First NAMI borderline class

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Kathy813, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    As some of you know, I was crazy enough to sign up for two concurrent NAMI Family to Family 12-week courses. The class I went to today was borderline specific. There were 29 people signed up for our course and the leader said she had 25 more on the waiting list. Nationally, there were 1500 signed up waiting for a course. She said that they just didn't have enough leaders to offer more courses.

    It was amazing as we went around the room sharing our stories. They were so much alike . . . much more so than the more general Family to Family NAMI course we go to on Sundays. At least five families had loved ones in residential treatment centers. I (husband didn't go this morning since he had something to do at school) was the only one with the family member in an out of state facility. All of the others were at the same place here in Atlanta.

    One interesting thing the leader said was that there was a disproportionate number of borderlines that had been adopted or refugees. I think we all knew that from belonging to this board.

    One thing I liked hearing was the myth of bad parenting or "non-validating" parents being the cause of Borderline (BPD) put to rest. One of the leaders pointed out that a nationally known psychiatrist who designed the Family to Family course said that the very fact that these courses were filled to the brim with parents desperate to help their children would not likely be filled with abusive, non-caring people.

    I'm looking forward to the next class.

  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm so glad that the courses are apparently bringing clarity and comfort. I may have missed a post or two but I don't recall reading an update on your difficult child. Does she seem to be benefitting from the placement? I hope so. Hugs DDD
  3. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    I'm glad they reinforced that borderline is not necessarily caused by non validating parents. Although I'm sure you know it in your gut, it's great to hear it and move on and learn what you CAN do. I'm happy to hear you were one of the lucky few who got into this class.
  4. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    CJ, I was on a six-month waiting list before I got the call. I had honestly forgotten I had even signed up and had already started the other NAMI course when they called.

    DDD, difficult child is still there and clean and sober so that is a good thing. We still hear the manipulation when we are on our family therapy calls which is cause for concern but I guess we can't expect miracles. The therapist calls her out every time she does it which is nice to hear. She definitely does not have them fooled with her sweet girl act.

    difficult child is talking about staying down there after she is released and going to a sober house. The therapist has mentioned out patient care but I don't know how much that would cost. difficult child does have health insurance now (thanks to Obamacare) so I hope it would be covered by insurance.

    One positive note is that difficult child said that she thinks they have finally got her medications right and that she is happy.

  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    When I first came to this board I mentioned the fact that there was a disproportionate number of adoptees in jail and the foster care system and in residential treatment facilities and I think some people thought I was crazy. This board sure has educated us in many ways.

    And I'm so glad they dispelled the thought that parents had anything to do with Borderline (BPD).
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Makes sense that adoptees have more issues, beyond just the fact that they are adopted. Many had parents who did not take good care of themselves while pregnant (drug abuse/drinking/lack of prenatal care). Most biological parents are immature and difficult child's themselves thus pass along mental health issues and predisposition to alcohol/drug abuse. I know many adoptive parents who have met their children's birthparents and almost all say that they are more like the bio. parents than like them. DNA is huge!!!

    Like I said in another post, it is almost inevitable that personality disorders, like most other mental illnesses, will turn out to be genetic in the end. I really hate the idea of blaming the parents for these things. Good for NAMI for encouraging the parents to stop feeling guilty!!!
  7. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I just remembered something else that was talked about . . . the name of the disorder. One of the people in the class asked how Borderline Personality Disorder was named and the leader said it was because the disorder was considered on the border between psychosis and neurosis. She said she hated the name because it implied something was wrong with the person's personality and who wants to hear that.

    The leader said that other countries do not call it Borderline (BPD). It is known as Emotional Dysregulation Disorder in most places. She said her niece had a wonderful personality when she was not raging or over the top. When I thought about it, I can see what she means. My difficult child is fun to be around and can always make me laugh. Her impulsivity which can be harmful also leads her to be spontaneous and in the moment which can be a good thing. I tend to be very organized and plan everything and I could use some of her spontaneity.

    The bottom line was that we (as loved one of someone with Borderline (BPD)) need to get to the point of "radical acceptance" or in other words to stop fighting reality and learn to achieve balance which includes "healthy selfishness." The course is not designed to fix our family members but to develop a loving, effective relationship.

    One question that she asked that I thought was particularly helpful was, "Do you want to be 'right' or 'effective'?". I think husband needs to hear that one. He and difficult child butt heads constantly because they both have to be right.

    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  8. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This course is packed with good information. Are you taking notes? I like the term Emotional Dysregulation Disorder, it seems to identify the disorder so much better. For years I felt difficult child had Borderline (BPD) and when she came out of the treatment facility her diagnosis said borderline personality traits and after reading about it she so fit many of the descriptions and behaviors.

    My difficult child is fun to be around and can always make me laugh. Her impulsivity which can be harmful also leads her to be spontaneous and in the moment which can be a good thing. I tend to be very organized and plan everything and I could use some of her spontaneity.

    This describes my difficult child and myself to a T.
  9. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Keep sharing Kathy this is really interesting. Did they talk at all about men who have Borderline (BPD) (or emotional dysregulation disorder which I also like much better)? Years and years ago when I was in graduate school we learned about Borderline (BPD) and fo course then it was kind of the dump all diagnosis for patients people had trouble with!!! When the question came up about my son I was shocked because he didnt fit at all what I remembered.... but then i went and read some of the more current literatire and it fits him very very well... And your description of your daughter fits my son as well... he is very impulsive, very in the moment, is a lot of fun (when he is sober at least). I however am not organized but tend to be somewhat spontaneous and somewhat like my son but I do not have his level of impulsivity and i do tend to things through (sometimes too much).

