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David H.
David H., BA, MA,
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 164
Experience:  Counselor; Behavioral Consultant
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My husband has a daughter with Borderline personality disorder.

Customer Question

My husband has a daughter with Borderline personality disorder. We have been in counceling before.
My step daughter is happily married ,but, insists on calling her Dad everyday at his work. He said he would put a stop to it, but, hasn't.
I am feeling that this is a bit too much. She should have made the trasference in September, when she married.
Am I expecting too much to be number one in my husband's life?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  David H. replied 3 years ago.

ThunderKeys :

Hello and thank you for bringing your question to JA.com. Do you mind if I ask a few clarifying questions of my own, to better provide you with a strong, practical answer?

Customer:

Ask me anything.

ThunderKeys :

Would you mind telling me more about the counseling you mention in the first part of your question? For example, who attended? What kind of counseling? What were its basic goals and outcomes?

Customer:

All three of us were there and boundaries were set.

ThunderKeys :

When you mentioned "the transference" in your question, what did you mean?

ThunderKeys :

What is your husband's view of your need to come first in his life? (which is absolutely normal and healthy on your part by the way)

Customer:

I meant that my stepdaughter now depend on her husband and not on mine. My husband sees the reality of the situation and feels badly when he allows Jenn to interfere.

ThunderKeys :

Thank you. I understand more clearly what you meant now. Are there any other transference behaviors, besides calling your husband everyday that are getting in the way of your emotional connection to your husband?

Customer:

She wants to go out to dinner with him alone on a weekly basis. We both vetoed that. She owes us $6,000..00 and has a habit of over spending. I am retired and on a fixed income. My husband can't retire until all her debts are paid.

Customer:

You could say I am abit angry.

ThunderKeys :

I'm really sorry to hear that you are having such a rough time with this 3 way relationship. What do you think is getting in the way of your husband extending the boundaries developed in past counseling, to the current situation?

Customer:

I do not know. What is your take on it? He feels that he'll let his daughter down.

ThunderKeys :

I agree, I think that that there is a strong fear of disappointment, perhaps a strong sense of parental responsibility Some of the behaviors that define BPD are known for being very good at harnessing and enlarging these kinds of negative feelings and reactions in others as well.

ThunderKeys :

I have some ideas that I think may be helpful based on what you've shared so far. Before I go and develop your answer, is there any other information that you think may be relevant here?

Customer:

No.

ThunderKeys :

Alright. I'll get your answer typed up and research links I think may be helpful to include as well. Please check back in 2 hours for your completed answer here. Does that make sense?

Customer:

I guess so.

ThunderKeys :

Ok. And remember, once you've read my answer its up to you if you accept and pay for it or not. You may also direct me to opt out and get a second opinion from one of my fellow-Experts. I'll be back with your answer within 2 hours.

ThunderKeys :

Here's my answer:

ThunderKeys :

There is no easy answer to your question about how to further define and implement boundaries between your relationship to our husband and his BPD diagnosed daughter and her clinically significant dependency or (anaclitic) transference on her father. On the one hand you’re feelings and relationship needs as you’ve expressed them here are 100% legitimate and normal. On the other hand a core relationship need for your husband may be for extra emotional support and consideration given that he has a behaviorally over-dependent, daughter with a fairly serious behavioral and emotional disorder. A healthy relationship between you and your husband requires that you both strive to continuously clarify each other’s’ relationship needs and work at meeting these for each other effectively and reciprocally.


As you may know one of the most science proven treatments for BPD is called dialectical behavior therapy. At the core of this treatment model is the idea of avoiding extreme either or thinking. Rather, the emphasis is on a healthy and continues movement to the centerline position in one’s appraisal of a situation. This may be a useful or guiding analogy here as you attempt to balance having your core relationship needs met, with your husbands need to be there for his daughter and to feel loved and supported as he navigates those BPD behaviors that can so easily bring up this kind of three way conflict or triangulation. it’s not that the boundaries can’t be re-set, but rather that it may take time and love to continue to maintain them with his daughter. After all, it is his responsibility to prioritize and protect your relationship and your emotional wellbeing.


As far as communicating relationship needs goes, it may be quite helpful for you and your husband to learn more about expressing and meeting the deep emotional feelings and needs associated with attachment. Many other relationship needs are actually indirect expression of these deeper emotional ones. It’s a way to cut to the chase or to the “heart of the matter” emotionally, in a way that will strengthen your relationship. This may be particularly helpful given the unique challenges presented by having an adult daughter with BPD. I recommend that you and your husband read the book: “Hold me tight” by Dr. Sue Johnson. This will provide you with some shared ideas and a directed conversation for really being there for each other during these challenges you face together.


If things really get rough, you may consider attending EFT marital therapy. It’s been science proven to repair and strengthen couples who are experiencing high levels of emotional distress, often in less than 10 sessions. A fully trained and certified EFT marital therapist we be in a very good position to tailor her therapy to the specialized needs of your case. Here are some links for the book, and EFT therapy:


 


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrKME6y2ZOM


http://www.iceeft.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=47&Itemid=79


http://www.iceeft.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=80


If you choose to go to couple’s therapy at some point, please make sure that you choose a therapist from this list with a “C” or an “S” beside their name and credentials (s is usually better).


http://www.iceeft.com/findtherapist.php


Sorry for the time delay getting you your answer. Please press the “accept” button if you find it helpful. Otherwise please let me know what I’ve missed here, so I can try and improve my answer for you.

Customer:

I have read books and been to counseling,so more reading,etc. isn't going to assist me. Please just answer my question. Is it too much for a married daughter to call her father everyday at his wirk place?

ThunderKeys :

You are definitely not asking too much to be number one in your husband's life. However, many sons and daughters without BPD do call their parents on a daily basis to check in and touch base. So, no, it is not too much by itself, for a married daughter to call her father everyday at his work place. On the other hand, if it is interfering with your husband's work or is otherwise "life-interfering" for your husband or his daughter, then it is a problem.

Customer:

Thanks for your time. Goodbye.

ThunderKeys :

Would you like me to "opt out" of your question so that you can work with another Expert?

Customer:

I am all set. Thank you for your time. I am through with this program. Have a good day.

ThunderKeys :

Ok, sorry I was unable to satisfactorily answer your question.

David H., BA, MA,
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 164
Experience: Counselor; Behavioral Consultant
David H. and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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