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The Messy Art Of Living

Wife and mom of four diagnosed with major depression, bipolar 1 disorder, and borderline personality disorder; learning to live a beautiful life despite challenges.

BPD and Parenting – The stigmas, the facts, the fictions!


As a mom who suffers from borderline personality disorder, I was disheartened when searching on Google under BPD parenting. What I was able to find in my search was page after page of negative information, and misguided opinions masquerading as facts. Articles, blog posts, even excerpts from the student journal of psychology. I felt that what I found were skillfully placed yet loosely based “facts”. These “facts” seamed to explain how children of mothers with BPD were somehow damaged by default. Apparently children become disadvantaged and troubled youth simply by being the children of a mother diagnosed with BPD.  Finding such negative resources I was angry, saddened, disappointing and well beyond frustrated.

Among the online resources I found while searching parenting with BPD, there was one site that stood out. I will be honest it’s not the first time I found on this site a negatively constructed article on life with people having BPD. The most common site was one called of all things BPDfamily….for shame on them! Articles such as “How a mother with borderline personality disorder affects her kids”, or “Are the children of a BPD parent likely to suffer emotional abuse”? When it comes to parenting, and the affects of parents on children I feel like its really a mixed bag of variables. I could write articles all day about ways different parents will make mistakes that will alter a child’s life. A family is defined as; ”a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not”. They can be adopted, blood related, single parent, homosexual partners, heterosexual partners, close nit or separated  To single out a group affected by one particular disorder, and focus so much on the negativity involved seems criminal.

I really don’t like to be negative but under the circumstances, with the over abundance of outright slander, I feel I must be direct. Not only was I outraged due to the implications made on mothers having BPD, but also on the fact that newly diagnosed women, men, and couples will search what the diagnosis of BPD means to them and their lives, only to find articles such as these. Such an abundance of negatively constructed  information may well change the course of their lives from what it could otherwise be. Decisions such as; being involved in a relationship, getting married, having a family, even living life at all could be negatively impacted. To me this type of information floating about is just unacceptable and highly discriminatory. And worse yet these articles and papers appeared to be passing purely hypothetical information off as ipso facto information.

Well folks I have four children and I have BPD. Here are some facts; I am not perfect, I do not have all the answers, and I have and will make mistakes. Here are some other facts; all of the the facts I just mentioned apply to all mothers. Does BPD create unique challenges in being a mother? Absolutely it does! Other things that could create challenges in parenting could be a mom who is; a first time mom, a perfectionist, single, employed full time, suffering from a handicap, etc. No matter who you are or what your life entails there can be issues or challenges you cannot change or plan for, and yet you can still have a full and successful life. BPD is also absolutely one of those things that can be turned around and navigated successfully.

Some of the main challenges we absolutely face as BPD parents are;

Emotional Dysregulation - Rapid change in mood often without an ability to control the emotion associated with them. This can be difficult in parenting as children do get cues from their environment so it can affect the way children relate to parents, other peers and their own feelings. How do we combat this as parents? In using skills such as dialectical behavioral therapy or DBT, we learn to recognize emotional outburst, to find more effective ways to deal with and express our emotions. We talk openly about areas where we have trouble as our children get older; we are honest about the fact that some of the ways we deal with things are not alright.

Black and White Thinking - The all or nothing thinking suffered by those of us having BPD can certainly present challenges  in parenting. Children are not all good or all bad and it is our job to be sure to remind ourselves of this. The things they do can be more than just right or wrong, there are areas in between. From schoolwork to grades, thoughts or decisions our children will have a range of experiences and outcomes. Our job is to accept that these experiences and differing outcomes are a normal part of development not necessarily right or wrong. However it is still our job to apply appropriate and fitting reactions, boundaries, and even consequences where appropriate.

It also means we have to be able understand and accept that areas where our children struggle in life is not a direct result of you as a parent. Recognizing that when you do make a mistake it does not mean you are and always will be an absolute failure.

BPD Rages - In a reference from on Borderline Personality Disorder anger and rages are explained here;  “Intense, inappropriate anger is one of the most troubling symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD). It is so intense that it is often referred to as “borderline rage.” While anger is a key feature of BPD, very little is known about why people with BPD experience anger differently than other people or even how this experience is different.”

This is a difficult area in parenting and thankfully there are ways to overcome it. By again learning DBT skills and learning how to regulate our own emotions, Using skiils like acting opposite to a currecnt emotion. We can also learn how to use positive means to appropriately deal with anger and difficult emotions. An excellent reference on dealing with anger please check out this great article by Healing from BPD ; Appropriately experiencing and letting go of anger

Impulse Control - Arguably, this could be one of the most destructive aspects of BPD , and certainly presents real areas of difficulty, and potential danger in our lives as well as those of our children. In dealing with these particular issues I feel that those of us having BPD would greatly benefit from an acceptance that there needs to be limits in certain areas of our lives. As with any issues knowing where healthy boundaries need to be placed, and learning to enforce them are skills we absolutely need. Some of the prominent areas of known impulsiveness suffered by those having BPD are;

  • Reckless handling of finances
  • Reckless Driving
  • Promiscuous sex
  • Verbal abuse of others
  • Threatening to harm selves or others
  • Being involved in physical altercations

Obviously these behaviors are not beneficial for anyone trying to raise children, and learning how to control our impulses or avoid people and locations that may cause difficulty in controlling them would be the best option.

Self Image - Suffering from a negative self image or low low self-esteem is said to be a hallmark issue for those suffering with BPD. Learning how to have a positive view and love for ourselves is important. Whether its issues of worth, the way we look, ourselves, or the areas where we contribute in life the views we have on these subjects tend to be negative.

