on May 24, 2010
This book is GREAT for understanding BPD, wrapping your head around how this mental illness works and what it looks like.... BUT, as a nonBPD - after years of therapy and trying to use the methods for dealing w/a BPD mother, I finally figured out she would never stop violating the healthy boundaries I finally built, and therefore, it was unhealthy for me to have anything more than a very limited amount of contact with her. Like many adult children of BPD parent(s) (or alcoholic parents), I found this book would add to my overall understanding about my mother, but not necessarily help me understand the effects my mother had on ME. While it was important for my own sake to try and see if I could establish healthier dynamics with my mom, it got to the point where I had to admit defeat - and it would be nice if there were more books/support out there for the idea of ending relationships with toxic parents. Books like "Eggshells" might be more useful for parents of a BPD child/teen, where the choice to end the relationship isn't an option, and where the power is naturally shifted in the direction of the non-BPD. I recommend 'Walking on Eggshells", but I also recommend reading books like "Recovery: A guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics (just replace the word 'alcoholic' with 'BPD') by Gravitz & Bowden, "Emotional Blackmail" by Susan Forward, "Emotional Vampires" by Bernstein, "Understanding the Borderline Mother" by Lawson, "Codependent No More" by Beattie, "When you and your mother can't be friends" by Secunda, "Will I ever be good enough?" by McBride, "Healing the child within" by Whitfield, "Boundaries" and "Where to Draw the line" by Anne Katherine, "Healing the Shame that binds you" by Bradshaw, and "The Emotional Incest Syndrome" by Patricia Love. All of these books gave me different pieces that finally help me put the puzzle together of what I went through as a child and the skills I needed to heal myself and be a healthy adult.
on January 7, 2014
There are plenty of books written about navigating the lowest levels of hell to get the borderline personality disorder sufferers in their lives the help they need - and how to attempt to cope with them if they can't. This is one of them, but written in a less of a "sucks to be you" format and more of a "you can actually do something about this" format. There are those of us who might not be "stuck" with a borderline family member and have a little more freedom in deciding if we want this in our lives or not after we come to a full understanding of what Borderline Personality Disorder really, what drives it, and what it can take to get it under control - if ever.
I read a single-star review here on Amazon about this book before buying it. It stated that this book is all about "tough love", which doesn't work for BPs. Actually, it's also the ONLY love that works, or the BP will continue to mow your life down like a monster truck and demand you lay in front of the tires again and again and again, making the situation worse until someone is locked up, homeless, divorced, or dead. This book is about humane, thoughtful, methodical INTERVENTION that at least will get your own life back on its feet even if the PB can't or won't. Just because the BP is in hell doesn't mean they get to take you with them. This book is written for those who are determined to not be the next domino that falls in the borderline's life. This book is about TAKING CHARGE of the situation so you get your life back. It is NOT written to get the BP the help they need, though it does offer critical information on the subject if the BP is agreeable to it. It is written to show you how to get your life back and what choices you can make and how to properly make them for you and/or your children. This includes making the right choices, including determining if the BP is beyond your resources/capabilities to cope and if it's just time to clean them out of your life and move on. In this proper context, this book is worth pure gold and comes from the experiences of a BPD support community that has MANY thousands who have contributed not only from their own experiences in hardship, but their experiences in WHAT WORKS.
To the Non-BP who is desperately seeking validation, confirmation, help, etc: Buy this book and go straight to pages 45-47. You will weep for joy as you read that the BP in your life has been concisely mapped out and handed to you on only 3 pages of silver platter. If treatment for your BP is the goal, then you now know what you're dealing with, and if I may be so bold, don't waste any time - get him/her right into DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) if at all possible. It's the only one that gets it all right, gets nothing wrong, actually works, and produces by far more permanently cured ex-BPs than any other therapy or program. Everything else is just trying to copy it and usually getting major aspects of the therapy wrong as it pertains to a BP. That's if you can get your BP to willingly acknowledge and commit. If not, this book helps you with the necessary alternatives, since so many BPs refuse therapy and/or the caretakers of the BP do not have the resources to make use of this expensive, elite, long-term treatment program.
This book is pretty much the bible for anyone who lives with a BP but isn't one themselves, but has decided to take a proactive approach of getting their lives back on track. Not only does this book teach you all about the disorder, but also how to handle both the good and the bad. It also exposes the horrors that the BP in your life can unleash upon you and your family if you fail to act. This is the first book I have ever read in my life that had me taking 4 different colored highlighter pens to it - yellow for highlighting things that I had experienced or found relevant to my BP's symptoms, bright pink for critical information I needed to know/remember, green for highlighting all the things I had done right, and regular blank ink ballpoint to write notes in the margins and underline certain things.
PBD topics covered in this book that had me practically weeping for joy after seeing it was actually in print: The spending sprees, drug addictions, rages/rampages, totally illogical reasoning, false accusations/retaliations, explosive rage from out of nowhere, jeckyl/hyde "behind closed doors" Godzilla that nobody believes you about, public lies and accusations against you ("distortion campaigns"), verbal, emotional, and physical abuse ("rage is abuse"), sexual recklessness/affairs/risk-taking/dysfunctions, and the illogical thought processes of the BP that have them driving away the people they want to be closest to the most because of a rage-driven fear of abandonment that often turns out to be self-fulfilling.
