Understanding the Borderline Mother PREFACE / INTRODUCTION
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tantor audio a division of recorded books presents understanding the borderline mother helping her children transcend the intense unpredictable and volatile relationship by christine and lawson narrated by Heather Auden preface the first thing we must understand in life is our mother recognizing her face the sound of her voice the meaning of her facial expressions and the meaning of her moods is so universal so natural and normal and so crucial to survival that we scarcely give it a thought in fact we forget how much we know about her despite having powerful reactions to a certain gesture a tone of voice or a facial expression in someone else that person of course often being our spouse understanding our mother is the first step to understanding ourselves this book is about mothers who suffer from borderline personality disorder BPD BPD is defined as a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships self-image and effects and marked impulsivity the term borderline means that their emotional state can border between psychosis and neurosis particularly when faced with abandonment or rejection thus children with borderline mothers grow up in a contradictory and confusing emotional world this book is also about children with borderline mothers developmental psychologists now know that before the age of three children are incapable of understanding deception because they are unable to discern the difference between what they believe and what their mother believes they also do not understand in congruence that mother might feel one emotion while expressing another or that hostility can be masked by a smile and yet their survival depends on the ability to understand this individual who controls their universe adult children of borderline mothers enter therapy in order to understand themselves they feel fragmented depressed and confused because understanding their mothers seems impossible they bring the therapist parts of a complex puzzle twisting and turning pieces of themselves and their mothers to see what fits unable to connect or separate parts that once formed a whole without intervention the intense unpredictable and volatile relationship between the borderline mother and her child can have devastating consequences children of borderlines are not only at risk for developing BPD but in some cases the lives of both mother and child can be endangered the stories from children raised by mothers with borderline personality disorder should awaken the consciousness of all during therapy some young children depicted their view of their mothers and drawings adult children shared journals photographs and tape recordings regardless of their age these children longed to be heard and to be believed they longed for freedom for validation and for escape from the emotional labyrinth of the relationship with their mothers some children of borderlines experienced childhood as an emotional prison camp ruled by arbitrarily hostile guards their feelings are captured by the words of adult survivors of concentration camps we were terribly afraid that people would never notice a thing that nobody in the world would notice a thing us the struggle the dead that this wall was so huge that nothing no message about us would ever make it out although the emotional world of the borderlines child can be a dark and forsaken land the purity of heart the resilience of spirit and the open mindedness of children illuminate the darkness a borderline mother who sees herself through her child's eyes can find the life-saving motivation to seek treatment unrestrained love can be found in the gleam in her child's eyes without treatment these mothers are at risk for passing the disorder to the next generation and for missing the love they so desperately seek learning to recognize the symptoms of borderline personality disorder is the first step in helping these mothers and their children we must listen to their stories learn from their pain and share the responsibility for abandoning these mothers and children as a famous survivor of Auschwitz primo Levy reminds us May maybe each of us is Cain to some Abel and slay him in the field without knowing it introduction order line personality disorder BPD is the single most common personality disorder affecting approximately 6 million Americans individuals with BPD are volatile impulsive self-destructive and fearful of abandonment clinically the term describes their behavior as bordering between sanity and insanity because separation and loss can trigger suicidal and psychotic reactions although males can develop BPD women outnumber men 2 to 1 within clinical populations males with BPD may be diagnosed as antisocial due to aggressive and violent behavior and consequently are more likely to enter the justice system rather than the mental health system children with borderline mothers begin their lives with an insecure attachment to an emotionally unstable mother thus these children risk becoming impulsive rage-filled oppositional aggressive depressed and violent they are also at risk for developing BPD themselves borderline personality disorder can be passed from one generation to the next making early recognition and intervention essential identifying BPD can be difficult because the disorder includes individuals with different symptom clusters therapists often fail to recognize BPD when stereotypical characteristics such as depression or suicidal feelings are not present prior to 1980 many borderline mothers were misdiagnosed as manic-depressive or schizophrenic children with borderline mothers often describe their mothers as ridiculous unbelievable outrageous absurd or foolish indeed young children see these mothers as make-believe mothers who may fit one of four basic profiles the waif mother the Hermit mother the Queen Mother and the witch mother some adult children of borderlines literally describe their mothers in these terms for generations folk tales have helped children categorize and understand various kinds of people fairy tales and folktales capture a child's view of the grown-up world one that adults often fail to see understanding the borderline mother explores four profiles of BPD as perceived through the eyes of the borderline mothers child in most cases the child was female females have greater difficulty separating their identity from their mothers primarily because mother and daughter share the same gender therefore most of the case examples discussed are mothers and daughters although borderline mothers obviously raise sons as well as daughters males are less likely to enter therapy if male children of borderline mothers develop BPD they are more likely to be identified among prison populations a male child who does not develop BPD is most likely the Allgood child the all good male child tends to display narcissistic traits and as an adult may marry a borderline woman recreating his role of rescuer such men are often successful professionals who are highly defended against recognizing their mother's disorder understanding the borderline mother brings listeners into the emotional world of the borderlines child where they may find themselves thinking I don't want to know this for some listeners the content may be profoundly disturbing those who grew up with a borderline mother may need time and distance in order to fully digest the contents of this book one does not eagerly look back on a dark and painful past the willingness to look however allows us to see the present more clearly and to create a brighter future for our own children