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Mental Disorders

Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

The Borderline Personality Disordered Family, Part I

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Apr 3rd 2007

There is an old saying in psychology that "people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are not born, they are made." What this saying refers to is the fact that child abuse, repeated from one generation to the next, results in BPD. In other words, those who were abused as children are at great risk of developing BPD and are likely to have been abused by parents who were Borderline.

Generally speaking the term personality disorder refers to patterns of behavior that were learned early in life, are regularly repeated and are unsuccessful as coping skills. Borderline Personality Disorder refers to a particular type of repeated behaviors characterized by the following symptoms as reported in the DSM IV:

1) Unstable interpersonal relationships characterized by idealizing the other person followed by devaluing the same individual.

2) Impulsive behaviors in the areas of sex, spending, substance abuse, reckless driving, and more.

3) Chronic feelings of emptiness.

4) Intense anger, difficulty controlling angry impulses, physical fights and violence.

5) Paranoid thinking brought on by stress.

6) Suicidal threats, self mutilating and suicidal behaviors.

7) Constant worry about real or imagined abandonment by others.

8) Regular episodes of anxiety, depression, and irritability.

9) Self image or identity that is unstable.

It is not inevitable that the children of a BPD parent will develop this disorder if the other parent is able to protect the child and serve as a stable source of comfort and reassurance for the child. However, what happens if either both parents suffer from BPD or if one does and the other has another type of personality disorder?

The issue is that people with BPD tend to marry those with those who are also personality disordered in one way or another. For instance, the mother with a borderline personality is likely to attract someone with a narcissistic personality. Why, I hear you ask? The reason is that at the beginning of the relationship, when the person with the BPD is busily idealizing their boy friend, they will feel very appealing to someone with strong narcissistic wounds. Someone with a Narcissistic Personality wants to feel worshipped, heroic and highly valued. There is nothing more appealing to this person than the idealizing, worshipping behavior of the BPD individual.

In this dyad: Borderline person with Narcissistic person, trouble sets in when the Narcissistic person becomes arrogant and demeaning to the Borderline. This arrogant behavior is inevitable because the narcissistic needs of this person are insatiable and their self inflating and self aggrandizing behaviors finally have a devastating impact on their partners. The Borderline partner cannot withstand this stress, becomes filled with murderous rage, and demeans and devalues their former hero. A relationship that seemed "made in heaven" suddenly descends down into hell. The borderline person wants assurances that their partner will not leave them while the narcissistic person, with no sympathy for their partner, either threatens to or does actually leave.

However, the narcissistic personality is not the only one who is likely to marry the borderline. People who are passive and dependent and who will not threaten to leave are also likely to marry someone who has a borderline personality. Of course, two people with borderline personality disorders set the stage for a life of major tempestuousness and grief for all involved.

What Happens When Children Enter this Scenario?

When children enter into the battle ground of a personality disordered parent while the other parent suffers another type of personality disorder the stage is set for major grief to be suffered by one or all of the children. Given the nature of the borderline parent it is often one particular child who is singled out for abuse.

Which child is selected for abuse and why?

The child most likely selected for the wrath of the borderline parent is most likely the one who most reminds the parent of their own self. We will focus on the Borderline Mother because children are usually most exposed to her. While the child who reminds the borderline mother of herself is usually one of the daughters it is possible for the target of her rage to be a son.

Because of the fragmented way in which the borderline sees herself (either made up of good stuff or made up of bad stuff) the borderline parent views her children in the same fragmented way. Therefore, it is often one child who represents all the bad stuff inside the borderline parent who becomes the target of abuse. Then, another child will represent all the good stuff inside of the same parent and that child is viewed by this parent as being perfect. Neither child grows into an adult who feels good about themself. Of course, attributing one's own characteristics to another person is called "projection." If there are additional children in the family they tend to be fortunate enough to be ignored by this pathological, toxic parent.

What becomes of the "good child" and what becomes of the "bad child" and how can adult survivors of this abuse cope with their parents? Read Part II of the Borderline Family tomorrow.

Your comments are welcome and encouraged.

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Damaged Goods...My Inheritence from Hell.... - - Feb 13th 2015

Ha..... i got it from my momma!! lol. explains a lot of moody moods i didnt appreciate. Untill i passed them on down the generational conveyerbelt of damaged goods. life was in willy wonka movie and when the girl that gets tossed down the bad egg chute. I was just another bad egg.

BPD LIVES HERE TOO - Jeff Horwitz - Aug 28th 2014

I never had one normal parent and one BPD. In my family my mother gave up thinking on her own because my BPD father controled her mind since I was born. So I had bookend parents both crapping on me for everything you could imagine. Now my golden boy older brother married a nice girl who turned into my father. My brother turned into my mother. They are actively crapping on their oldest son and worshiping #2. What a great family trait. Me, never had kids. I figured I would spend time and money on them and they would grow up to hate me. That gene will end with me.

Great gift - - Jul 26th 2014

Allan, I wish to express my greatest appreciation for your article as well the opportunity for other readers to comment. There is so little in formal treatment for children and particularly adult children that have a parent with BPD. It has taken me, the best part of my young adult life, to firstly know what the damage is, know what to do with it and restore myself. Without articles such as this one I would never have found my way. Thank you. BPD is a very SAD and damaging condition to have encountered and the service to others by publishing such articles is a gift that keeps giving.

BPD mother - Cara - Jul 5th 2014

My mother was a recluse, probably for a reason. She used to destroy any gifts my dad or I gave her. He gave her small ornaments and she would smash them. I used to draw her beautiful pictures for Mother's Day or whatever and these would be ripped, thrown out of the window or down the stairs or I was told they were 'crummy'. I said to a friend recently, what kind of mother does this to her child, and they said, an ill one. My dad has always supported her perhaps because it was cheaper than sending her to an institution. 

She was a rageaholic, had chronic rage over a crumb on the kitchen surfaceor spot of water on the floor, where the animals were allowed to defecate inside the house and out and she was very leisurely about picking it up. Unfortunately I probably developed BPD as a teenager because I had no option but to rage back. I don't trust anyone and don't feel strong unless I rage. I use the rage to control people and it just is so out there and relentless. I don't really care too much that my mother turned most of her family against me because I figure if they are stupid enough to believe it knoeing what my mother herself is like, they deserve everything they get. I am not that desperate for their approval. 

I do find it unbelievably difficult to trust men I am with as many have indeed b)een unfaithful and my mother deliberately told me of my father's infidelity when I was a baby, when I was 16. I never recovered and my dad told my mother she did more damage telling me than the actual affair itself did. My mother never wanted children in the first place and I don't know why the hell she had me. Dhe said it wad because it was expected of her

Insightful and so true. Problem is.... - david - Nov 26th 2013

the courts just dont care. they label us as abusers and the woman with bpd as the victim. 

they are simply not interested in this thought. my wife has accused every person in her life of abuse and yet she still accuses me and the lawyers and judge say just tell us what happened that night!

i mean what? the fact that she has done this to her dad three times. her mother once. had her mothers second husband put in jail for sexual assault and beating and they were all exonerated is not something you want to hear about?

Dr. Schwartz why do they not care about truth. Why will they not listen to learned professionals. Is it ego or apathy?

