Growing Up With a Borderline Personality Disordered Parent

These individuals have a difficult time regulating emotions and will show severe instability of mood with respect to anxiety or irritability with periods of anger, dread or hopelessness but rarely experiences times of well-being or contentment. They have an intense fear of abandonment and will act out in an attempt to avoid perceived or real abandonment. For example, when a loved one must leave (e.g. go to work or on vacation) or there are unexpected changes in plans, they will display inappropriate anger or panic because they perceive this separation as "abandonment" and internalize it to mean that they are a bad person. Frequently, they will resort to self-inflicted injury or suicidal gestures in order to gain the sympathies of significant others. Due to these attempts, BPD is one of the most lethal mental health disorders with 10%, or one in ten, ending in successful suicide (BPD Resource Center website, n.d.). Furthermore, the success rate of females with BPD is 800 times higher than that of the general population.

Often, they display impulsive, self-destructive behaviors such as promiscuous sexual relations, overspending, alcohol/substance use, or binge eating. Moreover, when they begin to show improvement or come close to completing a goal, they will sabotage their own efforts. For example, they will drop out of school just before graduation. As you can expect, it can be difficult living with someone with BPD.

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