Posted in Borderline Personality Disorder, Parental Alienation PA

The Impact of Being Raised by a BPD Parent

The damage of borderline personality disorder on children can begin in the earliest stages of infancy and disrupt the development of secure attachment and engagement. Studies have found that interactions between mothers with BPD and their infant children are characterized by insensitivity, high levels of intrusion, and low levels of positive response to infant distress. These mothers are less likely to engage in healthy infant parenting behaviors, with researchers noting, “Mothers with BPD smiled less, touched and imitated their infants less, and played fewer games with their babies.” Additionally, mothers with BPD often have difficulty identifying and appropriately responding to their children’s emotional state. These unmet psychosocial needs at critical moments of development increase risk of disorganized attachment and rob children of security, comfort, and safety from the very beginning of their lives.

Fracturing Development

As children grow older and become verbal, the impact of BPD on their understanding of themselves, their mothers, and the world around them becomes more pronounced. The mother’s unstable identity, mood volatility, fear of abandonment, and black-and-white thinking can coalesce to prevent nurturing parenting behaviors and deeply fracture the child’s psychological, social, and behavioral development. Compassion, empathy, and validation are often withheld as your mother is unable to recognize your emotional needs or formulate appropriate responses. This, combined with the unpredictability, impulsivity, and extremity of those with BPD, is extraordinarily detrimental to the establishment of a secure emotional base from which to grow and flourish. Additionally, it leaves children without a model for healthy interpersonal functioning, conflict resolution, and emotional regulation, increasing vulnerability to maladaptive and self-destructive behaviors. As April, a woman who grew up with a mother who suffered from untreated BPD, says:

 [Parents] really are naturally your compass. They are your example. You adopt what they do because you see the world through their eyes. I really struggled to know how to handle my emotions because I wasn’t being taught how. I developed an eating disorder because I didn’t know how to regulate how I felt.

Children of mothers with BPD are also at heightened risk for exhibiting attention difficulties, aggressive behavior, and low self-esteem, in addition to major depressionanxiety, and borderline personality disorder itself.


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Posted in Borderline Personality Disorder, Parental Alienation PA

Children of parents with Borderline Personality Disorder

Children of mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are a disadvantaged group of children that are at risk for future psychopathology.  Crandell et al. (1997) demonstrated that, for these children, attachment status is not completely stable.

Some children are able to resolve early traumatic experiences and are able to obtain an ‘earned secure’ attachment status in adulthood. Adults with an earned secure status function comparably to adults who had secure attachment status as children (Crandell et al, 1997). These findings hold great promises for the prognosis of children of mothers with BPD. With adequate attention and intervention, there is hope that children of mothers with BPD will overcome the risks associated with this maternal psychopathology.

Have Your Parents Put You at Risk for Psychopathology

Posted in Alienation

Surviving the Borderline Father:

Growing up with one or more parents affected with BPD causes significant damage to the child’s sense of self. Relief can only be achieved by stopping the abuse. This is done by installing consistent boundaries that do not allow for this type of abuse. Once this is achieved, healing of the self can occur by recognizing the damage done by the abuse and recasting the relationship in more realistic terms.

The nub of the problem is that if you have been raised by a Borderline mother or father, these behavioral scenes are your normal. First you need to step outside the abusive relationship sufficiently to realize what’s been done to you. After all, children don’t ask for abuse from the people they love the most in this world. Then, psychotherapy can help with objectifying what’s going on, setting good limits, and being the best son or daughter that you choose to be under the circumstances.

It’s a fight that’s worth the effort.