View Full Version : ADHD & Borderline Personality Disorder

06-02-04, 05:43 PM
Hi Everyone,
I am dealing with a bit of a situation with my boyfriend's sister. First off, we all have ADHD. I have been on meds for 5 months and am doing well. My boyfriend just started meds and is not feeling effects yet, but we're still hopful. His sister on the other hand.... has ADHD and is not on meds. To add to the problem she has a borderline personality disorder and is having a rough time right now. She's 40 years old, no job, living with mom who drives her crazy, no insurance, no meds, no therapy and up my ars if you know what I mean. My boyfriend I don't think is aware of her borderline condition. It's a weird family - they don't communicate AT all. His older sister (a nurse) clued me in to her issues. So, my man views his sister as really down on her luck right now (which she is) but he is blind to her manipulations and lies that come from the borderline disorder. She seems to be very jealous of me and somewhat resentful. I guess there's no rational reasoning for it. But she will often take jabs at me when my man's looking the other way. If I try to tell him his sister is being weird or mean to me or manipulating him, he acts as if I am picking on her and gets very sensitive about the whole situation.

So, long story short (too late... I know) does anyone have experience in dealing with borderlines? It's really very frustrating especially since I don't understand a lot about it yet. All the info on the web is pretty general and I was wondering if anyone has any personal stories they can share that might give me some insight here.

Best Regards,

06-02-04, 06:10 PM
Hi, Vero! Well, to make a long story short, I have ADD, OCD, depression/anxiety, AND Borderline Personality Disorder. Trust me, it's not fun!

I've had problems of all kinds for a LONG time, but honestly, it wasn't until I was finally diagnosed and placed on meds and took the time to learn about it all and start to "retrain" my thinking and my behaviors that I could actually even THINK about getting better. LOL. I've come a LONG way in the past couple of years since starting meds and all. I KNOW I was difficult to live with...just ask my family and hubby. LOL

There have been MANY times in my life where I have been "down on my luck", etc etc..and to this day, I will struggle with making amends with those times...because many of these periods of my life brought me to where I am now, much to my dismay. The thing is, it wasn't until I myself confronted my issues that I began to make any progress. Family and friends would constantly get on me for the way I was (and sometimes still am..ack) but nothing would sink in until I LET it. I know that's probably not what you want to hear. But, believe me, if no one was pointing it out to me, I probably wouldn't be much better to this day.

I knew that I had to be held accountable for my behavior. That was the number one thing that I had to get through my thick skull before I could make any progress to get better. It's especially hard, too, when...though I had behaviors that were just not great on a developmental side....but many others as well that spurred from neurobiological problems. I'm still trying to distinguish the 2 at times. lol

Might I suggest a book....It's "I hate you-don't leave me". It goes into good detail on each of the symptoms, treatment techniques, etc....lots of case studies. Can't think of the Author at the moment...ack.

Not sure if this helps, but feel free to ask me more questions if you'd like. :D

06-04-04, 11:35 PM
Hi Jaime!
Thanks for the reply! Sounds like you've had it pretty rough. If you don't mind me asking, how old were you when you finally went for treatment of BPD? My bf's sis as I said is 40. She's been in therapy for the ADD and a few other things but never the borderline condition. She's also never been on meds for it. I'm not even sure she realizes she has it. Her sister (the nurse) got her some antidepressants so hopefully that will help somewhat for now. I pretty much guessed that she would have to hit rock bottom before anything changes. It's hard to deal with though. Especially since my bf is just starting to deal with his ADD difficulties (finally!) That's hard enough - he's a typical man - doesn't want to know about anything let alone deal with something that might stir up some emotions. But he also has to constantly nurture his older sister. He is the only sibling in the family that will still indulge her constant state of crisis. Everyone else kinda knows better. He doesn't know she's a borderline. I told him one night that I didn't think he was truely helping her by constantly coming to her rescue. He got REALLY mad and stormed out. I don't know what to advise him about it. I really wish someone in his family would at least educate him a little. Is it a good thing that he always runs to her rescue or is the "tough love" approach better? I have been thinking maybe I should bring the whole borderline issue up but aside from I'm afraid he'll get mad again, I really think it should come from someone in his family.

Anyway, thanks again for the post. It's nice to talk to someone who understands. You must be a really strong person to have even attempted to overcome those difficulties. It's been hard enough for me dealing with my own add problems. I can't imagine how it must be living in your skin! That's a lot to sort thru. I wish you all the luck and strength in the world and look forward to hearing from you again!

