Hoover (2018) decided to challenge the popular wisdom about the millennials in terms of their ability to learn teamwork in the organizational setting. Skeptical of the view that all millennials have the same personalities, they believed that only those individuals high in narcissism would show teamwork problems due to their “dysfunctional and disruptive behaviors” (p. 3). The authors studied narcissism in the non-clinical sense; i.e. as a set of personality traits and not as a diagnosable disorder. In the workplace, people high in this trait should “generally act as self-serving individuals needing to succeed as an individual at all costs, perhaps even to the net costs to the team itself… (and) as unpopular bosses” (p. 4).
High-performing teams, the authors then explain, share a purpose and vision that goes beyond the needs of individuals on those teams. Members are held accountable to each other, and they put forth a collective effort to reach collective ends. They trust one another, meaning that they occasionally have to show their vulnerable sides. None of these qualities should be found, as the authors point out, in people high in narcissism. Furthermore, when they assess their abilities, people high in narcissism have a hard time being objective and deciding on where they need to show room for improvement. These are additional impediments to high performance on a work team.
Giambatista and Hoover tested the idea that people high in narcissism would be poor team players in an innovative study of master’s students taking a behaviorally-based class in organizational behavior (n= 168). The students completed the Narcissism Personality Inventory (NPI) early in the semester prior to embarking on the course. Its behavioral focus meant that students in the course took place in realistically-designed learning activities in which their ability to work on a team received constant assessment. It was their performance on the teamwork skill assessment that became the outcome variable in the study, with narcissism scores as predictors.  Additionally, the authors developed a behavioral test of narcissism by comparing self-ratings of abilities with actual performance on one of the skill-based assessment exercises.  People high in narcissism, as defined in this manner, should overconfidently rate themselves as better than they actually were.

The findings showed that people high in the entitlement and superiority components of narcissism in fact had higher levels of overconfidence and poorer teamwork skills and that their teamwork performance continued to be deficient over the course of the semester. The other components of the NPI scores had no relationship to teamwork or teamwork skill learning. Thus, the findings for narcissism as a whole were weaker than for the two specific components of entitlement and superiority.  As the authors concluded, “individuals holding the ‘sky is falling’ anxieties about working with millennials and some individuals with narcissistic tendencies may be overly pessimistic” (p. 15). This suggests that even if the form of narcissism a person has is marked by high degrees of entitlement and superiority,  these traits might also live in a personality as a whole that includes other redeeming qualities.
As Giambatista and Hoover suggest, it’s not particularly fun or easy to try to teach teamwork to people who think they’re better than everyone else and deserving of special treatment. These individuals may resist a skill-based approach that assumes they’re imperfect and have something they need to learn.  Instead, for these individuals, it might be best to point out how the success of each worker benefits the team as a whole: “Learners who are narcissistic and also sports fans can probably relate to the many examples of professional athletes who have parlayed team success into huge financial gains… even though they were not the star players on their teams” (p. 17).
There are ways, then, to manage people who are high in these two components of narcissism, and to help them become better at cooperating and working toward shared goals. The authors have harsh words for those who engage in “conflating millennials with narcissism,” or assuming that “slightly higher levels of narcissism come with disastrous consequences.” They also point out that the “pernicious portrayal” of millennial narcissists “may contain no small amount of generational ‘old fogeyism’” (p. 17).
To sum up, if you’re one of those in the older generations who look with dismay and fear at your younger colleagues, friends, or family, the present findings suggest that you not give up on them or write them off as pathologically narcissistic.  By all means, identify those whose behavior suggests their opinion of themselves is entirely too high and tailor your training methods accordingly. You don’t need to limit this approach to those born at the end of the 20th Century. Millennials aren’t the first generation to include people high in certain aspects of narcissism, and they certainly won’t be the last.

References
Giambatista, R. C., & Hoover, J. D. (2018). Narcissism and teamwork skill acquisition in management education. The Psychologist-Manager Journal, doi:10.1037/mgr0000064

 

Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., ABPP, is a Professor Emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Gerontology and Faculty Fellow in the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. The author of over 160 refereed articles and book chapters and 16 books (many in multiple editions and translations), her most recent popular work is The Search for Fulfillment (January 2010, Ballantine Books). She also writes for the Huffington Post’s “Post 50” blog and is a frequent commentator on local, national, and international media outlets and has appeared on the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Dateline, CNN, Olbermann, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, USA Today, and Time.com.

