May 18, 2016 – The list you will see below in this post is here without my comments:
+LIST OF 43 CHARACTERISTICS OF bpd
Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Paul Mason MS and Randi Kreger(Jan 2, 2010)
I only have in my possession the 1998 edition of this book. It is from there, pages 16 – 18, that I am copying the following information (for educational thought only) into this post. I am in the process of ordering the latest edition and hope to contact the publisher for permission to comprehensively include the updated list of this information I am working with in this post in my books to be published about my mother (deceased 2002) based upon her own writings.
Until l figure out how I am going to continuously protect my work toward publication from viral contamination or loss, I will be storing my ongoing process at this link which is located on the ‘About’ page accessed from its tab at the top of this blog:
++”The Demise of Mildred” – (her story in two parts)
The following list of characteristics common to people who have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) (This list is NOT the formal diagnostic checklist of criteria for BPD) could be used as a readers’ guide to my mother Mildred’s writings as I intend to publish them.
Here I will duplicate these characteristics as a precursor to my renewed editing of Mildred’s writings. I will be adding comments in ITALICS. I am putting my ‘yes’ and my ‘no’ at the front of these statements taken from Stop Walking on Eggshells at the front of each one as I present them here.
The most obvious discrepancy I can note at this moment concerning how Mildred’s patterns fit these descriptions is that in many cases even among the ones that fit her, she DID NOT DISPLAY THE ‘ALTERNATING’. Hers was a one-way street.
I find this fascinating. At this moment I am not prepared to suggest what it was about Mildred that created this perhaps unique (if not rare) aspect of her ‘practice’ as (I believe) a BPD individual. I suspect that it was the severity of Mother’s illness that created her fundamentally extreme presentation of these characteristics.
Writing this post today has taken away from me any possible denial I have held onto about Mother suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. I hope to find an interested qualified professional willing to make as an authoritative postmortem diagnosis of Mother as could be possible.
Thoughts That May Indicate BPD
Does this person:
(1) — Alternate between seeing people as either flawless or evil? Have difficulty remembering the good things about a person they’re casting in the role of villain? Find it impossible to recall anything negative about this person when they become the hero? — (YES) [Note: Mildred’s belief that I was an ‘all evil – Devil’s Child’ and nearly always her belief that her chosen child, my younger sister was an ‘all good – God’s Child’, did not alternate or fluctuate. These two beliefs were central to what I have come to call Mother’s ‘inner core of madness’ which had to permanently take the form it did so that she could function (at all!) with her ‘outer core of madness’.]
(2) — Alternate between seeing others as completely for them or against them? — (YES)
(3) — Alternate between seeing situations as either disastrous or ideal? — (YES)
(4) — Alternate between seeing themselves as either worthless of flawless? — (YES) [Note: I respond ‘yes’ to this, but how this pattern operated within Mildred is not at this moment crystal clear to me. I suspect that Mother had lost any ability to ‘see’ or ‘know’ any truth about herself – she could not and did not exercise ‘self reflection’ on any level of depth.]
(5) — Have a hard time recalling someone’s love for them when they’re not around? — (YES) [Note: This is a classic characteristic of people with Insecure Attachment Disorders]
(6) — Believe that others are either completely right or totally wrong? — (YES) [Note: This pattern was clear concerning both her ‘public’ and her ‘private’ human contacts. Her need to maintain a fantasy world of denial about those who had hurt her in her infancy and childhood as she ‘pretended’ that another reality had existed rather than face the one that did exist was probably essential to her continued survival. In her inner madness however, I was permanently wrong while my sister was permanently right. My father was entirely battered back and forth between these extremes, as was her own mother to a much less extent (although if Mildred had not left her mother behind in Los Angeles to move to Alaska I suspect their relationship would have become brutal).]
(7) — Change their opinions depending upon who they’re with? — — (Not clear to me yet) [NOTE: At this moment I am tempted to say that Mildred so lived in her own reality that other people did not exist to her as ‘real’ people. She did not, therefore, care a twit what anyone else thought or felt about anything – so why would she change her opinion to fit anyone else’s? I have to ponder this one as I examine her patterns within her writings.]
(8) — Alternate between idealizing people and devaluing them? — (YES) [Note: Clearly related to these other comments I am making about her polarization patterns.]
(9) — Remember situations very differently than other people, or find themselves unable to recall them at all? — (YES) [Note: While this is absolutely true I would add a qualifier: Mildred did not find herself “unable to recall them at all” because if she had a different memory from others or did not remember, in her universe there was not a SINGLE chance that she was involved in ‘the wrongness’.]