In reality we are usually so much more than the person we see, and the way we believe we are perceived by others. These perceptions and views can most definitely be passed on, and adopted by our children. Once adopted and applied in their own lives this particular behavior can become a huge hindrance. For this one we have to take the time to learn the positive things about ourselves, and learn to accept even to apply them. It is my hope that by learning to exercise the ability to view ourselves positively, we will not only improve the lives of our children but our own lives as well.

Areas where we can excel as parents with BPD;

The simple fact that we are here says we know how to overcome the most difficult of challenges. Our children are seeing us struggle, and work through difficult situations all the time. This gives us the opportunity, done correctly, to teach our children by example that they too can overcome difficult obstacles.

By explaining what we struggle with, admitting areas where we make mistakes, and areas where we have acted inappropriately in a situation. In doing this we teach our children to accept that they will make mistakes, and that it’s ok to recognize them. It also helps them to see that they can learn from and change them as well.

Compassion and empathy is another area where those having BPD can excel. We can use our deep emotional reservoirs to share our feelings of compassion and empathy with our children, giving them a rare and important ability to realize the world through others eyes. Many BPD sufferers are active in activism against social injustices, animal rescue, and are often involved in speaking for those who often can’t speak for themselves.

Art and creativity are a strong ability often seen in those having BPD. Sharing our love of creativity through; music, painting, drawing, sculpting and writing are among the many areas we are vividly able to express ourselves. This unique ability can most defiantly be a special and useful gift to our children. Imparting on our children a love for art, and other such open forms of creative expression can go a long way in positive development.

At the end of the day the fact is that we do have an obligation to educate ourselves, just as anyone does on how to deal with our areas of difficulty. And fortunately there are resources out there that can help you; from psychiatrists and counselors,  to books and informational websites, even free or low cost groups and family classes. You can be the best parent you can be, there are options, an enjoyable and successful life is always possible.

Please understand while I do have BPD, I am not all people with BPD. My suggestions, observations and advice are not going to be a blanket statement. All parents are going to struggle with how to be the best parent. All parents are going to have personal obstacles to overcome, both voluntary and involuntary. Those of us who know what we are dealing with each have the same opportunity, the same ability to find education or educate ourselves. In taking the opportunity in educating, and learning about ourselves we then have the ability to be the best parents, regardless of our specific challenges. Parents having BPD are no exception, and just like everyone else we have strengths and understanding others simply don’t have. We may not have chosen BPD but we have a choice to learn about it, to take control of our lives in spite of it, and to be the best people, the best parents possible.

42 comments on “BPD and Parenting – The stigmas, the facts, the fictions!

  1. Blackbird on said:

    I very much appreciate this article! I too am a mom of 4 who is diagnosed with BPD. I also suffer from an eating disorder, alcohol & drug addiction, depression, anxiety & self-harm (and these issues are all very common in people with BPD I realize). I had all my kids before my 25th birthday, and before I was ever diagnosed, had any therapy, etc.
    I’m constantly scared that I’m destroying my kids by simply being me. Like you said, many seem to think be default that children of BPD mothers are ‘doomed’.
    Yes, my behavior has affected my children. I can’t change the past. Thankfully I am sober, in remission from ED behaviors, 3+ years self-harm free, and continually working on myself. Less stigma and more help for those who suffer from BPD and other mental health issues will not only help those directly diagnosed, but their children as well.

  2. theBPDlife on said:

    great post. i hate when i read about bpd an parenting and the articles are so negative! i love my son and would do anything for him despite any mental illness i suffer with. i give him lots of love an support and encouragement and do my best to help him to have a normal childhood and upbringing. when it comes to those types of articles, i feel like you cant believe everything you read.

  3. berkslaw on said:

    I deal with a person with BPD, and it is a complete horror! This person is the mother of my only child, and she deems it necessary to keep the child from me. She possess ALL of the symptoms that are in this article ( and there is nothing positive about any of those symptoms). The negativity that you have stated you have read while researching BPD are negative because, BPD usually entails negativity. I fear for my child, as I can see (when I do get a chance to see him) the negative effects of her parenting due to her illness (I also see the effects in her eldest child—of whom I am not the father. One of the symptoms of BPD is arrogant entitlement; and boy, do I see a lot of that in this person!

    • I am very sorry you are having to deal with so much hurt, and pain in regards to the person you mention in your life. Please remember that while she may present with all the symptoms that does not necessarily mean they absolutely have BPD, there are other disorders that present very similar to BPD, such as NPD. However, BPD may involve difficulty as well as some areas of negativity, people having a disorder deal with issues differently depending on their personality as well. Many people with emotional disorders and mental illness can lead full normal lives and be a wonderful partner and parent, including mothers and fathers having BPD disorder. As you mentioned you noticed all the negative aspects being present in this person, what about any of the positive aspects?

      I don’t know what help the person struggling with negative behaviors may or may not be getting, but as a co parent of the child be sure that you are not only getting help for yourself, as you may also be going through issues as a result of the tumultuous and largely negative environment you describe but also for your child. Many people in the world, including those not having any recognizable metal illness or disorder have huge issues with arrogance and entitlement, not knowing anything more than what you mention it is hard for me to say if this is indeed relational to their disorder or just part of their personality. At the end of the day it is a fact there are a great deal of issues, difficulties, and unwanted problems that accompany disorders like BPD. It is also a fact that those suffering from the disorder and the difficulties associated with it would give anything to not have the disorder at all.