The costs of camouflaging autism

Illustration by Alessandra Genualdo  
 Many girls hide their autism, sometimes evading diagnosis 
well into adulthood. These efforts can help women 
on the spectrum socially and professionally, 
but they can also do serious harm.
by
 
Except for her family and closest friends, no one in Jennifer’s various circles knows that she is on the spectrum. Jennifer was not diagnosed with autism until she was 45 — and then only because she wanted confirmation of what she had figured out for herself over the previous decade. Most of her life, she says, she evaded a diagnosis by forcing herself to stop doing things her parents and others found strange or unacceptable. (For privacy reasons, Jennifer asked that we not use her last name.)
Over several weeks of emailing back and forth, Jennifer confides in me some of the tricks she uses to mask her autism — for example, staring at the spot between someone’s eyes instead of into their eyes, which makes her uncomfortable. But when we speak for the first time over video chat one Friday afternoon in January, I cannot pick up on any of these ploys.
She confesses to being anxious. “I didn’t put on my interview face,” she says. But her nervousness, too, is hidden — at least until she tells me that she is tapping her foot off camera and biting down on the chewing gum in her mouth. The only possible ‘tell’ I notice is that she gathers up hanks of her shoulder-length brown hair, pulls them back from her face and then lets them drop — over and over again.
In the course of more than an hour, Jennifer, a 48-year-old writer, describes the intense social and communication difficulties she experiences almost daily. She can express herself easily in writing, she says, but becomes disoriented during face-to-face communication. “The immediacy of the interaction messes with my processing,” she says.
“Am I making any sense at all?” she suddenly bursts out. She is, but often fears she is not.
To compensate, Jennifer says she practices how to act. Before attending a birthday party with her son, for example, she prepares herself to be “on,” correcting her posture and habitual fidgeting. She demonstrates for me how she sits up straight and becomes still. Her face takes on a pleasant and engaged expression, one she might adopt during conversation with another parent. To keep a dialogue going, she might drop in a few well-rehearsed catchphrases, such as “good grief” or “go big or go home.” “I feel if I do the nods, they won’t feel I’m uninterested,” she says.
Over the past few years, scientists have discovered that, like Jennifer, many women on the spectrum ‘camouflage’ the signs of their autism. This masking may explain at least in part why three to four times as many boys as girls are diagnosed with the condition. It might also account for why girls diagnosed young tend to show severe traits, and highly intelligent girls are often diagnosed late. (Men on the spectrum also camouflage, researchers have found, but not as commonly as women.)
Nearly everyone makes small adjustments to fit in better or conform to social norms, but camouflaging calls for constant and elaborate effort. It can help women with autism maintain their relationships and careers, but those gains often come at a heavy cost, including physical exhaustion and extreme anxiety.
Camouflaging is often about a desperate and sometimes subconscious survival battle,” says Kajsa Igelström, assistant professor of neuroscience at Linköping University in Sweden. “And this is an important point, I think — that camouflaging often develops as a natural adaptation strategy to navigate reality,” she says. “For many women, it’s not until they get properly diagnosed, recognized and accepted that they can fully map out who they are.”
Even so, not all women who camouflage say they would have wanted to know about their autism earlier — and researchers acknowledge that the issue is fraught with complexities. Receiving a formal diagnosis often helps women understand themselves better and tap greater support, but some women say it comes with its own burdens, such as a stigmatizing label and lower expectations for achievement.

The Essential Narcissism of Parenthood

When does our desire for a better version of ourselves become unhealthy?
 
Jars of Sweets/Barb Watson/CC BY NC 2.0
 Source: Jars of Sweets/Barb Watson/CC BY NC 2.0

Telling a parent not to be narcissistic is about as useful as telling a child to ignore a candy store’s display window. It does not work. Parents are wired to look at their babies as mirrors of their more perfect selves. We cannot eliminate this primal feeling, but we can manage it so that our children thrive.
When most people think about narcissism, they think about a full-blown constellation of traits: an inflated sense of one’s own importance, a need for excessive attention and admiration, and a lack of empathy. People who exhibit all of these traits over an extended period of time, without any awareness that they are doing so, are diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Children raised by parents with NPD suffer, usually growing up to assume either the narcissistic personality of their parent or a self-effacing demeanor of constantly trying to appease and accommodate others’ demands.
However, not every person with traits of narcissism (which is to say every person) represents a danger to others. The need for attention and admiration, the need to feel important, even the need to establish boundaries that limit our empathy—these are all elements of the human psyche. They push us toward accomplishments and a belief in our own agency. When narcissism is balanced with the impulses for connection and empathy, it can even become a pro-social trait.

