Let''s imagine your parents never taught you to walk or even exposed you to the concept of walking, and you spent the last 40 years crawling on your hands and knees. You would definitely wonder why everyone else seemed to ambulate more efficiently, but you''d lack the mental...
Let''s imagine your parents never taught you to walk or even exposed you to the concept of walking, and you spent the last 40 years crawling on your hands and knees. You would definitely wonder why everyone else seemed to ambulate more efficiently, but you''d lack the mental framework to identify the difference between walking and crawling, as this concept had never been taught to you in the early years when it most mattered. Seeing people move about using only their feet would definitely fascinate you, and you''d want to try the concept, but after 40 years on hands and knees, you''d probably fall down a lot, and it might be difficult to automatically develop a sense of balance without some guidance.
Learning to love and trust after growing up in a BPD household is not that different.
It''s easy for the armchair quarterbacks to suggest that those traumatized by BPD parents should just quit their dang whining, snap out of it and get with the program, but those traumatized by a BPD parent have a very different definition of love (and a painful one at that) than those reared in more authentically and altruistically loving households. I would wager that 100 out of 100 BPD-traumatized people would trade a kidney for the capacity to just "snap out of it," as the internal work that needs to be done is arduous and sometimes even more painful than what happened as a child.
Stopping the cycles of abuse requires recognition of the problem and modifications to behavior. This book is a good beginning.
My copy of the book was published in 2000, when bookshelves were not as well stocked for quality personal psychology books but were certainly rife with plenty of flim-flam pop psychology. In the sixteen years since, the decreasing stigma for mental health issues as well as ever-expanding media resources have increased the public vocabulary in the area of psychology. There has been additional research on BPD since 2000 with many publications for patients taking a more clinical tone than this book, but considering this book in context, it is a smart, well-written volume for the 2000 audience, utilizing archetypes to illustrate different types of BPD in mothers.
Some reviewers claim the archetypes seem a bit harsh, but if the title was "Understanding the Borderline Co-Worker" instead of "Understanding the Borderline Mother," I suspect there would be fewer complaints of that nature. The concept of motherhood has been sanctified for so long that it''s difficult to take mothers (even those that have inflicted harm) down from the pedestal to analyze behavior in a constructive way. The celebrity examples do seem a bit out of context, both in 2000 and in 2016, and seem a bit exaggerated relative to the other examples of behavior.
If you''re dealing with, or suspect you''re dealing with BPD in your family, the best case scenario is to have a good therapist as your Sherpa as you navigate those waters. At the very least, you''ll have an objective voice of reason in your exploration; ideally, your experienced therapist has helped others through all stages of healing and will have insight to expedite your path to health. BPD is heavy stuff, and even if you''ve dealt with other major issues in therapy in the past, BPD weighs in so much more exponentially.
This book will likely validate your childhood experiences that previously did not make sense. There are passages that will help you identify what''s missing in your early childhood development and will clarify what you can do as an adult to rectify that lack of early development and move toward a life of love and trust. I would not attempt to use this book as my sole source in healing myself and/or my relationships with those who have BPD, but it will help as a complementary part of education and therapy.
The book is NOT meant to nit-pick the parenting of the majority of the population.
For those affected by BPD, this book is not "just another excuse to whine," and it''s highly insensitive and demonstrates ignorance (or perhaps denial?) of the diagnosis to suggest it is.
Ironically, it''s the very absence of a lifetime "whining" or even uttering a single complaint for most BPD-traumatized individuals that has ultimately produced the most dysfunction in their own lives. Many have suffered in silence from their abuse, assuming the definition of "love" they were given in childhood required them to accommodate abuse from others. There''s no retirement plan for martyrs, and this book will let you know you''re not alone if that was your history. I hope it helps and hope there are brighter days full of love ahead for you.