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

The Borderline Personality Disordered Family, Part III, Healing

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Apr 5th 2007

During the recent series of postings we covered a lot of ground about Borderline Personality Disorder, the Borderline Family and how this disorder affects children. Part III of this series deals with how the adult survivor of borderline parents can learn to reverse the damaging effects of their childhood experiences and live a fulfilled life.

It is common for adult survivors of the deleterious effects of borderline parents to have many of the following experiences. See if you recognize any of these in yourself:

1) Becoming involved in relationships in which you are abused.

2) Have great difficulty trusting other people.

3) Place the needs of other people over those of your own.

4) Experience your life as chaotic and unpredictable.

5) Are not able to enjoy your life or believe any of the successes you have experienced.

6) Experience feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and depression.

7) Blame your self when others feel angry or upset about something.

8) Believe you are unlovable and that no one will ever love you.

9) Constantly feel guilty about everything that happens.

10) Cannot trust your perceptions, opinions, feelings and needs. Often times the child of borderline parents were told what to think or perceive rather than being asked. For example, they may have felt chilly at home but were told it was warm. In addition, boundaries were violated as exemplified by the borderline mother discussing her sexual issues with her young daughter. Also, privacy was not honored, diaries were read, and the child and adolescents room was entered without knocking even when the door was closed. I knew of one case in which a patient remembered that her mother found a drawing of the family that she had made in school. Her mother did not like the drawing and punished the child. It is important to remember that in addition to violating boundaries, these borderline parents alternated between loving and hating the child, verbally humiliating them, then praising, exploding into rage at the child for no reason at all, physically beating the child, also for no comprehensible reason, then apologizing to the child and pretending nothing happened.

What are some of the goals the adult survivor must achieve in order to fulfill their lives? They must:

1) Stop blaming them selves for things that happened during childhood and for what happens to others in the present. Incredibly, many of these adult survivors persist in believing that they must have deserved the treatment they received as children.

2) Identify and accept their feelings and opinions and have the courage of their convictions. In many of these cases the adult survivor has not learned to accept their feelings as valid.

3) Maintain distance from the family in order to gain and maintain feelings of stability and not fall back into old patterns. It does not take long for even those who are function well as adults to slip back into old patterns of behavior learned during childhood.

4) Say no to the abusive family regardless of what they are demanding.

5) Let the abusive family know that abuse of any type will not longer be tolerated. I knew of one person who took a family member to court after this person had attempted to rob them of inherited money.

6) reframe your life script so that you will no longer play the role of victim.

7) Drop the use of the term "I am supposed to" and replace it with what "I want to do and what I refuse to do." Believe in and trust your opinions, feelings, perceptions and memories.

8) Believe in and accept your memory of the past and do not fall into the trap of being told that your memories are false. Your memories are just as valid as those of anyone else in the family. Memory depends a lot on each person’s point of view and is fragile and flexible under all circumstances. Besides, all that really matters is that you have your memories and your own point of view.

9) Accept your perceptions. Survivors of parental abuse are commonly told by friends and extended family that their parents are really good people and they must be mistaken in thinking such terrible things. Joan Crawford's daughter had that experience after writing about her mother's abusive treatment of her and her brother in the book, Mommy Dearest. No one questions the truth of the book and its awful accounts of parental abuse.

10) Communicate what you want instead of attempting to placate other people. Select the movie you want to see and the restaurant you wish to go to. People can negotiate with you so that you do not have to simply deny your opinions.

11) All of this can be difficult to do alone. Therefore it is recommended that, as a survivor of child abuse, you go to Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy where you can learn to reframe your thinking and feeling about yourself to be more realistic and helpful to yourself.

What are your experiences, opinions and points of view?

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 dransphd@aol.com for details.

    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    The Elderly BPD Mother - Anne - Jun 23rd 2014

    With help, luck, a good husband, and many good friends, I was able to grow out of the issues my BPD mother created in me. 

    Living in a different state, I have been able to limit my time with my mother.  Now in her 80's, she is obsessed with staying in my home for long visits.  The results were hell a couple of years ago, and I swore never again.  No compromise motel stay is acceptable. Letters go out to all family connections (she doesn't exactly have friends) on how abusive her children are, refusing her in their homes.

    So what does one do with an elderly mother with the energy to still do the BPD thing?  I will be responsible for finding her good care when her health fails, but I do not want her in my home.

    Please write an article about taking care of your elderly BPD parent while maintaining your own health and sanity.  

     

     

    Thank you for this article! - - Dec 15th 2012

    Recently my borderline mother suffered from a psychosis and was hospitalised against her will at 69 years old. Of course, she blames us, is resentful and does not want to see us.

    This raised many feelings in me, who might be the bad child. After a depression, I was in therapy for the last ten years. Your advice is very right and I thank you so much for these articles who help me not feel responsible.

    Good luck to all children!

    A CROSS TO BEAR - GARDENING - Feb 6th 2011

    Just to state, i do understand the termoil to it,but getting the grip,on oneself no matter how many people and help you havethe mental part makes you feel alone,the online messages fell so soothingzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzbecause of othes dealing too.You daily question yourself, what is normal(MORE SEVERELY IT FEELS TO ME HAVING BOTH PARENTS AND SIBLINGS OF THREE GROWING UP NOT WITH, EXCEPT MOSLLY  MOTHER'S AUNT AND HUSBAND TO BE RAISED WITH.  I WAS WITH MOTHER AND A BROTHER BACK AND FORTH ,STONES THROW WERE WE FROM MOMS RELATIVES. MY OTHER SIBLINGS WERE ADOPTED BY OUR FATHER'S MOTHER.HOW NASTY THAT WAS BESIDES THE PROBLEMS OF US TRAVELING OUT OF STATE ONLY FOR SOME YEARS BUT I HAVE NO BIND TO THEM BECAUSE OF US GROWING APART. TO  CREAM THE PIE, THEY ALL ARE OF THE SAME PROBLEM OF THE ORIGINALITY,SPOILED AND A BUNCH OF ROBBERS YOU CAN NOT EVEN TALK TO,NOR DO NOTHING WITH. WHAT A WAY TO LIVE-NONE WILL RECIEVE HELP AND WHAT A HEAVY CROSS DAILY DEALING,I SORT INTERVENTION FOR SANITY AS WELL. I CANNOT EVEN BE A SIBLING NORMALY TO THEM-LIQUIOR AND OTHER ADDITIONS ARE ON THEIR PART -I HAVE A NIECE AND NEFEUW IN THE MIDDLE.NO WAY CAN THESE BARRIERS COME DOWN'/HOW'?

