Monday, February 9, 2009

Understanding My Borderline Mother

As the grown child of a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), I am forever grateful to Christine Ann Lawson who authored Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship for shining a spotlight on this mystifying, tragic, devastating disorder. Was your mother an unexplainable enigma of hatred, abuse, wild mood swings, illogical behaviors and obsessions? Is the first feeling that you can ever remember experiencing as a small child anxiety or fear? Could you describe your mother as a controlling, manipulative, lying witch that left you wondering what the truth was? Does this sound familiar? If so, you need to read this book.

The truth is, children of borderlines do not hate their mothers, but in time, I think that they learn to fear them, and ultimately, hate can grow from deep-rooted fear. You cannot really love those you fear. The child of a normal mother can never understand this. Not in a million years. “If anything, it's the children of a borderline who are clearly the abused and deserve to love themselves and better themselves.”

The main feature of BPD is a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image and emotions. People with borderline personality disorder are also usually very impulsive. This disorder occurs in most by early adulthood. The unstable pattern of interacting with others has persisted for years and is usually closely related to the person’s self-image and early social interactions. The pattern is present in a variety of settings, not just work or home, and often is accompanied by a similar lability (fluctuating back and forth, sometimes in a quick manner) in a person’s emotions and feelings. Relationships and the person’s emotion may often be characterized as being shallow. A person with this disorder will also often exhibit impulsive behaviors and have a majority of the following symptoms:
  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment-- the borderline in many ways is consumed with an all-encompassing rage and hatred that is inconceivable to most people.
My mother's irrationality and rages were the worst when it came to anything about my Dad. My mother especially has this hatred to my Dad, even after 29 years of divorce! To the last day that I talked to her, five years ago, she gets enraged just hearing about him. She claims it's because he left her-- that she gave him a chance to stay. I reminded her that she was the one to CHEAT on him with his BEST friend and then ask for a divorce. She said that she didn't intend on staying with my Dad's friend, but because my Dad's best friend told his wife, she was forced to tell Dad. And she said that she asked him to stay, and he walked up the driveway and left. So, to this day, she feels abandoned by him-- the fear of all fears for a person suffering from BPD-- and thus the reason for her severe irrational reactions if he comes up in conversation. Throughout my life, she looks for signs that I am "betraying" her with my Dad. She asks leading questions or comment about how I should or shouldn't do something that might involve my Dad, testing me to see where I stand.
  • While a person with depression or bipolar disorder typically endures the same mood for weeks, a person with BPD may experience intense bouts of anger, depression and anxiety that may last only hours, or at most a day. These may be associated with episodes of impulsive aggression, self-injury, and drug or alcohol abuse. Distortions in cognition and sense of self can lead to frequent changes in long-term goals, career plans, jobs, friendships, gender identity, and values.
My mother changed jobs frequently; shifted careers several times in several years, and would change complete groups of friends periodically by dropping all of her friends and associating with a whole entire new group. She also has dropped relationships with my brother, me, her sister, her father, and many others at a drop of a hat. She had these intense bouts of anger and depression, and later in years, used prescription drugs heavily.
  • Sometimes people with BPD view themselves as fundamentally bad, or unworthy. They may feel unfairly misunderstood or mistreated, bored, empty, and have little idea who they are. Such symptoms are most acute when people with BPD feel isolated and lacking in social support, and may result in frantic efforts to avoid being alone.
My mother always had a problem with either my Dad leaving (business trips, trips to see his family, extracurricular athletics) or her present husband (my step-father) going away. She stays home all the time, and presently has little to no friends.

Up until 1996ish, my mother was a go-getter and high achiever. After she was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease and the disease kicked-in, she became pretty much a recluse, never leaving the house except to go to the doctor. She has been successful in hiding her dysfunction from the public, and my step-father is so codependent he doesn't see any of it. He once tried to leave her and would spend hours discussing the plight he was going through with me. However, once the tables were turned and she directed her rage at me, my step-father had nothing to do with me.
  • Borderlines do selfish things for their own good, and rob their children of happiness and a "normal life" in various ways. Borderline mothers tend to use their children, and their husbands, and then discard them when they are through with them. Borderlines destroy families and tear them completely apart, and they are not always victims. Many of them can destroy their entire family and extended family, and feel justified.
Why? Because they think they are "victims." But remember, this victimology is often one which they create out of pure mythos. They only see themselves as "victims" because they're too narcissistic to cope with reality, or else it's convenient to make yourself a victim when you've just hurt your loved ones in order to escape dealing with your own guilt and wrongdoing. This is not about borderlines being victims, it's about how they destroy those around them and create meaningless chaos.

My mother has been married three times, has no relationship with her children, treated her sister and father very carelessly, and tore our family apart from as early as I can remember. And all along, she has seen herself as the victim and has created meaningless chaos through crusades, conspiracy theories, picking fights, fear of abandonment, not getting her way, or selfish & irrational thinking.
  • Borderlines are "crazy makers." People who get to know them end up damaged in some way or another. It's a fact that borderlines are not always psychotic, and their damage is often willfully inflicted on others out of sheer hate and malice.
My mother was always on a crusade. She will go after someone and keep on going until she has achieved her goal. Whether the crusade was having my 3rd grade teacher fired or the Dean of her university removed, my mother would spend countless hours scheming, planning, and going after their head. She will also occupy her time & thoughts with conspiracy theories: she believes my grandfather was murdered, and she thinks her mother-in-law was poisoned.
  • Borderlines often inflict harm on their own children when involved in separations and divorces.
My brother and I were pawns through the divorce. We were put through incredible amounts of trauma and stress. Now, not all of the trauma and stress was from just my mother, as Dad had part in perpetuating and starting some of it; however, HE is the one who is losing his family because his wife was messing around with his friend. My Dad should have been angry, BUT they both should have refrained from using the children as pawns. On another note, my mother would drill us about my Dad, sitting us on the floor and asking all sorts of crazy questions. The mental abuse was intense, and even more intense for my brother who was even younger. The input was incredible to process and decipher.
  • People with BPD often have highly unstable patterns of social relationships. While they can develop intense but stormy attachments, their attitudes towards family, friends, and loved ones may suddenly shift from idealization (great admiration and love) to devaluation (intense anger and dislike). Thus, they may form an immediate attachment and idealize the other person, but when a slight separation or conflict occurs, they switch unexpectedly to the other extreme and angrily accuse the other person of not caring for them at all. Even with family members, individuals with BPD are highly sensitive to rejection, reacting with anger and distress to such mild separations as a vacation, a business trip, or a sudden change in plans.
My mother completely fits this description. As a young child, if my Dad had to take a business trip, she would completely fall apart or flip out. She threatened to lock herself in her room for the entire time. She would cry and cry upon receiving the news that he was going out of town.

In regard to me, she can completely love me and adore me ... and within the SAME DAY turn her back on me and not talk to me for years, telling everyone possible horrible things about me. She has treated my brother, her sister, her father, and others the exact same way.

  • Fears of abandonment seem to be related to difficulties feeling emotionally connected to important persons when they are physically absent, leaving the individual with BPD feeling lost and perhaps worthlessness. Suicide threats and attempts may occur along with anger at perceived abandonment and disappointments. I
When she was in college, she apparently attempted suicide, causing her to move back home with her parents.
  • Borderlines make a person feel so loved, so secure etc., in the beginning (high value stage) and then a free-fall into insanity when the person completely morphs into a different personality, whom is cold, super angry, emotionally out of control and totally unreasonable and you find yourself lying emotionally wide-open, flat on your back, wondering what in the hell happened. (de-valuation stage).
Been there, experienced that many times with my mother! She was Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde from the earliest parts of our childhood on. She also would lock herself away, sometimes for days, leaving Dad wondering how he's going to care for us and get to work. My mother could turn her rages and sadistic behavior on & off like a light switch. She would instantly become "normal" the moment another person entered the room. My mother could be nasty as a snake to my brother and me and then turn it off and be sticky sweet to whoever is at the door or on the phone. Even at a young age, this behavior made me sick.

My mother went into hiding in her dark bedroom with Valium when Grandma died. And when she emerged, she relentlessly picked on my Grandpa, kicking him out of our house, an sending him a scathing letter that led him into a spinning depression. People in our family think my Mom ultimately had a hand in Grandpa's death (he died of a heart attack).

During the years in the 90's and 2000's when I had a relationship with my mother, she would brag about me, tell me how I am the best thing that ever happened to her, and sing my praises as if I hung the moon. But when she snapped (1990's due to a package I received from my Dad; 2000's due to not agreeing with my fiance and my wedding ideas), she took a completely different perspective within minutes. She went so far the other direction in her thinking that she was already saying derrogatory and awful things about me to friends and family within 24 hours of the time she snapped.
  • A middle age person, whom is over-adoring and loving, but has a history of failed relationships is displaying a huge RED FLAG, because BPD's cannot maintain long term relationships unless they become involved with a co-dependent, who keeps "hanging in there" hoping for that person to eventually begin to act "normal".
In regard to failed relationships, she doesn't have a relationship with her sister, son, daughter; she had cut off ties with her father just prior to death; she completely cuts off a group of friends to start a new group and then cuts them off (cycle).

She has been divorced three times. Her second husband (my Dad) was a rescuer for my mother, and she, in turn, stroked his narcissistic ego: he being King Dad and she being the Queen Mother. My Dad is very narcissistic and is an entire topic on his own. My mother's 3rd husband was my Dad's best-friend with whom my mother had an affair. He is a passive man who takes her abuse-- and doesn't help to shelter the kids either. I have plead to my step-father for help from my mother's wrath, but he's never done anything-- rarely even said anything either. I think he was just happy it wasn't him for a change. I also think he saw a fun, happy, and excited woman during their first years together, and I believe he keeps waiting for that woman to emerge again. He hangs on to the hopes that she will return. The last time I communicated with my mother was 5 years ago, and at that point, she only had one long term relationship-- my step-father.
  • People with BPD exhibit other impulsive behaviors, such as excessive spending, binge eating and risky sex-- impulsiveness in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging
My mother is a shopaholic, and buys incredible amounts of stuff. She has purchased hundreds of hat boxes but she doesn't wear hats. She purchased hundreds of shoes but she rarely leaves the house. She has hundreds of Beanie Babies (sometimes duplicates or triplicates of some) in plastic tubs hidden all over her house. As far as the eating, she is very, very overweight and binges on food through the night. She stays up all night and sleeps all day, which BPD's often are insomniacs unable to be alone with their own thoughts through the night.
  • BPD often occurs together with other psychiatric problems, particularly bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and other personality disorders.
My mother takes high doses of Prozac and other meds for depression.
Like many of the case studies cited in Lawson's book, my own mother behaved quite normally (and acted quite lovingly) toward me during cycles. Paranoia and rages were the other part of the cycles:
  • She said if she could do it again, she wouldn't have kids
  • She rarely showed affection. She would also get onto my brother and me if we said, "I love you", as she would scold us and say to only say that phrase if you REALLY mean it. She would never come to you and show affection. We would go to her for hugs and kisses. I remember trying to hold her hand in the movie theater and her pulling her hand away, looking at me funny
  • She said that she has started estrangements with me to make sure that I could make it on my own (her fear of abandonment creates herself pushing me away)
  • She accused me of multitudes of things I didn't do
  • She viciously gossiped about me and talked about me to others in a horrible manner
  • Her view of reality continues to get further and further distorted during the paranoid / rage cycle
While I truly DO feel sympathy for my mother, I do not feel empathy toward her. In my view, it is FAR too lenient to say, "Well, she simply couldn't help herself" because she could. My mother could turn her rages and sadistic behavior on & off like a light switch. She would instantly become "normal" the moment another person entered the room, called on the phone, or came to the door. My brother and I would get nauseated at how she could be so sticky sweet and truly fake. She has been this way her whole life-- and I think it's one of the reasons I never trusted or liked her, even as a very young child.

This element of self-control is the overlooked piece of the BPD puzzle. People who "suffer" from this disorder know exactly what they're doing when they behave in a sadistic manner. And they possess the genius, not only to hide it in front of other people, but to actually convince others that they are the "helpless victim" of the person whom they are targeting for such unspeakable abuse.

If you're a grown child of a BPD parent, my love and best wishes go out to you. You are a "war veteran" in every sense of the word, and your psychic landscape no doubt looks something like what's left after a bombing attack.


  1. Excellent post. It's startling how similar your experience is to mine. You've done an outstanding job in describing and explaining the many facets of the BPD queen mother. I am a grown child of a BPD parent, and my love and best wishes go out to you, as well.

    1. Gretel,
      I hope you get this- my email is down at present- but I am a long suffering daughter of a BPD "Momster" also. Did you, by any chance, ever post on the BPD Family message board? If so, you have likely seen me there. I want to know this so badly and I would like to start my own blog, if possible, soo. I would also like to write a book. I understand exactly where you are coming from, my friend. What a sisterhood of suffering we have! Please let me know if you wrote for/to the BPD site. They have forced some posters off the board it looks like. God Bless You, Gretel Ella

  2. Thank you so much. My love and best wishes go out to you too. Would love to hear your story, if and when you have a chance! Feel free to email or post :) Have a super day... and thanks for taking time to read and comment.

  3. Wow-- I could have written your post myself. I haven't spoken to my rageful BPD mom in about a year and struggle every day. The scars of our traumatic childhoods are deeply entwined into who we are as people, as survivors, and you are SO right when you say we are "war veterans." I would love to swap stories with you. . . --C

  4. Hi C,

    My entire story is contained in this blog... the very first post is my birth, and the posts continue to present time. Have a read.

    I would also LOVE to hear about your story... and how you are dealing with the estrangement. I, too, struggle every day with it-- and she is still coming after me even after 5 years of estrangement (posts about recent events follow this post).

    Have you read the book, "Understanding the Borderline Mother- Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship" by Lawson?? When I got it, I couldn't put it down. I finished the 330 pages in 2 days, amazed at how the book mirrored my life. The stories could have been written by me.

    I would love to talk to you further. Feel free to email me at I look forward to talking with you! :) Thank you so much for stopping by and for taking the time to post a comment. Hugs!

  5. I have only just moved away from home and have started reading about the concept 'borderline mother', because I have to admit I feel a little lost after taking the big step. Only now I see that my story isn't weird, isn't unexplainable to anyone: because there are more people who've been through a life with a borderline mother. Thank you for your post, I recognized a lot in your story and will buy the book you are talking about. It's good to know I'm not alone. All the best to you!

  6. You are quite welcome! I am so glad that the post gave you comfort... and that you know you are not alone. When you start researching and evaluating closer, you will be amazed how the children of borderline mothers have such very similar life stories. And finding these similarities is so validating, which truly helps one find peace in all of the confusion and hurt. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. All the best to you as well. :)

  7. Thanks for writing this- my mom is also BPD and I struggle with it constantly. I am getting married soon and while I want her to be a part of the wedding, it has not been easy AT ALL. Just nice to know I am not alone. :)

  8. I too have a BPD mother. I am a therapist and specialize in treating this disorder, among many others. I think Patricia Lawson's book is by far the best in this area. My mom is 100% the QUEEN with elements of the WITCH. I, like those of you have such a hard time dealing with her behavior. She's been destructive in our family, speaks horribly about everyone of the 5 us adult children, yet states how she so desparetly wants to have a close family. It's such a roller coaster and so confusing. At 39, I am getting to the point of wanting nothing to do with her. I spent years in therapy, only to discover that I wasn't the problem - which was good to know - but at the same time, I realized that no amount of anything I could do would ever change her. It's so sad to watch someone be so destructive and she thinks there is nothing wrong with her - it's everyone else. One night one of my patients was in a restaurant with her husband eating dinner and happened to "meet" my mother, because of how badly she was speaking about me. She even went so far as to say, "I hope Kimmy gets everything back to her in spades from her daughters." How sick is that. I am wondering what you all have found that helps you to heal and deal with this. My mom just said to me last night, "Honey, I love you.", and I wanted to say, "Really, I think you need to give that some thought, because I don't understand how you can say that and the next day speak so badly about me that your friends (who only last about 2 years max) treat me so badly...
    I am sooooo drained and sick of dealing with this. Why can't we have normal moms???