11-28-04, 04:30 PM
Was she actually diagnosed by a trained professional (most nurses don't have the training to diagnose borderline personality?) or is this just something her older sister has labeled her with?

Have you tried sitting down and talking to her to clear the air?

To be honest it may have much less to do with any personality disorder on the part of the sister but long term family dynamics. If she has always been very close to her brother and leaned on him for support - it makes sense that she could see you as a threat because you are diverting some of his attention. In addition if she senses you don't like her or that you think she has a personality disorder that may account for some of her hostility. Her brother also may be very used to a close relationship with and may not have insight into all the family dynamics or even want to change. If it's a weird family maybe that close relationship was all he had during childhood and subsequently. Giving up that closeness could be very threatening to him. And if the older sister is sort of the pejorative labeling type he might not accept her perceptions as a reasonable diagnosis.

Perhaps dropping the personality disorder angle and directly address your sense that she perceives you as a threat and talk to her about how much you care about her brother and you realize how important that relationsihp is and you want to be on good terms with her. It's clear you also perceive her as a threat to your relationship with your the feelings sound mutual. It seems unlikely in the absence of having received and accepted the diagnosis from a professional, that talking about her as if she has a personality disorder will improve things since most people tend to get angry and be resistant to that, particular if the label is coming from a family member they an antagonistic relationship with.

It may be though that in order for the situation to change, your boyfriend is the one who needs to change and set different boundaries with her or figure out a way to help his sister without hurting his relationsihp with you. He may or may not have the insight and/or willingness to change.

Perhaps scoping out some books that address such family dynamics or dealing with people with personality disorders and seeing if any seem helpful might be a good idea. If there is one that seems good, perhaps your boyfriend might be willing to read and sometimes it's easier to gain insight from a book than another person.

good luck.

12-02-04, 08:21 PM
Hi There,
Thanks for your thoughts - and there are definitely some long-term family dynamics issues going on here. My bf's sister was not clinically diagnosed with BPD. I am no expert on it but from some things I've read she does seem to fit the bill. I kinda think it's more of a co-dependancy she has with men. She's the kind of woman who jumps from relationship to relationship. When she doesn't have a boyfriend she clings to mine (her brother). Since my bf and I had that arguement we have talked about some things and the sis isn't so much involved now as she's moved away and has a new man. But there are still times where she is very manipulative with her brother and it's frustrating for me to stand by and watch him get her responsibilities dumped in his lap. She definitely has a history that seems like BDP. A suicide attempt and many threats to commit suicide, grand gestures that seem selfless and genuine at the time but then down the line she will call in a "favor" and my bf comes running to the rescue. I talked with their oldest sister some more about this (the nurse that thinks she's BDP). She thinks that the younger sister (she's 40) is threatened by me not only because she sees me as competition for her brother's attention, but also because I have been encouraging my bf to get help for his ADD. Before he started treatment and meds he was extremely inassertive and submissive to her and now that he is on meds he is becoming much more outspoken and standing up for himself. (He's starting to... he has a ways to go in this department thought!) The younger sister has never been supportive of my bf getting help for his ADD (which I found very strange). The older sister thinks it's because he would no longer be "under her power" so to speak. It's a little convoluted... but as I said, since my previous post the sister is moved away and out of our hair, my bf is doing wonderful on Adderral and things are going somewhat smooth for now. The younger sister has never really given therapy an honest chance - she is not honest and truthful with her doctors or therapists so I don't know if she'll ever be accurately diagnosed with whatever her malfunction is. It's a shame really, but it's her choice. But as for me and my man - we're going to be allright! :o)

Thanks Again,

12-02-04, 08:59 PM
But as for me and my man - we're going to be allright! :o)
that's the main thing. :) i'm glad to hear that. (yeah i realized after i posted that you posted a long time ago...) Thanks for the update.