HELP!! - nycgal - Aug 5th 2013


I was dating a psychopath for ten years, and I left him and moved to Oregon to be with my psychopathic family. I knew it would be hard to be around them, but it was my only support. I now want to leave, and go back to the state I was in. Because I realized this was a VERY bad move for me. My problem is, my 18 year old daughter wants to stay here with them because they "brainwashed" her and told her I am a bad mother. (they been doing this for years to me), I kept my daughter away from them all her life, and now my daughter wants to stay with them, and not me. And because she is 18, she wont leave with me.   WHAT DO I DO?  I am scared to even leave her here with them, and when I try to approach her to talk alone, they follow or tell her to get a restraining order against me!!   Its unreal.   

the bpd family - - May 3rd 2013

Thanks, doc. It's therapeutic for me to read about these topics written in a lay man language. 

You also express the ideas without too much drama, to the point, and I appreciate this now because you're talking about things that I have been able to accept.

However, years ago in my life I might've raged or felt depressed. This is the typical truth of the 'borderline family'. It's the hardest thing to accept, or one of the hardest, and it can be conflicting for those approaching the subject for the first time.

I understand and express my admiration for everyone facing this right here and now, even if you're not able to react in the most effective way, if it triggers you, or if you find it unacceptable. It gets a lot easier with time.

I diagnosed my mother with BPD when I was 16. It took several years for two psychiatrists to admit to me that it was most likely she was indeed BPD or some fast cycling, serious form of BD. She made a year of therapy focused on abilites, and closed the file. I can see the border in her and she hurt me so much in my life, but I still love her so deeply, I know what she endured. 

I have of course a perfect, NPD'd sister, who is homosexual and struggling to find herself, without disappointing my mother.

I only recently admitted to my father being NPD as well, but I have known this for years. I just couldn't come to terms with it. I had to keep telling myself he was a more caring, sensitive man than he really is.

My boyfriend is highly narcissistic. He has irreal ideas of grandiousness, lacks emphathy and gets aggresive when he perceives he isn't admired or approved of.

And my brother is psychophatic, extremely so, but I still don't want to think about him. It hurts too much.

I appreciate a lot your work. It's so hard to find material like this. Personally, accepting my family has helped me see that it wasn't 'all in my head', and that has been validating. 

Instead of being angry with them, it was like it all finally made sense. Of course, my condition was created. I was the scapegoat. But it's ok. I can work on myself on a whole new diferent level now, and hopefully help others too.

Mom & Daughter. Am I the crazy one? - - Jan 3rd 2012

My entire family has always thought that my mom was "mentally not right" since I can remember but my mother sees herself as the victim in most situations and sees us (ie the fam) and especially me, her daughter as attacking her or painting her in an 'incorrect' light.

  One minute she is fine the next she is franticlly having some sort of crisis ie.. "Im late, move out of my way!" "I cat find INSERT MISSING ITEM HERE, and you must have something to do with its' disapearance" or "they always single me out" (she argued with a military police officer on an airforce base once after he asked to routinely check our vehicle. She claimed that he had singled her out. Only after she had made a scene and he threatened to revoke her on-base privelages did she angrily let him search our car while continuing to threaten she knew everyone on base and would be telling his commander which of course she didn't & never did)

She is defensive to a fault & if you catch her in a lie or confront her about something she becomes violent & irrational. Especially with me. Growing up she would try to inflict the most damage, if you will, possible on me. Im guessing this makes her feel better when I do things wrong(or what she perceives as wrong) One of my earliest memories is of being in pre-school & the teacher asking me why I had a black eye. I replied that my mother had hit me. I guess the school talked to her bcuz all night she screamed at me saying that Im not supposed to tell people "shit like that" ad that "they" would take me away from her  & at the end of all this verbal assault I was sent to my room without diner bcuz for some reason I was in trouble. I just remember being scared to death that "they", whoever that was, would take me away somewhere.The crazy thing is that I was the straight A student never in trouble but I was the "bad, ungrateful" daughter. Meawhile my brother was commiting vandalism crimes, failing school and even went to jail once and she has always acted as if he is her "golden child".

She is a hypochondriac  always believing something is wrong with herself or us. 5 years ago she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and now she is convinced that the government "wont allow her to work", she thinks she is allergic to the sun, blames anything she can on her disease loves to tell people anywhere we go supermarkets etc... in a sympathatic tone that "I have MS & its hard but Im dealing." But its bizarre as if she is looking for sympathy."

She LOVES to be the center of positive or negative attetion but seems to thrive on unusual forms of negative attention. Talking to police after a physical fight she started etc... or telling my boyfriend to break up with me bcuz I am getting fat & that I am good for nothing (I am thin, work full time, & support my boyfriend financially)

She acts nurturing & loving toward me sometimes & those times are great bcuz I love her but also confusing to me bcuz she usually is back to being mean and insulting towards me hours or a day or 2 after. Her favorite things to tell me are that Im ungraceful, getting fat, ungrateful, or dumb.She acts like we are best friends but talks about me behind my back, intrudes across boundaries she shouldnt cross ie telling my BF to break up with me or pretnding to be me to get access to my medical records all the while she thinks she has the "right" and that she is helping me in some way and "how dare I question her motives bcu she knows best." (I am 24)

She is obsevively compulsive about her house & decorations, cleanliness etc to the point that certain items are not to be touched or used in the manner for which they were intended for and if  you so much as violate what my brother & I call the "invisible force field" She will fly off the handle claiming that the item is "destroyed" or "damaged" or that we made a mess that she now has to clean. A drop of water on the sink or the wrong tool in a pan, or setting a coffee cup on a table etc.. Furthermore if you try to reason with her or discuss such a matter she will either end the conversation or become violent often throwing, with much force, at you the item that she claimed was "ruined."

Her husband is abusive usually verbally, disregards her emotions, has affairs, tells her he answers to "noone" starts fights over bizarre things, complains about EVERYTHING, needs to constantly be worshipped by her. Is ALWAYS ALWAYS trying to start fights with her that escalate into prolonged screaming matches usually ending with my mother "bopping him in the mouth" as she calls it (she believes that she has never hurt a fly) He seems to lack empathy completely unless doing a nice deed will somehow benefit him. My friends growing up were often uncomfortable or put off by him. My mother defends him when he's around or calls me telling me she wishes he could just never come home when he's not around. If I fight with him she defends me, if I fight with her she has him defend her. She compares me to him when she is mad at him (I share no human quality with my stepdad) I have done some research and believe that he may be of some sort of narcissistic personality disorder and was shocked to read in your article that BPD often dates people of these personalities.

Recently I was home for the holidays and decided to discuss with her very calmly I might add that she made my boyfriend uncomfortable and crossed a boundary by telling him to break up with me. She then told me that she cant trust any decisions I make (again never so much as a speeding ticket) & that my BF was lying & countered that hes a "pothead" (he is liscensed  for medical use due to Chrons' disease which he has been hospitalized 3 times for this year & at each ER visit she came pretending to be the nurturing mother) She tried to dismiss the fact that I was trying to have a conversation with her regarding respecting my personal boundaries at which point she tried to attack me when I pushed the matter further, with my stepdad holdig her back and her screaming a list of insults at me saying that I was a tramp & that I was pushing buttons on the washer with the sole purpose of driving her "insane" (its a side loading washer I had ever used one) I left until she invited me for X-mas where she never even acknowledged the fact that we had a fight & pretending that everything was copasetic.

