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Surviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds and Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self-Esteem Paperback – January 1, 2004
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“If Stop Walking on Eggshells has become the bible for people with a borderline family member, I predict that Surviving a Borderline Parent will become the ‘must have’ book for people who have a parent with borderline traits. Authors Kimberlee Roth and Freda Friedman have done a stunning job of validating the isolating experience of these ‘adult children,’ and more importnantly, shown them how to overcome the constant feelings of guilt, abnormality, and self-doubt. This book belongs on the shelf of every clinician and adult child with a borderline parent.”
—Randi Kreger, author of Stop Walking on Eggshells
“Kimberlee Roth and Freda Friedman provide comprehensive guidelines for adult children with borderline parents that help create balance and boundaries in these tumultuous relationships. The authors point to the need to break the ‘silent treatment’ around Borderline Personality Disorder and encourage clinicians to educate patients and family members about this diagnosis. This book is well worth the investment for any adult child with a borderline parent.”
—Christine A. Lawson, Ph.D., author of Understanding the Borderline Mother
“Life with a ‘normal’ parent can be hard enough. All of us have stories about low points in growing up. But ultimately we can look back on childhood with a warm feeling about our parents and feel that we were loved and nurtured. Not so for children of a parent with Borderline Personality Disorder. These adult kids may need to do years of work to recover from the narcissism of their caregivers. Surviving a Borderline Parent provides life-affirming signposts to the road back to emotional health.”
—Ross Werland, health editor for the Chicago Tribune
From the Publisher
This is the first step by step guide for adult children of parents with Borderline Personality Disorder. It teaches them how to overcome the devastating effects of growing up with a parent who suffers from BPD. Foreword is by Randi Kreger, coauthor of "Stop Walking on Eggshells" and "The Stop Walking on Eggshells Workbook."
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Then I found this book. What a revelation - it's like the authors have written the story of my mother, my childhood, my family, my life.
The healing starts in chapter 1 - where the authors list 9 characteristics/symptoms of a BPD parent, describing each in plain English - and THEN laying out how those behaviours affect a child. I found this very helpful because as much as I really DO want to understand my mother's behaviour, I also need to consider how I've been hurt and what I need to do to recover. From the beginning, I could see that this book would be focusing on the child (me), not the BPD parent.
Where the authors discuss forgiveness, I'm pleased to see they acknowledge that some people just can't forgive; the wounds are too deep. I'm also pleased that they talk a good deal about what forgivenness ISN'T. Perhaps we can forgive - but reconciliation? That's another story.
Ending the relationship with a BPD parent may be the best thing we can do for ourselves. The authors have acknowledged that the BPD parent is not going to change. That means the abusive behaviour is going to continue. Of course if the parent acknowledges the problem and makes an honest effort to change, that's a different situation. But most BPD sufferers (and yes, these people suffer, too) won't make that effort. So where does that leave those of us who are the targets for abuse? In the chapter on "Communicating and Setting Limits", the authors acknowledge that severing the relationship permanently may be necessary. I wish they'd spent more time on that - even devoted a chapter to it. The nightmare doesn't automatically end for those of us who choose to end the relationship.
I don't believe this or any book can, on it's own, enable those of us raised by BPD parents to heal ourselves. I firmly believe that professional guideance - a therapist - will be required at some stage. But this book is an excellent place to start. It gives us clarity, focus, and a vocabulary to use when describing what we've experienced.