At age 18, Dominique had been self-harming and throwing temper tantrums for much of her life. Her parents had tried everything. Nothing was working. They were beginning to feel hopeless. But they began working with me and now Dominique rarely self-harms, has a steady job, lives on her own, and her parents have a great relationship.
I’ve lost count how many times a parent with a child who has borderline personality disorder has come to me in horror because their son or daughter has told the school officials, their friends and their friend’s parents that they are being abused and/or that the family is now being investigated by child protective services. Here, I break down why people with BPD lie and what you can do.
Self-harm is the intentional damaging of one’s own body without intending to die. Smoking, drugs, purging, etc. are not done with the intention of damaging one’s body tissue in the moment, therefore are not considered self-harm behaviors. Learn the myths, facts, causes, signs and symptoms, and treatment options.
When your loved one has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) you may find yourself haunted by fears of their possible suicide. The intensity of that fear can feel as if you are being held hostage—afraid to say no to a request or of accidentally saying the wrong thing and triggering an attempt. A number of studies show that 70 percent of people with BPD will attempt suicide at least once in their lifetime, while many will have multiple attempts. The death rates are estimated as high as 10%. Some individuals, my clients included, report first thoughts of suicide as early as age 8. Our fear is not without reason!
Until recently clinicians believed they could not diagnose BPD until individuals were at least 18 years old. Without accurate diagnosis, adolescents are without access to treatment, referred to incorrect treatments, or over treated with medications that target mood disorders they do not have.
BPD is often characterized by mood swings, unpredictable behavior and difficulty with relationships. Family members may feel a wide range of emotions in response from resentment to anger to shame and more. At times we can be so focused on the symptoms of the disorder we’re unable to focus on our own lives.