I sent her a text 2 days ago telling her that she was abusive, & hurtful & that some of my earliest memories were of her beatig me senseless. I thought she would be upset or pissed but she texted me back that I was dramatic, that I cross boundaries and to quit wasting her time by texting her such nonsense!!!!! I couldn;t believe it. I had wanted to tell her that for 24 years & she dismissed it all & barely acknowledged Id said anything!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry for the long story but my dad(they are divorced & he is normal thank God) & I have long suspected that she was bipolar but I heard about BPD about a yearago and am now thinking (after ALLOT!) of research that this more closely fits with her. She is moody, reckless behind the wheel, over indulges in food(but calls me fat), feels victimized is violent at times, seems almost paranoid or obsessive about strange things, projects her emotions on everyone else to the point that now only my brother & stepdad talk to her.

Could this be BPD or are these symptoms/anecdotes to general? Is it a good idea for me to cut off contact with her? (for now that is the choice I've made bcuz usually she brings me down & makes me feel guilty as if Im the one toblame) Does anyone else out there have similar expeiences? Or am I just going crazy??

premediated/calculated manipulation - c.watters - Aug 30th 2011

The idealism and demonaization. I was the man, then I wasn't. Her constant need for validation. Never told me the truth and set up dramatic situations. I was attacked physically 3 times by her. Then she revruited various men to finish the job she started. she used the court system and played the gender card in domestic violence. she was very good at being BPD. The changes, I call "Transformations" were extreme.

My father whom is a therapist warned me of this woman. He said; They don't make good partners, they make their own rules. That he put lightly. The wheels were turning constantly.

We would not have finished one drama before going into the next.

I was accused of her attacks with only a statement by her to the police. I was a wife beater. According to her statement.

I was arrested and prosecuted for the attacks she carried out upon me. I was put on the defense. She had men stalking our home.

The police, courts and general public believed I was a horrible person even though I had an A+ reputation.

When she got caught, for whatever, she would have backed herself so deep on a corner she felt only violence would make it better.

Nobody believed me when I told them the scenario. It seemed incomprehensable.

Nobody could see her condition. My father did. He told me when we all 3 met for dinner.

He said; Son, you have PTSD and she gave it to you.

Whether you did it or not has nothing to do with it.

She will say you hit her, she will say you are a drug user and, next, she will acuse you of child molestation. Of which, due to her extreme manipulative qualities, you will probably be convicted.

Not because you are bad but, because she is good. Real good at what she does.

I was given the answer as if it were a spiritual experience.

Since she can be persuasive. Influence people to believe her. When she had an episode, when the police arrive, she would "Transform" into the passive victim. Exceptional actors. Evil almost.


This is to all who experience the BPD. Set up surveylance. Hidden cameras. Even non hidden cameras. They don't undertand it. Almost like a cross to a vampire.


If they can't use the "Transformation". If both sides are seen. If they are pulled into the sunlight. Even then, you can only save yourself. They walk through walls. They can manipulate anyone. Except those trained to spot it. I was warned 5 times by 5 separate pshycologist.


The pupils get so big, there is no color. Black eyes. Then the redness of the face. Then the eyes glaze over and they attack. Attacks can last for minutes. Days, even years.

Once they attack. They never stop. Ever. She was arrested and convicted. My case was dismissed.

They saw it for themselves. It was undeniable. I am still the bad guy. My reputation is ruined. I lost it all.

my experience - PROUD MOM ALWAYS MOM FOREVER MOM - Aug 26th 2011

Borderline Personality Disorder patients are not TOXIC parents they are unidentifiable people by any regard.  The "abuse" they cause to others is neither intentional or even recognizable to themselves and ergo their children with BPD are the same way, yes they should be seperated from eachother at the therapuetic level but monitored interaction after the recognition of diagnosis stage can move toward unsupervised visitation that may lead to a functional relationship between the two later in life.  BPD with treatment has a 50% recovery rate it is unfair and inhumane to forget that and to forget that the disorders control of the patient decreases over time through age.  In todays day of age the only TOXIC parenting is the closed minded arrogance and ignorance that propels diseases like BPD into unstable paranoia...this Disorder already has a large fatality rate DO NOT BE A PART OF THE PROBLEM.

Also BPD is often closely associated with abandonement issues so disbanding a family is far more detrimental to the illness then therapy to an extent.

Besides people without said BPD dont generally want anything to do with those that do and hospitalization increases the risk factors in BPD patients.

"Borderline Personality Disorder patients are not "TOXIC" parents they are unidentifiable people by any regard.  The "abuse" they cause to others is neither intentional or even recognizable to themselves..."  after ongoing therapy most patients are able to recognize their abusive tendencies and correct them.  They do know remorse and regret, they can show positive maternal instincts and not all of them suffer from rage impulsiveness or destructive behaviors.  their close connection to primal instincts for some can mean improved maternal skills if they can recognize where there modern line is drawn...aka modern says i can not kill the man who hit my daughter...

No one knows like those that experiance.  I love my daughter and there has been times where seperating myself from my daughters therapy and intensifying my own therapy has been necessary and Ive done it without complaint but my maternal love, which i do posses believe it or not is very important to her and her treatment.  When i look at her i do not see me and i do not see black or white i see the rainbow of uniqueness and possibility and profound strength and wisdom that she posesses that will pull her through.  I also see that whereas i may have been a factor in her illness i can also be a factor in her pulling through, most mothers only admit to one of those when both are ALWAYS true.

tired of excuses - - Jan 2nd 2011

the question is, do these parents realize they are doing something wrong? these people make an art form out of denial, rewriting history in their own minds to show what great parents they were. you will never get any acknowledgement that they abused you. in their hearts i think they know, but it ultimately doesn't matter. for your own sanity, the best thing is often to just move far away and never talk to them again. 

The good AND bad child...? - Rubi - Sep 22nd 2010

In the fairly limited articles and forums I've found online about being a child of a BPD mother, and in the book I've read, I've seen a lot of references to the mother seeing one child as all-good, and one as all-bad, and the other children being ignored all together.

I think I copped both, while my younger brother copped none. He didn't fight with mum. Ever. I fought with her all the time... she called me her best friend and her rock, when she wasn't screaming at me and throwing things at me. My brother would just sit quietly in his room. He's not exactly mentally healthy from it, but he didn't fall victim to her illness even once.

Is that even heard of?!

My mum talks about us evenly. She says she's proud of both of us, etc.

But when we're both visiting her together - it's obvious who she's more interested in. She beams when she looks at my brother. Always asks him to tell her stories of what he's been up to. I am made to feel boring, and too mature and sensible, and prudish (I just LOVE when she calls me a prude)... She tells my brother how attractive he is every single time, I don't remember the last compliment I got. She gives him advice when he falls, she tries to pick up the pieces for him, tries to help financially. I am made to feel like a burden when I need help, I am always reminded of how hard things are for her, and I feel too guilty to ask for ANYTHING... but she loves me and misses me soooo much (I live interstate)... 

I'm pretty sure I copped the good and bad. 

And he copped nothing.

I don't understand why, but I don't resent him for it. Some people probably would; but I know my brother has his own separate trauma and I love him to pieces, and I'm glad he hasn't got the issues I have... 

Support group for victims of BPD parents/partners etc - Klarity Belle - Sep 7th 2010

I would like to recommend a link to a page listing 100 common personality disordered traits. There is a comprehensive description of each and I feel this could be of value to anyone seeking further understanding and support in dealing with a personality disordered loved one. Dr Schwartz, I have likewise posted links at Out of the Fog to these three very helpful and insightful articles on the BPD disordered family..

