Did I Cause My Son To Have BPD?

    QUESTION:

    Dear Dr. Heller,

    My teenage son has every describable symptom for BPD.  He is at the last school in this city that will accept him and is due to be expelled from there.  He now has other people feeling sorry for him to the point that I am being thought of as the one who is at fault, even though I have two other children who are enjoying life and getting on well without attempting to destroy their lives.  I am a student mental health nurse myself and am sure I can spot when something is not quite right.  However this has escalated to the point that I am starting to believe that as a mother I am terribly inadequate.  This has come about since my son has had some close contact with a few very close friends of mine who had more or less insinuated that it is me that is at fault, (purely because he has ‘sucked them in’). Is it possible that such a ‘terrible mother’ can have two young children that just get on with life doing childish things that do not hurt others and one other that is intent on doing exactly what he wants regardless of the effect on other people.  This includes (at the age of twelve) sexually abusing a young girl and at the age of thirteen beating up another young boy and then throwing him into a canal, (this resulted in him being cautioned by the police). Please tell me it is not me that is ‘not well’ and in addition that this sort of behavior is not just (and I quote one of my friends), ‘normal teenage shit’.  thank you.

     

    ANSWER:

    There’s a term for what’s necessary for an average success called a “good enough mother.”  It’s likely you were at minimum that considering your two other children are doing well.  Even if you have significant problems yourself, your son’s behavior is up to him, and he clearly has his siblings as a role model. I’d look into the major diagnoses I go over in the screening test and also for childhood onset bipolar disorder.  The effective medications are dramatic, and it doesn’t matter how many medications one has been on, what matters is which ones, in which doses, and in what sequence. What’s in your heart is also very important.  If you honestly believe you did your best, you don’t need to answer to anyone.  Reading “Your Erroneous Zones” by Wayne Dyer may be of help to you in this regard.

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