Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Let's add another ingredient to this picture of myself I am painting for you - this stew of characteristics that makes up the Alex you've come to know and love.

My mother was diagnosed a while back with borderline personality disorder (BPD). It's kind of like bipolar disorder in that their moods go up and down and they struggle with their sense of self. I've been reading this book that has contributed a lot to my understanding of the illness, which I find is essential to surviving in my family, because it's not just my mother who struggles with this. All of us are affected one way or another. The book is called Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship by Christine Ann Lawson. After reading this book, I see that my grandmother probably has BPD, my niece does, and my sisters and brother all have symptoms of it. It's in the brain. It gets passed down through the genes. Aren't we lucky?

I am reminded of the existence of this illness every time I have to talk to her. Interactions with her can be frustrating and depressing. But I have found that understanding the illness better has helped me have some patience with her, and has helped me understand who she is and why she does the things she does.


  1. oh Mom! :) She's a hoot. Glad you are finding ways to learn to tolerate.

  2. Relationships with those who struggle with BPD ARE very difficult and very frustrating. They simply don't think like the rest of us and tend to let their emotions guide their behaviors. I think you're a good women for reading about it, trying to understand and be patient with her.

  3. I was just thinking... I can't imagine how challenging that would be to have a *mother* who struggled with BPD. I'm familiar with people who have spouses who struggle. That is extremely difficult but they have the option of getting out if it becomes unbearable. Very few daughters want to divorce their moms... We tend to want our moms to be.... well, moms.

  4. There was a time when I considered making divorce an option. Blasted conscience!


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