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Author Topic: BPD BEHAVIORS: Problematic parenting  (Read 48305 times)
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« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2008, 04:08:39 PM »

i believe and i have seen with my ex...

she had two kids...the daughter tolerated her...

the son ... 16 wouldnt even call back a messaage...

i felt bad for both her kids.. but they knew not to get too close to mom...

so her and her 16 y/o son...

she would take him to a diner.. for lunch about ... every 3 or 4 months...

she didnt know anything about his life...he lived with the father...

but she thought she was parent of the year... cause she spent an hour and gave him 10 dollars...i felt bad for the kid...not for her.. its her choosing

but im sure many of you see the BPD parent carries a ridiculous amount of pictures, have kid shrines,, still save the toys... long after the point...of  use?

dont even know thier kid...

but again think they are parent of the year...


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« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2008, 12:42:36 PM »

It sounds silly and petty to some but imagine being a child and only hearing "I love you" when it was being directed to your brother and never toward you. cry

Hell, no, that does NOT sound petty.  Geez.  It had to be conscious, and you knew it.  Know this, though, she didn't love him either, he just satisfied (directly or indirectly) her needs.  Most likely indirectly.  I'm beginning to understand what a BPD calls "love".  It has nothing to do with what normal people call love.  Do I feel comfortable making that broad generalization?  More and more, I'd say yes.

I'm in a chosen relationship, and she does similar things to my eldest, and I don't really even think she has any idea how it impacts him, and I don't think she'd really care in any real sense if it was pointed out to her.  He isn't the "white" child, so he deserves to be treated as 2nd class so far as she's concerned.


I agree that they do not practice or care about what normal people call love. It's a never ending game with them, even when they do not realize they are playing. I read above that there are differences in the way a borderline mother cares for her children...I too went without dental and medical care most of the time. My brother on the other hand, never went without healthcare. Reading the Lawson book was very eye opening for me.

I agree that your BPD wouldn't really care if you pointed out the way she treats your oldest. I eventually did point out the "I love you," stuff to my mother and she immediately blamed me for it. If I had been a better child, she would have loved me too...the funny thing is, I was the good child that catered to her. My brother told her to go to hell most days and still he was painted white!
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« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2008, 01:01:07 PM »

I agree that they do not practice or care about what normal people call love. It's a never ending game with them, even when they do not realize they are playing. I read above that there are differences in the way a borderline mother cares for her children...I too went without dental and medical care most of the time. My brother on the other hand, never went without healthcare. Reading the Lawson book was very eye opening for me.

I also agree, this is probably a very important issue to ponder. The BPD mother can say to their child they love them but they may not have the capability to give them true parental love or even demonstrate it. What does this really give the child as a healthy reference as they enter adulthood? It scares me as I think about this more and more.


Letting go when it is too painful to hang on is hard to rationalize.

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« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2008, 02:26:14 AM »

From an article on our website (by Jane-Middleton Moz):


Children of mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are a potentially disadvantaged group of children that are at risk for future psychopathology. Crandell et al. (1997) demonstrated that attachment status is not completely stable, however, children who are able to resolve early traumatic experiences are able to obtain an ‘earned secure’ attachment status in adulthood. Adults with an earned secure status function comparably to adults who had secure attachment status as children (Crandell et al, 1997). These findings hold great promises for the prognosis of children of mothers with BPD. With adequate attention and intervention, there is hope that children of mothers with BPD will overcome the risks associated with this maternal psychopathology.

Attachment Status and Early Experiences of Mothers with BPD

Mothers with BPD are characterized by a history of broken relationships and marked instability in multiple domains of their lives. It is anticipated that the characteristic behaviors of BPD will infiltrate the mother-child relationship as much as it interferes with other relationships.

Borderline Symptoms in Context of Parenting

Characteristic symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder are likely to hinder the ability of a mother with BPD to parent effectively, thereby negatively affecting the social and emotional development of the child.

For instance, adults with BPD typically display a pattern of unstable relationships and a host of interpersonal problems (APA, 2000). They generally show a disorganized way of dealing with interpersonal stress and frequently fluctuate between extreme idealization and devaluation of others (Holmes, 2005; APA, 2000). It is suggested that the mother-child relationship is not protected from these interpersonal problems.

