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Author Topic: 15. Understanding the Borderline Mother - Christine Ann Lawson PhD  (Read 24372 times)
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« on: January 27, 2007, 06:37:52 PM »

Understanding the Borderline Mother
Author: Christine Ann Lawson, PhD
Publisher: Jason Aronson (July 28, 2002)
Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 0765703319
ISBN-13: 978-0765703316





Book Description
The first love in our lives is our mother. Recognizing her face, her voice, the meaning of her moods, and her facial expressions is crucial to survival. Dr. Christine Ann Lawson vividly describes how mothers who suffer from borderline personality disorder produce children who may flounder in life even as adults, futilely struggling to reach the safety of a parental harbor, unable to recognize that their borderline parent lacks a pier, or even a discernible shore.
Four character profiles describe different symptom clusters that include the waif mother, the hermit mother, the queen mother, and the witch. Children of borderlines are at risk for developing this complex and devastating personality disorder themselves. Dr. Lawson's recommendations for prevention include empathic understanding of the borderline mother and early intervention with her children to ground them in reality and counteract the often dangerous effects of living with a "make-believe" mother.

Some readers may recognize their mothers as well as themselves in this book. They will also find specific suggestions for creating healthier relationships. Addressing the adult children of borderlines and the therapists who work with them, Dr. Lawson shows how to care for the waif without rescuing her, to attend to the hermit without feeding her fear, to love the queen without becoming her subject, and to live with the witch without becoming her victim.

About the Author
Christine Ann Lawson, PhD., L.C.S.W. specializes in clients who have experienced trauma either in childhood or adulthood. She is trained in EMDR, "Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing," Level II and incorporates the use of EMDR with traditional psychoanalytic talk therapy. She has previously served as adjunct faculty at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, and Butler University.  She is a graduate of Purdue University (1992) and her practice is located in Zionsville, Indiana.



YouTube audiobook Resource

Title: Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship  

By: Christine Ann Lawson

Audio resource contributed by Red5
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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2007, 07:27:11 PM »

I have the book.

Unless you're a therapist or very familiar with psychiatric terminology, I don't recommend spending the money.
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2007, 11:15:24 PM »

Understanding the Borderline Mother by Christine Lawson was the first book I ever read that truly described my mother.  It was a very emotionally hard read, but well worth it.  It describes in detail four types of BPD mothers and the affect they have on their children.  It describes the children of each and suggestions for how they can cope with their BPD mother as adults.  And it describes the type of men who often marry each of the four BPD mother types.  

I am 14 years NC.  I was treated for ptsd back then and had moved on with my life, but I never had that validation of having someone else describe her behavior.  For me it was very healing.  I found it much more helpful than SWOE because it is focused specifically on the parent/child relationship.  There is a lot of great stuff in SWOE, but a parent/child relationship is not 50/50 and never will be, so some of it isn't really applicable in that situation.

I also think it would be good for a Non parent who is trying to find out how the BPD parent is affecting their children.  I think they might be surprised at how pervasive the damage can be.

Another book that I haven't finished, but have had recommended several times is Surviving the Borderline Parent.  It is kind of a self-help book that involves a lot of writing.  I haven't had time to delve into it yet, but skimmed a few chapters and thought it looked very helpful, especially if you are just starting to work through the notion that your parent is BPD and/or are considering NC or LC.

Fresabird
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2007, 06:38:56 AM »

As a Non with a Borderline mother ex-SO. (We have a twenty-one month old son together) this book has really helped me understand how much damage is possible for her to do to our son. I can relate to the behaviours and type-casts and though the book is mainly aimed at adult children of BPD-mothers it does at the very least give 'Chosen' Nons a very good insight into what damage their (ex-)partners may be doing. It has helped me understand that my ex-SO who I saw as a very good mother is actually already exhibiting very unhealthy behaviour.

Yes, it is expensive and you may be able to borrow it or read into it at a library, possibly a university library or something like that. Sometimes libraries will even order books if you ask them.

Chris
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2007, 11:01:22 AM »

I  just got it from Amazon for $42.52 (new). I've read about half of it this week and I think it's great. I agree w/freesabird when she said it's the first book that really described my mother. The day when I first started reading it, my h thought I was getting too upset, he sugggested that maybe I should put it down and read something else for a while. I said NO. I felt like, all my life, I've searching, trying to figure out this puzzle... .so much of it I understood but couldn't explain even after educating myself about BPD in recent years. Much of what I was reading was finally fitting pieces together and validating my experience in ways that had not yet been. I wish I bought it years ago.

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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2007, 12:22:25 PM »

I so liked this book (reading it because SS's mom is upbd) that I had one sent from Amazon to my friend.  I recognized HIS mother in the waif.  Unbelieveable.  This was about five years ago and she was diagnosed two months ago with... .you guessed it... .borderline personality disorder.  My friend says the book was painful for him to read, but that it was a great source of strength for him when he needed to set boundaries with his mother. 
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2007, 12:58:02 PM »

Life changing book for me, too.  Having continually struggled with the effects of my BPDexW on me, I was only beginning to understand the effects on our children... .

I had my bright and perceptive 17 yo read the few pages on how waifs exaggerate the behaviors of their children to their spouses... .How many times did my ex call me at work and scream about "my son's" abuse, (how many times did she present self-inflicted bruises to our son's headmaster, blaming her own offspring), how many times did she have him arrested, how many times did she say to me, "If you were a real man, you would protect me from him... ." - And after my son read the excerpt, he said, ":)ad, I know mom is borderline - what's the point?"  "The point, son, is that I want to apologize to you one more time for always believing your mother... ."  Fortunately, he had forgiven me long ago.

My brother in law called yesterday, his wife has been receiving phone calls from my ex and her boyfriend with his concern that my son is plotting to kill his mother... .police and attorneys and therapist notified, of course, son is aware and on alert.  That BPDs can recruit sociopaths and other PDs into their web of scams and schemes (even against their own children) is probably underappreciated, but discussed in Lawson's book
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« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2007, 06:21:45 PM »

ACD, your post just gave me an "Aha" moment even though I read the book twice. It never occurred to me that "the waif exaggerates the behavior of their children to their spouses".    Talk about denial, that sentence went right past me when I read the book.

Now I understand why my BPD mother would greet my ETOHic father with a day's worth of complaints about my "laziness".  As my father worked till 2am (bartender, let's not even get into his occupational choice), I would lay in bed and listen to my BPD mother recount what an awful housekeeper I was. On really bad nights, my parents would turn the light on in my bedroom so they could rant at me in the middle of the night. I was seven.

I recently entered schematherapy where I finally am letting my "observant ego" see that poor child in her bed. Hence, the denial is shattered.But I get profoundly sad. It takes me a whole day and a half to recover from each therapy session. But it is the only way to move on with my life.
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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2007, 01:12:25 PM »

This book is so very important for anyone to read who has children with a BPD wife. The impact on the children will be so dramatic unless you have a strategy and understand the situarion that you are in.

I speak as a man who is happily married with a BPD wife , and children. My wife has done extensive therapy yet this book is so wonderfully written.

