Sanctuary for the Abused

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Surviving A Borderline Parent

Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD, is relatively common yet it's not talked about very much. With at least two to three percent of the population suffering from BPD (by conservative estimates), there are many millions of kids--now adults--who were likely raised by someone with its symptoms. The effects on these adult children can be profound and long-lasting.

Growing up, did your parent:

* tease you, often cruelly, about physical attributes, mental abilities, intelligence or habits?
* say one thing one day and the opposite the next?
* share inappropriate information or secrets with you?
* expect you to take his side or share her opinion?
* treat you like an adult instead of a child?
* discount, deny or ignore your feelings, especially anger?

Did you often feel: scared; confused; angry; guilty; responsible; old; listless; invisible; unlovable?

As an adult, do you:

* find yourself in abusive, unfulfilling or unhealthy relationships?
* have difficulty trusting?
* usually expect the worst?
* feel responsible for others?
* have a hard time knowing what you want?
* feel uneasy with success or enjoying life
* get highly anxious in social or new situations
* hold yourself to standards nearing perfection
* feel worthless, hopeless or depressed?

If any of this sounds familiar, this book is for you. With sections entitled "The Past," "The Present" and "The Future," Surviving A Borderline Parent offer readers not only validation of childhood experiences but practical, realistic suggestions for moving on and creating change.

Is Your Parent a Borderline or Narcissist?
NPD�s relative stability of self-image, lack of self-destructiveness, impulsivity, and abandonment concerns.
O. Kernberg differentiates between the person with NPD and those with borderline personality disorder (BPD) on the basis of, �their relatively good social functioning, their better impulse control, and what may be described as a �pseudosublimatory� potential, namely, the capacity for active, consistent work in some areas which permits them partially to fulfill their ambitions of greatness and of obtaining admiration from others.  Highly intelligent patients with this personality structure may appear as quite creative in their fields:  narcissistic personalities can often be found as leaders in industrial organizations or academic institutions; they may also be outstanding performers in some artistic domain.  Careful observation, however, of their productivity over a long period of time will give evidence of superficiality and flightiness in their work, of a lack of depth which eventually reveals the emptiness behind the glitter.  Quite frequently these are the �promising� geniuses who then surprise other people by the banality of their development.  They also are able to exert self-control in anxiety-producing situations, which may at first appear as good anxiety tolerance; however, analytic exploration shows that their anxiety tolerance is obtained at the cost of increasing their narcissistic fantasies and of withdrawing into �splendid isolation.� This tolerance of anxiety does not reflect an authentic capacity for coming to terms with a disturbing reality.
�In short, the surface functioning of the narcissistic personality is much better than that of the average borderline patient:  therefore, their capacity for regression�even to the level of psychotic functioning when undergoing psychoanalysis�may come as a real surprise to the analyst.�6
Except for instances of severe forms of NPD, these individuals are more capable of high, sustained achievement and will have a more successful work history than the person with Borderline Personality Disorder.
Both persons with NPDs and BPDs place great importance on attention; however, unlike borderlines, who �seek nurturing attention because they need it, narcissists feel they deserve admiring attention because of their superiority.�7
Persons with either Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder have weak interpersonal relationships, are unable to love others, have difficulty empathizing, are egocentric in their perceptions of reality, and have a great need for attention.  Unlike the borderline personality, however, because the personality of someone with NPD is more well-integrated, people with NPD are less likely to have episodes of psychotic states, especially when under stress.
A key distinguishing feature of BPD is neediness; in contrast, for NPD an important discriminator is grandiosity.  Likewise, persons with NPD are less self-destructive, have better impulse control, a higher tolerance for anxiety, and are less preoccupied with dependency and abandonment issues than are BPDs.8
Finally, the self-mutilation and persistent overt rage that are often characteristic of the borderline personality are absent in NPD.


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