Likewise, people with BPD often cross interpersonal boundaries and role expectations. Many people with BPD, for instance, will be empathic towards, and care for, other people only under the expectation that the other person will “be there” for them on demand (APA, 2000). Many habitually make impractical claims that others are not “there” enough and make unrealistic demands for amount of time spent together. They often inappropriately respond with intense anger to even brief separations or slight changes in plans (APA, 2000).

Concomitantly, a mother with BPD tends to treat the child as a “need gratifying object” as opposed to an individual, an autonomous person. Such behaviors, mixed with the powerful, alternating idealization and devaluation characteristic of BPD, are likely to obviate a positive mother-child relationship and negatively affect the child’s developing interpersonal skills and sense of self.

Moreover, effective parenting by the mother with BPD is compromised by instability in her sense of her own self. Overall, those with BPD maintain a negative self-image and feelings of worthlessness. It is also typical for adults with BPD to make abrupt changes in aspirations, vocation, sexual identity and values (APA, 2000). Since it is through the unique relationship with the mother that the infant develops a sense of self, this distorted, unpredictable, and fluctuating self image of the mother is likely to have negative effects on the child’s own self image.

Furthermore, a mother with BPD’s inability to adequately regulate her own emotions may obstruct her ability to cope with the varying affective states of her child (New-man & Stevenson, 2005; Paris, 1999). It is common for mothers with BPD to feel anxious, estranged, confused, or overwhelmed by their infants (Hobson et al., 2005; Holman, 1985; Newman & Stevenson, 2005). When these parents get stuck in their own “defensive and entangled organization of thought” (Crandell, Fitzgerald, & Whipple, 1997, p. 250), they prevent their children from integrating certain affective experiences and behaviors.


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« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2008, 09:07:14 AM »

The only thing that stands out about my BPDx's parenting style is his over obsession with neatness. My D3 has temperment issues. She absolutely cannot handle abrupt changes in her daily routine. She is also very picky, even at age 3, about what she wears. Usually, I give her three choices and she chooses an outfit from the choices. I don't care about what color her socks are so it is not uncommon for her to walk out the door in a little blue outfit with pink or purple socks and truth be told, on tough days, I just want her to wear something so there are days she goes to daycare wearing a very mismatched outfit. It bugs me a little but as long as she chooses herself, she's less volatile. That bugs my ex. Everything must match. If I send her in purple socks with the blue outfit, she'll sometimes come home with matching blue socks. Sometimes, he complains about her being dirty etc. but she's 3. She's been playing all day and she shows some wear. He has called me a bad and neglectful parent because of this.

I love my D3 dearly but she is a difficult child. She always has been and sometimes, I have to take very hard nosed tactics with her and I absolutely must say what I mean. My ex BPD has ADHD and it is very possible that this condition exists in our daughter. My ex complains about her lack of discipline which honestly, isn't because I haven't been trying. He wants a perfect, easy, child who is quiet, perfectly clean and 100% in order. D3 isn't that way. She is just like he used to be, noisy, rough, strong willed and stubborn. Parenting her takes patience, which he has none of and I'm challenged some days myself. Some days, I'm actually happy she goes with him so that I can untie my hands for a few hours and be myself.
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« Reply #25 on: April 07, 2008, 11:32:19 AM »

I've tried to add some of the behaviors that are mentioned by others into the first post.  The first post is becoming a dynamic account of bad parenting behaviors.

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« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2008, 06:24:28 PM »

Copied from the Workshop on the Silent Treatment, an exchange between two now-adult children of a BPD mom:

I am glad you opened this topic again. Nothing says 'you don't exist' like the silent treatment. It is of the most destructive.

When I was 6 to 12 both my parents ignored me for months on end. In between those months, I would be belittled momentarily every blue moon except when momster would rage about me for hours often. The most common visual I have of my mother was with her back turned to me when I entered the house going to and arriving from school. Being sent away weekends without a word of explanation for years, etc.

I have read that being ignored is worse than any other abuse because it says you don't matter and "I don't care". Even verbal bashings are more validating that you ARE than being ignored.

