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5 Signs You Have a Borderline Mother

Richelle Marie is a mom of 3 navigating motherhood while emotionally and physically motherless.


There has been a focus on narcissism and the impact a mother with narcissistic personality disorder can have on her children. Having said that, a closely related personality disorder that doesn’t seem to have as much notoriety (although is the most common of personality disorders) called Borderline Personality Disorder exists, and also has a negative impact on the children of a mother wish this personality disorder.

According to Christine Ann Lawson, author of Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship: “Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is the single most common personality disorder affecting approximately six million Americans. Individuals with BPD are volatile, impulsive, self-destructive, and fearful of abandonment.” With that, “Although males can develop BPD, women outnumber men two to one within clinical populations.”

Having said that, being a child of a mother with borderline personality disorder is confusing, and downright scary at times. Below are 5 signs you have a mother with Borderline Personality Disorder:

1. You are constantly confused by her behavior.

Your mother’s behavior may be loving and nurturing one minute, and downright cruel the next. The fluctuation of behavior in a matter of minutes is nonsensical, and may have you questioning yourself and if you are actually crazy. You may leave a conversation feeling confused, angry, shocked, or bitter. The constant emotional rollercoaster may leave you wanting distance, yet still longing for your mother’s love and nurturance.

2. You feel emotionally trapped.

Your mother’s erratic behavior may make you feel emotionally trapped. You may feel suffocated, held back, or like you are drowning from your mother’s constant neediness. If she feels you are pushing her away, she acts much like a toddler clinging to a parent. She may accuse you of outrageous actions, such as plotting against her or abandoning her. Even if you do something incendiary such as not answering her phone call, she may accuse you of not wanting a relationship with her. This can make you feel anxious, guilty, and trapped in your mother’s emotional rollercoaster.

3. Your roles may be reversed.

Your mother may be in a constant state of emotional upset, and your role may be to calm and comfort her. This may leave you feeling as if your own life doesn’t matter. She may get hysterical, jealous, and emotionally manipulate you to keep control over you. You may feel sucked in, and feel it is your responsibility to “help” your mother leaving you feeling mentally and emotionally depleted. When roles are reversed, this is known as parentification (or being a parentified child). Again, according to According to Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, an“But caretaking roles are reversed for children of borderlines whose mothers are chronically upset. Children repress their fear in order to calm their mother. Situations that should frighten children may not because they have learned not to feel. A dramatic (and hopefully rare) example occurs when children rescue the borderline mother from suicide attempts.” (Lawson, 2000).

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4. She may be resentful, jealous, or diminish accomplishments.

When you accomplish something really big, such as graduating from college or getting married, she may act jealous or even sabotage your big day. An example of this is when she pouts at your wedding that “she barely got to see you”, or “you didn’t pay any attention to her”. She may somehow sabotage your big day and make it all about her in an attempt to get your attenti



5. They are paranoid and may lose touch with reality even going as far to threaten to commit suicide.

This can occur when your mother feels as though she is being abandoned. If she is feeling particularly stressed, she may begin to lose touch with reality, and act extremely paranoid. According to Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship: “Borderline mothers who threaten or attempt suicide keep their children emotionally trapped, and their children may suffer from extreme anxiety even as adults.” (Lawson, 2000). Your anxiety may heighten and you may feel as if you are on a rollercoaster of emotions with your mother that you just can’t seem to get off of.

Unfortunately, having a mother with BPD can be extremely difficult, but with help of good therapist you can learn to create a plan with how to deal with your borderline mother, even if it means getting off the emotional rollercoaster completely.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Richelle Marie


Tori Leumas on February 06, 2021:

My ex-husband’s mother is narcissistic. He is also narcissistic and has bi-polar disorder too.

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