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Children, Parents, or Relatives with BPD => Son, Daughter or Son/Daughter In-law with BPD => Topic started by: msleah on July 28, 2020, 03:25:02 AM



Title: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on July 28, 2020, 03:25:02 AM
I'm feeling a good deal of despair because my 24 year old daughter has decided to cut my husband and me out of her life. She has BPD and has decided recently that I am to blame for it. Actually, she most likely has felt that way for a while but never articulated it so plainly before. I've never understood why, because, though I am far from a perfect parent, I never thought of myself as abusive. I've had my moments of anger, but I never hit my daughter (or my son, with whom I get along fine) and I was usually careful about my words, as well.

Her father and I split up a long time ago. He dislikes me intensely and has made this clear to my daughter for years. He's a recovering alcoholic and an extremely angry person. I've tried to make peace with him over the years, but he refuses to talk to me. I can't help but feel that he shares at least some of the blame for our daughter's problems.

My current husband and I have been together 18 years. He basically raised our daughter. He is a good and loving man, and she has no issues with him. Still, she cut him off as well. Collateral damage, I guess, since he's married to me. It's awful, because he has stage 4 cancer, and she knows how ill he is. Though he's doing surprisingly well, his time on earth is uncertain.

Why do BPD people seem so damn self-centered? I feel as though my daughter chose the worst possible time to make her exit. My husband and I recently moved 1500 miles away to a warmer climate, and the estrangement began a couple of months later. I'm afraid we might never see or speak to her again. She has blocked us on social media. We have both sent regular emails that have gone unanswered. It's like a living hell for us.



Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: formflier on July 28, 2020, 10:36:35 AM

*welcome*

I'm so sorry about the estrangement. 

I'm curious about what your daughter had to say about you guys moving.

Is she still in contact with her brother?

Best,

FF


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on July 28, 2020, 12:45:28 PM
Hello:

I'm just learning how to navigate this site. It's a bit confusing. I saw a response to my post, including a couple of questions, when I checked this site on my phone. Now, on my laptop, I can't see the response. I'm going to answer the questions that person asked, anyway, in the hope that they'll see it.

My son and daughter have been in contact since the estrangement. I told my son about my daughter's decision to cut me off, and he seemed confused by it.

Since then, the two of them have been in touch via instant message. He lives far away, in Europe. Neither of them mentioned the estrangement to each other.

When my husband and I moved away, my daughter seemed very unemotional about our departure. For a BPD person, she's rather adept at appearing calm and unconcerned when it suits her. We saw her right before we left for our new home in the Southwest. It was during the beginning of the pandemic and we had to stand 6 feet apart outdoors. She seemed like she was in a hurry to get away from us.

She told me during our last instant message conversation that I have constant meltdowns, have only spoken to her harshly during her whole life, and that she was deleting me from her life. Of course, she's the one who has meltdowns, but she doesn't seem to know that.

The whole thing just seems hopeless.




Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: Compassion Only on July 29, 2020, 08:32:09 AM

 I am so sorry you are going through this. My 31 year old daughter just cut me off. It's heartbreaking. I have read that even though she has cut us off, we don't have to cut her off. Think about it. Isn't the biggest fear of someone with BPD abandonment? That's why I'm going to keep reaching out to my daughter. She lives on the west coast and I am on the east. I'm going to send her funny cards and texts. I actually feel like the cut off is a test to see / prove how much i love  her.

I'm wondering if you are at all relieved? The conversations with my daughter are EXHAUSTING to say the least and I'm thankful for the break in communication.



Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on July 29, 2020, 08:50:53 PM
I think I'm starting to get the hang of using this site.

I've heard mixed thoughts and opinions about the wisdom of continuing to contact an estranged child. I'm afraid of upsetting her further, not giving her the space she claims she needs.

Today I re-read our final instant message conversation, from last month, though it was quite painful for me. She was adamant that I needed to apologize right then and there for my transgressions as a parent, or she would cut me off, delete me on social media, etc. I was angry and flummoxed and did not apologize. When she accused me of having constant meltdowns, I reminded her of her numerous instances of borderline rage. We're talking Carrie-style tantrums here. Her response? "You break people, Mom."

She doesn't have a phone number, as she communicates with the world entirely through instant message and text. Somehow, her cell is set up for internet service but not phone service.