(10) — Believe that others are responsible for their actions — or take too much responsibility for the actions of others? — (YES) [Note: My first reaction to this characteristic beyond ‘yes’ is puzzlement. I find my response interesting. It immediately gives me a red flag concerning my inner contamination with Mother’s thinking. As it applied, for example, to ME, Mother psychotically believed that I was forever responsible for ‘my behavior’ of being born breech so that I could fulfill the devil’s intention of using me to kill her while I was being born. Whether or not she took ‘too much responsibility for the actions of others’ seems at this moment to be a statement whose clarity lies in such a gray area that I cannot think ‘into it’ at this moment.]
(11) — Seem unwilling to admit a mistake — or feel that everything that they do is a mistake? — (YES) [Note: I’m not sure that Mildred ever admitted to making a mistake in her life or took responsibility for anything.]
(12) — Based their beliefs on feelings rather than facts? — (YES, ABSOLUTELY) – [Note: Again I would say that Mother’s feelings appeared to have shifted into areas of psychosis that placed them at a fundamental extreme from what most people would be able to recognize as being ‘feelings’ at all.]
(13) — Not realize the effects of their behavior on others? — (YES, ABSOLUTELY)[Note: I don’t think it’s possible to be more narcissistic, selfish and self-centered than Mildred was. But, then, human beings close to her did not really exist as separate beings to her — so none of this mattered in her universe. The question comes to my mind as I consider this characteristic, “How ‘real’ to Mildred were people she encountered outside her own family? Mildred had no conscience regarding those she hurt.]
Feelings That May Indicate BPD
Does this person:
(14) — Feel abandoned at the slightest provocation? — (YES) [Note: This is a complex pattern that includes a sense of self-righteousness, being unjustly treated by others and wounded by them, being misunderstood, not being appreciated, perceived slights, not getting what Mother wanted and/or thought she deserved — in other words, this area was rampant with sick control and manipulation of all kinds including tantrums.]
(15) — Have extreme moodiness that cycles very quickly (in minutes or hours?) — (YES, ABSOLUTELY AND FUNDAMENTALLY)
(16) — Have difficulty managing their emotions? — (YES, ABSOLUTELY AND FUNDAMENTALLY)[Note: Mildred’s ‘inner core’ where she placed and kept me operated to contain the most intolerable of her feelings. How she treated (abused) me was how she managed those ones.]
(17) — Feel emotions so intensely that it’s difficult to put others’ needs — even those of their own children — ahead of their own? — (YES, ABSOLUTELY AND FUNDAMENTALLY) [Note: So true that any thought that Mildred could have operated differently becomes ludicrous. Mother’s children were dolls to her. They were not children. They were not individual people. Most simply put – I was her ‘enemy’ and the other five were her ‘friends’.]
(18) — Feel distrustful and suspicious a great deal of the time? — (YES, ALWAYS)
(19) — Feel anxious or irritable a great deal of the time? — (YES) [Note: By abusing me and keeping me in her inner hell (so she could escape and function in her ‘outer’ life) most of Mildred’s most harmful feelings were nearly always focused on me. This would include her minor feelings of distrust, suspicion, anxiousness, irritability – moving all the way through the range of intensely negative feelings such as brutal uncontrolled murderous rage, hatred and paranoia. (Any deep ‘terror’ Mother had connected to her treatment of me is past any explanation here.)]
(20) — Feel empty or like they have no self a great deal of the time? — (YES, but complicated) [Note: This is such a personal, inner characteristic that nobody could accurately guess at it from the outside. Fortunately Mother does address feelings related to this characteristic directly within some of her letters to her mother — we have her own words on this one.]
(21) — Feel ignored when they are not the focus of attention? — (YES) [Note: She was an expert on making sure this never happened in her family. I suspect that how she isolated herself from public was part of how she controlled this from being an issue in outside relationships.]
(22) — Express anger inappropriately or have difficulty in expressing anger at all? — (YES) [Note: NEVER did Mildred have difficulty in expressing anger!]
(23) — Feel that they never can get enough love, affection, or attention? — (YES, ABSOLUTELY AND FUNDAMENTALLY)[Note: It is most clear how the patterns of her childhood set her up for this one directly.]
