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Old 04-11-2008, 10:53 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: South Carolina
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worried4bro HB User
borderline personality

My brother has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and sexual addiction. It is tearing our family apart. He is 30 and still lives with my parents who support him financially in between employment. He is incredibly intelligent and gets amazing high paying jobs and then, like last night, calls my parents from a gas station/bar/jail/you-name-it at 3am and asks them to come get him. Sometimes he doesn't know where he is because he's so drunk. He does not drink often, but when he does it is to excess. My parents are almost 65 and would like to retire--if they didn't have to support my brother financially they could retire in style, but they are worried about making it if they are constantly having to post bail, pay for lawyers, pay his insurance, medical bills, phone bills, etc. Ridiculous, I know! And super frustrating b/c no matter how many times I tell them to cut him lose, they refuse.
A little background...both my brother and I are adopted and my parents felt they needed to make up for any rejection we might have felt by spoiling us. But we were babies when we were adopted and growing up I never felt anything but special. GREAT childhood, but no responsibility. I am married and living in a different state now. My brother was committed to a mental health facility after his third DUI and running from the police, but he didn't like it so my parents paid $10,000 to get him released early. He came out with stories about how much everyone loved him and what a BMOC he was in there. Symptoms of borderline personality disorder, right?
Anyway, for my own health and well being (and, honestly, marriage) I have been trying to extricate myself from my brother's and parents' mess. I don't think my parents are helping my brother at all. I think they are making it worse...and now they are drinking heavily every night. I am at a loss as to what has happened to my family!
Is anyone else having similar problems? I feel very alone, although I know our situation is not unique by any means. Oh, this past "run" at responsibility my brother has had has been the longest. He finished another semester of school, has an incredible job at a law firm, and we've been talking several times a week. All good signs...and then last night the 3am call. I'm worried my dad won't make it to retirement. This is killing him. I welcome any and ALL suggestions/comments. Sorry for the long post. Can you tell I don't have anyone to talk to about this?

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Old 04-12-2008, 01:56 PM   #2
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Re: borderline personality

Hello worried,

The behaviors that your brother is exhibiting can quite possibly be based on the fact that he knows there is a safety net; that being your parents.

I dislike saying this but your parents are enabling him.

Where does parental responsibility truly end for a son or daughter; legally it varies from 18 to 21.

Unofficially, it can be much longer.

It seems that tough love is in order.

Your brother needs to be held accountable for his actions.

As long as they keep bailing him out, the likelihood that more of the same will follow is inevitable.

Take care.


Last edited by Phoenix; 04-13-2008 at 11:33 AM. Reason: spelling

Old 04-13-2008, 09:40 AM   #3
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nerfmom HB User
Re: borderline personality

Right on, Phoenix!

Old 04-13-2008, 10:39 AM   #4
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worried4bro HB User
Re: borderline personality

I completely agree, thanks for the support. Unfortunately, no matter how many times I try to explain that to my parents, nothing comes of it. "We just can't abandon him, " they say. At this point I think they need him as much as he needs them. It's a huge mess. I'm tired of banging my head against the wall trying to help.

Old 04-13-2008, 11:42 AM   #5
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Re: borderline personality

Hello worried,

It is not so much abandoning him as it is teaching him a lesson.

I hope that this doesn't happen but one day he may create such a jam for himself; the type that even your parent's money cannot solve.



Old 06-25-2008, 12:02 PM   #6
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Canada
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misskitty88 HB User
Re: borderline personality

I completely understand your position, worried.

Unfortunately I have no answers other than to say you're not alone. If you read my post here: [url][/url]
you might find some relief there.

As much as I, personally, hate standing by and watching things get worse, I have to remember I can't be a part of the enabling. In this case it seems helping doesn't help. Ironic isn't it?

Of course being in this position makes you feel like a terrible daughter/son because you refuse to help but by helping you're dragging yourself (and your life) through the pig pen of someone elses mess. And if no one changes...then nothing changes so you might as well be the first one to take 'action' by not taking any.

Hopefully the rest of them will follow but sometimes, just like anyone going through a personal crisis, it takes hitting rock bottom to truly see that there's a problem. I'm sure your parents worry about what would happen to him if they 'let him go' and let him suffer the consequences of his actions, and that's perfectly understandable; I think that's my parents reasoning too because he's never had to. But like Phoneix said, things will only repeat and possibly continue to get worse since there are no consequences. I'm watching things go from bad to worse and its not pretty but...what can I/you do?

Last edited by misskitty88; 06-25-2008 at 12:10 PM.

Old 06-27-2008, 10:50 AM   #7
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sophie56 HB User
Re: borderline personality

Worried, I have an identical PLUS problem. My brother even went to prison for 6 months. When he was released I took him into my home on the condition that if he drank again he was to leave. He was wonderful for 18 months and started again. I ask him to leave or stop and told him he would get no more help from our family if he left. He left. With the tough love he got 100 times worse. He is on the verge of going back to prison......could it get worse.....OH YeS I just found out he has hepatitis C and has had it for years. He takes no medication (no money or insurance) he has exposed many people (it is transferred by blood only) but my son told me he used his razor alot while he lived here. I am hysterical about that! BTW he is 50...this type stuff has gone on since he was 13. Tough love does not always work. I pray it does for most. I have the best husband, life, children anyone could dream of and I am depressed, anxiety ridden, and a wreck and it's because of him and my family suffers and all I can do is pray and make my own husband and kids miserable
and they don't deserve it. Good Luck and prayers to anyone who goes through this.

