Coping with adult daughter Borderline (BPD)


Its hard breaking what these kids put us through, and then we question ourselves and there are no right answers.

God bless,



New Member
Kathryn, I'm sorry you're struggling with your daughter. Here's a good article on detachment which may offer you some info and guidance.
What is detachment?
Detachment is the:
* Ability to allow people, places or things the freedom to be themselves.
* Holding back from the need to rescue, save or fix another person from being sick, dysfunctional or irrational.
* Giving another person "the space" to be herself.
* Disengaging from an over-enmeshed or dependent relationship with people.
* Willingness to accept that you cannot change or control a person, place or thing.
* Developing and maintaining of a safe, emotional distance from someone whom you have previously given a lot of power to affect your emotional outlook on life.
* Establishing of emotional boundaries between you and those people you have become overly enmeshed or dependent with in order that all of you might be able to develop your own sense of autonomy and independence.
* Process by which you are free to feel your own feelings when you see another person falter and fail and not be led by guilt to feel responsible for their failure or faltering.
* Ability to maintain an emotional bond of love, concern and caring without the negative results of rescuing, enabling, fixing or controlling.
* Placing of all things in life into a healthy, rational perspective and recognizing that there is a need to back away from the uncontrollable and unchangeable realities of life.
* Ability to exercise emotional self-protection and prevention so as not to experience greater emotional devastation from having hung on beyond a reasonable and rational point.
* Ability to let people you love and care for accept personal responsibility for their own actions and to practice tough love and not give in when they come to you to bail them out when their actions lead to failure or trouble for them.
* Ability to allow people to be who they "really are" rather than who you "want them to be."
* Ability to avoid being hurt, abused, taken advantage of by people who in the past have been overly dependent or enmeshed with you.

What are the negative effects not detaching?
If you are unable to detach from people, places or things, then you:
* Will have people, places or things which become over-dependent on you.
* Run the risk of being manipulated to do things for people, at places or with things which you do not really want to do.
* Can become an obsessive "fix it" who needs to fix everything you perceive to be imperfect.
* Run the risk of performing tasks because of the intimidation you experience from people, places or things.
* Will most probably become powerless in the face of the demands of the people, places or things whom you have given the power to control you.
* Will be blind to the reality that the people, places or things which control you are the uncontrollables and unchangeables you need to let go of if you are to become a fully healthy, coping individual.
* Will be easily influenced by the perception of helplessness which these people, places or things project.
* Might become caught up with your idealistic need to make everything perfect for people, places or things important to you even if it means your own life becomes unhealthy.
* Run the risk of becoming out of control of yourself and experience greater low self-esteem as a result.
* Will most probably put off making a decision and following through on it, if you rationally recognize your relationship with a person, place or thing is unhealthy and the only recourse left is to get out of the relationship.
* Will be so driven by guilt and emotional dependence that the sickness in the relationship will worsen.
* Run the risk of losing your autonomy and independence and derive your value or worth solely from the unhealthy relationship you continue in with the unhealthy person, place or thing.

How is detachment a control issue?
Detachment is a control issue because:
* It is a way of de-powering the external "locus of control" issues in your life and a way to strengthen your internal "locus of control."
* If you are not able to detach emotionally or physically from a person, place or thing, then you are either profoundly under its control or it is under your control.
* The ability to "keep distance" emotionally or physically requires self-control and the inability to do so is a sign that you are "out of control."
* If you are not able to detach from another person, place or thing, you might be powerless over this behavior which is beyond your personal control.
* You might be mesmerized, brainwashed or psychically in a trance when you are in the presence of someone from whom you cannot detach.
* You might feel intimidated or coerced to stay deeply attached with someone for fear of great harm to yourself or that person if you don't remain so deeply involved.
* You might be an addicted caretaker, fixer or rescuer who cannot let go of a person, place or thing you believe cannot care for itself.
* You might be so manipulated by another's con, "helplessness," overdependency or "hooks" that you cannot leave them to solve their own problems.
* If you do not detach from people, places or things, you could be so busy trying to "control" them that you completely divert your attention from yourself and your own needs.
* By being "selfless" and "centered" on other people, you are really a controller trying to fix them to meet the image of your ideal for them.
* Although you will still have feelings for those persons, places and things from which you have become detached, you will have given them the freedom to become what they will be on their own merit, power, control and responsibility.
* It allows every person, place or thing with which you become involved to feel the sense of personal responsibility to become a unique, independent and autonomous being with no fear of retribution or rebuke if they don't please you by what they become.

