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Should I share mothers BPD diagnosis with daughter

Should I share mothers BPD diagnosis with daughter

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Casual scribe
HumbleDad

Should I share mothers BPD diagnosis with daughter

The mother of my 8yo daughter was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder many years ago, for which she refuses to accept or discuss. I have since separated from this relationship, which I can only describe as chaotic, manipulative and abusive. I have huge concerns for my daughter who is now starting to experience the same conditions during the 2 or 3 days per week she spends there.

After separation, I found it extremely beneficial to learn more about BPD and I believe this would also benefit my daughter.
I would love some advice on the merits of disclosing this to my daughter, the competing rights of privacy vs transparency and the not ideal situation where the daughter becomes the keeper of undisclosed knowledge to her mother.
Many thanks.
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Hannah-RO

Re: Should I share mothers BPD diagnosis with daughter

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Hey @HumbleDad, thanks for sharing your experience on the forum, I can imagine this must be a confusing situation and the fact that you've reached out for support and advice shows that you really care about your daughter and her wellbeing.

I'm wondering about how you're feeling about this situation, what do you think the benefits of talking to your daughter about her mothers mental health issues would be? 

I also just want to point out that we're happy to support you here, but ReachOut forums are aimed at parents of children aged 12 - 18, so I'm going to include some other resources here that might be helpful.

 

I hope you find some of these useful and that some of our forum users are able to share their experiences here with you as well.

Casual scribe
HumbleDad

Re: Should I share mothers BPD diagnosis with daughter

Kind thanks for your feedback and information.
In answer to your question, I believe that opening a frank conversation about the specific diagnosis of her mother will open up a vast catalogue of support material, including narratives of other children’s experiences.
Without naming the condition, all we have is general info on trauma and resilience building, which is good but she’s still feeling responsible for what’s happening at her mums home and showing signs of self harm. Im extremely concerned.

Surely the child’s rights to know should weigh more heavily than the mothers right to autonomy.
I’d love to hear what others think.
With thanks.
Mod
Taylor-RO

Re: Should I share mothers BPD diagnosis with daughter

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Hi @HumbleDad, thanks for providing some further clarification. It sounds like a really tricky and delicate situation. It might be helpful to focus on what your daughter is experiencing and how it is making her feel. This might validate the struggles that your daughter is going through. Ideally, it might also help to get her involved with a counsellor if that is a feasible option for you. That way she can explore these topics with a professional and receive some support and strategies. There are services like Kids Helpline available if she needs more immediate support. 

 

You also mentioned that your daughter was showing signs of self-harm, what do you mean by that? It seems like you concerned about what happens when your daughter stays with her Mum. Have you talked about what to do if your daughter is feeling unsafe or scared? You could develop a safety plan for moments like these. You could also think about making a report to Child Protection - understandably this may feel uncomfortable for you.

 

It sounds like you have been through a lot and it is important to look after yourself while supporting other people. There is a service called ParentLine which offers telephone counselling. It also has a number of referrals and resources that may be helpful for you Heart

 

Also, please be informed that we are also mandatory reporters. You can read more about this in our guidelines here.

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Fullerp

Re: Should I share mothers BPD diagnosis with daughter

Of course, it's hard for her to agree because she ignored the first signs of BPD  so now is too late. In this case, I think the people around here should encourage her and slowly determine her to consult a specialist. It's very good that you informed yourself and understand that your daughter has to see while she is staying at her place. My friend also had BPD and with lots of love and patience, she was able to understand she has to see a specialist and that she is not by herself in this journey.

Community Manager
Emily-RO

Re: Should I share mothers BPD diagnosis with daughter

Hi @Fullerp Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. It is hard when we don't get the support that we need. I definitely agree that it's important to seek help and that health professionals can be a great source of support for people with BPD.

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Bamagirl11

Re: Should I share mothers BPD diagnosis with daughter

Bless your heart. First props to you on being such a caring single Dad! Its hard to keep a consistent way of rules & life with shared custody. I been there & done that! My ex-husband was a alcoholic. Personally, i think 8 is too young for your daughter to really understand & comprehend what BPD is. Thats alot for a 8 yr old to grasp especially about her Mom. I would maybe talk ti her school counselor or Pediatrician & see if they have any advice. I know this sounds corny but, maybe check out some books for her age about BPD or mental health on her level and yall read them together. That way if she has questions you'd be right there to answer them. Not knowing how mature your daughtet is on our end here, she maybe the type of child where bein open & steaight up with her would be best. All kids are different. If shes seeing things as far as while at her moms and her moms actions, shes prob wondering somethings already. Your a great dad for being concerned & reaching out! You sound like a great dad, so im sure youll do it right. Remember we are a product of our environment! Good luck HumbleDad!😊