My mother has Borderline Personality Disorder.
In case you aren’t familiar with the variances between the different personality disorders, here is a cliff noted version: All of the Cluster B Personality Disorders share some common traits, and many who fall into the cluster have overlapping traits. For instance, all (narcissists, sociopaths, borderlines and histrionics) have a lack of empathy and are narcissistic. Almost all within the cluster rage (adult version of tantrums) at their “loved” ones. Sociopaths are more characterized by physical violence but all of the cluster may resort to violence during a psychotic break. Histronics are characterized by being hyper-sexual as a means to get attention but any disordered individuals within the cluster will use whatever tools are within their tool box in order to manipulate a mark. Most narcissists have a fear of abandonment but the narcissist’s trademark difference is their need to be recognized as superior to everyone around them, and they create a false self (a persona based on lies). Borderlines differ only slightly from the other disorders within the cluster, in that fear of abandonment is their main driver, although borderlines will resort to all means of manipulation to prevent a “loved” one from abandoning them.
For reasons that would require another article to explain, most borderlines are female.
The purpose of this article is to describe to you what it is like to be raised by a Borderline mother. It is directed at those of you who are currently in a relationship with someone who has been diagnosed with, or you suspect might be Borderline (moving forward referred to as BPD), in hopes that you will think twice before agreeing to or “accidentally” getting a BPD pregnant.
Because the BPD believes that you will abandon her, she needs to secure a hostage to anchor you to her, in hopes that you will either stay in an abusive relationship with her for (very real) fear of what she will do to your child, or that you will be forced to interact with her from afar, in order to see the hostage.
BPD’s, because they lack empathy, and despite claiming they love their children more than life itself, are incapable of loving a child (or anyone, for that matter). Empathy requires that you emotionally put yourself into another person’s shoes and since BPD’s lack empathy, they are incapable of separating their needs from their own children’s. Therefore, they do not view their children as individuals but rather as extensions of themselves. So where it would be beneficial for the child to have a loving connection to both parents, the BPD will view you as a threat to her control and will brainwash her child into believing that you are the child’s enemy.
My mother did this right under my father’s nose and they stayed married until he died. Parental alienation is 100% effective and it is not exclusive to divorce situations. The child will always choose the parent who is forcing them to choose sides. Your child(ren) will be taught to hate you.
BPD’s are threatened by their children’s natural progression into adulthood and they intentionally do things to stunt their development like keeping them in diapers, talking to them in baby talk, creating disabilities (i.e., going to doctor after doctor until they find one who will diagnose the child with having ADD or having a learning disability). This is known as infantilism. BPD’s love a child who has an IEP because a child who is less capable of learning to care for themselves is less likely to grow up and abandon the BPD. My mother had three hostages and she chose my brother (her youngest child) as her infantilised child. She discouraged him from progress by dressing him, cutting his food in his teens. He was never assigned chores, didn’t do his homework, failed his classes in school with no repercussions, was slow to walk, slow to learn to talk, stayed in diapers until he was four years old, and was discouraged from playing sports.
I was the oldest and the black sheep, the most rebellious, and my sister, the middle child, was largely ignored. All three of us suffered in different ways but I believe my brother got the worst of it.
As the oldest child, I was chosen to be my Mother’s best friend and therapist. She would confide in me gross details of her marriage. I knew things that no child should know. She would get me in the car and talk endlessly about what a horrible husband my father was to her, how he was always too drunk to have sex, about how she lost her virginity, about my father’s love life prior to meeting and marrying her. She complained to me about their finances. No topic was taboo. I was chosen to be the parentified child.
Whenever I disagreed (“argued”) with my mother, she would tell me that, “Your father and I should have never had kids!” In other words, if I’m going to disagree with her, what good am I? I should have not been born.
Due to her lack of boundaries (or a respect for my right to them) my mother developed inappropriately close friendships with my friends, where she would attempt to triangulate us, telling my friends I had said bad things about them which I hadn’t, and then telling me that my friends had said the same things about me, but made me promise not to tell them I knew. This was the way she interacted with all people. Divide and conquer. Isolate and control. I used to wonder why some of my friends shunned me for no reason.
The BPD mother also fears that her children (if there are multiples) will gang up against her. So she triangulates them to ensure they remain at odds with one another, creating jealousy and envy and an unnatural competitiveness between siblings. The BPD mother will lead her children to believe that there is only enough “motherly love” for one child and that her affections must be fought for and won.
By the time I reached my teen-aged years I had already come to realize that Mom was not a person who could be trusted with anything, that she lied to me without remorse and that she was actually out to do me harm. But by this time, my self esteem had been demolished and my choice in peers matched the way I had learned to feel about myself – unworthy of love or respect.
It may sound as though I am resentful of my upbringing and honestly, I was for a long time. But I have chosen to learn and grow from the experience. I have a depth and breadth of understanding that someone from an outside perspective can only conceptualize.
I implore you to reconsider having a child with someone you believe has BPD. Having a child with this person will not improve your relationship. In fact, it will make it worse because the BPD will use the child as leverage to unleash her pent up rage on you, as well as HER child. You will be setting up your child for a lifetime of hardship and emotional damage and even worse, the possibility of your child becoming personality disordered from the abuse.