Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Avatar for deenow17
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Registered: 10-12-2004
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
7
Thu, 10-10-2013 - 3:59pm

Does anyone have a family member or friend diagnosed with BPD? If so, would you mind sharing any experiences you have had either here or in a private note to me. I'm actually happy that someone else finally sees there is a problem with my Mom that isn't just her drinking. I have said for yrs that she has 2 personalities, the one she shows the world & the one I get hit with. I understand there isn't a drug I can give her to make things better & that she will have to do the work herself but it's a relief knowing I'm not alone in my assessment.

I won't bore you with what's happening but the short version is that things didn't go well with my Mom when I was away for a week. I came home to messages from both the retirement home & the PSW complaining of issues so I called her addiction counselor to ask about my Mom's case. Mom had granted me access to her information but frankly, I didn't want to intrude on her privacy so I never called before. During the conversation I learned that Mom hasn't been to counseling since early July. The counselor said that she felt Mom needed a full mental assessment as the counselor felt Mom was suffering from BPD. She also said that she didn't tell Mom this as Mom wasn't receptive to any suggestion of further assessments.

I have been reading the internet, talked again with the retirement home director who agrees with counselor's assessment & am now trying to figure out a way to get Mom to an assessment. I am supposed to spend a day with her next week so I will try to talk with her doctor beforehand to see if we can set up something where the dr will actually suggest the mental assessment after I suggest her seeing a doctor because I'm concerned with her moods.

Yes, I know this isn't a direct approach but my Mom doesn't work well if someone is implying there is something wrong with her brain. It's ok with the other organs but not her brain. She pretends to be supportive of those with mental illness but it's just a front. She tried to get me to divorce DH when he was diagnosed with chronic depression.

Dee

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 10-10-2013 - 5:41pm

Hi Dee, I am no expert by any means, but I think BPD is a pretty broad diagnosis.  Not sure how much research you have done it, or not.  I did a little research on it because my DD13 is a cutter and this behavior falls under BPD.  But children are not officially diagnosed.   

But to be honest, as long as your mom is drinking, any diagnosis will be tainted. Not saying she does, or does not have BPD, but a diagnosis, if any, will be rather futile as long as she drinking.  Alcoholics often, (not always) but often find that when they quit drinking and find real recovery (not just abstinance) that their real problem was Alcoholism, and are able to stop counseling, medication, etc. 

To be clear here, I am not saying your mom should stop counseling, or that she doesn't have another diagnosis, I am just saying that even with a diagnosis while drinking is tainted, and medication would not work anyways. 

With that said, if your mom DOES stop drinking, she can then eventually get a true evaluation and if she does have an imbalance, the meds would actually work. 

Good luck with everything!  I hope someone else can be more helpful. 

Serenity CL making a second marriage work

Serenity
Avatar for sabrtooth
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Registered: 12-03-1999
Thu, 10-10-2013 - 9:22pm

I won't bore anyone with my C.V., but suffice to say I do have experience.

And with apologies to Serenity, treating alcoholism will usually NOT eliminate the emotional/psychiatric disorder.  The rate of co-morbidity between mental/emotional disorders and substance abuse/alcoholism is EXTREMELY high.  Many of the etiological factors are the same, and in addition, many of the historical experiences of the disordered persons lead to a desire to self-harm, and substance abuse is one expression of that.  A final connection is the disordered person's frequent need to "self-medicate" in order to deal with both the physical and emotional feelings engendered by the disorder.

A competent clinician understands this, and a full psychiatric workup will not be "tainted" by the alcoholism.  Treatment of the substance abuse is often necessary before the emotional/psychiatric disorder can be fully controlled.  Sometimes, medications for both can be administered concomitantly.  Your clinician will be able to give you a better idea of the course of treatment that is necessary.

Now for BPD itself.  I have found this to be an EXCELLENT reference site, and would heartily recommend the book "Stop Walking on Eggshells".   There is nothing I could say, that would be better than this...

"People with borderline personality disorder see people as all good or all bad and have extreme, blink-of-an-eye mood swings. Their fear of abandonment, combined with feelings of emptiness and self-loathing, makes others feel like they're constantly walking on eggshells.

Some borderline individuals are suicidal and self-harm. Other rage, criticize, and make wild accusations. People with BPD suffer, and so do those around them. About a third of people with BPD also have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD); they are especially unwilling to look at themselves and their own behavior." 

