Understanding the Borderline Mother and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Trade in Yours
For a £11.73 Gift Card
Trade in
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Start reading Understanding the Borderline Mother on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship [Paperback]

Christine Ann Lawson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: £31.95
Price: £31.45 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
You Save: £0.50 (2%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 11 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it Saturday, 20 Sep.? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £21.60  
Hardcover £42.00  
Paperback £31.45  
Trade In this Item for up to £11.73
Trade in Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £11.73, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Book Description

28 July 2002 0765703319 978-0765703316
The first love in our lives is our mother. Recognizing her face, her voice, the meaning of her moods, and her facial expressions is crucial to survival. Dr. Christine Ann Lawson vividly describes how mothers who suffer from borderline personality disorder produce children who may flounder in life even as adults, futilely struggling to reach the safety of a parental harbor, unable to recognize that their borderline parent lacks a pier, or even a discernible shore. Four character profiles describe different symptom clusters that include the waif mother, the hermit mother, the queen mother, and the witch. Children of borderlines are at risk for developing this complex and devastating personality disorder themselves. Dr. Lawson's recommendations for prevention include empathic understanding of the borderline mother and early intervention with her children to ground them in reality and counteract the often dangerous effects of living with a "make-believe" mother. Some readers may recognize their mothers as well as themselves in this book. They will also find specific suggestions for creating healthier relationships. Addressing the adult children of borderlines and the therapists who work with them, Dr. Lawson shows how to care for the waif without rescuing her, to attend to the hermit without feeding her fear, to love the queen without becoming her subject, and to live with the witch without becoming her victim. A Jason Aronson Book

Frequently Bought Together

Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship + Surviving A Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds and Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self-Esteem + Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder
Price For All Three: £60.54

Buy the selected items together

Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Jason Aronson (28 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765703319
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765703316
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.1 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 326,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description


This wonderfully readable book is totally devoid of jargon and pedantry. The writing is concise and simple, although the subject is complex and weighty. With picturesque nosology, Dr. Lawson writes about the waif, hermit, queen, and witch mothers. Her unique examination of borderline mothers and how they relate to their children culminates in a discussion of what can be done for both from an interpersonal perspective. Replete with clinical vignettes, this book is entertaining as well as informative. -- Peter L. Giovacchini This well-researched and beautifully written book presents in graphic, specific, clinical detail overwhelming evidence to resolve any ambiguity about the relationship of the borderline mother to her children. The many faces of the borderline mother are nicely differentiated and described. Dr. Lawson also provides guidelines on how to manage a relationship with a borderline mother constructively. A helpful read for all therapists who work with borderline patients. -- James F. Masterson Masked by a smile, behind the pinafore of maternal attachment, lurks a borderline mother. Dr. Lawson offers a compelling portrait of mothers who project massive states of confusion and terror into their children. She presents a variety of mothers, including the make-believe mother, the fairy tale mother, the queen and witch mother, along with specific clinical suggestions for dealing with each type. This spellbinding contribution to the literature provides effective treatment procedures for therapists working within the spectrum of borderline phenomenology. -- Joan Lachkar Childhood lived with a borderline mother results in an unspeakable tragedy. Few of the child's developmental needs are met because the mother cannot be a parent. Consequently, the child is programmed for a lifelong struggle against failure. For over twenty years, people have shared their own agonizing stories with me, looking to my journey for a sense of hope. The compassionate understanding and professional assistance in this book are a road map out of failure. -- Christina Crawford

