Forums Home

Carers Forum

Acceptance, connection, support. Share the journey.

Safe, anonymous discussion for people living with complex mental health issues, moderated 24/7 by mental health professionals.

Read the community guidelines
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Our stories

Casual Contributor

Please help me with my BPD son

I have been referring to the SANE forum for some time now for information, guidance and solace, desperately seeking something to assist me with my adult son who is 28 years old and lives with me. Apologies that this post is long but i don't know how else to explain things.

It’s been a very difficult few years to say the least.

My son recently was admitted to the local mental health unit as an involuntary patient. That was as a result of me calling the police, as I was concerned he was going to bring harm to himself, myself or someone else. It started off with paranoia and then an outburst of obscenities at me, made threats and started breaking and throwing things around. In his rage he did say, “call the police”.

He is back home, staying only one night at the mental health unit. The mental teams impression was that he has Cluster B Personality structure with strong Borderline personality traits (of which I already suspected). As he smokes cannabis, regularly, they suggested it might account for his paranoia, however not evident. He has been recommended to seek ongoing counselling sessions with a psychologist, recommending 12-18 months to see change and no antipsychotic drugs were prescribed.

He has been struggling with mental illness or this disorder, for some years now and has never been able to see through any counselling or recommendation for treatment let alone a diagnosis on his state of mind. In one moment he acknowledges he has a problem in the next he denies it. In his words “it is everybody else that has the problem”.

He has always had trouble containing is anger. He acts impulsively and those impulses are not always safe. He has been charged with assault, has difficulty maintaining relationships, as he trusts no one so currently he has no friends.

He is highly paranoid and non trusting of people. He has no qualms in being confrontational with people accusing them of matters untrue. Although a University graduate, he has never pursued his studies, has had a countless number of odd jobs of which he has never been able to maintain because he is terminated or dislikes the people. He is always short of money even when he is working.

His relationship with me is a volatile one. He is often disrespectful, patronising and insulting. As a result I am always choosing my words carefully, choosing the right moment to converse with him, avoiding having friends or family over at times depending on his mood. Stepping on eggshells to say the least. I have also read that book by the way.

He has never had a good relationship with his dad (I have been divorced for 24 years now), as his father never got actively involved in his life. His relationship with his two younger siblings is also a strained one.

I am at breaking point now. Physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I have no stamina. I feel lifeless, I feel scared. I have a wonderful partner of 16 years and some wonderful friends. Although supportive (if I let them in) I feel like isolating myself from everyone. They too have been on the receiving end of my son’s fabricated accusations and intimidations and I fear that I will lose those close to me, as his behaviour can be intolerable for someone who doesn’t really understand his disorder/illness.

There are however moments of calmness with my son, he shows compassion and love, but these moments are transitory. When he is calm he questions my every move and every action. It feels like I am being interrogated which causes me to go into a panic, as I fear an outburst is in the works. Perhaps I am overreacting but this is how I find myself. He can be regretful about his behaviour and can recognise he has a problem but in time those thoughts are forgotten and he becomes his paranoid, volatile self.

Sadly I am not convinced my son will see through any treatment, I live in hope that he will but I am doubtful. Instead I live in fear of him, fear of what he will do to himself, to me or to someone else. I fear his aggression, I fear the way he often talks to me. Although more than often scared of him and sometimes resenting him, he is my son and I do love him and it breaks my heart to see him as he is. I do however feel like I falling and when I do hit that ground I may never get up.

I am embarrassed to say that I often wish he wasn’t living with me that he would just move out. Everyday now that thought is there and I feel guilty as his mother that I feel that way. It’s not because I don’t love him but because I am not coping. Him moving out is not an option however given he has never held down a job and never has any money. Where will he go and how will he live. Homeless? Unfortunately I cannot afford to house him anywhere.

I have tried to set boundaries, only to be challenged with aggression and threats. He doesn’t care about boundaries. I have attended counselling to help manage the situation, previously and again now, however I don’t even think that really helps me anymore.

I am reaching out to the world now in the hope that someone may propose something that maybe I have missed. I feel guilty, I feel anxious and I feel sick. I feel like I am failing my son and those close to me. I am desperate, I am in despair and I am lost. I am done.


