Living with Tennage Daughter diagnosis with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by NotSureAnymore, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. NotSureAnymore

    NotSureAnymore New Member

    Hi, I'm new here and desperate.

    My 16 year old daughter has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, she has been put on Paxil and has to see a therapist every 2 weeks.
    For the past 3 or 4 years she's been suffering with (what I thought was teenage hormones) depression, mood swings, laziness, bad attitude, failing grades and crying jabs... Unfortunately, it's been getting worse for quite a while now, her moods have become so intense that's it's hard to sit in the same room as her. My husband will sit in the bedroom for hours to avoid her because she tries to cause arguements and drama at every opportunity. You have to be careful with EVERYTHING you say around her as she will twist it and make up her own scenario which is ALWAYS negative and about her.
    She wants to be with me all the time, even following me to the bathroom, then other days she hates me and calls me names... She totally misinterprets conversations and statements, she is extremely disrespectful and says things to me that a child should not say to her mother... For example, this morning she gets up late for school and wants to borrow my hair straightener, as she's asking me she tells me it is HER straightener and I need to get it her from my locked bedroom, I tell her it's not her straightener but she can borrow it if she needs it, she then goes into a rage about it being hers and how I need to calm my attitude and how I need to get laid!!!!!! I told her to watch her mouth and to stop talking like that, how it's dirty... Then she goes upstairs and tells her younger stepsister how I called her a ****?! Probably because of my dirty remark suggesting only sluts talk like that. Anyway, you see how she diverts blame onto others?
    I took her cell phone from her a few weeks ago and found text messages between her and her friends, basically she's liked a boy at school but he doesn't like her back, he sent her a text begging her to stop stalking him and to stop telling people they're an item... Then there's texts between her and her friend, where her friend is tired and wants to go to bed and tries to say bye to my daughter, my daughter then writes "Ok that's just great, you're giving up on me too, I'm going to go and cut myself"... Then her friend responds begging her not to, then stays texting with her (emotional blackmail).
    I was called into the school (before she's diagnosed and put on medications) because the teachers and councellors there feel there's something wrong with her, they say they think she has a chemical imbalance in her brain and suggest to send her to a therapist and to get her on medication right away.
    She is always unhappy, always depressed, she even adopts other peoples mannerisms (usually whoever she spends the most time around)... We walk on eggshells in the house, she brings everybody down to her level, and if people are happy, she tries to create drama. She refuses to shower, she smells, her hair is nasty, she walks like lurch dragging her feet, I can't take her anywhere because she turns a fun time into a nightmare, I'm embarrassed of her and now I'm starting to resent her... The medications don't seem to be working, we're paying hundreds of dollars of therapy, nothing has changed... I find myself counting down the days until she's 18 so I can ask her to leave... I shouldn't feel like this about my own child, we used to be so close, now nothing I do is ever good enough!! It seems all we do is give, give, give, and all she does is take, take, take without giving anything back in return.
  2. Giulia

    Giulia New Member

    Ok, so, your daughter is 16 and she has a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

    I strongly believe that there is still hope.
    First, because she is 16, it's not like if she were 50. She can mature a lot until she reaches adulthood.

    First, she sees her therapist once every two weeks. Do you feel that it is enough for her ? Do you think that she has a good relationship with her therapist ?
    Which kind of therapy she attends ?
    Does she attend therapy as directed ?

    Then, her medicines. You said she has Paxil.
    From what I read, if she still as unstable as what you describe, it sounds that it's not the right medicine. I agree with you.
    It is important to insist with the psychiatrist on this point. If her medication regimen does not work, no wonder therapy does not have any effect !!

    Third, and it is not little, I would compare your daughter to someone who is in ICU. She is sick now. It does not excuse her, but it explains a lot. If your daughter could not do her chores because she had heart failure, would you think that she is naughty ?
    So, if you don't want to lose your sanity, you need to pick up your battles. Your daughter will never dance on the same tune as you : it's like you dance the valse and she dances on pop music.
    However, you can set up boundaries to make life at home bearable.
    Make a list of three columns : the non negotiable expectations, the preferred expectations and the "perfect world" expectations.
    The non negotiable is perfectly understandable, the bottom line is to keep this list no longer than three expectations. A long list of non negotiable expectations will trigger more problems than it solves.
    The preferred expectations is what you wish to have, what you prefer, but you won't put anyone in danger to obtain them.
    The perfect world expectations are expectations you hope if the world were perfect : if you have them, you will be the proudest mom, otherwise, be it.
    With choosing your battles, all the family will save its sanity.

