Dealing with a daughter who is suffering with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Does your daughter suffer from borderline personality disorder (BPD)? Having a daughter with BPD will not only effect your child but also affects you and everyone who cares about her. Women with BPD have difficulty controlling or regulating their emotions and behavior. This difficulty can take a heavy toll on parents, partners, family members, and friends.
Parents who have children with BPD can tell countless stories of instances in which their daughter was beginning to function better or to take on more responsibility and then suddenly went into crisis. This situation of improvement and relapse can be both confusing and frustrating for parents and loved ones.
What you need to know about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Parenting a child who has BPD can be especially difficult because people with BPD tend to have serious difficulties with relationships, especially with those closest to them. Their angry outbursts, wild mood swings, self-mutilation, bouts of over eating, chronic abandonment fears, suicide attempt and other impulsive and irrational behaviors can leave you as a parent feeling helpless and off balance. Remember your daughter does not need to have all or even more than one of these symptoms to have BPD.
Parents, family members and friends of persons diagnosed with BPD often say it’s like being on an endless emotional roller coaster. If you think your daughter has BPD, there are certain steps you can take, in order to set healthy boundaries, improve communication and stabilize your relationship with her.
One of the problems dealing with your daughter, is it is very common for people with BPD not to acknowledge that they have a problem. If this is the case with your daughter, you should offer support, while understanding the situation is not your fault.
Learning all you can about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
It is important to learn all you can about BPD. If your daughter has BPD, it is very important to recognize that she has a personality disorder, it’s not something you are doing. These destructive, self-mutilating and hurtful behaviors are a reaction to emotional pain caused by BPD. Remember, it is not about you, and it is not your fault. When she says hurtful things to you, it is best to understand that this behavior is not always deliberate.
Learning about BPD will give you an insight and help you handle difficulties constructively because you understand what you’re dealing with and what she is going through.
Some helpful resources:
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
It is not always easy to recognize the signs and symptoms of BPD. However, people who have a close relationship with someone suffering from BPD often recognise that something is very wrong, although they have no idea what it is. A diagnosis can come as a source of understanding and relief which brings with it, hope.
- If your daughter has BPD, she may be extremely sensitive, so, small things can often trigger intense and sudden reactions or rage. These reactions could be as a result of you telling her no or trying to set a boundary. Once upset, borderlines are often unable to calm themselves in healthy ways; they may act out in inappropriate or dangerous ways or say hurtful things. They can look like they are going to fall apart and quickly look normal when they get what they want. This emotional volatility can cause stress and strain in their relationships and confusion for parents, other family members and friends.
- They can be hypercritical and unfortunately you will probably be the target. You can find yourself being blamed for things you did not do.
- Borderlines see the world in terms of black and white. You become all good or all bad. There is no middle ground. One day you may be the best parent and then another day, you can be told that you have destroyed their lives.
- She might find it difficult to take responsibility for most of her actions, so you will always have to be at fault. She is always the victim. She will usually twist the facts and always come up with a reason why it’s your fault
- You can never win. What pleases her one day might make her explode the next.
Communicating with someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Communication is an important part of all relationships but communicating with borderlines can be challenging because people with BPD are prone to misunderstanding the message other people are trying to pass across. Their anxiety or fear of abandonment can cause them to become aggressive and overreact to any perceived slight or insult, resulting in impulsive fits of rage, unfair, cruel or irrational verbal abuse, or even violence.
The best way to calm your daughter who has BPD is by giving her your attention, listening to her, and acknowledging her feelings. You may be able to build a more stable and stronger relationship with a daughter who has BPD, if you understand how she hears your message and adjust how you communicate them to her. This will help reduce the outbursts, rage and attacks and help her become less anxious. At the same time, you cannot allow your fear of her outbursts influence your behavior. If you give in to these outbursts you are telling her this is a way to get what she wants.
You should not engage her in arguments when she is being verbally abusive or making physical threats. If your conversation leads to outburst you should try to calm her down and postpone the conversation until she calms down. . Borderlines need acknowledgement and validation of the pain they’re struggling with.
Unfortunately, your relationship with your daughter will always be a difficult one. Many times these strategies will allow it to be a reasonable one. However, sometimes it may be impossible. She may cut you off for long periods and come back as if nothing happened. Her abuse may become too much to bear. If you have other children, remember they have emotions as well. Giving all of your attention to your difficult daughter is not fair to them.
Again, remember this behavior is not your fault