This thread also reminds me of a post from long ago about the three types of mothers. One ~ I love you and show you I love you. Two ~ I hate you and admit I hate you. Three ~ I hate you but I pretend I love you. The third, three, being the most destructive because of the mixed messages.

And I..., have known same age children who's mothers told them to their face they hated them and consistantly showed it. Those mother's didn't vacilate. Those children were more balanced then than I. I had a hateful, but denying mother. It screwed me up and I have struggled with the fallout for most of my adult life.

Thanks for bringing up the 3 kind of mothers subject; never knew their was such a classification.  This morning I was telling my psychotherapist about what my mother said to me when I was 10yrs old.  My mother looked at me and said, " I hate you, but I love you because you're my daughter".  That moment, even though it was 37 yrs ago, is so so so vivid in my mind! She was so calm and collected, but the hate was seething through her pores.  My therapist couldn't believe it.  And, I'm wondering how her (my mother) angry, hatefulness and other behaviors have affected me now.

I suffer from an exceedingly low self-esteem.  My pattern, whenever anything is going great, I sabbatoge it all.  I know that this means I subconsciensly (sp?) don't think I'm worth good things.



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« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2009, 12:20:27 PM »

What about control issues?  She (uBPD mom) controlled what I ate, when I could shower or take a bath and wash my hair.

Now on the surface the food issue looked like she was concerned about my health and making sure I ate food that was good for me.  What she really was doing was making sure I stayed "thin/slender".  She "liked" me better when my weight was down, but as soon as a couple of pounds were gained, I was painted black.

Also, during my early teen years when the oil glands are over functioning, she would only let me wash my hair twice a week...on Sunday night and Wednesday.  I wasn't allowed to do this, she did it.  The first time I decided to wash my own hair (I was 13 years old), all HELL broke loose. 

Years later, I found out that she didn't do this to any of my brothers.  Only to me. 

I wanted a perfect ending.  Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle and end.  Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what's going to happen next.~Gilda Radner
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« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2009, 11:04:26 AM »

My uBPDp is far too enmeshed with our 15D.  D has to call when she arrives some place - even when she is with me.  She is supposed to call and say goodnight and first thing in the morning when she wakes up if she spends the night anywhere.  The calls are constant and imo - intrusive.  If D doesn't answer her phone right away - all he** breaks loose.  She has to call when we're on the way home, when she goes to any new location and at other times. uBPDp has judged all of D15 friends and found them lacking in some way. 

D is also trained to report back anything I say or do.  uBPDp puts me down regularly to D and involves her in our arguments.  She will keep D with her when I've had enough and walk away because of inappropriate behavior towards me.  Then she will rage on about what a terrible person I am and how wronged she's been.  She also undermines all my attempts to bring structure and accountability into D's life.

There are regular rages about the state of D's room - but when I encourage D to keep up with it - my efforts are thwarted.  uBPDp will let the room go until it is a complete mess that D can not mange on her own.  Then a rage ensues and uBPDp "helps" D to get the mess in order again.  And, the cycle begins anew.

I wish I knew how to break the hold.  I do what I can to model appropriate behavior and keep the lines of communication open with D. 

I also talk with her about what life was like for me growing up with a mentally ill mother and what life was like for my Dad with his mentally ill father.  Hopefully she sees the parallels.  Some of my friends who are parents of some of her friends will compliment me as a mom to her - becasue they know that uBPDp puts me down to her. 

uBPDp is the one at home while I'm the primary breadwinner.  I don't know what else I can do to mitigate the damage.  If I had known then what I know now - I would have taken D and left when she was a baby.

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« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2009, 01:17:43 PM »

Wow. This workshop reads like a blueprint of my BPDW's all over the map parenting. Splitting the kids back and forth, enmeshing, splitting friends, parents, coaches and teachers white and black. Raging for trivial transgressions, followed by re-engagements. As a non co-parent, I am perpetually between the devil and the deep blue sea. I end up in the middle of the  conflicts, and If I validate her wacky parenting , I damage the kids. If I defend the kids, I invalidate her and have the BPD loose cannons trained back over to me. Another no win situation.  cry
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