Children of Alcoholics

January 26, 2014

I’ve had to say goodbye to a lot of people who were once near and dear to me. The one thing they all had in common? They were all children of an alcoholic parent. They also showed signs of borderline personality disorder. So the question is- are children of alcoholics more likely to develop BPD?

In the world of BPD, there are no hard answers. But first we must ask- what is an alcoholic? It is not merely someone who drinks copious amounts of alcohol. In most cases, it is someone who suffers from an extreme mood disorder. Unfortunately, most of these moody people are choosing to self-medicate with alcohol, which numbs their pain but intensifies their mood swings. Sometimes, causing them to act out violently or emotionally abuse loved ones.

All of this can lead to traumatic experiences for a child who is already genetically predisposed to mood disorders. These children grow up to be adults who cannot figure out why their relationships are always a mess or why they sabotage intimacy. They can’t figure out why drama and chaos follow them wherever they go. But if you know about BPD, then you know the answer to all these questions and more.

Here is a forum thread on this topic:

8 Responses to “Children of Alcoholics”

  1. naples104 said

    my ex-wife is the child of an alcoholic parent and I read a great book about them, its called “Adult children of alcoholic parents”, lays it out like a text book. Those people have issues and if you are with one you are likely a co-dependent and need counseling

    • savorydish said

      Thanks. I’ll check it out. And yes, I am painfully aware of my codependent issues. I think they often have codependent issues as well.

      But the question is does being the child of an alcoholic parent lead to BPD or is this a condition that bears a striking resemblance to BPD?

      • CompletelyOut said

        Okay, this is my 2 cents. I’ve spent a decade in healthcare and the last two years I’ve been pursuing a mental health doctorate. I’m not at the point where I can diagnose and dispense meds, but I’ve been around the block a time or two with my own BPD. That was the disclaimer. Let’s get down to business.

        There are a few studies you can read. An NIH study found borderlines had 2 to 3 x more alcoholism in their families of origin than other BH disorders.

        Combine an emotionally unstable child (remember there is a genetic component) with an emotionally unstable environment and there’s little hope of normalcy. So you’ve got the double-whammy of messed up nature & busted up nurture.

        I absolutely agree with your op that alcoholism is most likely self medicating for existing mental illnesses. Chicken and the egg at that point.

        I don’t struggle with my BPD’s damage from his alcoholic mother. I’m more fascinated by his victimization and can’t help but wonder if it was there all along and tweaked by her neglect and abuse.

        What’s funny to me now is the things I disliked about him were actually BPD. Early on in our relationship, I said to him, “Can’t you just shove all those emotions into a box like our fathers did??” after a particularly draining argument.

        I’m slowly realizing I lost all sense of self. I always found my BPD effeminate and he charged me with being “manly” and “scary.” Little, fat, bald man syndrome with a BPD twist. Yes, I’m pretty bitter.

        Anyway, I’m betting my rambling isn’t helping you but it sure as hell is helping me!

      • savorydish said

        This absolutely helps. Thank you so much. I always appreciate having people with a medical background here to confirm all that we suspect.


      • naples104 said

        unreal, get out and hire a great lawyer, make a statement to the police now and have him arrested for the same charge. Then get a restraining order against him from seeing you or the children. He is evil and and very ill and will hurt you

      • CompletelyOut said

        Oh, I’m out! He won’t rescind the protective order and I don’t go in front of the judge for over another week. The problem is the pregnancy. I know I can’t keep the baby and can’t adopt because I wouldn’t subject a child to this. It’s just difficult to do. I do have an attorney who is aware of the mental health aspect of my case. We’re not going to make the DV easy on him. ALL of his behavior will be in play when we get to court because his behavior is what we fought about.

  2. CompletelyOut said

    My ex-fiance (male) was the child of an alcoholic mother. He readily admitted (early victimization) how traumatic and damaging his childhood was. Perhaps most telling is the obsession with mother-related porn. Ah, but that’s another post.

    I’m embarrassed to admit I am two years into a mental health doctorate degree. I never allowed myself to see it. After what has transpired in this last week, I couldn’t ignore the billboard-sized signs. My ex is personality disordered, BPD with impulsivity to be exact.

    If you are considering whether you should leave yours, let my life be your impetus to get the hell out. Last week, my BPD became enraged that I was resting on doctor’s orders and also had orders for no intercourse. Yes, you already can guess my BPD viewed this as abandonment and betrayal. I’m currently pregnant with his baby and he is concerned with how my pregnancy is victimizing him. After I was pressured to have sex x 2. He came back and demanded oral sex. I refused. All hell broke loose. Make no mistake, BPDs WILL violently abuse a pregnant, ill partner. When I was finally able to call for help, I refused to give a statement to the police. But not the BPD! He was the victim. I was “crazy” and “violent.” I was taken to the ER and issued a citation for domestic violence. My ex continues to try to contact me even though he has a restraining order against me. Were I to fall for his repeated requests, he would immediately call the PD and have me picked up for violating the order. Now, he lives in MY home with MY belonging and even has MY dog. For three days, this thing kept my children. Yes, MY children, by allowing the police to assume they were his children. None of them are and he has NO custody or legal rights to the children. My children were interrogated by the PD without a parent or guardian, only the BPD present, coaching and urging them to find fault with me. My children were asked, “Is mom all right in the head?” and “Are you safe with your mom?” I don’t know why I am still shocked at my position. I am basically homeless living with my children in a hotel. Thankfully, my car was returned to me after three days. But of course, the BPD is the victim. He spends hours with the police reinforcing his treatment by me. Besides being coerced into sex, we fought about his gambling, excessive spending, drinking, multiple pay day loans, porn addiction, masturbation addiction, and use of prostitutes. Naturally, ALL of his deviant behaviors are MY fault. If only I would (insert whatever the hell is going on his damaged little head at that moment).

    I’m quite ashamed I didn’t see this coming. One of the first red flags occurred years ago. We were quite new to the relationship and I drove home to see my parents for Thanksgiving. I didn’t take the BPD as his family lived nearby. Because of my “betrayal” and abandonment of him at a holiday, the BPD holed up in his apartment and solicited random women from various hook-up and sex sites. If I hadn’t left him alone, he wouldn’t have done it.

    If ANY of this sounds familiar. Get the fuck out. NOW! It will NOT get better. Although I am not currently in practice, I am going to tell you my firm belief that PDs are NOT treatable. They are NOT manageable. You owe it to yourself and to any living or future children to get as far away from your PD partner. S/he will never feel normal love and does NOT love you no matter how flattering and kind s/he is in the beginning. G-d bless you and Good Luck.

  3. naples104 said

    i am so sorry for your situation, let this be an example to all that are involved with a BPD and take heed. The revenge factor for them is huge and if they can put you in jail and ruin you when their loves turns to hate they will do everything they can to hurt you and laugh. My opinion, they are not treatable and the only way out is out. I wish you the best, try to get him arrested, it will help your case.


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