You're So Vain/A. Strakey/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Source: You’re So Vain/A. Strakey/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
 

Infants are born narcissists; they recognize their caregivers only as an extension of themselves. As children grow, they slowly develop a theory of mind, an understanding that other people are separate beings with distinct needs, preferences, and perceptions. This recognition is an essential precursor to the transition toward independence.
Children are not the only narcissists in the parent-child relationship though. Parents see their own reflection in their babies as much as babies see themselves in their parents. The difference is that children naturally evolve out of this state, whereas parents must make a more intentional effort.
Children are born to be loved, but they are also born to mirror and validate their parents. A parent’s narcissism consists of seeing the child as a true and perfect reflection. The child embodies the parent’s best traits and compensates for the parent’s shortcomings. My newborn is a perfect version of myself.
Parental pride derives from the positive light that our children’s accomplishments reflect back onto us. We see it in every boastful conversation about precocious reading ability, athletic prowess, college acceptance letters, and financial success later in life. Those accomplishments? Those are my accomplishments, says the parent. Give me credit for creating and raising this extraordinary person!
I dare say this mirroring impulse, this narcissism, is useful in evolutionary terms. The more closely we identify with our offspring, the more likely we are to nurture them and encourage their success. They, in turn, are more likely to attract mates and build families of their own if they demonstrate that success. The genes live on.

So being a narcissistic parent is normal and natural. But the impulse must be kept in check. Allowing our children to develop their independent selves requires us to let go, to let them explore interests and behaviors we may neither recognize nor desire in ourselves. Even when we do celebrate their accomplishments, we cannot declare ownership (even if we feel it), because our children need to believe in their own efficacy. Watching our children spread their wings is terrifying because we worry about their safety, but also because we lose control over the reflection in our mirrors.
Holding on too tightly is only one pitfall of narcissism. What happens when the child’s reflection disappoints us? When the child does not advertise our strengths and compensate for our shortcomings? Every child, at some point, fails us. Our progeny simply cannot be more perfect than human imperfection allows. When we confront this disappointment, we may be inclined to blame the child, reject the mirror. At least for a moment. We have to will ourselves to accept the separateness of our children, to relieve them of the burden our narcissism imposes on them. Our disappointment in ourselves cannot be transformed into resentment toward the child who does not improve the reflection staring back at us.
I have been thinking about parental narcissism because the challenges it imposes are particularly acute for those of us who are raising children with special needs. We confront, at an early age, the fact that our children will not be the vehicles for our redemption. They will not, in all likelihood, become the belles of the ball, win the MVP awards, or garner Nobel prizes. As reflections of ourselves, they may be barely recognizable.
What then? Certainly, the fact of a disability does not diminish our love for our children. It can, however, interfere with the natural processes of attachment and separation. Our children still need us to mirror them when they are young, but we may instinctively reject their need for identification. Again, we do not feel less love, but we may communicate resignation rather than the joy of mutual experience. Later on, as our children mature, we may limit their opportunities for independent growth, perhaps because we expect so little or perhaps because we cannot imagine in them the same desire for accomplishment that we remember in ourselves and assume in more easily recognizable children.
Distinguishing our own preferences from the needs and desires of our children requires a concerted effort. Abandoning the hope that our children will redeem us, and doing so with grace, also requires a concerted effort. For our children’s sake, we must let them take responsibility for their own lives, just as we relieve them of responsibility for ours.

Barb Cohen


Barb Cohen is a teacher, writer, and educational 
advocate with seventeen years 
of experience parenting an autistic daughter.

4 Tips to divorce a borderline woman

You are divorcing the Borderline mother of your children. Your dissolution of marriage action is getting now here. You are an entrepreneur who owns your own business or you are a middle-to-upper level corporate executive or manager. You are responsible for accomplishing the impossible everyday and you get the job done every day–no matter what. You are a resourceful, educated, creative, motivated problem solver accustomed to dealing with difficult people who has no patience for fools or incompetents and you only work with team players who share your drive to succeed. Naturally, you expect your divorce will proceed the same way you handle the rest of your life.

    Unfortunately, divorcing a Borderline is everything you hate most in life: delays; disruptions of your business routine and personal regimens; dramas bordering on bad theater; impossible, inflexible people; inconsistent demands and confusing signals; serial hurry-up-and-waits; every specie of verbal and behavioral deceit ever conceived by the human mind; physical, emotional, financial, social and psychological abuse; total chaos. All of this in a judicial setting designed to enable the Borderline to amplify and exploit both human and institutional weaknesses. It’s like swimming out into the ocean from the beach and then turning around to swim back to shore only to find nothing but water as far as the eye can see. No landmarks. No people. No boats. No help. Nothing but water to the horizons in all directions. In family law court, the very qualities that make you successful in business will prove to be your downfall in your Borderline divorce.