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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2007, 11:23:07 AM »

Hi there:I have spoken with Christine many times, and she is very sharp and knows her stuff.Since there are so few studies about the effect of BP parents, what Christine did is collect all the studies about the TRAITS of BPD, such as the effect of anger on kids.
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I had a borderline mother and narcissistic father. Author of stop walking on eggshells, The stop walking on eggshells workbook, the essential family guide to borderline personality disorder, and the upcoming book stop walking on egg shells for partners
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« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2007, 04:13:42 PM »

If you care for children whose mom is BPD, you must read this book, and keep it to pass along to them.

I have two SDs whose mom is BPD, and this book mentioned, with startling and disturbing accuracy, things they have told me she's done and said, and things I have witnessed.

It helped me to understand and sympathize with their plight in the best way possible.
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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2007, 11:08:59 PM »

As many others have stated, I too, find this book relevant.  What I particularly enjoyed was the way the BPD traits and behaviors were grouped into characters (waif, hermit, queen, witch).  The characters were given due attention.  Contrary to real life where people openly rail against the queen/witch behavior without seeing clearly the insidious and sometimes even more damaging impact of waif/hermit - the book gave due time to the resulting damage of waif and hermit behaviors.

I was left wanting more after reading this book.  Lawson identified, albeit not so clearly, suplementary roles of the male non in understanding the marriage of these parents.  I continue to seek clarity to the interplay between the Borderline mom and Non dad as I believe it is terribly important.   I hope to see more written about the role and responsibility of the "non" parent.

When I read this book, I already knew about pds - so the information in this book articulated and affirmed my experience, and displayed some of the different ways things can play out related to the trait groupings.  However, I was left with a taste that there was more to the non-parent, and no place to go to satiate my need.

It'd be a great book idea for any aspiring writers out there.

Molly
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2007, 07:39:29 PM »

I've put off reading this book for a long time. After reading it, I regret waiting so long. It's not very often that I find a psychology or self-help book to be a page-turner.

I was only introduced to the term BPD about 2 years ago, by a therapist. I read this book three months ago, and it wasn't until I read this book that I was really able to grasp the effects that this disorder had on my childhood and the inner pain that I still suffer with today.  

It took a lot of effort but I finally “convinced” my husband to read this book. He read it in 2 days, and now he has a much better understanding of what I went through as a child, and what I’m going through as an adult. He now can better understand the term “emotional abuse”.

I think the one thing that the author failed to adequetly express, is the complicated "mix" of characters, that make-up our BP mothers. At least in my opinion, my mother uses the whole bag of tools to manipulate and control, one minute she's a waif, the next she's a witch.

This book has not only given me the words to express my feelings, but has also given me a much better understanding of who I am and why.

For anyone who suspects that they may have a BPD parent, this book is a must read.

This book will forever have a place on my bookshelf.  5 stars, thumbs up.
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2007, 07:08:58 AM »

I read the book and found it very helpful in understanding my family situation.  Being the non-dad, it helped me see the role I had unfortunately played in the family.  I would probably still be playing it if she had not moved out 4 years ago.  Unfortunately, she has had our children (now 20 - son and 19 - daughter) with her all the time since then and they will not see me.

Never the less, I bought two more books so I could give each of them one when it seems appropriate.  Since they still live with her, now would not be a good time.
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« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2007, 11:36:41 AM »

I just read this book this past weekend.  I found that I could read a few pages, and then I'd have to put it away for a while.  After cooling down, I could return to it again for a while.  It struck very close to home.  My mother and my wife are both BPD.  I could see my mother is many parts of the book and my wife in others.  I'v promised to loan it to my sister, but I'm not sure she'll be able to get through it.  My sister and I are the oldest children in the family and we were physically and psychologically abused regularly.  The book also accurately described my Dad's behavior.  I tried to intervene when my wife became upset with one of our children - my dad never did.  It's a great book, very accurate.
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« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2007, 10:17:05 AM »

Even after years of therapy being a NonBP with a borderline mother, this book opened doors to my understanding of and dealing with what happened in my younger life.

I had recently had dinner with a couple where the wife is a professor of Clinical Phsychology at a large University here in town. I lent her my copy of "Understanding the Borderline Mother", and after she returned it to me she stated it was the one unique book written on the subject - she had seen nothing else like it. She is now using it as required reading in her classroom. It seems that Lawson really hit it on the nail with this one.
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« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2007, 03:13:35 PM »

  I just finished reading UTBM this week and I found it to be very informative and did a good job of explaining the characteristics of a borderline mother's behavior.  I do agree with others here that many individuals are a combination of the types listed.

  I didn't have a borderline mother but my husband did (and he has BPD himself) and I know a few individuals who did.  I almost didn't purchase the book because I didn't personally have a BP mother but I am glad I did.  It helped me understand what my husband went through, not to mention some adult children and teenagers I know.  I also thought she had some good ideas on dealing with BP mothers for those who choose to do so or who must do so.

  Abigail
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« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2008, 12:04:34 PM »

Other than reading sections in the bookstore, I have only just begun reading my copy (I used a bookstore gift certificate).

Anyway, in my readings, I have gasped outloud numerous times at how accurate the descriptions are of my mother's disorder.  The behaviors and in particular the effects on me as a child ring true to the point of being scary.  I am looking forward to continuing reading the book and maybe gain some understanding as to my mother's sick behaviors and the effects they have had on me and my development.

Bart
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« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2008, 04:39:41 AM »

I struggled with my Mother and her effect on my whole life experience.  I always thought I was a bad horrible person though out my entire life until my then therapist (5 years ago) handed me this book and said "I don't usually do this but I'm going to save you years a therapy please read this book."  

I read it and it changed my life!
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« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2008, 01:15:13 PM »



I sent it to a friend of mine seven years ago.  His mother was dBPD, very much the waif/queen combination. 

She committed suicide a few months ago.  My friend asked that instead of flowers, I send his two brothers and his father each a copy of this book.  I did. 

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« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2008, 07:03:45 AM »

I recently bought my own copy (the first time I read it, I checked it out of the library) and discovered a wonderful new way to use it---as a journal.  Any time I read something that hits close to home, I underline it and write a description of my own story.  It's really helped put things in perspective for me.
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« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2008, 01:29:39 PM »

I've read this book for a research paper I had to do for an Abnormal Psychology class. Unfortunately, I couldn't read all of it, but I read most of it. I'm going to read it again. I thought it was very informative and gave me alot of insight to my family and possibly why my sister has it. It also made me more afraid for my sister's kids. It's a great book for anyone who has a family member with BPD. You can apply the information to father's, too.
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« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2008, 03:30:30 PM »

This book absolutely changed my life dramatically, and helped my children put boundaries in place with their uBPmother.  When my oldest was reading through it, she called out to me "I'm the bad child!"  She also saw a lot of herself in it.  When I started to read it, I had an a true epiphany.  Everything that had been so crazy in my life finally had an explanation.  It was my "Eureeka moment."  I have recommended it to serveral people, including this morning to a woman whose daughter in law is dBP.  I've read so many books on the subject and I feel this is the one book to read if you are going to stop at just one.
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« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2008, 06:00:38 PM »

This book is an amazing resource... .I found it tremendously helpful in helping me understand the BPD relationships in my family.
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« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2008, 07:42:25 PM »

This book has become like something of a personal Bible for me. It's given me validation that I really am NOT the crazy one and al the way through it I had "OMG That's my life!" moments. About things that I would never have thought related to the way Mum treated me (as the evil daughter) and things I had never even talked about with anyone else! It was like she was inside my head. It was truly an incredible, validating, wonderful experience.