12-28-04, 02:01 AM
I have been diagnosed with ADD, BPD with Avoidant Personality features, addiction and the almost required depression and anxiety. I am now educated and aware of my traits/behaviors. I am 2 years into these diagnosis. I am re-evaluating my life and moving forward. BTW, I was a nurse for 7 years. I no longer work as one. Thanks everyone for sharing their story. Diagnosis is best made with psychological testing. Ink blots, I have been told, is used in diagnosing BPD. :rolleyes:

02-11-05, 07:12 PM
Can't really tell if she's BPD from description, but some characteristics do fit. My sister is definitely BPD, though she's never been dx'd. It was a number of years ago and I was reading a stupid woman's magazine and there was an article on the disorder and I sat up, eyes growing big... woah, this exactly describes what life is like with my sister. I've since done a lot of research on it.
It's definitely easier to see the external things that stem from their fears than it is to see what's going on in their minds. My sister is extremely good at getting people "on her side" and manipulating them (especially men) into wanting to protect her b/c then she feels loved. She's also very good at appearing to have it all together.
My sister would go into rages and we would get into a fight and if I stood my ground, things would escalate to the point of physical fights. And then there would be psychological retribution where she'd do things to hurt me like steal my favorite possessions, humiliate me in front of others, say hurtful things. HOWEVER, when she got married, she all of a sudden started being nice to me. Turns out she was dumping her negative behavior on her husband. After they divorced... guess what? I'm the villain again.
Oftentimes they will pick on person that they bond with and try to protect that relationship above all else, someone who will provide them with a lot of attention and worry. (Co-dependent, like my mother is.) When they see you taking any resources from that person, they'll get very sneaky and try to triangulate. That's why she'll do things to you in private, knowing you'll tell your boyfriend and he will get mad at you for it. It always seemed like my sister knew just what to do to push my buttons or work things for her end.
A really good book I read that will give you a first-person perspective on BPD is Get Me Out of Here by Rachel Reiland. It was completely heart-breaking in the beginning of the book, but is really inspiring.
Glad to hear all is going well!

03-09-05, 06:41 PM
Wow. That pretty much describes her to the T. I am still with my boyfriend. His sister has a new man in her life to depend on and she moved about 2 hours away. So she hasn't been so overbearing. I have never personally witnessed any fights between them but I have overheard her commenting about how my man is "so handsome, if he would only lift some weights he could be in GC". Belittling remarks towards him, you know? Mainly I try and keep my distance from her now. It just makes my life a lot easier avoiding her. Thanks for your comments!

09-29-05, 01:27 AM
My ex husband has virtually all the symptoms of BPD but has never been diagnosed that I'm aware of. He did get diagnosed with depression and anxiety, but the tell-tale signs of BPD are often only exhibited to those who become the target. I had a bullseye on my forehead for 10 years. One minute he loved me, the next he hated my guts...we're talking mood swings so quick, frequent and unexplained it could make your head spin. He didn't self mutilate by cutting, pulling out his hair or picking at himself...he used substances. He also was physically violent. He would threaten or attempt suicide from time to time and had a penchant for alienating anyone close to him. Unfortunately, it's unlikely he'll ever get diagnosed so he can understand and recognize those behaviors. Not only is it hard to diagnose, but even when a therapist does see the signs they are reluctant to make a diagnosis because often times someone with BPD just isn't very receptive to it. Those lucky enough to get diagnosed have often found success with Dialectal Behavior Therapy, and many cases do subside some with there is hope for anyone committed to get better.

My son's ex-girlfriend has BPD as well. She cuts herself, has tried suicide, has an eating disorder, has anxiety, depression, and broke up and went back to my son so many times the poor kid never knew if they were together or not. One minute she was sweet and loving to him and the next she'd be swearing and screaming at him for nothing, and it would change fast. He was so patient with her but he just got worn down and had to break it off with her. She was undiagnosed. We were talking once and she is pretty open about her issues, so I asked her what she had. She said anxiety and depression, she cut herself, couldn't bring herself to eat very much (I think she's bulimic, but she didn't admit to that) and she said her therapist mentioned the possibility of bipolar due to the mood swings. I suggested that she do some research on BPD and ask her therapist about it. She did, was convinced she had it and her therapist admitted that she too believed that was what she had but was reluctant to try to make the diagnosis out of fear of the reaction she'd get. She's made great progress. She hasn't cut in months, is eating more, the depression isn't constant anymore and she's working hard to try to catch herself from lashing out during the mood swings. She was thankful for knowing what was wrong with her but admitted she may not have taken it well if her therapist had of suggested it directly. She liked me and I caught her at a time when she was open to some gentle leading in the right direction. Her mother is really thrilled about the progress she's made.

The people who know they have BPD tend to do much better than those who very likely have it but don't get treatment.