(24) — Frequently feel spacey, unreal, or out of it? (YES) [Note: Interestingly, Mildred does describe this state in some of her letters to her mother. Personally I see this characteristic as being an aspect of dissociation, depersonalization and derealization — all being physiological responses to trauma.]
Behaviors That May Indicate BPD
Does this person [Note: Where I mark ‘yes’ below I mean fundamentally and absolutely so]:
(25) — Have trouble observing others’ personal limits? — (YES)
(26) — Have trouble defining their own personal limits? — (YES)
(27) — Act impulsively in ways that are potentially self-damaging, such as spending too much, engaging in dangerous sex, fighting, gambling, abusing drugs or alcohol, reckless driving, shoplifting, or disordered eating? — (YES) [Note: Her patterns were far too complicated to describe here.]
(28) — Mutilate themselves — for example, purposely cutting or burning their skin? — (NO) [Note: These answers are ‘no’ – but there are ‘buts’….. For example, long after I left home Mildred’s friend knocked on her apartment door and was surprised to find that Mildred had written ‘666’ on her forehead and hands. When asked why Mildred replied that this way if the devil came to take her he would leave her alone because he would know she already belonged to him. This directly ties to what I know of Mildred’s psychosis about me.]
(29) — Threaten to kill themselves — or make actual suicide attempts? — (NO)
(30) — Rush into relationships based on idealized fantasies of what they would like the other person or the relationship to be? — (YES)
(31) — Change their expectations in such a way that the other person feels they can never do anything right? — (YES)
(32) — Have frightening, unpredictable rages that make no logical sense — or have trouble expressing anger at all? — (YES!!) [Note: As I already stated, Mother never had trouble expressing anger. The ‘make no logical sense’ part of this characteristic operated differently for Mother regarding me — It was devastating that as Mother’s psychosis defined my evilness — my father evidently came to BELIEVE HER!]
(33) — Physically abuse others, such as slapping, kicking, and scratching them? — (YES, INDESCRIBABLY SO)
(34) — Needlessly create crises or live a chaotic lifestyle? — (YES!!!!) [Note: Add Mildred’s choice to homestead on an Alaskan homestead into this mix and — well, it’s a story!]
(35) — Act inconsistently or unpredictably? — (YES)
(36) — Alternately want to be close to others, then distance themselves? (Examples include picking fights when things are going well or alternately ending relationships and then trying to get back together.) — (YES) [Note: I chuckle at some of these, so extremely so did Mildred display most of these. Again, finding a remote Alaskan homestead does tend to distance a person….]
(37) — Cut people out of their life over issues that seem trivial or overblown? — (YES)
(38) — Act competent and controlled in some situations but extremely out of control in others? [Note: Mildred was a gorgeous woman whose charm was captivating to many.] — (YES)
(39) — Verbally abuse others, criticizing and blaming them to the point where it feels brutal? — (YES!!!)[Note: WAS BRUTAL!]
(40) — Act verbally abusive toward people they know very well, while putting on a charming front for others? Can they switch from one mode to the other in seconds? — (YES) [Note: Faster than seconds. Interesting that Mother did not verbally abuse her children except for me — if she did so it happened so seldom I have no memory of it happening at all. She most certainly nearly ALWAYS verbally abused me, and frequently her husband. I do not doubt that Mildred was verbally abused during her own infancy and childhood.]
(41) — Act in what seems like extreme or controlling ways to get their own needs met? — (YES!!)
(42) — Do or say something inappropriate to focus the attention on them when they feel ignored? — (YES)
(43) — Accuse others of doing things they did not do, having feelings they do not feel, or believing things they do not believe? — (YES) [Note: Absolutely true Mildred accused me of doing things I did not do – a process tied to her psychosis about me. She did this to my father, ACCUSE was one of her favorite actions.]
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26 thoughts on “+DID MY MOTHER SUFFER FROM BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER (BPD)? (this is eerie)”
You described my life with my mother. My husband is one of the few people who see how she abuses me. Others can’t see it because the switch flips so quick. She is known as a generous, loving, kind, etc… person. I’ve always been the scapegoat. Now she is older I have come back to care for her and the cycle is starting again. Last week NOTHING I did was right, everything I said was wrong. If she’d ask me a question and I’d answer her I was a “D*** Smart A**”
I’m over 50 and have been feeling 5 again. God help me.
Hi. Have you read the book “Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder?” available on Amazon.com
This link is for the 2010 edition. The earlier 1998 edition with the blue cover contained a list of characteristics from which I was first able to detect a diagnosis for Mother – finally. The authors removed this list from later edition in favor of an approach that aligns with the diagnosis itself.
