How to Deal With a Mother-In-Law with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

In this blog, we will explore and answer the question, “How to Deal With a Mother-In-Law with Borderline Personality Disorder?”, and also include what is a borderline personality disorder, how to recognize BPD, and answer frequently asked questions

How to Deal With a Mother-In-Law with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

There has always been a difficult tangent of a relationship between a person and their mother-in-law. You can educate yourself about her condition, be open, and communicate with her well, you can also try to set and enforce your boundaries with her, take her to a professional therapist to help her with her BPD, etc.

People often struggle to maintain good relationships with their in-laws and if your mother-in-law has a Borderline personality, you need to understand BPD well, and also learn how to deal with her in a constructive manner. 

We will explore it in detail in further sections of the blog. 

What is a borderline personality disorder?

It is a mental disorder in which a person has unstable and intense emotions, impulsive behavior, and a tendency to be self-destructive. The symptoms cause a great deal of distress and significantly impact the person’s ability to function normally. 

It is important to note that people don’t “get” borderline personality disorder; it is an illness that causes people to behave in ways that others find difficult to understand and even offensive. The best way to understand BPD is to realize that it is a mental health condition and requires proper mental health interventions. 

Recognizing borderline personality disorder

Can you identify with the following sentences? 

  • I often feel “empty”. 
  • My emotions change very quickly and I often feel extremely sad, angry, and worried. 
  • I constantly fear that those who love me will abandon me or leave me. 
  • I  describe most of my romantic relationships as intense, but unstable. 
  • The way I feel about the people in my life can change drastically from time to time – and I  always don’t understand why.
  • I often do things that I know are dangerous or unhealthy, like reckless driving, having unprotected sex,  drinking, using drugs, or playing around. 
  • I attempted to hurt myself, engaging in self-harm such as cutting my wrist or threatening suicide. 
  • When I don’t feel secure in a relationship, I tend to lie or make impulsive moves to keep my partner.

Signs of BPD 

Extreme Fear of Abandonment

People with BPD are often afraid of being left behind or alone. Even something as harmless as a loved one who comes late from work or leaves on the weekend can cause great anxiety. This may require an intensive effort to keep someone close.

You can beg, grab, watch the movements of your loved one or even physically prevent the person in question from leaving. Unfortunately, this behavior is likely to have the opposite effect – driving away others.

Blurred or shifting self-image

If you have BPD, your self-esteem is often not strong. Sometimes you feel good, but other times you hate yourself or even see yourself as bad. 

You may not have a clear idea of ​​who you are or what you want in life. As a result, you can constantly change jobs, friends, loved ones, religion, principles, goals or even sexual identity.

Compulsive, self-destructive behavior

If you have BPD, you can engage in destructive emotional behavior, especially when you are upset. 

You may be forced to spend money that you cannot afford to pay, eat too much, drive recklessly, run a business, have dangerous sex, or abuse drugs or alcohol. This risky behavior can help you feel better now, but in the long run,it can hurt you and your surroundings.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Suicidal ideation

People with BPD are more likely to engage in suicidal behavior and self-harm. It includes contemplating suicide, making suicidal acts or threats, and actually attempting suicide. 

All such attempts to injure oneself without intent to commit suicide are classified as self-harm. Cutting and burns are two common types of self-harm.

Severe emotional changes

Unstable emotions and feelings are common in BPD. You may feel happy at one point and sad at another. Small things that other people reject can get you into an emotional collapse. These mood swings are severe, but go away quickly (unlike emotional changes in depression or bipolar disorder), usually lasting only a few minutes or hours.

Chronic feelings of emptiness

People with BPD usually experience a sense of emptiness, as if they have a hole or emptiness inside them. You may truly believe that you are “nothing” or “nothing.” Because this sensation is unpleasant, you may try to fill it with substances such as drugs, food, or sex. Nothing, however, is truly satisfactory.

Signs that your mother-in-law has Borderline personality disorder

Mothers-in-law with Borderline Personality Disorder can display the following signs

  • Sometimes, she will become too involved in your relationship with your spouse
  • Sometimes, she will push you and your spouse away
  • She displays erratic mood swings
  • She throws temper tantrums
  • She threatens to kill or harm herself if you are your spouse don’t listen to her
  • She has strained relationships with all her kids, husband, parents, friends, etc.
  • She has a deep fear of being left out of the family
  • She keeps tabs on your life
  • She often causes friction between you and your spouse
  • She does not have any close friends and is basically a loner

How to deal with your mother in law who has Borderline Personality disorder?