Anyone who has a BPD mother absolutely needs to read this book. It's a sanity saver and will help you establish the boundaries necessary to live your life.

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« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2008, 06:10:21 PM »

This book was like finding the missing puzzle piece for me.  I am a secondary non.  I believe my BF's ex is uBPD.  I had not even heard of BPD a few months ago, but saw it mentioned on a website with some personality traits I had seen in his ex.  My BF had said "things are always black and white with her", that she had blamed their oldest son for all her problems and I heard all the time about her fears.  I knew she suffered from anxiety and depression, but so many of her actions seemed beyond what a normal Mom would do.

I read a bit about BPD online and then found Lawson's book at the library (have since bought it).  When I got to the description of the Hermit mother, I kept saying over and over, this is her.  There were just so many sentences that described her.  There was even a sentence about how Hermit mother's often home school their children (which uBPDxw is doing with one son.) 

My BF read sections of Lawson's book, although I know it was painful for him.  He saw himself in the Huntsman description.  It has helped us both understand some of what she does and explain what otherwise seemed completely illogical. 
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« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2009, 02:58:52 PM »

No book has ever brought me more comfort.  I still pull it off the bookshelf every few months if I feel stressed or if I start to think that I'm just being whiny or crazy.

I find that because Lawson's descriptions of borderline mothers are so specific, they validate my own experience.  I'm constantly doubting whether I'm making this whole thing about my mother up, so it comforts me to read something that is so uncannily accurate. 

When I hear more general descriptions of borderlines, I start to think "oh well, my mother never tried to kill herself, so I must be making everything up" but with Lawson's book, there's just no denying that my mother is a Hermit uBPD.  The fact that she doesn't fit the Queen or Waif types doesn't mean she's not borderline, it just means she's a different TYPE of borderline. 

The things she mentions are just too specific, too dead-on to deny.  It makes me feel like I'm not the crazy one.
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« Reply #27 on: August 26, 2009, 06:27:14 PM »

I bought this book last August, read it and refer to what I learned from it when dealing with my own "mommy dearest" BPD mother in my depression therapy. My mother's physical body died in late September, 1990. The internalized her, which I constantly carry about, I deal with on a daily basis.

Dr. Lawson's book is a technically oriented text. It is not written for someone just off the street. It helps to have Webster's Collegiate Dictionary nearby whenever venturing into any new topic. I am a Physicist by education and spent the last 30 years designing optical systems in the aerospace business. I had some psychological terms to become familiar with. This was taken care of with a few general beginning type texts at the local book store and a few clarifying questions to my psychologist.

In order to get the most from this or any other book, one must be willing to become familiar with specialized, topic specific terms. When I, the patient, picked up Dr. Lawson's text, I took on personal responsibility and became my therapist's assistant.

Anyone with a BPD mother, in my opinion, can't afford to ignore the associated problems. A BPD mother, alive or dead and internalized, can cause a lifetime of sadness, confusion and misery. To become free from this type of mother, the price in learning a few new specialized psychological terms seems a small price to pay.

Dr. Lawson's was the first BPD book I read but it won't be my last BPD book I read.

Jim Klein
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« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2010, 12:32:09 PM »

I am happy to have read the book and will keep it as a reference. It helped me understand the dynamics of my life up until I'm become NC 4 years ago with my Hermit uBPDm. My father is a textbook Huntman so it was great to finally understand what was wrong underneath all that perfect image veneer.

There's one sentence that I really didn't like about the book "It's only a matter of time before the bordeline's no good daughter becomes a bordeline mother herself " (Chapter 7, page 168).

As the "no good daughter" of my uBPDm and father, I did not develop BPD and I do not like the sense of doom implied in the above sentence.

When I went NC, I did see a T but I helped just a bit. What really helped me was being finally free of my uBPDm influence and going to support groups. The book seems to imply that if you do not enter a lengthy therapy you will not get better and that's not true. Because I was raised by a uBPDm, I had learned a lot of unhealthy behaviors that I have unlearned after learning new, healthy behaviors. Like I said, I saw one T for a few months, then I saw another one for a few sessions, just enough to understand my behaviors and learn new ones. Going to support groups helped me a lot as well. I'm only explaining all of this because not everyone has the means or the time (or both) to enter a lenghty therapy and I feel having been "the no good child" is already bad enough without feeling doomed after reading a book supposed to help you.

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« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2010, 02:57:03 PM »

Many of us, including myself, have read Understanding the Borderline Mother and had an awakening. This book not only validated my feelings, but it continues to be a resource when I need a little one sided therapy session. (As does Walking on Eggshells and other BPD resources)

I was just wondering about Ms. Lawson. Is she a practiving therapist? It seems like she wrote this revolutionary book for those of us in this situation and then disappeared.

Just curious if any of you knew anything about her or, better yet, when she's releasing another book!
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« Reply #30 on: March 09, 2010, 03:47:35 PM »

According to Skip, Christine Lawson was continuing to focus on her private practice with no plans to release another book. We can only thank her for the tremendous contribution she made through publishing Understanding the Borderline Mother. It has impacted many people's lives for sure.

Smiling (click to insert in post)

B&W

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« Reply #31 on: March 11, 2010, 02:11:49 PM »

We spoke to her two years ago.  She is practicing in Torrance, California and focusing on that.  She is not active with the promotion of her book or writing.
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« Reply #32 on: August 18, 2010, 10:55:06 AM »

I read this book this summer and thought it was incredible.  Since my brain is always asking "why" and trying to create order from chaos, this book helped immensely.  It even helped me with some of my own mother's hermit behaviors.

However, it wasn't as helpful to me as I had hoped, in being a secondary non hoping to have the tools to counteract my stepdaughters' mother's influence on them.  Nearly every point was directed towards ADULT children of borderline mothers, and I was hoping to learn some ways to mitigate damage while they're still young.

Still, I'll keep this book on the shelf and handy during the coming years.  I just wish there were some kind of guide for those of us coparenting with disordered mothers, especially Queens who lack mirroring and cannot separate from their children.

BTW, to those looking for an inexpensive way to get your hands on the book, try abebooks.com or half.com.
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« Reply #33 on: October 05, 2010, 04:29:37 PM »

I received the book today. I skimmed the book for a few minutes. My mother is definately the queen, the witch towards me and usually a waif also (she thinks she has every illness known to man, and then a few not known  ). let me know if you have read the book and what you thought about it. I am going to start reading it thoroughly tonight. I hope it doesn't cause me to get upset, but then again almost everything about my mother makes me cry.  :'(  Thanks in advance for any input about the book!
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« Reply #34 on: October 05, 2010, 04:38:04 PM »

GREAT book!  Very validating! 