  9. Congratulations on the wedding! Remember that the wedding is YOURS :)

    If you are interested, here is what led up to my wedding: and this is what happened with my wedding:

    I wish you all of the happiness and peace, not only on your wedding day, but also in all days ahead. You are not alone by any means-- and big hugs to you! :)

  10. I ponder the same thought, "Why can't we have normal moms" ... but we don't, and so sadly, we have to deal with what we have. And double sadly, when our mothers say that they "love" us, we have to question the meaning. Actions speak louder than words-- and what mother that supposedly LOVES her child talks about her child so horribly and treats her child so recklessly and carelessly?

    The feeling you have of being "drained and sick" of it-- I left that behind over 5 years ago. I have peace now, and although I struggle with the fact that I have a mother out there in the world that I don't communicate with, I know that the way things are is the best for not only me but also my husband and child. Maybe it's time to cut ties?

  11. I know this is out of the blue, but I happened upon your post while looking for information on borderline mothers. If it wasn't for my daughter I would have cut ties with my mother years ago. I am the "bad child", the one constantly ridiculed and berated. She's been this way since I could remember.

    I know other people see nothing is ever good enough, how it's all about her...but knowing it happened to other people gives me a small sense of relief.

  12. Having a small sense of relief is better than none at all, but keep pushing yourself to find more and more peace with yourself and your relationship with your mother. You deserve to be treated with kindness, respect, and love-- and if she instead ridiculing and berating, her behavior is not appropriate, acceptable, or loving. If nothing is ever good enough and if it's all about her, start looking at yourself and your daughter and realize that you BOTH deserve MUCH better than that. Your daughter deserves the best you that you can give her-- and if you are constantly being knocked down, what is your daughter seeing? Take care of yourself and love yourself-- the rest will fall into place. I wish you all of the best. My heart goes out to you.

  13. I've grown up in an insane situation with a Queen/Witch diagnosed borderline mother and a psychotic borther. I ended up going "NC" (meaning "No Contact") with my mother. This has been going on now for almost two years. I am 43 years old, and ended up with the sad recognition that after 42 years of this I have had enough.

    Lawson's book is superb, and has helped me tremendously. There is also a great message board that supports people exposed to borderline relatives, including parents, at The board can really help you feel less alone as you struggle with this.

  14. Thank you so much for the Message Board resource link... wonderful. May you find peace in your NC and understanding of your past-- sounds like you have achieved both. My best to you and yours.

  15. Waaaaaaaah! I just want to HUG you. This spoke to me in ways you can't imagine. Thank you most of all for saying they know exactly what they (BPD moms) are doing. They do!

    The most confusing thing about my BPD mom is that she showed "affection" with criticism. Calling my sister and me "Pudge" affectionately when neither of us were fat children. As we approached puberty, 2 attractive girls, she started to feel competitive and began overfeeding us in an attempt to fulfill her "Pudge" prophecy and feel less threatened. Then, when we eventually gained a bit of weight, she'd insist on doing back to school shopping herself, buy clothes too small for us, and then wear them herself. (She was anorexic/bulimic). Sick.

  16. Awwww, hugs back to you! Thank you for taking the time to leave your comment.

    Sounds like you have had a trying time with your mother-- good for you for hanging tough and recognizing the bizarre behavior. Mothers that treat their children like this are just baffling-- our mothers, the ones who are supposed to love us, provide us safety, and be our #1 cheerleader, treating us like the enemy, like the someone she doesn't love (much less like), and so carelessly is just so tragic.

    I am so sorry to hear how your mother was so passive aggressive with you-- and so emotionally abusive. Thank goodness you recognized the methods of her madness. Stay strong- and stay happy. Believe in yourself : )

  17. I am amazed. This describes my mother as well. I am in the unfortunate situation of living with her after my divorce. I got my degree and worked at a job for 8 months. The first two months she was happy and proud for me. Then when I started talking about getting my own place she began harping to the point that my blood pressure went up, I missed work, and eventually quit from guilt.

    I even went back to start a master's which I really I am not sure I want(but that she suggested). After reading "Stop Walking on Eggshells," I realized what I was doing, enabling her by allowing her to control me. I will keep going to school part time, but I am now looking for work so I can get my children out of this horrid environment.

  18. Congratulations on pursuing your education and high-five for looking for work to get out from your mother's roof-- and above all, way to go for seeking a healthier and happier environment for your children. Your mother is a known danger, and you are correct in not wanting to expose your children to the dysfunction and toxicity. Keep on looking forward-- you are a survivor and you will persevere. Believe in yourself and you WILL achieve. All my best to you and yours.

  19. I wanted to cry when I read this. I was reliving so many memories from my past and recent present. It helps so much to hear that I am not alone because I think that BPDs make you feel like you are the one with the problem and distort reality to make you feel like you are wrong/bad and an ungrateful child. I am so glad to hear that other people made the HEALTHY choice to cut themselves off from their BPD mothers. I still feel guilty about cutting off my mother but I know it is essential for my emotional survival. Hang in there to all of you.....

  20. So, so true that BPD's make you feel like you are the one with the problem and distort reality to fit their agenda... that's the importance of finding validation and support from enlightened witnesses, others who have been through similar experiences, and understanding the BPD's behavior (dysfunction, toxicity, and negativity). I don't feel 'guilty' about cutting off my mother-- and I like you, I feel that the estrangement is VERY essential for my emotional survival (as well as my husband's and daughter's); however I still struggle with the fact that I have a mother living out there in the world and we don't have a relationship. Thanks for the support (hang in there too :)... and thanks for stopping by to leave a comment :)

  21. Wow, it is amazing to me how that describes my mother to a T. I have just come across this disorder, my mother of course was never diagnosed or has not told anyone if she was. Now if only I could get my husband to understand what this is!

  22. Congrats on the revelation-- keep on researching and reading. Remember that putting a label on how your mother is not the important part, so don't worry about her not being professionally diagnosed. Understanding, accepting, and dealing with the relationship in a healthy way is the most important. Once I started to understand the 'whys' of my mother, everything else seemed to fall in place.

    Getting your husband to understand can be tough as BPD is such a convoluted, detailed, and complicated disorder. What the BPD does is not straight-forward and is so manipulative that figuring-out the in's and out's of what she does is like putting together a million piece puzzle.

    Once you are able to sort everything out in your own mind, you will be able to more concisely and clearly get your husband to understand. Also, having him read Christine Lawson's book after you've highlighted the parts that apply to you and your mother may be effective.

    I wish you the very best... may you find peace and happiness in your discoveries, as well as validation and freedom ; )

  23. It has only been a few months since realizing that having no contact with the woman who raised me is what is best for me. A very difficult decision that I had never wanted to believe was an option... but it is an impossible thing to ask of me to continue letting this women try to influence me with guilt and ever present reminders of her plight in life.

    And this woman isn't even blood related to me. She is my Mom's step-mom... who preyed on me, the weakest of my Mom's 3 young children. At the time my Mom was a 19 year old with 3 small kids, struggling in life, after my father was sent to prison. For reasons I'll never understand I was the only grandchild suited for “rescuing” and thus my life with a BPD “mother” began. Our attachment was very strong from the beginning, at least I have always been told, but how quickly I learned how this “mother” could turn on me in a heartbeat. She would call me ungrateful and ignore me for 2-3 days leaving me to feel worthless and unlovable. I was also used as her personal shrink from too young an age and can remember me holding her as she cried while recalling stories from her life before my Grandpa.

    The shift into her being disappointed, angry or depressed has always revolved around moves I have made to separate myself from her… from a simple afternoon at a friend’s house, leaving for college, deciding not to return home upon graduating, to heaven forbid… getting married -she has suffered. After marriage I slowly began to visit less, but never without vast feelings of guilt, like I was depriving her of her medicine (seeing me).

    When my Grandpa died she succeeded in sucking me back into her sick world. Making me believe that she was not capable of making it on her own, paying her own bills or sleeping in her home alone. It didn’t matter to her that I was spending a few hours, several times a week, traveling back and forth to her home, because it still wasn’t enough. Nothing I did was ever enough, or right in her eyes, and so after a year of doing just about every thing for her but breathing, I gave all the bills and decision making back to her.

    Since then I have not been able to bring enough strength in myself to visit the aging BPD. The calls have become more distant and I no longer see the point in divulging much information about me because she doesn’t seem to care about anything I have to say or about what I am doing. I think our relationship is much more of an emotional burden, probably on both of us, but everyday for me is a struggle as I try to go on making the best out of my life. I feel some comfort hearing about other’s experiences and how they have managed to go on with no contact. I only hope I will be able to find as much courage in myself.

  24. Reading everyones's experiences is the best therapy for me. I find it difficult to talk to friends about my mother because unless you have experienced a BPD first hand, people don't understand "how could you walk away from your mother". I've lost my father and my small extended family over going NC despite their knowing that she has a "problem". My main reason for splitting was to protect the relationship with my daughters. I started to see her use the same manipulative tactics on my oldest daughter and amazingly my daughter was able to see through her games at a young age. It brought back a flood of memories from my childhood that I had surpressed or she had convinced me that I was wrong in my "interpretation" of things. When I tried to talk to my parents about how my daughter was feeling, they accused me of brainwashing her and/or it must be my daughters problem and she was having emotional problems. That was the beginning of the end for me. When my father made the choice to stand by my mother because she overpowered him, I felt that I had nothing left to hold on to. I was never grateful enough in her eyes and she would project everything she would do onto me as if I was the problem. Her accusations about me were brewing in the family longer and deeper then I knew about and I'm now without an extended family. I'm still dealing with finding my true self and how to cope day to day so that I don't repeat history with my children. Thank you for your posts and I wish everyone dealing with a BPD parent the best in life! We deserve it!

  25. I completely understand your situation... and I, too, find relating to others in our same situation therapeutic. Keep on trying to find your true self-- you will find yourself, I promise! If you seek, you shall find :) You are so welcome for the posts-- my pleasure. I am so grateful I can help. Take care of yourself and be happy :)

  26. Wow, glad to see I'm not alone. I've been through the ringer thanks to my "surrogate" mother. As I read your post I felt and still feel chills down my back. My mother is very similar. I can't believe I've made it through it all, I'm definitely not sane/right. I'm in therapy and have been for over 4 years now. I'm a mom of 2 and although I know in my heart I'm not a monster like our mothers, I can get stressed easily, short, maybe mean and moody to my kids at times and I don't want to be like that so I'm working on this. I don't have a relationship with the woman and things have much better when she still manages to make up lies and conspiracy theories about me. She is not part of my childrens' lives and never will be, she's done enough damage, hurt enough people and my kids will not be exposed to that circus.

  27. I loved reading this it helps me so much to understand exactly what i went thorugh. I describe my stories in almost the same adjectives. my mother is going on her 3rd divorce, she left my step dad for a married dad and he kicked out his wife and kids so that my mother and two little brothers to love in his house. I ran awayand havent spoke to her in 10 years. I know this sounds really bad- but i cant wait to spit on her grave. Im sorry if i offended anybody, but nobody understands me.

  28. I am sitting here reading this with tears rolling down my face after the latest and worst incident with my mother in recent times - but I'm crying with relief and joy that its not me! I have doubted myself so much over the years, my mother nearly had me convinced I needed to be in a psych ward! In the latest incident, I flew up to see her for her 50th, and she threw me out after 1 nite because of my "unacceptable behaviour" which of course she still has not been able to define for me. She then attacked my brother and sister for "taking my side" and told my sister if she dared to drive such a manipulative evil bitch (me) to the airport she would come home to find all of her things on the lawn and she could get out. (my sister is only 19 and still lives there, and it wasn't just a threat, she followed through like she had done numerous times before). I could write on and on all night with the stories, but I've had 1 hour sleep in 36 hours thanks to "my" inconsiderate attention seeking selfish ways, ;-), and I need go and share this website with my siblings as a top priority so they don't belive for 1 more second that we are as awful as what she tells us.

  29. "I know this sounds really bad- but i cant wait to spit on her grave. Im sorry if i offended anybody, but nobody understands me."

    Anon: I COMPLETELY understand. I have been in therapy for years and the first time I heard "borderline personality" was rom my current therapist when I would tell her stories about my childhood, growing up under the reign of my mother.

    I tell my shrink that my childhood was a "form of slavery".

  30. @Cynthia: "She is not part of my childrens' lives and never will be, she's done enough damage, hurt enough people and my kids will not be exposed to that circus" ... very well put! And I am living the same way. She's a known danger and I am not exposing my child to it. Best wishes to you and your family.

  31. @Mandy: "I'm crying with relief and joy that its not me! I have doubted myself so much over the years..." I know! I know! I was the same way when I read "Understanding the Borderline Mother" by Lawson. I was shaking, couldn't put the book down, and felt over-whelming relief of everything that I was reading. A HUGE weight was lifted... so much was explained. And all that you said about your mother pitting people against you-- including your siblings-- my mother did the same thing (still does, although I haven't been in communication with her since 2004). She is still demonizing me and continuing her campaign of denigration against me. Stay strong... and I am so pleased that my blog could help you find peace, feel relief, and start you on a path of discovery. Keep on discovering! :) Let me know if I can be further help for you.

  32. "This element of self-control is the overlooked piece of the BPD puzzle. People who "suffer" from this disorder know exactly what they're doing when they behave in a sadistic manner."

    Right on, Gretel!

    Adult child of Queen and King here, and I can tell you from my thirty five years of experience with both personalities that if you think for even a second that BPD isn't a form of sociopathy you're deluded, and you're cruisin' for a bruisin'.

    Both are also tied to Bipolar. If a Queen is as pathological as the mother you've described, she is likely bipolar. Heavy prozac use and impulsivity with rage also suggest this.

    You are an excellent writer, Gretel and I wish you all the best in your journey. Survive on.


  33. I had never heard of boarderline personnality disorder until today.
    I met a new Therapist, Who said she was sure my mother had this. I had met with the therapist because, I was questioning myself. I haven´t spoken to my mother for 18 months (we live in the same house, which we own together and are unable to seller due to the present market)
    I have been feeling guilty and sorry for my mother and was seeing her as the victim. This is the 2nd time I haven´t communicated with my mother both times were due to her being dismissive of my pregnancies then inturn my children. I told her I can´t have a relationship with her if she wouldn´t have a relationship with my children.She can not see this.
    She has been dependant on alcohol and drugs for years. She has always told me she loves me but spent most of her time telling me I´m selfish and a drama queen! I believed her and have been working on that!
    So the other reason for my visit to the therapist was because I thought I was going mad.

    I am glad to say the therapist pointed out my mothers problem, and told me that she thought I was very sane, sorted, level headed and a good person! What a relief.But the pain will stay with me for a long time. I´m 40 and just can´t do it any more. I can not let her cause anymore problems in my life and with my children and partner. It was my new partner that pointed out my mothers behaviour and that the way she spoke about me was not normal.

