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Parent of Bipolar/Borderline Personality Disorder sufferer?

Community Member

Hi, I'm seeking help from parents of those diagnosed with Bipolar and/or Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). My step son, 20yo, I'm certain is Bipolar and/or Borderline Personality Disorder. I had always thought he was classic bipolar. He has the swing of mania - ideas of grandeur, motivated/wired, hypersexual, delusional, rapid speech followed by swings of depression and suicidal ideation. He is more manic than he is depressed and his depression was usually as a result of external stressers (although a disproportionate reaction to an incident such as getting pulled over for speeding), however the past couple of months his depression hasn't really been a result of a particular stress. I've done a fair bit of research and am doing a Masters degree in Mental Health, and I'm starting to think he may also/either have BPD. He has intense disproportionate anger and suicidal ideation, feelings of worthlessness, relationship issues (idealisation followed by conflict as the other party doesn't live up to step-sons expectations), impulsivity (sex, substance abuse, reckless driving). I had generally put these symptoms down to Bipolar, but I think they're more suited to BPD. He attributes his feelings of worthlessness, depression and the suicidal threats to the fact he hasn't achieved the status of Mark Zuckerberg or Hugh Hefner in the 20 years he's been alive (the grandeur). The relationship issues he has is what made me look at the possibility of BPD. Most of his relationships start really intense and he has classic idealisation (for example, someone he met who he perceived as coming from wealth and said their parents owned a luxury car business, were in actual fact the owners of a used caryard), and when that person doesn't achieve the expectations that my step-son places on them, he can get quite volatile, abusive and vengeful and the relationship inevitably sours and results in conflict.

I'm trying desperately to help my partner (step-sons Dad) with this and am seeking some advice from those with children diagnosed with both/either illness. Step-son had recently agreed to seek help after a long period of refusing help, was put on low-dose antidepressents by the GP and had an appointment with a psychologist, however is now refusing help as he's in conflict with his parents. He's very angry and resentful at the moment as his parents are trying to curtail his destructive behaviour.

Any help appreciated. Thanks.

3 Replies 3

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi SarahP82

Although I'm sure your step son's behaviour may be distressing and he is conflictive right now, I'm happy to hear that he's on good medication- hopefully you can get him to see a psychologist. If he won't agree to that, perhaps a counsellor or telehealth options may be another alternative he might agree too? Even a chat service may be less confronting/intense, especially if he doesn't see the problem. You could see a psychologist yourself so that you can look after yourself too (same for your partner). They may be able to provide parenting resources as well. There are many people with lived experience of both disorders on here who can provide you with further insight too, especially in the "Getting Help" thread.

Hope this helps somewhat,



Hey SarahP82,

Wishing you a very warm welcome here to the forums, we're very grateful that you've decided to join us here. It sounds like you're in a very difficult and stressful situation in trying to help support your partner and step-son during this time. We can hear that your step-son is really struggling at the moment, and feeling conflicted at idea of some extra help and support. Please know that you've come to a safe space, and our community is here to offer as much support and conversation as you need. Hopefully a few of them will pop by soon with some words of kindness and advice.

You might also like to get in touch with our Beyond Blue Support Service which is available 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or you can visit  www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport for online chat. One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings, and may be able to provide some extra support and advice to help you, your partner and your step-son. If your step-son feels comfortable, our friends at Kids Helpline also offer 24/7 support on 1800 55 1800 or he can also reach out anytime through their online chat at:  https://kidshelpline.com.au/ The lovely counsellors have a lot of experience offering support to those under 25 who are struggling to reach out, and can help offer some additional support when things are feeling really tough to cope with.

We hope that you can find some comfort in the forums, and please feel free to keep checking in to let us know how you're going, whenever you feel up to it.

Community Member

Hello and welcome.

I may be able to provide some information from my own personal experience. My partner experiences both BP and BPD (aka NPD) and it is extremely mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting. With our situation, my partner will become very vicious towards me, strangely enough he maybe fine with others. I have been researching since finding out about his mental health concerns and it's been nothing but trial and error or walking on eggshells. When they experience their mood difficulties, in their eyes, you can become the worst person in the world. The most simplistic way of viewing their situation is; if they don't get what they want, they will sulk. They will not listen, they will punish you and make you out to be a bad person. All this becomes overwhelming, out of control abuse, refusal to accept their inappropriate behaviour, refusal to support and respect people and no self-compassion for themselves or others. Childish. Unless the person is medicated or receiving support from a Clinician, it can be a real evil situation for all involved. Big googly eyes. From my experience, I have learnt to communicate very effectively in a very direct manner as well as being patient and using an extremely calm voice. When my partner is having an episode, I will tell him that he needs to take responsibility for his inappropriate behaviour and that he needs to accept his difficulties are his responsibility to won and no one else and that I will be more than happy to support him through his journey. Then I tell him that I am going outside and when he is feeling better, he can join me and we move forward. No one deserves to be punished or blamed for their behaviour - it's theirs to own and to resolve. We all human, no one is better than anyone else and they need to understand this.