Borderline mother-in-law

Preface: I am not a medical professional. I am quoting from the links below while adding personal experiences and from my previous knowledge through college psychology courses. I am not an expert. This is for insight, hindsight, and expression.

Marrying into a family can be difficult, and challenging.
The process of courting, then convincing them you are a perfect mate. The process of ring selection, to meeting the entire family in preparation.

These are not the most difficult things you will face before your big magical day. I'm sorry to ruin the allure of marriage, but some of us aren't that lucky.

I will begin with the definition. Borderline personality disorder or BPD is a serious mental illness in which the person is unable to manage emotions.

There are several symptoms that can indicate other mental health problems, though the below descriptions make BPD distinct. The tendency for a successful career, or outward appearance of success, while their personal life suffers.

Their private turmoil at home can manifest in many ways. Some who suffer with BPD are dependent upon one or possibly more, though their instability and inability to manage emotions make it difficult to maintain relationships.

A little known fact is that those who suffer from BPD, tend to have impulsive spending habits on items or pets they cannot afford. Though the impulsivity is the cause, not the need.

"The diagnosis of BPD is frequently missed and a misdiagnosis of BPD has been shown to delay and/or prevent recovery. Bipolar disorder is one example of a misdiagnosis as it also includes mood instability. There are important differences between these conditions but both involve unstable moods. For the person with bipolar disorder, the mood changes exist for weeks or even months. The mood changes in BPD are much shorter and can even occur within the day."

BPD affects up to 14 million people in America alone.

“BPD affects 50% more people than Alzheimer’s disease and nearly as many as schizophrenia and bipolar combined (2.25%).
* BPD affects 20% of patients admitted to psychiatric hospitals
* BPD affects 10% of people in outpatient mental health treatment.”


Research on the causes and risk factors for BPD is still in its early stages. However, scientists generally agree that genetic and environmental influences are likely to be involved.
Certain events during childhood may also play a role in the development of the disorder, such as those involving emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Loss, neglect and bullying may also contribute. The current theory is that some people are more likely to develop BPD due to their biology or genetics and harmful childhood experiences can further increase the risk.”

Therapy has been successful in BDP, which means, though you may suffer with BPD, it can be managed.

It takes action. Therapy is vital. Medication may be involved, highly recommended, with trials. Everyone reacts to the medication differently.

Why am I going through this rigamarole? You need to understand the people you’re getting involved with, first.

We are not married yet, but we are engaged. Before Covid-19, we were thinking about getting married in the snow and wrapping each other with love, without question.

His mother is currently working from home, the tension is higher than ever. Constantly fluctuating moods, fighting, arguing, and even the occasional item thrown across the room are tumultuous, at best.

Depression and suicidal thoughts are prevalent, depending upon severity of their condition. One study stated “75% of patients have attempted at least once to commit suicide. Many people attempt more than once. Whereas 3%-10% complete the suicide.”

Substance abuse and self harm are common amongst those who suffer, looking for that temporary elusive escape from the mental chaos and confusion.

His mother, on the other hand, is doomed by her envy. Those who are afflicted with BDP are notoriously vulnerable to abandonment, wildly lashing out or withdrawing. At the sight of an happiness or the sound of any laughter, she immediately will barge in and interrupt a conversation no matter how trivial.

It has been my observation that she is aware of her envy, jealousy, and irrational behavior, yet she chooses to follow through with the negative actions. She chooses medication over therapy. Subjects her children to harmful and abusive behavior with accompanied language.

It is profoundly difficult to explain to its fullest the extent of the problem without context. Even with context, it can be difficult to determine what exactly is going on here.

BDP mimics several conditions, often comorbid with other conditions. The important thing to remember, this is strenuous on the patient as well as the family. They are often discounted and misunderstood by family and friends, sometimes even medical professionals denying them care for fear of their impulses.

She can be creative, crafty, spontaneous, loving, thoughtful, and caring. Although the flip side of the pillow is how cold, rigid, confrontational, and aggressive she can be, having testimonies from her children.

For their sake, I will not be including those stories. The following is my experience, despite her aggressive behavior, cold demeanor, then warm smiles, and chipper conversation. BDP, differs from bipolar in the sense that BDP can often happen in the same breath, whereas bipolar is an extended period of time.

I don’t want you to get discouraged. There is hope. When dealing with someone who is affected by BDP, you must first understand the patterns. Generally speaking, we follow certain patterns. Those with BDP do not have such patterns, or do they? His mom follows a predictable pattern, the most predictable unpredictability in behavior I’ve ever seen.