    She hates my partner, I think because he has rumbled her! She tells everyone in our town that he is lazy, unskilled, violent, abusive and has abandonded his children from his former marrage. It´s just not true. So we have no peace at home and no peace in the street! She has been discibed as butter wouldn´t melt, yeap turning it on and off.

    Reading the other comments has made me realise that the therapist is probably right. Now how to deal with the people that think butter wouln´t melt??????

    I must get this book! Thanks for such an accurate account of these mothers.

    Love and light to you all with a massive dose of peace.


  34. Wow! You and your mother live in the SAME HOUSE yet you haven't spoken in 18-months. That must be TOUGH. Tough for your spirit, tough for your soul.

    Excellent that you are going to a therapist and you have a partner supporting you. You need the validation and you need the positive feedback. Truly, you should try to move away from your mother. You will see even more clearly what she's been doing when you are further away (look at the situation you are in like this: you have been living within your mother's grasp similar to having your nose up against a painting. You can't see the whole picture when your nose is so close into it. However, if you back away and are able to see the entire painting, clarity and vision will occur where you will have even more confidence in your opinions, feelings, and actions).

    I am so sorry that you have endured this but you are on the right road. You have a long life ahead of you, and being happy is your number one priority. You have experienced unhappiness for too long-- you deserve to be happy.

    Best of luck to you-- keep on reading and keep on searching. You will find the peace you are looking for. All my best to you Kerry.

  35. Erin,

    Thank you for the compliments... and thank you for your insights. You made my heart smile.

    I have also given lots of thought into the bipolar aspect as you mentioned. My brother has been diagnosed bipolar, and very well my mother is too (as you noticed with the high doses of Prozac and impulsion with rage).

    Hugs and much appreciation to you! :)

  36. My mother was such a torment for the first 49 years of my life. I'm currently 55 and still recovering from the momster. Nothing was good enough, nothing made her happy. It seemed I wasn't good enough for her. I can't remember her ever telling me she loved me. Never. As a child I remember being afraid of her; always watching to see when she would snap, so to speak - always on guard waiting. Every day was like that. She was Jekyll and Hyde personified. To this day I have problems with anxiety and controlling thoughts. I'm convinced it was from all the stress dealing with and avoiding her. After a while you become hardwired.

    For years and years I tried to get to the bottom of her being so mean and nasty to me. What were her reasons? It always baffled me. The few times I asked her about it (the first was when I was around 17, the next time in my twenties, next when I was 35 and decided I was tired of her treating me like I was 8, and the last time was when I was 47) she always became nasty and defensive. When I questioned her about it that third time when I was 35, she said that if I told my dad (who must have been totally co-dependent) she'd make sure he didn't believe me. How's that for a "loving" mother?

    Back in the day when I was in my 20's and was still trying to figure out what the hell was the matter with her, magazines like Glamour started writing articles on emotional abuse, and they all struck a chord. But in the early 1980's the term/diagnosis of BPD didn't exist.

    Found the book Walking on Eggshells and that really helped prove I wasn't crazy. Prior to that was I Hate You Don't Leave Me - but that book was rather clinical. Have to say The Borderline Mother book hit everything right on target.

    I never believed I was the problem. That's one saving grace. I always knew it was all her. The queen of mean in person. She was a total control freak and totally selfish and mean. Everything really was about her. She stopped me from attending the correct college/conservatory. Even when I got into Yale and Hart School of Music for a MM in piano, she put the breaks on it. I was told she had me so that she would have someone to take care of her in her old age. That was my purpose in life in her eyes. She never wanted me to succeed because then I would have been financially independent and that was the last thing the momster wanted.

    Looking back, I made plenty of mistakes with her purely because as a child and teenager I didn't know what I was dealing with. And I let her take over my life - it was easier than dealing with her. I avoided her as much as possible. Every day was about my own survival. The problem with avoidance is that after a while of no interaction with me she would explode into a rage.

    The most deeply wounding thing she ever said to me was her reply to me the last time I tackled her about her meanness. It was when I was 47. By this time I knew she was a BP and had read about 6 different books about it. I let her be her same nasty self to me on the phone - thought I'd catch her in the act - and I asked why she was being mean and nasty like she usually was and reminded her that I hadn't done or said anything to provoke her. Her verbatim answer to me was "the problem I always had with you was you weren't the first baby." Boy, did that hit home. She admitted her visciousness, admitted that I didn't crack up to her idolized phantom (she had a baby in 1951 that was born way prematurely and she never got over its death- or maybe she did at that).

    My mother always knew what she was doing and saying - everything from her plotted attacks on myself and others to her victimization act. My BP mother wasn't dillusional nor was she psychotic.

    She was pure conscious evil.

    1. This is exactly the point ...evil. Best described by Dr. M. Scott Peck in his book "The People in the Lie." Our recovery from the childhood trauma will take a lifetime and require a team of biological, psychological, and spiritual professionals.

  37. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your story. You couldn't have said it any better about the BPD mother, "My mother always knew what she was doing and saying - everything from her plotted attacks on myself and others to her victimization act. My BP mother wasn't dillusional nor was she psychotic. She was pure conscious evil." My friend once pegged my mother as "evil" when he witnessed of her melt-downs and rages. And from how she's treated me since I was a child, I do believe that adjective is true.

    I am sorry that you had to endure all of this... and I am so sorry that your mother didn't appreciate or see the beautiful, loving child in front of her rather than, "the problem I always had with you was you weren't the first baby." How terribly heart-breaking.

    However, congratulations to you for being so strong and resilient... and for "I never believed I was the problem. That's one saving grace. I always knew it was all her." I was the same way from a small child... I knew she was accountable for her actions and that her erratic, mean, irrational, dysfunctional, toxic, and bipolar were all her responsibility.

    You sound like you have a good handle on your situation. No matter how much we've been through with these people or how old we get, at times it's tough as these people are a parent... our mothers. Stay strong, focused, and happy. Thanks again for your comment.

  38. My stepdaughters mother is BPD;(not formally diagnosed) Most of what I read on this website has occurred in the past 3 years since I married their father. HOW can I support the girls? They are now age 19 and 17..and have lived with us fulltime for about a year after their BPD mother kicked them out because they did not like her boyfriend. She has basically disowned the girls after terrorizing them just because they expected she would be a real mother.
    We are considering leaving town to avoid this woman as she threatens everyone, badmouths us and her children, spreads terrible lies and tried to convince the girls (and everyone else in their community) that their father was abusive.
    I am not including the gruesome details here because all you who posted your stories have 'said it all'. I just want both girls to know WHO they are dealing with and to be protected. I will get that book by Christine Lawson.
    Thankyou for the information.

  39. I am so thankful to have found this website. Like the other commenter above, I never believed for one second that I was the problem, and I am (mostly) the all good child. My brother is now getting married and this has unleashed new fury and my brother, with my full support, has cut her off. In turn, it appears that she has cut me off, as we were OBVIOUSLY plotting against her. I started searching online for explanations and I am overwhelmed at the community I share with all of you! Discovering this book (which I have placed hold on at the library) was like discovering my horoscope in middle school. I went through the checklist of Queen/Witch descriptors and holy smokes did my entire being come into focus. I've been in therapy for years trying to get a grasp on life, a direct result of exactly the neglect, rage and shame described here. My brother and I have taken her on together and like all of her siblings, her own mother, every friend she ever established, my in-laws, her in-laws, she has cut us off without questioning, hm... what is the common element here? I'm sorry to meat you all under these circumstances but I am so happy that I did.

  40. Congrats on the discovery of the book 'Understanding the Borderline Mother' (I am sur you had many "ah ha" moments) and the strong belief in yourself. Wonderful to hear from you and your story-- especially that you've fought to get a grasp on life and that you are achieving it. More power to you-- stay happy and keep a smile in your heart.

  41. To anonymous with step-daughters, you could truly support and help them by being their Enlightened Witness: Being the pillar that believes in them and lets them know that they are not the ones who are causing the toxicity, dysfunction, and chaos. Be the stable and happy on in their lives. Most importantly be their Enlightened Witness. Feel free to email me for more: My best to you.

  42. Wow! I just stumbled upon your blog and I cannot tell you how validating it is to read my life on your pages! My mother, father, stepfather- identical to your situation. I read The Borderline Mother 10 years ago when I set boundaries with my own borderline mother and have not seen her since. Needless to say drawing a line in the sand did not go over well with her. It was the most freeing moment of my entire life. Removing myself and my family from that chaos and dysfunction has been the healthiest thing I could ever have done. Once I made the decision to stop taking her abuse I knew I would never go back. I thank God that I woke up and realized I was not the crazy one before my life was over.

  43. "Removing myself and my family from that chaos and dysfunction has been the healthiest thing I could ever have done."... bravo! Me too!

    "I thank God that I woke up and realized I was not the crazy one before my life was over." ... I do the same thing! What a wonderful realization!

    Best of luck to you-- and all the happiness in the world. Thanks for stopping by :)

  44. Hi -- I am about half-way through reading your blog, I'm trying to read the whole thing, and I just wanted to say a huge thank you for going to all this effort. There are some amazing (and sadly hilarious) similarities with my own life -- even down to total nightmare wedding.

    My mum was allegedly diagnosed with bpd about 8 years ago. My dad told me that, and for certain reasons (although he's not half as much as a nightmare as your dad) I never took him seriously. Plus, I always felt so guilty about cutting my mum off (which I had to do for various reasons and several times in my early 20s)... Anyway. After she (and he) made my wedding and life (and my brothers' lives) fairly hellish while they went through the longest divorce in history -- she died, extremely suddenly. She was 56. We still theoretically don't know what happened but I am getting my head (slowly, with the help of counseling) that she accidentally or on purpose committed suicide in a last, desperate bid to get our attention after isolating herself from everyone. I suspect I will spend the rest of my life dealing with the guilt -- but reading your blog and learning a bit more about BPD has been an amazing help. Thank you.

  45. I hope the guilt eases into understanding and acceptance. I also hope that you will find the validation and peace you are searching for. All my best to you-- thanks for stopping. Hugs!

  46. Thanks for articulating something that I have struggled with for so long: the fact that our BPD mothers *never once* "did the best they could" (a statement my own BPD mother repeated instead of ever taking personal responsibility for her abuse).

    I have seen my BPD mother also turn it on and in a nanosecond, turn it off. It's especially disturbing to be at the receiving end of one of her tirades, only to hear her sing-song, chirpy, "happy" persona take over when answering the phone.

    My mother was the worst when I became pregnant with my first child. She was jealous. And when my daughter and then my son would stay with her, they became unhappy & wanted to leave. That was my cue to cut her out of my life. NO MORE TOXIC WASTE!

    Thanks for doing your blog--it really does help to read other women's experiences (and men's) with BPD parents; We are not alone!

  47. My step mother who raised me was a Queen. I am still damaged til this day, but I'm working on healing... I cut all ties with her 8 years ago when she tried to destroy my family. It's so hard for normal people to understand this! Although I think about her every day, I have NEVER been happier or healthier since she's been out of my life!!!!! It's okay to weed out toxic people from your life! My advice to adults "living" with bps mothers??? Don't...get away, cut all ties as if your life depends on it, then get some professional help! God bless you all! From Hawaii

  48. My mother....Oh, my mother....
    To this day, conversations between my sisters and i ALWAYS go back to mom. She is so severely BPD that she fits all the catagories in Lawson's book...
    Even now, at 41, everyday i fight the fear, and emptiness and self-loathing. If I recieve a compliment or have to talk about myself, I get a huge lump in my ever tightening chest...Terrified that the person i'm talking to will know what a fraud I am...How bad and difficult I've always totally, utterly, completely scarred and broken I am.
    It never goes away.
    I've just gotten much better at hiding it. Even though I realized that it was HER that was crazy long ago, the damage had been done.
    Lurking beneath the rational adult I present to the world is always that confused little girl hiding under her desk and wondering what she did to make her mother hate her this much.

    1. This is exactly how i feel.
      You put the words to such an ugly reality so nicely.
      I am only understanding that my mother is borderline. i am 42 years old and wish someone had pointed it out to me years ago, so i wouldnt have had so many years wondering why things were so bad, always trying to reason with her, always wanting to be good, always wanting a good relationship with her, a normal relationship. finally i understand that this will NEVER happen. Strangely, it is comforting, because i know i am not alone, that what i lived was real and i did nothing wrong to bring this mad woman out.

    2. I feel like I have written most of these posts and am so thankful to know that there are so many others out there that with a BPD mother and that I am not crazy. Since cutting her out of my, and my family, life, my health and well being has improved dramatically. Counseling has been a huge help but there are still times when I feel like the little girl, just wishing her mother loved her. I take comfort that I am a mother who does love her children unconditionally and can help them discover the gifts God put inside them.

  49. I have dealt with my borderline mother for the 30 years of my life. The only way I have survived (and only children of BPD parents can truly understand why I use that word) is to live 3 states away at all times and not in easy driving distance. She cannot (although she HAS) drop in unannounced. I try to maintain a relationship by treating her as I would a bitchy, gossipy, jealous "frenemy," not telling her details of my life, only generalities about the weather, listening to the tedious details of her fights (that she initiates) with co-workers (never EVER reveal this to them), and whatever else she wants to lament about. It's never a positive conversation. BPDs just want to bitch about everyone else and how they're the "victim." I allow this for 10 minutes MAX. Then I politely say that I have to go - KNOWING FULL WELL that it will take another 15 minutes to get off the phone with her (perceived abandonment). Under NO circumstances to I share with her anything about my dating life, my professional life, my hopes, fears, dreams, ANYTHING. She will use them against me, call my boss and try to get me fired, call the love interest and threaten him, etc. So it's the weather, and her, and that's it. 25 minutes once a week. I've had periods of my life (years) where I haven't spoken with her, but in doing that, I miss out on my other family members (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) that live in the area. They all know the problem with her and treat her basically the same way. The anxiety over family gatherings is palpable. I've found that not talking to her is worse than the "guarded conversations" and "very limited visits" because I am in constant fear that she will appear at my doorstep or WORKPLACE unannounced (which she's done). So this is my way to deal with it. I plan on eloping if I ever find someone to love me despite my shortcomings and "wonderful" mother - I can't imagine planning a wedding with her interference. I would just rather avoid the whole spectacle than live in fear of her ruining the "happiest" day of my life out of JEALOUSY (also why I don't share good things that happen to me). This temporary fix has worked for me for about 2 years. So far so good. I know it's a band-aid on an ulcer, but for someone with ABSOLUTELY NO INSIGHT into how their behavior affects everyone around them, it seems like an ok solution for now. Thoughts?

  50. If it's the okay solution for now, roll with it. You know what you are dealing with, so if she erupts, you are ready to handle the fall-out. Much different for folks who have no idea that they are dealing with a BPD. I commend you for trying to make it work-- and for seemingly finding a way to make it work. Keep me updated on how you are doing. Thanks for reading and commenting. All my best to you and yours.

  51. I'm an only child of a Borderline. Even as a young child I knew something was wrong with her. I spent my childhood living in fear of her. When she was in a rage she would rip out big chunks of her hair, throw things, and slap her face repeatedly. She is now 80. She has left a path of destuction behind her. I should have changed my name and moved 1000 miles away as soon as I was able.

