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Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable and Volatile [Kindle Edition]

Christine Ann Lawson

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This wonderfully readable book is totally devoid of jargon and pedantry. The writing is concise and simple, although the subject is complex and weighty. With picturesque nosology, Dr. Lawson writes about the waif, hermit, queen, and witch mothers. Her unique examination of borderline mothers and how they relate to their children culminates in a discussion of what can be done for both from an interpersonal perspective. Replete with clinical vignettes, this book is entertaining as well as informative. -- Peter L. Giovacchini This well-researched and beautifully written book presents in graphic, specific, clinical detail overwhelming evidence to resolve any ambiguity about the relationship of the borderline mother to her children. The many faces of the borderline mother are nicely differentiated and described. Dr. Lawson also provides guidelines on how to manage a relationship with a borderline mother constructively. A helpful read for all therapists who work with borderline patients. -- James F. Masterson Masked by a smile, behind the pinafore of maternal attachment, lurks a borderline mother. Dr. Lawson offers a compelling portrait of mothers who project massive states of confusion and terror into their children. She presents a variety of mothers, including the make-believe mother, the fairy tale mother, the queen and witch mother, along with specific clinical suggestions for dealing with each type. This spellbinding contribution to the literature provides effective treatment procedures for therapists working within the spectrum of borderline phenomenology. -- Joan Lachkar Childhood lived with a borderline mother results in an unspeakable tragedy. Few of the child's developmental needs are met because the mother cannot be a parent. Consequently, the child is programmed for a lifelong struggle against failure. For over twenty years, people have shared their own agonizing stories with me, looking to my journey for a sense of hope. The compassionate understanding and professional assistance in this book are a road map out of failure. -- Christina Crawford


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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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.6 von 5 Sternen  263 Rezensionen
749 von 760 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Absolutely necessary 31. Januar 2006
Von Ms. Standfast - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I have to laugh when I survey some of the critical reviews below, which claim this book is "imaginative literature" or is unhelpful because it has a "negative view" of borderline mothers. I can only conclude that anyone who finds this book overly imaginative or negative did not have the pleasure of growing up under the reign of terror inflicted by a mother with a rip-roaring personality disorder.

I don't to this day know if my mother was a pathological narcissist or a high-functioning borderline of the type Lawson describes as "Queen" and "Witch" (despite the detractors, she is very careful to say that these terms describe symptom clusters, not individuals, and that any borderline can veer between all four of her loosely labeled types). It does not matter, as in practice there is almost nothing to choose between the two disorders and (psychiatry being an inexact science) we may learn there is no hard distinction. Like narcissists, the less self-blaming types of borderline - as Lawson points out - are in denial about the notion that they might have a serious defect. They are not going to assume responsibility, or seek treatment unless it is a way to get attention and reinforce victim status without coming to grips with their own conduct.

I spent - wasted - twenty years of my adult life believing that the mother who had made me miserable for the previous twenty could somehow be communicated with, humanized, and redeemed. Why she made her husband and child so miserable - and why no amount of accommodation on the part of either had any helpful effect - remained a mystery until I first read about malignant narcissism and borderline disorder. Complete validation of what we went through had to wait until I read this book. Far from simply seeming insightful because it "reminds us of people we know," as one carping reviewer says below, this book made sense of my life. As for the complaint that the book villainizes mothers, I find that connecting the dots, which no other book has done for me so far - even those billed as self-help - actually makes it possible for me to feel some compassion for my mother, who behaved in ways that make compassion virtually impossible.

Children of mothers with a severe personality disorder are, as Lawson says, nearly as helpless as prisoners in concentration camps. Their emotional Hell is concealed from a world that sees only the facade and wonders what is wrong with the child; no one grasps the uncertainty, chronic negation and lack of support they endure - because their mothers are incapable of giving what they do not have. Lawson's accounts, drawn from the literature and her clinical experience, not only echo but explain what I have witnessed. They also explain why I escaped without becoming totally dysfunctional - because there were a few sane adults who made connections with me. The moral obligation of witnesses to protect and help children of these mothers is the most urgent message of this book; it is the only text I have encountered that describes the desperation of their - our - predicament.

Sufferers from severe BPD are just that, and I am as sorry for their unhappiness as I am for any misfortune, but what happens to their children is the equivalent of a natural disaster, and a preventable one. This book is invaluable both to people involved in the moment with a borderline mother who has custody of minor children, and to the grown children of such women. In a society that still mystifies motherhood and in which children are increasingly isolated with their mothers, it ought to be required reading for anyone who gives a damn about their fellow man.
201 von 204 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Welcome Find 17. Dezember 2000
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is a lifeline to sanity for any child of a mother who suffers from borderline personality disorder. The first chapters dissect this complex disease more thoroughly than I've read in any other book, and the final section explains how to cope with the volatile relationships that form between mother and child. Every page contains a wealth of information that is simultaneously therapeutic and proactive. The validation that came with being able to relate to the experiences of other children living with this was priceless (as well as being long overdue). I have read dozens of books about borderline personality disorder, but none (until now) addressed the consequences the disease has on children of mothers suffering from the disorder. The book seems to focus on the relationships daughters have with their borderline mothers, but does deal with the impact it has on sons, as well.
86 von 88 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen PHENOMENAL! 10. August 2005
Von Stephen J. Prosapio - Veröffentlicht auf
I need to add myself to this growing list of people who are praising this amazing book. If you find yourself questioning your relationship with your mother, or think there "might be something wrong with her, but I just don't know what it is," BUY and READ this book immediately. I found myself at such a crossroads wanting to believe that there was something tangibly wrong with my mom other than she was "just a bit- -." This book exploded my awareness. Furthermore in sharing it with my siblings it created a life-changing awareness shift in all of us. I went back to read something in the book after I had lent it to my brother and was shocked to find that he, like I had underlined and written comments in the book such as "OH MY GOD I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS HAPPENED TO SOMEONE ELSE!" or "HOLY CR- -, MOM SAID THIS SAME EXACT THING." We who have been raised by someone with this mental illness NEED to come to grips that we are NOT alone, we are NOT crazy, it is NOT our fault. This book does this and more.

