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Home arrow Health arrow Mental Health arrow Borderline Mother: Signs and How to Begin Healing

Borderline Mother: Signs and How to Begin Healing

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 8, 2023
6 min read 1156 Views 0 Comments
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Any mental illness poses challenges, whether you are dealing with your issues or that of a family member. If you think your mother has borderline personality disorder (BPD), keep reading as we uncover the signs of this personality disorder and how to support your own mental health.

Borderline mother

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a recognized personality disorder that affects how an individual thinks, feels, and interacts with others. It impacts a person’s ability to regulate their own emotions, making mood swings and damaging behaviors a common occurrence.

Living with a borderline parent can drastically impact your mental health. You might struggle with low self-esteem, self-doubt, and emotional pain that disrupts your life. If you are trying to cope with a borderline mother, it’s important that you don’t ignore your own needs.

This article covers the signs of a mother with BPD, the effects on a parent-child relationship, and ways to begin your healing journey.

Borderline Mother: What Are the Signs?

Growing up with a borderline mom is no easy journey. The symptoms accompanying this condition can have a profound effect on your relationship, triggering many negative emotions. If you are living with an undiagnosed mother, you might wonder about BPD traits.

Borderline personality disorder has many key characteristics, including hypersensitivity to rejection, unstable relationships, and trouble with self-image. People with BPD struggle with significant distress and can cause damage to those around them who witness their behavior.

Signs of a mother with BPD include:

  • Mood swings
  • Unpredictable behavior
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Controlling behavior
  • Emotional instability
  • Impaired patterns of thinking or perception
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Selfish traits
  • Negative attitude
  • Outbursts of hostility and anger
  • Overly critical of their child and others
  • Over or under-involved in their child’s life
  • Having favorite child
  • Lack of empathy and tendency to withhold affection

Symptoms of mothers with BPD can range from mild to severe. You might recognize some of these borderline traits, but they might not affect your relationship greatly. On the other hand, many BPD mothers can be wholly overpowering and damaging to your mental well-being.

How Do BPD Mothers Affect Their Kids?

Borderline personality disorder can directly impact a parent-child relationship. Being raised by a mother with BPD can have astronomical effects on your life. You might grapple with your emotional responses, interpersonal relationships, and setting healthy boundaries with others.

A child raised by a borderline parent may experience the following:

  • Greater risk of mental health issues, including personality disorders
  • Stress, depression, and anxiety
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Difficulty coping with emotional pain and negative feelings
  • Difficulty forming intimate relationships
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder from emotional abuse and childhood trauma
  • Poorer educational outcomes

Can People With BPD Be Good Mothers?

Many borderline mothers can be functional and loving parents. Being a parent is a tough job, especially when coupled with the challenges of the disorder. It might take some work to manage the intense symptoms, but people with BPD can make good parents.

There is support available for BPD parents. Many people can benefit from psychological or medical treatment to manage their symptoms and improve parenting behaviors. Some individuals can completely overcome the disorder’s symptoms and move on to recovery.

How to Heal From a Borderline Mother: 6 Ways to Help Yourself

A volatile relationship with your BPD mother can leave a lasting imprint on your mental health. It is critical to understand that there are ways to tackle your own suffering in order to move forward with your life and build healthy relationships. You are not alone in your feelings.

Here are 6 strategies to help you heal from the anguish of a BPD mother and begin leading a more fulfilling life.

#1 Accept it

It’s normal to avoid or try to ignore the problems you face with a BPD mother, but accepting that your family life is the way it is can help you move on. Once you accept your situation, you can take actionable steps to handle and process your emotions in the healthiest way possible.

There are many ways to find acceptance. You could try writing everything down on paper to help you acknowledge yourself, your circumstances, and your feelings toward your mother. Talking to friends or other family members can also help by giving you a fresh perspective.

#2 Don’t blame yourself

A borderline mother can make you feel guilty, ashamed, and unworthy of love. A parent may instill many of these core beliefs from an early age. You might have been made to feel like a bad child over the years and blamed for your mother’s damaging and unpredictable behaviors.