    I can also advise you and your husband to read "the explosive child". I know that she is 16, but it teaches ways to decrease also a lot of family stress due to explosions.
    Also, don't hesitate to read books about communicating with persons suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I have not read one yet, so I cannot advize you any title, but tips to better communicate with your daughter cannot harm in order to reduce stress in family.

    Hang in there
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have borderline, but it is under good control thanks to years of my trying really hard in therapy, self-help groups, and a psychiatrist. There is a new treatment for borderline that I think rocks the boat and is better than anything out there, and it has promising results. I will both send you a link to dialectal behavioral therapy (which was first established specifically for borderline) and a book for those who have to live with borderlines. Wow, calling the guy who doesn't like her over and over again sure rings familiar. You get so angry that you keep...well, I don't have to tell you. I'm so glad I'm not that person anymore! Cognitive and dialectal behavioral therapy changed my life. I was going nowhere fast in regular talk therapy. medications helped my moodswings, but did not change my personality disorder. Ok, here are the links and hope this is helpful. You may have to call around to find a dialectal behavioral therapist because it's relatively new, but keep trying. And if you can't find one, next best is a cognitive behavioral therapist.

    Many hugs and love and good thoughts and may your daughter be a person who truly wants to get better because borderline, once thought untreatable, is actually VERY treatable now, but the borderline has to be willing to put forth a good effort! If necessary, show her this post...she can see that somebody else had it/still has it/but lives a normal life now without the drama and frightening rage attacks that used to probably scare me as much as the other person. If she would like to talk to me, PM me and I'll be happy to tell her what I was like at her age and how much happier and even content that she can be. Borderline interfers with relationships and I lost many dear people due to this disorder. With time, I have been able to mend many of them and I am actually basically a happy person now without all the minute-by-minute mood swings that drove me and everyone else up a wall! It was not possible, however,f or me to learn to regulate my moods without this wonderful help. I did try! I *did!*
    Ah, I love peace! :)
  4. Zoobiechick

    Zoobiechick New Member

    Dear Not Sure Anymore,
    I don't have any answers for you, but I just want to give you a hug. I could have written your post regarding my 15YO daughter. Twisting what people say to the point of bizarre (making it impossible to teach through reason), explosive temper, making almost EVERYTHING a control battle, disgusting hygiene issues despite years of prodding, sloppy to the extreme, pathological lying, stealing, sneaking, flunking classes, carelessness to the extreme, hateful words, entitlement mentality, victim mentality, off-the-wall reactions and comments that are totally inappropriate--I just can't begin to say how hard it is. She recklessly pursues sexual experiences with boys, girls, and even alienated me from family because of her behavior with a younger female cousin. We can't let her babysit, even though she begs to, for fear that she'll steal or do something inappropriate with a child. I have ended up in an invisible prison imposed by her behavior, and she has painted herself into a corner but blames others. It is truly alienating and being honest, embarrassing. Despite it all, I love her and want the best for her. Not too long ago she was talking to my husband and me about the "voices in her head." We asked her what the voices in her head tell her, and one of her answers was to follow my husband and me around with a butcher knife. She blames the victims of her actions because supposedly everyone is out to get her.

    I have tried to just accept that my daughter is mentally ill. We adopted her as an infant, and I have always seen an element of her being outside the bounds of normalcy. It has been a painful road, and like you--and I hate to admit it--I look forward to the time when she leaves home. Almost every day of her 15+ hears has been chaos, contention, yelling, throwing, blaming, anger, and bizarre behavior. But with a kid like this, you wonder how they will make it on their own and whether they will continue to burden you for the rest of their lives because of the issues they have.

    Like I said, I don't have answers. My strength--whatever there is of it--comes from my faith that if the Lord brings me to it he will bring me through it. May you find strength in knowing you aren't the only person dealing with what seems like an impossible situation.
  5. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Oh, boy! Do I know what that's like! It's very sad, because I have days when I know I truly love that child, like last night. He really was a joy! Then there are the other days. The bad days. The days when I, too, count down until he's 18 and can't wait to ask him to leave my house. And I understand the resentment, too. I've felt that. Resentful for the things he has done and said to our family. Resentful for the stress and strain that he's put on my marriage. Resentful because this not what life what supposed to be like when we had children. I understand.

