This I may sound extremely harsh but it is based on personal experience. Under no circumstances would I recommend taking advice from Church members or leaders on this matter. I came very close to committing suicide trying to follow the policies of the Church and seek counsel from them. They lack knowledge and training in mental health issues. Get advice from trained mental health professionals on these matters. Your bishop might be a good man, but he may or may not be giving you good advice on how to proceed. Borderline is a terrible mental illness. Its sufferers can be desparate people. And I know in my case several bishops tried to convince me what a wonderful man my husband was. One tried to blame me for what was happening. I shall be forever grateful the Lord spoke directly one night to a friend to tell her I was in terrible trouble and needed her help. Shee came immediately. But note, it was not my home teacher, visiting teacher or bishop whom the Lord contacted. It was someone humble enough to hear His voice.
And do not think priesthood blessings will always help. Our elders quorum president committed suicide when he could feel another attack of his mental illness coming on and could not bear it again. Our bishop had promised him in a blessing that he would be healed. When his mental illness took control, he would disappear for weeks visiting prostitutes. After decades of suffering, he could not go through the process again. The members of the Church need to speak openly and honestly about these issues. Our head in the sand attitudes are destructive both to the mentally ill and to their families. So does our substitution of priesthood blessings for real priesthood power, a problem Joseph Smith warned priesthood holders about over 100 years ago, but which we obviously have failed to understand.
There is a wonderful website online for those who are dealing with loved ones who suffer from borderline. It is bpdfamily.com. The message board allows people to tell their individual stories and receive encouragement from others suffering through the same or similar experiences. For a time we had a thread going for LDS people. Although our experiences are not so different from others, they did include some weird permutations, such as a young woman whose mother reported the young woman's pursuit of a return missionary to marry while leaving 6-packs of beer and birth control on top of her bed for her mother to find, a former wife whose husband used polygamy to justify his adultery, and those who used other Church members and leaders to try to guilt people into doing what the person with Borderline wanted done. And yes, the misuse of doctrine and the commandments are frequently used as tools to manipulate others. My former husband's favorite borderline behavior toward me was to crow to me about his new temple sealing and eternal family once he had finally been allowed to be sealed to the woman he got pregnant while he was still married to me. I am afraid I still anger when I think about how my protests to Salt Lake were ignored. People really fail to listen when they believe they are already in possession of all the information they need. I am extremely grateful President Monson finally changed the policy to allow temple dealings to be cancelled without an immediate new marriage. I am sorry it took the General Authorities so long to see the need for us to escape our abusers. I had actually suffered a breakdown from my inability to get away from my ex-husband prior to this change in practice. And yes, I had protested, but to no avail.
The site also includes a number of educational videos to help families learn appropriate coping skills. Good luck. You will need it, both in dealing with the borderline and in dealing with family, friends and Church members and leaders.
Thank you for addressing borderline even though I would have liked to see more explanation of the way those suffering from it behave. One of the problems I faced in a family relationship with someone with borderline was that those not undergoing the abuse simply did not understand how people used others to manipulate me. Plus, they seemed unwilling to believe that this mental illness could exist in LDS people, particularly in the extremely destructive version I was facing. Education is needed.
sounds like your mother has a borderline personality disorder and if that is truly the case then she is ill. dealing with someone who has an illness like this is hard and very emotional. right now im dealing with my mother who has alzheimers and the bad kind. I finally got her into a memory care facility that threw her out and then I got her into another one and they are managing to be around her. she was so negative to my husband that it was harming him. he couldn't handle it and I love both. I was caught in the middle. I knew I couldn't take her in and she wore me out and exhausted my husband. only specialists can handle this and it cost loads of money. I pray we can keep her in this special place. my parents were abusive to all of us kids when we were little and on into our adulthood. it took time but I forgave them both. its a love hate relationship which I didn't hate my parents but I hated what they were doing. as a result we didn't have a close relationship towards the end of their lives as my father has passed away and I didn't get to see him because of my mother. and now I am the one who is taking care of her needs. I trust in the Lord and as long as I do I can do anything.
The only words I can think to share are: Be Very Careful.
Setting boundaries for people with Borderline can trigger outrageous behavior. There is a reason people suffering this disorder make up such a large percentage of both our prison and our mental institution populations.
I liked the comments by Lynn Marie and Lecture-free. My mother had Narcissistic Personality Disorder and she created all sorts of wreckage in the family. She was a sinking ship and staying too close meant to go down into the vortex. She always considered me extremely selfish because I had to distance myself in order to develop into healthy personhood. We lived far away by choice. I always was cordial and pleasant, but it was so very difficult. My spiritual healing through the atonement and priesthood power did not come until I was 60, and even so, I am missing a huge part of life that my friends enjoy = a loving mother. I have broken this chain myself (her mother was also a narcissist) by joining the Church and raising a happy family. I too am looking forward to reconnecting with her in the next life, stripped of her mental problems. We will have to start over, but I think it will be wonderful.
Following my former husband's death a few years ago, I received an inspired priesthood blessing telling me that if I searched for the answer to what had really been happening, I would find it. It was Borderline Personality Disorder. His story was so horrific I will spare you the details. But no one can spare the sufferers or their families from the despair this illness brings to lives. I feel like I lived my life in Outer Darkness while everyone at Church thought my husband was such a great guy. Of course, that all changed when he was excommunicated for adultery. Then they had judgement for him. Never was their true understanding.
Mental illness is the true test of Christianity, one we in the Church fail almost every time.
I was married to someone with Borderline. His behavior was simply not understandable by others, with deceit and threats and manipulation and gaslighting and threats of violence, accompanying his sincere missionary attempts to share the Gospel and regular Church attendance. Ward members, including many leaders, were deceived, making the whole situation a nightmare. I could not even discuss it for decades, just had to turn my back on the entire experience. Good luck. I hope your outcome is better than mine. The specific counsel I received in the temple from our sealer was to follow my husband. I have never recovered from my attempt to be obedient to that and to the Lord's direction to me to marry him in the temple. It destroyed my life. This is one ghastly mental illness. I actually contacted the Church leaders through my stake president and local Seventy. The president of the First Council of Seventies sent back a lovely letter but the Church leaders just do not seem to understand the real effects of these illnesses on families. I write as much as I can in an attempt to educate people but they do not want to believe something like this can exist. It upended their ideas of moral agency and accountability. But I believe we could save many families from divorce if only we understood mental illness better. I find it telling that the divorce rate in Utah County closely matches that of serious mental illness such as Borderline and bipolar. And I will not even go into what effect these illnesses, undiagnosed or untreated, have on the children. Real belief and real empathy are needed.
You can be pro-active. Do nice things for her that are not expected. Make positive memories when possible. Someday she will pass on and you will be grateful for those memories. Search for things you both enjoy, like flowers, movies etc. As I dealt with this situation, after my mother's death, I slowly got rid of all the bad feelings and memories only to find that there was nothing left of our relationship. It is of great comfort to know that mental illness is mortal and will be healed in the after life. The atonement heals not only what was done to us but also what we may have done to others. I look forward to getting to know my mother as she truly is without the mental illness.
I very much appreciate this reply! We are the ones who set boundaries as to what we can tolerate; no one else. The only way I could keep a civil association with one parent, who lectured me like a child even into my 60's, was by setting boundaries which ended up with us only communicating by letter, even though we lived 20 minutes from each other. We would see each other at birthdays and holidays, but when the lectures started my wife and I had believable pre-arranged reasons for us to leave all worked out.
Email (will not be published)
Daily news, articles, videos and podcasts sent straight to your inbox.