My sister has borderline personality disorder and as a part of that, also experiences depression and suicidal ideations. A major trigger for her suicidal thoughts occurs when she and her boyfriend break up. She has been in a 3-year relationship that has been "on and off"; she has attempted suicide twice in the 3 years that they have been together, both during times when the boyfriend decided to end the relationship. She is currently not coming home and both my parents and I do not know where she is, although we have reason to believe she is sleeping in her car somewhere in the city where she used to attend college and works (it is about 45-50 minutes away from our house).
She has told me in the past few days that she has said her "final good-bye" to our grandfather. During the past four weeks, she has repeatedly been asking me to call, text and email the ex-boyfriend and threatens to kill herself if I do not. I have made clear to her that I can no longer call or text the ex-boyfriend and make attempts to ask her to call a therapist and the suicide crisis hotline.
However, every night I sit in fear thinking about whether she will kill herself. She makes the threats to me every night. She will tell me "bye", and has told me that she has a plan, a date and means of killing herself. She will not tell me exactly what she plans to do or when she plans to do it because "she knows I will call the police." I have called the police multiple times in the past four weeks, reporting her as a missing person and conveying my concern for her suicidal intentions.
The police did make contact with her two weeks ago, and at that time, the police had done an evaluation and concluded that they could not take her in for treatment or for evaluation by a doctor/therapist. I am at a loss as to what I should do. She tells me that if we call the police one more time, she will kill herself.
Last night when she told me that she was going to kill herself and that she "is dying", I had called the police once more but they have no made contact with her yet. This morning, I was told by our cousin that she plans to come back into town (our home town).
I am not sure whether the repercussions of having the police locate her when she returns to town/home is larger than that of not contacting the police in the case that she acts on her threats to kill herself. My concern is that if she is not in immediate danger when the police find her, she will know how to answer their evaluation questions so that she is let go. And at that point, she will kill herself and we would not know. But I also do not feel secure about letting this go without intervention because she was indeed making threats to kill herself to me last night (the last time I spoke to her).
I am not sure whether to keep the police search for her at this moment or to cancel it? Can someone give me some advice on what choice to make?
In my family, I'm the one who used to behave as your sister is behaving. I can sympathize with her intense pain, and I understand why she feels like giving up. . . and why she simultaneously reaches out for help/love and pushes everyone away. I understand how frantic and helpless her loved ones may feel (because mine did)...and how the family may also struggle with their own emotions of feeling as if they're being manipulated (mine did).
The best thing my family did for me (though it certainly did not feel that way at the time) was to hold me accountable for myself and my actions. They always told me how much I meant to them, how much they loved me, and how my death would affect each of them and my friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. But, they positively refused to "save me" (because they learned they could not) or to "do the work" for me that I needed to do to be more stable and responsible. They stopped rushing to me to rescue me and calmly told me loving things, reminded me of past happy times and possible future happy times, and told ME to call my therapist or a crisis hotline and offered to look up the number for me.
Some people will tell you borderlines do what they do to "manipulate" their family. I think we do what we do because we are struggling to survive and don't know a better way. Behavior theories state that a person (and even an animal) will continue to perform a behavior that meets their needs (gets them what they want) but when that behavior no longer works, they will stop and try another behavior that might work (granted the new behavior could be worse, but often it is not).
Try the Stop Walking on Eggshells book and workbook for family members of a BPD. . . you can't "save her" -- all you can do is love her and hope she can find the motivation to do the work to save herself.
Oh yes, I'm a chronic BPD sufferer and admit I have and still carry out exactly the same sort of ruses that your sister does. I understand her actions only too well and how it's virtually impossible for her to show her pain and suffering any other way. In saying this I also understand your point of view, the sheer frustration and hurt it makes you feel. However everything MissHabersham says is right, I couldn't agree more so I too urge you to read 'The Eggshells' book and any other reading material available to folk trying to live alongside a BPD sufferer. X
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