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Things I couldn't have known
Supporting a Child in Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder
Anosognosia and Getting a "Borderline" into Therapy
Am I the Cause of Borderline Personality Disorder?
Emotional Blackmail: Fear, Obligation and Guilt (FOG)
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Author Topic: What caused this?  (Read 193 times)
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
What is your relationship status with them: Shaky
Posts: 1505

« on: March 05, 2019, 09:27:58 AM »

I imagine just about everyone here has wondered why our children have BPD. The reading I have done, both here and elsewhere, says it is a combination of genetics and environment. While some degree of mental illness runs in my family and my husband's family, as far as I know our son is the only one to be diagnosed with or show traits of BPD. Thinking back on his childhood, I can't identify any particular trauma. His father and I both worked full time in law enforcement and he was an only child so he did spend a lot of time on his own. Our marriage also went through some rough patches so he probably heard yelling sometimes too. Would that have been enough to trigger BPD? I am not trying to beat myself up over this. I just want to understand. What do the rest of you think? Were there identifiable traumas in your children's lives or are your situations sort of like mine, more or less ambiguous.
Our objective is to better understand the struggles our child faces and to learn the skills to improve our relationship and provide a supportive environment and also improve on our own emotional responses, attitudes and effectiveness as a family leaders

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
What is your relationship status with them: Married
Posts: 20

« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2019, 09:55:17 AM »

I’ve thought often about this. My husband was very ill for a period of 3 years when DS was 16-19 and this was very disruptive to family life. However, my other son who was 14-17 at the time has experienced no mental health issues at all since this time. If anything, I think he has greater empathy for others due to seeing his father so ill.
DS says his father’s illness has no impact on his mental health and refuses to see a link but I know he started self harming around this time and looking back I don’t think he had the security at home that he needed. This makes my husband and I feel guilty but we can’t go back in time and we didn’t know then what we know now! Hopefully going forward we can provide any support he wants from us.
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
What is your relationship status with them: Estranged
Posts: 461

« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2019, 11:27:07 AM »

Hi FaithHopeLove

I'm pretty sure one of the things that triggered our daughter's behaviour change was when we unexpectedly took in a couple of foster children, a brother and sister who were in danger of being separated because a double-placement could not be found.

The ages of these children coincided with our two children's ages...10/13 at the time.

There are fewer and fewer times when my husband and I succumb and reflect back to that time in our young lives.  In another family this would have been a wonderful life-lesson...seems not in ours.  In our daughter's troubled eyes, her mother (me) had abandoned her; consequently I have been her target ever since.

We burden ourselves with unnecessary guilt if we think along the lines of ...."maybe if I hadn't yadda, yadda, yadda...things would have been different." Well, you think about that...the key word is "maybe."

Your son and our daughter are products of nature/nurture, combinations of which are out of our control.  A mantra that my husband and I share is..."we did the best we could and when we knew better...we did better...and will continue to do so."   What more can be asked of anyone?  I am sure the same can be said of you and your husband.

I so urge you to work hard on not looking back to figure out the why's-and-what-if's.   Doing so is to welcome guilt that you certainly don't deserve. 

I commend and thank you and your husband for taking on the careers in law enforcement!  How indebted the rest of us are to your commitment to serve. 

I am glad that you are here and sharing because it hi-lites the fact that anyone...rich/poor...blue-collar/white-collar...can be affected by mental illness.  No shame...no guilt...LIFE!

You, indeed, are an asset to this community.  I'm not overjoyed that I am here...but glad that I am here with people like you.

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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
What is your relationship status with them: Shaky
Posts: 1505

« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2019, 01:30:15 PM »

thank you powerup and huat for your responses. I agree that there is no use in wishing things were different. We don't have time machines. We can only move forward. The only reason I speculate about what may have triggered my son's BPD is to understand him. But the reality is, I may never know. He did share some experiences he had in grade school of being bullied. I wish I knew what was happening at the time. Other than that, and what I shared already, I don't know what went wrong. What I do know is I am 100% committed to doing whatever I can to help DS move forward.
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
Posts: 56

« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2019, 09:28:45 PM »

I have the same ruminations about 'did I cause this somehow?' from time to time. I do have another daughter who reports a pretty happy childhood and I believe my older BPD daughter also had a happy childhood up until secondary school (age 11/12). However she always 'danced to the beat of a different drum' was diagnosed with ADHD, mild learning difficulties, had difficulties in social situations and no real close friends. I think there were environmental factors - a sexual assault and bullying in her teens. But I also wonder if I could have parented better/differently.

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Gender: Female
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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
What is your relationship status with them: Married
Posts: 1293

« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2019, 01:08:10 AM »

Hi there

I think we all ask this question at some point or other. For me, honestly, and this may seem crazy - I think early anxiety changes the brain and gut. I am not a medical professional but just reflect back on my son as a young child. I also strongly suspect air pollution affected his physical health - but it could have been stress related as we moved from from an inner city to the countryside when he was 8 he stopped being so sick. The list of unusual ailments was never ending. His immune system so very low.

Recent research shows a link between gut and depression. I know cold water shock therapy helps kickstart recovery. The brain becomes stimulated. I see my son attempt to do this by self medicating.

1 predictor of recovery of Borderline Personality Disorder is the presence of a caring and empathetic person in the patient's life”

I took this off the empathy page. Sorry I can’t link on my phone.

Empathising is the best way forwards. I don’t talk about BPD with my son. If he raises how he’s feeling, we do and then it’s abiut him (not a condition or a label - he finds this fearful).


     The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing & to watch someone else doing it wrong, without comment. ~ T.H. White
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
Posts: 170

« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2019, 09:51:11 AM »

What caused this? This question has haunted me since DD20
Was diagnosed. The evaluator said I was the cause. DD did not feel safe as a young child. She had nightmares of me as a tickle monster. The evaluator said I had yelled, that I hadn’t help my DD attached to me.
As a mom, I breastfed on demand, we had the family bed sharing, I read books on attachment parenting. We took mommy and me classes.
My daughter said that her father said that I yelled a lot. I do not remember. I do remember having a very difficult marriage when she was little. My mom was sick and I took care of her when DD was in elementary school. I remember being under a great deal of stress. Then her teenage years cane along and things fell a part. School refusal, not getting DD to budge, yelling, screaming, fighting, suicide attempts- the drama began when DD turned 14.
I have lived with this guilt and, yes, shame since her evaluation at age 19. I have blamed myself, felt sorry, huge regret.
It is eating me alive and I need to find a way of making peace with this.
I do think mental illness runs in families, 3 people have BPD - 2 of them diagnosed, in our family. Both my husband and I have mental illnesses on each side of the family.
Did I cause it? I think DD had signs of BPD since she was 10. I remember she said she hates herself at that age. She pulled out her hair beginning in 4th grade.
I think it’s both genetic and environmental.
I am hoping one day to forgive myself, grieve and let go of the guilt. I know I’m not doing anyone any bit of good by constantly beating myself up for wrecking my daughter’s life. In alanon they have a saying, “I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, I can’t cure it” but that’s Alanon. I really like the part of ‘I can’t control it and I can’t cure it- I can be validating and supportive, she’s got to do the healing.  Newer research has come out- Valerie Por has written a great deal about how biological this illness is. I’d like to think our children with BPD have such sensitive souls that it didn’t take much in the environment to push them over the edge. This would take some of the burden off of me. I do wonder what we will learn 10 years from now about BPD. I remember a time when we blamed mothers of people who had developed schizophrenia. Has anyone read any recent studies on BPD?
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