    One of the things I have heard about Borderline (BPD) is that it is a result of trauma... did they say anything about that at NAMI? I do think adoption is a traumatic event for a baby or young child (or older one for sure). I think many folks (especially those who have no experience with adoption) discount that part of the issue a lot. So I have wondered if that also plays into why so many more adoptees have these kinds of issues.

  10. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    TL, they didn't make any distinction between young men and young women with the disorder. I was surprised, though, at how many of the families had sons with the disorder. For some reason, I always thought it was much more predominant among women. I did notice that as the families described their loved ones, aggression came up frequently with the families with sons but really wasn't an issue with the families with daughters.

    The facilitator also said that borderline has become the "in" diagnosis.

    Nancy, yes I am taking notes. They also send notes for each session by email before the session. Another thing that I was happy to hear her say was that Borderline (BPD) is a good diagnosis since research shows that borderline's get better over time. That was the first time that I heard that.

    She also emphasized that DBT has shown exceptional results with borderlines and that they are moving it into treatment with other disorders such as eating disorders. She said that the good thing about DBT, which is a subset of CBT, is the acceptance factor. According to the facilitator, borderline's rarely feel listened to or that they are being taken seriously so they have to feel accepted before they are willing to listen and make changes.

    On the other hand, she stressed that relatives have to have a healthy balance between their needs and the needs of the borderline family member.

    Here are the Relative's Bill of Rights:
    1. We need to have "healthy selfishness" (balance)
    2. We need to learn to say "no"
    3. We need to have our own emotional support network
    4. We need to accept that we cannot solve our relative's problems
    5. We need to accept that we will lose our "cool" at times.

    TL, both NAMI classes that I am taking seem to be moving away from parental blame and causes such as trauma or abuse in borderline personality disorder. Last week's class in the general NAMI course was about brain chemistry and the progress that scientists are making along that line in diagnosing and treating almost all mental illnesses. I have said this before but I remember when frigid mothers were considered the cause of Autism. Now that is laughable. I think the same will be said someday about blaming parents for Borderline (BPD).
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  11. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    WOW! sounds like a really good course. I think I might see about getting into one around here. I am sure it could help me deal with difficult child. -RM
  12. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm not sure if I am allowed to post the link to another site but PM me if you are interested in the link to register for the twelve-week course in your area. Most of the classes will focus on building skills to help us learn how to communicate effectively with someone with Borderline (BPD). She said we will start that in the third class (unfortunately that will be when we will be away visiting difficult child for our family therapy session).
  13. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    That is for sure!
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    However there are instances when trauma and invalidating parenting are front and center in the cause for borderline. They cant completely discount that completely.

    I do like the new name though. The fact is with borderlines, it is as though our emotions are worn on the outside without any skin to protect them. Consider it as if every time you went into the sun you got a sunburn without you got your skin, that is the way a borderline feels. Our emotions and feelings are on the outside so we dont have that outer layer and anytime anyone touches us, we feel it deeply and it hurts so badly when other people could just brush it off because they had a layer of skin and it wouldnt hurt much at all. Our feelings are so there on the outside that anything anyone says to us we take everything as a real hurt to us when someone may have just been in a hurry and bumped into us by mistake.
  15. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Very interesting post, Kathy. Daughter is now in dual-diagnostic treatment. I had found NAMI through internet searches, but in the everyday chaos since this started, had not explored it further.

    Thanks so much for posting.

  16. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Thanks Janet that makes a lot of sense....which makes me wonder about how this affects men with the disorder because of the strong societal pressure not to express emotion. My son as a little boy always felt things deeply and intensely and somewhere along the way it felt like he really shut down his emotions at least a way that has always felt to me pretty maladaptive. So it comes out in anger and aggression. In some reading I've done it talks about a lot of men diagnosed with antisocial personality are really borderline.

  17. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Janet, I am sure that childhood abuse and trauma would lead to any one of a number of mental illnesses including borderline. NAMI is just saying that it is possible to be borderline without those things.

    One thing that they said was that to a person that is borderline it could seem like they grew up in an invalidating environment because their needs were so great that no one could ever have provided them the validation that they wanted or needed. I guess it is a case of what came first . . . the chicken or the egg.

    Barbara ~ Is the dual diagnosis center in Florida?

  18. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Kathy- I have been reading your posts and I find them so enlightening. Thank you for sharing. Your last post really spoke to me; I have a family member (not h or kids) who fits the "validation needy" to a 'T". I've always had a bit if a struggle with that aspect of their personality but I never realized what it was exactly! An aha moment for sure!!

    Also, I posted in watercooler about opportunities for kids on the spectrum- and I included info on comedy classes offered at second city for ppl with anxiety. Iirc, that particular class uses CBT techniques ... I didn't really understand what it was until I read your post.

    Again, thank you for sharing so much and being so open. Janet- you too. Your description was very helpful, and I empathize with your emotions. I love this board!!!
    Lasted edited by : Feb 14, 2013
  19. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    No, Kathy. Daughter is in treatment in Minnesota. (We snowbird it, now. :O) ) I am really enjoying these postings. Thank you, thank you for sharing.

  20. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Dammit Janet, your explanation of what this feels like was incredible. Thank you so much.