What irrational thinking leads to an inability to detach?
* If you should stop being involved, what will they do without you?
* They need you and that is enough to justify your continued involvement.
* What if they commit suicide because of your detachment? You must stay involved to avoid this.
* You would feel so guilty if anything bad should happen to them after you reduced your involvement with them.
* They are absolutely dependent on you at this point and to back off now would be a crime.
* You need them as much as they need you.
* You can't control yourself because everyday you promise yourself "today is the day" you will detach your feelings but you feel driven to them and their needs.
* They have so many problems, they need you.
* Being detached seems so cold and aloof. You can't be that way when you love and care for a person. It's either 100 percent all the way or no way at all.
* If you should let go of this relationship too soon, the other might change to be like the fantasy or dream you want them to be.
* How can being detached from them help them? It seems like you should do more to help them.
* Detachment sounds so final. It sounds so distant and non-reachable. You could never allow yourself to have a relationship where there is so much emotional distance between you and others. It seems so unnatural.
* You never want anybody in a relationship to be emotionally detached from you so why would you think it a good thing to do for others?
* The family that plays together stays together. It's all for one and one for all. Never do anything without including the significant others in your life.
* If one hurts in the system, we all hurt. You do not have a good relationship with others unless you share in their pain, hurt, suffering, problems and troubles.
* When they are in "trouble," how can you ignore their "pleas" for help? It seems cruel and inhuman.
* When you see people in trouble, confused and hurting, you must always get involved and try to help them solve the problems.
* When you meet people who are "helpless," you must step in to give them assistance, advice, support and direction.
* You should never question the costs, be they material, emotional or physical, when another is in dire need of help.
* You would rather forgo all the pleasures of this world in order to assist others to be happy and successful.
* You can never "give too much" when it comes to providing emotional support, comforting and care of those whom you love and cherish.
* No matter how badly your loved ones hurt and abuse you, you must always be forgiving and continue to extend your hand in help and support.
* Tough love is a cruel, inhuman and anti-loving philosophy of dealing with the troubled people in our lives and you should instead love them more when they are in trouble since "love" is the answer to all problems.

Hang in there and keep posting, it helps. I'm glad you're here....

Good morning, Recoveringenable!

Once again I find myself reading this post that you provided in October 2016 - it contains SO MUCH helpful advice - I think it would also help others on this Forum who experience the same struggles! Reinforcing these POSITIVE thoughts can only help us to survive and thrive! No one ever said it would be easy - but I have to believe that the 'fight' will be worth it in the end. Thank you again for posting this. And, I hope that this finds you doing well and at peace with yourself.



Well-Known Member
Staff member
Hi Kathryn, thanks!

Yes, when I was going thru the worst of it with my daughter, that article really helped me too, I read it and read it. It offered me comfort that I was on the right track. The article can be found along the top of the Parent Emeritus forum so folks can see it and I have it as a link on the bottom of my posts.....I'm so glad you found it helpful.

I'm doing well thanks, about as peaceful as I know how to be!! Sometimes I marvel at it because a mere couple of years ago I was in the hell many of us here find ourselves in with our adult troubled kids.......being on the other side of that is a miracle I am always so grateful for. We CAN move thru this and find peace of isn't easy, it isn't quick, it isn't what we thought it would be, but thankfully, it is doable.

How are you faring these days Kathryn?


New Member
Hi Kathryn, thanks!

Yes, when I was going thru the worst of it with my daughter, that article really helped me too, I read it and read it. It offered me comfort that I was on the right track. The article can be found along the top of the Parent Emeritus forum so folks can see it and I have it as a link on the bottom of my posts.....I'm so glad you found it helpful.

I'm doing well thanks, about as peaceful as I know how to be!! Sometimes I marvel at it because a mere couple of years ago I was in the hell many of us here find ourselves in with our adult troubled kids.......being on the other side of that is a miracle I am always so grateful for. We CAN move thru this and find peace of isn't easy, it isn't quick, it isn't what we thought it would be, but thankfully, it is doable.