      As with any person suffering any illness it is not only necessary to educate ourselves and do all we can to be healthy and productive people, but that those in their lives do all they can to find appropriate support and resources for themselves as well. As with all partnerships/relationships we all have to do our part in order to lead happy lives together, and it will never be perfect all time. I strongly suggest you get involved in some sort of BPD family support group/class, and make sure to do all you can as you owe it to yourself and your family to make your home and relationship (as the mother of your child) as healthy and functional as possible because at the end of the day you cannot make them get help, but you can get help for yourself and your child. Again I am sorry for the turmoil and hurt you are dealing with in your life, it sounds as though you are very hurt, and angry, I wish you all the best. Thank you for taking the time to read my post, please also read; Resources offering help to families of loved ones with mental disorders, as I feel like it would be a good place for you to start to find help.

      • berkslaw on said:

        She has BPD,; she has been diagnosed—several mental disorders run in her immediate family. One of the problems with people with mental/emotion disorders is that when therapy becomes difficult,they quit going to the therapy sessions. This is the case with the person whom I am referring to; she turns to self medication.
        I may indeed “seem hurt, and angry.” , and with good reason: In October, the child almost died from a case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and the mother failed to inform me. Now, she feels she “has to protect him”, so I have not seen him for 2 months. She has all of the classic symptoms of BPD, from the short lived serial relationships (which definitely effects children), to the self destructive behavior, to the rage that follows after she feels she has been slighted. It has gotten to the point where dealing with her is detrimental to my personal well being.This is a relationship matter as a direct result of this person’s illness. I can imagine what she is telling the child, who is only 3 years old, when he asks: Where is my daddy?
        I thank you for your reply, and I shall consider seeking therapy for myself in this matter.

        • Some people having mental/emotional illnesses do indeed have issues continuing therapy when they feel misunderstood, when things get very personal or when they have a shift in their thinking/feeling. It becomes more complicated when there is a history of mental illness to be absolutely sure you are only dealing with one, it is still unclear if BPD is even hereditary, or learned environmentally if they are raised in the environment. BPD is a disorder that people with certain emotional predisposition are prone to, at least that is the current thought. Self medication is unfortunately a common problem faced by many having BPD, more so when they lack a strong support system as well as a good behavioral therapy, which is often necessary for those having personality disorders to learn how to function better and learn new ways to think and problem solve.
          Believe me when I say I never meant to upset you by mentioning that you sounded hurt and angry, obviously with all that has been going on, the stress under the circumstances you have every right to your feelings. I do not know the full story and so I cannot make any real, educated remarks on safety and well being for the child under this woman’s care, however as the father you have every right to request visitation with your child and I would do so if that is your wish. Not all those having BPD have short lived serial relationships, and yes those always effect children. Self destructive behavior in BPD is common and a part of the illness, this comes in many forms and can be managed. Rages, as well as all the issues you have mentioned are seen in many with BPD, and are difficult, destructive, and painful for everyone involved, they are also manageable with proper therapy as well as an understanding of both people on how to navigate difficult issues and situations. People having the disorder have to want to learn, grown and change, that is their obligation to themselves and their families. This is a fact I know from first hand experiences, struggling with BPD as well as some other disorders. The work is hard, and I still have issues and make mistakes, as do many others having BPD that I know and speak to. Not everyone has a desire to change and that is unfortunate for everyone, but please don’t judge a whole community.
          I am so sorry to are dealing with so many issues, that you have been separated from your child, that you have dealt with so much heartache. Living with people having any disorder can be difficult, irregardless if it is physical or mental and require different levels of give and take, obviously not everyone is cut out to deal with some of the issues they may have to deal with, no fault in that.

          • Headvsheart on said:

            What a great reply. I too suffer but with the love for not only my kids and my spouse but for the love of myself I am educating myself on anything and everything I can get my hands on to make life better for us all and maybe help someone else in the process. It’s a lot on the individual. Believe us when we say we’re not all the same. We all have similar struggles, but what sets us apart is how we handle them. I pray you get to see your child and that life is looking up for you. Glad you found this blog because she seems so very knowledgable. :)

  4. Thank you for finally showing me hope. I was diagnosed with BPD, and have a 3-year old daughter whom I am terrified I might damage or cause emmotional harm to by just being “me”. I suffer rage episodes (not towards her but she sees them), drug and sex addiction, rapid mood shifts and I dont like who I am in front of her.

    I am in one on one therapy and a DBT workshop, so I am getting a handle on it and want to overcome this stigma of diagnosis. I am not the illness, I will over come and be a better person for those around me. However, like you, 98% of the articles or books I found online were so negative and derrogatory towards people with BPD. I was looking for tips on how to be a better mother but all I found were articles telling me I was destined to be a bad mother because of the plethora or articles from biased people with titled such as “How to survive the emotional terrorism of a BPD mother”. OMG, really? How about instead of condemning thos with BPD, show a ray of hope and provide tools to be a better person instead of becoming entitled to beng crazy just because you’ve been diagnosed.

    I am fighting for the mental and emotional well being of my daughter. I wont let this give me license to be crazy, but rather – see what mistakes I am making and stop repeating them. I appreciate your site very much.

    • You are so welcome. Thank you for searching for help and hope that you deserve, thank you for being a loving parent and doing the hard work to get control over your disorder. Your daughter will appreciate all you are doing to be healthy for her, and you will be much happier learning and gaining tools for you too. It is a life commitment, but life in itself is a commitment, as is having a baby. You can be a great Mom, the things you learn you can even share with your daughter as she grows it will give her so much in her own life. Things wont always be perfect, you will make mistakes, and face setbacks. However, you can come back from things as long as you never give up and always grown and learn.Thank you for reading and sharing and being the best you that you can be, its all anyone can ever ask of you. :) ((HUGS))

      • Crystal on said:

        Thank you SO much for for taking the time to make this page and share it! I knew for a long time there was something wrong with me and was wrongly diagnosed with bipolar disorder and medicated for it a couple of years ago. Just recently i was re-diagnosed as BPD and taken off most of the meds i was one for bipolar disorder. I’ve been researching how to handle the BPD and and how to help my husband and family deal with it and found all of the negative pages about the affect on my girls, ages 3 and 8. I was in tears until i saw your page. Thank you for sharing this and giving BPD parents a glimmer of hope in the sea of negative information out there.