Such a painful condition - Trudi - Jul 20th 2010

Thank you, Doctor S, for this series. BPD is new to me. I am the stepmom of a 40 year old woman who appears to have BPD as did her biological mother (who was clinically diagnosed).  Over the past 10 months I have become her new favorite target (she emerges from cutting us off just long enough to write a poison pen letter that has no grounding in reality or truth, is filled with lies and projections and even sums up every possible reponse we might have to her accusations, along with the reaction she will have..leaving no door open for any hope). It's so painful and confusing, particularly as she has cut us off from our grandchildren (3 and 1) -- the ultimate trump card.  I just wanted to say that reading your articles gives me more understanding of what I am dealing with, so thank you. I had no idea that she would manifest her bio mother's illness as she has. She hates her bio mother. They have no relationship. But we were on good terms, or so I thought, which is why her attacks on me are so jarring. I knew she had that hystrionic personality I've read about, and that she could be dramatic beyond call and could not let go of anger toward my SIL for "not rescuing her" from her mother...(my SIL would have been 10!) but I did not put it together that she was beginning to manifest her bio mother's illness. It sure is clear now.

I don't understand why particular targets are chosen by adult BPDs...can you shed any light on this?  And what's a target to do?

what went wrong when everything was so right - - May 30th 2010

I read the three parts of this article and looked at myself in the mirror.  My husband and I did the best job we could with our son and our daughter.  I certainly never thought of us as abusive parents, but now our adult children have some of the problems listed in these articles and until now I never thought that BPD might be a factor. 

How do I let them know without doing them further harm?  Wouldn't sending them these articles and letting them know that I think they are victims of mine and my husbands BPD be further impairing them and giving them another dose of self-doubt and abusive exergisis from my mind to theirs?

My daughter is going through therapy right now and also marriage counselling.  My son is on medication but refuses therapy.


I could not agree more! - Beth - Mar 14th 2010

>>>Lauren, your comment struck me really oddly, because I swear it could have been written by my own BPD mother. (I'm not saying you're abusive or have BPD or anything! It's just ironic that the non-BPD mother of a BPD has the same thing to say about her BPD daughter as the BPD mother of a non-BPD!!)<<<

My own mother, who I am quite sure has BPD, based on this article and most of the comments shared here, would ALSO say what Lauren stated in her comment.  To this day she is trying to convince anyone who will listen how wonderfully she parented me.  In fact, her most recent attack is convincing others that I have BPD but it is completely "genetic" and a chemical imbalance since I grew up in such a "loving" home.  I would want to talk to Lauren's daughter to hear her perspective before I accept Lauren's comments as truth. 

Broken Daisy - Daisy - Jan 29th 2010

Doctor. Thank you so much for this article. And thank you everyone for your comments.

I recently talked to a crisis counselor who told me I am only a victim if I let myself be a victim. That started me thinking. And I am trying to work my way out of the victim mentality. Part of it is identifying how it takes place. These are baby steps toward it.

Here is a story of a recent horrible encounter with my mother.

Most of the time our interactions are on a peaceful level. I am like the hired help. There to say the right entertaining thing that makes her comfortable. And to never focus on my own ideas, interests or insights too long. Or it bores her. To always be in a state of preparedness to respond to her needs... That is the job I have had for over fifty years. And failing that duty as a child brought on great pain. As an adult, it still does because my mother really hasn't changed.

I recently had a falling out with a sister who had been very insulting toward me for no reason I could understand.

Then a couple weeks later my mother seemed on edge. Long story, but we have a big family with a dynamic that works a certain way. Word gets around.

I asked her if she was mad at me for the what had gone on with my sister. Which I think she was. But in typical fashion she turned it around on me.

She said, "Did you ever think it's not always about you? Maybe I don't feel good. Maybe I had a bad day..."

She was edgy with me. I know my mom.

So, the next day I tried to talk to my mother about it. I said, I simply did not understand my sister's reaction and could she help me to figure it out. Boy, the bristles came out! You don't talk feelings with my mom. Ever. You get up and get along and don't bother her.

My mother got stern, cold and angry. Tight faced. Did it occur to me that maybe my sister was having a bad day? Maybe she had other things on her mind. Did I ever think of that?

I knew this situation was a lot deeper with my sister than just that.

I told her I was trying to compassionately understand my sister and hoped she could help me because she was her kid. And maybe she could offer insight.

I forgot how truly unwelcome that is with my mother.

I guess I was hoping she would say, "I am sure it's just a misunderstanding and you two will work it out."

But that would go against her story that I am a chronic troublemaker. And allow me to have human, redeeming qualities. Trust me. She simply cannot do that.

This conversation was a risk I felt I had to take. I thought I could convince her my motives were pure.

But it was quickly becoming like gasoline on fire. I forgot that my mother has no interest in my motives. She assigns an identity to me and sticks with it. A very negative one. 

She gave one of her speeches:

"You can do one of three things. You can pray God will strike the other person dead. You can try to change the other person. Or you can change yourself."

And glared at me like I was a miserable failure.

It is good advice. Honestly. I know it is.

But it did not fit this situation. The look in her eye, the sound in her voice said one thing. I am a bad, bad person. A miserable screw up.

So I finally said, "You aren't going to try and help me understand her, are you?

She shook her head, clenched her teeth and glared at me hatefully. Then said in a hateful voice I remember well from my childhood.

"I've got enough trouble dealing with other people's personalities. I don't want to help you deal with people too."

Surviving my childhood is a full time job. She triggers me constantly.

That is one little slice of the problem. Trust me, I was punished for many things as a child. For being sensitive. For asking too many questions. For just taking up space in her universe.

It's only lately I've learned not to believe her negative story lines. Or her canned speeches aimed at knocking me down. I am a person worthy of her time and respect. Her actions are her own. Her low opinion of me is her own. It doesn't make it true.

That is all she can do. I forgive her and keep trying to survive it. I plan on moving out of town. Another sibling is going to take care of her. This is going to help me a lot, but there is a lot of healing left to do.

I couldn't relate to this more. - B.E. - Dec 10th 2009

Raised by a borderline mother and narcissist father, I often feel "borderline borderline" myself and possess many of the major life borderline skill deficits. Although I think I was the "perfect" one and my brother the scapegoat, I also often felt like my mother hated me, a feeling that increased each year as I grew older. Today we aren't in contact.

What really jumped out for me was your observation that extra children -- the ones who don't fit into the all-good or all-bad categories and are mainly ignored -- are the lucky ones. Too true. I might find life much easier today if I could rewrite history and be a blessed ignored extra. You don't see that mentioned often.

When you marry the "Good Child" - Ro - Nov 1st 2009

I married the "good child" in a borderline family dynamic.  It has been a very uncomfortable experience, as least as far as the extended family situation.  For one thing, the borderline mother tried to give me the place of the "bad child" and scapegoat me, reject me (which she still does after more than 10 years).  What I had to do was learn that rejection works both ways.  I actually stayed away from my husband's parents for three years.  I had experienced many wounds from his mother in particular (and his BPD sister who was relieved to not be the "bad child" for a while).  What happened when I was away is that the original dynamics recurred, and the "bad child"/sister and her mother became at odds again.  The sister practically hates my husband because he is idealized by his mother.  She constantly tells my husband that her parents don't love her, don't care about her, etc.  I told him that these feelings are probably very real. 