List is here:
Here is another related blog post
and a post related to psychosis and BPD
Here is an article online about BPD rage and blame:
You are not alone and I am so glad your husband recognizes the truth. People need to be informed about BPD – there is a LOT of it out there — mostly unrecognized for what it is. Pay NO HEED to the ignorance of others! Your mother is most likely a very, very ill woman to be able to pull off her “disguises” so completely. I disowned Mother. My siblings all came to understand her illness and NONE of us took care of her as she aged. That would have been a continuation of HELL on earth that none of her six children were prepared to experience.
Everyone needs to make that decision on their own, but if you are so kind as to still care that much for her well-being please continue to educate yourself in every way possible. Your mother is not likely to EVER come to terms with how sick she is. EVER!! She is, as was my mother, absolutely and profoundly mentally ill!!! And DANGEROUS to you!!!!
Please see comments at this post as well:
I was so relieved to find this online. I spent 41 years alive and the last 23 years to date currently seeing a psychiatrist due to the Narcissistic Personality Disorder of my mother. She was born to my grandmother in a traumatic breech delivery. Detachment from her mother started in the womb. I never had a chance huh?. After I became became physically disabled (rare congenital heart defect) I was finally diagnosed recently by the by the “Experts” as a hyper-vigilante that raised herself due to the chronic abuse of her mother. It’s a relief to know that all these years my only mental disability was mild anxiety and situational depression. Trying to maintain a relationship with my mother caused my body to involuntarily hyperventilate on it’s own. I finally feel emancipated from all the comments and criticisms over the years. I can finally let go and not feel guilt.
Oh what a journey you have had!!! Tough tough TOUGH!! I spent the entire decade of the 80s in therapy, did not even begin to understand what I had been through (abuse) until I was 29. But nobody ever during those ten years of therapy ever so much as suggested that Mother was mentally ill! I stumbed across the book, Stop Walking on Eggshells when I was 53 — and found my mother in those pages. So I learned at the same time that she was mentally ill and what her diagnosis would have been — BPD.
I am writing the books now of the story of Mother and me — and that’s one of my big hopes, that it brings into people’s awareness what mental illness is as it manifests in great harm and danger to infants and children! It wasn’t that mother was selfish or mean — she was psychotically mentally ill!
Thank you so much for stopping by, and for your comment, Allison! It sounds like you are clear and strong!! I hope you might find some other readings on the blog that can be of some use to you, and I hope to hear from you again!!!
From what I’ve read of bpd there’s different types and a continuum.. As you say Linda
Your mother was on the extremist of the edge of it. I spose it’s hard to categorise
Someone in one thing. Sometimes I think of joan crawford in mommy dearest when I
Read your posts. I’ve never read I’d properly but she sounds very abusive on all levels.
I think a lot of people who are on the other end of the continuum are struggling with the
Emotions and have an awareness of what is happening inside, very painful.
As soon as I’ve stopped marking student exams I will be reading your writing with interest! Xx
I don’t want to hurt ANYONE with my writing. Neither do I want to omit the truth as I see it personally about Mildred and me.
I most certainly do not want to lift any shovel through my shortsightedness or lack of consideration for others with BPD – while I dig a bigger grave to shove those people into who have already suffered so greatly in their lives.
From what I see in the research – as it seems to match my mother – she was NOT fully psychotic. Her psychosis very specifically had a purpose – to divide her good world from her bad one – so that she could live in her upper good world without having to personally experience anything of what her lower world of hell felt like.
The separation of good from bad may be a ‘typical’ kind of BPD-mind pattern – but it was Mildred’s psychotic break as she delivered me that took her madness to such another level that perhaps few could recognize her mental illness as Borderline Personality Disorder.
But it was. I am not seeing anything in these current research descriptions that would exclude this fact.
I don’t think you can hurt anyone with your writing as you are so descriptive and
Such an amazing researcher and very honest in your writing. I really can feel for
people with bpd and want to support you absolutely in what you’re doing, I’m
hoping that any readers with bpd will be interested in it and not feel scared and
defensive. As I was reading your last post I thought wow, this letter to your friend
is witten by a true writer!! 🙂
Omg. My mum also had a psychotic episode just as I was delivered. She probably has BPD. And was addicted to benzo’s during my first year of life.