    Support group for victims of BPD parents/partners etc - Klarity Belle - Nov 2nd 2010

    I just wanted to provide a link to a well informed and supportive forum set up specifically to help those in relationship to a personality disordered individual http://www.outofthefog.net/index.html

    Thank you Dr Schwartz and team for allowing me to provide this link here.  I regularly post links at Out of the Fog to these 3 bpd articles which are so very helpful to anyone with a Borderline in the family.

    BPD and words; Insight into my sister and I? - Suzy - Oct 20th 2010

    Well, on the one hand I have to say my childhood seems like a piece of cake relative to a lot of these stories.  My dad was passive / absent; mom had rages, and my older sister once put a rake, prongs up, under a window after locking my brother up in that room and dared him to jump out -- but i kind of thought my childhood was normal.  I cried myself to sleep a lot and everything felt "wrong" but I couldn't say exactly what.

         Without telling my whole story i just want to say that i react to breakups, and other forms of what feels like abandonment, at times with really extreme emotions, although my self-destructive and relationship-destructive behaviors don't extend to self-cutting, they just involve thousands of words, written words, texted words, spoken words, words.  I haven't heard anyone mention this -- but I've often wondered if BPD is a kind of spectrum disorder and words -- used as a frantic way to try to ward off abandonment, real or imagined -- are what some of us "do" just as destructively or relationship-destructively as other more "obvious" bpd behaviors?  I would really love it if someone would address this question!  I am 50 and it is still super-hard; my most recent breakup as hard or harder than any I've ever experienced to tolerate and stay anything close to grounded.  Compulsive letter-writing, inability to honor ordinary boundaries...?  Is this a bpd thing?  Am I alone?

          That question is what sent me to this page, and I still wonder; I don't have an answer (a therapist once suggested I have bpd, but my psychiatrist who outranks her said no... then again that psych hasn't really "experienced" me when I am either frantic or intensely angry, because she is so wise and soothing she doesn't ever elicit those behaviors so she doesn't "know" that side.... the "bad" therapist, less skilled and less wise, did elicit that side, then offered that label, but maybe she is right? current therapist avoids labels!)

         Anyway -- sorry this is fragmented -- but i wanted to offer particular gratefulness for the concept of good child / bad child.  My sister has expressed contempt and judgment for me quite often and sometimes explosively, causing me tremendous pain... I keep my distance.  At the same time I know she deep down wants to heal whatever this thing is between us, yet can't see anything wrong with her own rage, or can't see that she has dumped on me and that it's just plain not OK.  I increasingly stand up for myself, but privately I also look for insight and this seems to be key.  She expressed hatred of our mom when we were little, " I hate you, I'm running away..." whereas I expressed love, "I love you, I'm drawing you a picture of a rose and bringing you coffee in bed," -- i was a very good little girl, and there she was putting the rake prongs up under the window and telling my brother to jump.  Bad girl indeed!  It seems like in adulthood we have switched -- i have a more rebellious, feminist and political identity, she has a more conventional, other-serving, domestic identity -- now she is good and i am bad!  But in either case I wonder if her apparent hatred of me -- and yet some kind of yearning to connect, and occasional expressions of real caring -- has something to do with this good girl / bad girl thing -- so we are two sides of the same coin?  Do I dare to think that as part of intergrating myself I might dare to get to know my sister -- not if she continues to be verbally abusive, and maybe it won't work -- after the last visit where she publicly accused me of giving her a "look of hatred" which was totally imagined -- i wonder -- and merely because i asked if she was finished in the bathroom, she said she felt i was "treating her like a monster" -- it's pretty intense language and maybe i shouldn't try to wade into that tangle of dysfunction -- but, might there be a real goldmine for us if we both could see (and begin to heal) the good girl / bad girl split?

    More questions than answers, more musing than explanation, really just getting started here.  thanks everybody for your sharing, insights, and strong commitment to creating positive futures -- i am amazed.

    BPD Mom - Grace - Aug 20th 2010

    Im an BPD mom who was raised by an BPD mom.  I tried to get help fairly early and be a better parent than my mom was to me.  I know I failed sometimes, but I always tried.

    Sister cut contact - Sheila - Aug 18th 2010

    Father was NPD, mother a neglecting enabler, one sister NPD, brother manic depressive, the other borderline and now stopped speaking to me, possibly after reading a column like this! 

    Borderline family dynamics - Surviving - Aug 2nd 2010

    Mother is borderline, father is narcissistic/functional psychopath.One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is that as older children escape the borderline home the dynamics for the remaining children shift.  Big time.  I will spare the gory details but I was youngest, and the good child (most of the time).  Then everyone else escaped and never looked back.Borderline dynamics are not static.

    Recovering, slowly - Recovering Good Child - Jul 18th 2010

    Everything you say makes sense to me...my mother is borderline and my father too passive or selfish to do anything to stop her.

    They had 6 children; my middle sister and I have become very close over the past 10 years...she was the "bad child" and I was the "good child"...last year, after a serious episode of PTSD, I realised our experiences were essentially the same...we were the only ones to see our mother for who she really is.

    Both of us have been beaten...being told by your mother you are ideal is no better than being told you are evil...she robbed me of my own identity, my self worth, and any feelings independent of her own...I was only 9 years old when she started telling me about her own sexual problems with my father...

    I still get sad every now and then when I realise I never had a childhood and will never know what it feels like to have a mother that actually cares about me...I'm about to turn 40 and have no children of my own...could never run the risk of inflicting this on anyone else...

    We never wonder "why us?"...that was our mother...we can do nothing to change her....but it still hurts. guess it always will...

    Thank you - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Jul 16th 2010

    Hi Melissa,

    Sometimes the only thing a person can do to survive is cut off all connections with the family. It is not a matter of getting revenge but of self preservation.

    As for your sadness, look forward and not back. You are marrying and you can built a happy life free of abuse, guilt and misery.