My mom is Witch with me and Queen with everyone else... .
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« Reply #35 on: October 05, 2010, 05:58:49 PM »

I've seen it for as little as $15 on our bookfinder... .

www.bookfinder.com/search/?keywords=0876306342&st=sh&ac=qr&submit=
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« Reply #36 on: October 06, 2010, 01:17:50 PM »

I bought it 2 years ago and love it. It has been my go-to book lately. Especially when I'm feeling like maybe it's me - not her. But as soon as I start reading I get the reassurance I need. Definitely her.
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« Reply #37 on: October 09, 2010, 01:14:53 PM »

I didn't have a BPD mother (probably the farthest thing from it), but my grandchildren do (my daughter). I have bought it for them against the time when they fully realize that something is terribly wrong, and need to understand it. (They are beginning to reach that point.) Meanwhile, I'll read it myself, to help me understand my daughter's behavior.
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« Reply #38 on: December 31, 2010, 12:41:46 PM »

Understanding the Borderline Mother was so helpful to me. To try to understand my childhood and my selfhood including myself as a BPD parent. I was new in (this round of) therapy, and in the bookstore looking in the psychology section. I didn't even know much of the diagnosis as it hadn't been spoken out loud to me yet.  I pulled the book from the shelf out of curiosity and opened it randomly and there was my mother described, in the Queen section. No way could I leave that store without that book. That was 3 years ago. From what I learned in the book, I took the diagnosis to my therapist and asked if she thought the diagnosis fit me. She did and had thought so for a while. It was freeing to have more information and clarification, but mostly to have validation of the very intense feelings and things I struggle with.

So, I a both a person who struggles with BPD and at least a 3rd generation person BPD.

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« Reply #39 on: October 24, 2011, 05:21:41 PM »

So I just finished this book. It took me awhile for a lot of reasons. For one, it was too accurate and brought to mind so many things I'd forgotten about. I'd find myself after a few paragraphs daydreaming (or daymaring) about past events some over twenty years old. Also so much of it is scary in it's accuracy of things that have already happened that it's predictions of what will happen in the future left me so unsettled I couldn't sleep after reading it. Plus I had to read it secretly because I don't won't my kids to pick this one up yet and my wife doesn't like that I spend so much time trying to understand my ex-wife, (even though I only do it so I can find a way to reduce conflict with her since she is still so present in our lives - eleven and half years later. Plus I want to understand the emotional turmoil my kids are going through and figure out how to deal with it).

After reading the chapters on each type of BPD mother (as opposed to the summaries in the beginning) I actually found the queen to be practically 100% a description of X.  At the end it mentions that one of the messages the Queen sends her family is "What's mine is mine what's yours is mine." X didn't just send that message, she actually used to say it to me regularly and then laugh like it was a joke, but she clearly felt that way and still does to this day.

I found the witch to be about 75% accurate though as well, very frightening but also very reassuring because it let me know the vicious and expensive custody battle I waged this past year was definitely the right thing to do. The author mentions that Witch mothers may take a child's dog to the pound. My ex did that, then after I rescued the dog, she got them another one only to then threaten regularly to drop it off on the side of the road while they were at my house.

The section on the all good son is 100% accurate to our son who she treats as all-good, including the issues of depression, anxiety and guilt. The section on the no-good son mentions how their grades suffer as a result of their mother's treatment but their mother's never realize it. That's an exact description of what's been happening for years. My son who she treats as the no-good son once was inducted into the Beta club and there was a ceremony and he was so proud about. On the way to the ceremony his mom called to say she was too tired to attend. His whole demeanor changed and the rest of year his grades plummeted. When she called to bhit to me about his grades falling (because for some reason it was my fault even though he lived with her then) I mentioned to her how deflated he was when she showed no interest in attending the ceremony and her only response "oh please, you're actually blaming me?"

I could go on for pages about the accuracy of this book to my own situation, but I'm still not sure about the breakdown of the four types - waif, hermit, queen, and witch. I think it just comes down to the fact that not all BPD are 100% the same.
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« Reply #40 on: November 01, 2011, 09:21:47 AM »

I found this book so life changing and amazing, it was the first time I read a description of my mother - she was a bit of all the archetypes.

It made such a fundamental difference to me, confirmed I wasn't mad (at my worse when she upsets me) and enabled me to see the whole thing in a different context, in a more detached way I suppose and most importantly made me see I was not alone!

I remember being particularly convinced about it when I read that they don't remember all the nasty things that they have said so you are on the floor with grief and anguish them having wiped the floor with you and they say whats wrong with you? Thereby making you feel as if you are mad.

I did write to thank Christine Ann Lawson and I just had the feeling that she didn't have that much feedback about it and I would love for her to feel what an amazing book she has written and how helpful it is.

Perhaps we could send her a thank you petition or something?
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« Reply #41 on: December 31, 2011, 04:30:10 AM »

As a parent who is looking to minimise the impact that my stbuBPD/uNPD wife has on our 3 children I cannot praise this book highly enough.

It should be regarded a "the bible" for adult children who are seelking to understand their borderline mother and how her behaviour may have shaped their ubringing.

It is well reseached and referenced and yet presented in a form which is easy to understand and digest.

Although not inexpensive it is well worth the asking price.

If your mother has BPD and you are looking for a good place to start then this is it.



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« Reply #42 on: June 11, 2012, 02:11:01 PM »

  I am aware it is dangerous for laypeople to diagnose. However, this book in certain chapters was literally written about me and my uBPD exwife. I recommend it to everyone. With young children involved I feel it a must own.
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« Reply #43 on: July 18, 2012, 01:17:43 AM »

Uh, wow, wow, wow. This book was so enlightening to me-and at this point, about the 5th or 6th book I've read on BPD.

I'm so grateful to my T who helped me figure out that my ex uBPDgf was most likely (understatement) BPD and that my mother is also BPD.

Now I'm clearer about what sort of BPD I believe my exuBPDgf to be, my mother and unfortunately a few other people who've been in my life. I joked to a friend today that I am now seeing BPD everywhere! Seriously, though this book helped me also figure out where my dad fit into all this (I now think that both my ma and stepma plus my mother's mother all were BPD).

And lastly, this book helped clarify behavior of my MIL (mother of my ex-I now think she's a waif-so clearly) and helped me see ways/patterns I fell into too.

NOW I get that I am a friggin' miracle -having been raised by alcoholic queen/witch
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« Reply #44 on: September 14, 2012, 10:46:22 PM »

This book was literally life changing for me.

When my T told me he thought my mom is BPD and I should research it, it just wasn't really clicking for me (especially the DSM criteria--she fit some but clearly not others. Like a borderline Borderline  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) )

Then I came across Lawson's book. The waif, the hermit, the queen--those didn't fit. Then I read about the witch. It was as if Lawson had been using my mom as the template for this chapter. My mom is one of those rare BPD's that is primarily a witch, rather than one of the other types who sometimes becomes a witch. It's a miracle my brothers and I are still alive.

I found this book to help me understand much better why BPD's are not the same (the inner experience of the waif, primarily, is victimization, etc, the inner experience of the witch is annihilating rage--obviously, the outward behavioral reaction to these differing inner experiences are going to be different, with certain things in common--example: seriously out of proportion emotions).

I actually cried in giddy-ness when I read the chapter about how to live with the witch without becoming her victim--even though I've been NC for 22 years. I finally understood why I was the "no-good child" and that it didn't matter what I did or didn't do--it wouldn't have changed it. I also finally understood why I made many of the choices I did when I "grew up". I even understood my stepdad better (a perfect fisherman).