How are you faring these days Kathryn?

Most days I am 'up and down' - and since I work full-time, that DOES help to direct my mind in different directions. I'm generally 'in trouble emotionally' when things are NOT real busy at work! Can't win, right? However, I am forcing myself to work on DETACHMENT - and it has almost become a mantra for me. Right now, with regard to my daughter, it's the 'calm before the storm' - which, of course, I'm always prepared for (And, as an 'adult child of an alcoholic', I'm very well versed in this constant roller coaster - sadly ;o(

If only she could direct herself towards finding ANY sort of job, in order for her and her 7-yr old son to relocate (out of ex-boyfriend's house) into an apartment of her own. My heart aches so much for my little grandson. I know, everyone says he'll 'be fine', or 'he'll survive' . . . but it just so cruel and terribly unfair that such a young innocent cannot enjoy the security of a stable home life.

So, again, I just wait and wait. However, with the encouraging words of "detachment", I am learning to fill my thoughts and days with more activities and goals relating to myself. As others have stressed, it just takes continued practice, focus and dedication. It is very encouraging to hear about your positive strides, and that you're now in a more peaceful and comfortable state of mind. Thank you for inquiring.



Hi Kathryn, I am in a similar boat with my grown daughter.... I feel your pain. Most days I'm too distressed to even vent.


New Member
Hi Kathryn & all,

I have been reading your posts and a few years ago the book recommended 'Stop Walking on Eggshells' helped me enormously in dealing with my only daughter who is 40 with two children. Since puberty I found her impossible to deal with and then a year after she became a single mother my husband died suddenly. After that I went through hell for years and then she split up the family in an impossible row with a new daughter in law who somehow she focussed all her hate on. She fell out with her brother , one of three and the two others just about tolerate her keeping in touch with them. It is almost impossible to comm unicate with her reasonably about anything. The book got me through the last few years and there is peace between us but I worry so much for my grandkids. The eldest had a hard childhood dealing with the unpredictability of her mother's outbursts and being the target for blame. I just cannot tell you the hell we have been through. Anyway I had the son living with me for the last five years , him , his wife and my five year old grandchild. They spoiled me rotten and we respected each other and they are so appreciative for me having shared my home with them while they studied and upgraded their education. Now they are starting jobs and are moving out into their own home. The thing is that I have a peaceful relationship with my daughter which I always kept open in order to be in touch with my grandchildren. She hinted once or twice that she should have been able to move in with me if they were not there. Well now I find I am panic stricken about telling her they are moving out because I know she may ask if she can move in. She has decided to retrain as a barrister at law and will be studying hard which means the kids will be at a loss. Mind you her daughter is 20 and her son is 10. His Dad was killed in a tragic accident when he was 3. My daughter is comfortably off but e rratic and has different priorities for example, took the kids on a world cruise taking the boy out of school for a year and came home with nowhere to live and shacked up with friends for a week here and there and so on. She bought me a gift of a fabulous holiday myself and had a wonderful time but signed up for the two year barrister course without having the fees. She is successful at most endeavours and is extremely creative. She owns two houses but lets them when she wants to make money. Anyhow to cut a long rigmarole of a snippet of a story down to size - I feel I have no choice but to say yes to her if she asks to move in with me. She will say she will pay me expenses but can't be trusted to repay anything or do anything for me. Maybe for others but never for me. I am putting myself under pressure, knowing my grandchildren would adore to come and live with me for a year , to have a stable life and the pressure I feel is that she is my only daughter , I did it for my son so I should be able to do it for her too at least once more before I die (well you never know!) and she has always maintained I never loved her as much as the lads. She may not want to move in but if my instincts are right the minute she hears her brother is moving out, she will jump to ask and will promise the world in contributions to household etc. I have a lodger too and I am afraid also because my daughter does not hold back with criticisms or opinions and I need the lodgers rent. Should I offer before she asks? She will be studying. I just want to be prepared and I don't want her to feel hurt any more than she always has - she has had some awful experiences in life and does not need any more rejection. I tried to help heal the rift with her brother but then backed off and accepted it. He is quite happy with her out of his life , he couldn't face the derision anymore. I have a pain developing in my chest at the thought of not having some answer ready or preparation. My sons are very supportive and have warned me but understand that I feel a need to let her live in the family home again once more. Sorry about going on but I have no-one really who understands how a mother of a Borderline (BPD) feels. My daughter denies any fault ever on her part and is so opinionated and so on that everything is every one elses fault. Still , as I have managed to have peace for the last few years can I risk this step??????? Any opinions??