I have BPD and RAD. I’ve never really been loved, never had children and have lived a chaotic painful life
Hello dear Kate — are you of the generations when Twilight Sleep was in use during deliveries? Not fully removed from our med system until 1970s (early) – horrible stuff for vulnerable women such as my mother was! the drug itself induced hallucinations – and broke all barriers against the emergence of unconscious — I am so VERY SORRY dear!!!!! Nobody deserves what happened to you, happened to me, happened to my mother – and to you, and probably to your mother!!
You are very welcome here, and I thank you so much for your comment. There is a LOT of information on this blog – just poke around and maybe something will ring a bell. I sure hope so!!
I hope some of the chaos can lessen in your life, although I believe the pain is with us until we leave our body – because that is where it is
Perhaps, too, you could do BPD online searches for some of the newest research they are doing on the changed brain of BPD people — BPD is not alone for sure – anything you read about right brain development and attachment is great — well, you certainly know, you found us here!!
Did you see these posts?
+AS DR. MARTIN TEICHER STATES — EARLY ABUSE, ALTERED BRAIN DEVELOPMENT AND THE SCARS THAT WON’T HEAL
+Dr. Teicher’s ARTICLE ON TRAUMA ALTERED DEVELOPMENT
*Notes on Teicher
I find this information very affirming – there is a reason why we are the way we are — BPD or not — those of us with PTSD, anxiety disorders, depression, troubles of all kinds
due to early trauma and abuse
Information is empowering!!! all the best to you, Kate!!!
The way I am seeing this – Mildred lived in her upper good visible world being a ‘typical’ Borderline. This is why nothing she did to me shows up in any of her writings. The lower hell world she put me into in place of herself — and did everything in her power to keep me in for the 18 years of my childhood – HAD to be invisible. This is how her psychosis operated.
I don’t know if I would diagnose her with BPD… I was at one time but I am nothing like her and neither were anyone in my counseling group. If she does have a borderline personality she must have some other mental illness with it. She seems psychotic.
Yes – she was psychotic. And how difficult it is for me to explain even to myself how that operated in her abuse of me. I am not sure her psychosis showed up otherwise — except regarding me. The rest of her life I think she was BPD ‘as usual’ – if there is such a thing??
Her break happened while she was birthing breech-me – I believe under the influence of ‘twilight sleep’ – horrible birthing drug they pulled in US in the 70s. Combo of nightshade derivative for amnesia with opiates – HORRIBLE!!!
But – what do you think of the 43 characteristics – ? Authors have pulled that list out of their 2010 book – but 40 of 43 – for Mother – PLUS.
Charlotte – I would email you a copy of the manuscript nearing publication of Mildred’s writings – if you would be interested in reading it – I would value your perceptions – “Can you see her psychosis in those letters?” Please let me know – and thanks!
Anyone else who would like to read that manuscript, please leave a comment here and I will send it to you for review.
That was silly of me. No need to email it at all!
The manuscript is here
+FREE PREVIEW OF 1ST BOOK OF MILDRED’S WRITINGS
If you read it and wish to comment, put the comments at the end of that writing – and hopefully match any comment to the date of the letter that generated your comment
see also post
+A BRIEF LOOK AT BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER AND PSYCHOSIS
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Thanks for sharing excellent information. Your website is very cool. This website has got really useful info on it!
I have heard about that book but never actually read it. Would you recommend it?
Yes – the new addition if at all possible!
Wow. I mean – WOW.
I wonder if there is a “score” for this, like “if you have XX of 25, then you are a moderate borderline” — she would be off the charts!!!! Was it all BPD for her or other things — because she was so extreme — certainly more so than some BPDs might be…
On the “alternating” — I wonder if they mean alternating from one to the other with the same person — or alternating between people… I’m thinking it applies to her more if you think of it in terms of alternating between people, like you and sister C. – all bad vs. all good.
I’m also wondering about the self-inflicted wounds and suicidal tendencies. As she aged, I think of her as not taking proper care of herself physically — and refusing treatment for an otherwise treatable condition is a type of suicide…
This list is NOT the formal diagnostic checklist of criteria for BPD – I best not to let people assume that it is! Will make this note in post.
Once I get the newest addition I will see if any changes have been made to this list……
I have yet to read the article it sounds fascinating! I like your point about the
Issue with lack of self care as a form of self-suicide.
Such violence expressed both inward and outward. I’ve
Also wondered what happened when the person who’s abused
Leaves – I know sometimes someone else gets a turn but it makes sense if the
Abuser turns it on herself in a subtle way as yoube described.