Thursday, November 13, 2014

Up Next

Back in May, I highlighted Borderline Personality Disorder and mentioned that a family member struggles with this disorder. What I didn't mention in that post is that Steve and I have decided to become leaders (trainers) for the Family Connections course for people who have a loved one with the disorder.

At its best, parenthood is a learn-as-you-go game. You make mistakes, you try something different, you read self-help books, you talk to friends. Armed with love and the best intentions, you do your best.

When you add a child with special needs into the mix, the learning curve can be incredibly steep and the mistakes can feel painful in a way you never expected. Love and good intentions seem insufficient to the challenge.

For us, attending the Family Connections course as learners was a game changer. Rather than guessing (and second-guessing) every decision we made, we had a context and some skills to help us. Within months, things were improving, rather than deteriorating. Instead of going from crisis to crisis, we had stability.

In early December, Steve and I will head to White Plains, New York for a three-day course that will prepare us to help others. And starting in January 2015, we'll be "paying it forward" to others on the same parenting path.

Wish us luck!


  1. Looking forward to you sharing what you learn. We have a family member who I suspect has this -- I don't know if they have been diagnosed, as we no longer have contact with them due to their actions/behaviour..... but we never consider that door completely closed. we always hope for restoration, so any tips/info would be helpful.

    1. It can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to have someone like this in your life. One of the key tips we took away from the course was to consider "relationship effectiveness" when interacting with them. Assuming there are no safety or property concerns, we just had to let go of being right or even consistent or whatever, and just consider: what response will be the best for strengthening our connection. It does mean that we are often double-thinking every word we say in a conversation, but it has made a difference. They seem to trust us more now and we have been able to discuss sensitive topics that would otherwise have been completely out of bounds.

      From the outside (to other family members) it looks like we are letting them get away with murder, but we see continuous improvement, so it's working.

      I've also found that they are incredibly sensitive to tone of voice. They respond incredibly well to baby talk, if you can believe it.

      I'll share more actual lessons as we go through this. Good luck with your sensitive butterfly!


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