As far as me, staying away is the best thing.  It's better than going and having no one talk to me, put way the food I bring at family gatherings so that no one has access to eat it, and it's also better not seeing his mother flirt with my husband.  My husband is a very passive and obedient son who had been given so much false guilt because of her constant fear of abandonment.  He's realized some of that now, but it was a long painful road.  I almost left this situation more than once, but my husband is growing and establishing his independence from her and finally standing by me more.  I still stay away as much as possible from the larger family dynamic, though.  It works best.

Layna - support group which may be of help to you - Nelly - Sep 12th 2009 this site is specifically for those who are in/were in relationship to someone with BPD and there is a coparenting section here which I am sure will help you to at the very least feel validated and supported in what you face.  There are many in similar situations to yourself who have been through the legal system and done what they can to protect their children from the fallout this illness can have on them.

I thoroughly recommend this site and reading all the information they offer there.  On the support forum there is a section where you can introduce yourself and a very experienced moderator will reply to you shortly thereafter.  It is very useful to read their resources and previous posts to help gain insight on how to cope with the effects of BPD in your life.  Thank you to Dr Schwartz and team for letting me pass this information on at

Need help for me and esp. my children - Layna - Jul 7th 2009

I married a BPD who probably also has a degree of Bipolar disorder.  It would take pages to explain all the craziness but let me say that after being divorced for almost 10 years, I still feel like I can not get my life back!!!  He uses the children to keep something going all the time.  They are not being cared for properly when he has them and they are more and more unhappy about spending time w/him.  My question is this... How can I get the legal system to understand?  He is a very good talker; intelligent and a master manipulator.  Do I have a right to not be emotionally harrassed or must I wait until the children are 18?  When will the courts listen to them? They are the innocent victims and are paying for my mistake.  Thanks for listening and please keep us in your prayers!!  God Bless,   Layna

EX BDP - sunshine48 - May 12th 2009

Here's what happens . . . - Denise Clapham - Apr 23rd 2009

The "perfect" child becomes Martha Stewart with alopecia and other auto-immunes, and the "abused" ends up in rehab and the mental health system. . .

Articles Ring True With Me --Parts I, II, & III - - Apr 6th 2009

If you think that this article is nonsense, you haven't walked in my shoes.  My medicare eligible older sister lives with my elderly parents -- both of whom adore her.  They have often referred to her as their angel and to me as their devil.  (Dad told me I should have 666 tattooed on my forehead.)  Sis is emotionally dependent on my parents to the point where she shares some of their childhood memories.  She sides with my parents on every issue and sincerely believes that I am always wrong.  Sis retired recently and stays home all day.  She doesn't drive, never learned how to cook or clean the house, and has never had an even semi-serious relationship with a man or woman. My parents, both in their eighties, even do her laundry.  I believe Sis (who has better than average intelligence) has become more child-like and my parents more attendant to her needs than ever before. My parents have told me they are proud of my career success, but wish I had the same personality as my sister. They have also told me that my sister is a better person than I am and that I know why. Yes, my father is a narcissist who to this day emotionally tortures my mom about imagined affairs.  He keeps a close watch on both my sister and Mom. The three do everywhere together. My father says that I need to be controlled and he becomes enraged at any of my ideas that do not equate with his flawed reasoning.  Both parents came from an emotionally abusive and neglectful home. My mother despised her mother for her "shortcomings," and when angry at the teenage me would compare me with her saying "You're no good - just like my mother."  Strange?  You bet, especially since I didn't even know my grandmother.  I could go on and on. I must say that I believe this article could have been written about me and my family.  Don't disbelieve what you haven't experienced.  I cannot visit or interact with my elderly parents because their caustic, hurtful words and deeds have more than once caused me emotional agony and clinical depression.  I love them -- but I can't and I won't take their abuse any longer. It's easier for me to pretend that they are already dead.  What will happen to my sister if my parents predecease her?  I believe she will crawl up in a ball and pine for death.  She has never developed the maturity to think for herself.  Sad, scary and absolutely true.     /s/ 60+.

partly genetic - Dawn - Feb 14th 2009

Personality Disorders are a percentage Genetic

also a percentage upbringing/child abuse

 Its not all from child abuse

 its a percentage of each.

 Its definately genetic

its in the genes just like any illness or disease

or personality

its genetic and from child abuse

also it is carried on in generations

How the mother (or father) was treated as a child (child abuse) thats how the mother (and/or father) treats their children with child abuse.

But Personality Disorders are partly genetic.

TO: Perfect Parents/Partners of one with mental illness/disorder - Aurora E. Hunter - Feb 11th 2009

There is no such thing as a perfect parent, and many who think they are do not realize that some of their parenting may be toxic.

There is a reason for a person's attraction to one with an emotional problem.

For both, I think therapy would be of great benefit.

You are wrong! - John - Feb 1st 2009

This description of the making of BPD are presumptive, arrogant and foolish. It has much to to with brain function, and yes, some influences during childhood. You see, I do have this, and yes I can at times frustrate the hell out of a therapist. The point is, niether of my parents are mentally ill, and they did not "pick" a child who reminded them of self to abuse. This is nonsense to draw this conclusion, based on what, it just happened to be the circumstances of a few individuals?

I Can imagine - Sandy - Jan 24th 2009

I can just imagine how difficult it must be to be BPD.  I know that when someone is in a BPD relationship, it is very unpredictable.  I know that it is not their fault and only when they want help or advice, they will seek it, only then. 

Friends - - Jan 24th 2009

I have had a relationship with a BPD and everything was fine for a couple of months, and then all of a sudden, he didn't want anything to do with me.  Do they need the object constancy?  How does a NON-BPD reverse the splitting of evil back to good?  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

for BPD's ex - - Jan 17th 2009

I have BPD and I do shut down contacts, well, quite often actually. It happens when I don't meet that person anymore. I get tired of speaking only on a phone or sending emails. I just don't care anymore. Somehow it seems like I need to see a person in front of my eyes to be assured that s/he is real.

Bpd ex - - Jan 14th 2009

My ex has BPD. I left and all I took were clothes. I was baffled. We talked for a few months after I left. Then suddenly she shut off all contact. I am so very curious as to why she did this. Does anyone know if there is an answer or is this part of the chaos??THANX......................

what to do? - - Jan 4th 2009
 It is important to write about the  characteristics of the BLP, and the events that brought him/her to where he /she is today, but living with someone like this, where your head spins from the predictable, unpredictable reactions that occur daily, even hourly is another matter. There must be another category of mental illness that develops within the battered person who has been exposed to the rage, fury and emotional extravaganza of BLP.  Not to forget the awareness that one has of the pain suffered by the BLP, and within this awareness is the hesitancy to abandon them.  To me, being in this situation, I have developed my own madness because I split off, the world out there where I work with what appear to be relatively normal persons, and the personal world, where I operate on the borderline of his disorder.