  5. Brad Arnold on said:

    While generalization is by definition wrong sometimes, it is hard to imagine that a parent with BPD can be a positive factor in a child’s life. Sort of like the blind leading the blind, a parent with BPD BY DEFINITION is emotionally raw, with flawed affect regulation. Not to be insulting, but I don’t see a lot of redeeming qualities from a highly emotionally unstable person engaged in a taxing and emotionally challenging activity like raising kids. I can only hope your children aren’t constitutionally emotionally responsive, and instead don’t react to your volatile emotional states. That is apart from the trouble a BPD parent must have maintaining a healthy marriage, holding a job, or even maintaining a social safety net of friends, relatives, and peers.

    • Brad,
      I totally appreciate your feelings here, and you make some good points. Can I say that my issues haven’t affected my children on some level at times, no I cannot. However I always try to be very involved, very loving, honest, and nurturing. Generalization is often wrong, as many lumped in the generalization are just not the “norm” in that grouping. Emotionally raw with a flawed affect regulation by no means says I cannot learn how to properly control my emotions, through behavioral recognition and other tools, or know when to take space when I need it. Many mothers and fathers having this and other mental illnesses are still amazing parents. From early on my kids have been told by me and my husband, Mom has an illness and it effects her thinking and feelings and you are NOT responsible for how your mom may feel or sometimes act. That being said of course they are still expected to be respectful and responsible people and be empathetic towards myself, and others. With all illnesses there are challenges and limitations, and the issues and disorders I suffer from are completely manageable as long as I do the work I have to do, accept my limitations, and get the help I need to always do the best I can for my children and my family. Nothing worth anything in life is easy, my kids, my marriage, my family are worth every ounce of work I do.There are no perfect people and by default no perfect parents, everyone has a short fall in life. All I can do is raise them to be their own people, good people, who will be better than me, which is all any good parent ever really wants for their child(ren). Thank you for your comments, for sharing your thoughts, and of course for reading.

      • Stop being so negative Brad! I was raised by a mom who has major depressive disorder and a dad that has bi-polar disorder and I developed BPD but I love my parents more than anything, we have great relationships and they raised me to be a very kind, responsible active member of my community, so stop being so judgemental! & guess what! I’ll be an amazing mother one day who raises her kids to be smart, kind active members of society! :] So in nice terms, Brad.. You know nothing.

  6. Thank you for writing this. I have three children who are my world. I do not have substance abuse issues and have been a committed and involved mother. I recently voluntarily went to the hospital due to feeling suicidal…the first time ever and this after 5 yrs of parenting. Cups was called and they are now seeking to place my kids in foster care. It is devastating since I never endangered them in any way . The whole reason I sought help so aggressively was so that I could be a better, more engaged and mood stable mother.

    • I am so sorry you are struggling in this way. Please don’t let the negate reaction take away from your very great intention. Keep focus on your intention to be that better person, better more stable mother for your children. Show your progress and intentions and stay as involved as possible with your children. Hopefully those involved will see the truth of who you truly are and what you are about. You are not alone in these struggles, and the stigmas attached to a very real, very out of our hands illness. ((HUGS))

  7. Sophie on said:

    Hi there, I am the single parent of two pre school age children and strongly suspect that I am suffering from BPD. I would like to seek help to help manage and treat the symptoms & behaviours with which many of you will be familiar (in particular the rages) but am scared to seek professional help for fear of having my children taken away from me. I have already been through lengthy court proceedings with my children’s father who sought to take the children away on the basis I was mentally ill but was unable to prove this. I want to the best parent I can but to do so I know that I am going to have to change certain aspects of my behaviour. As a first step I would like to do some reading & research into the condition and methods of learning to control & manage my behaviour and would be grateful if anyone could suggest sites / textbooks / research or anything else they have found helpful.

    Thank you

    • admin on said:

      Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder is always a great one, it can be hard to read through some of the more medical info but all in all very helpful tools and exercises. I love all the info found on, another with lots of info and resources, and some stuff is also on is a group founded by Dr. Marsha Linehan with lots of info and resources involving DBT.

  8. While looking for information to help me co prarent with my x wife I came across you page. I agree completely with your article despite the fact that I have recently filed for full custody of our four children from my BPD wife due to continued emotional and psychological abuse since our divorce and shared parenting agreement. Here is the exception I find. Having a disorder or disablity by itself does not make someone a bad parent or unsafe to raise children. A person’s inability to honestly look at themselves, seek treatment, and work to understand and better themselves does. For 6 years I begged my now x wife to go to counseling. I went to marriage counseling hoping to save our marriage with the possibility that it would help me to cope with her issues and possibly guide her into services for herself. She refuses. To her, she has no problem….. I was the problem. I applaud your insight and your ability to look inward to be the best mother you can be. I believe that anyone that can put their children before themselves and look at their issues honestly and openly can be a great parent. Sadly….. That is not always the case.

    • I applaud you in searching for information on being able to co parent with your X wife, though I am very sad for all the struggles it sounds like you have gone through. If your BPD X wife will not get help to correct issues involving emotional and psychological abuse she is inflicting then I have to say that you are making the right call, and being a responsible and loving father. Of course as I often say I base all this on what you are saying since I have no knowledge of the situation, so I am not trying to judge her. Your are right sadly, for whatever reason, some people can’t or won’t just look at themselves and find the ability to push through the hard places to find the good ones. As I have worked through the process to be the best person I can be there have been so many struggles, and hard times. Honestly I can say the joy, the happiness, the satisfaction in knowing that I am doing the best I can do for myself and my family is all worth it. At least in the end you did all you could to try to work things out. Thank you so much for your kind and supportive words, your strengths with all you have gone through, sharing your comments with me, and of course for reading.