    What dose of Paxil is she one? Either it's not enough, or it's just the wrong medication. Have you spoke to her doctor about it?
  6. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and Welcome--

    What you are describing IS Borderline Personality Disorder. The chaos, the drama, the accusations, the manipulation, the lies - it's very hard to live with.

    What has helped our family a lot is practicing very firm boundaries. For example, the foul language and constant nasty names was really an issue. Then, I stopped answering her AT ALL if there was disrespectful language. (Not the silent treatment - just not responding). difficult child quickly learned that if she wanted an answer from me - she had to speak politely. Now - does that stop the cursing if she is in a rage? Of course not - but it has greatly reduced the day-to-day bad language issues.

    The lying and twisted-around stories are a HUGE part of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). You need to accept that it is what it is and STOP trying to reason with her. You do NOT need to get her to agree with your point of view (especially because she likely rarely will). Know your own truth, know what is real - and stick with what you know. The more you chase her stories - the more you get drawn into the chaos and drama. Try not to argue with her - but, there's no need to agree with her lying either. Maintain your boundary!

  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hello, just wanted to welcome you. There are several people here who understand living with this from different angles, I am so glad you are able to connect with them! I have a good friend who has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and she has also made a ton or progress using DBT. She now has a difficult child of her own and is doing a stellar job of working with her.

    It is super hard to have kids who use rude language and frequently negative.... no matter the cause, TONS of us here can relate to THAT kind of life! We are here for you, keep on posting!
  8. Zoobiechick

    Zoobiechick New Member

    I agree with Daisy--I have learned to just not engage in arguing with my daughter, or trying to correct her when she says something totally inaccurate, blaming, etc. Definitely don't have that art perfected, but I have come a long way and it does help. There truly is NO reasoning with her--she would argue to the death if I stayed engaged in it. She MUST win at all costs. Even if we, her parents, tell her she can go ahead and do something she wants to do, she will argue that she can't and blame us for being bad parents. In those situations I just say okay, whatever. It's up to you. Interesting life. I really appreciate the comments made on this post. Makes me feel like I might have a shred of sanity left. :eek:)
  9. Giulia

    Giulia New Member

    As the other persons said, there is room for progress. And progress does not stop after adult age.

    As I said before, your non negotiable rules has to contain no more than three expectations.
    If you see that three expectations are too much for you and your daughter to handle, keep only one non negotiable behavior to tackle.
    And you focus only on this behavior, you will take the rest later.
    It has to be a very small, even tiny aim, like : "we control the outbursts and we listen to each other". You forget about the "and the shower to take, and the room to keep clean, and not harassing the dog, and tidy the kitchen"...
    Choose which behavior is the most annoying for you and focus only on this behavior, nothing else. If you focus on "we control the outbursts and we listen to each other", you don't try to also make her have a shower every day.
    After you have tackled the problem of her outbursts, you can move on "take a shower every day".
    etc etc....
    The more you avoid the endless lists, the better. One tiny aim at time, one day at time.

    As a person with ADHD but no personality disorder, I however agree with Daisy.
    Your daughter reacts the way she reacts because it's her way to keep the control with her inside chaos.
    The more you reply, the more you will feed the argument.
    I can also tell you that the more I feel the chaos inside, the more I will swear, insult and such....
    The best solution in my case is
    - asking "how do you feel..." if you still feel like you can help her
    - not responding at all if you feel like you will lose your temper, and you feel that you'll reply only with negativity.
    The more negatively you reply, the more you feed the behavior you do not want from her. At the end, you don't earn anything and she does not earn anything.

    So, when the discussion is turning into a fight, you have two possibilities :
    - the easiest, you disengage from it. As soon as she starts swearing, insults, you don't respond at all. You didn't see, you didn't hear, you didn't smell, you didn't touch, you didn't taste. She is translucid, she does not exist. The more she continues, the more you stay stoical. You come back to her only when she says something nice, or does something positive. It's difficult, but the second possibility is even harder.
    - You ask her how does she feel. You redirect only with how she feels, and not the reason to argue : you forget the topic of argument, and you concentrate on her feelings. When you have to talk about something else, you have to be only matter of fact, no judgment and no blame. "I feel this because that happened". Exit judgment and blame, it only feeds the problem. However, to make it work, you have to feel very cool and solid to do it.
    (my GP does that when a patient rages, but she does it because she is solid enough not to fuel the behavior with blame and judgment)

