Support for Family Members of Those With BPD

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January 18th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

(Click here for more coverage of Borderline Personality Disorder.)

If you’ve got a loved one or former loved one who has BPD, you’re likely to need a lot of emotional support to deal with the problems they present for you. Some may be lucky enough to have a relative with BPD who has gotten past the denial and is actively working on learning to improve behaviors. If you’re not so lucky, you may be in need of legal advice in family law, civil, and criminal arenas as Borderlines in pain and denial tend to lash out at their family or ex-family, as the case may be.


One organization that has formed and grown in recent years to support the families of those afflicted with BPD is TARA, the Treatment and Research Advancements National Association for Personality Disorder. TARA engages in a variety of activities, but perhaps one of the most important are their local support groups and training workshops. Check the TARA chapter and affiliate list to see if they have meetings near you.

People who have attended TARA meetings have generally had a lot of good things to say about them. For starters, it’s a relief to meet other people who know what it is like dealing with a Borderline. Those of us who have had the experience know that many people who have not simply can’t understand the destructive behaviors of BPD as they have never seen anything like them personally. By contrast, the attendees at TARA events are likely to be very familiar with these problems. Some may have found ways to cope successfully and have insights to share with you. Others may be able to give and receive emotional support dealing with the troubles of BPD. Just knowing that you are not alone and that there are others with whom you can talk can be a be help.

Some TARA chapters may also include participation by those afflicted with BPD. For example, the founder of the San Diego branch of TARA has a child with BPD, so she’s particularly sensitive to trying to help those with BPD in addition to helping the people around them.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is one approach that has met with significant success at helping Borderlines willing to work at recovery to manage their behaviors and emotions. TARA often sponsors training workshops on DBT. These can be helpful for family members as they can learn how to better encourage and support their BPD loved ones towards long-term improvements. Generally these workshops do have some associated cost.

To find out more about local TARA groups, workshops, and get referrals to therapists specializing in DBT, you can call 1-888-4TARA APD from 11am to 4pm EST on weekdays. Or you can visit their referral page for more information.

BPD Family

If you like participating in web-based discussion groups, the BPD Family organization may be a good option for you. They host a variety of services including:

Anything To Stop The Pain web site and email group

“Bon Dobbs” (pseudonym) started the Anything To Stop The Pain web site and an associated on-line discussion group for BPs and non-BPs.

Since then, he’s written a book When Hope is Not Enough to explain his thoughts and experiences on dealing with victims of BPD so as to minimize the emotional turmoil they experience. His book has been very well reviewed.

Also, he’s now offering a support email package to help individuals who feel they could benefit from his expertise and are willing to pay for his time. He charges $20 for him reading and reply to 10 emails.

BPD Central

BPD Central was started by Randi Kreger, one of the authors of Stop Walking on Eggshells. Kreger has also written and co-written several other books on BPD. The BPD Central web site features a wealth of information on BPD, including frequently asked questions, guidelines to know if somebody may have BPD, various BPD books and audio CDs for sale, and a referral list of therapists for those with BPD.

Randi Kreger started on-line support mailing lists for people dealing with BPD in 1996. BPD Central still offers the Welcome to Oz mailing lists. As participation grew, they were split into 15 different lists for various topics. Participants are encouraged to remain anonymous by using fake names and confidential email addresses to avoid the problems that may result from Borderlines finding out they and their problems are being discussed.

BPD Central’s attorney advice web page contains information on things you should consider when hiring an attorney to handle a divorce or child custody case involving a Borderline or other high-conflict personality.

William Eddy & High Conflict Institute

William Eddy, noted author, attorney, and social worker, has found that in particular four personality orders show up in a disproportionate number of high-conflict cases, especially those related to family law. They are Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, and Histrionic Personality Disorder. Eddy has written a number of books on the topic of “high conflict personalities” and “blamers” in court litigation. He has also co-founded the High Conflict Institute to help educate those in the legal profession to understand how mental illness presents particularly difficult problems in litigation.

Among the books he has written, High Conflict People in Legal Disputes stands out as an introductory guide to how personality disorders drive legal conflict. It is general-purpose, covering introductory psychology of personality disorders and case examples in family and civil law courts. This book is highly recommended for lawyers, judges, litigants, and therapists.

Bill Eddy has also written a number of other books on high-conflict personalities that may be helpful to those dealing with people suffering from such issues. A list of his books can be found at High Conflict Institute Books & Products.

An older web site that Bill Eddy still maintains with information on BPD is at Bill Eddy – Attorney, Mediator, & Clinical Social Worker.

Legal Referrals

Illinois Attorney Michael F. Roe, an associate of Bill Eddy’s who has also litigated many family law cases involving BPD, offers legal services within Illinois and consulting services outside the state. If you are already working with an attorney in your area who could use some help formulating a plan to deal with a divorce or child custody battle involving a person with BPD, you may want to contact him through his web site Law Offices of Michael F. Roe. He also has a web site Divorce and Borderline Personality Disorder and a blog with information on BPD and Divorce, parental alienation, and other topics.

San Diego Professional Advice has a referral list of lawyers in that area. Many of them are familiar with high-conflict personalities and have litigated such cases.

  1. August 28th, 2009 at 11:57 | #1

    Hi. Thanks for including me in this list of resources.


  1. March 17th, 2009 at 20:24 | #1
  2. August 13th, 2009 at 04:52 | #2

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