  9. My husband has many BPD symptoms and has not been diagnosed. He is being treated for his anxiety but not much else. I am divorcing him but I go back and forth on it all the time. What I wanted to say is that you are getting treatment and that’s the difference. For those who won’t get counseling or face their issues – and I know it’s hard to face those kinds of issues – things may not be as bright.

  10. I’m 46, and finally realizing some things about me. My mother has BPD, although she denies it and goes into a rage if anyone were to ever accuse her.
    I appreciate very much those who try to understand themselves with BPD and be the best parent they can be.
    One thing I learned at a very young age. My mother may not always like me, and I have no control over whether she likes me. Nothing I do, or say, or feel has any control or affect on whether she likes me.
    But she made it very clear she always loves me. No matter what, she loves me. Even in her rages, she loved me.
    And that makes perfect sense to me, and allows me to accept me.

  11. Sygmir on said:

    Thanks for the ray of hope. I’ve been diagnosticated with BPD yesterday, but i’ve suspected it for two years. When I’ve watched all the website, article and blog saying that a woman with BPD would never be a good mother, I was devastated. My boyfriend and I want to have kids in a year or two and I was terrified until I stumble upon your article.
    I am currently waiting for a place in a DBT therapy group, and I really want to feel better, to be able to manage my emotionnals outbursts, and thankfully, I have good supportive friends that understand that I’m far from perfect and that I don’t always control myself. They are my friend for 10 years and I consider myself to be pretty lucky.
    But when you want to establish a family, especially when you know you have BPD, and then you read all the bad things that people who have suffered because of a BPD mother, you cannot do anything but be terrified and put a stop to the family project.
    Thanks for saying to me that someone with BPD can be a good parent, that there’s still hope!

    (sorry for the english, it’s not my main langage)

    • Sarah on said:

      I read your comment. I am a single mother of a child and I find that being a mother is challenging to anyone. Even my friends. I have BPD. Parents need to just do there best and provide a loving environment. My x husband has no illnesses and he has done more damage to my child and can only see her in supervised visits. So be hopeful and good luck to you and your husband :)

  12. lovealways2 on said:

    Thank you so much for this post. I have a close friend with BPD and this post has given me some hope. As others have said it is hard to look for hopeful posts about BPD and to come across so many negetive ones. I was wondering what was it that made you decide to get treatment. My friend was in DBT but quit going. Now she seems to not want to do any couseling at all. She has stated that she doesn’t think therapy is not something she wants to do. I know it has to be up to her to decide to go. I guess I am looking for a positive way to talk to her about it. She is recently pregnant and I would like to help her get the tools that she needs to be able to handle the difficult times that may come. I would hate to increase any stress that she already has about being a bad mother. I do believe that if she doese not get help than the baby will suffer. Also I have been told by her therapist that she has BPD but I have never discussed with her that I know. Wondering how I should have that conversation too. I know, of course, that you are not an expert. It would be nice to hear an inside perspective, just to know what worked for you. Thank for any advise.

  13. Still Hanging On on said:

    I was raised by a BPD mother. She’s in her mid 60s now and is quite lonely and has alienated almost everyone. Once in a while, after enough time goes by, either me or another realtive will sort of forget how bad it is and attempt to do something with her. It always— 100% of the time, ends up to be a very, very, very negative experience: Raging fits in public over the most mundane of things (a waitress forgetting her drink); someone giving her directions to the men’s bathroom by mistake in a public building; someone not completely “loving” her new “best friend,” when is almost all cases these people she “adopts” end up using and abusing her and any normal, rational person can see this very early on.

    I’m afraid of her. Not only in person, but by the malicious and vicious damage she’ll do by slandering and defaming us to other people, and now she has Facebook, which gets the job done in 1/10000th the time her endless phone calls used to take. She has written horrible letters to me and given them to other people to sign, people I barely know, telling me how awful I am.

    I could go on, but won’t.

    But here’s the kicker: Throughout it all she really believes she was a loving mother. She says I was her world and that I could never say otherwise without being a liar. This is just downright crazy talk. I don’t know if she believes what she’s saying, or if she knows she’s lying. I can’t tell. But weeks would go by without my even seeing her. I was left at the mercy of her boyfriends. She gave me a black eye when I was a toddler and I had to wear clothing to hide the bruises she left. When I was still in junior high school, she forced me to date her friends—one divorced with children. When I finally got up enough nerve to bring this up to her, she completely disowned it. Said that was all my step-father’s idea and she was “appalled”…yet she did nothing. In fact, she actively went to some lengths to bully me into a more physical relationship with these men…where she and my step-father could watch.

    Yet, she still claims she loved me and always did what was best for me and tells me I am her world.

    Imagine how confusing that is for me, or any child? That’s not love, but that’s what we’re taught is love. That’s what we accept as adults to be love.

    I’d love to cut people with BPD some slack, but for me anyway, it would be irrational, careless and foolish to potentially put myself into harm’s way like that again.

    • admin on said:

      As I read through what you have gone through I truly feel for you. As I have stated many times before, BPD is a disease, like many other diseases the people having them also bring to it something too. Certain behaviors, such as the ones you had to be exposed to are inexcusable irregardless of what the person is diagnosed with, and no one should have to be treated in such a way. Knowing that you have a fear of the type of person your mother is, that’s absolutely understandable, and yet that is hardly the way a person with any mental illness has to be their whole life. I cannot speak to why she chose to be the person you describe or even if BPD is her only issue, what I can tell you is that it is a choice, and it is unacceptable.

