The Borderline in My Daughter’s Personality – Part 2

This post is the second entry in a three-part blog.  The third part will run tomorrow.  The first part ran yesterday; you can read it here.

by:  Julie Beem

dreamstime_m_“Borderline feels like I’m going to lose my mind
You just keep on pushing my love over the borderline…”

As I read further into this article, I saw even more of my daughter’s symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder:

Feeling of Emptiness. The article points out that emptiness isn’t the same as boredom. Although I think my daughter can be bored at times, she is most often empty –feeling so unimportant that she almost doesn’t even exist. An example of this has been our quest for finding things she likes to do. Her brain doesn’t think in terms of what she “likes” to do or what makes her feel “comfortable”. Those are foreign feelings to her. When children are young, parents look for ways to keep them occupied and those ways get internalized and then become ways the individual keeps themselves busy when waiting or relaxing. Most of us do it almost automatically – reading, watching TV, knitting, crosswords, video games. Whether healthy for us or not, we all have leisure activities we like to do. My daughter does not – she struggles with being able to squelch the feelings of “nothingness” if not actively engaged by others, or involved in an organized activity. I now recognize this as part of the vast emptiness she feels.

Unstable Mood. The article points out that unlike Bipolar, where moods change over weeks or months, BPD can cause mood changes within the day or hourly. Now I know some of you raising youngsters with diagnoses of bipolar might disagree, but my daughter does not have bipolar and her mood can flip on a dime. Parents of traumatized children/those with RAD often refer to this as the “roller coaster” – and believe me, even with all of my daughter’s healing, we still have to work not to get on that roller coaster with her.

Impulsive Behavior. Ding. Ding. Ding. Impulsivity is her middle name. Not really, but itcould have been. Before the neuropsychologist gave her the diagnosis of ADHD he spent way too long explaining how unusual she was during his in-depth testing for that disorder. She showed very little distractibility or hyperactivity, but was off the charts in every measure of impulsivity. She always has been. She acts first, then sometimes thinks afterwards. It is a dangerous way to live. And contributes to her feelings of shame from her impulsive actions. Every thought that forms in her head comes out her lips. People describe her as having “no filter” – she also has no brake. (And she wonders why we won’t help her learn to drive a car.) The roller coaster just rolls on…

Julie has been ATN's Executive Director since 2009. She joined the organization in 2004 after finding incredible support from fellow ATNers when she was searching for answers about her own daughter's early childhood trauma and attachment disorders. Julie leads a staff of passionate professionals and acts as spokesperson for the organization. Prior to ATN, Julie was the president of a marketing and communications consultancy, The Epiphany Group, and has over two decades of experience in professional services marketing, strategic planning and communication strategies. As a graduate of Partners in Policymaking and through personal experience, Julie has garnered a great deal of experience in the areas of special education, school issues, and disabilities advocacy. A published author, Julie wrote a chapter in the EMK Press Adoption Parenting book and was the special needs blogger at for two years. She frequently presents workshops on attachment and trauma to local and national groups. Email Julie. Julie holds an MBA from Avila College in Kansas City and was a Certified Professional Services Marketer. Julie, and her husband Dave, are parents to four (bio, step and adoptive), including their youngest daughter, adopted from China. This daughter’s attachment difficulties and developmental trauma disorder have changed their lives significantly…in amazing ways.