The Emotional Scars of Children of Borderline Mothers

How can you calm a child when you feel so chaotic inside yourself?

UPDATE: Moving my articles to MRSTREASURES.COM website.

In my personal experience, I have to force myself to calm down to effectively deal with a situation in the house with the children.  If I am under a lot of stress, my attitude towards my children changes too.  I avoid them because I know that I may say some things that would hurt them.  To confront them at the moment of dysregulation may be fruitful if you have learned some techniques to calm down and change your tone of voice.  In any case, a child would know.  A child just instinctively knows when you are really angry no matter how much you try to hide it.  Children read our facial expressions.  They know that “mean look”.  Parents are everything for children.  They adore us. They instinctively mimic us.   Our tone of voice, one notch up in terms of volume, can cause panic in a sensitive child.

If your wife is Borderline, it will be foolish to think that a child can just handle it.  How can their stress response be calm when the emotions of their mother are unpredictable?  Where will they learn to regulate their emotions if their “model” is unable to control his or her feelings?

Children of Borderline Mothers are at high risk for trauma.  I will never believe a Borderline Mother who come up to me and tells me that her case is different or that her child is very normal and able to handle it because she is a loving person in spite of the disorder.  It is very hard to believe a woman, who acts like a child, shows tantrums, spews profanities that her child is calm and has a well developed stress response system.  Are the Borderline mothers misinterpreting the “avoidant” personalities of their children?  These children have learned to flee emotionally away from their Borderline mothers during rages and emotional dysregulation.  Many people misinterpret it as coping.  In reality, these children are “acting in” .  You will see the effects of their dysfunctions  when  their puberty hormones set in.  They are angry and will misdirect their inner disturbances in many unhealthy outlets.


New Blog Posts – Check Borderline Personality Disorder category.

For more information on these disorder, please review the following articles:

10 Ways to Handle a Difficult Ex ? Focus on Borderline Personality Disorder

The Scariest Aspect of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Mother’s Day and Borderline Personality Disorder: When Mom’s an Emotional Terrorist

How to Spot a Girl with Borderline Personality Disorder

Developmental Trauma Disorder: Next High-Profile Mental Health Issue

5 Tips to Deal with a Loved One with Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

9 Sings Your Girlfriend Might Have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Intermittent Explosive Disorder: Does Raymond Clarke III Have It?

Moms with Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder: 5 Ways to Help Your Loved One Heal



  1. Thank you for posting this. You’ve hit into a critical area of BPD: how the children are affected. Studies have been showing of late that the BPD mother, exactly as you state, DOES impart some of her damaged psychological systems to her child. It is politically incorrect to say this because BPD mothers don’t wan to face the fact that they have a problems and it adversely affects the children.

    My ex-BPD, I pointed this out to her. I got a tantrum with her pulling her hair. She couldn’t face her psychological problems have caused her children harm. She wanted to hide from it. Great coping huh? She’s turned her 13 year old son into a surrogate husband and caretaker. He’s an angry kid at his core with duality that flips back and forth like a switch. His half sister he hates her one moment and screams it at her, the second he’s all lovey dovey.

    In the end, the less policitically correct we are about the subject and more real, the better we are. BPD moms are are terrible risk to imparting BPD to their children.

    It’s time to speak up for these voiceless children!

    • not all end up borderline… we end up schizoid. at least i am (more covert with autistic symptoms). retreating into a world of my own… it was just safer than dealing with an out of control borderline mom

  2. I have BPD, and I never want to have children, for this reason. Even if I do fully recover, who knows what issues will arise after I’ve had my own kids. It’s possible I could pass this on, genetically. I have yet to meet a BPD mother who’s kids haven’t been affected, and many end up with so called ‘autistic/ Aspergers’ type syndromes. Which IMO are trauma related, and possibly inherited the black and white thinking. I hear stories of how they emotionally incest their kids, verbally abuse them. I am a product of abuse as are all Borderlines, and I never want to do that to my own kids. And the sad thing is, the parent will get most of the help as they have the disorder, and the kids will be left to pick up the pieces.

