Borderline Personality Disorder Community
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Effects on Children When Untreated Mother Has Disorder

My son & daughter-in-law have entered into what is going to be a very ugly divorce. My daughter-in-law, unknown to my son, had been diagnosed with 'Borderline Personality Disorder' prior to their marriage.She is now 27 and he, 42. She was pregnant with another man's baby when they got involved. (My son did adopt the baby, a boy). They also have 2 girls. Kids are 8, 6 & 2. They've been married 7 years. She has done many strange, unexplainable things, but in the past 2 years has been going downhill. We've all been trying to get her to see a doctor, counsellor, etc. for several years. (because of her behavior). Very immature, lies, has all about me attitude, can get very violent in a second, does things that don't make sense for a wife & mother. Now they are getting a divorce (my son has had it). She has spent uncontrollably (10's of thousands of dollars).He's had to re-finance the house several times to pay off credit cards, etc. Within the past year, there has been a definite change for the worse. He recently caught her at a sleazy motel with a man of a different race. Would tell him where she went & who she spoke to on cell phone was none of his business. Would lock up car & cell phone. Found out a friend was picking her up after my son & the kids were asleep & taking her to different places for the cost of beer to this minor girl. Very irresponsible, has no interest in home, yard, is very paranoid, etc. Neighbor watched kids on 3 occassions because she was sleeping & had door locked. Could not be awakened. Has called certain numbers incessantly on cell phone. Was going over plan every month (bill averaging from $300 to over $600 extra). Made 905 calls in one month to one number. Oldest child is a son, who has ADDH. The 1st doctor she took him to spoke to her first & told her she had 'Borderline Personality Disorder.' When she told me, she laughed about it.Can someone please tell me the signs & symptoms of BPO & if this is all that's wrong & what it means? We've recently been told that she's on 'crack,' but don't know positively. I am worried sick that she will be able to lie, manipulate & sweet talk her way into getting custody of the kids. My son is asking for sole custody. Can anyone tell me about the chances of a person with this becoming addicted to drugs?  If she were to get custody, I'm worried to death about the children's welfare & safety. I've seen her go violent and think if I had not been there, she would have beat them severely. I know nothing about the signs & symptoms of BPO or crack addiction.  Can someone give me info on these things? Also, son gets kids up & ready for school, feeds them breakfast, sees them on schoolbus, cooks their supper, helps with homework, etc.
33 Responses
Avatar universal
I can relate to all of the things you mentioned about your daughter in law. My sister, who has not been diagnosed with any kind of disorder, has children too. After doing some of my own research, I'm almost certain that she has BPD, but I'm no expert. It might be that your daughter in law could be having a major breakdown, rather than having some disorder?
You mentioned lots of behaviour that I can see in my own sister and she too has children, 5, from 3 different fathers, and has numourous partners in her life. My sister is a drug addict too (cannabis daily) and was once a fully paid up member of the 1980s 'rave scene' in England. The family worry about the children, and there has been some inappropriate behaviour around them from her, but I can honestly say that even though she shouts at the kids and is very strict (too strict as our Mother says!) she's not violent towards them (when I've been there though). I think the kids are her 'protectors', even if this is inappropriate, and so if anything, she is overly caring of them.
My sister has had affairs during her marriage with the last guy, is in debt, sleeps a lot, show's all the typical signs of BPD - up one minute, down low the next.
I don't think that there is much you can do in terms of helping your son with getting custody but I suppose he would need to pull all the stops out and paint a picture of her to the courts (does she have a criminal record and such like?), but I'm not sure whether this would benefit the children - could make her even worse and she may take it out on them. If the other Fathers of my sister's other children stuck to their promises/responsibilities, I do believe that things might have been different for my sister. She's not very good at picking good men! But then again, she sets very high standards and often nothing anyone does for her is right.
If things are so bad, and you do believe that the children are at risk, you should do the right thing and report her. Sure you could do this in confidence. But please remember to think about the kids - will their lives be more disrupted by taking them out of their home, or leaving them be? My thoughts are with you, it's a horrible place to be, and takes a lot of patience from you. Best wishes x
Avatar universal
I just wanted to thank you for responding to me. I typed out a long note & thanked you & it never appeared. I'm electronically illiterate, so I'm sure I did something wrong. My son filed divorce papers on my daughter-in-law & they are already divorced. The problem now is she has decided she wants him back & I can see the same things picking right back up. She calls him incessantly. Questions him, talks nice, then hateful, hangs up on him. I am just hoping he begins to see the same old pattern & decides he needs to back way off - maybe forever. She scares me. Today she asked him if his life insurance was made out to her (???)  Why would this be a concern at this moment!  It goes to the 3 kids, who he got custody of. I firmly believe that if he takes her back, it will be for him to support her while she does 'her own thing' again. I feel for you, cause I know what this is causing me.  And, the kids are the ones who will suffer the most!
Thanks again & keep me posted on your situation!
Avatar universal
Has your son read the book "Stop Walking on Eggshells" by Mason and Kreger?  It can be purchased on line or I suppose found in one's local library.  It is one of the best on how to deal with family members who suffer from BPD.
Avatar universal
