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Bill, LCSW, Consultant, Expert Witness
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3705
Experience:  35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's
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How do I handle a family member who has the symptoms of Borderline

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How do I handle a family member who has the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder?

Bill :

Hello- Thank you for asking the question. I have over 30 years of experience working with individuals, couples and families & am happy to reply.

Bill :

I am sorry to hear about your sons behavior.

Bill :

Although Anger and Control Issues are certainly part of the character makeup of some one with Borderline Personality Disorder - these issues alone can also point to other issues.

Bill :

As you have requested, I am going to give you some helpful in formation on how to deal with the Borderline Type.

Bill :

Subcategories of People with BPD

People with the same BPD diagnosis can act quite differently. Researchers have been trying to categorize them for decades. One "real world,” subjective way is to divide them into three groups:


  • Lower-Functioning/Conventional

  • Higher-Functioning/Invisible

  • Combination (a mixture of both styles)

No category is "better” than the other. Each category has four dimensions: coping techniques, co-occurring mental health issues, functioning, and impact on family members.

Mostly Lower-Functioning Conventional BPsMostly Higher-Functioning Invisible BPsCombination
Coping TechniquesSelf-harm and suicidal thoughtsCriticism and blame of others far beyond the normAnger, rages common to both
Willingness to Obtain HelpHospitalized or day/outpatient treatmentRefuses help or attends therapy only when threatenedMore outpatient than inpatient
Co-occurring (Concurrent) Mental Health IssuesEating Disorders, Bipolar, or others that frequently bring them into treatmentNarcissistic Personality Disorder, invisible to clinical communitySubstance abuse, depression common to both
FunctioningLower: May be disabled or often loses jobsHigher: usually employed and job performance doesn’t sufferProblems with coworkers may be common to both
Typical Family Member ChallengesFinding and paying for treatment; parents often overburdened; exhaustion and burn-outTrying to convince the BP to get treatment, bewilderment, PTSD, losing confidence and self-esteemDifficulty setting limits common to both

You can find the full description and chat in Randi Kreger’s book on pages 37-40 in The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder: New Tools and Techniques to Stop Walking on Eggshells


Bill :

The following addresses specific for Families and HOW to interact and set limits with Borderline Personalities.

Bill :

This is an excellent resource.

Bill :

It is also helpful for you as parents to be able to understand the limits and boundaries that must be established and maintained so that you can preserve your emotional wellbeing:

Bill :

Use the information here:

Bill :

to help you with this is a great template.

Bill :

Remember Control is a central feature and you have no means of controlling someone else. Only oneself. This is crucial when dealing with someone with BPD.

Bill :

I trust this information will help you and serves to answer your questions. Of course, your can CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION and I will be happy to respond.

Bill :


Bill :


Bill :

My best to you and your family.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

What type of counseling or therapy is best to begin treatment, is there a certain type of therapy to look for?

Are there certain medications that are most often used to help control the mood swings?

My son is high functioning operating his own business, his relationship with his live in girlfriend is the most urgent at this point.

Would it be best for them to go to counseling together or separately?


Thanks for responding with additional information.

If your son is having mood swings and you sense that he may need medication, the first step would be to have this comprehensively evaluated by a Board Certified Psychiatrist.

This evaluation will render a conclusive diagnosis and further recommendations for treatment which may include work with his girlfriend. Your sons individual issues have to be addressed first before there will be any progress in dealing with the relationship problems.

I am happy to help you identify a Psychiatrist in your area if you respond with your City, State and Zip Code.

I look forward to your response and helping your son get the proper care that appears necessary.

Best, Bill
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

We live in Pittsburg, KS 66762

Here are the names and contact information for the following Psychiatrists in Pittsburg, KS

I typically recommend calling a couple on the phone and explaining the situation so that they are clear with the issues. All are well qualified to provide the comprehensive assessment your son requires.

1011 S Mount Carmel Pl
Pittsburg, KS 66762

Dr. Brandon Douglas Riesenmy
200 E Centennial Dr Ste 13
Pittsburg, KS 66762 (NNN) NNN-NNNN

Dr. Tamon Berber Paige
911 E Centennial Dr
Pittsburg, KS 66762 (NNN) NNN-NNNN

I wish you the very best,




Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The phone # XXXXX Dr. White has been disconnected. My Son actually was a patient of Dr. Riesenmy about 10 years ago, we were referred by out family Dr. It was a terrible experience for him, Dr. Riesenmy had him on med. that had a terrible effect on him, he was like a zombie. I went with him to a couple of appointments, which were very concerning, the last app. he gave my son 3 different meds. to try. I insisted he go for another evaulation to a different Dr. who took him off all the med. and said he was heavily overdosed. Because of that terrible experience, my son is very wary of going to someone who wants to give him med.
Try- Dr Paige- a female- Board Certified who has been in practice for 13 years.

I would not immediately surmise that he will need medication and certainly understand how a previous effect makes everyone leery.

There are other options for Psychiatrist if you want to travel to Joplin or the following link to a Group Psychologists Practice:

Psychologists who can provide a comprehensive Evaluation and recommendations and also address relationship issues.....under one roof.

Dr. XXXXX XXXXX, Psychologist


Dr. Jan Kent, Clinical Psychologist
2650 E 32nd St Suite 221, Joplin, MO, 64804

I trust one of these options results in getting and appointment. If you continue to have questions or difficulty locating someone, let me know and i will continue to help you.

Best, Bill

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