Communication is an essential part of any relationship, but communicating with someone at the border can be even more challenging. People who have a close relationship with a borderline adult often liken conversations with their loved ones to an argument with a small child. 

Verbal communication

BPD patients have trouble recognising body language and comprehending nonverbal material in conversations. They have the ability to speak cruel, unjust, or irrational things.

Their fear of abandonment can cause them to overreact to minor irritations, and their rage might manifest itself in a forced outpouring of wrath, verbal abuse, or even violence.

People with BPD have a challenge because the disorder interferes with the messages they hear and try to transmit. Randi Kreger, a BPD expert and author, compares it to “aural dyslexia,” in which people can hear words and emotions from behind, outside, on the side, and out of context.

Don’t take her words or actions personally

You should never take anything personally as she herself has no idea about the extent of damage and havoc she creates in the family but you cannot really blame her as it is her borderline personality disorder and she really needs someone to support her and recover from her condition

Keep your cool infront of them

Try to stay calm even if the person with BPD is active. Avoid defending against accusations and criticism, no matter how dishonest you may feel. He can only defend himself against his beloved. Go if you need to give yourself time and space to cool down.

Talk about things other than illness. The life of you and your loved one is not just defined by illness, so take the time to explore and discuss other interests. Discussions on interesting topics can help dispel conflicts between you and can inspire your loved ones to discover new interests or pursue old hobbies.

Set boundaries and enforce them 

Setting clear boundaries in your relationship can help with the instability in your current situation with an important sense of structure and give you more options for how to respond when you are dealing with negativity. 

If both parties respect the boundaries, you can build a sense of trust and respect between them, which is an essential component of any meaningful relationship.

Take her to therapy

Psychotherapy is quite effective in treatment of BPD 

There are specific psychotherapies such as dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and schedule-oriented therapy that can help your loved one overcome relationship and trust issues and explore healthier coping skills. In therapy, they learn how to calm their internal emotional storms and navigate through their extreme emotions. 

Sign her up for support groups for people with BPD

Support groups are a great way to deal with BPD, you will get to have a community who has similar issues and insights into the condition.

Support groups can aid your journey of healing from BPD


We explored how to deal with a mother-in-law with BPD, signs of BPD in your mother-in-law, how to recognize borderline personality disorder, and understood the importance of psychotherapy in BPD. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How to Deal With a Mother-In-Law with Borderline Personality Disorder?

What is it like to have a mother with a borderline personality disorder?

A mother with BPD might display erratic behaviours like sometimes being too involved in your life, other times being completely withdrawn and avoidant. 

Which is the most indicative of someone with borderline personality disorder?

People with BPD have an extremely irrational fear of being abandoned, experience emotional instability, cannot tolerate being alone, display impulsiveness, and often push others away to test them and confirm their fear of abandonment. 

How do you set boundaries with BPD mother?

  • Reassure her in a calm and cool manner
  • Try to engage a conversation in the family about setting boundaries with your mother and make sure they all agree
  • Setting boundaries is not a check-point on a task list, you need to take it as a process 
  • Maintaining boundaries is as important as setting boundaries

Do parents cause Borderline personality disorder?

Parents have a deep impact on one’s personality and it can be influence by the ways parents communicate with the child, display emotions, interact with their partners, etc. 

People with a parent with BPD are more likely to have BPD but environmental factors also play a significant role. 

How do you soothe someone with a borderline personality disorder?

  • Find out more about the illness.
  • Allow them to have their feelings validated.
  • Reduce the number of words in your message.
  • Encourage personal accountability.
  • Establish Limits.
  • Don’t Ignore Suicide or Self-Harm Threats.
  • Assist Your Loved One in Obtaining Treatment.
  • Seek out help for yourself.

How do you communicate with a borderline mother?

Here are a few basic pointers for communicating with someone with borderline personality disorder in a healthy and productive way:

  • Be patient.
  • Keep your expectations in check.
  • Separate facts from emotions as much as possible.
  • Validate your emotions first.
  • Actively listen and empathize.
  • When emotions start to rise, try to divert your attention.


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