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My 20 yo daughter has suffered with anxiety/depression since high school and I feel that she isn't getting the right kind of help. She told me a year or so ago that she was convinced that she had BPD. She started seeing a psychologist (who she said she didn't like and that she couldn't talk to) through her GP and pushed to see a psychiatrist so that she could get a diagnosis. She got an appointment and was told she had traits of BPD. She was super angry about this and insisted to me that it was full BPD and pushed to join a group to get treatment. I feel that she has convinced herself that she has this condition and knows how to answer questions accordingly.

She now uses the condition as an excuse for her behaviour and constantly tells me that I don't understand and that I need to learn more about her condition and cut her some slack. She constantly blames me if we argue and I feel like I'm constantly walking on eggshells. She has seen various psychologists and never seems to be happy with them. She has just started seeing a new psychiatrist and I feel like the treatment she is receiving is counter productive. She is becoming increasingly self obsessed and selfish, and constantly tells me that nothing is her fault and she 'has a mental health condition' and that I 'should be more supportive'.

I have tried so so hard over the last few years and this has nearly broken me. I feel like my daughter has anger issues and that the direction that she is going in is completely wrong. I wish I could talk to her current psychiatrist ask him to start from scratch and fully assess her from scratch but I know I cant. I'm so frustrated and I just don't know how to help her move forward and stop making excuses for her behaviour.

I want to support her in the best way that I can but we just seem to be stuck in this rut where I think she is using her 'BPD' as an excuse for anger and attitude and she thinks that I'm ignorant and need to be educated on BPD and what she is going through.

Can anyone relate? I really need to know if I'm dealing with this the right way or not.

Thanks x

16 Replies 16

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear LivLiv

Welcome to Beyond Blue. I am sorry that your daughter is making life difficult for both of you. I am curious about her reasons for 'having' Borderline Personality Disorder. It's not one of the nicest illnesses to have, though no mental illness is nice. This sort of mental illness tends to show up in the teenage years so that's on track, but general bad behaviour also starts in the teenage years. Not easy to tell the difference.

There have been some threads here on BPD. This is one link. Copy and paste to your browser. It's an old thread 2014 but still valid. https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/staying-well/managing-borderline-personality-disorder#qfOFw3HzvGGEbv8AAOnT_A

I cannot tell you if your daughter has BPD or if she is playing up. Can you take her to a psychiatrist and get a complete diagnosis. This would settle the manager and any other stuff people want you to do. Can you write it all down for the psych'

I have fallen asleep at the computer twice and my bed is calling. Damned medication. So my post is a short one while before I access my bed before I get into it.

Will write again soon.


Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear LivLiv~

I can well understand your feelings. It really is frustrating when trying so hard to be told 'you do not understand' or are 'not cutting enough slack'. Made all the worse because while at the back of your mind you think you are being taken advantage of there is always the fear that she is right, and very ill. A sort of paralyzing situation.

Your instincts seem to be going against what your daughter is telling you.

Just reading your post it seems as if your daughter is trying to control you - perhaps I'm reading too much into it - what do you think?

I'd suggest that whatever the case you need to have boundaries, basically for your sake to start with, but I suspect in the longer term for your daughter's good too. By boundaries I'd give as an example simply saying 'that's not on, I'm not going to be spoke to like that' and walking way without further comment when she treats you in an angry manner. If she fails to do something you were relying on her to do then say so and again walk away, don't argue or enter into a debate. If she accuses you of lack of understanding say nothing.

None of this is easy and in the short term may produce angry reactions in your daughter which will be hard to bear. I'd suspect the alternative, catering to her whims, would be worse as it escalated unchecked over time.

I'd think you very much need an ally in this situation, Do you have a partner or family member or friend you can discuss things with frankly on a regular basis? It is very easy to lose perspective and descend into feelings of guilt and loss of purpose.

Having a mental illness, depression, anxiety, BPD or similar is not easy, but neither is it an excuse to always treat loved ones harshly. When I've been very ill I've been standoffish, bad tempered, seemingly wrapped up in my self and other undesirable things. Even though the impatience and resentment I knew I was hurting others and as I improved I'd try to make up for it - I did care.

I would also suggest that you might benefit from counseling arranged though your GP. A professional opinion and support cannot hurt, you have a huge amount of stress on you. You care for and love your daughter and try so hard.

Please feel free to talk here as much as you would like, we do understand


Thank you so much for your response. I think that she wanted a label to justify her behaviour. She knows that she can be unreasonable, short tempered and irrational and I think that she feels that if there is a name for it, it's not her, its her condition. She has also recently claimed that she also has OCD (not diagnosed) and that is why she can't help the irrational traits.

Thank you for the link, that's a great help. I'll have a good read through this evening. I never thought of actually taking her to a Psychiatrist myself, that could work! Do you think it would be appropriate for me to meet with a Psychiatrist initially to explain the situation then take her, or would they see that as a conflict of interest?