About the Author

Christine Ann Lawson, Ph.D., is a clinical social worker in private practice in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has previously served as adjunct faculty at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, and Butler University.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In praise of an extraordinary, enlightening book. 20 April 2001
By A Customer
Pitiful yet sinister, tyrannical yet terrified, the borderline mother is full of paradoxes which make it difficult for her children to grasp her problems, for which they inevitably blame themselves. This book explains and illustrates this devastating disorder in terms that are easy for the layman to follow. Children of mothers with BPD will feel less alone, less confused and stronger for reading this book. Dr Lawson gives methods for handling the borderline mother in her various avatars of waif, hermit, queen and witch. Though the book cannot offer a "cure", the insights it offers help to make this difficult relationship easier to endure.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing book 10 Sep 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As the child of a borderline mother, I was delighted to find a book that said what my childhood was like. This book is brilliantly written, effortlessly mixing psychological jargon with fairytale metaphors. Everyone who has a mother with borderline personality disorder should read this book, it is truly validating.
Was this review helpful to you?
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing 6 Mar 2011
By kerry
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After seeing a therapist who said I think your mother has borderline personality disorder, and assured me I wasn't crazy. I was looking for info on the internet and found this book was highly recommended. So I visited trusted Amazon, but was a little taken aback by the price! Anyway I went ahead and was so glad I did. After reading this I felt like my life fell into place, I identified my mother , myself and what to do. Clarity in a word. I ended up underlining anything that was relivent to me. Well it ended up being half the book! Even If you have a difficult mother without this disorder it may well help. It was very easy to read and I could just pick out examples and behaviours to share with my partner who was blown away. I wanted to share it with everyone my mother had convienced it was me and my partner that was bad. This book had her down to a tee. The hermit with the waif, queen and witch thrown in.
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intresting in site in the workings of mothers 16 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you have difficulty living with or understanding yor mother or mother in law this book will help. Well structured and plenty of examples. A real help to understanding.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worth it 18 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
although there are a few sweeping generalisations that irk, such as that all borderline women will have children, the book was very illuminating. The review that claimed the book was overpriced is unrealistic - how much research would have gone into a book that cost 1.99? You get what you pay for, sweetie!
My mum is a queen and i am a hermit. There were many bits where the book was amazingly accurate in describing aspects of our personalities, and I think reading it constitutes a breakthough for me.
If you think you may have this condition you really have a moral duty to read the book, if only to ensure you don't pass it on to another generation of unfortunates, expensive or not!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening 31 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is the first book that I have read that accurately describes the crazyness I experienced while growing up. When I was a child I knew that my family was not the same as other families. Thanks to this book I now know why. Unlike some children of borderline mothers I didn't have a mother who was physically violent or abused drugs and alcohol. The only outward sign was a need to overeat so it was difficult to know what was wrong. This book has helped me to realise that a lot of what was expected of me was unrealistic and that it isn't my fault. I am finally letting go of the belief that I am an evil person and the need to live what feels like a double life. I thoroughly recommend this book.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introductory read. 30 Aug 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I could have done without the celebrity examples: quite apart from personal taste, I didn't feel it helped the author's credibility to be remarking on subjects she hadn't personally dealt with. Who knows what was going through Joan Crawford's mind? But I won't go on about it - I found this in all other respects an excellent introduction to BPD, positive and helpful in its approach, and digestible to read.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars my experience named and validated 28 Mar 2014
I have been riveted to this book since I purchased it earlier in week. I am completely blown away. It explains so much about why I am the way I am. I keep wanting to cry- tears for the pain I experienced as a child growing up with a borderline mother , and tears of joy and relief as I can finally validate my own feelings. I am the only child of single mother so I never had siblings to identify with or reassure me that I wasn't the crazy one just imagining my mother's instability. I've been through a lot of therapy over the years, and a member of 12 step programs. I have healed a lot of my demons but battle continously with self-esteem, fear and depression. Honestly, this feels like the missing piece of the puzzle. I am so so so grateful to have found this book. It feels like a life saver. It's helping me to make sense of mother and childhood. And I have greater compassion for who I am.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful
In one book the writer has condensed my entire childhood and adult years. This was an incredible read that helped me a great deal. Healing, powerful and really useful
Published 8 months ago by Anon
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I loved this book so much I did not sleep that night and read it in one go. Simply brilliant.
Published 17 months ago by lucia perez
5.0 out of 5 stars I cried with relief
I cannot put into words how beneficial this book has been to me. Yes, it is pricey.....but you will read in one sitting and then you will read and read again. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Paula
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
Well written, simple to understand and rich of information regarding the borderline disorder. In my opinion, the point of view was interesting: not in general but a specific focus... Read more
Published 24 months ago by Passionate reader
1.0 out of 5 stars really?
I would love to read this book on Kindle. However, the price for the e-book is £22! Sorry, what? How can this be justified? It seems utterly unreasonable to me.
Published on 3 Jan 2012 by Georgina Bruce
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes!!
Yes!! This book has brought me peace of mind. It gives examples of how the BPD acts and how the child reacts in thoughts and their own actions. Read more
Published on 27 Nov 2011 by jasmine
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read of a Difficult Subject
I am a psychotherapist and was recommended this book by one of my clients. I found it a very easy book to read about a very complex and difficult subject. Read more
Published on 20 Mar 2011 by Frances Helen
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category