  52. I know why we post our experiences as "Anonymous." I know why we jump and startle easily at things as simple as someone sneezing in the next office. We are always "on edge" and ready to react to whatever awful siege comes at us next because that is what we have been conditioned to do out of fear and need for survival. What I'm still working on is overcoming the anxiety and shortness of breath and tight feeling in my chest that remains even after No Contact...

  53. I have been studying "Highly Sensitive Person" as it relates to what 'anonymous' stated above... we become so highly sensitive to our parent's idiosyncrasies and feel like we are always walking on egg shells that we become highly sensitive to our environment, people around us, and more. Plus I feel as if the high emotional stress causes the 'fight or flight' reaction when the BPD parent blows... causing this 'fight or flight' to come out more and more often as the parent persists-- a conditioned reaction so to speak. And this constant 'fight or flight' reaction to the BPD emotional outbursts later creates anxiety in the adult child of a BPD parent. More to come...

  54. I am so happy to be reading so many accounts from various people of dealing with a BPD mother. I am 28 and I just found out from my father that my mother is BPD and it just makes so much sense now. My father divorced my mother 10 years ago after a 23 year marriage because he couldn't take her abuse anymore. It was over the day she took out a restraining order on him (with no explanation/warning or even a recent fight between them). It ruined my dad. I was 16 and my brother was 14. He wasn't allowed near us or our house. After he left, she transferred her abuse to me and so I have been the target now for the past 10 years. She's loving and interested in my life for a while and then with no warning she is critical and acusing. She did horrible things while I was a kid too but it was never directed at me quite in this way before. It's such a relief to know that I am not the only one contemplating cutting off contact with my mom. I now have a son, who I love with all my heart and soul, and I don't want him exposed to her abuse. I am trying to work up the courage to cut ties with her in order to save myself and my son (and my husband too!). She has spent so long convincing me (and succeeding sometimes) that I am the one with the problem that I am having a hard time convincing myself to not feel guilty about wanting to sever contact. Thank you for this blog post! I can't wait to read that book and find the motivation I need to do what needs to be done.

  55. "I now have a son, who I love with all my heart and soul, and I don't want him exposed to her abuse. I am trying to work up the courage to cut ties with her in order to save myself and my son (and my husband too!)"... excellent! Good for you! Protecting your child from a 'known danger' is the best step that you can take. I wish you all the best ... thanks for stopping by and sharing with us.

  56. It took for me getting married, with an outside perspective from my wife, to realize the monster we are up against. My mother is clearly the epitome of a BPD. I have chosen all of my life to ignore the abandonment paranoia, violent fits of rage, and amazingly successful manipulations she has spun into my life. The worst part about this situation is that she is severely affecting my marriage. She just got done telling me that she has lost me to my wife when I just saw her the week before. She goes from zero to intensely psychotic bouts of rage at the snap of a finger. She will physically attack people (me on a few occasions) when she is lost in rage. She will convince you that you are wronging her regardless of how blatantly wrong she is. She is always the victim in every situation. She is a conspiracy theorist thinking that everyone is plotting against her all of the time. She is a hypochondriac that is constantly convinced that she, or one of the family members, have some kind of a one-off strange ailment. There is no accountability for her actions; it’s always you or someone else. She most certainly classified as a compulsive liar with manipulative intentions. She abuses pills and lies about it. She is doing the “I have lost my son” thing because I am a married adult, trying to start a family, and I am not putting her front and center. Severe abandonment issues arose after I got married. She left us in our teenage years for a month randomly without even telling her husband and kids and now she claims I am abandoning her. My father enables her behavior and either chooses to ignore it or lies to himself about the problems because she dominates and controls him. She is a control monger always fighting to be the most important one in the family.

    Memories are flooding back that I chose to ignore because it was easier that way but now that it is negatively affecting my marriage, I can’t ignore the craziness any longer. My wife is afraid to have kids because she does not want them exposed to this mess and I don’t blame her. I want a relationship with all of them but I’m starting to feel like it is impossible because of my mom’s attention and abandonment issues. This has the potential to ruin my life and destroy my marriage. I feel desperate for answers.

    Please give me some feedback, this is terrible.

  57. From all that you described, you know how dire the situation is with your mother. From all that you described, you know that your mother's behavior is toxic, dysfunctional, and destructive. From all that you described, you know that she's not only emotionally and mentally abusive but also physically. She is a 'known danger' and you must protect yourself and your wife from her.

    The first step you can do is to create boundaries so that you and your wife have a buffer. 1st step: Keeping contact with your mother on a more superficial and limited basis is a start. 2nd step: If she cannot respect these boundaries, toughen them even further. 3rd step: If she doesn't respect those boundaries, I would go for a period of no-contact. 4th step: And if the no-contact is not respected, you may want to go for long-term estrangement to permanent estrangement. With each of these steps, I would only allow her to over step the boundary one time before going to the next step. She has already pushed you to desperation-- and if you feel that the situation is that dire, you may want to skip all steps and go straight to a period of no-contact to sort your feelings out, get some therapy, and research more.

    Whatever boundaries / steps you chose, communicate with her your feelings. You own these feelings-- she can't say that you are wrong because this is how you feel. If you feel better writing your thoughts in a letter, you could do that instead of talking face to face.

    Don't allow her the power to destroy your marriage. You said that your mother is 'severely affecting your marriage'... you must stop the control and power is has over your family. You are a grown adult and pursuing your life and created a family with your wife... if she doesn't respect your adulthood, life, and wife, you must back away.

    Honestly, if she is not receiving treatment for her mental disposition or not recognizing that she has a problem, she is not going to change. And even with therapy, she may not change. She must realize that she has attention and abandonment issues then get help... long-term and consistent. This is another aspect that you could address in your discussion with her (when you set-up boundaries and discuss your feelings). If she chooses not to get help, you could suggest going to therapy with her. If she flat-out refuses, that's her choice and you must make your own choice to move on for the health and sanity of your life and relationships.

    Since you feel so desperate, I would take action immediately. Since your marriage is so effected, you may want to seek therapy with your wife to work through these mother issues. Therapists are out there that specialize in BPD and will help to guide you.

    I feel for you so very much. If you want to email me, feel free. I hope I have helped... and I pray you find peace and happiness. All my best to you.

  58. Thank you for your blog. You are so correct in the childhood trauma we experienced is hard for a "civilian" to fathom. My mother threw words at us that felt like splashs of acid that burned and scared us. I see the effects in my 2 sisters and myself now in our late forties - banished into a lifetime stunted by self doubt and chaotic choices - still seeking a safe harbor. I am going to visit my mother in September and am torn between a sense of camraderie towards my sister who lives with her(and takes care of our emotional abuser, ugh!) and fear of my mothers brittle bottomless pit of clinginess and wretchedness. Is there a telemeeting or support group for adult children of mothers with a BPD? Peace and joy to all. Vinny.

  59. Hi Vinny... I haven't found one but I shall research and get back with you. All my best to you when you go visit your mother in September. Please revisit and let us know how your visit went... or if you would like to email me, feel free

  60. Hello again Vinny,

    TARA Association for Personality Disorders has a National Borderline Personality Resource and Referral Center: where you can call 1-888-4-TARA APD to find support groups.

    My best to you~

  61. Here I am, mid-20s, up late at night researching "borderline personality disorder in mothers" instead of going to sleep.

    Right now, this very moment, I am dealing with the "silent treatment" from my mother, brought upon me after she threw a fit of rage over my not being "successful enough for your age/a loser" in the worst economy since the Great Depression, and "what are all of the people going to think of you now when they ask about you and hear you're nothing?" Granted, I have a competitive degree from a competitive school, and have always been a high achiever, but that was never valued except for her self praise/gossip-on-the-fly.

    And here I am sitting online looking up this craziness, instead of doing my reading for grad school or getting some sleep so I feel better.

    I have decided that I cannot experience any personal growth unless I continue on my journey of mending myself, which involves blocking my mother out of my life. She has become so dependent on me in so many ways (never learned English very well, dependent on me as the only child to do all of her secretarial/legal/translating work) she is now hindering me from prospering in my adulthood. I've been with my significant other, now my fiance, for nearly eight years, and the one time my fiance's mother called mine to invite her over for dinner, my mother told her off and insulted her. She has expressed, with rage, "they're taking you away from me, they're better than me, right?"

    So now, I have to think about getting through graduate school, working on my ailing mental health, and just figuring out life--wedding, etc. without the person that seems to stick by everyone else and be proud of them. I'm sure you all can sympathize and I am so grateful this resource is here. I feel like I've lost about ten years of my life to this storm of queen-hermit-witch-waif that has caused me to feel guilty and sympathetic while ignoring my own needs, letting myself spiral into a deep depression in college.

  62. To add to my above comment: recently, I also heard from my (more-than-likely) BPD mother, "If I could just pay you off in a lump sum of cash, I would. I would remove you from my life, because I wasted my youth taking care of you instead of thinking about myself/going to school/bettering my life. You are of no benefit to me, you're a nothing at age 25 and you don't pay my bills. I wish I could divorce you just like I did your father! I wish I could have divorced both of you at the same time!"

  63. WOW! That comment is HARSH but par-for-the-course with a BPD mother. My mother stated that she wished she didn't have children, that she's glad my last name is different than hers, and more. Such hateful and evil words from someone who is supposed to be loving and supportive.

    You said, "I have decided that I cannot experience any personal growth unless I continue on my journey of mending myself, which involves blocking my mother out of my life." I did that in my teens and then 20's... we reconciled both times with her promise that she had therapy and "wouldn't do those things" to me again. Then we were estranged again in my 30's... then we reconciled. The final estrangement was in my 40's. After the rollercoaster of on / off estrangements every 5 years and her inability to work things out AND the addition of a husband & child into the picture, this estrangement is the final one.

    I hope that you find validation, peace, and happiness. Free fromt the confines of a self-absorbed and selish parent, you may be able to see life through a different perspective. You have a lot on your plate ... and a lot going for you (school, wedding, a loving partner) so try to focus on the productive and positive.

    Thank you for stopping by and commenting. We appreciate your input and story. All the best to you~

  64. When I tell people I hate my mother, they look at me like I am the biggest jerk on the planet. She made life for my sisters and I a living hell. It wasn't until a year or so ago that we realized she is Borderline. Until that point, we said NOTHING to anyone about her. The only person we told was our grandmother who always made excuses for her and made us feel guilty about everything.

    You summed up our experiences with her to a tee. She and my grandmother, whom I also believe has BPD, resent the fact that we were ever born. My grandmother once told me that she wished my mom would have kept my oldest sister and left my father when she had the chance (Of course, my younger sister, brother and I would not be here.).

    We are the cause of every problem in mom's life...and if it is not us, it's dad. Interestingly enough, he is incredibly self-absorbed too. I'll have to read your post on that.

    No one understands. People have started to think my sisters and I are big complainers. This is unfortunately because my sisters continue to attempt relationships with my parents and get hurt everytime. I have a superficial relationship with our parents. I only speak to them when in public. It's my method of survival. The second last time my mother called me (several months ago) was to scream at me because I told my much younger brother that she beat us when we were kids. I asked her if she was denying it and she told me I needed therapy.

    I still have a scar on the back of my leg from when she whipped me with an extension cord. Whenever she might see me with shorts or a bathing suit on, she asks where it came from.

    I am 29 years old and I can't get over this stuff. My husband and I moved to another state to get away from it. I suffer from depression and am incapable of managing my stress. It is probably why my husband and I cannot conceive (we actually want children and ironically can't have them). I am seeking therapy in order to help with this. Although I would not wish this life on anyone, it is so nice to know that I'm not alone and I'm not crazy.

    1. I just read your post and really wanted to reply. You WILL get over this stuff. Understanding it is the first step, then it takes time to digest it and reframe all the memories you have into...that was not my fault, that was not my fault etc...and get rid of any guilty feelings, then you forgive and move on. It takes time, but you have every reason to stick it out and want it, and work on it and accomplish it. Dont let your childhood rule your adult life. Dont let the bad things that happened ruin what could be a happy and fulfilling life.
      It has taken me a long time to come to terms with my childhood and all the things my mother put me through, but i will no longer let her rule my life. My adult life is mine. i have come to terms that nothing (natural) will alleviate my anxiety, that stress that keeps me jumping all day long, doesnt let me relax, has me blowing my fuse for little things. I finally understand that it is "hard wired" in me, from those years at my mother's house. I have tried yoga (4 years of meditation and poses), lots of cardio excercise to release the stress, talking about it, breathing slowly... all these things help and i keep doing them, but my problem with stress and anxiety is deeper than those solutions can help me with. I am now on anti anxiety medication. they took a while to kick in, but now 6 weeks in, i feel like myself but without anxiety. at first, i didnt recognise myself. leaving behind the anxiety was like leaving the backbone of who I am. I feel really content and have a control of my emotions and my stress. I am 'me" but calm.

      I wish for you happiness and peace.

  65. Thank you so much for stopping by and telling your story. I am happy that you are in therapy-- and you will find peace and understanding with your past. Keep on reading, researching, and digging too-- finding others like you found me can be so validating and so healing. I hope you find more so that you continue to feel surrounded by those who understand-- and know you are NOT crazy. I am sorry that you have experience the dysfunction and toxicity but you can get out of it... and you can find happiness. I completely understand where you are coming from and where you are right now-- I feel for you. Try to focus on the beauty around you. If you ever need to chat, feel free to email. Thank you again for commenting and sharing-- hugs!

  66. I accidentally (yes, again) bumped and hit the wrong button on my cell phone-- clicked 'delete' instead of 'publish'. UGH. So, here's Vinny's comment:

    Thanks for the info on TARA. A quick update about my visit to my ubpd mom. Your blog helped me admit and accept my border line disorder experience - something fuzzy and painful that I had earlier tended to stuff and deny. What I read about the disorder and journaled about my experience helped me prepare for the visit. By the time I visited my mom, I had resolved to set aside my (FOG - Fear, Obligation and Guilt) and speak up. I had no expectation except to tell her my truth. But this turned out to a slippery slope and I soon got very angry and sad - but I did not rage. My mom didn't seem to understand what I speaking about and denied and minimized what she heard and then started lashing out. A couple of days of cold treatment and crying later she asked me to forget the past and have courage in my therapy. She actually said that she needed my help (but then promptly declined to consider any suggestion of therapy or medications). Still I am grateful that atleast she heard me. I feel so relieved at having spoken up about this this dark treatment which I have held in out of fear of how she would react or the hurt that I would cause her. There is no more going back for me. I will now continue to set up and enforce boundaries. Funny thing - my sister who lives with my mom and is to afraid to broach this subject- said that she too feels so relieved that this trauma is now out in the open and my mom, whether she accepts it or not,cannot pretend that she doesn't know how she impacted me (and my sister and her children). Love and Peace to all. Vinny

  67. Having grown up during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s in a home with a Queen/Witch, when such behaviour was not really documented like it is today, I have always thought I should write a book. It turns out that that I didn’t have to as Christine Ann Lawson has done it for me. I couldn’t have written a more accurate description of living with a master manipulator, borderline mother, and am absolutely amazed at how many of the incidents described in the book actually happened to me, and members of my family. The book is a gem.

    My Dad was the typical co-dependent, who, although understood deep down that there was something ‘not right’ with my mother, spent his entire life trying to ‘keep the peace’ and urging the three children not to ‘upset mother.’ To try and help us he even used to make jokes and very aptly nicknamed her ‘The Voice.” The four of us spent our lives walking on eggshells. After 35 years of marriage to the Queen, and poor health, he unfortunately committed suicide. At the time it seemed unbelievable to me that she used to threaten suicide regularly, but he was the one to kill himself.

