Psychology, Professional


Fall 12-2-2021

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Kurt M. Gehlert

Second Advisor

Len Jennings

Third Advisor

Patricia Stankovitch


This qualitative study explored the dynamics between mothers with borderline personality disorder (BPD) traits and their children. While existing research highlights the connection between mothers exhibiting BPD traits and their offspring’s future outcomes, there are limited qualitative accounts of children’s experiences whose caregiver(s) had BPD symptomatology. By using archival data in the form of memoirs, candid experiences of the authors were illuminated to draw out commonalities in how they navigated their childhood, adolescence, and transition into adulthood. This researcher examined five memoirs written by children of mothers with BPD who demonstrated patterns of unpredictability, dysregulation, and confusion. Each narrative highlighted the resilience and resounding growth mindsets of the authors. With a clearer picture of the factors contributing to post-traumatic growth, prevention of the transmission of trauma is more accessible. This study found that those who sought therapeutic guidance, came to understand their mother’s disorder, and set appropriate, healthy boundaries were able to repair their own attachment style. This finding emphasized the importance of personal growth, self-awareness, and intentional attachment repair in preventing the transmission of trauma to future generations.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.