Re: Please help me with my BPD son

Sadly I haven't had any response to my cry out for help. Perhaps one of the health professionals can offer some advice? PLEASE...

Re: Please help me with my BPD son

@Saddened  Hi Saddened and welcome to the forum. Sorry it has taken me awhile to get to posting to you I just have been in a hard place myself. We are mi sufferers or carers or sometimes both (like myself) online except for the @Moderator  s so sometimes posts just  dont get answered.It sounds like you could do with some respite yourself. Time out from the situation with your son. Is it possible for you to enrol in a course be it art, music etc something that you could call your own. I know the feeling about not wanting to put your son outt (I am in the same situation) and I dont believe you have to as long as you are taking good care of your own needs. Space for you to be you is so important. 


It is good news that your son is self aware enough to tell you to get the police. That is a wonderful thing to hear. My son isnt. Your son has a university education so he is very high functioning which is also good there is hope for the future once his medications have been sorted. Yes I would look into him taking medications again. My son2 is on medication and it has changed his life. He has autism, epilepsy, a mild to moderate intellectual disability and schizophrenia. If you want to talk further you can notify me of your post by putting a @in front of my name and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Remember to looks after you. Love greenpeaxx

Re: Please help me with my BPD son

Hi there @Saddened. Thank you for sharing a bit about your situation. It sounds like there have been some really tough events involving your son where you have felt very unsafe. However I can hear that there are times he shows compassion and love and you still recognise him as your son and want the best for him. You have been generous in providing your home as a safe place for him, but I hear that this is taking its toll on your own wellbeing.


@greenpea has some good suggestions about taking time out for yourself, to learn a new skill or engage in an activity that provides you with some pleasure and relief from what is happening at home.


Additionally, Mental Health Carers Australia may be able to offer you some more practical support in terms of respite, support groups, or counselling. 1800 RESPECT is also available for anyone experiencing frightening relationships. They may be able to talk with you about how to respond when your son becomes violent. Please do keep reaching out for support on the forums and elsewhere too. We are here for you Smiley Happy



  • 1800RESPECT
  • 1800 737 732
  • 24 hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.

Re: Please help me with my BPD son

Thank you @greenpea . Sadly my son isn't and has never been on any medication as he has never seen anyone for his disorder. Not sure that he ever will. It's just so hard. 
It's tough going for you too and I'm grateful that you have given me advice. I feel for you too. 
I do have interests such as art but I am caring for my dad and also there for my brother who has his own mental

issues currently and I just can't seem to put 5 minutes aside for myself. Thank you though for caring. 

Re: Please help me with my BPD son

Thank you @Jupiter @I didn't know about 1800 RESPECT. I'll be sure to contact them. Thank you so much. 

Re: Please help me with my BPD son

Hello @Saddened  

Sorry other people did not respond earlier.


That there is a kernel of love and compassion in your boy is reason for hope, but from what I can tell its best to limit your exposure to his negativity, anger and fear. We do not want to see that side in our kids, and they are probably not really comfortable with it either.  How to set boundaries is a tricky one.  I had to find one which would make a difference and accept the other behaviours. Also keeping in mind, his developmental task ... which is attaining independence.  The level of satisfaction and money earned can be a self limiting factor that they discover as they go.  Personal viability, chore contribution and paying of bills is basic. My son resisted leaving home for a long time and has just left (with help and support).  He found that he likes it and it is not as daunting as he thought.  You are the best suited to work out time frames etc ...  I told my boy he was welcome to stay until he was around 30 ... to give us both some wriggle room ... but there comes a stage when young males are really better off out of the maternal nest ... they can then put their energy into self maintaining instead of knocking their head against people ... I look at animals a lot too ... and try not to be too judgey ... best of luck


I know a lady who bought a converted container and put it in the back yard for her boy ... I did not have room even if I could wrangle the money ... the solution has to suit you both ...


Having moved out ... but not being homeless ... can really turn things around.


Smiley Happy

Re: Please help me with my BPD son

Hello @Appleblossom 


Thank you for your message.