This, in my opinion, is THE best book about BPD available, and written in "layperson" terms. Even though it's fairly expensive (Amazon sells used copies!) I bought extras for my brothers, who also were overwhelmed by the book.
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« Reply #45 on: February 07, 2013, 02:47:24 PM »

I just finished reading this book yesterday. It was not cheap - $30 on Amazon and it's a paperback. But I consider it money well spent. I saw my childhood in it, especially the chapters about the Waif mother and the Witch mother. I actually found myself writing "OMG!" in the margins at a lot of parts; it was almost as if the writer had been there for my childhood!For some reason I find it reassuring to know that there was definitely something wrong with the way I was brought up. It was not normal.

I highlighted so much of this book that rings similar and have passed it along to my sister. Then I will give it to my brother. We are all finding it helpful to realize what we are dealing with. I am breaking this horrible cycle with my children. I am not a perfect mother (who is?) but I know I am not like the women described in the book.

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« Reply #46 on: February 09, 2013, 06:53:09 PM »

I also found this book enlightening and helpful in understanding my uBPDdd and the effects of her behaviour on my grandchildren.  Had it not been so expensive to buy, I would have been wanting to send a copy to every children's social work department in the country as social workers seem abysmally unaware of what goes on behind closed doors in these families. 
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« Reply #47 on: February 22, 2013, 02:48:04 PM »

I finally read this book recently after wishlisting it several years ago and then avoiding it. The day I got it, I opened it up just intending to do a quick skim before delving into it, and instead I found myself sitting down, transfixed. I had flipped to the Waif chapter, thinking I was most likely to find my mother in there, and I was right. I can't tell you how many times I exclaimed, "Oh my god!", out loud, because it was my life. Down to little details like her driving off recklessly when upset, and threatening to drive over a bridge with me in the car! 
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« Reply #48 on: March 26, 2013, 01:53:55 AM »

Reading this was half liberating and half traumatic. I bought it partly for educational reasons and I expected to read about my deceased aunt's and my maternal grandmother's behavior. At the time, I hadn't realized that the rage I was consistently subjected to by my mother while growing up was a manifestation of BPD. My grandmother's Good Child turned into the Waif and her Bad Child turned into the Witch.

It is liberating to know that my set of experiences fall under a certain header and that there are people with similar experiences. I would be able to find someone further along in their journey who could offer reassurance or advice when/if I ever decided to dive into processing and integrating the first 18 years of my life.

The traumatic bit springs from my habit of maintaining a poker face. Reading my patterns of behavior and thoughts in a book made me feel like I gave myself away somehow. Someone had figured out that under the flat affect, reliability, detachment, and intellectualism there is a pit of pure terror. Exhibiting fear, sadness, or anxiety was always blood in the water.
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« Reply #49 on: June 04, 2013, 06:26:40 PM »

The book was lent to me recently by my social worker and support person. I am a nonBPD gr.mother looking after my grandson. Our son had a relationship with his now ex partner who has dBPD. They have separated but there is still so much contact because of the gs. Ex is firmly in denial of her diagnosis, only owns up to bipolar traits and eating disorder, or if in need of sympathy PTSD is thrown in. She picks and chooses whatever is more convenient and depending who needs to be manipulated.

I have found the book very helpful but it also raises more concerns what the future will hold for my grandson. Parenting arrangements are still before the courts, meanwhile gs and nonBPDs are living with us. She probably fits the Queen as described in the book, with Waif as supporting actress!

We are doing our best to be the stabilising, secure people in gson's life.

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« Reply #50 on: November 08, 2013, 08:52:15 AM »

I read this book after first having read "Surviving a Borderline Parent". I found both to be beneficial for different reasons.

While "Surviving a Borderline Parent" was shorter, it was filled with activities, most of which required a good deal of time and reflection, which I found to dramatically stir up my emotions. It took me several months to finish it due to this reason.

"Understanding the Borderline Mother" went into much more detail on the specific types of BPD. Perhaps having read the other book first, I was better prepared to read what it had to say, as I finished it in two days with no emotional breakdowns.

I would definitely recommend both books. This one does an excellent job of describing the specific experiences that each of us may have faced. It's enlightening and validating.
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« Reply #51 on: September 20, 2014, 03:27:15 PM »

I waited for weeks to get UNDERSTANDING  THE BORDERLINE MOTHER from the library and finally got to skim though it. I always skim first, then read. When I got to the chapter entitled Make Believe Children. Under the bold heading  



"Characteristics of the All-Good

":)oes not develop borderline  personality  disorder ".
 

Lawson reasons , because  only the idealized parts of the mother are projected onto  this child.

Under the bold heading "Characteristics  of the No -Good child"

":)evelops borderline  personality  disorder "


":)oes not develop borderline  personality  disorder ". [/b]

Lawson reasons , that it is only a matter of time before the borderline's  no-good daughter becomes a borderline mother herself.

Help Please.

Why do I say this?

1  My  u BPDs (the all- good child)  has been a source of great pain my whole life due to BPD behaviors toward me, classic distortion campaigns, mood changes, hatred and accusatory  mistrust  of me despite my attempts to heal the relationship. She fulfills 6 of the 9  criteria. All this due to my uBPDm 's  constant instruction of her that this was all true (I  am the no-good child)

2   Despite seeing accurate knowledge of BPD in all the rest I read so far ,  I would never share the book with my mom .  She is 86 , on enough antidepressants and antipsychotics to be emotionally stable, and is actually  now able to apologize  to me and discuss her own feelings about her own BPD mother... I think she would have loved to read it to understand the roots of her own unloved childhood.

3  My sister lives with my mom and I know if my sister found out my mom read it and liked it, she would have read it too. And what I quoted above would have SEALED MY FATE  as the sick one, the bad one,the cause of all the family problems.

4  And finally, because those unequivocal statements had the effect of throwing me right back I to the FOG,  having me questioning my sanity yet again. I believe those statements , because they leave no room for another possibility  are downright irresponsible  to those of us who are trying to heal our hearts.


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« Reply #52 on: September 20, 2014, 03:43:42 PM »

Hi Sparrowffh.  UTBM is a book I love to hate in large part because of those very generalizations that have upset you.  I cringe inside when I read them because according to Lawson, I am BPD.  

Even though I know I really only have a couple of the behaviors on the list to the point where they are interfering with my life, I still get upset and sort of put a haze over part of my mind when I read that part or think about it.  It is a very black and white point of view.  The other thing I use to try to balance her statements and my reaction is to remember that the one thing that will save an all bad child from being BPD is the knowledge they were loved.  I was in another survivors support group and this issue came up and it was discovered that even the unconditional love of a pet could counter balance the lack of unconditional love from a BPD parent.  Did you see the thread here  titled something like "who/what saved you"?  some of us found that acceptance in our own imaginations or from a supportive teacher, etc.  A friend of mine got her validation from her dog.  When she cried, he would sit next to her and lick her tears away.  As a kid, that love and concern saved her.  

As for the all good child not being BPD because only the good parts of the BPD are projected on them, I have to question that conclusion as well.  The all good child will have as much of a problem with developing a sense of self as the all bad child and may in fact have a harder time accepting criticism and challenges faced in the real world.  

So, you are not alone sparrow.  You are living proof that Lawson is over generalizing and is just plain wrong!  

