Growing up is difficult. Sometimes it seems to you that your parents don’t understand you, and sometimes it seems to you that they understand you a little too much. It can all be even more complicated if you are living with someone who has a mental illness. It is entirely valid and courageous to be concerned about your mother if she appears to exhibit behaviors that are related to certain mental illnesses. If you are wondering if your mother is experiencing borderline personality disorder, read on to learn more about what she means and how she can access help.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that affects approximately nineteen million people in the United States. When you have BPD, your self-image is distorted, which leads you to have intense emotions and behave impulsively. If you have a mother with borderline personality disorder, it is important to understand that this disease is not her fault. Because BPD can be isolating, seeking professional treatment is key. Despite the complexity of the disorder, it is highly treatable.
Diagnosing BPD can be difficult, as its signs and symptoms are similar to those of some other mental health conditions. For this reason, it is important to seek the help of a licensed mental health expert. To ensure a correct diagnosis, your mental health professional will complete an extensive psychological evaluation, including family history.
Mental health professionals are cautious about diagnosing individuals with BPD before age 18, typically choosing to wait until early adulthood to make a formal diagnosis. The traits of BPD tend to manifest in late adolescence and the onset of the condition is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with a family history of BPD may be at an increased risk of developing the disorder, as many individuals have experienced abuse, neglect, or other childhood trauma. People with BPD are also believed to be born with unusual emotional sensitivity.
Symptoms of BPD tend to ebb over the course of an individual’s life. Changes in life circumstances, such as a relationship ending, relocation, pregnancy, or childbirth, can make symptoms worse. On the other hand, positive life events, such as making a good friend or finding a meaningful job, can help reduce symptoms.
Award-winning psychologist and author Marsha Linehan compares individuals with a borderline personality disorder to “people with third-degree burns … without emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement.” In addition to being very sensitive, individuals with BPD often experience the following symptoms:
A diagnosis of BPD can be both enlightening and frightening. After the diagnosis of BPD, it is vital to practice self-compassion and to remind yourself that the diagnosis does not define you. Above all, it is essential to realize that your BPD is not your fault, and it is never too late to seek treatment. Many mothers carry enormous guilt on their shoulders, and a diagnosis of BPD is likely to exacerbate feelings of guilt or shame. You deserve to feel better, and you deserve to be helped.
If your mother has BPD, you may have noticed that she finds it difficult to be alone. Time alone can cause anxiety in individuals with BPD, as they tend to depend on others to calm their intense emotions. Individuals with BPD can also lash out at the people they love the most. While they crave close and meaningful relationships, they often keep their loved ones at a distance.
It is important to recognize that your mother did not choose to live with BPD. This is an incredibly complex disorder that you probably struggle to fully understand. Even so, she should never blame you. There are many resources for individuals with BPD and their loved ones, as well as effective treatment options for BPD, which we will cover in depth in the following sections.
Professional help is often recommended in dealing with and moving forward with BPD. Below are three common treatments for BPD.
DBT focuses on teaching skills for emotion regulation, anxiety tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness, as well as the practice of mindfulness. Traditional DBT includes skill-building group sessions along with individual therapy. There are also therapists who treat BPD patients only through individualized DBT sessions, but the treatment is most effective when combined with a group component.
Schema-focused therapy can be conducted individually or in a group setting. This type of therapy can help mothers with BPD recognize their unmet needs. A woman who was neglected in childhood may engage in unhealthy patterns to cope with her emotional pain. By entering schema therapy, she can learn to care for herself appropriately and cope with her childhood trauma in a healthier and more sustainable way.
MBT is a form of talk therapy that allows the client to voice their true thoughts and feelings. During MBT, negative thought patterns are reframed and the client learns to reflect, stop and react after analyzing the situation. This form of therapy is effective for treating the impulsivity associated with BPD.
Whether you are a mother with BPD or grew up experiencing the ups and downs of a mother with BPD, therapy can help you untangle the complex emotions that accompany the disorder and help you live a more fulfilling life. Simply answer a few questions and Serenis will put you in touch with the licensed therapist who best fits your situation and needs.
Harvard Medical School reported that psychotherapy is the “pillar” for treating BPD. As only therapy can address the deeply rooted problems in both behavior and personality that characterize a personality disorder. They also concluded that various types of therapy, including cognitive-behavioral (e.g., DBT) and psychodynamic (e.g., mentalization-based treatment) therapies can be equally effective in treating BPD. Because personality disorders are so ingrained in individuals suffering from their symptoms, successful therapy is likely to take months or even a year or more. The good news:
As discussed above, psychotherapy can help individuals reduce the harmful symptoms of psychological disorders and live happier and more fulfilling life. But sometimes symptoms such as changing emotions and moods can make it difficult to attend sessions in person. Online therapy offers a solution. You can access the Serenis platform from the comfort and privacy of your home. Additionally, online therapy offers lower prices than in-person therapy, because online therapists don’t have to pay costs like office rent. Serenis licensed therapists have helped clients overcome many psychological symptoms.
While it is essential to seek help if you are experiencing BPD symptoms, recognize that you are not your ailment. A diagnosis of BPD does not define you as a person or as a mother. Many experts view borderline personality as a response to trauma rather than a disorder. This reorganization can help patients navigate the healing process from a non-judgmental perspective. Through time, perseverance, and hard work, it is possible to fully recover. Take the first step.