    I, being the eldest, and the bad child, discovered very early in life that it was pointless to ever try and reason with the woman. So I spent my entire childhood trying to stay out of her way, never trusting her and always fearing her. Even to the day she died, at the age of 87, I was uneasy being alone with her. One never knew when she would start ranting and raving and threatening suicide, and then just as quickly do the Jekyll and Hyde thing if the phone or doorbell rang. She seemed to take pleasure in humiliating me, and saying and doing things she knew would upset me. Almost anything I ever did or said would trigger off an uncontrollable rage. Strangely enough my sister (the good child) would sometimes do the same things, and of course, much to my disgust, she would be fine with that. One day, when I was already working, I bought a couple of dresses. The Queen didn’t approve of the shop I had bought them from. That night, whilst I was on a date, she found the dresses in my room and cut them up. When I got home, I was greeted with cut up dresses laid out in a trail from the front door to my bedroom door.

    My brother, being the middle child, had a different experience. Although he also witnessed many rages, and threatened suicide rantings, she never demeaned him as she continually did to me. He often found himself in the middle of conflicts between the Queen and myself. My sister, on the other hand, had a totally different experience, and in the eyes of the Queen could do absolutely nothing wrong. Even now, some 60 years down the line she cannot believe that we all grew up in the same house, and had such different experiences.

    Shopping sprees were the order of the day, and the Queen had cupboards full of dresses. She also had an image in her mind of what I should be wearing, and how I should do my hair, and if I didn’t comply, that was sure to trigger a rage, which would then be followed by a migraine, and necessitate bed rest, or even a visit to the doctor. In fact almost anytime my mother never got her own way, or disagreed with something, a rage would be triggered.

    At the time it seemed incredible to me that friends of mine actually had mothers whom they loved. In fact most of my friends thought my mother was just great. Nobody can understand what it’s like to live with a borderline Queen Witch, unless they have been through it themselves. In order to avoid the rages I tried to be as invisible as possible, and detached myself completely from the madness, trying not to ever show any emotion. This of course infuriated her even more.

    She fought with her own mother (my grandmother) when she was on her deathbed, and then didn’t attend her funeral.

    The only advice I can offer to any child who is living this nightmare is to mentally detach yourself until you are old enough, and then escape as soon as possible.

  68. Did you ever go through periods of estrangement / no contact with your mother? If not, how did you maintain a healthy perspective with such a disordered mother?

    Thank you so much for stopping by :) All my best to you.

  69. Thanks Gretel for taking the time to respond.

    I went through a phase for about 4 years after I was married when I never had any contact with her as I just couldn’t take it anymore, and she was upsetting my teenage daughter. Then a good friend of her’s son passed away, and I decided to call her, as I knew I would be seeing her at the funeral. She answered the phone and spoke to me as though nothing had ever happened, and when I did see her the following day at the funeral, no one would have ever guessed that we hadn’t had any contact for four years. (Only the child of a borderline mother would understand this).

    After that I decided to keep in contact with her, by now she was old (close to 80), I laid out boundaries, and the funny thing is, that I think in the end, she was the one ‘walking on eggshells’ as she at last, I think understood, that if she crossed the line, I would be gone. Although I had set boundaries, it was no easy matter keeping things on an even keel. For example, there was the daily telephone call …….. she never said hello when she called, I’d pick up the phone, and she’d immediately start raving on about whatever there was to complain about that day. I used to listen, pass appropriate comments, and zone out.

    1. I could have written this particular post. especially the part of the daily phone call where she does not even say hello, just rants and complains. I let her do it, with an occasional "uh huh" until she is spent, then she quickly ends the phone call. I am almost at the point where i can control my anxiety during and after the call. i imagine great big fortified walls around myself then zone out best i can.
      good lord, its good to know that i am not alone.
      thanks for your post.

    2. Thanks for your reply to my post, It certainly is most comforting to know, not to mention totally insane that so many people have been through this 'BPD dance' with a parent and are only now, so many years later (in my case over 60 years) discovering that they are not alone.

    3. As a younger person currently battling with a bp mother, I am eternally grateful that you both shared your stories. No matter what the age, sharing and connecting with others in similar situations only brings awareness to the topic and helps break the thank you!

  70. Intense... makes me sick to my stomach, hearing the verbal assaults and insults. I pray you have made it out of the lion's den. All my best to you.

  71. I am 16 and I have a borderline mother. She kicked my sister out of her house and sent my sister to live with my father when my sister was 17 for disrespecting her. Two weeks ago she kicked me out for not turning in some make-up work from two weeks of being home with a 103+ fever. Listen to us when we tell you that borderline mothers, truly, will say the most mean things that you could ever think of and what makes it worse is that it is your mother saying the things and what makes it even worse is that she means it, she never says sorry for it, and she rarely feels remorse for it. I have also read this book (My dad noticed her problem and had kept the knowledge from us until we got kicked out) and it really is a very informative, well written book.

  72. Is your father your enlightened witness? Do you realize that her actions are hers alone and that you have no control over her behavior? I wish you all the best-- glad you read the book as it's so valuable and rich. Thanks for stopping by!

  73. Wow! Thank you for this Blog and thank you everyone for sharing. Obviously we have all sat our butts down and needed to research and identify with others who are going through the BPD dance.

    Before I met my husband I'd never met anyone who could make people feel insane and crazy. The reason why we all research as it gets lonely when engaging BPD. When I first met my husband he was depressed, always uncertain and confused about every decision, overly nice to the point of no wisdom, and enmeshed with his very dysfunctional but ever so "christian" family.

    Finally, he told me about his mother and I thought surely he is sensitive ad I was studying Counseling on my Masters levels and know there is always two sides of the story. He didn't really want me to meet her and on my first 9 day visit (as we were getting serious), all I have to say is Whew. I married this awesome man and we have never stopped dealing with this "witch"...we call her the "pharisee" always upholding the LAW of the Bible but never really practicing it herself. She can't control slander or gossip...she shops and buys gifts for everyone (very impulsive)...she talks very highly of herself and ministry, but totally disses anyone else doing what God has called them too. She has a higher calling it seems. Her husband is a codependent, very nice, follow the leader type man.

    I wish i could tell you all the letters, the harassment on voice mail, the wedding she went on a rampage to stop because we didn't do thing her way, the underhanded comments to people right in front of her, her not showing up to her granddaughters brith! Why? because she was at some Iraqi baby shower and couldnt make it. She lived close by. She didn't show up because my family was there and she never shares time....She sat through our wedding and every picture is of her scowling. She has one favorite golden child and two bad ones who are amazing citizens and nothing bad can be said about them but she makes things up. I'm now the target of her dislike because we moved far away to the carribean. So I stole her husband and don't value family supposedly, my family lives closer this way.

    Her other family members have been through intense therapy but stay pretty faithful, my husband and I have pulled away with no contact which she won't respect! Why are they so evil, bitter and angry to people who love them and are kind and gosh my husband tried up until several months ago to appease her so much until enough was enough...Now his family looks at him like he is a sinner for not forgiving and loving her like they all do every damn day.

    She spiritually and verbally abuses us! She talks to us like we are stupid and ignorant and will never know what we are doing. She defitnetly self-projects. I finally told her on our last visit that she needs help and prob meds too. I told her that she is a constant liar and a perfect waste of a good mother! I caught her talking so bad about us in the spa and i'm convinced she knew we were listening as she lives for drama. My father in law is so blind he is becoming estranged too as he won't believe she needs help or won't tell us if she is or she would flip on him. She keeps sending our daughter gifts and asking if we got them...of course we have, but she wants a thank you from us. What do we do?! We are committed to no contact till there is healing for my husband as she tears him up every time.

    I can't stand her....And what she has done to my husband who is the sweetest kindest guys ever. She doesn't wanna see him succeed....she tells him what his life "should" like like all the time. Should I write her breifly and say please do not write us as we wont respond? They are going far away to help orpan as they feel not needed by family anymore so they are going to burma!!!?

  74. Thank you for stopping by. I love your comment, "Obviously we have all sat our butts down and needed to research and identify with others who are going through the BPD dance." So true :) You sure have a story-- and I appreciate you sharing yours with us.

  75. Thank you from the bottom of my survivor heart for writing this blog. Your story is my story, down to the last detail, and it is very healing to know others have gone through the exact same experience.
    As I read the comments of others, I can't help but think that we are all brothers and sisters, united in our suffering, surviving, and desire for health and normalcy.
    I have found healing in having wonderful relationships with women who are my mother's age, but who love me and care for me. I have also found healing in raising two healthy children who do not have a borderline mother! I get to BE the mother I never got: loving, caring, firm, fair, predictable, sincere, fun, clear, safe, warm, home.
    I wish all of us peace and continued healing.

  76. Powerful words that brought me to tears. So eloquently put. Same to you-- peace and continued healing... hugs!

  77. I'm just recently realizing my mom has BPD. She has also been diagnosed with bi-polar. I'm just kinda fearful I might have BPD to a certain extent too. How do you know if you have it too? I seem to mimic a lot of the behaviors however I'm not violent, and can have long term relationships. I take more of a passive approach to people, but I'm always building them up and complimenting others... I don't know. Can children of BPD's become BPD themselves?

    1. Yes, the children of BPD's can become BPD themselves or have another psychological / personality disorder manifest. Read: I hope this helps. All my best to you and yours.

  78. I have only just understood that my mother is borderline. She has put me thru hell my entire life. i am an only child to a crazy single mother. i didnt even have any witnesses to her madness, her meanness, her resentment of me, her hate... she only showed it to me, and was the poor victim to everyone else. she demonised me, spoiled brat, ungrateful child and later... slut.
    I am now 42 years old, am married and have 2 children. I live in Australia, having moved across the world in my attempt to flee from her. the guilt has follwed me all the way here, even after 15 years of having left.
    she came to visit me recently, she vilified my 10 year old and thought my 12 year old was an angel. I had to ask her to leave. she went on a hunger strike for 3 days and did not take her diabetic medicine, wanting to die at my house so i would have to look at her, knowing i did this to her.
    Since she has left (thank god, safe and sound and the hell away from me and my family), i am struggling with how i feel about her (maybe i am crazy too). I dont want her in my life, she repulses me. i dont want to talk to her be near to her, hug her... but she is my mother and i feel sorry for her being so alone (though she did orchestrate that). i am just now sure how i am supposed to feel about her. I have so much anxiety, which i am just now medicating as i dont think this will ever leave me. i am over blaming her, hating her, and generally having a pity party over myself not having had a great family life nor childhood, but what do i do about her. does she have a place in my life? can i live with the guilt of just cutting her out of it? that is driving me crazy. I still call her, and brace myself against her, which is better than being surprised by a call from her, which can send me in an anxiety tailspin for hours.
    good lord, who knew this was possible after so many years away from her.
    i remember being 15 years old and thinking..."just wait it out, get an education, get some money and leave and never come back', yet emotionally i am still there, a prisoner to her.

    thank god for these sites. i am not crazy, i am not awful, i am not alone.

    god bless.

    1. I moved to the United States to get away from my mother. I just 2 years ago found out what is going on with her. As soon as I realized that she is borderline I read Lawson's book and then started therapy for PTSD. I am now starting EMDR therapy hoping to rid myself from flashbacks. Thank you all for sharing your stories. It helps to know that I am not the only one going through this!

    2. What is PTSD and EMDR therapy?

    3. Thanks for the explanation and information.

    4. Wow, English is not your first language and you write that well? That's so cool!

    5. Thanks! I needed to learn how to be efficient in English. It was one of my survival tactics. It was easier for me to start life on a different continent then to stay in near proximity of my mother. It’s all part of the healing process!

  79. @npseals:

    Take a look at the following questions. If you answer "yes" to most of them, a diagnosis of BPD is possible:

    • Does she see you in one of two modes: either a hateful person who never loved her or a source of blessed, unconditional love?

    • Does he continually put you in no-win situations? When you try to explain that his position is the opposite of what he said earlier, does it bring on more criticism?

    • Is everything always your fault? Are you the target of constant criticism?

    • Are there times when everything seems normal and you're on her good side-even idealized-but then for no obvious reason everything falls apart?

    • When he's angry, does it degrade into a take-no-prisoners, vicious attack that leaves you reeling?

    • Does she use fear, obligation, and guilt to get her way? Do you feel so manipulated that you don't trust her anymore?

    • Are you starting to doubt your own sense of reality? Has constant exposure to his skewed sensibility, combined with isolation from family and friends, made you feel like Dorothy confounded in the strange Land of Oz?

    And yes, BPD possibly is genetic:

  80. I have been speaking to a someone about my mother lately. it feels really good to talk to someone who understands the pathology and how it has affected me. I have found that in my case, it is not necessary to cut contact with her. I have been out of contact with her before and have been racked with feelings of guilt. We live in different cities so i dont have to see her nor have my children have alot of contact with her, so i my barriers and stand behind them when we talk on the phone, i listen to her, without expecting much from her, i dont argue with her, I dont try to understand why. Yes, it is a superficial relationship, with no means or intent on change, but she is my mother and i think this is the most liveable and least guilt provoking solution for me. I must remember to never want more from her, let go of wanting her approval, her validation of me. i must remember not to shift those barriers,which keep me safe from her verbal and mental abuse, no matter how better she seems. I feel sorry for her. I feel a certain tenderness for her but i will never again let myself become entangled in her web. This isnt my fault, in fact, her problems have nothing to do with me. I can not help her and i could not have done a single thing differently to make things better for her. There is disease and there is also an element of responsibility on her part.

    I am an adult, not under her control anymore. I am in charge of my life and my happiness. I will not continue this cycle of abuse. I am not a victim. I have found strength in myself through my challenges. I am a strong person. I am a survivor. I am resilient.

    I move forward into the world with love and forgiveness and leave the pain behind.

    I wish for you all the same. thank you all so much for your posts. this site has really helped me understand myself and my mother and the things that happened. I felt so alone for so long, and now i feel that i have a support network of people who know exactly what it was like. Thank you.

  81. Thank you all so much for your posts and for your blog. It is amazing that the patterns are so similar. As many before me have said - I could have written much of this myself. I was one of those children of BPD that truly believe it was all my fault, I just couldn't seem to be what she wanted. I spent 30+ years not trusting my own judgement, in a constant state of vigilence, and holding my childhood and mother a secret as I was sure I would inherit it and was shamed. It took being told by a fantastic therapist that I was certifyably not BPD or BiPolar and to truly start to see it wasn't me. I've been No-contact for 10 years but my mother continues to be my own personal terrorist. Threatens to show up, sends constant hate mail, tracks me down, etc. It's pretty easy for your mother to stalk you, as she knows all your information. Regardless, no-contact is a necessary evil. I once said to her "imageine how much having contact with you must hurt me, for a child to activley chose to never see her mother again". As you can guess it was all my fault...

    I think growing up with a BPD mom is something that becomes woven into your fabric, your new normal. But that doesn't mean we can't heal. I was blessed with a daughter who helped me by giving me a chance to be the mother I always wished I'd had. and each day I heal a little bit - with each time I hold a boundary, each time I trust my judgement, and each time I show kindness. Good luck to you all and thanks so much for sharing - it is the best possible therapy.

  82. That sentence about your mother 'being your own personal terrorist' - I absolutely understand and identify with that. It's like dealing with the enemy your whole life !!

