The research literature and training materials for mental health professionals make references to the purported incidence of abuse—intentional or inadvertent—occurring among people diagnosed with BPD. It is very hard to sit face to face with medical professionals and wonder what they are thinking about you or your family, just as it is hard for clinicians to face people who may well have contributed to distress in their patient. And this question often looms with family, co-workers, and friends as well.

In a study conducted by Marijn A Distel, PhD.of 5,496 twin siblings*, 42% of the people with BPD were reared in the same environment as siblings without the disorder. This suggests a genetic predisposition for BPD.

So is it possible that your parenting style was ineffective or damaging enough to lead to the manipulation, fears of abandonment, self-mutilation, or attempted suicides?

Most clinicans will tell a concerned caregiver that "no, you are not the cause of the illness" and "yes, you likely did things that were harmful to a child with a BPD predisposition".

It's a complex answer.

What is not complex is that our child is truly struggling and as their parents, if we don't try to help, no one else will. Dixianne Penney, Dr.P.H says, "right now it is difficult to do what you must do and that is, to put your own feelings aside and focus on getting the help needed and providing the support the person with BPD requires."

What role we had in this could be anything from spilling some of our "grown-up" adult struggles onto our child, to simply not knowing that we had a special needs kid - and everything in-between.

Part of helping them and helping the family is to learn what it is that we did or didn't do, being willing to admit it, and being open to changing our approach to the relationship for the betterment of all.

That is what we are all here to do. To take an honest and hard look at everything and find out how to make things better.

Share your thoughts here.

*Heritability of borderline personality disorder features is similar across three countries.
Distel MA, Trull TJ, Derom CA, Thiery EW, Grimmer MA, Martin NG, Willemsen G, Boomsma DI.

.Psychol Med. 2008 Sep;38(9):1219-29. Epub 2007 Nov 8.
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