    If you had to retain only one step, it would be this one.
    When she does something positive, praise. Even if you think that it's due to you, praise.
    She washed the dishes while being grumpy ? Thank her for having washed them, even if she was grumpy. You don't tell anything about her being grumpy, you just highlight the fact that you are thankful because she washed the dishes.
    She told you the truth about something she wanted to lie about ? Praise her for telling you the truth.
    As we say, we don't attract flies with vinegar...
  10. Giulia

    Giulia New Member

    Wow, this is me !! The need to absolutely win to keep the control when everything seems to fall apart !! :eek:

    What I can also suggest, as a person who needs to win at all cost, is something like : "ok, this person is that and you hate her. So, what do you propose on that ?"
    Instead of trying to convince that you are absolutely right, you ask what can she propose to solve the issue.
    If you don't agree with her solution, respond if you have something to propose. Otherwise, you conclude the conversation with thinking about it during X days, and then we make a definitive decision.
    Strongly disagree only if it's dangerous and/or illegal.

    In a few words, focus on the "what can she do ?" instead of focusing on "who is right/wrong ?".

    I can promise you that even if you didn't solve the whole problem, you decrease the whole drama.
  11. StressedM0mma

    StressedM0mma Active Member

    DBT skills are wonderful. When my difficult child actually uses them we can see a marked improvement. When she backslides, not so much. But I actually like them as well. They helped me with MY reactions to difficult child. The biggest thing I learned is not to engage her when she starts with the disrespect and circular arguing. It is very very hard for me to remember this. Now I just walk away, or tell her I will not talk to her at this time. It is so hard.

    Hugs. I hope you can find the right medications for her, and that she starts to mature and find herself.
  12. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! It is like living with a teen times 10! Argh!!!!

    One piece of advice from having a teen times 5....realize and accept that you can NEVER make her happy. Just stop trying. It is a wasteful effort. Only she can do that. That does not mean you do not do things for her or try to help her. It just means you do not EXPECT anything from her when you do. In other words, don't do things with an expectation of appreciation or a smile.
    Sad to say, but it does help us cope when we lower our expectations. And also do NOT take it personally. It is not you, it is her. And the quicker you figure out that she is not trying to bring you down, the easier things will be.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Guila, do you know this is a format for people with difficult child children? Have you looked for a website for adults like you? You could probably get a lot of help from that sort of forum (and validation!).
  14. Zoobiechick

    Zoobiechick New Member

    It IS hard. Think of what great people we are becoming. LOL Turning the other cheek, controlling our own tempers, biting our tongues, practicing superhuman patience. I think there is a special sainthood status reserved for those who successfully learn to cope with these challenging kids! But my inner peace is so much greater when I simply don't engage. daughter is responsible for her words, her actions, and her reactions. Whether she learns or doesn't learn from consequences is out of my control. All I can do is be consistent and try not allow her behavior to control MY reactions or well-being.
  15. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Here is another vote for DBT. It is one of the few therapies that has been successful with people with borderline personality disorder and other mood disorders. My difficult child is currently in a DBT program and we are already starting to see progress. They also have a parents program to teach you about the disorder. The program my daughter is in even has an adolescent program which I wish we had found ten years ago.

    Keep posting. Many of us have gone through what you are going through. We understand and it helps to vent your frustrations in a safe place.

  16. Giulia

    Giulia New Member


    But if it is forbidden to give insight from the difficult child part, in order to better help your own difficult child, tell me !! If insight is useless, tell me, at least, I will know it clearly !
  17. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    Giulia.....I appreciate your input.....I just think, speaking for myself, that advice coming from a non parent sometimes can come over as over enthusiastic...or unrealistic.....It is easy to say things from the childs perspective, but to support other parents you need to have experienced the things only a parent of a difficult child child had experienced?
    Anyway.....I FULLY agree with backing of when difficult child becomes arguementative or abusive.....We had put a different swing on this......Instead of making our son feel his behaviour or reactions is 'bad' (this feeling of rejection usually worsens his behaviour)....we gave him a different type of time saying to him, that when he starts screeming and becomes very difficult to have a meaningfull conversation with him, so we will stop any interaction for say 2-10 minutes......until he calms down enough for conversation to carry on. Because his anxiety is to high, he will not leave the we just disengage as a meaning of time out....This way the focus stays on the ineffective behaviour and it doesnt reject the person......Later you dont even have to say you are just make the time out sign with your hands, carry on with whatever you were busy with, or turn around and leave the room until the 2-10 min time out is over....If she feels ignored and keeps on trying to converce, you can say....for example, 4 min left.....2 min left....or even set a timer. This helps you feel more in control and it is a logical consequence.
    I was just thinking......they didnt suspect any autism spectrum stuff going on with your child? Just wondering of her lack of social insight, wanting to be in control, less resiprocity, being is her abstract reasoning?
    Any auditory processing problems maybe.....because this can lead to huge misunderstandings and fights?
  18. Giulia