To some of the "negative" comments or "shortcomings" about this book in previous this book is not the end all and does not offer "the answer" to solve the Borderline's or the Children's issues....that is not it's goal. It's goal is to very accurately describe and validate experiences we have been through so that WE and others can appreciate what we've been through. This is necessary before the healing can begin. I recommend this book to people questioning their mother's illness. I recommend this book to people who know and are dealing with the fact that their mother suffers from BPD. I recommend this book to any therapist who is treating someone who has or was raised by a BPD. This is a phenomenal piece of work!
137 von 144 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Great for children and BPD parents as well. 30. September 2003
Von "valkyrie133" - Veröffentlicht auf
As a child of a bordeline mother and a borderline mother myself, I found this book invaluable. Determined not to make the same mistakes my mother made, although I have been in therapy for nearly 5 years, and making good progress, I was poorly equipped to understand everything that I was doing, and I was able to see in the mirror, so to speak, by reading this book. I have tried to get my 15 year old daughter to read it without success. Perhaps later when she is more receptive to the fact that her mother is flawed and can accept my apologies for my behaviors she will read it. As soon as I was diagnosed I sent her to therapy, which has been invaluable to her.
One of the things I like about this book are the references to Lewis Carrol's "Alice in WOnderland". Carroll (Charles Dodgson) was hypothesized to be a boderline in the book "The Agony of Lewis Carroll", which is an excellent treatment of his work, I believe, although it has been shot down by Caroll scholars.
BPD is a terrible illness. I'd rather have anything else, as the self-loathing, rigidity and delusions are so irrational and so difficult to rid oneself of. The AVERAGE length of therapy for BPD for a patient going twice a week used to be four years. Most insurance plans don't support that type of therapy, and many victims don't have insurance. Many give up because they dont have the community networks to support them.
BPD replicates itself in families and is growing in numbers. It knows no income level, no race or nationality. It has existed for centuries, and its dimensions are just being understood.
Encourage your library to put this book on their shelf as it is a great mental health resource.
48 von 48 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen outstanding book, with a couple of minor caveats 7. April 2003
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
When I received this book I immediately started on it, and I was pleasantly surprised, this book is excellent. I expected to find my mom in the description of the "Waif", but was surprised to find her also in the "Queen" and the "Witch". I think I underlined most parts in the description of the "Queen" so a lot hit home there. This book was accurate enough about a lot of things to leave me almost breathless and feeling a bit in shock, when I first read it.
The book is written from a psychodynamic perspective, which means that the author feels that our weaknesses as humans are grounded in our childhood pains. The way to wholeness and healing, according to this point of view, is to heal our past pains often through therapy. I tend to agree with much in this perspective, and also disagree with some of it. For instance Dr. Lawson claims that "all-bad" children of borderline mothers are virtually destined to become borderline themselves, and I think the disorder is much too complex for such a sweeping statement. There can even for some people be some freedom in being "all-bad" as the borderline mother is easier to write off in our own minds from that perspective. BPD is partially based in childhood traumas, partially based in brain chemistry, and partially based in something the scientific community has not yet pecked down and proven exactly what is.
Within 3 days I read the book 3 times. Underlining stuff that pertains to me and my mom. Then I sat down and wrote a long description of my mom as a borderline, and how she influenced me. Writing about how the different profiles intermingled, played off each other, and ultimately how it influenced me. This exercise helped me immensely to understand a lot of things. I think every adult child with a borderline mother should read this book for sure, and reread it several times as well. The material in the book is immensely important, well written and clear. For me at this point especially the descriptions of how the "all-good" and "all-bad" roles influences a child helped me tremendously. I am sure in teh future other parts of hte book will speak to me more.
I think Dr. Lawson could have done a little better outlining the fathers and their profiles, as those descriptions did not go much in depth, and I didnt feel they really hit the mark as well as the other parts of the book.
I also wish Dr. Lawson would have spend a little more energy on outlining possible communication techniques with the borderline mother. Although I might be saying this now, but when I really sit down and work through that part of the book I might change my mind, as it was there for me to dive in to.
Overall, a very important book, with outstanding material. A few parts could be improved, but nothing is ever perfect. :o).
Dr. Lawson, thank you for an important book
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