There are not many popular or self-help books on personality disorders (I
Hate You, Don't Leave Me
the only other one I'm aware of), so Lost in the Mirror is a welcome
addition to the psychology shelves. The book is an explanation of the
issues that arise for those with borderline personality disorder (BDP); it
sets out what the disorder is like, the problems that arise in therapy, and
the experience of the family members. It is divided up into 21 short
chapters, each of which is divided up into short sections. Each chapter
ends with the continuing fictional tale of Sara, a person with BPD. Sara
is married to Jonathan, and they have two daughters. She comes into
therapy with Dr. Moskovitz, but it takes many months before the origins of
her troubles start to becomes clear. She begins to recover traumatic
memories from her childhood. It is years before she comes to a resolution
of her problems, and the journey of therapy involves suicide attempts,
hospitalizations and times when her marriage is under severe strain. But
she comes through it all. Moskovitz tells each episode of Sara's story as
an illustration of some of the points in the preceding chapter.
Lost in the Mirror will be useful to people wondering if they have BPD, or
if someone close to them has BPD, and it will give some guidance about how
to get help. It is written in a simple, open style which is both its
strength and weakness. The book is easy to read and makes its points
clearly. It also glosses over the theoretical complexities and
controversies involved in the understanding of BPD. It never pretends that
there is an easy cure for BPD, but its simplicity means the book lacks
depth and detail. Although the book's subtitle promises an inside look at
BPD, it is really a brief book from the therapist's point of view, offering
the rather easy advice that you'd expect from a self-help book. Moskovtiz
has a wealth of experience with patients with BPD, and the most gripping
parts of the book are the stories of Sara and other patients. He certainly
conveys some of the desperation, pain and anger of these people, but by the
end of the book I didn't feel that he had said enough to really clarify the
difference between BPD and other conditions, especially bipolar mood
disorder. Two of the most characteristic features of BPD are the chronic
feelings of emptiness and self-mutilation, but he devotes little space to
these. I'm left wanting to read a well written first-person account of
someone who have lived with BPD, but there are very few such books
available. BDP is still one of the most of the enigmatic of mental
The second edition of Lost in the Mirror was published in 2001:
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