Book Review: Stop Walking On Eggshells

Cover of "Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taki...

Cover via Amazon

I am slowly working my way through my collection of Borderline Personality Disorder books; purchased for myself and my fiancée to read and help us cope with my condition.

Stop walking on eggshells (Second Edition) is written by Paul Mason and Randi Kreger and is aimed at helping people who do not have BPD to better understand their loved one (who has BPD) and ‘take their life back’.

The book is filled with examples of people’s experiences, both BP’s and Non BP’s (BP = borderline personality) that are used to illustrate the points being made.  This is really helpful as you get to see a range of opinions and the effects BPD has on people’s lives.

The structure of the book makes it easy to dip in and out reading a little at a time; processing that before reading the next bit.

Part One:

Starts with a couple of chapters dedicated to the usual explanations of what BPD is and how it affects those who have it. The descriptions of high and low functioning BP’s are also really handy in this section of the book, I think I am a mixture of the two but more low functioning than high functioning…

The third chapter focusses on trying to explain how BPD thinking and behaviour differs from that of non-BP’s, which is important for non-BP’s as understanding that we (BP’s) don’t think and feel the same way as you do is a big step to recognising that a BP can not change their behaviour easily (without help) no matter how much you and they may want them to change.

Chapter four gives a brief look at how BP behaviour can affect non-BP’s and how the reactions of non-BP’s can reinforce BP behaviour.

Part Two:

Opens with chapter five which provides tools and strategies to help the non-BP manage their own life whilst coping with the chaos of having a loved one with BPD.  My favourite tip is the 3C’s and 3G’s –

  • I didn’t Cause it
  • I can’t Control it
  • I can’t Cure it
  • Get off the BP’s back
  • Get out of the BP’s way
  • Get on with your own life

This isn’t about deserting the BP but being good to and taking care of yourself so you can cope better with your BP.

Chapter 6 looks at Triggers, for the BP and non-BP as EVERYONE has them, we all have buttons that when pushed cause intense automatic response, recognising them can help manage them and reduce the effects they cause. Also examined here are different types of boundaries, the importance (and how to) of setting and keeping boundaries (or limits as they are referred to more here) – this was especially helpful to me as I have been having difficulty with the concept of boundaries as explained in my post about boundaries and BPD.

Chapters 7-9 look deeper into communication which was touched upon in chapter six; with lots of useful techniques and explanations for improving communication, then going on to address safety concerns around violence, self-harm and suicide attempts, and children with a BPD parent.

Part Three:

Looks at ‘Special Issues’, starting with a chapter on children with BPD (a controversial issue as it is argued that children cannot be diagnosed with BPD).

Chapter 11 was the most frustrating chapter for me as it starts with a description of ‘lies, rumours and distortion campaigns’ yet the things described appear to be deliberate tactics of lying, manipulation and distortion of facts which I have witnessed (and seem more fitting to the behaviour of) in Non-BP’s; BP’s are less likely to engage in this kind of behaviour as ‘intention’ is the key – and BPs do not have the ‘intention’ to hurt others the way non-BP’s do.  In a rage a BP may threaten destruction and damage but will be unable to go through with such deliberate acts of harming others.  This chapter should have started with the paragraph at the end of page 214:

“Not all people with BPD distort the truth. many Borderlines would never do such a thing. […] All types of people, both these with and without mental disorders, may make false claims”

then go on to explain how and why people may do these things…

Chapter 12 looks at relationships and what to do to survive a relationship with a BP or end it if that is what is best for you…

The book concludes with an appendix of causes and treatment, an introduction to mindfulness and a useful resources section.

Some people consider this book a bit ‘harsh’ on the BP, this maybe so but I think it is more ‘harsh but fair’ than just harsh.  While it may not be nice to have your inner turmoil laid out bare and so ‘blatantly’ and ‘bluntly’ it is done in a none-blaming way.  The book recognises that it is the BPD not the person that is a fault.

Overall I found the book very helpful for recognising behaviours I had not previously linked to my BPD and also being able to explain some of the things I think and feel that I had not been able to put words to before.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Thank you for reading!  If you have enjoyed reading this post please share it with others who may be interested and I always enjoy receiving feedback and comments 🙂