Thank you again for your post, I hope you managed to get a good nights rest x

Community Member

Thank you so much for your response. Yes, my daughter is extremely controlling and demanding. The thing is, when she is in a good mood she is wonderful company but it takes the tiniest thing to tip her into negativity which quickly becomes anger. I'm an optimistic person and if something bad happens I always try and encourage her to see a silver lining but she rarely can and holds so much anger and resentment towards pretty much everyone and anyone. Literally everyone she comes across irritates her.

My husband and I talk about her a lot and we've tried all kinds of approaches. We are careful not to appear to be ganging up on her when things escalate so he pretty much stays out of any conflict and I deal with it. I would like to talk to someone outside of home because I feel that even when she isn't home, our focus is still on her. It's like we can't get away from this situation and we always worry when making plans how she is going to react, it's so draining.

I agree that it would be beneficial to talk to someone else, or get counselling. Posting on here and receiving two lovely positive posts has already made me feel so much better. I've been feeling so guilty for a long time about our relationship and how I sometimes feel and react. She can be extremely thoughtful at times and supportive then at other times I feel like she literally doesn't care about anyone or anything. It's a constant emotional rollercoaster.

Thank you again for your response, it has been very helpful x

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello LivLiv,

Welcome and I'm glad to see that Mary and Croix gave you some wonderful advice and support.

I just wanted to post here because I have undergone and (I guess) continue to go through therapy for BPD. Perhaps I could give you a different side.

Like your daughter, I had a psychiatrist give me a partial diagnosis (traits of BPD) but all my psychologists have gotten me to undertake therapy for BPD. Also like your daughter, it was something that I was pretty convinced about and I got super mad when my psychiatrist didn't give me the full diagnosis because (at the time) I wasn't engaging in more self-destructive behaviours.

What I have learnt from my own experience is that BPD is a checklist diagnosis - if you meet 4/9 criteria really strongly, you do not have BPD. If you meet 5/9 weakly, you do. i.e. BPD diagnosis actually doesn't mean anything for how a person feels.

Instead, we need to focus on the traits of BPD that people - both the sufferer and those around him/her - struggle with.

You mentioned that you'd be open to talking to a doctor or counsellor. I think that is a good idea, however I would go with the intention to learn how to support yourself primarily, and then support your daughter.

Also, if you are concerned that the doctor is being tricked by your daughter into believing she has BPD, I can say that none of my psychologists have actually cared about BPD/no-BPD. We just treat my symptoms.

Hello LivLiv

What a great post from James. He really is a fantastic person. James I hope you are blushing.

I agree with James about a diagnosis and the irrelevancy of it. I believe it applies to most if not all mental illness. The point is to treat the symptoms. I know the psychiatrist I go to has said exactly that. Labels can easily mislead. I can see how your daughter wants a reason or excuse for her behaviour without realising the potential harm.

If you take your daughter to a psychiatrist I suggest you do not meet him/her beforehand. You will need a referral from your GP otherwise you cannot claim Medicare benefits and psychs tend to be expensive.

I see you and your husband have decided, We are careful not to appear to be ganging up on her when things
escalate so he pretty much stays out of any conflict and I deal with it.
I believe that is unfortunate because it makes you the bad guy, the only bad guy. It may also appear to your daughter that her dad doesn't care about her. Something on the lines of "he does not love me because he is not interested in what I do". Of course if he started to check her behaviour then he would be the bad guy as well.

If you get some help as James has suggested, then I think both of you should go. Ganging up is one thing but being consistent is what would happen if you both said the same thing. After all we have gone past the days of saying "Wait til your father comes home". I presume when your daughter was small you had the same boundaries for your daughter. "Please and thank you" are usually the start of learning. It may be why it appears you get most of the unkind things she says.

I hope our conversations with James, Croix and me are helpful for you. Please ask if you need anything specific.


Community Champion
Community Champion
*blushes* thanks Mary 🙂

Community Member

Thank you so much James, I really appreciate your post and its very valuable for me to hear another perspective. I think that I will talk to my GP. I've held back from doing this because I almost feel like I am betraying my daughter by talking to our family GP about her. It does seem like this is the only way that we can start to move forward though.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, it is extremely appreciated 🙂

Thank you Mary. I understand what you mean about the situation with my husband. I'm pretty sure that she knows he cares just because he is always the one to go and check on her if we argue, and she does like to go to him and tell him how horrible I am sometimes. He does back me up and is very supportive but we've both just made the decision that if I deal with the conflict, she will always have him to go to if she cant talk to me. Perhaps we should look at sharing these roles, that had never occurred to me so thank you for thoughts, this is a fantastic eye opener, all of you are giving me invaluable advice! Yes, I think the three of us seeking help/guidance together is a great idea, I'm going to get onto it. You are all amazing, thank you so much x