Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship

Jason Aronson, Incorporated
17
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The first love in our lives is our mother. Recognizing her face, her voice, the meaning of her moods, and her facial expressions is crucial to survival. Dr. Christine Ann Lawson vividly describes how mothers who suffer from borderline personality disorder produce children who may flounder in life even as adults, futilely struggling to reach the safety of a parental harbor, unable to recognize that their borderline parent lacks a pier, or even a discernible shore. Four character profiles describe different symptom clusters that include the waif mother, the hermit mother, the queen mother, and the witch. Children of borderlines are at risk for developing this complex and devastating personality disorder themselves. Dr. Lawson's recommendations for prevention include empathic understanding of the borderline mother and early intervention with her children to ground them in reality and counteract the often dangerous effects of living with a 'make-believe' mother. Some readers may recognize their mothers as well as themselves in this book. They will also find specific suggestions for creating healthier relationships. Addressing the adult children of borderlines and the therapists who work with them, Dr. Lawson shows how to care for the waif without rescuing her, to attend to the hermit without feeding her fear, to love the queen without becoming her subject, and to live with the witch without becoming her victim. A Jason Aronson Book
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About the author

Christine Ann Lawson, Ph.D., is a clinical social worker in private practice in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has previously served as adjunct faculty at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, and Butler University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Jason Aronson, Incorporated
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Published on
Sep 1, 2000
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Pages
350
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ISBN
9780742599932
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Applied Psychology
Psychology / Cognitive Psychology & Cognition
Psychology / Developmental / Adulthood & Aging
Psychology / Developmental / Child
Psychology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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People with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorders have a serious mental illness that primarily affects their intimate, personal, and family relationships. Often they appear to be normally functioning at work and in public interactions, and Narcissists may even be highly effective, in the short term, in some work or social situations. However, in intimate relationships, they can be emotional, aggressive, demeaning, illogical, paranoid, accusing, and controlling—in the extreme. Their ability to function normally or pleasantly can suddenly change in an instant, like flipping a switch. These negative behaviors don’t happen once in a while, they happen almost continuously in their intimate relationships and most often, and especially with their Caretaker family member.

Here, Margalis Fjelstad describes how people get into a Caretaker role with a Borderline or Narcissist, and how they can get out. Caretakers give up their sense of self to become who and what the Borderline or Narcissist needs them to be. This compromises the Caretaker’s self-esteem, distorts their thinking processes, and locks them into a Victim-Persecutor-Rescuer pattern with the Borderline or Narcissist. The book looks at the underlying rules and expectations in these relationships and shows Caretaker’s how to move themselves out of these rigid interactions and into a healthier, more productive, and positive lifestyle—with or without the Borderline/Narcissistic partner or family member. It describes how to get out of destructive interactions with the Borderline or Narcissist and how to take new, more effective actions to focus on personal wants, needs, and life goals while allowing the Borderline or Narcissist to take care of themselves. It presents a realistic, yet compassionate, attitude toward the self-destructive nature of these relationships, and gives real life examples of how individuals have let go of their Caretaker behaviors with creative and effective solutions.
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