Old 08-28-2008, 07:36 PM   #8
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waratah HB User
Re: borderline personality

Hi worried4bro,
After reading through this thread, I feel that I just had to post a reply to your concerns for your brother with Borderline Personality Disorder, and also for those well meaning people who have responded to your post. This is going to be a long post, so I hope you will bear with me on this one.

I am a recently diagnosed BPD person too. Very mild now (thank goodness), and recently I began a journey of research and discovery about this disorder through reading various medical and non-medical books, journal articles, and peer reviewed medical papers. It has been such an enlightening expereince, because, whilst my BPD is very mild , when I am on a downhill slide, anything, and I mean absoulutely ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

When the psychological slide begins, I am not thinking with my rational brain, but have a distorted view of myself, the world around me, the people in it, and my relationship with the events and people around me. This can lead me to saying, doing, thinking, contemplating and feeling all manner of inappropriate things. As much as I try to prevent this horrible feeling by being good to myself with propper exercise, nutition, rest, relaxation, good freinds, good marriage, stimulating work, my efforts to stop this slide are ineffective. Incapable and ineffective in dragging myself upwards and out of this psychological slide, I begin falling further and further downwards, and reach a critical point of no return. This is a really really frightening experience. At this point, I feel, know and realise there is something very wrong, but I am unable to turn the tide, on extreme anxiety, panic, suicidal ideation, impulisvity, paranoid ideation, dissassociation, intense emotions, and needing to meet my needs for relief from these horrible feelings in any way possible, engage in behaviour that brings relief from feeling so horrible. The paradox is that releif is only very fleeting and temporary, and often self injurious (thankfully not self-mutilation) such as engaging in sexual encounters that are immediately and intensely regretfull. I did a lot of this behaviour during my late teens and early 20's. And it took me a while to begin to figure out that being obsessed with sex, was my way of satisfying needs for intimacy and belonging. Stopping this cycle was a very very difficult task with many many regressions.

I am now a professional woman of some 47 years, two teenage kids, hubby of 16+ years, but those exact same feelings of psychological downturns, and needing to meet my emotional needs are still with me. These intense feelings have never ever gone away, and still lurk in the background waiting for opportunities to emerge, but I no longer engage in disinhibited behaviour - but it's definitley still with me constantly. This is likely to occur when I am tired, overwhellmed, exhausted and my 'BPD triggers' are stimulated. e.g intense sensitivity to rejection, mistrust of others motives. etc.

BPD is a very very complex condition, that manifests differently in each person. From the onlookers perspective, witnessing erratic self-injurious behaviour, that stresses and alarms friends and family members, is behaviour interpreted as manipulative, self seeking and needing modification by withdrawing emotional and psycholocigal support from the BPD person. A number of posters have viewed support persons (e.g parents) as 'enabling' the BPD persons behaviour. When support is withdrawn, the BPD behaviour doesn't improve, but only worsens. There is no supprise there, because the BPD behaviour is not related or caused by people surrounding the BPD person. The extreme BPD behaviour is a desparate attemt by the persown with BPD, to meet their psychological needs for escape from feeling just so intensely horrible. Part of the milieu is that the BPD person either lacks or has limited insight into their current state of psycholgical distress. Their feeling intensely, but are unable to express these feelings of desparation and despair, other than through acts that being reflief from the horrible feeling.

Recently, more research and publication has occured about this conditon which has marked biological, environmetnal and personality variables. I would urge you to begin reading some great recently published books which you'll be able to get hold of through a library, or book seller. I've read quite a number of books lately and a couple I've found realy quite good are listed below:-

2008, Roy Krawitz and Wendy Jackson, ‘Borderline Personality Disorder: The facts’, Oxford University Press, New York. ISBN13: 9780199202966ISBN10: 0199202966
2007, Alexander Chapman, Kim Gratz, Perry Hoffman, ‘The Borderline Personality Survival Guide: Everything you need to know about living with BPD’, New Harbinger Publications, ISBN: 1572245077

Also, I appreciate how angry you must be with your brother and his behaviour, but I truly believe that understanding, and being empowered to seek help is a good start in beginning to reclaiming your life, and the life of your parents and brother too.

Good luck, do let me know how you're getting on, and please read the personality disorder board where you'll find interesting vignettes on BPD, the distress it causes sufferers, and some useful information too.

Kind Regards, waratah x x x

I also urge other people who've posted on this thread, to read the Personality Disorder board to understand more about this condition. BPD stigma, ignorance and bigottry will only be assuaged through knowldge, education and understanding.

Old 09-04-2008, 03:03 AM   #9
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Gia029 HB User
Re: borderline personality

I also worry about my brother. He was in and out of jail throughout his teenage years,addicted to drugs and he is now 28 and addicted to cocaine. He was married for 2 years to a responsible girl who really loved him however his addictions and infidelity ruined that. He got a divorce and has been with a 19 year old girl who is no good for him. She does drugs too and they get into fights and she calls the cops on him. He is never without a job but has self destructive behaviour. I can relate to what you are saying about your parents constantly helping him out. Sometimes what a person needs is tough love but if they are sick they do need support. My brother is an alchoholic and when this past summer he lived with my parents he pretty much came out and said he needed help but he wasn't willing to accept the help. You can't help someone who truely doesn't want the help. I hope your parents can release themselves from constantly bailing your brother out. My parents did the same thing and it did my brother no good to constantly having someone bail him out. Don't worry yourself too much as it is out of your control. What will be will be and it is in your parents hands to decide what kind of retirement they will have. With kind regards I can sympathise

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