Tending to fly into an enraged state then careening to a calm pond of normalcy. If you know they in the middle of an episode, observe their behavior in your peripheral vision. Keep a distant eye on them, making sure not to engage the behavior, this exasperates it. You’re merely observing, ignoring the bully so to speak. For now.

A common theme is shame. “I’m worthless,” or “I don’t deserve this,” are the unspoken script they recite. Of course, we are unable to hear the monologue.

“What can I do?”

Gently remind them you’re still there. Abandonment and shame are the main two fears. They are prone to impulsive behavior, which requires constant maintenance. Often due to an inability to understand and control of their impulses. Some have experienced random outbursts through texts, emails, and calls by their afflicted relatives which cause them to withdraw. This perpetuates the fear of irrational abandonment, however a founded fear. We all experience loss in some capacity, a person with BDP will react without thinking about what they did, until later. Which means, they often do not realize what they are doing in the moment.

These are difficult for anyone to understand and follow through. It can be managed and fulfilling, but at the price of constant maintenance by way of reminding your loved one of your love for them. Reassuring their ego, even if they themselves damaged it.

Relationships are already enough work, on top of managing one with someone who has BPD.

Learned behaviors such as suicidal thoughts, self-harm, thought interruptions, and excessive spending can be managed by therapy.

It takes time, like everything, to get used to caring for someone who suffers with BDP. It can be frustrating, and confusion. Though, after I fell on hard times, she made it difficult to explain why I was allowing her to control me, despite being a full grown woman. Control such as manipulation through passive aggressive behavior and communication. In the beginning, it was her schedule, or I might as well not live there. She didn’t even consider my work schedule. If I made food for myself, she would stomp across the house, passive aggressively and angrily shout of “how dare you disrespect my house.” I merely made or had food delivered.

I’m not without my issues, having to suffer from PTSD, and clinical depression myself. I have compassion for her, but she is a scorpion to me. My fiancé sees the problem, and wishes the same as I do.

In fact, I’ve decided to buy them both a book in regards to this issue. She suffers from this affliction in which she doesn’t understand. Raging and seething, then tiredness and agonizing sadness.

There are immense advantages. My mother-in-law is generous and kind, for the most part. She is hardworking, when she isn’t on leave from her numerous disabilities, whether real or imagined.

She is caring and prosperous. I have great things to say about her. Though the many reasons to slander her name, BPD absorbs most the blame.

To be patient, and remind them daily, if not more often, their symptoms can be alleviated. If any of this sounds familiar, or you have any questions, please contact your doctor or physician for more information.

There is currently no cure, but there are ways to significantly improve your symptoms.

Love, reassurance, and constant care and maintenance are necessary. Many of BPD people have no idea they are doing it. Many are aware of the irrational behavior and cannot stop it. As long as you know that majority of the time, if not all the time, it is not your actions. Daily actions such as walking passed each other can trigger them.

Sometimes their own erratic behavior and frustration cause distress before you even wake up.

Understanding borderline for what it actually is, and how common it really is, can relieve stress.

Borderline is unique in maintaining a relationship, however, it is not an exclusively objective approach. People are different, everyone has developed patterns that are unique to them. If you observe someone long enough, you can see their shades of seasons easily.

Mental illness is difficult for the family and for the person suffering with the symptoms.

It is not for the faint of heart. Setting boundaries and limits that are clear and worded clearer, are vital.

I studied psychology in college. It is a fascinating subject with an introspective undertone. To understand others, you often understand yourself in the process. This can be jarring, as it was for me, to realize cues you missed up until that point. Which can be just effect as therapy, it was for me.

What’s the point of this writing?

I would label this as a commentary on borderline. I never understood what it was or how it affected people. I am a true crime buff. If you are passionate about true crime or just interested in psychology, you’ll know the importance of knowledge.

The unquenchable thirst for understanding, the hunger insight, it is a personality trait that suits us well.

Instead of aggressive behavior, we should take a moment to seek that insight.

Maybe I’m stepping over a boundary. I should probably delete this entire essay and keep it to myself.

I feel like that would be just as bad as bottling them. I should be allowed to vent frustrations somewhere. I do not use names, and I did not give away too much information.

Thank you for reading my venting. Perhaps you learned something new today.

Do you know anyone who mirrors these symptoms? Please seek assistance. This is not something you can deal with alone.

I'm a writer with a passion for research pieces about the strange and unusual.

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