Did You Cause My Child's Borderline Personality Disorder?

When your adolescent (or adult) child has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, you might wonder if you caused this condition by using poor parenting skills.  You may comforted to know that the latest research indicates that there is much more to the origin of this disorder, and the difficulties you have had parenting a BPD child may also be traced to their genetics and physiological characteristics.


The incidence of BPD is estimated to affect of 2% of the population and is more prevalent than bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. There has been plenty of research into the environmental causes of personality disorders, but the goal is not to blame the parents. It is to find ways to prevent and better treat these conditions.

Childhood abuse and neglect have been frequently cited as causes for BPD, but although these can be factors, it does not explain the fact that some people who have this disorder come from concerned and loving families.

An invalidating environment is also cited as a cause of BPD and this is one where parents tend to discount the child's feelings, emotional reactions, and conclusions. This can be done by ignoring, judging, or denying their expressions. However, many parents have complained that the sensitivities and reactions of the children with these tendencies began very early and were over-the-top. This has caused them much frustration trying to figure out how to deal with them.


There is some significant evidence that the tendency to develop personality disorder is genetic. Genetic researchers have found that the ninth chromosome can be linked to BPD tendencies. Older research has indicated that up to 42% of these tendencies are attributable to genetic material. Research is ongoing to further identify the genetic causes of personality disorder development, and this could have important implications for treatment of this condition.

Physiological Brain Characteristics

From brain imaging scans, researchers have concluded that PBD patients lack the ability to use neurological networks that would help them control their emotions, and they physically unable to regulate normal responses to the resulting feelings.

When participants in the research were shown disturbing emotional scenes, healthy people showed activity in their anterior cingulate cortex and also the intraparetical sulci (areas of the brain) as they worked to control their reactions. BPD clients showed no such activity in their brains.

This research explains why BPD patients display such extreme reactions and behavior to various situations that average people would find merely annoying or slightly uncomfortable.


It is evident from the ongoing research that there is still much to be learned about this baffling disorder. There are several things you can do to help your child, whether they are a minor or an adult. The first thing is to help them seek and continue getting professional treatment. This often include medication and specialized counseling called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

You would also benefit from supportive therapy to learn effective ways to deal with your child's emotional difficulties and temperament, as well as to cope with its challenges in your life. For more information, click here