Edited:  sorry, I was so focused on wanting to console you that I forgot to comment about your mother.  You could always just chat with your mom about what you learned.  I think it is wise to not have her read the book.  But you two could spend some time talking about it and then if she wants to read it, she can and may know enough to not let your sister know.     BTW, I am reading surviving the borderline mother for the first time and it seems less black and white and is more focused on working through the issues by having the reader reflect through exercises.  You might want to check that out next if you haven't.  I made the mistake of buying the e-version and wish I had a paper copy to write in.
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« Reply #53 on: September 20, 2014, 04:17:53 PM »

Thank u Harri for your ,as ever, thoughtful  comments.

Yes, I will give  the  book  more of a chance , but a statement like that tends to make me take less seriously what I read thereafter. But I  know there are some  valuable insights within the book.

on the topic of whether or not a non actually has BPD themselves... .

come on, people (LCSW 's  included) let's distinguish between a freaking horrible case of fleas and real  BPD.

Can we make that distinction? Any insights?
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« Reply #54 on: September 20, 2014, 05:39:52 PM »

Hi again sparrow.  I did not intend to cut the discussion short about Lawson's book.  I am not sure how helpful my comments were if they caused the convo to end and I do feel bad about that.  I am sorry, that was not my intention. 

I can imagine you must have been disappointed after waiting a while only to come across *that* info.  Listen to your gut.  I was simply offering my take and a way around dismissing the book as a whole.  I am on my second read through of it and I took a look at the chapter again after I posted and sure enough, I still had to remind myself of the things I posted otherwise---> I = :'( 

As for fleas vs traits, in terms of what I have to do to change my behaviors and heal the wounds that causes me to have them, there is no difference and it does not matter what I call them.  I don't want them regardless.

I will be interested to hear how others feel about the distinction between fleas and behaviors/traits.
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« Reply #55 on: September 20, 2014, 06:46:44 PM »

I didnt read the book, but I want to give my 0,02 too.

My mom is not BPD, although I believe her mom was and 2 of her sisters are uBPDs.

Ill tell you my experience and its very similar to yours. Im not a BPD child, so you cant suspect Im biased on this, but Im close enough to witness the dynamics.

This uBPD aunt has 2 daughters, one is clearly the golden child and the other is the escape goat. In my opinion, the golden one is BPD. She has HUGE histrionic traits, her husband was an uNPD (a classic combination). The escape goat has her own issues, but she´s not BPD, imo. Now I think this uBPD cousin is the favourite cause she is so similar to her mom. I really dont know if she was chosen GC and then turned out BPD or the other way around (Im more prone to think the other way around).

Strangely enough, my uBPD cousin is very close to her uBPD mom and our uBPD aunt... .I wouldnt think thats possible, its too much histrionism altogether, but she gets along with BPDs very well... .I get repelled by all that attention-seeking behaviour and Im the one they gang up on sometimes... .
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« Reply #56 on: September 20, 2014, 08:46:46 PM »

I just finished the book too and that part really stuck out at me and triggered my fear that I might be BPD because I def. have a few BPD traits. (esp. because my mom was mostly a Witch, and to a lesser extent a Queen.) I keep hoping they are just fleas because the one thing that is so different between my mom & I is that my emotions are much more regulated. Of course, one of the exceptions is when I'm thinking about traumatic events in my childhood or when my mom is raging at me in my face & I'm in a situation where I can't physically get away (e.g., if it's on the phone, I usually can keep calm); then all the fear/upset/anger comes rushing back.

Lawson also seems a little dismissive of migraines but that might just be me projecting (I've had chronic migraines since I was a little kid); she uses them in her examples of the BPD moms only & I just never quite got the sense that she ever believes that their pain is real or debilitating.

What was also interesting to me is that she doesn't talk about BPD moms who treat kids as both black & white. Maybe they don't and maybe my mom really isn't BPD because that's what happened with my sibling & I. Sometimes I was the good child & my sibling the bad one and then two hours later it would switch.

Now that my mom is older, it takes longer for her to switch; e.g, for the last year or so, my husband has been the good child & my sibling, his spouse and I have all been the bad ones. The funny thing about that is that my mom absolutely despised my husband in the beginning & did everything in her power to try to break us up & ruin our wedding.
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« Reply #57 on: September 30, 2014, 11:00:08 AM »

I just read this book: "Understanding the Borderline Mother" and I finished it at the weekend. The day after I was feeling horrible all day and eventually ended up in floods of tears because I felt that Lawson had me pegged COMPLETELY. (I was the all-good child.) It was so disturbing to have myself described so accurately and have my inner personality basically turned into a pathology. It was honestly terrifying ... .also I didn't want to read the parts about the no-good child, because I didn't really want to feel any more horrible about what my sister must have been and must still be suffering.

I guess the thing is, that any book is going to give generalizations, and that some of them will chime with some of us more than others. I don't think that you should take it as saying for a fact you will be BPD, or one thing or another, and that your sister is one thing or another, everyone is different, instead that it is a kind of guideline, telling you about probable outcomes not definite ones. (Lawson does phrase it in a pretty unequivocal and not very friendly way though, admittedly.) So I just wanted to say: don't worry, a book doesn't know you better than you know yourself. I know it's hard because its so personal but try not to let it eat at you. 

My thoughts on that line: "It is only a matter of time before the borderline's  no-good daughter becomes a borderline mother herself." were "not if she doesn't have any effing kids!" because as far as my family's concerned there's not likely to be another generation.

It's a great book, I don't want to give it back to the library, but it definitely isn't one for when you're feeling fragile.
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« Reply #58 on: September 30, 2014, 07:23:24 PM »

I just read this book: "Understanding the Borderline Mother" and I finished it at the weekend. The day after I was feeling horrible all day and eventually ended up in floods of tears because I felt that Lawson had me pegged COMPLETELY. (I was the all-good child.) It was so disturbing to have myself described so accurately and have my inner personality basically turned into a pathology. It was honestly terrifying ... .also I didn't want to read the parts about the no-good child, because I didn't really want to feel any more horrible about what my sister must have been and must still be suffering.

I guess the thing is, that any book is going to give generalizations, and that some of them will chime with some of us more than others. I don't think that you should take it as saying for a fact you will be BPD, or one thing or another, and that your sister is one thing or another, everyone is different, instead that it is a kind of guideline, telling you about probable outcomes not definite ones. (Lawson does phrase it in a pretty unequivocal and not very friendly way though, admittedly.) So I just wanted to say: don't worry, a book doesn't know you better than you know yourself. I know it's hard because its so personal but try not to let it eat at you. 

My thoughts on that line: "It is only a matter of time before the borderline's  no-good daughter becomes a borderline mother herself." were "not if she doesn't have any effing kids!" because as far as my family's concerned there's not likely to be another generation.

It's a great book, I don't want to give it back to the library, but it definitely isn't one for when you're feeling fragile.

Thanks for your insight takehiko.  I was the scapegoat, so technically that should make my sister the golden child... .but somehow, I don't think any of us were the golden child. It's just my sister didn't get the same rages that I was subject to because she didn't confront as often as I did.   It was mostly other people's children who were the golden children, and we were the ugly, disobedient, inferior children... .My sister has told me about being harassed by my mother for what my mother saw as her ugly physical features... .especially her nose, her weight, imperfections on her skin... .etc.