That leaves email and snail mail as contact options. I can keep sending her emails, I suppose, but I feel awful when she doesn't answer. My husband sent her an email two days ago and received no reply. For someone who is so afraid of abandonment, she is doing a stellar job of distancing herself. Also, I suspect her counselor has applauded this move on her part.

I appreciate your feedback a lot, and hope you and your daughter can reconcile. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Estrangement from a child is bad enough. Estrangement from a BPD child is unbearably hard.


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on July 29, 2020, 09:14:17 PM
I should clarify that my daughter communicates only via instant message, not text.

Also, I forgot to address your question. I'm not yet at the point of relief about her silence. I would love to feel that way, as it would offer me some solace.

I think that's it! Thanks again.


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: Breakwater Bill on July 30, 2020, 09:13:05 AM
I am so sorry for the estrangement of your relationship.  Also dealing with your husbands medical needs must be difficult.  Do you have anyone supporting you through this life change? Hospice or a support group?  Do you think that your daughter is having a difficult time dealing with your husbands medical condition and inevitable departure? 

Taking good care of ourselves is important.  Please take great care of yourself. 


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on July 31, 2020, 01:47:11 AM
Thanks for your compassionate words, Breakwater Bill.

My husband and I are new to Arizona, and though we moved to a town where we do know a couple of people, we've done very little in-person socializing, due to the pandemic. The existence of covid-19 adds a level of difficulty that we wouldn't have to deal with during more normal times.

Fortunately, we're not in hospice territory at this point. A year after my husband's stage 4 diagnosis, his tumors have shrunk dramatically and he's still doing tai chi and taking 2 mile walks on a regular basis. I have to constantly tell him to walk a bit slower so I can keep up. Amazing! But of course, cancer can turn on a dime, and we're being quite vigilant. I'm still amazed (and angry) that our daughter chose this particular time to make her exit.

Yeah, she could well be doing the BPD thing--reject us out of fear of losing us, particularly my husband (her stepdad, who raised her since she was five). But she's not really angry with him, he is just collateral damage because she has decided to cut me off. She can't really talk to him but not me, so we both got excommunicated.

I think she's convinced I'm a toxic parent, which is a bitter pill to swallow. Her biological father (a recovering alcoholic and probable BPD person himself) gives her the silent treatment for weeks, but she always welcomes him back. Last year on her birthday, he threw her gifts in front of her door and stormed off because she forgot she was supposed to meet with him that day. Yet, somehow, I'm the awful one. Moms so often are held to a higher standard than dads.

I think my daughter's dad knows exactly how to manipulate her--reject her periodically so she doesn't have the chance to reject him first. Keep her off-balance and afraid he'll abandon her. I've never threatened to abandon my daughter, so I'm easier to manipulate than he is.

I'm far from perfect, and have made many mistakes of my own. But she won't allow me to apologize or make amends.

It really seems like an impossible situation.


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: formflier on July 31, 2020, 07:42:36 AM

Does she talk in general terms about you being a bad parent or does she have specific things the tries to communicate?

I'm trying to get a feel or how those chat sessions go/went.

Best,

FF


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on August 01, 2020, 12:42:22 AM
Hi formflier:

I have not heard from my daughter since our last IM conversation, a month and a half ago. At that time, she made it clear that she was deleting me from social media and cutting me off. Since then, crickets.

At the time, she was pretty specific about her complaints. She claimed I never think of how my behavior affects her (which is odd, because I often felt like I had to walk on eggshells around her. I guess this is a pretty typical fear amongst friends and relatives of BPD people). She said I had only talked to her like a "s@#*-eating child who needs a time out" (such an awful image), and that I have constant meltdowns. This completely blindsided me because she is the one who has meltdowns (AKA borderline rage). I pointed this out (probably unwisely) and her response was "you break people."

She demanded that I apologize on the spot for my behavior over the years and threatened to cut me off if I didn't. I was so freaked out by her anger that I refused to apologize. So the next thing I knew, I was blocked from her FB and Instagram, and that was the end of it.

That leaves regular email and snail mail as options. I have thought of getting in my car and driving 1500 miles to her doorstep or workplace, but I don't want to upset her even more. I never thought being a parent would end up like this.



Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: formflier on August 01, 2020, 07:41:08 AM

Can I be so bold to suggest that during this "quiet time" that you focus on understanding the issues of communicating with a pwBPD?

Most likely these quiet times end for one reason or another and I would hope that you can have tools to help sooth inflamed emotions of a pwBPD.

What do you think?

