Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Mother the Monster and Borderline Personality Disorder

My mother was the monster of my youth, the monster in my nightmares and the monster lurking in forgotten corners of my memories. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) created my mother the monster.

Behaviors that create the borderline personality disorder are an insidious phenomenon that slithers down the family tree infecting each generation in turn, behaviors like physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, along with physical and emotional neglect. One generation of with holding these behaviors of abuse and neglect produces a more normal personality in offspring. The illogical behavior caused by the mother’s disorder though, produces its own melee of unintended confusion and pain.

Originally thought to be at the "borderline" of psychosis, people with BPD suffer from a disorder of emotion regulation. A person with BPD may experience intense bouts of anger, depression and anxiety that may last only hours, or at most a day. These may be associated with episodes of impulsive aggression or self-injury.

Distortions in cognition and sense of self can lead to frequent changes in long-term goals, career plans, jobs and friendships. People with BPD view themselves as fundamentally bad, or unworthy.

They feel misunderstood or mistreated, empty, and have little idea who they are. These symptoms are most acute when people with BPD feel isolated and lacking in social support.

People with BPD often have highly unstable patterns of social relationships. Their attitudes towards family, friends and loved ones may suddenly shift from idealization (great admiration and love) to devaluation (intense anger and dislike).

 Thus, they may form an immediate attachment and idealize the other person, but when a slight separation or conflict occurs, they switch unexpectedly to the other extreme and angrily accuse the other person of not caring for them at all. Even with family members, individuals with BPD are highly sensitive to rejection, reacting with anger and distress to a sudden change in plans.

Quite frequently, people with BPD have a very hard time controlling their emotions. They may feel ruled by them. Suicide threats and attempts may occur along with anger at perceived abandonment and disappointments.

People with BPD may have an unusually high degree of interpersonal sensitivity, insight and empathy.

My mother the monster, now that I understand her, I can forgive her and even love her.

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