      I am sure she believes that she was a good mother, that she treated you wonderfully, gave up all sorts of things for you, went out of her way to do things for you. I am sure she chose to avoid and ignore the truth, as well as the facts right in front of her. What your mother put you through, the way she treated you, the things she allowed or encouraged to happen are beyond disgusting and are NOT excusable EVER. Living the life you describe to me with her saying those things is in fact crazy talk, more than that its abuse. Your mother above all things is disturbed, much more than is explained by diagnosing her with BPD. She is unhealthy, abusive, manipulative, and someone to be completely cut out of your life if she chooses to act and behave in the manners you describe. What she has done to you has nothing to do with love, and are not the actions of a person who cares about you at all, despite her claims.

      I am sure being raised in such an awful, disturbing, destructive life has left many scars on you, and I am so very sorry that all those things have been done to you. Your “mother” is not people with BPD, she is a monster who used a label to act destructively. People like her are the reason so many treat those having BPD the way they often do. If I had been raised in such a way,and in many ways I was, and had I been explained that it was caused by BPD I too would avoid it like the plague, and believe I too would be a careless, irrational fool to ever involve myself with someone having it again. Words are simply not enough to express my outrage at what you went through. All I can say to you is that she is hardly an example of BPD, and I am so sad that she has been your example of those having it. Thank you so much for taking the time to share what you have been through, to share the perspective of those living with someone using mental illness to excuse some of the most disgusting behaviors. People with BPD are not your mother, and perhaps in time you may see that, however if you didn’t I would understand. My best to you in life, you deserve so much more than what you were given.

  14. While I commend the author’s ability to self-reflect, I do not exactly get the offense over the “skillfully placed (huh?)” info she finds on the affects on family members being negative.

    It’s negative because being a family member of someone with BPD is an extremely negative experience. Like all other things with people with BPD, the author here isn’t concerned as much about how negatively effected family members are by the BPD person’s behavior, than she is about how negatively effected the BPD person by reading about it on the internet. Hence the mind-numbing frustration of having a BPD family member.. although the BPD family member is the one causing the pain, if anybody objects the BPD family member plays victim/martyr (often angrily and violently).

    So I do truly commend you for getting help and accepting a diagnosis. You have done your family a HUGE service and I hope they show you appreciation for it. But do not be offended and angered by what you read on the internet because that is often the only place people who suffer living with people with BPD can go to get things off their chests.

    And please stop comparing being a child of a mother with BPD to “a first time mom, a perfectionist, single, employed full time, suffering from a handicap”.. that’s ridiculous and many readers will just stop right there… as for emotional/mental health of a family member, that’s analogous to comparing the effects of a gunshot wound on a child’s physical health to a splinter or skinned knee…

    • admin on said:

      Thank you so much for reading, and taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings on my post. I respect the feelings you shared as you read my post, as well as your perception to some of my responses to things I found in a search as me being offended. I feel that when people who are struggling with issues in their life, struggling to understand some of their negative destructive behaviors are finally able to reach a point where they want to take steps, and learn how to be the best people they can in life some things can set them back or deter them completely. I feel that some titles, blogs, and articles, such as the ones I found, will not only deter them from getting help and push forward to becoming someone in treatment, but also can take that motivation and change it into becoming someone who gives up and believes there is no hope. I say skillfully placed information, because I feel that when people read many blogs and articles the facts aren’t 100%, but are very biased and yet stated in such a way as to come across as absolute, when they only represent a portion of the facts.

      As a person who not only suffers from mental illness, but also having been a child of someone who also suffered mental illness, I truly understand the heartache and struggles involved in that upbringing. I do understand the negativity that would be attached in growing up in a negative environment involving someone deeply affected by BPD. I assure you I am very concerned with how the families of those having BPD are affected. What I am trying to do is encourage those in the position of caring for children and families to take accountability for their disease, to get the help needed, to be responsible, to seek out the appropriate help and education, and know they can do that and that their is hope. Parents having BPD are still just people, it is my opinion some just walk around with a label of the disease and choose not to do anything to treat it, some do allow themselves to be victims, some do walk around being a martyr and allowing the issues which helped them develop the disorder become the excuse to continue the damaging behavior. I feel that the anger to which you refer is a reaction to being forced to see the parts of themselves they do not want to accept for one reason or another. While not being the right way to handle the situation, the overwhelming feelings of frustration, often confusion, blame, fear erupts into a negative and very damaging encounter. This is by no means an excuse and that behavior, like others, are things that have to be worked through and controlled.

      Thank you for sharing your praise in my getting help and accepting my diagnosis. My goal was to be the person my family, my relationship and even I deserve. Those in my life do recognize the work I am doing and very much appreciate it, yet it is still difficult at times for them too. I am not so much angered and offended by the things I read, but more saddened and disheartened because I recognize that as some begin to try to reach out and get help, to make the needed changes, many can shut down completely when they see the overwhelming sea of negativity involved. You are absolutely correct when you say those who have struggled, through the often emotionally turbulent upbringing, with parents having mental illness do need a safe place to talk, to discuss, and to receive nurturing and understanding.

      I respect your feelings regarding your interpretation of my comparison being inappropriate. What I was trying to present to the target of this particular blog was that in each area of life there are struggles, challenges which when present can make it difficult to being a great parent, not to say that they are in fact the same. I am sorry that you find it ridiculous and off putting, that was never my intent. I do recognize the turmoil, the damage, and the chaos that some suffer growing up in such a challenging environment. I applaud you in speaking out and sharing your views, feelings, and issues in regards to what I have shared. Please continue to keep visiting this blog and sharing your thoughts.

