Borderline Personality Disorder Mother-Daughter Relationships

Written by: Ankita Kathad – MA (Clinical Psychology)

Last updated date : March 27, 2023

Daughters share a close bond with their mothers. They look up to their mother in many aspects. She seeks a mother’s warmth and support in her growing-up years. Therefore, having a mother with a mental condition can affect the daughter’s life in many ways. Having a mother with a borderline personality disorder can affect a daughter’s emotional coping and interpersonal relationships. This article explores borderline personality disorder mother-daughter relationships. We explore more about a toxic mother-daughter relationship..

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Chapter 1:

What Is a Borderline Personality Disorder?

To understand what borderline personality disorder and the mother-daughter relationship look like, let us understand this condition. This is a condition that affects the way people feel about themselves and their relationships. This condition affects daily functioning. It also disturbs interpersonal relationships. The person has issues with regard to self-image, handling emotions, and maintaining stable relationships.

In this disorder, the person fears loneliness. The person can be impulsive. They can have problems managing their relationships due to frequent anger outbursts. Even though the person desires a long-lasting relationship, their impulsiveness can push people away.

Chapter 2:


This disorder affects the way people feel about themselves, how to react, and their relationships. Some signs and symptoms of this disorder are as follows:
  • They fear abandonment. Moreover, they fear that their loved ones will leave them. They will also try very hard to make their partners stay.
  • Their relationships are unstable. At one time they are showering loved ones with praises. In no time they start feeling that the loved one is cruel.
  • Frequent change in self-image. They may have shifting beliefs, values, and self-worth. A person can have frequent mood swings. They can be very happy for a few days and very depressed for the next few. There can be emotions like irritability and shame that last for hours or even days at times.
  • Risky behaviors such as rash driving, shopping sprees, unsafe sex, or binge eating. Most of these behaviors take place when the person is emotionally charged.
  • Suicidal thoughts, threats, and behaviors of self-harm. The person often feels empty inside.
  • There can be anger outbursts or even frequent physical fights.
Borderline Personality Disorder Mother-Daughter Relationships
Having a mother who has a borderline personality disorder can be difficult. The mother can be controlling, may lack empathy, or be emotionally distant. Parenting affects the way a child copes with her emotions. Over some time, if the daughter is not aware of the disorder, their relationship can become a toxic mother-daughter relationship. Here are some effects of being raised by a mother who has this disorder.
  1. The daughter is at higher risk of having mental disorders. This includes conditions like depression, anxiety, or borderline personality.
  2. The daughter is at higher risk of having mental disorders. This includes conditions like depression, anxiety, or borderline personality.
  3. Moreover, the daughter can have high stress levels.
  4. There are chances that the daughter has poor coping skills.
  5. The daughter can have difficulty with impulse control. This is because she has mostly seen her mother being impulsive.
  6. If the daughter has faced emotional abuse at the hand of her mother, there can be complex PTSD.
  7. There can be insecure attachment patterns. Additionally, there can be anxiety due to poor parenting.

There are many long-term effects of being raised by a mother with a borderline personality disorder. This can range from developmental problems to unstable relationships. Additionally, there can be lasting emotional damage. This is because mothers who had this condition smiled less, showed poor care to their daughters, and provided less warmth at times. Here are some long-term damages :

Chapter 3:

Effects on Development

Mothers with untreated BPD can have an unstable identity. Moreover, they can have a lot of insecurity in their relationship. Due to this, they lack warmth and security in parenting. The symptoms of the condition can prevent a mother from giving love and nurturance. This can deeply affect emotional and psychological development. A mother with this condition may not be able to understand the emotional needs of her daughter.

Additionally, mothers with borderline personality disorder are always insecure. This leads to a very insecure parent-child attachment. The mother can get anxious over little things. The child may replicate the same anxiety. The mother may show unpredictable behavior, insecurity, and trust issues. All of these elements restrict healthy emotional growth in her daughter.

