Being Raised By a Parent With Borderline Personality Disorder

Parent and Child

Borderline personality disorder is characterized by extreme emotional reactions, difficulty forming or maintaining relationships, and mood swings. Someone with borderline personality disorder may seem unpredictable or paranoid. Borderline personality disorder treatment typically involves cognitive behavioral therapy to help individuals become more aware of their emotions and actions, including how they are triggered and how they affect those around them.

Borderline personality disorder is more common among women. For a new mother struggling with the disorder, it can be very difficult for her to bond with her newborn. What comes instinctually to most women usually has to be systematically taught to women with borderline personality disorder.

However, this type of ongoing and supportive borderline personality disorder treatment is only effective if the mother has a pre-existing diagnosis. Many women suffer with the disorder without knowing that there is a name for their struggle and that there is help available.

Because many parents with borderline personality disorder are misdiagnosed or aren’t aware that their struggles are medical in nature, they raise their children to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, that ability can be hindered through no fault of their own.

Relationships and Borderline Personality Disorder

The crux of the problem is that relationships in general are difficult for someone with borderline personality disorder to maintain. They may excessively seek attention and then have an angry outburst when the spotlight fades away from them. Or, paradoxically, they might be upset when people do pay attention to them, despite their attention-seeking behavior.

Borderline personality disorder is also known to cause people to feel as if they are being abandoned, even when this couldn’t be further from the truth. Something as simple as turning your attention away from a conversation with someone with the disorder could trigger a paranoid feeling of abandonment.

Thus, a parent who has borderline personality disorder is rather unpredictable. Children need consistency, guidance and good role models in order to be confident and secure. A parent with borderline personality disorder typically struggles to provide this kind of consistency, to dole out affection and guidance when needed, and to model appropriate behaviors in difficult situations.

In fact, children who are being raised by a parent with borderline personality disorder may find themselves taking on the role of the mature adult in the relationship. This strips children of their youth, as they end up needing to nurture their parent’s emotions in order to “keep the peace.” The volatile tendencies of some people with borderline personality disorder can also be traumatic for children.

Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment

The sooner borderline personality disorder treatment begins, the more likely it is that the symptoms can be understood and managed before the children experience trauma. However, there is no cure for borderline personality disorder. Individuals may find a variety of psychotherapies and medications effective to understand and change their behaviors and to control their mood swings.

If you suspect that you, your spouse or your parent has borderline personality disorder, know that help is available. While people with the disorder may need extra coaching and support when it comes to emotional regulation and relationship development, it is possible for them to manage their symptoms and enjoy healthier, happier relationships with their children.

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