The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder: New Tools and Techniques to Stop Walking on Eggshells

The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder: New Tools and Techniques to Stop Walking on Eggshells

The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder: New Tools and Techniques to Stop Walking on Eggshells

For family members of people with borderline personality disorder (BPD), home life is routinely unpredictable and frequently unbearable. Extreme mood swings, impulsive behaviors, and suicidal tendencies—common conduct among those who suffer from the disorder—leave family members feeling confused, hurt, and helpless.

In her pioneering first book Stop Walking on Eggshells, co-authored with Paul T. Mason, Randi Kreger outlined the fundamental differences in the way that people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) relate to the world. Now, with The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder, she takes readers to the next level, giving them straightforward tools to get off the emotional roller coaster and repair relationships with loved ones with BPD. Kreger answers the questions family members most want to ask about:  the symptoms and treatment of BPD, including why BPD is so misdiagnosed; how symptoms can differ by age and gender; and how addiction and other disorders complicate BPD. She then outlines how families can set boundaries and communicate differently in order to help themselves and their loved ones cope with this bewildering form of mental illness.

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3 Comments so far »

  1. T. CRAWFORD said,

    Wrote on February 23, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

    87 of 90 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A Must Read for family, friends, clinicians and judges, November 25, 2008
    By 
    T. CRAWFORD
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder: New Tools and Techniques to Stop Walking on Eggshells (Paperback)

    Very few books can actually change your life. Randi Kreger has written two. “Stop Walking on Eggshells” (SWOE) changed my life and the lives of many others. “The Essential Family Guide” now offers the tools to family members and professionals to help deal with BPD with great efficiency and effectiveness.

    “The Essential Family Guide” hits the nail directly on the head and drives it home. Where SWOE left off, the Family Guide picks up. It is critical reading for everyone – including counselors, psychologists, and legal professionals – living with or dealing with someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (a “BPD”).

    After reading through the first few chapters, I realized that “The Essential Family Guide” is the next step in my own recovery in dealing with my BPD ex-spouse and in caring for my children exposed to this disorder. If you are coping with a BPD – personally or professionally – you must read the Essential Family Guide.

    I think of and hear from others out there dealing with the craziness of a BPD in their lives and searching for understanding. If I can convince one person to read The Family Guide and get the benefit that I have received from Randi’s books, then I will have done a good thing.

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  2. John Lucas said,

    Wrote on February 23, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

    184 of 210 people found the following review helpful:
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Almost but not quite, May 1, 2009
    By 

    This review is from: The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder: New Tools and Techniques to Stop Walking on Eggshells (Paperback)

    My wife, I suspect, has BPD, and I read Randi’s book, “Stop Walking on Eggshells”, about a year and a half ago. I then participated in Randi’s on-line support groups, and generally attempted to follow some of the advice in that book and on that site, without much success, frankly. This new book is helping me much more in understanding and empathizing with my wife, but I still think it doesn’t quite get what is the most effective means for interacting with a borderline.

    It’s hard for me to explain the overarching problem I see with the book so I’ll focus on one example. “Power tool #5: reinforcing right behavior” makes the point that, when a BP’s traditional behavior does not get the reward they seek, they frantically repeat the behavior in an effort to get the reward (which Randi refers to as an *extinction burst*). My impression is that, for Randi, the “reward” is that the non complies with the borderline’s desires, or accepts the abuse, or gets attention, and so on.

    Rather than a focus on what is the actual emotion that the borderline is trying to communicate (albeit very ineffectively–that is why they call this a disorder, and specifically a disorder of emotion regulation), Randi is focused in this section on the behavior that one might want to stop, using “limits.” She provides several examples of borderline behavior that one might want to stop, such as them calling you at work many times a day, or saying hurtful things to you. She describes “setting a limit” for each (for the first, explaining that you can take a maximum of 3 calls per day from the BP aside from emergency calls, for the second explaining to your BP that the conversation is uncomfortable and that “I’m going to my room. If and when you are ready to treat me with respect, let me know and we can talk”).