Now my sister is a mom, and I can't seem to find a relationship that is not fraught with BPD or NPD traits.  My sister has all the typical BPD waif attributes... .and possibly married to a BPD type husband... .he has serious attachment issues with his children, and control issues with her.  It's very sad, because I am watching a lot of the pain and sadness that has forever been present in our family slowly be transferred to these two little innocent children who, like all of us, simply want to be loved and cared for.   
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« Reply #59 on: October 01, 2014, 08:19:23 AM »

Life changing book for me, too.  Having continually struggled with the effects of my BPDexW on me, I was only beginning to understand the effects on our children... .

I had my bright and perceptive 17 yo read the few pages on how waifs exaggerate the behaviors of their children to their spouses... .How many times did my ex call me at work and scream about "my son's" abuse, (how many times did she present self-inflicted bruises to our son's headmaster, blaming her own offspring), how many times did she have him arrested, how many times did she say to me, "If you were a real man, you would protect me from him... ." - And after my son read the excerpt, he said, ":)ad, I know mom is borderline - what's the point?"  "The point, son, is that I want to apologize to you one more time for always believing your mother... ."  Fortunately, he had forgiven me long ago.

My brother in law called yesterday, his wife has been receiving phone calls from my ex and her boyfriend with his concern that my son is plotting to kill his mother... .police and attorneys and therapist notified, of course, son is aware and on alert.  That BPDs can recruit sociopaths and other PDs into their web of scams and schemes (even against their own children) is probably underappreciated, but discussed in Lawson's book

My ex wife used to make up things about our sons especially the eldest. The amount of times that Ive told him off for things that he never did broke my heart. After splitting from their mum I realised that she had been lying and I apologised to the boys and they forgave me. I now worry that she is still doing this with her new husband as she says he doesn't get on with them.
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« Reply #60 on: October 10, 2014, 09:29:32 PM »

I'm glad I read it.

I feel validation for the first time in my life.

And it's the reason I'm here.

Thanks Ms Lawson!   
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« Reply #61 on: October 19, 2014, 11:20:22 AM »

I found it in my university's library - spent the whole afternoon reading this book and it was great!

For those who cant afford it - try your local library or university, they might have it there for you to borrow it/ read it on location.
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« Reply #62 on: November 22, 2014, 04:41:48 AM »

i'm glad i entered in this thread, i will try to read this. thank you for sharing it.
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« Reply #63 on: November 22, 2014, 04:53:22 AM »

Ive not read this yet but will definately get it as I have 3 children with 2:uBPDex's. I can totally relate to the waif claiming the children did things as my ex wife did this.

Just curious on the queen behaviiur as my exgf fits this. I have seen her rages at the kids but mostly she is over protective of them and fears offending them.
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« Reply #64 on: November 22, 2014, 12:47:23 PM »

I'm afraid I'm seeing waif behaviour in my sister, who is now mother of 2.  I suppose it's normal, as our mother is uBPD queen... .It's hard for me to think that something is wrong with someone, when they can act totally normal one day, and totally crazy the next, then back to normal... .but this is my sister now. I constantly question myself because she loves to put the blame on others for her craziness. Oh my. 
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« Reply #65 on: January 02, 2016, 09:23:59 PM »

So much to my confusion, in the chapter on make-believe children in the section on splitting, the author says
Excerpt
Linehan (1993a) believes that borderlines should not be viewed as different

then she quotes Lineman then she goes on to say
Excerpt
Bordrlines sense that they are different and deserve validation of their suffering



Lawson, Christine Ann. Understanding the Borderline Mother. p. 159

Marsha Linehan is an amazing, remarkable woman. She developed DBT to treat herself. She had BPD. Now I don't know Ms. Lawson's professional background but she seems to be casting aspersion on the work of Dr. Lineman.

I'm sure someone will set me straight.

Or maybe not, after all I am the one who came up with the borderline dragging the non down the hall like a child drags a comfort object.   Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #66 on: January 03, 2016, 12:55:09 AM »

p. 124, Nook e-book.

Linehan is coming from a BPD perspective; Lawson, as a T who treats non-BPDs...

Value can be taken from both insights.
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« Reply #67 on: January 03, 2016, 02:40:52 AM »

p. 124, Nook e-book.

Linehan is coming from a BPD perspective; Lawson, as a T who treats non-BPDs...

Value can be taken from both insights.

Hmm, interesting... .I don't know if I would want Lawson for my T, however I am reading her book, so I'm taking it with a grain of salt from now on.

Let me clarify, Dr. Lineman is coming from the perspective of someone who treated herself for BPD and was able to pass that treatment method on to others.
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« Reply #68 on: January 03, 2016, 07:53:30 AM »

I don't see it as a huge deal... as Turkish said, they're looking at it from different perspectives and both may have biases. In any profession, it's possible that two capable clinicians could have differing opinions and neither is wrong or right.
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« Reply #69 on: January 03, 2016, 08:23:43 AM »

Linehan (and a person with BPD):  People should not treat borderlines as if they are "different" humans - don't make them out to be freaks and ostracize them.

Lawson (and a person with BPD mom):  People should not tell a child that the way they were treated by their parent was "normal" (she says this in the context of splitting).

Both points make sense to me.   Being cool (click to insert in post)

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« Reply #70 on: January 03, 2016, 12:50:10 PM »

Linehan (and a person with BPD):  People should not treat borderlines as if they are "different" humans - don't make them out to be freaks and ostracize them.

Lawson (and a person with BPD mom):  People should not tell a child that the way they were treated by their parent was "normal" (she says this in the context of splitting).

Both points make sense to me.   Being cool (click to insert in post)

Yes both quotes make sense to me too. I'm reading about the all bad child. I think I became that as an adolescent although my mother thinks the "adventures" I went on were "neat". She had no idea what I was doing... .
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« Reply #71 on: January 26, 2016, 03:36:12 AM »

I think this is a good book even if the person in your life with BPD is not ones mother. Definitely found the book helpful and to be an informative read and worth what i spent on it (although i dont know if everyone will agree or not but its all good and i bought the book in like new condition). I've read the book all way threw at least a few times. I'd recommend the book (to most) and its one my favs to read on BPD. The book I do agree does use a few words or terms that some (myself included) may not be familiar with but I personally like with any book just looked those words up. I'd give the book 4.7 out of 5 stars Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #72 on: August 05, 2017, 02:56:52 PM »

No book has ever made me cry as much as this one.
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« Reply #73 on: January 01, 2018, 08:40:03 AM »

Fantastic content.  Smiling (click to insert in post) I found the ideas sometimes intense and difficult to read. I still use this for reference from time to time.



One review described this as a highly accurate portrayal of her family's dynamics--another review claimed she had to administer heavy doses of self-care while reading it.

I didn't think it was very applicable to my experience with a upwBPD romantic partner--but it appeared to be both very useful and well reviewed by both participants here and the general public. Post-reading, I found it contained a lot of practical insights for me despite the pwBPDSO in my life being a romantic partner.



"They will also find specific suggestions for creating healthier relationships." I think this statement is true.

This book is packed with great takeaways. Examples:
- discussions about factors that create unconscious and excessive altruism in people
- being aware of the traits of males that are in relationships with BP females
- being aware on the effects of a BP female on children
- being aware of workaholic fathers and how the relationship is may benefit both parties
- the implicit application of how to handle (and not handle) discussions with people with BP traits (not only BPDM's)
- discussions about consequences, and the support implied for the non wanting to support their own boundaries

I appreciated the way Lawson put in fairytale characters to make representations:
Excerpt
The Good Witch laughs and says to the Wicked Witch, "Be gone... .you have no power here!" The Good Witch has confidence in her goodness and power. She is not afraid, she believes in herself. Adult children have this power, but like Dorothy with the ruby slippers, they do not know how to use it.

I do think that being a part of this community is a lot of about not penalising oneself for behaving in a way that one didn't know was unhealthy in a given relationship. This book is a great way to find out about those things that we often "wish we had known". An example of what you can find in this book:
Excerpt
Many adult children who enter therapy report [... .] having to catch up on something they missed learning. In these dreams, they report feeling angry, resentful, and embarrassed that no one had given them proper instructions or clearly explained the assignment. They unconsciously know that they missed a developmental step [... .]



If you find the book's situations apply to your own, then I'd also recommend a healthy sense of individuation and self-compassion to accompany this reading. Also, I'd consider supplementing the first reading with time aside for therapeutic support.
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« Reply #74 on: December 21, 2018, 10:10:28 AM »

Hey all,

So I’m referencing the book Understanding The BPD Mother by Lawson when I talk about “subtypes”.

I read the book in 2011 and back then we had 2 children under 3 yrs of age. My BPDw was quite hermit-like and a lot of witch. Fast forward to 2018, we have D10, S7, D5 and I’m rereading the book. It’s amazing but my stbex BPDw is extremely the queen and a lot witch mixed in there.

Obviously these subtypes by Lawson are an attempt to bundle characteristics that can’t really be bundled. We are all unique in our attributes and in our illnesses. But I’m quite blown away by the extreme swing in characters by my stbex BPDw. It is truly shocking.

The queen in her really came out about 4 yrs ago when our youngest was 1 yr old. And boy did it come out with a fury! Stbex BPDw is an artist and up until 4 yrs ago she would hide in her studio. Secretive and wouldn’t share her art with anyone. Then she decided to go at it professionally or as she stated “she wanted to become a famous artist”... .and BAM!

Anyone else observed a drastic change in character with time?

Happy holidays to all!
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« Reply #75 on: December 21, 2018, 10:48:46 AM »

Hi, LightAfterTunnel.   Welcome new member (click to insert in post)  Interesting question.  For those of us who have yet to read about the Waif, Hermit, Queen and Witch archetypes, here's a summary:

Excerpt
The Queen is controlling, the Witch is sadistic, the Hermit is fearful, and the Waif is helpless.  Each requires a different approach. Don't let the Queen get the upper hand; be wary even of accepting gifts because it engenders expectations. Don't internalize the Hermit's fears or become limited by them. Don't allow yourself to be alone with the Witch; maintain distance for your own emotional and physical safety. And with the Waif, don't get pulled into her crises and sense of victimization; "pay attention to your own tendencies to want to rescue her, which just feeds the dynamic.

Would you like to say more about how the shift you saw in your wife played out in your relationship?  How did you feel as her partner going through it?  How do you feel now looking back at what happened?



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« Reply #76 on: December 21, 2018, 11:59:49 AM »

Hi Insom,

Thanks for posting the summary... .I definitely didn’t want to exclude others from participating.

Well, in the beginning I felt my BPDw was very insular and her art was her way of communicating with the world. I knew of her very rough upbringing and so I figured this was her way of dealing with the demons so to say. Her secretiveness I never understood and I was hurt by it. She was always extremely controlling of me and the kids. She suffocated our D10 when she was young. D10 has major anxiety issues now and reacts strongly to anyone who crowds her space our her stuff. Overall I think you can say that BPDw’s fears ruled her actions and this is part of the hermit subtype as described by Lawson.

Then slowly she started sharing her artwork and you could see that BPDw got a taste of enjoyment from the positive feedback. I was happ for her but deep down I knew that there wasn’t any recognition in the world that would satisfy her. During the next years BPDw started buying nicer clothes, working out obsessively, going out dancing and out with friends often, started ignoring the kids more than before... .before she could be explosive and unpredictable but she did do activities with them... .now she feigned interest at most. Things really snowballed to the point where I have felt she just doesn’t want to be a mother anymore. She’s 100% focused on her art and the attention she gets from it. Again Lawson is correct that BPDw’s emptiness is driving her now.

As a partner, it’s been impossible and truly self sacrificing... .but it’s also been the diving board from which I sprung into my own issues and understanding myself. The hardest part was watching my children and their continual disappointment with BPDw, conflicts in teaching them, and trying to compensate and support them throughout.

Man... .if I only knew then what I know now... .HA! I don’t regret anything. I gave it my best at every moment. I love my children and I wouldn’t have S7 and D5 if I knew then what I know now because I would have put firm safe boundaries from the beginning. I put my foot down on her anger and outbursts at the children when D10 was 4 yrs old but I wish I did it earlier... .until then I was still wrapped up in it all.

I think that BPDw is a person full of fears and emptiness and probably always will be. I am not sure on why fears ruled her for the first 5-6 years but now we’re all suffering the wrath of the queen for 4 years and counting. The only constant has been her wickedness throughout.

LAT
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« Reply #77 on: December 21, 2018, 10:33:05 PM »

One takeaway I got from that book is that the four types could exist with each other,  with one dominating depending upon that circumstances. 

My mother is the Hermit-Waif (she doesn't have a narcissistic bone in her body). My ex is the Hermit-Waif-Queen. 

I remember one time in the car less than a year before our dissolution when then D3 said "mommy's a princess!" She responded,  "no,  mommy's a Queeen!" I rolled my eyes to myself.  That's not a good thing.

The core feelings of a pwBPD is that they are worthless, unlovable and don't matter. Masterson describes a pwBPD as a "deflated false self" (a person with NPD is an "inflated false self"). What's in common is an unstable identity (sense of Self), and the unhealthy coping mechanisms stem from these core feelings. 

My ex describes herself on social media as a "game changer" unabashedly. If only people knew the pain and drama she caused me, our kids,  and her current husband... .

I'm with you in retrospect. I wouldn't have S8, almost 9, and D6.5 if I'd known.  D6 had tears in her eyes this morning when she was realizing her mom had her for over a week during Christmas and she wouldn't see me (I'll have them the first week of January until they go back to school).

That's unconditional love,  which is both validating and heartbreaking.

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« Reply #78 on: May 12, 2019, 07:46:38 AM »

YouTube audiobook Resource (sharing)…

Link ~>

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-Ai6ujUDX0&list=PL94j5ECCzW1frzUVZtYclBrzjOv7OpujU&index=1&spfreload=10

Title, - Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship 

By: Christine Ann Lawson

Kind Regards, Red5
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« Reply #79 on: May 12, 2019, 03:56:57 PM »

This is an excellent book for understanding the different behaviors associated with BPD.  It also takes a look at the role of the non-father.  It has been very helpful to many of us on the PSI (Parent Sibling and In-law) board here.

It is a good book for anyone, but especially for those non parents raising a child with a pwBPD.
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