Browse by Course
Intelligence and Security
Rowman & Littlefield
Down East Books
Rowman & Littlefield International
American Alliance of Museums
American Association of School Administrators
American Association for State and Local History
Bucknell University Press
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Council on Foreign Relations
Fairleigh Dickinson University Press
Urban Institute Press
Lehigh University Press
Library and Information Technology Association
Medical Library Association
National Association for Music Education
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
University of Delaware Press
Add to GoodReads
Understanding the Borderline Mother
Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship
Christine Ann Lawson
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
Jason Aronson, Inc.
Size: 6 1/8 x 9
978-0-7657-0288-3 • Hardback • September 2000 •
978-0-7657-0331-6 • Paperback • July 2002 •
978-0-7425-9993-2 • eBook • September 2000 •
Psychology / General
Psychology / Applied Psychology
Psychology / Cognitive Psychology & Cognition
Psychology / Developmental / Adulthood & Aging
Psychology / Developmental / Child
Psychology / Mental Illness
For access to these
professor use only
then email us at
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.
Chapter 1 Make-Believe Mothers
Chapter 2 The Darkness Within
Chapter 3 The Waif Mother
Chapter 4 The Hermit Mother
Chapter 5 The Queen Mother
Chapter 6 The Witch Mother
Chapter 7 Make-Believe Children
Chapter 8 Fairy-Tale Fathers
Chapter 9 Loving the Waif Without Rescuing Her
Chapter 10 Loving the Hermit Without Feeding Her Fear
Chapter 11 Loving the Queen Without Becoming Her Subject
Chapter 12 Living with the Witch Without Becoming Her Victim
Chapter 13 Living Backwards
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.
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.
Rights and Permissions
National Book Network