Tag Archives: Effects Of Borderline Mother On Children

Possible Effects of BPD Parent on Offspring


If we were brought up by a parent with borderline personality disorder (BPD), it is likely that we suffered significant emotional trauma during our childhoods. In this article, I want to look at how various aspects of typical behaviour patterns of the BPD parent may specifically affect the pychological and emotional development of their child. The various aspects of typical behaviour patterns of the BPD parent which may adversely affect the child’s development are as follows:

effect of bpd parent on family

1) Behaviour of parent : outbursts of extreme rage/verbal aggression

Potential effect on offspring : may become extremely aggressive, depressed,unable to control own emotions

2) Behaviour of parent : parents with BPD may suffer from a symptom known as ‘dissociation’ which involves mentally retreating into their ‘own world’, thus becoming emotionally unavailable to their children (click here to read my article on dissociation)

Potential effect on offspring : may feel neglected and emotionally deprived. In later life, this can lead to a strong need to overcompensate for this loss and a sense of entitlement

3) Behaviour of parent : self-harm – this can include self-mutilation (click here to read my article on the science behind self-harming behaviour), attemted suicide or even completed suicide

Potential effect on offspring : depression and the possibility that they, too, will develop similar self-harming behaviour

4) Behaviour of parent : Neediness – a parent with BPD may look to the child to provide him/her with emotional support or burden him/her with other responsibilities inappropriate to his/her age.

Potential effect on offspring :  this can lead to ‘role-reversal’ in which the child, in many ways, is forced or coerced into acting as a parent to his/her own parent. This may lead the child to becoming unclear about their role and identity, which, in turn, can lead to problems interacting with, and relating to, their peers; this, in turn, exacerbates feelings of isolation, loneliness and anxiety. It can also lead to resentment, aggressiveness, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – click here to read my article on OCD

5) Behaviour of parent : a succession of unstable relationships (eg constantly changing partners due to the volatile nature of the relationships)

Potential effect on offspring : anxiety, insecurity, fear of abandoment

6) Behaviour of parent : impulsivity – eg gambling, binge-eating, drug-taking, excessive drinking, multiple sexual partners

Potential effect on offspring : anxiety, the development of similar behavioural patterns

7) Behaviour of parent : lack of empathy / lack of understanding of their children’s feelings

Potential effect on offspring : the development of similar difficulties empathizing with others as well as problems making sense of their own emotions

8) Behaviour of parent : spltting – this refers to the parent seeing the child in alternating extremes eg full of admiration for the child one day, but full of hatred and contempt the next

Potential effect on offspring : the development of an extremely unstable view of self and dramatically fluctuating self-esteem – sometimes feeling far superior to others, but, at other times, feeling deeply inferior and worthless; identity problems go hand-in-hand with these symptoms (ie an unclear sense of who they are – click here to read my article on identity problems)


As can be seen from the above, the effect of a BPD parent on the offspring can lead to the offspring him/herself developing symptoms of BPD. Indeed, those raised by a BPD parent are at far greater risk themselves of developing full blown BPD than are those who were raised in a relatively stable environment.

BPD is a very serious condition (click here to read my article on BPD) and, if you feel you are at risk of developing it, it is highly recommended you seek the advice of an appropriate professional to consider therapy options. Currently, one of the main therapies for those suffering from the symptoms of BPD is DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOUR THERAPY (click here to read my article about this).






LIGHTHOUSE.ORG – Advice for people who have a parent who suffers from BPD.




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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).



Effects of Mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder on Children



For those of us who grew up with mothers who suffered from borderline personality disorder (BPD), our childhoods were often painful and anguished. We found ourselves living in a world that was contradictory and confusing ; it is likely that we suffered chronic anxiety as we did not know how our mother would react or behave from one moment to themyself

Due to our mother’s instability, it is likely that we started off life with an insecure emotional attachment to her, and, throughout our childhood, it is likely that the mother with borderline personality disorder was inconsistent, unpredictable (expressing affection one minute but rage the next), inappropriately intense and emotionally controlling.

She may, too, have been deeply verbally hostile, expressing hatred and issuing threats. We may have often been told we were not wanted and that she might well abandon us. It may well have felt like living in an emotional prison.

The effects of mothers with borderline personality disorder on their offspring can be quite devastating ; we can grow up feeling fragmented, confused and, later, develop symptoms of psychological ill health ourselves, such as impulsiveness, being full of rage and hostility, being sometimes prone to violence, depression and deep anxiety.

We may become in danger of tipping over into psychosis under stress ( particularly in response to rejection and abandonment). We may, too, develop addictions as short term coping mechanisms to deal with our psychological pain. In short, we become at risk of developing borderline personality disorder ourselves.

Borderline personality disorder is diagnosed in women twice as frequently as in men. It has been hypothesized that this could be due to the fact that men with BPD are much more likely to be misdiagnosed as having anti-social personality disorder and end up in the prison system (which is often clearly likely to make their condition even worse). It is estimated that, in the USA, there are about 6 million people suffering from BPD, which, in turn, must mean that there are also millions of children living with mothers who have BPD.

Below are some of the most frequent things people who have been brought up with mothers with BPD say about them :

– she is completely unpredictable

– she denies what has happened

– she sees everything in extreme terms (also called ‘black and white’ or ‘all or nothing’ thinking)

– I sometimes find myself hating her

– I am not able to trust her

– she’s always exploding into rage

– she imposes her negative view of the world onto me

– she drives me insane

– she makes me feel terrible about myself


You may also be interested in my article :

Four Types Of Borderline Mothers.



Improve Your Relationship With Your Mother MP3 – CLICK HERE

Dealing With Narcissistic Behavior MP3 – CLICK HERE

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).