I don't believe he has really checked into anything. Only what I find on internet or articles I find that I send him. They did get divorced. He got custody of the 3 kids. She had said she would rather sign everything over to him, even kids, to avoid going to court (???). I'm thoroughly confused. I have 3 kids, also, & I would never give them up. Or, would die trying to keep them. She's wanting him to take her back & I can see all the same behavior picking back up. I don't think anything will change. She just needs someone to support her. She recently said a psychiatrist she went to, diagnosed her in 45 minutes with Bi-Polar, Alcoholism, Major Anger issues, etc. I just find it hard to believe. She is such a liar & con artist. Through all of this, even losing custody of the kids, I have never seen her upset or cry. Wierd, huh? Upset with her is exploding with anger. She's blaming everything she's done on 'her problem.' I've been checking out 'Sociopath,' & boy, does she ever fit that! I guess, at this point, all I can do is read & study & put it in front of him. He wants to believe everything she says & helps in making excuses for her. I don't get it!  He's not stupid!! But, I guess he'll have to figure it out himself. I can only make the info available.
Thank you so much for responding. You can look in book stores all day & not find the book that you really need, so thank you for the name of one. The title sounds as if it may involve abuse, either emotional, physical, etc., which should be really helpful. I will purchase & read the book.
Thanks again!
479477 tn?1312331482
Another book which is a great book is "I hate you don't leave me" it about BPD, Borderline personality disorder. I too was told I had BPD 6 months ago, I have 2 children and would never in my MIND ever think to hurt them. It is a natural thing, the love of a mother for her children and I do not see by having borderline personality disorder as it making you want to hurt your own children. But as for her sleeping around with different men, the book says it can be symptoms or signs and actions of someone with BPD, everyone who has BPD can have different symptoms or actions. I personally suffer from being insecure, fear of being unloved and alone, but it can also make you have angry outbursts, but none of mine have ever been physical. I mainly end of having hate for my self and my actions. But, as for the drugs, my DR. said most people with BPD either have substance abuse which Crack coccaine would fall into that , and or Eating Disorders. That one was and still is my down fall, eating disorder. I have never and will never do drugs. But, I have known people who did do crack coccaine and it is addicting and they tend to feel a high and not sleep and be up at all hours while on the drug and then the next day they are down and insecure because of doing the drug and feeling bad about doing it. In my experience with people who have done that drug, it does NOT make them Mean though. By the sounds of it she sounds like she may have a lot of different issues. I hope that your son can lay down the line and make sure that she seeks help and tries to work on herself before he would let her back into his life or their childrens life, she does not sound like she  can handle herself let alone being a mother and wife. Good Luck to you and your family. Do look into reading the book and maybe pass it on to your son, he probably needs to read it too, I know he probably feels like he is the one going crazy or does not understand why ,it is called I hate you don't leave me by Jerold J. Kreisman, M.D., & Hal Straus, it was only $8.00 at the book store. Again, good luck to you and your family.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your information about the book. I also appreciate you giving me some of your feelings & problems. I just don't know exactly what all her problems are. She definitely has more than one. She has been so 'secretive' over the years that I don't think we really know what all has gone on. My son has been so forgiving, sympathetic, etc., &, I think, feels responsible for her somehow, but I think he is finally seeing that it's only making the problems worse. He says he will not let her back into the house & everything will be by the decree from now on. She refuses to get treatment, saying 'she doesn't have a problem, we do.' So until she is ready, nothing can be changed or done. It's the things she is telling these 'young' children & we know that she can 'explode' in an instant. We fear for their safety. They need to have unconditional love, feel safe & secure & have stability. They are not getting any of that with her. Thank heavens, he does have full custody.
Avatar universal
Also, concerning the drugs. We don't know if she's on anything for sure. She does hang out with people that are known drug users so that makes 'me' think she's taking or using something.
479477 tn?1312331482
I really do wish you and your family the very best. I am sure her denial will continue until she does seek treatment or help. I personally feel so much better when I go to my therapist for talking and I really feel so much better when I take the meds prescribed. The way I like to look at it, is that we are NOT weird or Crazy, but if people lack vitimans than they take that vitiman to put it into the body because that is what it is lacking, when people have chemical imbalances, the DR. prescribes the med that we can take to give us that balance. We all lack something at times. I again, wish you and your family the best and stay strong for what is best for the kids and your son.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your good wishes! At this point, I just don't know what's going to happen. She is in total denial that there is a problem & from what I've read 'everywhere,' until she makes the decision to get help & admits she has some issues, nothing will change. My son was just diagnosed with 'Acute Rheumatoid Arthritis,' and the stress she's bringing on him is definitely not good. He could end up disabled, but she keeps spewing trash out to him. I listened to a few phone calls she made & left messages on (the children hearing them) and they were 'horrible!!' The lawyers, courts, etc. don't seem to offer any remedies, until a tragedy occurs. I pray it won't happen in our case.
Good luck & wishes to you. Until recently, I had been very sympathetic, forgiving & understanding, but it's all gone beyond that now. I'm sure it's very difficult to know something isn't right, but to be mean as a snake, like she can be, is going a little far.
Avatar universal
Another good book to read is "Sometimes I act Crazy" which is written by the same authors as "I hate you, don't leave me" It really is a better, most defined book about BPD. BPD is a collection of behaviors and many of them are supremeely swlf destructive. At your DILS age, she will need a lot of counseling and the kids are deefinitely in danger. I also read a book called "Get me out of here" by Rachel Reiland, a book written by a woman who overcame her BPD. It's a hard book to read on many levels, but it helped me to understand my daughter, a little, and the disease, a lot.
I wish you the best, as I also am struggling with a daughter who has this and won't treat it.
547573 tn?1234659310

