Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a condition that severely compromises your ability to regulate your emotions. People with BPD may display erratic tendencies. They seem unable to create and maintain relationships. BPD can cause impulsive and often self-harming behaviors. In many cases, BPD seems to occur in people who have a history of childhood trauma. And if you were raised by a borderline mother, than you could be struggling with the aftermath.
In addition, BPD is not uncommon. Estimates vary, but as many as 1-2% percent of Americans have it — three-quarters of them are women. You may know someone with BPD. That person just might be your own mother. If so, the cycle of generational trauma is in full effect.
Borderline Mothers and PTSD
Being raised by a mother with BPD can result in ongoing traumatic experiences for a child. In turn, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may occur. Here is just a sampling of what a child with a borderline parent might endure:
Neglect and Emotional Abandonment
Children are made to deal with inconsistent, unpredictable, and hurtful parentings. The parent may literally neglect their child’s needs. Then, without explanation, they’ll demand to be intensely involved in all of the child’s decisions and actions. In addition, if a BPD mother perceives their child as disobeying or disappointing them, they will withhold love and attention as a punishment.
Forced Isolation and Withdrawal
A BPD mother is threatened if their child thrives. They will sabotage positive events and moments. They may forbid a child from being with anyone with whom they enjoy spending time. It’s “misery loves company” in its cruelest form.
Feeling Threatened and Afraid
The borderline mother blames and attacks. Every child has moments when they feel anger or frustration. If your mother has BPD, such normal emotions are seen as a personal attack. Such children learn to repress their emotions out of fear. They also keep their thoughts and opinions to themselves rather than risk disagreeing with their mother. It can also prevent children from developing any individuality or autonomy.
All of this (and more) adds up to emotional abuse. The possibility of physical or sexual abuse exists, too. As a result, adult PTSD is not unusual and must be addressed.
How to Start Recovering from Your PTSD From Your Borderline Mother
Accept What Happened to You and Why
Healing becomes more likely when you practice acceptance. It can feel shameful to have endured such hardship. Very few people feel comfortable identifying the roots of their pain and distress.
See Your Mother For Who She Is (or Was)
You may feel guilty about blaming your mother. Who does that? You may fear that others see you as scapegoating and not accepting your role. You may also fear — after years of conditioning — doing anything that challenges your mother. It is essential that you recognize her condition and NOT blame yourself.
Do Not Internalize Her Criticisms
Even when your mother had or has Borderline Personality Disorder, it feels natural to take their words to heart. Years or decades of criticism can be internalized. You hear her voice in your head. Also, you may now hear your own voice speaking your mother’s words. This cycle must be challenged and stopped in order to move toward recovery.
Get the Help You Need and Deserve
PTSD cannot be self-treated. You can enhance your situation by practicing self-help tips like those above. But, let’s be clear, you must speak with a mental health professional. Reaching out to a skilled therapist is a vital move. It positions you to explore the circumstances of your condition. In addition, your weekly sessions will help guide you to new perspectives and approaches. Being raised by a borderline mother may have felt impossible and unfair at times. But you do not have to suffer the fallout forever.
Please read more about trauma treatment and contact me soon.