The ups and downs of parenting when you have Borderline personality disorder (BPD) are rapid and intense. Someone suffering from BPD may feel easily overwhelmed and exhausted. You might be doubting your ability to raise a child if you can't even take care of yourself. However, many people with BPD become highly functional parents.
In this article, we'll discuss how BPD can affect parenting and what can be done to ensure happiness for you and your child.
How does BPD play a role in parenting?
Parenting is hard enough, but when you suffer from BPD, it can be even more challenging due to the inability to keep relationships together and a lack of emotional regulation. BPD relationships are often characterized by hostility and a lack of trust rather than stability. Depression, substance abuse, high-stress levels, and family hostility are all possible outcomes of this personality disorder.
It's already hard for a partner to understand what someone with BPD goes through. Imagine it for a child or even a baby. A baby doesn’t understand when you’re having a bad day and want to hide yourself in a dark room and stay in bed. A baby just wants to be fed, changed, and loved. As a parent, you are supposed to be strong because they see you as their protector and require love and affection from you.
Personally, I am not sure whether I would be a good parent, and I suppose others share my feelings and fears too. I've caught myself saying that I don't want children because I don't want them to endure the same pain that I've been dealing with my entire life. But I've come to the realization that this is a very black-and-white way of thinking because what has happened to me doesn't necessarily have to happen to my children. I can decide to do it better when I put in the work.
Children raised by a parent with BPD can become exceptionally compassionate, mature, and competent. Those who suffer from BPD should think about how they are coping with their symptoms at the current point in their lives and if they feel capable of taking care of another life. If you already stick to a strict medication schedule (if needed), practice healthy coping mechanisms, and have a strong support system, you can think about becoming a parent without too much concern about how it will impact your child.
In the end, we should all think very carefully before bringing a new life into the world, whether you have BPD or not. And it is always worth speaking to a professional about your worries and being open to improvement.
What effects BPD parents can have on children
Understanding how BPD manifests in one's offspring might help parents with BPD to learn how to best guide their children through life. Some of the following characteristics of BPD in parents can cause problems in their children:
Lack of awareness of a child's needs, feelings, and other subtleties.
Inability to react appropriately to their child's emotional signs.
Overbearing and overly controlling parenting style.
A lack of communication and empathy between parents while having a disposition of anger and hostility towards their children.
Dissatisfaction with their own children as well as life in general.
The inability or refusal to encourage feelings of intimacy, love, and affection.
Children of parents with BPD face risks and consequences, including:
Having a hard time communicating with their parents.
Having an irrational fear of being left alone.
Unhealthy reliance on reassurance.
Failing to form and maintain friendships.
Disruptions in Behavior.
Depression and attempts at self-harm.
Negative behaviors that hinder communication with others.
It is understandable that information like this may make you worry about having a child. People with BPD can damage their child unintentionally, however, do not lose hope. There are things you can do to not let BPD get between you and your child or affect your parenting skills. Besides, no parent is perfect.
It all depends on how one would cope with their disorder. There is a wide spectrum when it comes to BPD. Some are on the far “bad” side, and others are on the “better functioning side”, as well as everything in between. BPD isn’t a disorder that can be narrowed down or simplified.
6 Helpful tips for parents with BPD
In order to succeed as a parent while living with borderline personality disorder, it is important for parents to acquire the necessary skills. Raising healthy children while coping with borderline personality disorder is possible if you follow these steps.
1. Educate yourself about BPD
You will be better able to identify and understand the effects that BPD has on you and your children if you educate yourself about it. Additionally, it's a good idea to speak with a mental health professional once in a while to receive a reflection on your behaviors.
2. Coping in a Healthy Way
Even though it is true that people with BPD have emotional ups and downs and have strained relationships with others, including their children, this does not mean that you have to accept these aspects of your life as they are. In order to be present and pleasant when interacting with your kids, take some time for yourself and discover healthy ways to relieve stress, such as taking a walk, listening to music, practicing meditation, or even coloring.
3. Be Mindful
If you pay attention to your feelings, you may learn to recognize them in yourself as well as in your children, and you can also teach them to do the same. This is the practice of fully inhabiting the moment you find yourself in rather than allowing your mind to wander off into anxious or depressing speculation, feelings of bitterness or self-hatred, or any number of other distressing or borderline sensations. This makes it easier for you to support your children whenever they need you.
4. Adopt a Routine
Stability can be achieved by developing consistent habits for getting up in the morning, eating meals, and going to bed. You and your children will experience a reduction in stress in addition to increased feelings of security and stability.
5. Explore and Educate About Feelings
Instruct your children with their feelings. Read a book or watch a movie together and then have a discussion on how the characters' emotions relate. When you can put a name to your emotions, it doesn't have as much power over you. You and your children will also develop greater empathy, comprehension, and understanding as a result of this.