My son in the past has left home a couple of times but because he can’t manage himself financially since he has never been able to hold down a job for any length of time he always ends back at my door step. He also can’t board with anyone so as to perhaps share some of the financial responsibility of a home since he has trust issues with people. He recently moved himself into my garage because he doesn’t want to be in the house with anyone. May I add that in the process of moving into the garage he was ready to take all my belongings stored to the rubbish tip without consulting me but my younger son intervened and managed the situation. So now my BPD son’s bedroom in the house has become a garage storage room. Even though he is in the garage he still needs to come into the house to use amenities.

I have often thought of converting the garage into a self contained granny flat for him but financially that is not an option for me. Additionally will it mean he will never take responsibility to better himself because there is no accountability whilst at home with me?

Setting boundaries is difficult to say the least and the mere mention of any parameters is good cause for him to have an outburst. Maybe I am just scared, maybe I haven’t tried hard enough to do so because I am scared…. I don’t know.

I feel like he doesn’t like being at home anyway and his frustration of not being able to maintain work, not being financial heightens his BPD. I have offered some financial assistance short term to help him find his own premises and assist him with the financial responsibility of living on his own but he refuses my help. Instead he locks himself away in the garage doing what I don’t know. I check in on him because I worry about him, talking through the door, as often he will not open up for me. It’s that or via texts.

Sadly I feel that if he doesn’t get some help for his illness things will never change. I have even used the “getting help” conversation when previously trying to set boundaries.

My partner of 16 years eventually wants us to live together, grow old together, however I don’t even see this as an option for me given the way things are with my son.

I know I sound so pessimistic and I don’t like myself for feeling that way but I really can’t see the light at he end of the tunnel currently.

Nevertheless there is a sense of comfort when people like yourself and others offer advice and courage and make you realise that there are people like myself that are going through similar and really you are not alone.

Thank you x

Re: Please help me with my BPD son


I can understand why you are not feeling optimistic, having been dealing with this situation for so long. It is invasive and very sad to watch young people struggling.  The "boundaries" concept does not solve everything.


You are wise  NOT to keep extending financial support endlessly.  It is natural to expect him to understand the in and out flows of his own money and his own needs.  Not everyone keeps up using cannabis throughout their whole lives. Are there ways you can acknowledge him or his views ... a little ...


Can I ask what area your son studied?  Professional work is not easy to get into, some manage it but others dont.  I know a lady with 2 science degree graduates in her home and neither has gotten work.  With the casualisation of the work force things are not necessarily easier these days, for young people to get established. Still some focus on his strengths or interests might help.


Living alone may be the best option for him, and the garage might be temporary. Men sometimes find the counselling environment uncomfortable. It was very difficult to get my brother or son to get help.  Sorry I cannot help more than just opening up the conversation.



Re: Please help me with my BPD son

Hello @Appleblossom 


My son has a Diploma in Accounting  and a University Degree in Economics and Finance. All in all it took him 6 years to complete as he lost interest towards the end but nevertheless completed his studies. He has clearly stated that he is not interested in pursuing work in his area of study. He doesn’t want to sit behind a desk. Truthfully  I don’t think he knows what he would like to do. He has had countless jobs such as labouring, factory work and even tried an apprenticeship as an electrician but his volatile nature has seen him terminated or he leaves his job because he doesn’t trust or get along with his co workers or management. He has been confrontational with his employers and employees so the likelihood of a good character reference is highly unlikely.

Having said all that when he does work he is on time, consistent and a hard worker but the nature of his illness lets him down.

Currently he is unlicensed due to penalties and his vehicle unregistered because he can’t pay for his registration and insurance of which I have offered to help but refuses my offer.

Should he want to do physical work he can’t because in his last raging outburst he fractured his hand when punching and throwing things around. So currently he does nothing but sit in the garage all day and all night. He comes out for food and to use amenities in the house or I take meals to him if he doesn’t surface. Although things are quiet at the moment I tip toe around him, mindful of how i converse with him and worrying when his next outburst will be.

I’m very very tired.




For urgent assistance, call: