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Anna, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1945
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 29 years in addictions and mental health.
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Let me preface this by saying that I used to work with

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Let me preface this by saying that I used to work with people with both physical and mental disabilities (also my major in college) as an Employment Specialist for a Non-Profit Agency. I had to attend many workshops and seminars for dealing with people that were Schizophrenic, Bi-Polar and Borderline Personality Disorder among others. I learned that Borderline Personality Disorder is not only the most difficult to diagnose, but also the most difficult to work with, with many therapists choosing not to work with BPD due to the complexity of the disorder.
Recently, and after a very long and stormy relationship with my youngest daughter, I went on line to look up information on "cutting" - I was told by her sister that she was cutting and also saw it on her arm one day. I asked her about it and she tried to tell me a cat scratched her - I knew otherwise but didn't confront her. She doesn't know that I know.
One day while researching cutting, I came across some more information on BPD. When I read the symptoms and what immediate family members had to deal with it hit me like a ton of bricks. They could have written the articles about my youngest daughter.
Looking back, the problems began about age 17/18 - this is when I first noticed behavior changes in her. She was no longer the sweet, loving girl I had raised. But, there were incidents of her screaming at me for "abandoning her" (I moved to New York for a year due to a relationship.) She was already out and on her own and I had no idea that she took this move so hard. We live in Albuquerque.
I have witnessed many incidents of paranoia, etc. I know she has had post partum depression in the past and has suffered feelings of total "emptiness" based on information her sister shared with me - by the way, this sister I'm talking about was killed last year. (murdered by her ex husband) I think this may have been the straw that has broken the camel's back.
Her behaviors towards me have escalated. She has finished nursing school and is entering clinicals next spring. She's 26 and has 3 young children. Her 4 year old continues to beg me to come pick him up for an afternoon or day of fun and he keeps getting told no. For being 4, he's very persistent with his parents and not understanding why "Nana" isn't allowed to take him and his 3 year old brother out for outings...I have witnessed occasions where I was grieving and sharing my grief with her over her sister and watched as she sat emotionless, cold and hard. Total and completely disconnected from me, my emotions or anything to do with her sister.
I asked the other therapist whether or not this "disconnection" would happen between her and her children as they got older and she said yes. I'm watching as her 4 year old continues to persist and ask permission to go out with "Nana" and getting told no, over and over again - and witnessing some disconnection between her and her 4 year old as he persists wanting to spend time with me.
My question - I know that BPD can only be diagnosed through a qualified psychiatrist. But how can that happen if she herself has no clue that something is very, very wrong and "not normal"?? She's an adult now so it's not like I have any legal recourse as a parent to get her evaluated.
I have spoken to a couple of licensed therapists and in giving them the "blow by blow" description of everything I've gone through with her, they concur that more than likely we are dealing with this - but then again, no definitive diagnosis without an evalution.
How do I cope? What can I do to get her to see that something isn't right? or do I? I worry about the stress of being a trauma nurse (which is what I think she wants to specialize in) -
There was no physical or emotional abuse in her childhood. However, her biological father left me when I was pregnant with her and gave her up for adoption to the husband I remarried. So, two girls - one biological father - two legal fathers. Her adopted father and I divorced when she was about 7 or 8. She had a bout of shingles at that age as well.
There is mental illness and alcoholism in her biological father's family. I believe that he himself is a narcissist. He's an alcoholic and had a nervous breakdown after Nichole's sister was killed - although he was emotionally abusive with her sister when she was alive.
I did my best to stay physically and emotionally available to all my girls (3 in total) and sacrificed a lot in my life to be there for my own daughters until they were grown. I say this because when I looked at possible causes of BPD, I see where emotional and physical child abuse can explain a lot. There just wasn't any and she was with me most of the time.
I don't know what to do from here not being able to get her to see something through perceptions that are skewed at best???? Help?
Hello & Welcome to Just Answers.

You put a couple questions in there, and I'll do my best to answer them. First off, if she's BPD, then she is. Unless you're dealing with insurance companies, having a physician write her Dx down isn't necessary. If you've read through the symptoms and she has them, then she's BPD. But what matters most is that you've found information that validates your experience with your daughter and helps you to understand her better.

The website BPD Central is very helpful for family members, and you'll see the book Walking on Eggshells there (and Amazon). I would highly recommend that you buy the book and read's a virtual service manual for those with BPDs in their life. It gives very specific coping strategies about how you can cope with her and deal with her in terms of the grandchildren...whether she ever sees she has a problem or not.

What can you do to help her? Learn about her illness and get support for yourself. You can't make her get treatment nor stay in it, but you can make yourself an attractive source of support and information by learning how to interact with her better.

How she got that way? Personality has it's roots in many places, and we're only now getting more scientific data on it's origins. How she took in the world as a child is something that no one could have controlled...that part is uniquely hers. So no matter how much you were there for her, she still can have problems that come through her view of the world.

I think the book will really help you.

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