    Dr. Schwartz

    Thank you - Melissa - Jul 16th 2010

    Thank you for letting me know I'm not crazy.  I think both of my parents have BPD.  I was the bad child.  I'm 30yrs old  now and I'm deeply saddened that I was robbed of my entire childhood.  My sister is 21 and, after I left that house at 17 to join the Army, she took over the role of the bad child.  I've been sending her information because she is having the same issues as me (anxiety, depression, feeling worthless, doubting her sanity, guilt, doesn't trust).  I'm trying to help her get out of that place while she is still so young.   They like to run guilt trips on her and I get angry phone messages about filling her head with "psycho babble".  I no longer answer the phone.  I don't even want them to be at my wedding.  My brother is still under my parents thumb, even though he is 32yrs old.  He still tries to please them and has terrible rage issues.  I don't speak with him either.  I decided a long time ago not to put up with their dysfunction.  Sometimes I get sucked back into it, like when I try to visit.  Everything is fine until it comes time for me to leave.  Then, I'm suddenly evil again and it takes me weeks to recover from these visits.  My mother is in treatment for bipolar but, has never improved.  My father refuses any sort of treatment and is emotional abusive toward my mother, and everyone else in the family.  I have decided not to go back there and to cut all ties for my own health. 

    In Reply to Siobahn - Chester - Jul 8th 2010

    In reading your post, it sounds like you've tried hard to maintain a relationship with your daughter that she doesn't want.  How frustrating it must be that she isn't responding to your efforts!

    When I read your post, however, there was one theme that stuck out to me.  You gave many examples of "Here's the situation, BUT, here's an explanation for why."  (For example, "No, family life was not perfect.  But there were many wonderful moments too" or {paraphrasing} "My husband was critical and moody, but he was a Vet and he's gotten treatment and now he's better."

    As someone who has been in your daughter's shoes, when I'm trying to discuss my past experiences, those explanations are interpreted as excuses.  And, given the sensitivity of the topic, they often trigger a response in me such as anger or shutting down or dissociating.  I would much prefer to have the person I'm talking with simply listen and accept my experiences for what they are. 

    While there are always valid reasons/ explanations/ excuses for actions, when I'm disclosing my emotions I don't want the person I'm talking with being defensive.  Particularly if my experiences are such that when people are defensive they might become mean or violent.  I'd rather have them listen, and maybe offer explanations at a later time.

    For example, here's a paraphrasing of a conversation I've tried to have many times with my mom regarding abuse aimed at me by my brother, when I was a child:

    • I'll say, "I don't talk or communicate to Fred anymore because he is dangerous.  He's tried to kill me several times.  He beat me until I was unconsious."
    • Mom will say,  "Sure, he beat you unconsious, but he's mentally ill and not able to control his responses so you shouldn't have set him off.  Besides, it's different now, he's older."  

    She's missing the point of my statement (or, perhaps I'm not stating it clearly enough) that I don't feel safe around Fred.  I understand that he has a mental illness.  I am no more responsible for his mental illness than he is, and she's letting him completely off the hook for his actions.  Why, then, does she place the responsibility for controlling his actions on me?  How is it that I end up being the 'bad child' when I'm the one being beaten up?

    What I rarely state, but probably should, is that I don't trust her or the rest of my family to keep me safe when Fred is around.  I also have not been able to state how angry I am at her for not protecting me as a child, when there was no reasonable way for me to protect myself.    I have not been able to tell her how angry I am now at how she continues to blame me for his violent actions.  Her defensiveness and denial that she played a role in the abuse I suffered, and my reaction to that defensiveness, prevents us from ever being able to discuss it fully.  Rather than open this emotional scar every time I see my family (as it won't heal without honesty and openness), I have chosen to cut off ties with most of them.

    If you want to open a relationship with your daughter, I'd recommend by starting with listening.  Don't apologize, don't excuse, just listen and accept her point of view.  Even if you don't agree with it.  Just keep your mouth shut and listen.  Try to understand it, and show her that you're willing to listen as long as it takes to hear out the deeper issues that are still keeping you apart.  It won't be one conversation.  You'll also have to be very careful not to judge her or her actions or choices.  I'm guessing that judgment is one of the things that's driving her away.

    I offer you good luck.  It sounds like your daughter has set a hard and fast boundary, and it will probably take strict adherence to that boundary on your part to salvage the relationship.  That has no judgement on you, though, and you have the choice to not respect her boundary, but I'm guessing that hasn't worked in the past.

    But, isn't it true that some parents are falsely accused? - Siobahn - Mar 13th 2010

    I have four grown adult children and one grandchild.  Three of them are in our lives and one, our third born daughter is estranged.  We have not seen her or our five year old grandchild for over three years.  We had what I thought was a good relationship.  One day, during a disagreement over my being late to meet her for lunch, she told me that she did not want to ever see me again, and that she would call the police if I came to her home.  We did have some rocky moments, during the adolescent years.  I reached out over the years through emails, letters, and phone messages.  No response.  I thought because she was sensitive, and a middle child, that she had felt lost in the shuffle and resented me for working outside the home.  No, family life was not perfect.  But there were many wonderful moments too.  I offered to try to resolve any issues in counseling with her.  I told her that I love and miss her terribly and that if she felt her childhood was unhappy, or if she felt unloved, that I was sorry...that I would never intentionally do anything to make her feel that way...but since apparently she did feel unimportant, I apologized for making her feel that way.  No response.  She does not speak to anyone in the family.  She refused an invitation to her sister's wedding, and does not contact her aging grandmother who never had a bad word with her. My husband was a Vietnam Vet, and often very critical and moody...He did receive help and with good medication and counseling he is kind and loving..Everyone makes mistakes...It's easy to look back with regret over some rough times brought about by stressful circumstances....As I mentioned before, we all have some wonderful memories as well.  We are all so saddened by her decision to simply cut all ties.  It's like a death.  I realize this is more of a forum for adult children to vent.  I would appreciate any insight about this situation ...

    I might be the cause of my daughters behaviour 'illness' - mel - Mar 29th 2009

    I am of Indian decent 11th child of 12 children and grew up in a hostile environment with brothers who drank and verbally abused my parents, mother who yelled at us to discipline us, limited resources and food. We were disciplined like every child in the community, hit with a stick or belt and it was normal.

