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Think About It... Acceptance doesn't mean you approve; it doesn't mean you're happy about something; it doesn't mean you won't work to change the situation or your response to it, but it does mean that you acknowledge reality as it is--with all its sadness, humor, irony, and gifts--at a particular point in time...~ Freda B. Friedman, Ph.D., LCSW, Surviving a Borderline Parent
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Author Topic: Is BPD a mental illness? is it a sickness?  (Read 714 times)
Sara M
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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2012, 06:51:42 AM »

It's not a mental illness like schizophrenia, manic depression, etc., that stems from brain chemicals. People with those diseases cannot help their condition.

If a person with BPD was in the presence of someone they wanted to impress, they could turn off their bad behavior like a switch and put on a great facade of normalcy, all the while treating those who they CAN get away with abusing, like they're dogs. It's borderline personality disorder, a behavioral disorder. A disorder of behavior, that you have to unlearn.

I do not think of it as a mental illness, which is uncontrollable and requires medical treatment, not behavioral modification and therapy, like BPD.

Yes, and it is a disorder of emotions, too

Sara
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educator
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2012, 07:49:03 AM »

Red-Fox...that is very interesting.  It makes much more sense to me now and explains why DH and I have no choice but to be no contact with his uBPDm.  The more I think of it...she can control her behavior...like when she is around people she doesn't know well she acts super sweet and you'd never guess she could be a monster. 
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poodlemom
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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2012, 11:17:36 AM »

How we define it is less important to me than being able to identify, finally, that the pain we have experienced all our lives was not our fault. I have a friend who doesn't believe it is a mental illness as much as a personality disorder. What difference does the name make? The results of it are the same. What was it Shakespear said? "A rose by any other name is still a rose." Whatever happened or didn't happen to my mom to make her the way she is, pales in comparison to the affect it has had on me in my life.
If it makes some of us feel better to think of our pwBPD as being mentally ill, and thus not being able to help the way they act, then go with that label. I have come to a place where I don't really care what label is attached or whether what my mother did was on purpose or bc she couldn't help it, bc the pain and damage was the same either way. I have been profoundly affected by her actions. It just is what it is. I guess I'm just all out of sympathy or excuses for my abusers behavior...
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bluecup11
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2012, 11:38:39 AM »

It's not a mental illness like schizophrenia, manic depression, etc., that stems from brain chemicals. People with those diseases cannot help their condition.

If a person with BPD was in the presence of someone they wanted to impress, they could turn off their bad behavior like a switch and put on a great facade of normalcy, all the while treating those who they CAN get away with abusing, like they're dogs. It's borderline personality disorder, a behavioral disorder. A disorder of behavior, that you have to unlearn.

I do not think of it as a mental illness, which is uncontrollable and requires medical treatment, not behavioral modification and therapy, like BPD.

I'm not sure where you got that, but I have to say I really disagree - first of all, I'm not sure anyone really knows what causes BPD; it could very well be a chemical disorder. My sister was treated with meds when she was being treated. Also, you could say the same for bipolar disorder regarding behavior - spend any time with an untreated bipolar disordered person and you'll face a similar situation. I'd love to read your sources.

I don't think calling BPD a mental illness excuses the behavior.  I'm actually very surprised there are mental health professionals who would say it's not...of course it is. Doesn't make it any easier on the nons. I think perhaps people are misinterpreting the phrase "personality disorder" in the sense that they thing you can just change aspects of your personality as a non might. In the clinical sense it's not the same. 
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Mom2MyKids
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2012, 12:39:33 PM »

First, the analysis of whether or not it's a mental illness does not change my decision to stay vLC and refuse to visit my uBPD mother. I still refuse to be a victim anymore regardless of the reason for the abuse. As to whether it is a mental illness, I think it's a mental illness, with the biggest clue being, why would someone WANT to act like that and constantly take the consequences? Why would someone keep doing things that result in people refusing to want to be around them? It doesn't make any sense. If she was not mentally ill, she might make a mistake once or a number of times until the consequences became too painful to bear, then she would change her behavior, but she doesn't. She's lost so many friends, acquaintances, and jobs over the years, that she should have figured out by now that it's NOT the rest of the world that's the problem: It is HER behavior that is causing her losses. She is a reasonably intelligent person and should be able to figure that out. So my thinking is that it is a mental illness.

Thank you for saying this.  I haven't thought about it that way, at least not in a while.  What I really want to know is if she knows that she is the problem.  I know, everyone here is thinking the same thing, of course she doesn't think she is the problem.  I'm not 100% sure.  I think there has to be some level of cognition that sees a common thread.  She gets along with very few people in our foo and yet, everyone else gets along well with each other.  She's the one person that everyone seems to have a problem with.  For everyone in our foo, there's just one person that they don't get along with and that is my mother.  Can't she see this?  I don't think she believes she is in the wrong, however.  I wonder if her Narcissism makes her believe that no one gets her or that everyone just unfairly hates her, but she has to see that no one else has issues with each other.

