May 1, 2022

Does My Mother Have Borderline Personality Disorder?

Growing up with a difficult mother may make you wonder if it contributed to the issues you face in adulthood, and if you have a mother with Borderline Personality Disorder, the answer is often in the affirmative.

By Annie Wright|Adulting, Trauma

Many of us have strained relationships with our mothers, and often, we don’t see many of the red flags until we become adults.

Though it’s normal for adult children to feel that their mothers are “odd” compared to other mothers they know, it’s not uncommon to wonder if that life-long oddity is finally a cause for concern.

Growing up with a difficult mother may make you wonder if it contributed to the issues you face in adulthood, and if you have a mother with Borderline Personality Disorder, the answer is often in the affirmative.

Let’s explore Borderline Personality Disorder, how the disorder may have manifested in your mother, and the lasting impacts her disorder may have had on your life.

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Borderline Personality Disorder Defined

Before going over some of the signs your mother may have presented in your childhood, let’s first examine what Borderline Personality Disorder (or BPD) is.

BPD is a mental health disorder that causes instability in a person’s relationships, behaviors, and moods.

Common symptoms associated with BPD may include but are not limited to:

  • Severe mood swings
  • A warped, usually negative self-image
  • Chronic depression or feelings of emptiness
  • Fear of being abandoned
  • Poor impulse control
  • Self-harm
  • History of unstable relationships with others

Potential BPD Behaviors in Mothers

Mothers with Borderline Personality Disorders can impact the development of their children in a negative way when the disorder is left untreated or poorly managed.

A mother with BPD may fluctuate between periods of being very intrusive to becoming very withdrawn.

She may have had times when she was far too nosy about everything you did, who you spoke to, and what you did throughout the day when she was not around.

She may have gone through your things in your bedroom constantly when you were at school or spoke with your teachers and friends’ parents about your performance and behaviors.

This may have been followed by a period of your mother seemingly wanting nothing to do with you.

She may ignore you, have no interest in anything you do, or even become hostile and accusatory towards you.

The Impact On Children

Though a mother with BPD may not mean for her disorder to hurt her children, the unfortunate reality is that it often does.

Being raised by a mother with BPD may have weighed heavily on your childhood development, as well as leaving long-lasting scars you battle within adulthood.

For example, you may have a poor concept of healthy boundaries, being either too intrusive on the lives of your loved ones or too withdrawn due to fear of being nosy.

You may have anxiety or avoidance issues when it comes to dealing with others because even in people you know, you’re not sure if or when they may snap.

Additionally, you may struggle with relationships due to being unsure about what to expect from a healthy, functional interaction with others (especially romantic partners).

Finally, you may have been deemed very mature for your age because of an unfair requirement placed upon you to be more stable than your mother, especially if you were the oldest in a group of siblings.

Why Is My Mother Like This?

It’s extremely difficult to pinpoint a reason for the development of a disorder, but many in the scientific community attribute BPD to stemming from past traumas.

Your mother’s instability, hot and cold attitude, and lack of attachment to you may have been the way her mind coped with a difficult past.

She may have tried to do her best, or she may not have tried at all (in your eyes), but the damage associated with BPD likely occurred anyway.

Children who have mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder not only struggle to manage their emotions and keep healthy relationships, but they are often at risk of developing BPD as well.

Can I Recover from My Childhood?

If you are struggling with your mental health as a result of your Borderline mother’s behavior, speaking with a licensed therapist can be an invaluable resource to help you make sense of the past and develop healthy habits for the future.

Evergreen Counseling is relational trauma-informed. Our licensed therapists have extensive experience working with adults affected by mood and personality-disordered parents.

If you’d like support in working through your feelings brought on by your mother’s BPD, you’re welcome to contact our offices as soon as you’re ready. We’ve helped many people struggling with the effects of Borderline parenting and we would be honored to help you, too.

Please feel free to book a complimentary 20-minute personalized matching consultation with our clinical intake coordinator to find the best clinical match for you.

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