    I couldn't wait to get married and leave and thus at the age of 18 I got married to a man I barely knew who too was a drunk and did not work much and was verbally, physically abusive.  For 8 long years i stayed with him and couldn't leave him like the woman in 'not without my daughter movie'. I was verbally abused by his parents and siblings all the time, we lived in an extended family unit. My families weren't allowed to visit me. I had 3 children with him. Due to constantly being battered, I had a early delivery with my first child resulting in the death of the child who lived on machines for 2 months. His families blamed me for his death. I never morned his death and uptil now I don't know where he is burried. I totally blocked it out of my mind and I don't want to revisit that part of my life. He brought women home and slept with them in our room while i slept with the kids on the mattress on the floor. I would beat me up and make me watch him make love to another woman. I tried many times to leave him but he had me watched and each failed attempt meant his beatings increased. He never hurt the kids though but they observed all that was happening. Finally I left him with much difficulty and migrated later to a western country to join my mother and siblings.  I brought one child with me and was not able to bring the younger child who was only 2 and a half as the father stole him from me before my departure. I was able to bring the little girl aged 4and a half then. I was broken leaving my baby behind and morned him. I had no where to go and apart from an elderly mother who also had migrated to join my siblings, i had no support. I stayed with her while waiting for permanent resident. She was a pensioner. It was a long process and during my own moarning I forgot the needs of my little daughter. I was often verbally abusive to her and said things like, ' i wish i didnt bring you with me, or i should have left you with your father'. At the time i didnt think much of it as i struggled to live, find some sort of cash in hand job to pay the immigration lawyers so we didn't get deported. It took many years of battle to be able to stay back in the country. Finally I was able to bring my long lost son as well after 8 long years of struggle without a permanent resident and without a proper job. He didnt remember me and his mind was poisoned. Anyhow, my daughter is 23 now but as a child I found her very 'difficult'. I didnt know anything about mental illness of BPD. I met a christian man in church and married him. My daughter was about 7 then and he is the only father she remembers. He was good to her She wagged class, smoke and binge drank at the age of 13. She was always 'getting in trouble' and always had bad reports from school. In the mean time I took up a night job as a aged carer and went to uni to do nursing  degree during the day. Recently I have completed a post graduate diploma in mental health and learned about BPD and currently doing a masters degree in mental health.

    Couple of years ago my daughter's long term boyfriend left her and that is when it started or perhaps the symptoms became more prominent. I moved interstate and she chose to stay back living in my house with her boyfriend. I knew they always argued as he always complained about her anger and emotional behaviours. She traded the car I gave her on her 18th and bought a new car, later had a car accident and due to alleged drink driving did not get any insurance for the car. She took another loan and bought a care had yet another accident. She did not lose her licence though. She was binge drinking (neighbours complained of her loud aggressive, threatning behaviour). She had slashed her arms various places and was being hospitalised many times. Had no ambulance cover and owed thousands to the bank for her car as well as for the ambulance. No one had told me. I was a director of nursing of a nuring home and gave her job there as a carer and trained her. Although she was still working there, the current manager wasnt pleased of her constantly not turning up at work.

    when I found out about her accidents and admissions to the hospital, I deffered from my course, went to stay with her and sold the house. I paid off most of her debts and brought her back with me. I still didnt know much about the illness. Now as I am doing masters research on the illness, I have found out that my behaviours could have caused her to have the fear of abandonement, unloved, isolation and fearful thus BPD. I have changed since, remarried and have a child who is 14 now who is very different growing up in a loving environment. I lay awake at nights thinking about my daughter, the hurts I caused her in my own grief and fear. She was all I had and I was all she had during those difficult times. I shifted all my blame on her and she was just a child. No amount of anything can change that. We remain close but I have this guilt in me and doesn't matter how much love I show her now, or what I do for her, I cannot erase the moments of despair and hurt I caused her then. I now live in my own prison and I deserve to be. She is much better but I will never be.

    Great BPD support group - Nelly - Jan 24th 2009

    For anyone looking for ongoing support and advice of how to learn to deal with the fallout from having being brought up with a BPD parent or how to start setting boundaries with them a superb free online help facility is http://board.nook2.com/

    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 mentalhelp.net

    BPD Family - Still Struggling with Mom - Cin - Jan 13th 2009

    I am a 43 year old woman who grew up with much verbal and physical abuse from my mom. In reading this article it helped me to understand what was and is still is going on with my mom. I always knew something was terribly wrong for my siblings and I growing up. The rages and anger were not normal, and my siblings and I were trapped in a hostile environment. My  older sister was usually the target for both my mom and dad to rage at. I remember one time my mother beat her for some minor infraction of the rules without mercy unti my sister cried. My mom felt my sister was being defiant to her for not crying and beat her with a belt and her fist until my sister gave in. I think my sister tried to resist my moms control and was often the target of my moms rage. This continued until my sister was in her late teens when she moved away.  My two brothers were somewhat better off, but not really. My mom would get into rages and beat all 4 of us if anyone of us did something wrong. My dad was constantly unfaithful to my mom, and did not try to stop her when she was "dealing" with us as she would put it. I think he was glad that it was not his turn. I have seen my mom stab my dad, hit him, choke him, and hold a gun to his head. The day she held the gun to his head, she asked me how badly did I want "him" to live and she wouldn't shoot him if I begged for his life! (I was home alone with them when the rage started.) Needless to say I was crying and begging her not to shoot him, but I had to choose my words carefully to be on her side - she feels justified to attack people, and any hint on my part that she was wrong would have caused more pain for me. As I was begging for my dads life, she was saying things like I really wanted him dead, and I should tell her to kill him. It was beyond horrible, and I honestly don't know how I survived living in that kind of abuse. Eventually, she did shoot my dad years later, and she claimed it was an accident and "self defense" because he was attacking her. She treated her kids like we were her "protectors" and if you wanted to feel her fury - just try to have a different opinion. My mom would say things to me like I was her one "good" child. As long as you agree with her, give her money & gifts, and praise her as a great mom - you are "good". Over the years I have tried to support my mom and siblings, but this past Christmas I decided I can't deal with it anymore. My mom is now enraged at me because I put my foot down and won't let her rewrite our histoy growing up to be more pleasant. She tells everyone how great of a mom she was, how she took care of her kid's and we didn't suffer abuse. She blames everything on my dad (who is now deceased), and if you say differently she says she was protecting us from him! She says nobody cares about her, and she should have given us up or aborted us since we are all no good to her now. I know the truth and nobody is going to take that from me. I think she is trying to cover up her past, but it is no longer working. None of us hardly speak with her and and one by one other family and friends have distanced themselves from her. The very thing she has always feared and tried to control has come true. She is alone, and has no one to target or vent at.

    The three things that are helpling me now are:

    1. I know I am not responsible for her behavior or the pain she inflicted on us. 2. I don't have to live like she did and I NEVER treated my two children that way. 3. I am very honest about my own struggles with depression and seek help.

    My husband and I moved away from our families when our children were young, so they have had very limited exposure to the family. I refused to let her do to my kids what she did to me.

    A note for Samira - Steve - Oct 20th 2008

     Samira,

     You are on the road to a better life now. Going back and seeing your mother, as an adult, has shown you what and who she really is. It happened for me as well. Despite the sadness of reality, coming to terms with it only strengthens you.

