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Paperback Understanding the Borderline Mother : Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship Book

ISBN: 0765703319

ISBN13: 9780765703316

Understanding the Borderline Mother : Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship

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Book Overview

Some readers may recognize their mothers as well as themselves in this book. They will also find specific suggestions for creating healthier relationships. Addressing the adult children of borderlines and the therapists who work with them, Dr. Lawson shows how to care for the waif without rescuing her, to attend to the hermit without feeding her fear, to love the queen without becoming her subject, and to live with the witch without becoming her victim...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Absolutely necessary

I have to laugh when I survey some of the critical reviews below, which claim this book is "imaginative literature" or is unhelpful because it has a "negative view" of borderline mothers. I can only conclude that anyone who finds this book overly imaginative or negative did not have the pleasure of growing up under the reign of terror inflicted by a mother with a rip-roaring personality disorder. I don't to this day know if my mother was a pathological narcissist or a high-functioning borderline of the type Lawson describes as "Queen" and "Witch" (despite the detractors, she is very careful to say that these terms describe symptom clusters, not individuals, and that any borderline can veer between all four of her loosely labeled types). It does not matter, as in practice there is almost nothing to choose between the two disorders and (psychiatry being an inexact science) we may learn there is no hard distinction. Like narcissists, the less self-blaming types of borderline - as Lawson points out - are in denial about the notion that they might have a serious defect. They are not going to assume responsibility, or seek treatment unless it is a way to get attention and reinforce victim status without coming to grips with their own conduct. I spent - wasted - twenty years of my adult life believing that the mother who had made me miserable for the previous twenty could somehow be communicated with, humanized, and redeemed. Why she made her husband and child so miserable - and why no amount of accommodation on the part of either had any helpful effect - remained a mystery until I first read about malignant narcissism and borderline disorder. Complete validation of what we went through had to wait until I read this book. Far from simply seeming insightful because it "reminds us of people we know," as one carping reviewer says below, this book made sense of my life. As for the complaint that the book villainizes mothers, I find that connecting the dots, which no other book has done for me so far - even those billed as self-help - actually makes it possible for me to feel some compassion for my mother, who behaved in ways that make compassion virtually impossible. Children of mothers with a severe personality disorder are, as Lawson says, nearly as helpless as prisoners in concentration camps. Their emotional Hell is concealed from a world that sees only the facade and wonders what is wrong with the child; no one grasps the uncertainty, chronic negation and lack of support they endure - because their mothers are incapable of giving what they do not have. Lawson's accounts, drawn from the literature and her clinical experience, not only echo but explain what I have witnessed. They also explain why I escaped without becoming totally dysfunctional - because there were a few sane adults who made connections with me. The moral obligation of witnesses to protect and help children of these mothers is the most urgent message of this book; it is the only text

Great for children and BPD parents as well.

As a child of a bordeline mother and a borderline mother myself, I found this book invaluable. Determined not to make the same mistakes my mother made, although I have been in therapy for nearly 5 years, and making good progress, I was poorly equipped to understand everything that I was doing, and I was able to see in the mirror, so to speak, by reading this book. I have tried to get my 15 year old daughter to read it without success. Perhaps later when she is more receptive to the fact that her mother is flawed and can accept my apologies for my behaviors she will read it. As soon as I was diagnosed I sent her to therapy, which has been invaluable to her.One of the things I like about this book are the references to Lewis Carrol's "Alice in WOnderland". Carroll (Charles Dodgson) was hypothesized to be a boderline in the book "The Agony of Lewis Carroll", which is an excellent treatment of his work, I believe, although it has been shot down by Caroll scholars.BPD is a terrible illness. I'd rather have anything else, as the self-loathing, rigidity and delusions are so irrational and so difficult to rid oneself of. The AVERAGE length of therapy for BPD for a patient going twice a week used to be four years. Most insurance plans don't support that type of therapy, and many victims don't have insurance. Many give up because they dont have the community networks to support them. BPD replicates itself in families and is growing in numbers. It knows no income level, no race or nationality. It has existed for centuries, and its dimensions are just being understood.Encourage your library to put this book on their shelf as it is a great mental health resource.