  83. I am a young mother with two children. I have been diagnosed with BPD for about three years now. I haven't read your book, but I did read your wensite. The one thing in the world I want most is to be the greatest mother I can be to my kids. And luckily, I haven't gotten so far as your mother, I am currently in the process in seeing a psychi&psycholo and getting into the right schema and DBT therapies. I just want you to know that I am sorry you grew up that way, you are lucky you didn't develop BPD yourself, I got it from my mother, she sounds EXACTLY like your mother. That is why I dont behave that way towards my children. I just wanted to say your story is inspiring and it just makes me want to recover so much more! Thanks.

    1. You are an insperation! BPD can be overcome with dedication and hard work. Your children will thank you. I wish my mother would have looked at herself and decided to fix her behavior instead she blamed me and my dad for everything!

  84. Hi Grettel Ella maybe my loose comments all over the place don't really paint the picture of my life...I'm 18 years old now. My mother has always been the WITCH but the behaviour increases with time. I live with her and in short, every day I feel it's getting more difficult to hold on and get through this horrible life. I know a lot of children say they still love their mother but I just can't. It's too exhausting and too painful and hating is just much more tolerable. I'm an optimist,all my friends know my history but I don't always need to talk about it so the hating is not an active part of my life. When I'm at school or just out I want to enjoy myself and forget about that terrorist back home. She hates motherhood and would like that I would look after myself completely (cook, clean, wash,...)because she does not want to take care of anyone but if I give in to that I'll only end up being her personal slave so I don't. She does not love me at all, that's chrystal clear. She bullies me, puts me down, says that I'm the one with BPD, that I'm the one who breaks families apart and so on. So she goddamn knows well what she's doing but she projects all of that on me. I'm almost starting my own life, going to college next year. Do you have any advice for me about how I should start to "delete" her from life? How on earth can I love her if she says she wouldn't mind if I "would take a rope and hang yourself"...

    1. "Deleting" her from your life is a personal decision and one that takes a great deal of introspect, insight, and thought. From all you discussed, you have been through the ringer. Life is short and valuable, and you should be treated with respect and love. If you have given the relationship opportunities to become healthy and mutually beneficial yet the relationship remains toxic, destructive, and dysfunctional, breaking free of the abuse is necessary to say the least. Giving her kindness and consideration when she has not shown the same toward you (in regard to your decision to delete her) is honorable; however, you need to look after yourself and your happiness. Do what you need to for peace in your life. You are 18-years old with an entire life ahead of you. Grab life by the horns, determine to be happy, and don't let anyone / anything stop you. You know what you have endured, and you know what's right / wrong. I wouldn't let anyone treat me like that or talk to me like that-- even my mother. I hope this helps. All my best <3

  85. I was at my psychologist yesterday and she said that while my BPD mother was cruel and manipulative, not all BDP sufferers were. Is that possible?

    1. Yes, the Waif and the Hermit BPD mothers may not be cruel and manipulative like the Queen and Witch. The Waif looks to others to "save them," but ultimately refuse assistance because helplessness makes them feel safe. Ironically, if they mistrust everyone and let no one get close, they stay in control and no one can abandon or disappoint them. Waifs may hurt themselves to express shame, but they are capable of raging if they feel rejected or abandoned. They don't ask for what they need, then appear Martyr-like because others can't read their minds and give it to them. Waifs may have crying spells and be unable to give nurturing to others. The Hermit has a hard shell makes these BPs appear confident, determined, independent, and even socially graceful. But it's a veneer. Like many BPs, hermits show one face to the world and another to everyone else. Close family members experience, "distrust, perfectionism, insecurity, anxiety, rage and paranoia" (2000). They hold everyone to same ideal of perfection, punishing others by raging or shutting them out. Hermits fear losing themselves, which translates into possessiveness about their belongings.

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  87. Thanks for creating this blog, Gretel. My Moms is probably too 'high-functioning' to ever hit the radar as a diagnosed BPD sufferer. But from what I have read, she fits a classic Queen/Witch pattern. Even though I am not too keen on labeling people, it is incredibly important to discover that I am not the only one to have been through this horrendous 47-year nightmare. The endless accusations, splitting, narcissism and psychological punishments against so many who are in her reach. Her outrageous slander and manipulation has caused havoc in our family. And, for my part, there has been my deep guilt and compassion towards her - coupled with intense anger and fear of her rage. I broke from her (again) seven months ago, following my brother who did it 10 years ago, and now feel like a dejected teen again, lost in a world of depression and anxiety. But, I am in therapy, and have survived so far. Hopefully, I will make it through... And hopefully, this terrible complex will become more widely known and understood.

  88. As you say, it is so incredibly important to discover that you are not the only one to have been though this horrendous experience. Christine Ann Lawson's book Understanding the Borderline Mother should be made into a movie so that it can reach many many more people who are living, or who have lived this nightmare.

  89. Dear Gretel Ella

    I must confess that I have not yet read your book but intend to get a copy soon. I have suspected that my mother fits into this category for years now but I suppose one never wants to see the truth when it hurts so much. As a child I could never decide whether my mother was doing the nasty mean things on purpose or not. It simply did not make sense and the only way to understand it would be to label it as "sickness". Reading the other comments I think she fits with the "Waif" description. She has taken to her bed for the last 25 years for no reason that anyone can understand. She also has depression and a lot of anxiety. When I was 18 and completed high school I understood on some level that I had to get away. I moved and have a wonderful family of my own. I visit rarely and keep things superficial on the phone. My children have no relationship to speak of with her. Recently my father died. This has made her much worse. She has not grieved and expresses only anger that he has left her. I find it fascinating that although she treats many other people badly she is not openly hostile to me. She will never shout, rage or cut me off. In many ways I wish she would. Instead I feel compassion for her because she seems to be "trying" more than she does with others. Ofcourse I often feel manipulated when she appears to be co-operating but actually behaves in very inconsiderate ways.

    I have a difficult decision to make. I know that she cannot take care of herself physically and I need to get her into a frail care home. She wants to be "rescued" but she is also resisting any change. If I leave her to her own devices she might destroy herself, if I make arrangements without her consent she might destroy herself. I am not sure which scenario will be easier for me to live with. It feels that as a child of someone with BPD one is always choosing between bad and worse ...

    1. Hoping you find peace in the difficult decision you have to make-- my thoughts are with you. And yes, "as a child of someone with BPD one is always choosing between bad and worse ..." you so eloquently put that. Keep your chin up-- things WILL get brighter and happier.

    2. Hi Gretel. Your blog above, oh wow what can I say. So much is familiar to my whole life.
      My relationship with my mother, borders between love and hate.
      It was only recently I realised that she was BPD. My sister and I have been through so much, and only later on in life we discovered the similar traits we have, in dealing with conflict, life, relationships and confrontation.
      Recently my father passed away, leaving a huge hole in my life, and the burden of my mothers future.
      She lives in South Africa with very understanding family, and I in the UK, so contact is minimal, thankfully.
      I am only now in my late 30's beginning to realise what an emotional wreck I actually am. Thats a positive thing though as now I can begin to heal and make things right.
      I have spent my whole life destroying good relationships and never letting anyone into my "inner circle".
      Most of my childhood I have packed away, and remember very little. Its only when my sister and I get together and talk, that it all comes flooding back.
      I have a wonderful partner and a beautiful and successful daughter who tells me I am wonderful, so I have done something right.
      Your blog made me feel like I was not alone, thank you.

  90. Thanks you Gretel for creating this blog! I know now I am not the only one. I thought I could finally feel safe but then she intruded again. I had to do it again. I hope this is it for a while! Even though I live far away from my mother (who is borderline) she is still able to get to me....somehow. She tried to get back in touch with me--or wait: she planned to make her new boyfriend (who she cheated on my father with) call me and explain her situation. I had to write one last e-mail that I do not want any contact and then had to change my e-mail address and phone number. I ended up with 4 days of anxiety and my post traumatic stress syndrome flared up. I feel better now and I hope she cannot get in touch with me anymore. She is very toxic! Setting clear, and in my case drastic boundaries are my only chance for survival.

  91. I need to divorce my BPD mother, as she continues to ruin my life. I'm 28 now. I've grown to hate her. The older I get the more I see through all the manipulation, and the angrier I become.

  92. I too have discovered recently through therapy that my mother is a borderline. I am 49 yrs. old. My mother went to work when I was 9 and my sister was 7, against my father's wishes we were too young to stay home alone before and after school. Well, from then on I was my sister's mom. My mom never took me to a hair salon ( in all my photos my hair is way too long) a nail salon, she forgot many of my birthdays. I would cry on my birthday as there was no party and no presents. She would claim she was waiting for me to tell her what I wanted. Really? She's such a liar and manipulator. She still doesn't acknowledge my birthday and now my 2 children don't get presents for their birthdays or Christmas, but she gets my brother and my sister's kids gifts. She has singled me out to be the scapegoat for some reason. As of today she booked cabins for my brother, sister and their kids, because it is her birthday. She knew my family couldn't make it as we are leaving for vacation tomorrow. My family is available all the rest of the days of summer, but for one week and she booked the trip for the rest of my family to attend. She told me that the resort was all booked up the rest of the months of summer, but I called the resort and they said they had full availability all next month. So, another lie. My mom writes me nasty letters telling me I am not welcome at her house and says mean things about me and carbon copies my siblings these kinds of letters. The part that is most disturbing and hurtful are my 2 siblings don't reply to me after receiving her nasty letters. I have wished they would say they know the things she says aren't true, but they say they love her and defend her, not me. They minimize my childhood experiences, and my one sister has idealized my mom, and her childhood. Once when we were kids, my sister was getting tackled at the beach by her friend's father, and he groped me in the car and both of us at the pizza parlor. I left the beach with my sister, told my mom what he was doing to us and why we left. Later that summer my mom sent my sister on a plane with her friend to go and stay at his house! Needless to say upon arriving at his house within 5 minutes he was on top of my sister molesting her. The last conversation I had with my mom she criticized my behavior during the last time we got together, it was last year at Christmas. I have decided today that I am no longer interested in having a relationship with her as she is too devisive and too toxic to my mental health. She has threatened to disinherit me several times the last few years. My children don't spend any time alone with her and hardly ever have spent time alone with her. I made sure I was always there to supervise. Anyway, I'm just sad that my siblings side with her, but she has lots of money (my brother) and my sister is still seeking her approval. Sad but true. The rest of you, take care and decide what's in your best interests.

  93. It's a relief to know others have suffered the same - and it also makes me sad because no one should suffer like this. The similarities are comforting though. My mother:

    - is obese, she can't sleep at night and sits up eating and reading. She hides food under her bed, but every time you talk to her she will look you dead in the eye you how she's 'lost weight', and how she’s on a limited food intake and that she doesn’t eat at night
    - she has been a 'lady of leisure’ for the last 20 years and all she has done is shop. She constantly buys shoes and when she's not buying them for herself she's making my sister and i look for shoes
    - she will make statements that change mid-sentence like "I've always liked the colour blue the most" me> "i thought purple was your favourite colour" her> "It is"
    - She still cunningly uses a 'divide and conquer' mentality to make sure all our family members remain distant and distrustful of each other. If any of us show signs of getting friendly she flies into rages and picks a topic that she uses to cause a rift between the newly friendly family members
    - she denies any troubles in our family, but when forced to, she will acknowledge them obliquely, but then at the same time justify them and simultaneously shift the blame to others. The physical and emotional abuse is justified with “we always had a roof over our heads” “we never went hungry” etc
    - all gifts or acts of help are catalogued mentally by her and used as strings later on
    - she loves to hate Asians, Muslims and refugees > she manages to rant about them in every conversation you have with her
    - she flies into a panic and rage every time my step dad (allegedly) looks at other women, or if he wants to visit his family, or if he needs to go away for work
    - she loves a good fight and is always embroiled in some self-righteous battle, she particularly loves legal battles and always finds a new one as soon as the previous one is resolved

    Ohh – I could go on and on, but I just wanted to share some of her traits so others might also feel not so alone in crazy land.

  94. Over the last year or so, I have come to hate my BPD mother. She was accidentally diagnosed after having one therapy session with my therapist at the time, 7 years ago. He told me it would break patient confidentially, but he felt he had to tell me so that I can know the truth and start healing. She has never accepted this, and thus quit therapy after one session. She feels she has nothing wrong with her, it's everyone else. Then she threatened to sue the therapist.

    I read once that children of BPD moms cannot find suitable Mother's Day cards. This is exactly how I feel. They don't fit our relationship. She is mean, mean, mean. Cruel and vindictive. She gossips and complains about everyone. She is never satisfied with anything. She is prejudiced and hates so many people. She has tried to ruin every relationship I've had with a man.

    She has called me every name in the book, from idiot to wh**e. Wh**e came because I was talking to my fiance' who is 38 (I am 42) on her phone late one night, and had recently gotten divorced. Really nasty names, in public even! She slapped me in front of hundreds of people when I was 18. She can never call me on the phone and say "hello" in a nice way. It's always fake.

    The last bad thing she did was to call my fiance's parents and leave them a nasty phone message telling them that they need to have his head examined. They had never done anything mean to her, but now want nothing to do with her. She also told me "just remember, he will never marry you. He would have given you the ring already." She says I am brainwashed by his family, just because I prefer to hang around them as they are normal, happy and nice to me!

    She loves to tell my young boys and me that we will be wailing over her coffin when she dies. This statement is the best.

    So, I have to protect myself and my children from her until she gets therapy. And my father is so codependent and beat down by her, that he does nothing.

    I am learning to accept that it's ok to leave her. I had major guilt about this, but I cannot and do not deserve to live this way. Just sharing. It's amazing the way BPDs are so much alike.

    I am the daughter of an emotional terrorist, and I am not afraid to admit it.

  95. So thankful I found this site. THANK YOU! It’s so good to know I’m are not alone.

    I am turning 26 in 4 days and getting married in 34 days! I am worried about my mother and her behavior at our wedding. I have a half sister who is 6 years younger than me and still lives at home. I worry about her and my mother acts completely irrational. About two months ago my mother decided that my step-father tried to strangle her and filed a police report. My sister and I have completely different fathers, and my step-father stepped in and married her when I was 12. My father I found out passed away without me ever getting to meet him and my sister’s father ran out before she was ever born. (Notice a trend?) Anyways my father’s job was put in danger (just a couple years before he is about to retire) due to the domestic abuse case she filed.
    How do I get past this with my wedding right around the corner? First off she never even told me about any of this, I had to hear it from my step-dad and sister.

    She has been nothing but completely fake to me for the past 3 months. Every time I do see her she has a lovely little surprise “gift” for me. It’s as though she is trying to get me “on her side.” And the worst part is how I just have to shut up and deal with her lies and deceit? How can I confront her without causing a huge fight before my wedding? The answer is I can’t I have to bite my tongue and deal with her nonsense. She says the rudest things even when she is trying to be nice. Saying things like my fiancĂ© is a nice guy and it’s too bad that’s all he has to offer me. She infuriates me and I have to just grin and bear it. She even tried to come with us on our honeymoon to Hawaii! Thank goodness I was able to resolve that one without a massive blow out…

    Does anyone else notice fights and blowouts around the full moon? Maybe that is just with my mom but it seems to be a cycle kind of crazy…Every full moon she gets into a screaming match with either my step-dad or sister. My step-dad has just moved out and they are officially separated. So now it is just my little sister stuck there with her. I actually gave my sister a book “Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder.” To help her deal with living with mom. My mom in one of her crazy rages where she decided to search thought my sister’s room, came across it and decided to take it and keep it. Now she is convinced its my step-dad who is the borderline. There is no winning with her!