     One of the strange things I've noticed about some people is the inability to recognize that they have been raised in a dysfunctional environment. Their parents MUST be perfect and loving or they are somehow less valuable as a person. Nobody is perfect but when a parent uses or abuses a child, in any way, or allows a child to be abused and does nothing about it, they have lost their right to be honored.

     My relationship with my wife was the very beginning of regaining my self esteem and walking the road to understanding my feelings and myself. "Finding Myself". Keep reading, keep studying and make sure that you grow with your partner and not on them. (visa-versa as well). Stay independent in a team relationship because one of you may have to carry the other at times. Down the road you also might find yourself with different goals. That independence will never tear a relationship apart, it will only strengthen it and you will LOVE YOURSELF even more.

     

    Recently realized my role with a BPD single mother - Samira D. - Oct 20th 2008

    I am very amazed and appreciative of reading this articles. I never knew these parents could have such effects on their children. I am twenty years old and i have a mother who suffers from bipolar mania & boarder-line personality disorder. my story goes like this, my mother had three kids. i was the youngest. I have a older sister who is 30, and a older brother who is about 27. My sister has only told me bits of pieces of her childhood and her's was alot worst than mine. MY mother got pregnant with my sister when she was about 17. My mother would  verbally abuse her saying things like "you ruined my life", she would leave my sister with other family members for months at a time while she went out and lived life as a "single woman". When my sister turned 17 she got pregnant  too and had a baby. Two years later my mother and her got into a huge fight and my mother and sister stopped talking and hasnt talked since. I have tried to get them to communicate but it never worked. In my brother case i have no idea what kind of life he lived, he went and lived with his father since before i was born, all i know is that is in prison for a sexual assualt case and has brain damage from accessive use of drugs and alcohol. Now to me, since both of my other sibling were not around i was somewhat of a golden child. all i ever wanted as a child was acknowledgement. i was a straight A student no fights or problems ever. throughout my childhood years my mother and i went through highly stressful times. we were forced to live in homeless shelters altogether about ten times. i could never tell my friends where i lived. we had a 6pm curfew so i couldnt even go outside and be a kid. I remember looking out of those prison like shelter windows and see younger children playing in the street and feeling an overwhelming sadness.My mother on the other hand would have frequent male partners, would ignore me, and never was really happy with anything. Also, growing up the roles of mother and daughter were somehow switched. As a young child i given great responsibility concering my moms life and i made alot of decisions for her. Including ones in her relationships. Usually i was used as a pawn to gains sympathy from her male friends.I was under my moms control untl i was 17. i stayed with a friend of the family for the remaining years of high school and i became extremely depressed and felt like and "outsider" and completely alone. I attempted suicide once by trying to jump out of a five story building but was saved by a boyfriend at the time. i knew i had a problems so i went to a therapist and was diagnosted with major depression. within that year i destroyed anykind of relationship i could ever have with that boyfriend, always took the blame for everything, apologized constantly, and always played a love-hate game, could never find my own idetity, had major issues trusting ppl etc. i actually stopped going to a therapist and decided to pull myself out of my rut and i did. Until Last december i decided to move from my home with my granparents to across the counrty with my mother. She made many claims and made so many promises of helping achieve the dreams that i wanted, but when i got there it was another story. my mother was now married and a completely different person. She began putting her husband over me and utlimately chose his needs over mine. i began to feel how my siblings must felt when i was born. Ths situation with my mother became so stressful we gotten into many physical and verbal fights. My mother would try to make me feel like trash, and that i wasnt worth anything. Luckily for me my current boyfriend played mediater and came to my rescue. Now i live back in my home state with my current boyfrined and have very little contact with my mother. And i now see her for who and what she really is. Now i understnad how everyone my mom had befriended over the years, has alot of hate towards her. Sometimes i regret even moving out there with her, so i wouldnt really understand what kind of person she is. My mother is always on the move never in one spot for a long enough time. and for a long time i was the same way. My mom was always packing us up and moving from place to place i never knew what staility was. Until i met my current boyfriend who is so loving and supportive. He has shown me to just slow down and enjoy life for what it is. Even though i have realized so much about my life at such a young age i still struggle with being able to trust my own judgement, and perception. i also am somewhat of a perfectionist. I find myself wanting to achieve unrealistic levels of perfection. i hope to overcome these minor stepping stones and be able to live my life stressfree. And also i hope that this comment has either motivated or helped someone else in some way. Thanks

    Adult survivior with BPD parents - - Oct 4th 2008

    Thanks for all the comments.  It makes me realize how prevalent this illness is and how many others have sufferred. 

    My story is similar. Oldest child of three raised in a war zone. Our home was filled with screaming rages, breaking things, verbal and physical abuse and periods of complete isolation.  Needless to say, no friends visited our home and as kids we accepted what we could not change.  In third year university I was totally shunned by my parents, who isolated me to the point where they refused contact and kicked me out of their home.  I was always the good child so to be shunned by them was devestating.  It's only now many years later and after being iced out for sometimes 7 yrs at a time that I realize they are toxic.  They are people who will never be healed and who live in constant turmoil.  In many ways their condition thrives on this state of flux.  As a result, I've had to close a door especially when I've witnessed many of the same painful events being replayed in the lives of their grandchildren including my son.  Now I believe...I'm finally on a path to healing. With healing is forgiving.  I do not hate them rather feel sorry for the pain they will never be able to face.  However I do not forget... and yes time heals wounds but the painful memories are written on the heartstrings of my heart forever and it is time to let those strings play out as I live a life of peace, tolerance and love with my own family. I recommend this choice to many as the only viable option in living with this illness and facing the ghosts of your past.

    Marie

    Thoughts on the entire article and my experiences - Steve - Sep 27th 2008

    It's truly encouraging to see everyone sharing similar circumstances.

    Part one of this article is probably the most accurate representation of my childhood environment that I have read to date. I had already concluded, years ago, that my mother was BPD and my father was a narcissist. The pathology of likely outcomes when these two personalities marry and raise children was something I had not found before while doing my own research. I find it quite stunning in it's accuracy.

    My father and older brother had completely destroyed my self-esteem by age 10. I had long held the illusion that my BPD mother was my benefactor and protector, even into adulthood, until I came back into contact with her and my extended family.

    What finally prompted my decision to completely remove myself from the situation was my mother's loyalty to an abusive Aunt, who also happens to be a narcissist. This same Aunt also happens to be mortal enemies with my father. I understood some aspects of my mother's attraction to her but now it all makes perfect sense to me. (Thank you very much for this article.) 