BPD MUM - Sharon - Dec 17th 2008

I don't think you are turning into your Mum Selina but being the child of someone with BPD can create tensions and issues that are triggered in certain situations. Like you I also am certain my mother has BPD. I'm a mum with four children of my own. I was emotionally abused and exploited as a child although my mother could also be loving and kind. It's very confusing. I escaped by getting a good job and moving away from home and the damage that my mother could inflict was limited. However I continued to visit and offer lots of support with weekly phone calls. It was not until my father died and when I was again vulnerable with four small children including twins and a husband facing redundancy that my mother seized the opportunity to do the worst possible thing and I believe she enjoyed doing it. Although not particularly wealthy she decided to disinherit me and my comfortably well-off older brother in favour of my younger brother who had not moved away from home and who could in her eyes do no wrong. Despite her condition I loved and continue to love my mother and the pain of what she did, which I know was to make me unhappy and feel the betrayal she herself experienced as a child, cut deep. I have been more than a daughter to my mother - she asked me to be her mother when I was still a child - feels like none of it was any worth or value. I can't shake off the pain even after four years but sometimes I can forget it - Christmas is the worst time. After some time reasoning with my mother that she should treat all her children fairly and her blunt refusal to put hight right I decided to stop contact. She thinks what she has done is right and wants me to continue to have a relationship with her while she continues to emotionally abuse me with the insult of her demeaning will. My family is now divided in half. My younger brother who has been favoured has sided with my mother. I loved him and that he could collude with her emotional abuse is probably more painful than my mother's action. I'm like you - my life has been about breaking the cycle - but it's hard because no-one really talks about this except on the internet. I live in the UK and I don't know of any support groups for victims of relatives apart from the internet and I'm not so sure the National Health Service has the expertise to deal with the specific issues of children of BPD's experience - it seems it's only just getting a handle on people with the condition and even that has been a struggle for its already over-stretched resources. 

am i turning into my mum? - selina - Dec 3rd 2008

having read this forum i am utterly convinced that my mum may be BPD. she was always either in a violent relationship or bringing different men home, and she drank all the time. my siblings and i were forever walking on eggshells, though myself and my younger brother bore the brunt of her emotional and physical abuse for years. all 5 of us have been unbelievably scarred from this. my brothers have addiction issues, my younger sister has had a breakdown and been sectioned, and my youngest sister and i have severely low self esteem. my worry is that i am becoming the same. i have an unbelievably bad temper, almost rage, that i have never experienced before and usually directed at my partner. i know its not normal, unlike my mum who swears she was a great mum and has some skewed idea of what she was really like - a violent bully. i want to seek help before i end up like her but have no idea how to approach my doctor about it. can anyone help? thankyou so much, selina

Help! Am I BPD or the product of? - Sam - Sep 3rd 2008
I am absolutely terriffied by the article above.If a BPD parent causes a child to develop BPD, does that mean that I cannot escape/control its devistating effects on my children, and will they go on to develop and deliver its wrath to generations to come?My mother was clinically diagnosed with BPD out of a six year consult with her psych. She then denied it, dropped her psych, and has not been treated for it because she moves from one psych to another when she feels they are not "sensitive" to her victim role. In the past year she falsley reported that I was neglectful of my children to CPS!, made me believe that she was dying from withdraws from her narcotics to where I took her to get her scripts filled (after picking her up from the ER) and finding out that I had been "played" once again.And oh if that were only the half of the story and lifelong chaos, but that for me was the final straw. That was five months ago and I have recently surrendered to its effects.I never was really able to hurt about it. Guess I never had the chance. I am just learning about BPD and I do not think that I have had the symptoms until recently. I'm not sure if what I am experiencing is betrayal trauma, depression, or if I am on the borderline of borderline. If I am on the verge is there a way around it or are my children doomed? is it progressive from mild to deeply manipulative and devaluing the people u love the most? I am so afraid that it is unnavoidable. I only want for my children to be healthy normal adults. That is the purpose of a parent, to equip our children with life skills that they will use as adults to lead happy and fufilling lives. They are adults a lot longer than they are children. If I do not have BPD I am still concerned about the learned behavior from my mother and the effects that I have on my own chilren without even realizing it. Please any good links to overcoming learned behavior or how to safeguard against BPD?-Thanks-

Biology - JC - Aug 31st 2008

There is not more and more evidence accumulating that BPD is of "biological origins".  BPD is such a predictable and heterogenous phenomenon it is not surprise that it is inextricably linked to psychosocial antecedents.  It has extremely low heritability which says nothing of the nonexistent basic science related to its supposed genetics. And as most people who have studied cell and molecular biology know, that this neurotransmitter system or that one, is found in imaging studies says nothing of the disorders cause and is likely just an effect.  There are brain correlates for every mental state.  BPD has been very well linked to abuse.  Both sexual AND physical.  However, one does not need to have been physically or sexually abused for the disorder to develop.  Pervasive emotional abuse or neglect are enough --  what Linehan calls "invalidating environments".  There is no good basic science behind BPD, let alone most other psychiatric disorders.  Being to "blame" doesnt't necessarily have to be something awful.  It would say a lot to our children to recognize our responsibility and go about being more helpful and less defensive.  We are not perfect and neither are our children.  We have much greater responsibilites to them than they do us however.  They are our children after all.

seek counselling - Jojo - Aug 19th 2008

Julia - you should seek counselling for yourself.

What should a parent do? - Julia Ridpath - Aug 12th 2008
My son is very intelligent, atheletic and popular.  He had some disappointments in his first year of college that cummulated in his admitting himself to a hospital due to depression.  He has been evaluated by a phychiatrist as having some narcisstic tendencies.  I do not think that I abused my child.  However it appears from the comments on this site that personality disorders result from poor parenting.  Is there anyway that I can help if I am the source of his problems?  Do I need to remove myself from his life for him to get better?  What should/can I do to help my son?

Interesting... - Kid of a BPD mother - Jun 29th 2008

Lauren, your comment struck me really oddly, because I swear it could have been written by my own BPD mother. (I'm not saying you're abusive or have BPD or anything! It's just ironic that the non-BPD mother of a BPD has the same thing to say about her BPD daughter as the BPD mother of a non-BPD!!)

I had to break off contact with her once I found out I was pregnant because she became incredibly frightening, abusive, and irrational. I had to protect my son from her, and there is no point in communicating with her to tell her why - it doesn't matter how we explain it, she will always see it as me being hypersensitive, and she will always see it as my fault, not her abuse. I am absolutely certain it was the right thing to do, because she lacks the self-control necessary not to hurt my son the way she hurt me and my siblings. She does not believe she has ever mistreated any of us, but we all agree that something very different went on at home than went on in her head.

(Also note that while I really wondered about it after I found out she had BPD - and she will never admit she does - I do not have the disorder, though I have many related issues that I have been working on for years as a result.)

And I'm absolutely positive that her comments about me are exactly the same as yours are about your BPD daughter.

If she really does have BPD and has cut you out, you have my sympathies, as does your grandson. Growing up with a BPD mother is truly terrifying, and my mother's mother had BPD as well, so I've experienced what it can do. I know for sure my own BPD mother will never be allowed within sight distance of her grandson, and I can only be thankful that she lives thousands of miles away from me, because I'd hate to have to move toward getting a restraining order. 

Forget BLAME... do what's EFFECTIVE and RESPONSIBLE - - Jun 11th 2008

It is very disheartening to read comments from parents who are so adamently looking to blame this disorder on someone else (their child) or something else (biology, drugs, chemicals, food, etc...) rather than just accepting that, they, themselves couldn't possibly have been a "perfect" parent and could very well have contributed in some way.

