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I think that I can help you.
It is very possible that your sister-in-law is suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder.
I see that you are online now.j
What triggers her?
Yes, Thank you for your response. I agree. She also is trying to minimize the amount of alcohol she consumes.
Issues of feeling abandoned, dismissed or criticized?
Yes. She has been married to my brother for 20 years, however, she has never really accepted our family, even though we try to be as loving and accepting as possible. At times she just stops communicating for no apparent reason, or she becomes very abusive verbally or really negative. It is hard to understand and be in her space.
Was she abused, adopted, or abandoned when she was younger?
She is an exercise "nut". I am really not sure, but all indications are that she was abandoned. Her grandfather murdered her mother and her mother died when she was 15 years old. She has an older brother who she had a terrible argument with 25 years ago and she has never spoken to him since the incident. She also has been very abuse to my nephew, her step son and she has made it very difficult for my brother, her husband to have a health relationship with his son until this past year.
My reason for reaching out to you for answers, is that I am just trying to understand my sister-in-law and why she acts out for no obvious reason.
Are you still there?
She has a reason. All of the above. She sounds as if she has BPD as I suspected. The exercise is a form of self-abuse, perhaps. Does she cut herself or self-injure in any way:
You might not know it if she cuts herself and you have not seen the scars, and your brother might not say.
Many people who have a history like hers develop BPD.
Let me show you the diagnostic criteria for this disorder from the psychiatric "bible" of diagnoses, the DSM-IV:
She is OCD and is obsessive as it relates to food, weight management and exercise. She can exercise 3 plus hours a day.
Great, I am ready
This is a form of eating disorder, which includes exercise.
BPD – DSM-IV
1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterised by alternation between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
3. Identity disturbance - markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging, e.g. spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving or binge-eating.
5. Recurrent suicidal behaviour, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behaviour.
6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood, e.g. intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety, which usually lasts for between a few hours and several days.
7. Chronic feelings of emptiness
8. Inappropriate, intense anger, or difficulty controlling anger, e.g. frequent displays of temper, constant anger or recurrent physical fights.
9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.
Anyone with six or more of the above traits and symptoms may be diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. However, the traits must be long-standing (pervasive), and there must be no better explanation for them, e.g. physical illness, a different mental illness or substance misuse.
She is so extreme, it is scary...She also seems to know EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING. If you challenger in any way, there is hell to pay.
Because people with BPD do not want to be challenged.
oh, my goodness, this is my sister in law.
Furthermore, BPD and eating disorders often go hand in hand.
How do you help people with this disorder?
First of all, they have to want to get help. Do you want me to continue? I will.
Yes, please continue. In the past, she has insisted that she, my brother and his two sons go for counseling.
They need therapy, particularly Dialectical Behavior Therapy.]
If she has asked for them to go to therapy, they should agree on the grounds that she goes with them.
I can recommend you a couple of books, one on the disorder, and the other about the therapy. Both are great boo9ks.
However, in the most recent session, when the Counselor told her she had an anger problem, she stormed out of the office and never went back. When my brother brought the feedback from the counselor to her attention, she got mad an punch him in the jaw. Almost caused a wreck. She called me and told me about the incident, because I think she was so scared. She seems to go into denial.
That is the disorder. It is difficult to treat. I know therapists who shy away from it.
Great, I will check out the books. She is a good person with a good heart and I really want to help her, but I do not want to make things worse.
Look at this great book.
and this DBT book:
Oh, Elliott, Thank you! This is just how I feel...like I am walking on egg shells. Marvelous, I will order it on Amazon.
Elliott, I will look you up again!
Thank you so much, Michele. May God bless you and your family.