    • Lizzie, I can understand your decision to not want to have children out of concern. I do know that children are definantly affected by trauma. Having a child on the Autism Spectrum, I can tell you that many cases of Autism happen to children in loving stable homes. To indicate that ALL Autism is caused by “poor” parenting is incorrect. Having said that, I do believe if a child has been through abuse, neglect or other trauma that Austistic Behaviors could present. Emily Donohue’s book ROOM is an excellent example of that. I just don’t want people who do not understand the complexities of Autism to read your post and automatically think it’s the parents fault. Studies show if there is a family history of emotional, mental or learning problems the incidences of Autism are higher. Most likely goes back to genetics. And if you lived life of the spectrum, you would not call it “so-called”. Autistic Disorders are real!

  3. I’m a mother of 2 and I suffer from BPD.
    I am not ingorant, I DO know that I damage my kids when I get my outbursts/tantrums, I just can’t control it even if I try really hard.
    I sit around hating myself and feel hopeless. Just because I know I am such a bad mother, I sometimes feel I could as well give up. But I am selfish and I love my kids, I couldn’t ever leave them to live with someone else…
    My 4 year old is very smart and I’m sorry that I’ve hurt him so much with my behaviour. I try to show love and appreciation, but whenever I feel stressed or had a fight with his father, I lash out my anger on my son too. I know it’s wrong. I just need help, because I want to be better. I don’t wanna destroy his and his little sister’s childhood, the way my childhood was destroyed. I promised myself not to do to my kids what my parents did to me, yet here I am, doing it. I just wish sometimes I would vanish from the face of the earth, then my kids could probably heal from all this, with me out of their lives… I do love them with all my heart… Regardless of how idiotic I behave.

    • Sarah,

      While it’s commendable your awareness of what you do, you are perpetuating the cycle. I saw it with my ex, I see it with you. Your rages and volatility ARE having effects and perhaps life long ones on your kids. Are you ok with that? Sorry, but you are doing the the same as my ex. Her selfishness overrode her desire for what’s best for kids. Yes, the disorder. That empathic awareness of what’s best for your kids, you just can’t do it, because your love for them will shine and save the day.

      It doesn’t happen that way. Put your children with some relatives, got get in DBT therapy, then resume parenting of them. Any other action with you scarring them is just plain selfish.

      You owe them the best, even if it’s not with you.

  4. Hi all, I am the female child of a BPD mother. I am now an adult with a husband and children of my own. I was the younger female born while my brother was the older male. My brother had a very typical response to my mothers BPD. He was always angry and took it out on me. Like most he felt like he became the husband. To this day he has severe issues maintaining relationships with anyone and I believe he has Asperger like tendencies. In fact, over the last few years he has cut out every family member and friend he has ever had. He is with a woman (possibly wife) who reminds me so much of how my mother used to act. Needless to say, he is extremely damaged. Ironically, he is very intelligent and is a doctor trying to heal others. I wish he could take his own advice and learn to heal himself emotionally. I don’t see it happening!

    I had a very different childhood of a BPD mother than did my brother, even though we lived under the same roof. Being a younger female almost gave me a get out of jail card free, but not quite. My father was in the picture until my mother left him when I was 4ish then became the every other weekend dad, but still present, thank God. And to this day my dad swears he never saw my mom angry or even rage until the divorce. So at least I had some normallity during my most formative years, and he even speaks of how I was very nurtured and taken care of. After my father left is when things got crazy. My brother became an angry tyrant and my mother the rager. No one ever knew what to expect from her. In the end I was very lucky that my brother was so awful to me because that put me spending a lot of time at my grandparents house where my therapist swears I learned true love and consistancy. It’s most likely through them that I turned out to become a more normal and loving person with consistency and boundaries.

    I’ve now been in therapy for about 5 years and am proud to say I am working very hard. I know I have many deep rooted issues and am working on them everday to make a better life for my children. I still have a very close relationship with my BPD mother but it has definitely taken alot of hard work in order to put down a stern foot when her tendencies come out.

    I,m not really quite sure why I even started writing this post but maybe it can bring a little clarity to someone else.

  5. Thank you for this post & all the insightful comments, they’re all been helpful, I have a diagnosis of Autism which I’m positive is caused by my mother & fathers emotional abuse, after getting support elsewhere from people with no connection to them, I’m no longer Autistic, but it’s temporary of course..

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