You should never blame yourself for the actions of a BPD parent. You are a normal person, and this disorder is out of your control. While it’s normal to battle feelings of guilt and a chronic sense of personal responsibility, you cannot carry the burden of somebody else’s mental illness.

Instead, show some self-compassion. Practicing self-love can be immensely difficult when you have not grown up with unconditional love from a parent. Finding this inner love and peace with yourself will allow you to grow and let go of your guilt toward your BPD mother.

#3 Set your boundaries

Setting boundaries is critical if you want to maintain a relationship with a BPD mom. It promotes a healthy relationship and clarifies what you are willing and unwilling to tolerate. You may have been unable to set boundaries as a child, but as a young adult, you can regain control.

You could set boundaries about your personal space, how much time you spend together, or how much involvement you want her to have in your personal life. Once you determine what you want, you must set these rules and stick with them, even if your mom resists.

#4 Concentrate on your well-being

You might not have discovered how to prioritize your well-being in your childhood, but you can now focus on yourself. Self-care is a clinically proven way to reduce negative emotions and promote positive ones. You can practice self-care physically and mentally with various tactics.

You can begin by stopping self-destructive behaviors, such as binge drinking and taking drugs, and start taking care of yourself. Try to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and enforce a healthy sleep regimen. These factors will keep your body healthy and improve mental wellness.

Emotionally, you can practice mindfulness activities, such as yoga, stretching, and meditation.

#5 Assert yourself

Asserting yourself means stating your feelings or beliefs confidently. If you have spent your whole life with a dominating mother, you might be unfamiliar with standing up for yourself and showing assertiveness. However, everybody has the right to express their opinions respectfully.

The ability to assert yourself is a core communication skill. Incorporating it can aid stress relief while promoting mutual respect between you and your parent. Some tips to help you be more assertive include practicing saying no, using body language, and rehearsing conversations.

#6 Get therapy

Sometimes the burden and outcome of living with a BPD mother are too much to cope with alone. If self-care strategies are not helping, you can always consider talking to a mental health professional. Many therapists specialize in supporting adult children of BPD parents.

A licensed therapist can provide coping tools to conquer mental health struggles. They can help you open up about how you’re feeling and support you in facing traumatic experiences from early life. It’s also helpful to try new approaches that will aid your healing venture.

With multiple options available, you can find an approach that works for you. You can attend face-to-face sessions or partake in online therapy from home if that makes you more comfortable. Family therapy can improve communication between you and your family members.

A Word From a Psychologist

Borderline personality disorder can drastically affect the mental health of the individual and those around them. Chronic mood swings can make their everyday behavior unpredictable, and growing up in this environment can be detrimental to a child’s emotional well-being.

As you grow older, you can benefit from learning coping methods to deal with your pain. You mustn’t neglect your own feelings while caring for a parent with mental health issues. It does not mean you are turning your back on them – it can actually improve your relationship.

You can communicate your boundaries, express your opinions, and prioritize time for yourself while remaining supportive. A lot of support is available to help you overcome challenges and the negative feelings associated with having been raised by a mother with BPD. Keep in mind that BPD also affects personal relationships.

Going for morning walks, journaling, and spending time with others will give you space and help you take control of your thoughts. Bottling up your feelings and trying to cope with your situation alone can feel more like a burden. This behavior will not benefit you long term.

Remember, if you feel overwhelmed or depressed, you must seek help. A professional can give you guidance on how to manage your thoughts. Therapy is an actionable step that can help you work on your communication skills and rebuild a healthy relationship with your mother.


Growing up with a mother with a BPD diagnosis or untreated BPD can be problematic. It can affect your long-term mental health and alter how you perceive yourself and others. Even if you remove yourself from the home environment or end your relationship entirely, certain experiences can still affect you later.

The critical thing to know is that there are ways to heal from the relationship with your mom. Seeking therapy, establishing boundaries, and taking care of yourself are all positive steps toward a happier life. You can begin your journey to recovery whenever you feel ready.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 8, 2023
6 min read 1156 Views 0 Comments

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