Whenever I talk about the subject of my book, at parties or with other groups, a few women around me begin to nod and then chime in with stories of their own mothers. I hate to malign moms, being one myself, but it seems that a number of us had challenging relationships with mothers who may not have had borderline personality disorder but at least exhibited some of its traits.
This is not so surprising. Studies have shown around two to three percent of Americans suffer from BPD (most of them women). A 2009 study, in fact, indicated that a whopping six percent are so inclined. That amounts to three times the number of Alzheimers patients, an astounding 18 million people. If these figures are true, a lot of us had borderline mothers. I’ve written about this phenomenon before (here and here).
When people hear my experience, they want to share their own. The dialogue begins with horror stories, but after some venting, it can move gradually toward understanding and even forgiveness. The more you know about the disorder, frustrating and infuriating as it can be, the more you realize that the sufferer struggles more than you do. I’ll admit this is an easier realization when your mom is gone, you have time to reflect, and you’re dealing with painful memories rather than ongoing anger and judgments.
Even unpublished, my book has begun the dialogue on a small scale. Maybe you can relate. If so, what stories would you share?