The Challenge: A borderline personality disordered (BPD) individual has a very fragile and unpredictable personality. They may be highly educated and have very successful careers. However, they struggle with interpersonal relationships because they are too fragile to be effective. They are very much like emotional children locked in an adult body, expected to function in adult relationships. When things are going their way, they can be delightful and charming. As soon as they do not get their way, or someone crosses them, they will quickly resort to destructive means to stabilize their fragile sense of self.
Coping Mechanisms: The BPD’s greatest fear is to be abandoned and they will do just about anything to avoid the crushing blow of perceived rejection. They must feel they are loved at all times. They will create dependency in their child and will have difficulty seeing their child as separate. Sadly they “split” which means they view others, including their children, as either all good or all bad.
They do not allow themselves to acknowledge anything in the “gray” area of life where most of reality exists. For example, if their child loves the other parent, then the BPD parent will over-react and believe they are being rejected by their child. They teach their child that if they want to feel safe then they have to adore them. They make it known in every possible way that “You are for me or you are against me.” If there is more than one child, the BPD parent may even idealize one child and reject the other.