  96. Thanks for your article.I reached this page while googling for borderline mother. Its relieving to know that there are people out there facing same issues as mine.I am 33 and living with a borderline mother.As my father passed away 5 years , i am bound to take care of her.But she drives me nuts. She is always scheming and plotting against all our relatives ,neighbors and friends.She never says a good word about anyone. Even if she says it today willchange it next day. Because of this everyone has distanced from us.She rarely cooks anything for me and is always complaining that she is tired of all the work she has to do at home. You should see the way she describes all the jobs she has to do at our home to other people and make people sympathize with her.I am tired of all this.Its a living hell.On one side i am guilty of thinking like this about my mother but on the other side i know if i continue like this i will go mad. I doubt if i am turning a border line myself..

  97. Thanks for sharing your story Gretel, I can really relate to a lot of the situations you've described. Unfortunately I've also been raised by a mother with borderline personality disorder and it was very difficult for me. I read Christine Ann Lawson's book earlier this year and I agree that it is a must read for people with parents like this.

    You make a very good point when you say that it's just far too lenient to say, "Well, she simply couldn't help herself" because she could. I have the same experiences, my mother often acted in an extremely sadistic manner towards me which I really detested. But the thing I almost hated even more was that she indeed could turn her rages and sadistic behavior on & off like a light switch the moment another person entered or left the room. I would still be trembling as a result of all the hurtful things she had just said and done while she would be acting like nothing had happened at all. She was and still is able to convince others that she's such a kind and loving person and makes them believe that she indeed is the helpless victim instead of the sadistic aggressor. Growing up for me felt like living in a warzone, yet it was a secret war that nobody else knew about. This war left me shattered and I unfortunately experienced depression at a very young age but somehow managed to survive, but it's still a struggle though.

    I'm very glad to have found this website and I'll definitely be following your blog from now on. Take care!

  98. Well, i thought things were getting better between my family and I, but now I am unsure. Last year, i felt so much better despite my autism and adhd, becaue i started the paleo diet. it seemed to get rid of the paranoia. my mind was clearer, and the family didn;t have as many fights. but now, it's like it's right backthere again. I don't know if my mother is the BPD or I am, but she claims she never abused me, and I KNOw for a FACt that my father is her enabler. no. 1, he's autistic like i am, andshe has outlined plans to -get him- to me several times, as well as her palsn to -show the neighbors-. oh yeah. I am abusive and it's allMY fault. it has gotten to where Idon't care if i abuse Her, becaue she knows all those passive tricks to manipulate her the healthy way, and i can;t win. she outlasts me, becaue just talking to anyone exhausts me, due to the autism. I donot know what to do. they keep kicking me out of the house, but i am 29 and i cannot work. I get unwell when i try, so much so that i sobbed every morning and night beore work, and saw black bugs fro msheer stress, just crawling all over me, li that scene with teh flesh-eating scarabs in The Mummy. Every time i try to find a way to move out, it feels like it's snatched aaway from me. But maybe I'm borderline too, because lately I've been very abusive to Them as well. i am unsure as to why this started happening... i thought we were doing good, and then i just got so sick of their crap all at once. they don't even respect me enough to not figh twhile I'm in teh room. i wish could move out. or fix them. but it's not up to me. it's up to them, and i am so mad at myself for not being able to find a way out of this. my one friend that i could move in with probably will not be a good idea, and i cnat get SSi without getting them to take me to the bank to get my name off the insurance, becaue it needs their signautre. and they keep- forgetting- to take me. gees. i love them, i just can;t stand them anymore. every time i think it's going better, they start their shit, and i feel like abusing them becaue it's theonly thing left to me. I know it;s wrong, but i really don;t care anymore. they keep saying they're doing NOTHING wrong. that is sp disrespectful, i don;t care how much i yell at them anymore. I'm sorry. i fail you guys doing taht ,probably. but ihonestly have no regrets. regrests are the mind killer, after so long being under the pall of a woman who -did nothing to you.-

    urg. my friends are sick of hearing me talk about this. i thought i was done doing it, too.. i don't understand what the trigger for this was... she wnats to kick me out again... i just want my mommy and daddy not to yell anymore. any sane person would be throwing galsses and screaming for them to shut up too. no matter how many -good- techniqes I employ, she always finds a way to outlast me. nobody seems to care about this. but, if there is one solace i have, it;s that the neighbors don't like her. that should tell peopel something, i guess. although,being autistic, i might be reading it completely wrong and never now it. why oh why, etc, etc.

  99. ohfor god's sakes. i jsut posted this long message nad it ate it. URGGGG. ragevent. anyway..

    i have no clue why this is hpapening again. My mother wnats to kick me out. again. this threat ha become normal in our household. i am a 29 year old autistic woman who has to live t home due to severa anxiety which causes me to hallucinate if i try to work. i caught the flu once it made me so sick; it was my first and only job. my parents claim I'm the mentally ill one, when my mothe plots against my dad and the neighbors, then outlines her plot to me. like she expects me to approve. creepy psycho bitch. i love them, but i do not have to li them. i cna;t move out. they keep saying they wil ltake me to teh bank to take my name off my insurance ( it needs their signature) but guess what? they keep -forgetting-. Either I am dangerously paranoid and BPD myself(i put myself on the paleo diet nad many of my symptoms of fog and confusion have iproved) or they are dangerous to me and keeping me from getting out. the thought of getting out makes me so happy... but it fels lie a pipe dream... i can;t get my hands on any money, and am not asking for any, i just.. it's so easy for me to be confused. She has outlined to me plans to -get- the neighbors- through ehr gardening, or tp -get- dad with some dumb shaving cream or frying pan plot or whatever ..not murder,but a revenge nonsense thing, yeah? i am not like that. i do not do those things. Why does she? i don;t get it. nobody believes me. i can;t get out. But I am still here. getting more and more abusive for some reason, but still here.

    ahem. last year was beautifl for me, like an awakening that made all this seem behind me. What happened??? bow i am mad at them for being mad at each other and claiming they are not arguing, which if you pay attention to body language at all is complete rubbish, and I find myself throwing things at the floor and screaming at them and calling the mnames to get them to shut up and stop fighting. i dont understand why i disintegrated??? seh says things, nd then claims she didn't. she does things, and claims she never did. he is her willing blood slave and jumps on me whenever she -feels threatened-, and she acts like she is dying and it just.. bunrs me. it really does. maybe she DOes have more medical problems, but god damn it, she is cruel and she abuses you thorugh emotional-psychological crap, and somebody else besides me needs to realize this and accewpt it as fact, becaue it is what she doe sand I ahve seen her do it to dad. even He has acknowledged that there is a problem, but he chickens out when she goes after his mental sweet spots. I don;t anymore. i kick her ass, psyhologcailly, or try to anyway but she is too um... inundated by her own self-loathing to even realize, and ends up wearing me out, becaue she knows i can; tolerate any socailizing very much without getting worn out and confused. she knows this. if that is not abuse that deserves some of its own right bak, I don't know what is. I don;t understand why I feel the need to do it to her back though.. i thought i was over that. I dont understand.

  100. The BPD parent can be exhausting. My mother in law Was very destructive to my life,marriage, and family since the day I met her. Being a mental health professional, I thought I could hang in there because I loved my husband. But, no matter how ridiculously wrong or much she sabotaged our lives just to get more attention than his wife and children. He would stand up for her with yet another excuse because he has been so manipulated by her all his life.She got what she wanted and has no remorse.

  101. Am having a real problem with rage toward my BPD mother and all the family members who unflinchingly supported her. Got sucked back in when my father was dying (everyone loved him, although he just validated her - one of the mottos of his life listed on the funeral notice was "Never make judgements"), but quickly started a "no contact" policy after getting burned again (my Dad died shortly afterward, leading to feelings of guilt, and no doubt further slander from my mother to the rest of our family).

    I had just met (again) with them (father and mother) and noticed she was getting worse with age, verbally and emotionally abusing my father. Afterwards it was a busy week so didn't email them, then got a very angry email from my father saying my mom was enraged because I hadn't contacted them, and that I was "ungrateful" for the 50$ she had given me. I immediately wrote back to thank them for the fine restaurant meal and conversation and to say I was astonished that "they" were so angry. I immediately got a reply back from him angry because "I knew what they meant" and hadn't properly thanked them for the 50$. I wrote back saying I'd send them "proper (?)" thank you on Monday, but then decided to skip it (emotionally couldn't bring myself to do it - perhaps it was passive-resistance antagonism?). Sure enough, I get it from both barrels - both my mom and dad wrote back with very angry emails heaping abuse on me. WOW.

    I wrote back telling them normal people don't act like that, promising to return the 50$, and telling them never to contact me again ("I don't need that cr@p in my life."). My dad died shortly afterward, and I was only sent notice after the funeral was safely over. Ugg.

  102. Quite amazing Mike, your story is my story. From experience over many years, I can safely say there is absolutely no way you can reason with the person, the only thing to do is to listen, stay calm, pass appropriate comments and ZONE OUT, then carry on with your life.

  103. I am 40 years old, and newly discovered BPD mother. I have read through your testimonies and am not sure what to do next. (I have ordered the book) Although, my BFF has commented, that I need to think about what I want in a relationship from her.
    I once text her out of the blue "I love you mommie" and she text back "I mostly love you too." She is a texting monster.... she won't call me. I have tried to set a boundary of no texting. She doesn't listen. She text me about a month ago "I am dead to u". These texts break my heart. I only respond with "call me". When she does call she talks only about her job and acts as if everything is fine with us. The numerous times I call her she doesn't answer. She is on-call for her job so she has her phone with her at all times.
    I have never tried to figure her out...till my daughter now 19 has stopped having contact with her. She refused to come to her 18th B-Day party and Graduation. She stated that she "was tired", then posts on FB her and her other grandchild playing in the yard. I do not know how to keep a relationship with her and not betray my daughter's privacy. She calls my daughter names "spoiled", "bullheaded", etc. to me all the time. I have a daughter who is stronger than me, but very loving.
    This relationship really got bad about a year ago. When my mother demanded that I co-sign for her to buy a motorcycle. Then she text me demanding that I give her my (I am married) tax refund. So that she could get a motorcycle. (we owed taxes) Then a week later she went on a vacation with her boyfriend and his daughter.
    Mother's Day is ruined for my life. Looking for a card feels like a waste of time. I receive hateful text early in the A.M. on Mother's Day, and it doesn't stop. "call me" I respond.
    She is extremely jealous of my father....who I have also not had contact with for (well since my daughter's graduation) last year. My parents divorced when I was two. And she still seems to want me to pick between them two.
    I should have planned this rambling out before I started typing. Thanks for letting me vent. Hope someone feels better from my story.

    1. Thank you for sharing. My hope is that you find peace and internal resolution with your situation. I know this road is tough... hang in there. Let us know what you think of the book-- it was a tremendous help for me.

  104. I'm so ashamed at how I've hurt my 16 year old. I know I am an undiagnosed BPD mother. I know my mother was as well. I know there are no words to take away her pain and what she feels...I'm sorry, won't do it. Is it best if she lives with a family who can offer her more stability-I'm sorry for being this way. There is a very good, kind part of me...

    1. All the non-BP's of the world only wish the kindness that shone through you to overcome the darkness shines on with their BP's.

  105. I think we should see them as hurting people that need to heal from their own issues. It gets easier when we stop hoping them to be a normal parents to us. Maybe we can try to find parental figure in other people. And in ourselves...
    All the best,

  106. I tried to post something on 9/10, 9/11 (??) Anyway, all the symptoms are true ---- yo-yo Ma, roller coaster, SILENCE SILENCE SILENCE for days, weeks, months -- even when my Mom didn't speak to my sister for over 2 years and then later when she didn't speak to my brother for over 2 years. I'm single, feel obligated to take care of her, so I'm the closest target. Oh well, after 40 years of this, I'm just going to start spending a lot of time away from home, and indulge in other things and finding new, more interesting people and activities. It's a long life when you hold everything inside and it just eats at you.

  107. Well this post matches my story as far as the borderline mom goes, younger brother, mom cheated, king dad. all you wrote I lived through and more, my dentist calls me his Vietnam vet without the Vietnam due to my teeth, my dentist got a retired VA dentist in to deal with my teeth. He said he had never seen a female with "combat damage" teeth. I used to break my teeth under the gum line in my sleep. not grinding breaking from night trauma. from her. I really feel for all the people who just found this info. My mother killed my pet, she was a nurse so she could fix a lot of the physical damage she did to us. I never forget the day she came home happy from work I asked why she said she had won the lottery and go to take a guy off life support. I had chills from her comment. We lived on a corner and a car drove through our fence and almost into my bedroom, being a nurse my dad asked her to help the injured people, while the ambulance was coming, and her response was "she was pissed for being woken up and she was not getting blood on her clothes, plus it was cold outside." The people were badly injured. She was an ice cube. Never mind checking on your daughter who had a car with headlights right up to her bedroom window. She stuck a fork in my dad when we were eating dinner once. The worst was steak night because of the steak knives, she loved dinner drama. She could get everyone in one swoop. she is a master at harming my brother and I with one action. I caught her injecting my dad in the back while he was asleep and he got sick. He went to a dr he had injection marks all over his back. she was cheating at that time & before that time, than she got divorced. It probably saved my dads life. When she was "angry" it was bad. I am so happy that I am no contact and that she cant hurt me. I live in reality I do not want that in my life I do not care if society calls it mom. I do not use that term except for here for clarity. I have older female friends that I formed healthy relationships with and that is great by me. I will never go back. What I wrote here is the tip of the iceberg. I can relate to all that was written on this post on the blog. It is each persons individual decision, but please do not subject another innocent generation of children these women.

  108. Hi all. I was married to a BPD for 12 years. Just recently separated. have two beautiful brilliant children of 11 and 9, who are spending 11/14 days with their mother. I can't in good conscience let my children's life story and childhood memories be a sad and regrettable one. Worse yet, for them to develop the same condition later in life. They are innocents with no frame of reference. But I know what hell they must be going through. While I have some ideas, I am not sure what action I can take that is in their best interest.

    I am open to suggestion from people who have had the experience of growing up with Queen/Witch BPD mothers. When you take a look back at your life, if you could go back to when you were a pre-teen, what would you like to have known? What would you have done differently? What would you like your father to have done?
    Please help me make their story a happier one.

    1. PERHAPS, had known what I know now about my mother when I was between 9 - 13 years old,

      I would have not carried the guilt around with me that my mother inflicted. I would have had peace of mind knowing that I was simply a normal kid with a mother that is sick.

      Knowing that my mother was so mentally ill, I wouldn't have lived with her rather than my father after the divorce. During the time that I lived with her during my final years of high school, I was emotionally and mentally abused.

      Knowing what I know now, I don't think that the Parental Alienation would have been affective.

      I would have realized that her episodes (Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde) were of her own doing, and not of my doing, although I already had a firm grasp on the fact that I wasn't responsible for her behavior.

      Although I always knew there was something 'wrong' with my mother, I always searched for my part in our estrangements which I spent many hours, days, weeks, months, and YEARS trying to figure out that went wrong during each on again / off again cycle-- so knowing that she has BPD when I was between 9 - 13 years old would have alleviated all of the analysis, discussion, and headache associated with the estrangements.

