Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Characterizing Borderline Behaviors: The Queen

Today let’s talk about the Borderline Behaviors that create the cluster of characteristics known as:

The Queen

Typical Thoughts
"I want more attention. I deserve more attention. And, by the way, what have you done for me lately?" Also, "My children should fulfill my needs, not the other way around. They don't love or respect me if they disagree with me, go against my wishes, or have needs of their own."
Typical Feelings
These include entitlement, deprivation, emptiness, anger, frustration, or loneliness from the deprivation they felt as children. Queens are impatient and have a low tolerance for frustration. They also push others' boundaries without regret or recognition.
Typical Actions and Central Dilemma
Driven by feelings of emptiness and unable to soothe themselves, Queens do what it takes to get what they feel they so richly deserve--including vindictive acts like blackmail. Initially they may impress others with their social graces. But when "friends" can no longer deliver, the Queen cuts them off without a thought. Queens are capable of real manipulation (vs. more primitive BP defenses) to get what they desire.
Typical Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions of Family Members
·         "I can't meet this person's needs; my best isn't enough."
·         "Don't I ever get to have any needs? (Better not say that or the Queen will leave me.)"
·         "Why is everything always about her?"
·         "If people only knew what an act the Queen puts on, they'd sure be shocked."
·         Family members who the Queen shames, ignores, or gives superficial attention learn that their worth depends on external things (cars, important titles).
·         Non-BPs' self-esteem also suffers--especially among those who become isolated or who had a Queen parent.
·         Over time, non-BPs feel used, manipulated and angry--anger at the BP and at themselves for capitulating so much they no longer recognize themselves.
·         Non-BPs give in to her wishes because it's easier than maintaining personal limits.
·         Less assertive non-BPs are vulnerable to distortion campaigns, unwilling or unable to protect themselves or their children.
Consequences to Children with a Queen Parent
To the Queen, children are a built-in audience expected to give love, attention and support when the Queen needs it. Children feel confused and betrayed when their normal behavior is sometimes punished (according to the Queen's needs of the moment). Since Queens don't allow or help children become individuals (autonomy is discouraged--even punished) kids mimic the behavior they do see: the Queens'. Thus, a new generation of BPs is born.
As kids grow, conflict with the Queen increases. Underneath, these kids long for approval, recognition, consistency, and to be loved unconditionally for who they are, not what they achieve. [source]

Dr. Lawson writes that Borderline Queens are driven by feelings of emptiness, and that they seek special treatment because they felt emotionally deprived as children. The Queen has learned how to win special treatment through persistence and intimidation.
Dr. Lawson writes:
She can be intrusive, loud, inpatient, and flamboyant. She is easily frustrated, often bursting into rages than can terrify her children. She can be disingenuous and may lie in order to get what she wants." p.104
Dr. Lawson points out that giving in to the Queen is easier than resisting, and Dr. Lawson further points out that those who dare to confront the Queen may be treated as infidels and, as such, may be banished for their disloyalty. In this way, the Borderline may create new borderlines in their children by terrorizing them with rejection and abandonment to punish them for not following her will. Husbands of Queens learn that any peace and equanimity that can be obtained in the relationship with her will require that they acquiesce to her demands or arguments will ensue that will escalate until the Queen gets her way. For similar reasons, the Queen will be right about everything and never take responsibility for her own mistakes or problems. She will never apologize or say she is sorry or seek forgiveness. The Queen is sovereign and expects all to serve her faithfully and compliantly or there will be consequences to pay.
Dr. Lawson writes:
"The darkness within the borderline Queen is emptiness. Emptiness and loneliness are distinctly different emotional experiences. Whereas loneliness results from loss and evokes sadness, emptiness results from deprivation an triggers anger. However, not all Queens experienced loss in early childhood. The common denominator among borderline Queens is emotional deprivation. As children they felt robbed; consequently, they feel entitled to take what they need." p. 105
It is this sense of deprivation which gives the Queen her sense of entitlement. This sense of entitlement allows her to justify her exploitation, lying, steeling, and deprivation of others.
The Queen can be very charming and seductive pursuing attention to fill the void of the underlying deprivation. The Queen can be quite competitive and envious of others and devalues others who are a threat to her or who do not provide gratification or special treatment. This sense of deprivation often impairs moral judgment and the Queen can be vindictive without feeling guilt or remorse. The Queen will rarely give credit to others unless there is something in it for her. People quite attracted to the Queen initially, because she usually has quite a charismatic personality, will sooner or later get burned by the Queen when they realize that for the Queen everything must be about her and if possible they will avoid her.
Dr. Lawson writes:
"The Queen relates to others with superficiality and an air of detachment. She may perceive others, including her children, as a threat to her own survival unless they relinquish their needs for hers. Queen mothers compete with their children for time, attention, love, and money. Superficial interest and a lack of attunement to the child's emotional needs are typical of Queen mothers." p.108
The borderline Queen motto is: "It's All About Me!"
Dr. Lawson points out that although Queen mothers emotionally sacrifice their children, their children may go to their graves protecting her. [source]
To me there sounds like there is a lot of Borderline Narcissism and Punitiveness going on here. Amusingly, while I’m reading this, the person that I most identify this behavior with is my Evil-Ex. There are a lot of narcissistic qualities here. Everything is me, me, me. Self-worth and self-esteem are entirely dependent on the reactions and attention that can be derived from those around them.
In many ways I’m relieved that I don’t seem to have this kind of problem with my interactions. My interactions are more directed with taking care of others so that they stay because they need me, will love me, and in that way fill the emptiness and loneliness I feel. I try too hard for other people to avoid abandonment. But I don’t have kids.
I underlined something above that I do have as a real fear. I worry that if I were to ever find someone that I cared so much for, loved so much, that we got married and decided to spend our lives together, that any other source for that person to direct their love, would be a kind of competition. I have a hard time grasping the idea that love isn’t limited. That it is possible for someone to love many people without having their love for me diminish. It is a concern for me that my partner might love a child so much that I would no longer be of such importance. Even as I type this it sounds like a monstrously selfish thought, but there you have it. I have intense abandonment fears and I’m afraid that any loss of love would open the door to being replaced.
What’s really silly about this is that I grew up in a household where this line of reasoning is the epitome of not true. My parents so very clearly love each other. They very, very clearly love us. Love me, despite my psychotically atrocious behavior growing up. But I still have these fears that despite everything, it will be different for me. Because I’m different.
As you know, I don’t have kids, so it’s really hard for me to research these descriptions of what a Borderline parent can turn out to be. More than anything I would not want to be this kind of person… and that’s something. Obviously not all Borderlines turn out in these ways; everyone presents differently, but being able to recognize what behaviors could come through, is important to counteracting them. I also can’t say from experience that these are true states of being, but my goal for this site is to collect as much information on BPD in one place as possible to understand this condition, raise my awareness of how this condition presents in myself, and be prepared for what this condition is capable of. Knowledge is power {insert G. I. Joe theme song}.  


  1. So I identified my stepmother as The Witch, and now it looks like my mother is The Queen. It's a miracle I've turned out as well adjusted as I have ~

    And guess that makes me Snow White, although it's anybody's guess what I'd achieve with an army of forest creatures ready to do my bidding ...

  2. This is Darlene Krol for anyone who lives in or near the Plymouth Michigan have been warned....


Leave me a comment! It makes me feel good and less paranoid about talking to myself =)

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