Parenting is a complex responsibility. So many things to teach in so little time. One would have to be super human and never experience their own internal frustrations about life in order to be 100% effective. And, sometimes, we're not even faced with the opportunities that would enable us to teach our children effective coping skills in every given situation. Most parents are out to do what's best for their kids, but isn't it possible that "our best" isn't necessarily what was "right" for them?

By continuing to hold tight to this attitude of "I did the best I could", these parents should note that they CONTINUE to be part of the overall big picture by maintaining an ongoing environment of invalidation for their grown children to try to navigate, thereby further contributing to the underlying emotional dysregulation problem of their BPD.

The fact is, your children don't feel truly accepted by you or anyone else and they don't trust because of that feeling. Who cares how or why it happened... it is what it is. And, believe me, if they could just snap their fingers out of it, they would, because there's a lot of pain and shame in being BPD.

Can't we just drop the blame and get on with finding and implementing REAL solutions to fixing the problem? Try validating your child's feelings rather than defending your own feelings (and opinions) for a change! Responsible parenting doesn't stop just because the children have grown or become a handful of emotions you don't want to deal with anymore.

Borderline with a Borderline Mother - Robin - Jun 6th 2008

It is helpful to read about this. I have BPD (high functioning) and think it was a combination of biology and learned behaviors. My mother definitely exhibits a lot of borderline traits, and she definitely crossed a lot of boundaries during my teenage years. I am only now coming to terms with some abuse that took place as well, mostly verbal and some physical. However, she is also a very loving mother, who would do anything for me (except during certain times when I made some choices she didn't like and then she threatened to cut me out totally). We are great friends in a way, but then sometimes I think it could all shift if I go too long without calling.

Many behaviors and attitudes are learned from her (suspicious, all-or-nothing thinking, splitting, etc.). Certain BPD traits seem to have come from another source however. The 'dissociation' and terror I have felt when I thought my boyfriend of 7 years was going to leave me ... it was bad enough I thought I was going really crazy and even thought of ending my life. (I never saw my mom with anything like that, so I think that had to be physically inherited.) The boyfriend and I eventually got married and are still together. We have rough times like all couples do, but there is a lot of good too. Therapy and meds have helped me a ton with accepting good/bad in the same person (including other people AND myself), and learning to find ways to feel grounded and deal with anxiety and depression.

Not sure how relevant all of this is, but I just wanted to share from a perspective of someone with BPD who is recovering from a lot of those patterns and behaviors.

Parents who say they have no role should think again. - - May 20th 2008

I was raised by a borderline parent who thinks she is a perfect wonderful nurturing person, even though 2 of her children have been suicidal and 2 still live at home in their 30s. I was the lucky one who managed to escape.

You must look at why your children are the way they are. It's not like BPD just feel from the sky. Please consider exploring the role you played in hurting your children. You could have a better life and so could your children if you went to therapy and explored how you contributed to your children's pain and suffering. Please please, consider doing so.

My BPD x BF - Nadia - May 18th 2008

Our eyes locked and I was smitten immediatly. My future BF had large soulful eyes, shyness, sweetness and a bit of an edge. I would find out about that edge much later, more than half a year later. In his early 20's (I was much older) and inexperienced, I fell hard for his honest, pure, generous, loving, kind to a fault, funny, talented young man. He would take the shirt off his back for you or give you his last dime if it helped. Within several months, we were locked, dedicated and spiritually married in our hearts with a desire to truly marry. What I didn't notice was his "chew" or snuff habit at first. Being healthy and all, I convinced him to stop his chew as it was pure nicotine to the system and awful habit to have. BIG MISTAKE. Little did I know that this poor soul originally from Afghanistan, was self medicating. He went into panick attacks, severe headaches, heart rate sky rocketed and I took him to the hospital. Too bad he was not hospitalized for BPD or the like. He finally began to eat better, sleep much better (until I came along, he could not sleep more than an hour or 4 at a time, with nightmares and edginess mixed in).  We worshipped each other, we lived in "our" little world, and soon, any of my friends or outings I used to take, ceased. 7 months into this and he started with irrational thinking: It's either me or your friends, choose. Well, I could not make sense of this or much else that was beginning to surface. His first extreme rageful fit had him breaking my cell phone in half! My god, I was frightened. He took a knife to his stomach in angst and tears and yelling out of the blue, nothing I could do would lead up to this in anyone, so I was confused at his extremes. Of course, following his outbursts were grand apologies, honest apologies and pledges never to repeat such a thing. I believed all of this as I could see clearly that his heart was clear, loving and that he would not hurt a fly. Eventually, every 3 or 4 days, this rage and anger would come, in the form of a harsh tone in his voice or because of a missed call, a threat to leave me completley. His anger became a pattern and nothing I could do or say would stimy or change it. Soon, I was the target. Why did I do this or that. If only I would do exactley as he wanted, then nothing bad would happen. If only this or that. My god! I was sufficating, and his need for me was demanding and overwhelming. Every moment I was not working, or he not working, was spent with him. I did not mind this except I felt as if I lost my life, my interests and my friends along the way. It got so bad and chaotic, I promised to help him if I could. I knew he didn't really mean to destroy my things, didn't really mean to name call me, didn't really want to see me in pain. But there it was. So, I began to read. Was he suffering from PTSD? 20 years in Afghanistan under the Russians then Taliban,I thought this probable. Everytime I wanted to help or make him understand his behavior, he would desperatley try to appear "normal" and that it would not occur again. I watched the anger rise up in him as he would ball up his fists and leave the room so as not to engage so as not to cause a problem. I felt so sorry for him. I loved him deeply and this was tearing me apart. After spending 4 hours on the phone one day trying to stop him from committing suicide in an undisclosed place because I had an out of town guest I wanted to visit with in three days coming, I threw in the towel. I was angry. What the hell was this behaviour? Where did it come from??? To make a long story short, after an altercation in which he, in extreme rage, tried to cut up a sweater I gave him with scissors and then turned on my friend (the visitor) with those scissors because my friend interfered, the police was called. How did it escelate to this?  Grief stricken, I could not rationalize with him, or show him enough affection or love to make his world right. I finally found a psychiatrist and got him on anti- depressants and ignored my good judgement and went back to him after a month of a restraining order. I was fearful, but loved him too much. Deep down,there was a great man inside, but alas, a severly damaged one that I could not fix. After one month of peace and bliss (note: he was on meds and back to nicotene chew) that familiar angry tone in his voice returned when he demanded to know who was calling on the other line. That was it. Fear took hold of me and I bolted out of his life. This devistated him as he had been "trying" to do all he could to keep me. The doc, the meds, taking care of me. I felt confused, heart broken and helpless to aid him. His behaviour worsened, he was destitute, begging for my return and followed me home one nite. Half of me went out to him, held him, loved him desperatly and the other part said, you must end this or you will not survive. So, no matter the pleadings of love and promises to change, make good and what he had learned, I knew that staying with him was not helping him or me. What future did we have? BPD? I think so after self educating, could be complications of much more having had a harsh life. All i know is, I miss him, but how can I wrap my arms around a porcupine? I leave him to God and that is all I can do. Saddened but peaceful.

My partner of 6 years suddenly left with no explanation and has completely shut me and my kids out. - Elise - May 6th 2008

I lived with and loved my soulmate for 6 years.  He was charming, smart, engaging and loving.  He loved and raised my kids as his own and I appreciated him deeply and expressed it  He was always impulsive with money, has an unstable career, and cut out his best friend of 30 years suddenly.  The home and bills are covered by me....fine because his currency was his incredible kindness.