I'm not really sure.  That's why I so desperately want to have a conversation with my dad about it.  He must have more insight to her thinking.  Doesn't she get that she can't act the way she does?  She'll insult someone and when you say "you can't say that.  You need to apologize to that person" she'll justify why they deserve it and then say that if anyone is to apologize, it's the other person who must apologize to her and off she goes in a huff and the person is just erased from her life and off she goes to have a life without that person.

And, if you know anything about narcissism, you know it's a deep hatred of oneself rather than a deep love.  Does she hate herself so much to think that she is just unlovable and is just resigned to the fact that no matter how hard she tries, no one else can love her and that is why everyone leaves.  Not because of anything she does.  So, still seeing that she is the common thread in all of these relationships, but because there is something unlovable about herself rather than anything else.
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"The worst thing about projection is that mud sticks best to a clean spot"
kittykat63
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« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2012, 02:02:44 PM »

if that was my therapist i wouoldnt see him any more on the grounds of that comment alone
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alkaline
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« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2012, 02:14:15 PM »

First, the analysis of whether or not it's a mental illness does not change my decision to stay vLC and refuse to visit my uBPD mother. I still refuse to be a victim anymore regardless of the reason for the abuse. As to whether it is a mental illness, I think it's a mental illness, with the biggest clue being, why would someone WANT to act like that and constantly take the consequences? Why would someone keep doing things that result in people refusing to want to be around them? It doesn't make any sense. If she was not mentally ill, she might make a mistake once or a number of times until the consequences became too painful to bear, then she would change her behavior, but she doesn't. She's lost so many friends, acquaintances, and jobs over the years, that she should have figured out by now that it's NOT the rest of the world that's the problem: It is HER behavior that is causing her losses. She is a reasonably intelligent person and should be able to figure that out. So my thinking is that it is a mental illness.

I agree 100%! 
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Mom2MyKids
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« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2012, 04:17:39 PM »

I'm not one to use the word "insane" but...  What is the definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, essentially not learning from your repeated behavior/consequences. They keep the same behavior and don't learn from the consequences.

Maybe it's not so simple. I agree that it has to be a mental illness but we don't have to put up with it either.

It's also not an excuse.
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"The worst thing about projection is that mud sticks best to a clean spot"
red_fox


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« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2012, 04:23:42 PM »

If it makes some of us feel better to think of our pwBPD as being mentally ill, and thus not being able to help the way they act, then go with that label. I have come to a place where I don't really care what label is attached or whether what my mother did was on purpose or bc she couldn't help it, bc the pain and damage was the same either way. I have been profoundly affected by her actions. It just is what it is. I guess I'm just all out of sympathy or excuses for my abusers behavior...
I agree with this!
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stellaris
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« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2012, 12:06:18 PM »

The question of whether a BPD is "truly" responsible for their actions is almost philosophical.  Are alcoholics truly responsible for getting drunk?  Every drink diminishes your judgment.  At some point you've had too much to judge that its time to stop.  And once drunk, is it the person or the alcohol that is behind the destruction?

So my Becky Borderline is definitely on the "mentally ill" side of the spectrum.  She's got prefrontal brain damage.  She's on some serious drugs to control the resulting seizures.  She also had the classic abusive upbringing of the BPD.  Her chances of being a normal, happy, functional person were pretty much zero, and as a result my chances of having a normal, happy family were pretty much zero.  At the same time, she has demonstrated over and over that she is aware that her actions are wrong.  She can turn on the charm when she wants to. She has expressed remorse (not to me though).  She doesn't act abusive when people are watching.  So while on some level this may be a disease, external to herself and beyond her control, on another level it is also a result of her deliberate choices, her protecting herself by damaging me.

What matters to me is how she's acted.  She's been abusive, neglectful, sometimes cruel.  She's also been loving, caring, thoughtful and insightful.  Which of these is the "real" her?  They both are.  My issue is that the good stuff set me up for the bad stuff, until eventually I learned that it just wasn't worth it.  I can't have the good mom, the cost is too high.  She can't have her son or her grandson in her life, until she can demonstrate that she can behave better.  She's had lots of chances, in fact she has a chance right now, and every day, to write me, call me, and make amends.  I don't think she will.  I think she's too lost in her own dysfunctions to make that step.  But the chance is there.

So to me, it doesn't matter if she's just a ~ed up little girl who needs to be loved, or she's certifiably insane.  It doesn't matter if her actions are driven by brain damage and abuse, inner need or inner greed.  It only matters that they are hurtful, and they haven't stopped.  I drew my line, for my own health.  I would much rather have the loving mom without the mean-ness.  I don't know how to.

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