The most IMPORTANT understanding you should take away from your education about borderlines is this:  Most Borderline Behavior Isn’t Deliberate
"Without education about BPD, family members take their family member’s behavior personally—especially if the BP is of the higher-functioning invisible type. This leads to much unnecessary suffering, because BPD behavior isn’t willful. Think of it this way: Why would anyone choose to be in situations that make them angry, unhappy, or otherwise in distress?"

http://www.bpdcentral.com/  Please read the "Co-Occurring Disorders" section first.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Thu, 10-10-2013 - 9:42pm
Then read ALL the FAQ's, and then read "Why BPD relationships are so complicated". Understanding all of this will be very freeing. You will have A-HA moments one after another. You will also probably end up sad. Understanding does not cure the effect this disorder has had on you, and your family. As I often told my kids, "Having a REASON for your behavior, does not absolve you of the CONSEQUENCES of that behavior." I think your approach to getting your Mom into treatment is an excellent one. In one of YDD's moments of self-understanding, she said, "You KNOW I have ODD Mom! Don't TELL me to do something; CONVINCE ME!"
Avatar for deenow17
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Registered: 10-12-2004
Fri, 10-11-2013 - 11:58am
  • Mom has been sober (she claims) since April 14th. I have tried to believe this but some of the behaviour has caused me to wonder but then her health has been excellent which it isn't when she is drinking heavily which is how she drinks. If this diagnosis is correct then she is likely sober but the behaviour is not being attributed to the drinking. We were waiting for her to dry out anyhow because I wasn't sure if she was suffering from dementia as she was having issues with her memory which again could have just been the drinking.

 

Thanks Sabr, I will go read that site once the weekend is over. It's our Thanksgiving here & I'm busy with cleaning, baking & doing outside work. DH is reshingling part of the roof as we have a leak in the dining room. I agree that from what I have already read, PBD & alcoholism go hand in hand.

Dee

 

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Fri, 10-11-2013 - 12:02pm
I'm so sorry, Serenity about your daughter. My cousin had a similar situation with her daughter & I'm thrilled that with the right support, she has grown into a happy, well adjusted 31 yr old Mom of one. As I mentioned, Mom is supposed to be dried out so this is the time to make an assessment of any possible mental health issues. Dee
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Sat, 10-12-2013 - 4:42pm

Oh, I could write a book on this, but would find it too draining. My MIL has BPD (and also Narcissistic PD, as they often go hand in hand.) I'd be willing to bet your mom's drinking is her way of self-medicating. My MIL drinks, too, although she's not an alcoholic. She just gets very mean and is more likely to fly into one of her rages when she's had even one glass of wine.

FIL is an enabler, and everyone else walks on eggshells around MIL. When they lived near us (for 4 miserable years), I set strict boundaries and coached the kids on topics they should never bring up (she had a lot of weird triggers). When she started raging, the kids were told they could just get up and walk out, no questions asked, and that is what they did.

When they moved away, it was such a relief to all of us. The sad thing is, MIL doesn't understand why she has no friends and why every relationship she tries to start fizzles. She just blames the other person for not understanding her. When she lived here in New England, she claimed that you just can't make friends with New Englanders. In other words, it was the region, not her volatile personality, that was the problem.

I don't know how treatable BPD/NPD really are, because very often, the person doesn't want to admit that anything is wrong. Good luck to you and God bless you for trying to help your mom.

Avatar for deenow17
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Registered: 10-12-2004
Sun, 10-13-2013 - 7:12am
Ashmama, it's interesting but my Mom has always had a lot of friends. She was able to control herself around non-family. Although, these last few years that control is slipping & she isn't the super popular person she was 5 yrs ago. I suspect she has some of the symptoms of NPD as well. Her personal appearance has always been very important to her unreasonably so. She was & still is an attractive woman but she will find ways to ensure people have no choice but to compliment her. She is also what I would call a snob. My grandmother came from money but married beneath her as the saying goes so Mom grew up with little & had even less married to my Dad. She took his insurance money & brought 3 fur coats, new clothes, & gave me a wedding that was crazy for those days. She invited all these people I didn't know just to show off IMO. I drive my Mom crazy as I'm down to earth & can pretty much deal with any environment. Don't care about how much someone has but whether they are a nice person. See my Mom did teach me something, not to be like her. lol I can't take credit for trying to help my Mom for any reason but to make my life happier. She has been an on & off alcoholic for 50 yrs & as an only child, I feel obligated to ensure she is cared for properly. I'm glad your MIL moved away as no DIL should have to deal with this type of person. Dee