      BUT, I think that I am at peace with the situation as it is now is because of the years that I spent soul-searching and coming to terms with the relationship with a sick mother. I truly don't think that a child, presented with the information that her mother is mentally ill, can simply disregard the abuse and excuse it with the mental illness diagnosis. I think a child is vulnerable because she looks for love, safety, and security from her parent-- and whether or not the parent is mentally ill, if there is a disconnect, the child wonders if she did something wrong or has a negative emotional reaction (guilt, shame, etc). Children need stability, and when a parent is not stable, the child's world is rocked. So, even with the information that I have now, I don't know how well a child would actually be able to process, accept, and diffuse the dysfunctional and toxic behavior from her parent.

      Keep in mind, there are MANY adults armed with the information that their parent is mentally ill, yet they subject themselves to repeated abuse by that parent. They feel an obligation because the person is their parent -- or they internalize the behavior.

      All my best to you.

  109. Thank You so much for this. I'm 46. I've been in Therapy for over 20 years trying to figure out why I fail to self actualize in so many ways. Why I am always scared. Why I expect people to be mad at me. etc.... Things began to crystallize for me last summer when I saw how completely irrationally jealous my mother is of my happiness. How whenever I am happy she attempts to cut me off at the knees. All the things I had made excuses for or denied in her behavior over the years came rushing at me like a tidal wave. I pretended a mother who was never there because my Dad was also hideous. Then I would pretend a father and ping ping back and forth. Anything but face the reality that my parents were ill equipped for parenthood and that I was on my own. One Borderline parent with NPD is quite enough. Two of them is an utter mind screwing nightmare. Glad to be finally waking up from it.

  110. I found your blog last night. I have heard it said that misery loves company.
    I am concerned about labels assigned to behaviors because these are constructed from the field of psychology. Instead, I look for shared experiences to try to understand what I have experienced from having a mother with mental illness.
    For me it is hard to keep the given names that a parent like this has chosen. I want to change my first and middle name because I resent my 85 year-old mentally twisted, abusive mother. Some days I think she is a psychopath, others I think she is manic, and others I think she is anorexic, with a death wish for herself and everyone/everything living, along with displaying many of the things that BPD describes. I have to access daily what kind of act it is that she is attempting to pull off. I see her main act of trying to empathize with people and be nice to people, in a Christian sense -and no matter what, as an act with no real substance behind it. Like the on/off switch you describe. Her moods are volatile and she plays ever changing, minor roles weekly.
    What I really want to know is where do you go, how do you move on, and handle this kind of relationship or react appropriately as the child of the BPD mom, or whatever you want to call it (which really amounts to years of invalidation, non-support and emotional abuse, under the guise of a loving, sane caring wife and mother -the mask of sanity) once you, the adult child, finally realizes this? Or finally realizes that the parent is mentally ill, with no official diagnosis, since nothing is 'wrong' with her?
    I have to continually remind myself that my mother is ill, yet at this point I just react by calling her out, like a heated debate that turns into a shouting match where I am arguing for rationality and objectivity and I get more manipulation and crazy behavior in return. I will never get anywhere with her because she can't comprehend her own problem(s). It is just a vicious cycle, and I am angry.
    I am not trained for this or capable of being clinically objective. I don't know who would be either. To my own horror, I call her to her face an effin psychopathic witch with distorted thoughts and a mean spirit.
    So does one just abandon this kind of person and have no contact in order to preserve themselves? I don't believe there is anything that could actually help a person like this because the patterns are ingrained over such a long time and I see it as a choice as well.
    Thank you for listening and I am interested in your thoughts too.

    1. "So does one just abandon this kind of person and have no contact in order to preserve themselves?"-- I did and many others have. On the other hand, many can't fathom cutting ties with their parent and continue to attempt to maintain a relationship. I cycled in and out of a relationship with my mother from 12 years old until the final estrangement in 2004 37 years old. I wanted to have a relationship with my mother, but it was painfully obvious by the last estrangement that we would have no contact ever again. The last straw was a critical break in trust that never can be repaired. Also at this point, I would never expose my child to her dysfunction or toxic behavior-- she's a known danger and I will not expose my child to a known danger. And in regard to labels and a formal diagnosis: neither matter imo. All that matters is that YOU know that there is something wrong and changing your life so that what is wrong is no longer negatively impacting your life. The invalidation, non-support, and emotional abuse will start to heal once you find your peace with the condition of the relationship as well as when you find understanding that your mother is mentally ill and *not normal* therefore her behavior has nothing to do with you but all to do with her. The validation you need will come from finding stories like your own from others as well as reading / research. Writing down your life history is also cathartic. Discontinue trying to find support from her, realizing all of the non-support in the past was a result of a mentally ill mother. Find support in making yourself stronger as well as surrounding yourself with happy / positive people. Therapy would help too. And in regard to the emotional abuse, time heals... therapists help... separation from the cause of emotional abuse... and supportive, unconditionally loving people around you help. "I don't believe there is anything that could actually help a person like this because the patterns are ingrained over such a long time and I see it as a choice as well." I agree-- if they think they don't have a problem, they won't be able to receive help to get any better. If they think it's everyone else, they won't believe the professional. They will find every excuse in the book why they are not the cause of anything. Anyway, thank you for your thoughtful comment. I wish you well... I wish you peace.

  111. Thank you for your reply,
    I meant 'assess', not access in my post by the way. Funny that I revered her and overlooked so much for so long. It seems to be flashing back in the correct context now, and I realize I have missed so much and I was influenced in such an undesirable way and I can't get that time back. So much is learned from parents, and children want to trust and love them.
    I guess I am seeing the truth and getting the answers in glimpses. I had lived far away from her for 10 over years, and now I live very close for the last 1.5 years, thinking I wanted to help her in her old age!!!
    Oddly, someday when she is gone, I think I will miss her for what she should have been, a loving, caring mother.
    On another note, I happened to make a mistake by falling for a narcissist. There must be a pattern here, (daughters of bpd mothers seek narcissists as soul mates). I am long done with that guy, but it's harder to break ties with a bad mother.
    Best to you...

    1. "So much is learned from parents, and children want to trust and love them" ... you nailed in on the head why healing from an abusive / dysfunctional childhood is so difficult. Not only are children impressionable but they also want to trust and love their parents as you stated. If the trust is questioned (or even broken), the child / children keep trying acquire that safe and secure spot again. Clear into adulthood this is sought-- and as you said, you are seeking (missing) the loving, caring mother. It so hard as we all want to have that pure, unconditional love from our parent(s) but for some, like us, it's very challenging / difficult or not even possible. It is hard to break ties with a bad mother due to each of these aspects: want to trust, want to love, want to have a mother. Thanks for the insight-- I appreciate you taking time to stop by. My best to you too :)

  112. Thank you for writing about Bpd Queens w/Narcissism as most info is on Waif Bpd Mothers.

    Mine behaves as if she is the capo of the Mafis Family!

  113. Is there an online support group for this or a support group anywhere?

  114. Thank you for this post. My mother and I have had a rocky relationship for 30 years because of this disorder. I recently became engaged and am seriously considering going eloping because she has alienated everyone in my family, except for me. I'm at my wits end and am unsure how long I can sustain a relationship with her. This should be a happy time in my life, but as usual my mother has decided to play the victim and focus on how hard it's going to be for her to see all the people she believes has "betrayed" her. The more I understand this disorder the more frustrated I become because I cannot change her behavior.

  115. Hi, i need help, i'm living at home for over 30 years with my 3 sisters and 1 brother. we r all putting up with abuse from my mother, no one in the house has ever spoken about what wrong she is doing we just all seem to accept it but lately im begining to talk about it and everyone is mad with me for saying these things. She is a bully, controller and demanding, it's all now now now. I've met someon i like but she is not happy about it, i am the first person in the house to have a boyfriend, he is 10 years older than me and has a child aged 4. she keeps telling me he is too old and that he is using me. I am ready to collapse with the pressure, she is horrible to me. she said she is only doing this as she is concerned for me etc. My brother and sisters r not talking to me either saying i should stop seeing this guy, i don't know what to do. She told me the weekend to end it now or else.... when i go out with him she sends me texts to make me feel bad etc. i love spending time with him he is so kind etc. Can someone please advise what i can do, i'm not allowed to move out of the house, the tension is unreal in the house. please help, i'm desperate. xx

    1. Go and seek help from a social worker or something, you don't deserve to live like this! I have no contact with my mother anymore and none with my brother cause he's choosing her side. But it is the best thing i have ever done for myself.
      Try to be strong and seek help from a crisis centre or something, it won't be easy but it sure is worth it!!!

      Stay strong, you are right and she is wrong! xxxx

  116. Anon, I am currently living with my bpd mother following my divorce who has recently accused everyone of abuse, starting arguments to get a response then recording the response and saying it will be used against us with the authorities and court. She's made up things and situations and told different things to friends and family. I am just about to leave asap.

    You will never win or get anything but lies and accusations. I've been trying my whole life.

    I'm interested to hear whether others find the bpd mother goes in cycles - ok for a bit then all hell breaks loose?

  117. Just found out about this book and read some parts of it and your post. I grew up with a mother like that and it is so good to read it. I have no contact with her for about 6 years now and it's the best thing i ever did for myself. But there was always a little part of me thinking did i do something wrong or am i overreacting. Turns out i am not and reading about it really helps!

    About the cycles, the only time i felt "safe" was the day after the outburst cause i knew it wouldn't happen again that day. But after that the tension was building up again and i had that feeling that disaster could struck anytime getting worse every day.

    Becomming a duplicate of my mother was the safest way to live as a child.
    She also had more power over me because i have a muscular disease and needed her help. And ofcourse everyone else thought she was the best mother in the world so speaking up for myself and tell what she was really like was no option.

    All the best for you and thanks for sharing your story!

  118. I am the grown middle female chlid of a HBD mother~ she took her life 19 yrs. ago and of course since I was the only one she would let take care her in her apartment,ahe she hurt me one last time by allowing me to find her body.My Mother was 72 at the time and her 3rd marriage was ending. She had just been released 4 weeks before from hosptial mental stay~I put her there~they released her~she stocked piled her meds.I found her with all of my brothers and sisiters childhood photos turned upside down around here body. I have been in treatment off and on for years due to my fears and feelings towards my mother. People that knew my mother outside of the "Family" just loved her~she was beautiful,smart,but of so controlling and evil to us children and her husbands. She had many lovers, many abortions.that she loved telling us about. I'm going to get off now. But as you can see she still haunts me,sad for the mother I never had.

  119. I felt like I was reading something I could have written, its freaky! My mom is exactly like that , I haven't spoke to her in at least 2 years now, none of her children are speaking to her nor do any of her siblings as we all felt her destructive influence. She manage to create chaos in everyone's life and loves it when it explodes with drama all over getting everyone hurt.
    My teenage daughter is the same, not only does she have displayed all the tendencies and symptoms but is now at 16 a master manipulator, particularly great liar and a master in triangulation as well. They are both teaming up in playing the "poor abandoned victims" and thanks to social media, they are acting it up online in a very public manner and are gathering so much attention that way with big (and very obvious) lies but somehow there is always many "new" friends eating it all up so easily! We kept getting told that we need to protect ourselves, which is way more easier said than done when the person is your own child. It is a very difficult thing to go through :(

  120. Wow dealing with this right now, as we speak. My parents are 50 years together and in the last 1 1/2 year my mom has has mismanage medications and starting drinking. Her age (76) is not helping as we think dementia is kicking in but as her BPD is so severe we have no idea. My sister and I are both out of state so we can only deal with them buy phone and it is draining. We get crazed calls 24/7 by my mom who is being "so abused" by my dad when in fact she is verbally, mentally and emotionally abusing him and now it is getting physical.
    I could go on and on but the story remains the same. She has severe BPD and refuses to admit any fault or that there is anything wrong with her. She now says she wants a divorce but has no reality of how the process will work because in her mind she thinks "he should just leave" and has no concept of the changes and consequences she will be facing.
    This is an absolute nightmare and your story describes my families plight exactly minus the divorces....until now.
    Thank you for sharing. Blessing and prayers go out to all of your who are experiencing the same hell as we are.

  121. Thanks for your blog post and everyone's comments and contributions, it is as if many were written by me or my older sister. My mother was an absolute nightmare growing up, her moods would change from moment to moment (uBPD). I never felt unconditionally loved or safe and was always scared of her getting angry, saying horrible things or driving like a maniac. However, she always made sure that everyone else saw her as perfect outside the family - so that noone would ever believe that she was anything other than perfect (still to this day). Relatives and some other people think she is amazing (that don't know her that closely), so if she was to say anything about being a "victim" of her family or whatever, they would totally believe her. It was always really important what others thought of her and the family, unfortunately - something I still am trying to work on to this day (only just realized this also - only having discovered about BPD one month ago).

    She tried to sabotage my sister's wedding (eventually was successful in sabotaging her marriage), told her she was a slut, clearly didn't love her etc. etc. - the list never ends. With me - I went from the "all good" child to the "no good" child during my teenage years, so could do nothing right. She loves to slander my sister behind her back and am sure she does the same thing with me. For many years, I kept trying to show my sisters that I wasn't angry, as they kept putting that on me even 25 years later, until I finally realized that there was no point trying to change myths that served my mother's purposes. In other words, I could do nothing to change her or their minds. I only just realized that this has nothing to do with me (although I did go through a stage of getting angry when I was a teenager) and that all of her projections are her issues and not mine. For so long, I thought I was unloveable, defective, had the problem etc. Although I now realize that it is not true, it is going to take quite awhile for that to go from theory to my inner being actually believing this (although am working like crazy to make this happen).

    She tried to commit suicide when I was a kid, told us she never wanted to be a mother, nothing was ever good enough - everything was just nightmarish to be honest. And still can be, although I live a long way away.

    I have had depression and anxiety issues at times during my entire life (and am currently going through that again - as all of this stuff has reared its ugly head - I feel like I am a teenager all over again).

    However, most importantly, I have finally realized that these are her issues. I have trust issues & abandonment issues and have had low self esteem through most of my adult life (but only just realized with mindfulness how low it actually is).

    However, I am working like crazy on CBT, mindfulness, therapy, exercise, healthy living - trying to get through this. At the moment, I am struggling as only found out about all of this about a month ago - helps to know that others have also gone through this and come out the other side. I know that I will eventually get through it, but need to work on getting rid of the "fleas" that I obtained through living with and being close to her for so many years (comes from the BPD literature). In particular, I talked her with many years when I had problems (OMG - what the hell was I thinking) - and developed learned helplessness as a result - very sad - and am trying desperately hard to take responsibility and move on - but it will take time and a lot of therapy (I know).

    At least I know what is going on and have finally realized after all of these years, that is a huge positive. Thank you for listening and sharing to all of you! We will get through this - make sure that you visit the forums and support groups out there to help you get through it.

    Blessing and prayers go out to all of you who have experienced this living hell either now or in the past. May you find peace.

  122. I read this book and referenced it in the book I wrote, "Faultfinders: The impact of borderline personality disorder" where I suggest BPD should be renamed Faultfinding Personality Disorder. Ms. Lawson's insights were very helpful in my understanding this condition. I recommend her book to anyone interested in learning more about BPD.

  123. I was luckier than my 2 younger brothers as I was raised by my grandmother more than my hateful BPD mom. My brothers got the full blast of her complete lack of parenting skills though. As a result, they too have personality disorders that make them dangerous to be around.

    I feel for all you kids who were not so lucky as I was. Mom can be a real monster for some people out there. Cut off ties with her as early in life as possible and just take your losses the best that can be done, and move on with Life. A BPD mother will never be there emotionally for you no matter how hard you want that not to be the case.