   You were trained to take charge and to adopt a “can do” attitude. You want non-issues resolved yesterday. You have no patience for people who have nothing better to do than to waste your time and money. But in a Borderline divorce, you can rest assured nothing will happen when you want or need it to happen. People who have far more issues than you will judge your life while lying to you, while engaging in passive/aggressive behavior, while paying lip service to the “best interests of the child”, and while employing “secrets” and codes of silence. They will not let you see the man behind the curtain, but they act like they expect you to know what the Great Oz is doing. As soon as you file your divorce your life starts being run by a remote control shared by everyone involved in your case, except you. The court, your spouse, opposing counsel, the custody evaluator and other retained experts are all making decisions directly affecting you and your future, but they rarely seek your advice let alone consent. You are not accustomed to having someone else tell you how to run your life, let alone someone who knows nothing about you and who (you get the feeling) could care less. You feel helpless because you are being judged by an institutionalized negative stereotype of what a “man” is that has little to nothing to do with who you are, namely: a physically violent, emotionally abusive, alcoholic, drug using, Monday Night Football couch potato, who doesn’t know one end of a baby from the other. After a while, you begin to feel overwhelmed, powerless, misunderstood.

     Eventually, you begin feel that you are the only person at the table who doesn’t have a say in your own life. And you are not far from the truth. You are being pulled in multiple directions. Your life unravels. Your health suffers. You are not eating or exercising or sleeping right. Your hard earned financial security is soon siphoned off. You don’t have time or money to see a therapist let alone start a new relationship. Your income drops. You see your children far less than you need and want to while you watch your career and future disappear down Alice’s rabbit hole. The dream is dead. Only after this new surreal reality sinks in do you begin asking yourself, “How will I survive this divorce? Will I survive?” You will survive. That is not the question. The question is who will you be after the divorce is granted, a custody plan is in force, support has been established, and the community property has been divided? The first steps toward salvaging your life when divorcing a spouse who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (“BPD”) are, first, to understand what Borderline Personality Disorder is, second, to surrender to the dysfunctional American family law court system–a way of divorcing people that not even Niccolo Machiavelli could have envisioned–and, third, creating a new dream. A man without a dream is a dead man. Begin this process by assuming you have no rights and no life: You are a third class citizen. Objectively speaking, you have been repeatedly victimized by your spouse and the family court system, but you can never think or act like you are a victim. You must always be “at cause” in your own life no matter how strange things get.     This is the only way for a man to win any significant custody time with his children and to gain any say in this own life. If you so much as smell like a victim–you lose.

The attorney you choose will determine how you come across to the court. The Great Oz who hides behind the curtain is testing you to see if you are really a Man. You will be mercilessly tortured until you either break down from the systematic abuse heaped on you year after year, or you win primary custody of your children. There is no middle ground. Why? Because Borderlines know no middle ground and Borderlines force all- or-nothing resolutions. Courts and attorneys do not understand this about Borderlines. In fact, they do not know Borderlines even exist. Aristotle said, “Know Thyself.” To survive, you must know your heart, your strengths and weaknesses, your limits and potentials. If you know now that you are not ready, willing and able to endure endless psychological, emotional, financial and social abuse, you need to consider walking away and never looking back–whatever that means to you. If you do walk away, be absolutely certain that five or ten years from now, you will be able to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I did everything I possibly could to save my children.” This is one way to survive a Borderline divorce. There is only one other way. If you are a man who cannot walk away from his children and who is willing to risk and sacrifice everything for your children, you have no choice but to to be “all in”, no matter what, no matter how long.

 When Hawkeye tells Cora in The Last of the Mohicans to go–he will find her “no matter how far, no matter how long”–he meant it. And so will you. Because your children’s lives solely depend on you. When you resolve that you have no other options but to save your children, take action: Dream a new dream for your life. This is the necessary first step to survival.

  1. Seek out a good life coach or psychologist and get the help you need. 
  2. Read as much as you can about BPD. In time, you will learn how easy it is to manipulate a BPD. 
  3.  Find an attorney who either specializes in BPD cases or who is willing to consult with one does; and Accept that the court system is not only blind when it comes to BPD cases, it is also deaf and dumb–and then develop a plan that forces your judge to deal with reality. 
  4.  Your goal is primary custody of the children. In almost all Borderline cases in which the Borderline parent is moderately or severely Borderline, this is the only custody arrangement that will save the children. If your game plan is Borderline savvy and if you have the wherewithal to financially and personally endure protracted litigation against a Borderline, you can save your children and live your new dream.