Moreover, mothers who have this condition are prone to showing aggressive behavior. This can at times lead to abuse. Therefore the daughter can have physical trauma too.

Chapter 4:

Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationship

Borderline personality disorder and mother-daughter relationships can get toxic over time.

Firstly, mothers with borderline personalities seek constant validation. This, she may seek from people around her. The daughter can become that source of validation over time. The mother may start seeing her daughter as someone who gratifies her needs. That is to say, eventually, the daughter becomes the provider of warmth and love rather than one who receives parental love. Additionally, the mother can become extremely clingy at times. This can lead to overdependence on the daughter. This restricts the daughter from pursuing her interests. For instance, the mother will stop her daughter from moving to another city for college. This leads to a toxic mother-daughter relationship.

Further, the mother can be very controlling. This is because she fears being left out. This controlling nature can interrupt her daughter’s freedom. The daughter can get very confused because of the constant acceptance and rejection by her mother. At one point, her mother is showering her with love. In the next moment, she is pushing her away. This leads to a toxic mother-daughter relationship. The daughter is always confused about what her mother’s next reaction could be.

When a mother does not let her daughter explore herself, she cannot develop an authentic sense of self. That is to say, she faces problems in identity development. Instead of being someone who takes her own decisions, she will depend on someone else’s validation. The daughter will spend more time pleasing others, rather than being herself. The most burdensome thing for her is not being able to take one’s own decisions. Furthermore, as her entire life revolves around her mother, she may not be able to establish genuine relations of her own.

Chapter 5:

Effects on Emotions

The daughter may suffer from a lot of guilt. This guilt arises from a toxic mother-daughter relationship. That is to say that she may hate her mother for controlling her, being too demanding, or being aggressive. However, at times the mother can be extremely loving. This can make the daughter guilty and confused. There can be anger and resentment in her. She may feel selfish for not taking care of her mother.

Additionally, being raised without nurturance and warmth can reflect in the daughter’s interpersonal relationships. That is to say, she may not have a healthy or stable relationship with her partner or children. This is because she has a faulty model of love and warmth in her head.

The daughter may avoid closeness in her life. This is because of all the trauma she has received due to her mother’s borderline personality disorder. There can be a tendency to avoid any emotional bonds. She may remain distant or uninvolved in her friendships or romantic relationships.

Chapter 6:

Healing from a Borderline Personality Disorder and the Mother-Daughter Relationship

Healing from a borderline mom is possible. There are ways to set boundaries and protect one’s emotional space. In this kind of relationship where the mother has a borderline personality disorder, both mother and child may need therapy. As a daughter, you can protect yourself with the help of self-care, by building a support network or being assertive. Here are some simple steps you can take:
  1. Look after your physical needs: If you have been raised by a bipolar mother, there are chances that you lack knowledge of physical self-care. Take proper seven hours of sleep, look after nutritional requirements, exercise, and eat well.
  2. Assert yourself: Often you may feel guilty for not complying with your mother’s demands. However, learn to say ‘No’. This is an important skill that will save you from making unnecessary promises. You may do so in a respectful manner. Let your mother know what her demands make you feel like. Sit down and have a conversation with her and your family members. Setting boundaries is important, even if you don’t have a member with a borderline personality disorder.
  3. Support network: Do not feel alone. If you are a daughter being raised by a mother with borderline personality disorder, get help. You can look for online support groups. You can also talk to your father or siblings about the same.

Chapter 7:


Borderline personality disorder mother-daughter relationships can be hard. As a daughter, if you are still struggling, despite the efforts, seek expert help. Being raised by a borderline mother can damage self-confidence and self-esteem. You can suffer from problems like social anxiety. There are several courses that Epsychonline offers that help you heal several mental health conditions. One such course is named DBT for social anxiety. This course is created by experts and is self-help in nature. Moreover, many articles deal with mother-daughter relationships too. Do check them out.

"Structured and engaging course" Joan

69 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount