If you have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and you have children, it’s natural that you may be concerned about whether the psychiatric disorder can be passed on to them. The answer to the question of if BPD can be passed down is both yes and no.
There is research that indicates that children with a parent who has Borderline Personality Disorder may be more likely to develop the psychiatric disorder, as it has been established that there is a genetic component. However, environment is considered to be the primary factor in developing BPD. That means even if you pass on a genetic predisposition for developing BPD, preventing your child from developing the disorder may be possible through adopting healthy parenting techniques.
Parenting is the most difficult job in the world, even for parents who do not have Borderline Personality Disorder. Those difficulties are multiplied for a parent struggling with the instability of BPD. You yourself may have been raised in a dysfunctional home where you were part of an unhealthy or abusive family dynamic. That alone can make it hard to learn how to parent using an entirely different model.
Despite the inherent challenges to parenting with Borderline Personality Disorder, it can be done. First and foremost, if you are not yet in Borderline Personality Disorder treatment, you need to get help for yourself. Your own recovery will be the single most important step toward healing yourself and your family. A BPD therapist can help you immensely in your efforts to overcome ineffective parenting habits.
How Your BPD May Effect Your Kids
Recognizing the dysfunctional aspects of the BPD parent/child relationship can help motivate you to adopt different, healthier approaches. Please keep in mind that Borderline Personality Disorder is expressed somewhat differently in each person, and this is only a partial list of behaviors associated with parents who have BPD:
- Do you put your own needs first and expect your kids to provide you with attention and love instead of the other way around? This can damage a child by inhibiting their ability to develop independence and autonomy.
- Do you rage or punish your kids when something they do inadvertently triggers your own fears of abandonment? Unprovoked blow-ups result in a household where family members live in constant fear of setting you off.
- Do you retreat from the family due to depression or engage in self-harmful behaviors and then refuse help being offered? Your kids may feel that their own needs are irrelevant as they try to “save” you.
- Do you put up a wall between yourself and others, keeping it in place through excessive criticism of your children? You may feel your child’s behavior needs to be perfect because their mistakes reflect on you. Children may fear that nothing will ever be good enough to please you.
How Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment Can Help
Borderline Personality Disorder treatment will help illuminate your triggers and teach you to avoid behaviors that can negatively impact your children. Support groups for families of people with BPD provide education, comradery, and a deeper understanding of the disorder. Family therapy in tandem with your own personal therapy is also a great way to create more open communication among family members.
Many people have experienced difficult childhoods and gone on to develop into healthy adults. If you feel you have harmed your child’s chances at overcoming a dysfunctional household, then therapy for them may be the best option to reversing some of the harm they have suffered.