Things worried me, but he was the sweetest guy and he was so wonderful to me that I loved him deeply and never would have left him.  My whole family loved him and are quite intuitive. No one saw what was coming.

We are both in our late 40's and he decided he had to have his own child immediately. I understand, and did the surrogate/egg donor research with him.  In the end, I simply didn't feel comfortable with the process and with his ability to provide for a child. His greatest dream was destroyed, I wish I cold have given it to him.

No one saw it coming, one day he walked out and has refused to answer my calls or emails. The few things he said were that he didn't know who he was and had lot himself in me. He suddenly hates me. I think he clearly fit the BPD, but the pain and shock is so unbearable for me and my kids who he has not responded to either.

Please give me advice on how to live through this unbearable pain. How could I have avoided it?  I loved his companionship and love so deeply and am very very sad without it. I keep going over it and over it and I want the pain to go away.  I can't believe I have become dead to him.







I had the same happen except..... - Jonathan Parrott - Mar 27th 2008
Hey man, my very soul goes out to you for even surviving this situation. I just finished a 3 year custody battle which cost me a little over 30 grand! She got her way paid by a "sympathetic church" that I think only just now is beginning to see through her. I obtained the same lawyer that her first husband used and since there was a plethora of experiences and psychologist reports, I received full custody of my little boy. She succeeded in almost ruining the other children. They were taken to the emergency room on repeated occasions for false abuse. When bruises would "mysteriously" appear she would then brain wash them to think that it was their father's doing. In the beginning she had me believing until she started in on me! I remember saying to myself "Oh God" what have I married? You see, I married this intelligent, beautiful, sexy, alluring, and influential chick when she was leaving another man and her leaving 4 children from that marriage! Before you guys say "You should have seen it comming!" let me emphasize something. Women with BPD can be very, very, convincing. Iresisibley so! They are often seen as a prize that later is not worth the price. My heart goes out to those men that lost everything because of a BPD crazed woman along with an unsympathetic family court system. Yes I have had the police called on me for no good reason. Yes I have been told one moment that I was the light of their life and a moment later that I was "Satan". BPD women often display a detatchment from realitya and imagine scenarios that never occured. There is no way to reason or have a logical conversation with this person. Many times this person will attend church and use this for her hunting ground for the next affair all the while calling her loving husband Satan. The worst came when she accused my parents of molesting my (at the time 2 year old) son. By this time her reputation was nothing in my court system due to her previous antics. She recycled insane lies so fast it made my head spin. I am so very, very, very, fortunate, no blessed by God himself to have done so well!!!! She is with her next victim now and I wonder how long it will take for this fool to see the truth. The courts ordered her to have pyschotherapy but I can tell it had not helped. She cannot afford it and the church that made it "easy" for her to leave has stopped giving her handouts. I wonder what she could do for easy money? Yes I have some pretty strong emotions about the situation and the hurt that it has caused. How many of you reading this think I am better off for her leaving? Feel free to email me if my experiences sound familiar or if you have a question or if you would just like to relate to someone else who has walked this awful road.

BPD and restraining orders - Joseph Gary Williams - Feb 24th 2008
I dated a woman who just put an eighteen month restraining order on me. I called the police on her and she told the court that I abused her. Her mother has been diagnosed with BPD and her father she feels abandoned her. I think she has BPD. She meets basically all of the criteria. Joe

Emotionally Aborted - - Sep 7th 2007
I was singled out for abuse when my parents divorced. As soon as my parents divorce was final the abuse began. It continues until this day. I am now in my forties. I want my mother punished for what she did and still does to this day.

You Need to RESCUE Your Child -- NOW !!! - Janice - Jun 2nd 2007


I want to write to the poor fellow who married
the woman with BPD....

You need to take action NOW to protect your
child from your ex-wife....

I know this is tearing you up inside, but your
ex-wife is going to focus ALL of her pent-up
rage on your CHILD, now that YOU are out of
the picture.....

(My own mother has BPD, and has behaved
EXACTLY the way you described your wife has,
throughout her entire life.....

....and the pure hell on earth she created
for my own family BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
(complete with rages, psychological abuse,
and paranoia) was something NOBODY
outside the family could ever comprehend...

.....much less BELIEVE....)     :-0

PLEASE, get hold of the following book:

"Splitting -- Protecting Yourself while Divorcing
a Borderline or Narcissist"  -- by William Eddy.

You'll find it to be of tremendous value in your
struggle to gain custody of your child.....

All my best to you, and good luck!!



grief - darl - May 27th 2007
i have been involved with a person for 15 years in a relationship that seems to have borderline or nasrcisstic personality. I knew that there was something wrong as she hated my family for no reason at all especially my sister.She felt as if i owed it to her to buy her the most expensive gifts on special occasions,if it was not done she would emotionally abuse and and physically abuse me. I could not do any thing as the problem became worse. she kicked me and punched me and told me that she wants me to hit her back so that she can call the police and charge me for abuse.I felt helpless but then she would go away for a few days as her job required her to travel and she would come back as if nothing happened.according to her i was not a man and every sentence started with "if you were a man you would"i could not invite friends over nor family and became isolated .my work suffered ,i could not study to even further myself.she acted as if she was the only person on the planet that was entitled to have friends and family which i regularly entertained. she wanted to get married  and have a child. i did not want to as i told her that we have too many issues to solve before that could happen.when i discussed it with her she told me that she would make an effort to get along with my family and agains my better judgement married her. Almost nine months later she gave birth to my daughter. 3 day after the bith,she told her parent that i was abusing her.She got a restraining order against me so that i cannot even go to see my child and she accused me of everything that she has ever done to me for 15 years.She has always been charming to her friends and every single person including her family think that i am a monster.I lost my house,my child,my fatherhood ,dignity to this woman and still when i try to get through to someone to explain that she has a problem ,not a single soul believes me beside my family that were the wrath of her rage for many years.She does not believe that she has any sort of problem ,but her violant rages and mental abuse that went on for years behind closed doors is proof. i think of my child every minute of the day and yet nothing seems to be able to be done because no person believes that she may have this illness.

Agree - - May 21st 2007

I have a similar situation. Our family was not perfect, but our children were loved and nurutred to the best of our ability.  More and more there is evidence of a biological origin to BPD, that children are born highly sensitive, highly reactive to their environment, thus perceiving many normal interactions as invalidating or neglect.

In fact many people formerly diagnosed as BPD are now being rediagnosed as being on the autisitc spectrum

It is painful enough to see our children hurting and to go through the traumas associated with "BPD" behavior. To be accused of having caused it makes the pain nearly unbearable.

Biological Unhappiness is one of the more recent books on the subject. Even Linehan talks about the biological underpinnings. 



unfair to say that abuse is the cause - Lauren - May 15th 2007
  i raised four children.  None were ever abused.  They were loved and cared for.  My BPD daughter was hypersensitive and never seemed satisfied no matter how we worked to communicate to her that she was unique and appreciated...that she mattered.  Nothing was ever enough and I repeat, she was never in any way physically or emotionally abused.  I love her from afar now, as she has cut us out of her life and has not allowed us to have contact with our only grandson.  We are devastated.  She does not admit to having a problem, and offers no reason for the estrangement.  Lauren

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