Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition where the afflicted individual has a pathological fear of abandonment, tends to have very unstable relationships and displays impulsive behavior. They are likely to suffer from anxiety and depression and can also experience very quick and dramatic mood swings. They can have great difficulty reading and understanding the emotions of others which causes problems in forming healthy, long term relationships.
In some ways people with borderline personality disorder display behavior very similar to a Narcissist. They can be highly manipulative, domineering, and unusually selfish. Like Narcissists, borderlines lack empathy but they are likely to appear empathetic when they emotionally manipulate others for their own benefit.
Fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce; many are toxic. But relatively few are so toxic that Parental Alienation becomes a factor. Most parents, even if they are fighting, understand it is in their children's best interest to maintain a warm and loving relationship with both. Parental Alienation occurs when one of the parents is plagued with a serious personality disorder. The disorder may be a lifetime scourge but may not reveal its horrific symptoms until a divorce becomes toxic. Narcissism seems to be the primary culprit but Borderline Personality Disorder is often associated by mental health professionals with overt attempts to alienate children from a parent. Most Parental Alienation campaigns are orchestrated by women against the ex-spouse who typically is fighting for visitation rights. And, coincidentally, Borderline Personality Disorder has been diagnosed more often in women.
When I first researched BPD I felt that it was more benign than narcissism because for unknown reasons it seemed to be more of a real illness. But, real illness or not, the resultant devastation imposed on the children is just as severe and can have lifelong ramifications. For more on this read the page on Adult Victims Of Parental Alienation.
Both borderlines and alienators typically believe their children cannot love the other parent without ceasing to love them. So, the insecurity and fear of abandonment caused by the disorder often leads them to take action to protect themselves and prevent the loss of their children. Though not necessarily clear to the targeted parent the campaign of denigration and alienation is likely to begin well prior to any divorce proceedings. It may continue for years.
Borderliners are emotionally immature parents who will always put themselves ahead of all others, including their own children. Their penchant for abuse and denigration of a spouse almost guarantees that the children will become part of every conflict between the parents. It is not that people with BPD consciously and intentionally want to destroy others. They just do, probably because they have so much difficulty with empathy and understanding their own as well as other people's emotions.
Click on the link to read The National Institute of Mental Health's description of Borderline Personality Disorder.
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