Borderline Personality Disorder in a mother has significant, lasting, and impacting effects on her children. The effects of those who are now the adult children of a borderline mother seriously impact their relationships throughout childhood and into adulthood. There is often a desire, on the part of the adult child, to get some resolution, connection – actual relationship with a borderline mother – and/or find a way to make peace with it all. For many much of what they desire or hope to work out with a borderline mother proves illusive in and even through adulthood.
Mike – son of a mother with Borderline Personality Disorder shares the following;
"As a child my mother was so controlling that I was afraid
that she could actually destroy me as a person, steal my identity or
something. That caused me to have an emotional response of being at
her mercy and a fear of being destroyed by her.
As a child I was pretty much at her mercy, and I couldn't leave,
so that response was probably not to far away from being accurate.
That emotional response became like a reflex. When she acted a certain
way I got that same emotional response.
Even as an adult, when she had no power over me, I
still felt the same learned emotional response. Then one day
it came to me that it was silly to feel that way, she couldn't do
any thing to me any more. Then later I realized that I had been
trying to make her act the way I wanted her to, which was to treat
me with respect.
I also realized that I couldn't and I was wasting my time and energy
trying. I wasn't trying to get rid of rage I just decided to quit
wasting my time trying to make her treat me with respect. When I
quit trying to control her the rage just left.
For people who are having a problem with rage, I would say try to
figure out why it is so important to you that they do what you want.
Is your response really appropriate to the situation? How are they
really hurting you? My response was not appropriate, maybe for a 9 year
If it looks like your response is blown out of proportions then ask
your self why. Maybe the thing that you are responding to is not as big
of a threat now, as it was when you first started responding that way.
Get realistic about the damage the action can cause you. Is it worth the
rage? If it isn't then let it go. Almost all of the damage caused by
rage is caused to the person who is raging.
My response was almost like a phobia. It was way out of proportion and
I never seemed to really think about why. Until I realized that I don't
think I could have let it go. I was to afraid to let it go. It is kind
of like being afraid that the bogey man is under you bed for 50 years
because some one told you he was when you were 6 years old.
You spend 50 years not being able to sleep for fear of the bogey man.
Then one day you look under the bed and nothing is there. You have to face
What are you afraid of? Why are you afraid of it? Is it really that scary
or not? I know the damage that can be caused by dysfunctional
families. Maybe this will help some one try to deal with it a little
better. I promise you, you wont miss rage that gets nothing
accomplished except to give you a heart attack."
The bogey man that Mike refers to is truly the unresolved pain and fear that each one of us has as the adult children whose inner child still longs for the mother or parent that wasn't he or she was not able to connect with or really be attached to in any lasting and meaningful way.
To be the adult child, who was a child, of a borderline mother (or parent) is to know what it means to be abandoned emotionally and to know also what it feels like, at least in part, to be an orphan, for all intents and purposes.
The rage of the adult child of the borderline mother (or parent) is really the fear of the pain of your unresolved loss.
© A.J. Mahari, November 9, 2008