"Ordinary mothers sleep at night; borderline mothers do not. Borderlines dread being alone with their thoughts: thus, intrusive, obsessive thoughts may keep them awake at night. Noise from the radio, television, or late-night telephone calls may distract them from their anxiety and provide a sense of security." p. 26
A little further down on the same page, Dr. Lawson writes,
"Another patient's mother awakened her father on a regular basis, rebuking him for being able to sleep when she was so upset." p. 26
Dr. Lawson's description of the sleeplessness, the agitation, the restlessness was very illuminating for me. Even though, I have been in psychotherapy practice for 38 years, and worked inpatient psychiatry for many years, I have never read or heard this explanation before of this sleepless behavior.
One client, a father of a borderline wife and a borderline daughter, told me how this borderline daughter, at age 20, who no longer lived at home, would call at 12:30 or 1:00AM to chat as if it were the middle of the afternoon. He told me that even though he loved to hear from her, he told her to call before 10:00 PM and not to call later except in an emergency because that's when he went to bed. She stopped calling him and he rarely heard from her after that.
The same man told me that his wife was often up in the middle of the night working on household projects and doing housework. He said it was a bit unnerving because he never knew whether she would be sleeping in the bed with him at night. He said he would often wake up in the middle of the night and she would be gone and he would be disoriented for a minute or two until he heard her moving about the house. He said that even though they were married for 35 years he never got used to this behavior and even though it never was an issue in their marriage, the behavior nonetheless continued to unnerve him.
This is post #7 in a series based on Christine Lawson's book, Understanding The Borderline Mother.