The symptoms you describe are more in keeping with Bipolar Diorder rather than BPD, although that can't be ruled out. Oftentimes, an individual with a psychological problem will have one or more disorders which mimic the symptoms of other disorders.

If your daughter is using illicit drugs or alcohol to excess, she is, in all probability self-medicating, in an attempt to feel somewhat "normal".

There is no doubt that she needs to see a mental healthcare worker as soon as possible, but if she refuses to go, there is little you can do, other than obtaining a commitment order from the Court.

Otherwise, as you know, until she gets out of her denial phase, she will not seek help of any sort.

Since young children are involved however, I would notify the Department of Child Welfare (or whatever its' called in your state), so that they can, at least, start a file on the situation.  If the situation is so out of line, the Department may remove the children from the household for their well-being, at which time, if you desire, you could petition the court for custody.

I sincerely wish you the best of luck during these troubled times.

Avatar universal
Thank you for your wishes and info about the book.  I've been babysitting with the 3 kids this summer & though, I am a reader, I haven't had a chance to read anything! My son is very sympathetic, understanding, etc., but I've told him that children are not always better off for the parents to stay together, no matter what. I really don't know exactly what her problems are, but she has several.She could get help, 'if' she wanted it. She maintains there's nothing wrong with her, we all have the problem. I'm at a point of being done. Don't get me wrong - it's not that I don't have sympathy & caring for her, but she has been so hateful, it's unbelievable. I just can't deal with it, if she chooses to ignore her need for help. I worry about the kids & the effect she has on them. The oldest boy, age 8, who has ADHD, has pulled at his hair at the crown until he has a huge bald spot (He's done this for several years). But, she told my son that he just started doing it since the divorce (May 15, 2008) because he misses his mother! Where has she been!! She's back & forth, normal & off-the-wall, black & white. Never consistent with anything. I'm afraid my grandson may have more wrong than ADHD. His Dad has made an appointment for him to start sessions with the psychiatrist. They were married 7-1/2 yrs. I give you my prayers as well as her parents. I don't know what I would do to have to watch my daughter do some of the things my dil has done. Probably love her unconditionally, yet keep trying to talk her into treatment of some kind. Thank you again for your best wishes & thoughts. I give you the same & I guess we'll both see how we end up.
Best Wishes & Prayers!
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