Pros of this book:
Non-Clinical/easy to read
I have only two - but HUGE - con/disagreements:
1. The book states that BPD is not necessarily caused by environment or childhood trauma, and that it can be hereditary/developmental. Though there are cases where both a biological and environmental cause is the determination, in nearly every BPD case I have come across (witnessed or even heard of), childhood trauma in some form of individual or combined abandonment and/or abuse was ALWAYS present, regardless of any physical or hereditary suppositions the book briefly attempts to "stay safe" on. In actuality, the entire book is very adamant on stressing the common environmental triggers that cause BPD, which it continually states are the numerous/combined forms of abandonment and abuse that children are increasingly experiencing. Many BPs exist who were not known as "emotionally sensitive" children but became borderline because of severe environmental factors alone. Most all books on this subject ignore this fact, including this one. Again: two or three sentences in the book state that BPD is not necessarily environmental - but then the entire rest of the book stresses how environmental factors are indeed what most all PBs state caused and repetitively trigger their nuclear detonations. Evidence shows that BPD can be caused by a combination of physical and environmental factors and can also be caused in completely normal children by nothing more than severely invalidating environments alone.
2. The way BP parents try to make up for their shortcomings as parents by controlling every aspect of their children's lives until it is a nightmarish hell of blame, abuse, control, deceit, and manipulation - and what this does to children right under the clueless BP's nose. The book touches on a few topics, such as how the children of BPs often wind up suffering NPD (narcissistic personality disorder). But well-known BPD parental behaviors are not found in this book, such as how the BP will enroll their children in every program they can think of, from school music to sports to scouts to anything else to convince themselves - and others - that they are good parents. This is an attempt at "damage control", to convince themselves that if they have ensured that someone else is raising their children, they THEY have properly raised their children. Worse, will have slaved out their children so badly that the kids suffer burnout, exhaustion, and dread on top of the horrors they secretly endure in the home. Additionally, it is very common that the BP parent, especially mothers, will latch onto the youngest child and will protect/control their lives down to the most minute detail in the attempt to ensure they never leave home, even at the expense of alienating and practically abandoning all of the older children in the process. No hobby, job, boyfriend/girlfriend the youngest child will have will be good enough and will be slandered and attacked ("distortion campaign"). Fear of abandonment is what drives the BP, and there is a whole different set of behaviors BP parents unleash on helpless children that should have been covered much more thoroughly in this book.
Regardless, this book is a valuable resource as one of two go-to books for Non-BPs who are struggling with BPs in their homes or relationships and what to do about it. The other book is "Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder", by Shari Y. Manning. That book is for the truly committed individual who is willing to carefully and methodically wade through all the fiery rings of hell to save their loved ones, the category in which I am continually doing my best to keep myself in. Make sure you read that book.
on October 13, 2012
I was in a relationship with a woman for 18 months that was BPD. I had no idea what a BPD was, and hadn't really realized what I was dealing with until the relationship was pretty much over. I had been accussed of constantly looking at other women, including her best friend, mother and young girls. I put up with this even though I KNEW I hadn't done anything wrong. When we would fight and split up for a day or two, she slept around with several people, and I continued to let it ride for some reason and took her back time after time. She often accused me of having affairs when I traveled at work. She had intense anger that was explosive and uncontrollable...from the tiniest slights like forgetting a date or time we would be doing something. She would drink heavily during them and actually come after me physically...to do real harm to me. I put up with this. I had been accussed of being a narcissist and generally horrible person. I started to doubt myself after awhile...Maybe I am really doing these things. Maybe I am this horrible person.
To make a long story VERY short, it wound up ending badly with legal entanglements because of her actions. Once away from her I started to research her behavior and found BPD. Now she has never been diagnosed, and as far as she is concerned, she has NO problem. It's this or that. She will never be better until she faces it. I cannot do that for her. But anyway the book made me realize that I was NOT crazy. It was so hard to get through this. Therapy DOES help a lot, but this book was my salvation. It reads like it was written about she and I. Scarily. Also I had borrowed this book from the library (I have my own copy on the way) and I saw the worn pages, folded corners and stars by sections in the book. I knew I wasn't alone in this. That others had GENUINELY suffered through the same exact things I had. It gave me peace. It made me realize that only she can do anything to overcome it, and that if she and her family stay in denial that she will never be better. That I had become co-dependent....swallowed up in her madness trying to constantly put out fires. The book actually opened my eyes to where this was going and I found the strength to finally let all of this go...and to let her go. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life because she was truly the love of my life and the person I wanted to always be with.
A must read if you are dealing with a person with BPD. Thank you for this book!!!
on June 10, 2013
This book does an excellent job of explaining Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). It helped me to identify my mother as having the disorder, and realize that I am not crazy. So, why only 2 stars?
The second part of the book, which is supposed to tell you how to "cope" with the Borderline's behavior, does nothing of the sort. The suggestions offered are at best, very generic. I expected to read some real life examples of how to deal with the damaging behavior. The main point of this section seems to be, "Well, they just can't help it, so you have to suck it up and deal with it." And, "Oh, by the way, they will never get better, so you have to deal with it forever."
Really? So.....I have to just put up with abuse as long as my mother lives? No other option? I don't think so. It would be different if she were seeking help, but she never has and never will. It has always been my fault. I've HAD IT with trying to understand!!! I want to know how to move on with my life.