You noticed the symptoms. You researched the disorder. You made an appointment to have your daughter assessed, and she received the diagnosis you suspected. And now you’re wondering if you’re to blame. You can’t resist asking yourself, “Is it my fault my daughter has borderline personality disorder?”
What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline personality disorder, or BPD, is a complex and often-misunderstood mental health condition. The primary characteristics of BPD are impulsivity and instability, especially in the context of a person’s relationships and self-image.
In the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), BPD is classified as a Cluster B personality disorder. The other three disorders in Cluster B are antisocial personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder. The DSM-5 describes people with Cluster B personality disorders as often acting in a “dramatic, emotional, or erratic” manner.
Most sources report that women account for about 75% of people who are diagnosed with BPD. However, some research indicates that the disorder actually affects men and women at an equal rate. Possible reasons for this diagnostic discrepancy include clinician bias, sampling bias, and the influence of culturally defined gender expectations.
Signs Your Daughter Has Borderline Personality Disorder
To be accurately diagnosed with borderline personality disorder as this condition is defined in the DSM-5, your daughter must meet at least five of the following nine criteria:
- She makes frantic efforts to avoid being rejected or abandoned, even when there is no actual indication that rejection or abandonment is likely.
- She has a history of intense but unstable relationships. During her relationships, she has a habit of suddenly shifting between idealizing her partner and devaluing them.
- She exhibits a clearly unstable self-image or sense of who she is.
- She acts impulsively in at least two of the following potentially dangerous areas: sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating, and spending.
- She frequently engages in behaviors or makes threats related to self-harm or suicide.
- She goes through periods of intense irritability or anxiety that may last from a few hours to a few days.
- She has a chronic, persistent sense of emotional emptiness.
- She quickly becomes angry for little to no apparent reason, which often leads to violent outbursts and physical confrontations.
- She has occasional episodes of paranoia or dissociation (which may include feeling detached from her body, thoughts, feelings, or environment).
Is It My Fault My Daughter Has Borderline Personality Disorder?
When your child is diagnosed with a serious mental health concern such as BPD, it is common to wonder if you have somehow contributed to your child’s struggles. For example, countless parents have likely asked themselves variations of the question, “Is it my fault my daughter has borderline personality disorder?”
Attempting to determine the cause of any mental health disorder is a complex endeavor that rarely identifies a single conclusive cause. In most cases, a variety of factors are responsible for a person’s struggles with mental illness.
In terms of BPD, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has reported that the following can increase a person’s risk:
- Having a parent or sibling who also has BPD
- Certain structural or functional variations in the brain
- Being abused or neglected during childhood
- Conflicts or instability in prior relationships
The harsh truth is that if you abused, neglected, or otherwise traumatized your daughter during her childhood, these actions may have contributed to her development of BPD.
On a more positive note, if you raised your daughter in a loving and supportive environment, the answer to the question, “Is it my fault my daughter has borderline personality disorder?” is no – you are not to blame for your daughter’s mental health struggles.
How to Help Your Daughter with Borderline Personality Disorder
If your daughter has borderline personality disorder, the best way you can help her is to connect her with the professional care she needs. Your love, compassion, and support will continue to be extremely important – but they cannot replace quality clinical care.
The type of symptoms your daughter has been experiencing and the degree to which these symptoms have disrupted her life can determine which level or levels of care are right for her. At Peachtree Wellness Solutions, we offer programming for BPD at the following levels:
- Residential mental health treatment
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
Some people who struggle with BPD only need to spend time in one of these programs. Others may begin at the residential level, then transition into our PHP and/or our IOP for step-down support.
It’s important to remember that there is no single perfect type of treatment for BPD. When you are evaluating programs for your daughter, you should focus on finding the provider whose services and treatment philosophy align most closely with your daughter’s strengths, needs, goals, and preferences.
Find Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder in Atlanta, GA
Peachtree Wellness Solutions is a highly regarded provider of personalized care for adults in the Atlanta area whose lives have been disrupted by borderline personality disorder and other complex mental health concerns. Our center is a safe and welcoming place where your daughter can receive customized clinical services from a team of dedicated professionals. Throughout our continuum of care, your daughter can work in active collaboration with experts who can help her regain control of her thoughts and behaviors, so that she can live a much healthier and more satisfying life.To learn more about our programming or to schedule a free assessment for your daughter, please visit our admissions page or call our center today.