  15. Sarah on said:

    I found this site very reassuring as I am a mother of a child and have suffered from BPD for over twenty years. All any parent can do is their best and provide alot of love. Thanks to you for this site and giving hope because I found all the other sites basically had the same message more or less and that was the a mother with BPD couldn’t possibly be a good parent. Your site gives me hope thank you :)

  16. Emily on said:

    I am in a relationship with a man with BPD. he is the father of 4 children and I have a 3 year old son. I can see the effects of his past BPD behavior that ran concurrently with his alcohol addition. Since I started noticing the BPD behaivors, once he got sober, he has made incredible strides to change on his own since, at this point we simply cannot afford therapy and I cannot seem to find any low cost/ free services or groups in our area. While his improvements are absolutely to be commended and recognized, I am still having serious reservations about his rages, and triggers and reactions to those triggers around my son. I’m very afraid that the emotional instability, depression, lack of self esteem, etc, that I feel as a result of loving someone with BPD will negatively affect my son in addition to my fiance’s BPD behavior. Do you have any advice for how I may in a sense, shield and protect my son from these things, but not make my fiancé feel like he is all to blame as well, without taking all of the Blame myself? I am at a loss as to how I can make him see the effects of his behavior on my child, through my eyes, without him feeling like he’s being attacked and blamed for every little thing. On one hand he seems to think that my son is capable of manipulation of me, well beyond what any toddler is capable of, but on the other he seems to think that since my son is so young he’ll just “forget” ab the BPD behavior and it won’t effect him. I know this isn’t true. There are many negative things on other BPD sites and when posting on the BPDFamily board for people wanting to stay in relationships with loved ones with BPD I was met with much criticism for staying and made to feel like a horrible mother for subjecting my son to my fiancé….

  17. This is indeed the first article I have found that attempts to be positive about a BPD person and raising kids.

    Back in Feb I was diagnosed with, BPD along with Major Depressive Disorder and Major Anxiety Disorder. I went to the hospital as I was having a panic attack and couldent make a decision over some things. Overall I wanted to get help. I placed and planned to place my child a month before this with a friend and her family but after I got into the hospital they ended up calling cps and things go downhill from there. Accusations of everything you could imagine started to happen. I did have anger issues and had negatively affected my child by these (yes physically on some occassions) but was committed to changing. But because I wouldent say yes to whatever the social workers wanted they took her into foster care. (my young daughter 4 at the time) I’v done everything the cps worker wanted from parenting classes,therapy,psychiatrist meetings,mental health plans,more parenting classes more group therapy but she is still delaying the return home of my child. I got a hold of the documents they originally used in my first court date and the amount of lies about how I didnt want my kid to see doctors etc was appalling. I was the one begging them to take her to get tested for asthma etc.

    Anyways now its heading up to another court date in which they want me to sign ANOTHER 3 month agreement after i have completed everything they originally wanted to at and all my mental health professionals parenting outreach workers agree im fit to have her home months ago. The liklihood is the court will be on the social workers side and this will then make me miss a whole other host of firsts for my now 5 year old child.

    I love my daughter but with attempting to get better and move forward with no supports of my own, (i have none really while raising her the father has been out of the picture since she was 1 1/2 and no good family) I just don’t think I can handle the constant barrage of cps lies,court dates,and literally ruiling my life and monitoring it 24-7.
    I’v always struggled with the decision to keep my daughter as when i had here i was fairly young and definetly not in a stable part of my life. I never struggled with drug or alcohol abuse just mental health issues.

    I knew that if things split with the person i had her with and he wasent part of it (i feared it) that i couldent do it on my own that it would tax me and iv tried to not let it i really have but at this point i fear for the rest of her life. While yes by blood im her mother i dont have a lot to offer her except myself. if she stays with the foster parents indefinitly or i give her up i view it as her having a chance at a better life and honestly thats all i ever wanted to do for my kids if i had them.

    After 5 years of fighting this thought then getting officially diagnosed with things i never realized were this big i think i need to give her up. Sometimes that may be the be better decision.

    But I am greatful to see that there are positive people with BPD out there trying to thrive and changing peoples perspectives and biases.


    • admin on said:

      My heart hurts reading your comments. I can see when you are struggling so much with things how it would seem that your child would be better off with others. I have had thoughts like that at times myself, but deep down I know I can be the best person for not only my kids but myself because I too want and need to be more, to be better.

      I don’t think any of us realize how big disorders like BPD can be. Its so important to know there is hope and with every little change you are that much closer to being the person you want to be, the parent you want and need to be. A split, the stress and pressure of parenting alone, fighting to find a diagnosis, that is so much to deal with. Please don’t sell yourself short.

      If you truly feel the best, kindest, most responsible thing you can do for your child is give them a new life you are strong and brave. If you decide to work to learn how to work through this, to find your way to the life you want and deserve you are still strong and brave. I have many issues still myself, yes I do well but I didn’t always and I have made huge mistakes. Don’t give up on finding the life you want and deserve! ((Hugs))

  18. Samantha on said:

    First up I’d like to say, you sound like a good mother. For many reasons but what stands out for me is because you are trying your best in a very upfront and honest way with your children.

    I have been researching BPD and like you, have found that the articles are all pretty negative and scary.

    We deal with an ex who has BPD. If, like you, she would seek to do her best, work ‘within’ the illness, be honest with the children and accept help, we would not have a problem with it. Children need and deserve both parents in their lives, even if one has struggles of their own. So long as, of course, they are getting the help and the kids are educated about the illness. (thereby hopefully counteracting a lot of the negative aspects of the illness)

    I actually hope that more people like yourself write and communicate how life can be trying to parent with a mental illness because then, maybe, women like the ex in our lives might be more inclined to accept help and do what is best for their children. Education is the key I guess, like most things. And as a parent with an illness of any sort, the best thing to do is to educate your kids and recognise your own limitations and ask for help when it is needed. ie: do the best thing for your kids.

