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I think my SD may have BPD

TryingSoHard's picture

After living with my teenage SD for the better part of a year, I am convinced there's a good chance she has borderline personality disorder. I have known other people (adults) who have bpd or narcissistic/histrionic personality disorder, so I've done a lot of research on the disorder. "Borderline" is often used as an umbrella term over several personality disorders (two of which I mentioned above). Anyone else have experience with BPD kids or stepkids? If so, how did you deal with it? I would love to hear about your experience.

I came across this article:


DLDP's picture

I think I'm in that camp. The drama, looking for unending attention at the slightest bump or bruise, grandiose talk about how awesome she is, blame everyone else, never satisfied with her blessings, thinks the grass is always greener, can't seem to hold onto friends, etc., etc., etc. BM is NPD. SD is a mini me of BM.

It's tough. It's like trying to hit a moving target. I must be on my game at all times. It's truly exhausting at times.

TryingSoHard's picture

SD is a few weeks shy of 18. Do you mean there are different types of Borderline? I've heard it's an "umbrella term" because it's often used to describe other disorders (antisocial, etc). Do you mean that personality type plays into the diagnosis/lack of diagnosis?

It's hard, because she is a teen and it's hard to tell how she'll be when she's fully grown. It's easy to get into the pattern of comparing her behavior with my own at that age. But she's definitely exhibited some red flag behaviors. Thanks.

hismineandours's picture

I agree that almost ALL teenagers look a little BPD. The drama, the troubled relationships, the impulsive decisions, the acting out to cope with feelings, etc

Agent_Lovely's picture

I happen to be borderline. Diagnosed at 22.

My borderline is coupled with social anxiety problems and ocd.

The borderline symptoms for me when i was younger were the following:
-self harm
-irrational fear of abandonment
-mood swings
-turbulent and unstable relationships

Current issues for the last few years are only the fear of abandonment and mood swings

I think the other things like grandiose views of onesself and the other things are NPD not BPD.The typical BPD individual feels they are evil and bad.NPD is quite the opposite of that.

Agent_Lovely's picture can have bpd traits and npd's all very confusing and grey.

If you're totally borderline,you feel like an evil person,like you're bad for other people bc you have this living hell inside of you that you struggle daily to control but always end up hurting yourself and those you love.--that's actually where my social anxiety came into play.I just started isolating myself from people so i wouldn't hurt them.

If you have bpd traits and npd traits,you know you hurt people but they're just supposed to accept it because you are the most important person and no one else matters as much as you matter.You always feel as though you're doing ALL the effort in relationships and the other person simply isn't trying hard enough.You always feel as though you love the other person more than they love you.

I'm using 'you' as a general you by the way:)

TryingSoHard's picture

Yep; that's her. I've noticed her fear of abandonment quite a lot. She can't be alone for even five minutes. She has to be hanging out with her friends from the time the bell rings at school until her curfew at night. When she gets up on the weekends, she starts to panic A LOT if she can't find someone to "hang out with." I've noticed she has the tendency to "worship" people; a certain boy she knows who happens to be a nasty little jerk whom she's simply obsessed with. She's even gotten the same haircut he has. It's almost like she wants to "be" him.

She screams and stomps her feet if she doesn't get her way, steals, lies compulsively and denies it when caught red handed... She won't take no for an answer. Also, when she bullies someone into getting her way, she's never sorry. Just self satisfied that she bullied them into submission. I'll never forget one morning she was so stubborn and rude we didn't get to go to church because SHE didn't want to go. We ran out of time fighting with her. It was very disappointing and upsetting to me. I was in tears because of the debacle and her dad made her apologize. She did, but it was obvious she was happy. Getting her way is the ultimate goal.

She's also capable of turning on the tantrum like a light switch, then turning it off the same way. Nothing is her fault; it's always someone else's. She uses guilt to get what she wants; she'll go for the jugular. I think sometimes when she steals something or breaks a rule, she has selective memory about it. She'll behave herself for half a day and then expect to be rewarded for it. She uses people like I've never seen.

She's had issues with cutting herself and promiscuity, though I'm not sure to what level. I know she's had relationships with more than a few boys, and in the past I've gotten the idea she was sleeping with several of them. She had a steady boyfriend for a while who was really abusive, but she would do anything for him. They seemed to enjoy yelling at each other on the phone. What could they possibly have had to fight about in that manner at 17? I've read that Borderlines can be desperate for attention and friendship, to the point of being in bad relationships for fear of being alone.

I've also noticed she feels like she is above the law and above any kind of danger. We learned recently she owes a drug dealer money, and was simply going to not pay him back, even when he made vague threats involving our home. When I told her this made me very uncomfortable, she said, "He's not going to do anything. I'm a sweet little girl!" Wow.

Does this sound like anything you can relate to? Thank you so much for your comments. It's great to get your perspective.

Agent_Lovely's picture

oh I'm not a doctor everyone,hope I don't come off as a know it all! lol it's just that i've lived with bpd for a really long time and feel like i've read all the books,did all the therapies,etc.lived my life around my disorder for the most part.over the last few years i've managed to make tons of progress so that's why i wanted to comment here.

NCMilGal's picture

I appreciate your perspective.

I've read that BPD is frequently co-morbid with NPD - where frequent = ~25% of the time. But that means that 3 out of 4 BPD do NOT exhibit the same symptoms.

I'm glad you're doing something about your mental health.

I'm dealing with a diagnosed-and-in-denial BPD/NPD BM. Since SD15 started looking around and realizing that BM wasn't quite... right, and quit worshiping BM, BM has decided that SD15 is the root of all evil and the cause of BM's woes. Poor kid is BM's verbal (and sometimes physical) punching bag. But we have no proof, and the courts don't care because being with their mother is THE most important thing.

Agent_Lovely's picture

Yeah if BM is BPD with NPD she's going to be serious trouble for anyone she directs that hate toward.The problem with BPD is we struggle with seeing the in between.We either love or we hate.We can hate someone one day and love them the next.It's such a huge struggle and a war that goes on inside every single day.
It's unfortunate to deal with BPD alone,it's even more unfortunate to deal with BPD coupled with NPD AND denial.The denial means there's basically NO hope for improvement.A BPD/NPD individual who is aware of their problem will attempt to force themselves to see shades of gray in between the love/hate thing.A person in denial will just think they're right and everyone else is sick.

Stunned Step of 3's picture

I have a BPD SDthat's15 and now I'm seeing both BPD and NPD in my husband. I've heard it's genetic and now so much is making sense. Make sure you don't do what I did for 4 years and that is question your own sanity because that's what happens when people around you are drama ridden. They will twist and distort things. You need to stay strong in yourself, please or it will change your view of who you are. SD was omitted into a hospital last night for being a threat to herself. It's very sad. She thinks she is so bad that everyone would be better off without her. When she was younger I thought those attitudes were attention seeking and manipulation but now that shes older I see it's really BPD.  I'm hoping thorough all of this my DH will take a look at himself.