    Randi is clearly a strong believer that the loved one of a borderline can effectively extinguish problematic behaviors by either not rewarding them or even providing negative reinforcement for them, and she is influenced by and references Susan Pryor’s “Don’t shoot the dog,” a book that I enjoyed immensely. She says that it may take a long time for the BP to get past the extinction burst phase, but once they do, the behavior is extinguished.

    I have 3 issues with this approach.

    1) Randi defines “setting a limit” as engaging in a behavior that is completely under one’s own control (ie not answering the phone, or leaving the room for the above examples) but quickly ties this together with using this “limit” as positive or negative reinforcement (and clearly not punishment–she describes negative reinforcement correctly) to elicit behavioral change in the borderline.

    This has helped clarify for me how Randi thinks about limits and boundaries, and explains why there is so much confusion about what these actually are. For Randi, I think, a limit is about our own behavior, but it is also intended to act as a positive or (more often) negative reinforcer of the BP’s behavior. No wonder people are often confused about who a limit actually is supposed to apply to.

    Boundaries are a standard tool used by folks at Randi’s internet support group. They are meant to apply to the behavior of our own selves. Sometimes, however, people assume that the borderline is “supposed” to not “cross” these boundaries, which has never made sense to me since boundaries are supposed to apply to ourselves, not others. But I guess they are really talking about limits, which, again, seem to be similar to boundaries but are used as reinforcement tools to elicit change in other people’s behavior. So I think it would be very helpful to clarify the difference between boundaries, limits, reinforcement strategies, etc–these all tend to get jumbled togather in a confusing way both in the book and on the internet support groups created by Randi.

    2) People who follow this advice without paying heed to validation FIRST may (or may not, as I talk about below) eventually extinguish behaviors that they don’t like, but I believe that they’ll also likely end up with a borderline who feels deep-seated anger and shame, and who will find new ineffective behavioral outlets for this anger and shame. Randi does talk about the importance of validation (she appears to prefer the term “empathic acknowledging”) and she even emphasizes that it is important to do so BEFORE and WHILE “setting limits” (something she didn’t do in “Stop walking on eggshells”), but she doesn’t integrate the tools. Her examples illustrate one “power tool” at a time.

    For example, the example about the BP saying abusive things to her mother makes it look as if simple negative reinforcement (leaving the room) results, after “many years and lots of practice”, in a BP that has learned to recognize that they’re about to be emotionally dysregulated and trying their best to control their behavior, and apologizing in…

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  3. Barbara A. Oakley said,

    Wrote on February 23, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

    49 of 53 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    On a scale of one to five, this rates a ten!, December 8, 2008
    By 
    Barbara A. Oakley (Rochester, MI USA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder: New Tools and Techniques to Stop Walking on Eggshells (Paperback)

    I thought nothing could ever top the first book Randi Kreger co-wrote (“Stop Walking on Eggshells”) but her newest book does it—I wish I could give ten stars instead of five. This seemingly simple book is one of the top five most useful books I’ve ever read in my life—I’ve already reread it twice, and will be reading it again in the years to come to help keep me in the right mental place. If you want to not only understand emotionally troubled people, but also do something concrete to help yourself, push the button and order this book right now.

    There are so many powerful and easy-to-use tools provided in this book that it’s tough to figure out which ones to mention in this review. They all give concrete answers to the seemingly unanswerable question that always arises whenever you’re faced by a troubled personality–what do you do about it?

    For example, I’ve always heard that you need to “set firm limits” with people who would overstep your boundaries. But personally, I never really quite understood what the word “limits” actually meant, and I certainly didn’t know how to set them. Nothing I ever read on the topic helped much, because what little I found was so vague.

    But Randi gives example after concrete example of what limit setting actually means in a variety of situations, emphasizing throughout that it’s important to understand your own greater sense of what’s fair and right for yourself as well as for others. Her chapter on uncovering what keeps you feeling “stuck” provides a terrific explanation of a problem in relationships with people who are troubled. In the chapter on communication, Randi describes precisely how to communicate and actually be heard.

    And the good news is that it IS possible to get your troubled person to make changes—Randi tells precisely how to do it, even while you are improving your own health and life.

    If you are dealing with a person who is making your life miserable and who leaves you constantly feeling as if you are walking on eggshells, you need this extraordinary book.

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