    And really, if a mother had cancer we wouldn’t just tell the kids, “oh mum is feeling a bit ‘off’ today”. We would explain how cancer can affect their bodies, their emotions and their energy and we would educate kids on how best to deal with it. I don’t see why mental illness should be treated any different.

    (and not having walked in your shoes, from your side, I can only imagine it could possibly have been a long and difficult road to get to where you are. I admire that you have found a way to help yourself and by default, help your kids. As you say, none of us parents are perfect)

    I hope I’ve not spoken out of line here in any way.


  19. Shut up lady on said:

    Typical BPD argument, “oh it’s all so negative and I’m a good person and I don’t have any negative effect on my children and if anyone tries to tell me different I’m going to argue until I’m blue in the face and insist that everyone else has the problems and I’m so innocent” Gag me. There’s nothing positive about getting a mental health diagnosis, it’s entirely negative except for the fact everyone around you now knows that you are crazy and your kids will one day be able to put together the pieces of their shattered childhoods. I like how you also took the time to insult the most widely used and greatest resources for suffering families, It has thousands of active members who go there to receive support and understanding after putting up with crap like this their whole lives. And your whiny little blog barely scratches the surface of how crazy bpd’s can get. Wake up lady. And please, feel free to leave some long-winded response declaring how wrong I am, I won’t ever read it and you’ll just be proving my point.

    • Dealing with mental illness often leaves many people hurt and dealing with difficult emotions. From reading your comment it sounds like you have, or are struggling with many of your own issues. Should you choose to read my responses, or not, I hope you are able to resolve the things you are dealing with, and find a place in life where you are happy.

      Now its true that there is a great deal of negative involved in a life where mental illness is a part. Honestly, I know I have hurt my family, caused pain, and difficulty to my children, as well as my husband. What I myself do, as well as encourage others, is to take accountability for changing their behavior, leaning and implementing change, and being sure to explain to your children, and partner how most of the issues are on those having the illness. Of course you want to have the support of those you love, and there is some education necessary to have a successful relationship on both sides. People can have happy,meaningful, relationships, and family lives despite mental illness, but they have to be willing to do the work to get there.

  20. Samantha on said:

    Oh my goodness! I agree, that person above is clearly dealing with some issues of their own. Hey, who of us isn’t or hasn’t at some point in their lives?

    My arguement is that getting a diagnosis and admitting to an illness, whether it be physical or mental, is the first positive step a person can take. Getting help, researching how to help themselves and their family is the second.

    How can you help someone or help the children of someone with mental illness if there is no diagnosis?

  21. This article means more to me than anything in the world. Thank you so much, I was diagnosed with BPD two years ago and was treated and doing well. Come June, I suffered the traumatic experience of having a stillborn baby. It was devastating and my BPD came back like it never left. I still want to be a mother and now that I am stable again I was thinking about trying to get pregnant again in another year. I deserve a baby, I’ve worked so hard to control my BPD and become mentally stable especially after my baby died. All the other articles on google say about how terrible BPD parents are and it’s rude and upsets me more than anything because I know I will be a great mother one day. Thank you for the reassurance I was looking for. This means so much to me, Thank you !

  22. Thank you for this. I cannot thank you enough

  23. I wrote this letter to my girls and gave it to my mom… I hope it will help them….

    Mommy is sick. She has a sickness that sometimes makes her mad and other times makes her happy. Mommy has no control over this but know one thing no matter what happens I love you. More than anything you make me so happy. You smile, your laughter and all the times we play and sing and dance. You are my world and I would never intentionally hurt you. Mommy is hurt and in pain. But there is no medicine or anything anyone can do… BUT I know a secret… Want to hear it? The secret is love. Just love me. For all my perfect imperfections. Just love me. Hold me. Kiss me. Cherish me. As I do you. I promise I will do what I can to make your life ok…it’s not going to be extravagant and you sometimes won’t get everything you want but the most important thing is that I’m here. You can always count on me. Even when things are bad. Even when you hate me. Cause believe me there were times when I hated people I loved too. Just be the smart girl I know is inside you ok? I love you always and forever!

    Love you,

  24. Risa Rae on said:

    I am a new parent who is learning about my own disability amd trying to understand my inability to regulate emotions. Your article is very powerful amd motivating as a parent dealing with borderline personality disorder. Thank you for putting out this article.

  25. Anna H. on said:

    Thank you so much for this! I’m a mother of one and have been diagnosed with bpd (among other things) since 2009. I have googled things over and over again in the past about bpd. Ironically to look for positive feedback. To look for hopeful articles. As you said, there is.. Well not much. This is in fact the first positive one I have come across. It’s hard to read forums, for example of people who are indirectly affected by it. I have read a few that enraged me. People making us seem like such evil people. I understand it’s a complex condition that is hard to get if you do not have it yourself, but we aren’t these evil beings some people describe us as. Especially when you have it and do go through DBT training. You go through so much and get better, there is still supposedly “no hope”. Stigma is strong and so again, thank you for this. It really did make me feel so much better. From one BPD mom to another. :)

  26. desperate on said:

    Thank you so much for your positive outlook. I’m afraid my ex doesn’t understand… I am not allowed to be with my kids anymore, only when he is there. I’m in therapy, I’m dead honest about everything… I don’t know what to do. I’m so tired. I just want the best for my kids. Sometimes I think that maybe I should just kill myself so that everybody can get on with their lives.

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