    Giulia New Member

    LB, I don't think that they are unrealistic. Other difficult child parents give the same kind of advice as I give myself.
    Anyway, even if you are a parent yourself, every parent has a different story, so what works for one may not work for another. Parent or non parent, it makes no difference.
    As I understand, if it comes from a parent who gives the exact same advice as I give, it is an "appreciated support" whereas when it comes from a non parent, it is an unrealistic piece of advice ? Isn't there a problem somewhere ?
    Honestly, parent or non parent, the problem is the same : if another parent or a non parent gives you an advice which is... unrealistic or over enthusiastic, you leave it. If it suits your needs, you follow it. You take what it is helpful and you leave the rest, parent or non parent.
    Considering any other support as "useless" because "they have no experience of it" is just a real pity for yourself, but also from your difficult child.
    If you think that the only interesting help comes from parents, because difficult children are too "over enthusiastic", "unrealistic", as well as "out of reality", it's your choice. Not mine.
    But it's a shame that the only "interesting help" has to come only from other parents because "insight from a difficult child is over enthusiastic and unrealistic". It closes many perspectives to help yourself and your difficult child, and this is a real pity.
    What do you fear of losing if you hear a different perspective than a parent perspective ?

    I will never say that parenting is easy, neither taking care of children. I am not God who has to distribute the good points and the bad points, basing on the "deserving".
    There is no reason to put antagonism with the inputs. I repeat myself, but opposing the different inputs, parents/difficult child is a waste of time for... nothing, because it does not help anyone.
  19. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Welcome NSA. I have not read all the post-sorry if I repeat. I am so sorry you are going through this. I can relate to your story. My difficult child is 17 now. We have done every known treatment to man to help her including 2 residential treatment centers for a total of 2.5 years. Our daughter could not attend regular school and got her GED this last Nov. so she is done almost 2 years early. These kids burn through and wear out friends just like they wear us out. We don't have the grooming issues and my difficult child now wants to be away from us most of the time. Our daughter thought she wasn't living unless there was drama somewhere. This is less intense now. The medications have not helped our daughter either with the exception of topomax which really took her edgy impulse problem away. We can't find anyone who is willing to give it to her now however.

    Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a very difficult diagnosis. DBT is the kind of therapy recommended and it usually takes years to take hold. My daughter had an intensive residential DBT program for 9 months. We use this site to help us (though as of late she is not very willing).

    When difficult child starts her rambling talking,and always about herself, I call her on it. I even change the subject and talk to her about my day. Sometimes it works. Our daughter also crosses the line with things she says and shares. Boundaries are often hard for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) people. I have to set and reset them constantly. I think that she doesn't want to be here anymore because we all refuse to take drama anymore. Everyone just walks away. Somehow she finds a friend to go to. Work has also helped her.

    Our current issues are different, but we have been through it. I have read many Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) books. Some say tough love backfires, others recommend being very honest about your feelings and reactions to their behaviors. We learned from the DBT treatment to just tell it strait. I think this has helped. We also tell her, "It sounds like your frustrtaed or stressed or .....what can you do for your self to calm down?"

    There is hope for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) but the road is long. I suggest connecting with a local NAMI group. Also finding a teen DBT group might be helpful. Your spending a lot of money on therapy that for most Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) people doesn't work very well. It takes a very well trained therapist to deal with this disorder. Hang in there and keep us posted. ((Hugs))
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Guilla, my problem is you are not explaining ADHD...not, at least, to an American or Canadian. You have a lot of issues you need to resolve yourself. I was a difficult child too, trust me, many of us were. It IS different after you have had kids.

    In the US, your diagnosis would not be a simple ADHD diagnosis and I'm not sure you can help us. There is more going on in your life than ADHD. But there are boards where YOU can get help and support. Before you can help us, in my opinion you need to help yourself. I say that as somebody who also had to get a lot of help before I could help anyone else too!

    As for the DBT, Marsha Linehan ??? (I think that's her name) who created the therapy also has borderline. I thought that was interesting. It is a very effective program for those who are willing to work very hard at it. There is no magic pill for borderline. It is mostly very hard work. And they are extremely hard to live with.