    After a few years back with the family, it wasn't long before I had a laundry list of issues with my aunt. My wife (also from a dysfunctional family) and I went over to her and my uncles home to have an open and honest discussion about her words and statements which not only insulted me, but were completely void of any understanding for who I am or how I feel. Naturally, things didn't go well. We were there about 5 hours and my aunt talked for about four and a half. It was an experience I am grateful for in it's revelations, though. That was the day I learned that most of the vicious gossip and revisionist family history I had been exposed to throughout my childhood was generated and perpetuated by this woman with my mother parroting it to me. One of the most blatant and obvious was the assertion that my father had given his mother a stroke, via telephone, while in my aunt and uncles care.

    I finally started getting more assertive, leading to my verbally undressed her when she called me on the phone to complain about not recieving a prompt "thank you" note for a X-mas present. (don't get me started on X-mas) I made it known amongst my direct family that I no longer wanted anything to do with her. Period. I had a full list of items that any reasonable person should accept as valid for severance of any relationship barring an apology and/or change of conduct.

    A truce was brokered by my mother where all parties would "act like nothing happened". This was a concession on my part for the sake of "harmony". At the next family gathering, a child's birthday party, it was clear that my aunt refused to let it go. We were followed out the door by my submissive uncle who pleaded with me to apologize to her. It was a pre-planned event. Obviously, my aunt was agitated and making his life miserable. Naturally, I asked "so, what happened to our truce, was that a lie"? Naturally, he ignored me, so he got verbally undressed for his actions and inactions. That was final for me, they had no business in my life.

     This "disowning" of my aunt proved synonymous with the old economic addage "when the tide goes out, you find out who's been swimming naked". The toxic use of invalidation, denial, sending misinformed emmisaries and malicious gossip to deal with this family conflict was both overwhelming and educational.

    The final straw with my mother came at my cousin's 40th birthday party. I had consented to appear, despite my aunt's presence, and made it clear that I would not be engaging her in any way. There were choreographed attempts to make me "play nice" with my aunt. This, of course, was my aunt attempting to get a public validation from me which she would use to bolster "her case". They even sent a family friend who was dying of cancer to explain to me that my mother "is hurting" and doesn't want to have "a disagreement" with my aunt. I needed to submit for the sake of my mother and family harmony, apparently. After evading all of these ridiculous approaches in a calm, assertive manner, my mother finally tried to literally grab my (and my wife's) hand and drag us into the living room (where my aunt had nested herself) to "feed us to Jabba".

    Despite some interesting e-mail exchanges, that my mother never responded to, and my older brother's regression into thinking he can still push me around, I finally blocked all of their e-mail addresses and have maintained no communication with anyone in my family. I had been demanding counseling for everyone but only got one bite, from my mother. She communicated this through my brother.

    After considering everything that I had experienced in my entire life with these people and the obvious perception that none of them have experienced any kind of personal growth and probably never will, I decided that I'm not wasting my time because I don't want them back. My mother would only go through the motions of counseling while feeding back information to my aunt to be used for the next round of malicious gossip. After all, I had personally witnessed the continuous personal assassination of my father by my aunt and mother for decades......and I believed it. My father didn't need the help, he was bad enough already.

    When I look at a picture of myself from when I was seven years old and I think about the things that were done to this child, I have absolutely no remorse about seperation from my entire family. It's incredibly sad though. About a month ago I was driving to the store and witnessed a young couple sending their son off to his first day of school on the bus. They looked incredibly happy and proud, videotaping the whole event. They were a "real" family. I absolutely lost it. I'm even tearing a little now while I'm relating it. There are so many things I havn't told you about but it mostly involves emotional and physical abandonment.

    I've been very lucky to be as strong as I am now. I've even done it without counseling. It's been a long road back from the gutter but I've embraced the healing process online with people like yourselves. The loss never leaves but I'm still getting better by the day. I have no glorious past to long for, only a future of finally  being physically and spiritually free for the first time in my life.

    Thank you

    You are a better person - Struggling mother with BPD - Aug 19th 2008

    Hi Sally,

    I read what you wrote about your mother and the way that she treated you. Gosh! And I thought that I had been through too much trauma with a father that has BPD and an abusive mother.

     Being a mother who has BPD, I am happy for you that you don't! Perhaps you don't have BPD because you despise so strongly the way your mother was towards you, that that is the last thing you want to be. I admire, you Sally. For getting out of those abusive relationships and pursuing your career. I'm similiar in that way. I excell at what I do...but I have a great sadness because I have BPD and am CONSTANTLY scared of turning out the way my parents did.

     However, that is not possible. Not for you and not for me. I too despise the way my parents treated us (my brother and me). It sounds like you cannot forgive your mother. I couldn't until this year in April. It's like a bulb went on in my head....my mother has suffered and so has my father and they used their children to take those frustrations out. But you and I, are better people, Sally. We have the ability to see the wrong-doing by our parents and choose not to be that way (although we could have if we wanted to)!

     Be happy that you don't have BPD. A part of me is constantly depressed because I do. And it's difficult going to therapy so often as I do...trying to be a better person! Like you said, you're a great mom and that's what matters! :) It's great that you try to think positive, because that's the only thing we can do. Negative thoughts only drag us down. And never forget...you are a strong woman, Sally - one that has tolerated so much and yet has become a wonderful parent! :)

     Those were my thoughts about your comment. I don't know if they helped any.... Good luck!

    Borderline Mother - Why aren't all abused BDP? - Sally - Aug 8th 2008

    I was badly abused by my mother who has BPD. You may recognise some of the behaviours - my mother hiding things, counting and then if I didn't retrieve the said object beating me, farming me out to her "friends" male AND female for sexual abuse, rages (still remember that blank, horrible look), broken wrists, hit with hot frying pans, a broken drawer that wasn't working became a object for hitting me with complete with nails, dragged out of the shower, bed for beatings over some imaginery "look" I had given her or her boyfriend and dragged by the hair in supermarkets down the aisle (hello - why didn't anyone sound the alarm EVER.) She played emotional games with me - her boyfriend being like the "other" sibling and her being affectionate with him and making a big deal out of it to hurt me. Withdrawing food, me hiding - under the house - to avoid beatings. You name it. Been there done that.

    This is what I do not get - I do not have BPD. I have suffered depression, I have had identity issues, in short serious and deep pain. I was an only child living with a single mother, went to ELEVEN different schools, estranged from grandparents and other family members. My father was and still is a violent alcoholic who abuses women and watches violent porn (really!)

