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Does my sister have BPD?

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My sister has some type of mental illness. I am trying get my family to help her for the sake of her children. I cannot help her because she has an extreme and unfounded hatred for me. This has been the case my entire life and I have been victim to her extreme bouts of rage wherein she physically abuses me and has even almost killed me. If she knows where I work she will call and try to get me fired. She will tell people how much she hates me and will lie to them about me.
*Chronic liar – but believes her own lies so that I feel she has a skewed sense of reality
*Extreme bouts of rage
*Substance abuser
*Cannot get over traumatic events (her baby died of cancer and she obsesses over it although it has been 14 years). She blames the family for not loving her deceased child.
*She takes pictures of her living children holding pictures of her dead child.
*Low self-worth and extremely self-conscious
*Always in conflict with someone either at work or home
*Failed relationships
*No friends
*She has had one suicide attempt that I know of, after her baby died.
*Has been to jail for beating up a bunch of people in a bar
*She is a very scary person who on the surface seems really nice

Does my sister have BPD?

Answered by on -


A; I can’t make a diagnosis on the basis of a letter, of course. And the label doesn’t really matter anyway. What matters is that your sister is in great pain and her methods of coping are hurting the very people who love her. You didn’t mention whether any of these behaviors were present before she lost her baby so I don’t know if the root of the problem is the trauma of that loss or if the loss exacerbated already existing problems. Either way, she does need help. I’m especially concerned about the effect of her behavior on her children. I wonder what they make of their mother’s chronic anger and sorrow. Do they feel that they aren’t enough? Do they feel guilty that they are alive while their sib is dead? Do they wonder if she loves them as much as the child she lost?

Unfortunately, you can’t make your sister get the help she needs. What you can do is educate yourself about how people manage the loss of a child and what causes some people, like your sister, to get stuck in the grieving process. You would then have new information to share with the rest of the family. My guess is that they (and you) have felt as stuck as your sister. If you all had some idea of what to do, you might be able to respond differently. If you think the children are in danger of neglect or emotional or physical abuse , you need to get child protective services involved. They might pursuade her to accept some support for the sake of her living children.

I’m sorry you’ve been the lightening rod for her pain. Please don’t take it personally. Whatever the reason, that probably won’t change unless she finds some peace so you’ll need to work quietly behind the scenes. I’m impressed that you are able to love her in spite of it all.
I wish you all well.
Dr. Marie

Does my sister have BPD?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Does my sister have BPD?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.