I think that I was really in the wrong mental place to read this book. I picked it up to help me figure out how to cope with a relative that I suspect might have borderline personality disorder. I started it while she was in a snit not talking to me because I’d taken a few hours to answer a text message. I thought, “I’ll read this book and figure out some coping strategies and be ready to deal with this anew when she starts talking to me again.”
That…was not what happened. I found the book to be a bit coddling to the people with BPD, or maybe the issue is just that I was really looking for permission to extricate myself from the situation permanently. The book did have a lot of probably-valuable insight into the mind of the person with BPD, but for me, I realized as I was reading it that I was way past wanting to understand and well into just needing help planning an exit strategy. I could see this book being pretty helpful for someone who couldn’t really exit, or was very committed to staying – someone with a BPD spouse, parent, or child, for example. For me, it was a relationship that I could leave, and I realized while reading this how thoroughly ready to do so I was. I’m sure a lot of people end up feeling that way, so I do think SWOE could’ve benefited from more information on how to do that safely.
As I sat down to write this review, I decided to check Goodreads because I couldn’t be sure if I was just so beyond fed up with abusive behavior of the person in question, or if other people had felt the same way I did. Interestingly, the reviews were extremely divided: quite a few people felt that it was a little too soft on BPD behavior, but the people who self-identified as having BPD felt strongly the opposite. They all had very, very intense feelings about this book saying that they were unworthy of love and not worth the time and would destroy people, which was the exact opposite of how I read it. And really, I guess that tells you all you need to know about BPD.
If you’re committed to understanding and improving your relationship with a BPD loved one, it couldn’t hurt to give this book a look.