    (I have worked as a journalist and now am starting a new career at forty as an immigration lawyer - in short a relative success story. NO drug or alcohol abusing for me - no money at the time when I could have really truly have done with those lovely emotion blocking drugs! My mottos are: it is never too late to have a happy childhood and if my childhood and early adulthood sucked - got involved with two abusive relationships - then I am going to make damned sure the rest of my life is super to make up for it!!)

    I had no validation (except school, which I became an overachiever at.) Point is this: if anyone suffered abandonment (and continual at that) it is me. If BPD is about being abandoned at a young age and suffering that psychic pain, why didn't I get it? During my many years of counselling, I did ask several times whether I had BDP and apparently I don't. I have been diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder but no BPD.

    Sounds harsh, but at the core I find it hard to have sympathy for my mother who inflicted these cruelties. You know along the lines of: well they can't help it because they were abused when younger. I was abused and badly but I have chosen not to inflict this abuse on others and am actually a well-balanced and well-rounded individual (and mother) most days.

    And, of course, I was SUCH a difficult child (my mother speaking, which she likes to remind me of) and happily badmouthed me to everyone, you would have thought I was the daughter from hell. 

    What gives with this? Any response appreciated.

    Struggling Mother with BPD - - Aug 7th 2008

    I grew up with a father who has BPD and a mother who developed feelings of hate towards the children she had had with this abusive man, i.e. myself and my brother. We were abused physically, verbally, and sexually.

    I have been diagnosed with BPD myself and go to intensive cognitive therapy twice a week. I am not as abusive as my father was, but know that I can get pretty ugly verbally when I feel insecure and insufficient as a mother or wife, because God knows I try....! I fear that I am not good enough for my daughter...constantly. And when I do burst out in rage, I yell and blame. It scares my child just as I used to get scared as a child. I am trying really hard, like I said...and often feel that perhaps I should get divorced so that my husband and daughter can get "rid" of me....but my shrink says that I should stop thinking like that. I do not physically or sexually abuse anybody...but my rage is against all men...and comes out in forms of verbal abuse. The sadness of not having a "normal" childhood and the hate that I have for myself because I am a little similar to my father makes me shudder!

     I am getting help....I encourage everybody to try and get some help. It's the least that I owe myself and my family. I want to be happy.

    Not a fun past personal life... - D - Jul 29th 2008

    My mother has BPD+NPD+DependentPD & I still live with her for private reasons; my ex-stepfather also has NPD, so the two used to have very messed-up manipulative fights.   After an abusive relationship it took years to get out of safely, I discovered my second ex has BPD as well; he'd seemed totally safe but it was only because he hadn't had anyone he thought he could get away with abusing before me...

    If you're worried you are borderline because you had a borderline/narcissistic parent, you might really have what I do -- Avoidant Personality Disorder -- since they can look very alike.  Basically, an "A" person is unusually afraid of rejection/embarrassment, hypersensitive, overly self-critical, has trouble trusting others, monitors both their words/movements & small cues (words, vocal tone, hesitation, posture, etc.) from others, and will avoid others physically or emotionally out of fear.  Only really good site by people dealing with it I know of is AvoidantPersonality.com but it's worth checking out.

    Father and sister both BPD - Anonymous - Jul 17th 2008

    My father raged and controlled us (wife and three kids) throughout our childhood in the 60's.  He was a professional in a small town and we lived under the threat that if Dad's 'problem' was known publicly then he would lose his business.  In private, he physically abused my mother and sister once throwing my mother down the stairs and she ended up in hospital with a broken leg.  I called our neighbour who was a psychologist to come to the house.  He came, called an ambulance, and my mother told him it was an accident.  When I told him my father pushed her, he told me I must have imagined it, even though my sister gave the same account.   The neighbour didn't call the cops - I asked him about that years later and he pretended not to remember the incident.

    I was the youngest of three - the golden child - but always walking on eggshells.  I remember my mother's repeated warnings "don't get father angry".  I used to have to go on endless sailing trips alone with him because supposedly I was the only child who was well behaved enough to be in his presence for any length of time.  I learned to never criticize him or challenge anything because I had observed what happened to my siblings when they spoke out.  My mother told me years later that she had threatened to call the cops on him if he ever hurt me.  She sent my brother to boarding school when he was 12 just to get him away from father.  That was the saddest day ever.  I was 10 and loved him dearly.  I still hate waving goodbye to people.

    Father and  sister are my only original family still alive - I am 50 now and married with two sons.  I have kept in touch with father and his second wife over the years (yes he had numerous affairs including a blantant one when my mother was dying).  My mother's last words to me were "keep your distance from him or he will kill you too".  I knew exactly what she meant.  I have kept my sons away from his influence and have told them the truth about what he is like.  They are grown now and want nothing to do with him.  My in-law family are great and they are my kids' only extended family.

    Sadly, my elder sister is also a full-blown BPD.  This started with her in adolescence and was a huge thing in the family.  She used to punch and kick me mercilessly when we were home alone and that's were I learned to run fast.  She and father actually pressed charges for attempted murder against each other after a fight they had at my mother's funeral in 1988 (I had just driven away and so didn't witness it).  They both cut me off after that when I refused to side with either of them.  I was never so relieved as when I realized I would be able to have a day without a screaming call from either of them.  Life was peaceful for 20 years.

    Father and sister had not spoken until summer 2008 when father called me and announced that he and sis had been 'getting together' so he could 'get to know' her kids.  Since I turned 30, I have followed the standard advice for coping with BPD's and refused to take any abuse from her or him.  I do not intend to reverse this all now just to let the two of them have fun killing me off.  Sorry for the rambling, but he just called again and was trying to lay on the guilt about his so-called 'dying wish for a happy family'.   Dying? He doesn't even have a head cold!  I told him that 50 years kow-towing to him was enough and now it was my time to enjoy my own family.  Not bitter at all - just determined to see their masterful manipulation for what it really is.   BPD's never get cured, they just cycle.

     

    Borderline Mother - The Good Child - Jun 17th 2008

    At 44 yo, I am finally coming to understand my childhood and subsequent depression/anxiety disorders. My mother has never admitted to being diagnosed with BPD, but my sister and I agree she's got it. She was terrible to my sister, 7 yrs my junior, all her life. She would verbally abuse her regularly and I joined in until early adulthood. I could do no wrong as long as I did what my mother wanted. As an early teen, she encouraged me to date men in their 20's because she was impressed with their families.  She frequently flirted with my male friends and wanted to be included in my social life. My sister was treated with contempt. Mother has made no effort to hide her belief that a mother can only love one child. I continued to "feed" my mother's negative opinions of my sister until 6 weeks ago. I had an epiphany about my own children and would never treat them the way she has treated my sister. I began to seriously examine their relationship and now feel very sorry for my part in my sister's pain.  I've had clinical depression and panic attacks although I look at my life and reason that I have nothing to be anxious about. My sister struggles with her weight but is a good mother, although she is controlling and rigorous. But her motivation is always to be a good mother. We hope to find some healing together.

    borderline father - kathryn - Apr 20th 2008

    i, too, had a borderline / narcicisstic father (they diagnosed him as narcissistic, i say borderline).  he went into frequent rages like described.  when i was maybe five we were driving up north and he said the next one the says 'beep' is going get their bare bottom spanked.  well, i tried to be cute and say 'beep' to cheer him up, and he pulled over the car and i guess i got it.  i always remebered it that the police showed up and nothing happened...  we had a very very close relationship when he wasn't raging and i wasn't terrified.  until he killed himself when i was 19.

    now i worry that i'm borderline.  heading for my first divorce.  debt.  very unsure of myself.  super super sensitive - had to cut any substance (alcohol, cigarettes, etc.) out of my body which is even more isolating.  try to take really good care but still get hurt so easily...  does this ever change?  i've worked so hard to become a good person...  want a family...  but i really don't feel that a man can take my sensitivity and simply hold it instead of just being kind of eventually annoyed by it and all its consequences...  and can i have kids bringing that closeness into my life...  i'm a great aunt but i worry the constant stress and lack of sleep...

    Borderline Father - Glen - Mar 1st 2008

    As a son of a border line/clinical narcissist father, I thought it might be instructive to say a few things from a man's perspective.  I am in my thirties now and have battled with depression, anxiety, low self esteem, etc. for many years.  Fortunately, I had a very good mother but that still did not mitigate the damage done by my father.  He was emotionally very abusive, threatened suicide countless times, gambled family finances, engaged in affairs, and always raged when things did not go his way.  I can distinctly remember as a 5 or 6 year old boy alone with my father in a hotel room (away on a "father-son trip") apologizing to him because he accused me of losing a plastic piece to a model army tank kit he bought earlier that day - the kit probably cost 8 dollars or so. He raged at me for losing the piece.  He always raged, even over the slightest things...We, I, never measured up to him.  I remember many times verbally chastising myself right in front of him because I thought that's what would please him. Sometimes he would smirk over these self-destructive comments...He once raged at a barber because he didn't cut his hair the right way.  Or the time when he almost got into a fist-fight with a road constructionm stop-sign-holder simply because he did not want to wait his turn to pass on a single lane...I could go on but I would end up sounding like a victim and the process lends itself to reinforcing negative thinking.  Today, I see a therapist on a semi-frequent basis, firmly believe in the merits of anti-depressants, and look forward to continuing the process of self-improvement and ultimately, providing useful service to others - and eventually having my own family.  If I should have a son, I know (hope) I'll be a good father.

    My hope is for other men, young or old, to recognize the trauma of a border line/clinical narcissist father or mother.  You do not have to suffer any longer.  What you experienced as a child was abuse and there's plenty of help by caring professionals.  Normal parenting does not include rage, neglect, and other physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Feel free to respond to my blog entry and I will do my best to respond to you.

    Borderline parent - Emma Jones - Feb 13th 2008

    So refreshing to read these articles and to hear someones expertise.  My mother (I believe) has BPD and she cannot tolerate a relationship with me. I withdrew from the relationship for 7 years (I am 34 yrs) and tried again recently. It is apparent she is worse (or is it just that i have been away). The projection issues were so apparent and she stated that 'the evil that is inside her - is inside me too'. I now work as a mental health nurse and have had psychotherapy in bulk to work with my fragile soul. Its strange because I actually like my mother (now) I dont feel the anger that I felt for many years, because I am a seperate being and I can view her with pity that she lives her life with this awful disorder. The main things I live with now are still feeling like the 'outsider' in the family. They know shes not right but ---no one likes to admit it (maybe thats to do with shame). My father lives with her, seperate rooms, has an extra marital affair, takes antidepressants and generally assumes a passive stance in the father role. I have disengaged from my relationship with him also. My brother 'the good child' has alcohol issues and suffers from depression. However, as much work as I have done on myself I still suffer from depression, loneliness, self esteem and compulsive eating. I dont know what to do about the depression as I am going through a bad patch and it is affecting my quality of life. I am going to visit the gp tomorrow. I live my life disregarding the 'victim role' yet the legacy is that of victim and I dont think now ill completley shake it. Where I go from here is a decision that only I can take

    Thank you thank you - Maggie Cronk - Oct 17th 2007
    This is the first time I have actually seen in print that the BPD developed by children of someone with BPD may not be like the illness the parent had.  It seems in my case I almost developed the OPPOSITE illness- but it's still considered borderline.  I am totally non abusive (I decided to break that chain myself before my son was born), but I have in the past also been so passive as to be a doormat.  I thought my faults were so huge that if someone simply tolerated me, let alone loved me, I should be grateful and not ask for more.  I let everyone decide who I was for me, so that I would have SOME identity.  Otherwise, I felt I didn't even exist.  Thank goodness for DBT therapy and the support of my incredible psychologist and psychiatrist who, whether they intended to or not, have reparented me over the last 16 years.

    Borderline parent - - May 21st 2007
    I had an awful, terrible childhood. My mom was a single parent and went through life feeling sorry for herself because she was a widow and slso had a deaf child.  She felt my brother who was deaf had ruined her life. He got the physical abuse, I got the verbal abuse and my sister was the princess.  Nobody beleived how terrible this was.  Only once did a family member (uncle) see a glimpse of it when he said that he wanted to cut back on buying  birthday and Xmas gifts--she went off on hiim.  Later my uncle told me no one had ever talked to him with such verbal abuse since the time he had been in the service.  They made up though and he thought it was a fluke that my mom acted that way.  This has really helped me reading all of the articles about borderlines. 

    I could write a book - - May 10th 2007

    very much like Christina Crawford's.  My mother had the compulsive cleaning rituals plus other borderline traits.  Abuse was allowed to continue for years because my family adopted an "every man for himself" type of coping.  As long as it wasn't you in trouble or the focus of the rage, everything was fine.  Except that listening to my mother beat her head again the wall was disturbing.  Not that we cared anymore.

    It sounds callous, but you would understand if you were there.

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