Understanding the Borderline Mother Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship

Review :

I wouldn't have picked up this book without being told "Holy crap, this is your mom." Who already has an idea of what borderline personality disorder is and how that can manifest in its various forms and then present in our mothers Not me.

I've always known in some way that my mom is a basket of dysfunctions, a walking trail of tears, an emotional vampire, a bulldozer, a blackhole for attention, unstable, and a child but it's all lost in a nebulous abyss of "something is wrong with her. Why can't she just be a, b, and c and do x, y, and z for me You know. Be normal." And the crux being, others DON'T see her extremely dysfunctional behavior because the borderline presents different faces to different people.

So, for anyone that feels somehow diminished, the parent, or more like crap in the presence of their mother or meets other people's mothers and finds themselves in shock because those ladies might as well be an alien race from another planet, this book is a must read.

The book doesn't set out to cast BPD mothers as villains but more as a validation of the child's experience who lived with such a mother.

The author, Lawson, breaks down borderline personality disorder into layman's speech in easily digestible parts and, though a highly educational and not necessarily a fun read, I wasn't overwhelmed.

The book starts off defining BPD and then we learn the why behind it...which I would think for any child of a BPD mother isn't a mystery at all, at least not for me.

The author then breaks the BPD mother down into four archetypes: The Hermit, The Waif, The Queen, and The Witch.

I'd say this is the part in the book where the rubber meets the road and the epiphanies are firing off with nearly every word because the examples are so crystal clear and line up with the behaviors of our moms. Seriously, I nearly ran out of ink highlighting the passages.

Each mom usually presents more strongly with one archetype and then also has a secondary. Along with their primary and secondary archetypes, characteristics from all four can be in play at different times while some never arise at all. She explains how Princess Di is as an example of "The Waif" on one end of the spectrum with Susan Smith and Joan Crawford as "The Witch" on the other.

Lawson also goes into the types of men these women marry, also archetypes, and how all of the parental archetypes in this BPD world impact their children, us. And, for the love of Pete, she mentions ways we can be aware so we don't pass BPD down to our own kids.

She ends the book with tips on how to have your mother in your life in a healthier way in present day. To be clear, this isn't a "fix your mom" book. This is a book about validating your experience, offering the child of a BPD ways of changing their OWN behavior to protect themselves when with their mothers...and that may even mean not having your mother in your life at all.

It may sound confusing but really the book offered me a deep understanding of the hows and whys of my own mother and gave me a way to talk about her and my experience. It's really an invaluable tool and one I'll continually refer to when I need it.


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