An extraordinary find for children of Borderline mothers

First of all, I was impressed that all 18 of the previous reviews gave this book 5 stars. This book is the only one I've ever seen that specifically addresses the unique challenges and frustrations faced by children raised by mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder, and it couldn't have been any higher quality. It is truly an outstanding book. The author provides information that is well organized, highly comprehensive, practical, and useful.I am so grateful that this book was written, because as I can attest, children raised by Borderline mothers are in desperate need of support and understanding. They grow up in a world that is contradictory and emotionally confusing. The following thoughts are common among children with borderline mothers:1. "I never know what to expect."2. "I don't trust her."3. "She says it didn't happen."4. "She makes me feel terrible."5. "Everyone else thinks she's great."6. "It's all or nothing."7. "She's so negative."8. "She flips out."9. "Sometimes I can't stand her."10. "She drives me crazy."Christine Lawson, PhD explains the origins of BPD, why it is so difficult to treat, and presents 4 distinct profiles of Borderline mothers. She explores these profiles in terms of their dysfunctional patterns and the experiences of the child of that type of mother. She also explores the types of men who marry each of the 4 types of women, and why they often are unable to validate the child's experiences. She thoroughly covers the topic of "splitting," and how/why the Borderline mother considers her child either "all good" or "no good." The last third of the book explores what children of these mothers can do in order to cope with this incurable disorder, particularly methods for setting limits on a Borderline mother's inappropriate behaviors. The parts on setting limits are the best I have ever come across in this type of book. She encourages the child to try to maintain a healthy relationship, but not at the expense of the child's emotional well-being, stating that:"Sometimes adult children feel so frustrated or endangered in the presence of their [Borderline] mothers that they choose not to have contact at all. No one has the right to pass judgment on such situations. Every human being has the right to protect his or her own life. In some cases, it is in the best interest of both mother and child to disengage completely."The response I had while reading this book was "Hallelujah!"P.S.---In addition to this book, I highly recommend the book, "Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You" by Susan Forward, PhD. While not specifically about BPD, it contains an excellent chapter called "The inner world of the blackmailer" which does a remarkable job describing how people who are emotionally manipulative (like BPD mothers) have usually experienced feelings of great deprivation and insecurity in their childhoods, and how their history produces their current behaviors. It expla

I no longer feel alone in the world

Was your mother an unexplainable enigma of hatred, abuse, wild mood swings, illogical behaviors and obsessions? Is the first feeling that you can ever remember experiencing as a small child anxiety or fear? Could you describe your mother as a controlling, manipulative, lying witch that left you wondering what the truth was? Does this sound familiar? If so, you need to read this book. I just described my mother. This paragraph, on page xii, describes my how I felt as a child. "Some children of borderlines experience childhood as an emotional prison camp ruled by arbitrarily hostile guards. Their feelings are captured by the words of adult survivors of concentration camps: `We were terribly afraid that...people would never notice a thing, that nobody in the world would notice a thing: us, the struggle, the dead ... that this wall was so huge that nothing, no message about us, would ever make it out'". Christine Ann Lawson's book Understanding The Borderline Mother Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship has allowed me not feel alone in the world and acknowledge that this really did happen to other people.

A Welcome Find

This book is a lifeline to sanity for any child of a mother who suffers from borderline personality disorder. The first chapters dissect this complex disease more thoroughly than I've read in any other book, and the final section explains how to cope with the volatile relationships that form between mother and child. Every page contains a wealth of information that is simultaneously therapeutic and proactive. The validation that came with being able to relate to the experiences of other children living with this was priceless (as well as being long overdue). I have read dozens of books about borderline personality disorder, but none (until now) addressed the consequences the disease has on children of mothers suffering from the disorder. The book seems to focus on the relationships daughters have with their borderline mothers, but does deal with the impact it has on sons, as well.
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