Well-Known Member
Hi and welcome, Mabel!

Can you make your own post?

This is an old post, and I think your situation has gotten lost in the shuffle!

In my opinion, I don't think it is wise to allow your Borderline (BPD) daughter to move in with you. It doesn't sound like you want that to happen, and you seem to feel that it would be a disaster for you.

You are going to have to gird yourself to stand up to her and just tell her that you don't think it would be a good idea. Then refuse to continue the discussion.

Having her living with you will lead to far more confrontations and it won't end well. You will be miserable.

You have a right to take care of yourself and do what is best for you.

It's your daughter's responsibility to take care of herself.

Stay with us, Mable.

There is a great community here.

It really helps.



Well-Known Member
You are under no obligation to do for one child what you've done for the other. I have three children, two difficult: a 37 year old borderline adult daughter and an oppositional 31 year old adult son. I let my daughter move back in, in the past, but it did not change her and it stressed me out a lot. My son can be very intimidating, so when he got out of prison, I refused to let him move in. It was the right choice. Both of them think I am a bad parent because I won't let it happen again, but in my heart of hearts I know that is not true. I can't control how they feel about me. Take care of yourself.


New Member
Thank you, SomewhereOutThere, for all your kind words of encouragement. Coincidentally, I have just bought the book, "Stop Walking on Eggshells", and I also began seeing a therapist for ME, yesterday! I am 68 years old, and my daughter is 31. For too many years I have tolerated, and probably enabled, her behaviors and abuse of me. You are absolutely correct - she does and WILL use my grandson as punishment (not allowing me to see him, etc.). I am at a point in life (after my divorce, when my 3 kids were all under the age of 7, I've raised them virtually as a 'single parent') where I should be able to enjoy retirement. Sadly, because of many financial losses, and because much of my resources (time, energy and money) have gone to her, I am beginning a new FULL-time job in the coming weeks - because I have to in order to survive.

I am already exhausted, and recent disasters and family crisises (plural) initiated by my daughter, have completely thrown me into a tailspin. I understand your words, and even my sons (who are older than my daughter) have also provided me words of wisdom - but since I live alone, I find myself falling into deep depressive moods, with bout of tears - out of nowhere!!! I'm sure that others have gone through this, similar and worse, so I am very glad to have found this venue to share and vent. I have always been a firm believer in "support groups", but sadly, have found no such groups in my hometown.

Thank you again for your supportive words, empathy and understanding. They are very valuable to me.
Thank you for sharing. You have shared my story, the reality I am presently living. I am so tired & torn, having given everything to help my daughter, do the work to heal that I needed and it never ends.


Thank you for sharing. You have shared my story, the reality I am presently living. I am so tired & torn, having given everything to help my daughter, do the work to heal that I needed and it never ends.

Hi Simion and welcome.

This is an old thread and some of the members are no longer active here. If you will start a new thread you will get a better response and lot of good advice and encouragement from the wonderful people on this forum.

We would love to hear from you. We understand and we care. Wishing you the best.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Yes…best to start a new thread. But within this thread were/are the tenants of detachment. Years ago, here on this site, we discussed this rather often. It’s excellent! A blessing to be repeated…to re-read repeatedly. It’s excellent. Blessings.


New Member
After dealing with my daughter's undiagnosed condition for more than 10 years, I am frustrated, anxious, depressed, confused and at my wits' end. I'm genuinely interested in learning how other parents have dealt with their adult "children", especially if there is a grandchild (6-year old son of my daughter) involved.
Our grandson was also six when our daughter cut him - and herself -out of our lives. Now, four months later, we have hired an attorney and a date in Family Court has been set. It is the only hope we have of continuing to have a relationship with him. Tragic that things had to come to this.