Best,

FF


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: Swimmy55 on August 01, 2020, 01:11:53 PM
Estrangement is hard on a parent's heart.  However the first thing to remember is our kids are adults( speaking for myself too).   If they feel they need space and time, we can't force ourselves on them.   They have to be respected.  Also, give your daughter a chance to miss you.  You can click on my name to see more of my backstory.  
 
Like what was stated before, I agree that the energy you would like to spend on your daughter, turn that energy and attention onto self care.  I am trying to utilize this window of opportunity to work on myself and some days that is impossible, admittedly.

I challenge you to be proud of the parent you are-   she is living independently of you.  This is huge.  
You refused to cowtow to her demands, setting a healthy boundary with her.  By the way, I have been there , with the son yelling for me to apologize for something.  I did , hoping to keep the peace .  It didn't work as  He then found another excuse to rant  and keep on doing what he was doing.  The cycle becomes never ending, so good for you to not play into that.  

I also challenge you to try not to take her blocking you personally.  It's a very BPD typical thing.  They have trouble navigating feelings , communication , relationships, etc. Their blocking us in arbitrary to us , but in their minds, they are right.  After making tentative contact with me  earlier this year, my son blocked me because I wouldn't send him $$ to subsidize his habit/ addiction.  Next thing you know I got a ranting  nonsensical, rambling text and I became blocked and deleted.  
Hang tough.    Look at it this way, she made her choice when you put a boundary in place.    You are doing the right thing by letting it be even though it feels strange and terrifying and grief-making-because it is all of that.  


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: Swimmy55 on August 01, 2020, 01:17:33 PM
I forgot to mention but in addition, your husband is ill.  All the more reason to let your adult daughter be and you putting the focus into your own life.  Thank you for writing to us, this is a good first step.


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on August 01, 2020, 07:30:40 PM
Formflier:

I have been reading everything I can about BPD people during the past few weeks, as you might imagine. I cognitively understand their deep need for validation, and I can certainly see how this trait manifests in my daughter.

However, it's really hard to keep my cool when she has a splitting episode, because the all-or-nothing thinking comes to the fore. She is very intelligent and knows how to go right for the jugular. She is also absolutely convinced that she's right (which is funny, because she characterizes me as being so stubborn--guess the apple didn't fall so far from the tree after all).

The last episode was, of course, the worst ever. Lots of "you never" and "you always" statements, delivered in a lofty way that made it seem like she's been thinking this way for a long while and finally came to a difficult but necessary decision.

I'll be doing lots of introspection during this time, as you can imagine. But she has been emotionally distant for years, so introspection, guilt, fear, and regret have been my companions for a while.

Thanks again for your insight.



Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on August 01, 2020, 07:47:34 PM
Swimmy55:

Thank you, as well. I'm going to try my best to be proud of my parenting job, but it feels like trying on an outfit that doesn't fit.

I'm so accustomed to feeling like I screwed up, like I could have done better, could have been more patient, emotionally present, helpful, etc. The idea of seeing myself as a good parent is a novel one, to say the least. I've read that BPD often stems from abuse and/or neglect in childhood, and I keep wracking my brain and beating myself up to ascertain what I did wrong.

Of course, her biological father wasn't much help. He's an extremely unhappy, angry, recovering alcoholic and chain-smoker, with lots of problems of his own. But I still can't pin all the blame on him. He moved out when she was five, and my daughter never really processed his departure. (though she spent a lot of time with him afterwards. I wanted to be fair, both to her and to him).

I feel like I should have been less fair, since the two of them think I was so unfair anyway. That sounds kinda irrational, I suppose, but it's frustrating to get so little credit.

I'd be doing more for myself if it weren't for the pandemic. My husband and I are together now 24-7, and most of the time we get along well. I have my writing (yes, I'm a writer) and I do yoga at home (no classes, I live in AZ). I am an extrovert and this isolation has been hard on me. If life ever gets back to "normal", I'll have a lot more outlets for self-care.

Thanks again for your help. I hope you and your son can get onto a more solid emotional footing. Parenting is exhausting under the best of circumstances, even when the "child" is an adult. An adult BPD child, even more so.





Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: formflier on August 01, 2020, 07:55:54 PM

So..one of the things I hope we can help you develop is empathy for your daughters point of view.

Typically it's not hard for a parent, yet when they insist on "alternate reality"...and "the facts" don't matter...it can get really tricky.

Keep reading and think how you can validate without agreeing...

We also need to talk about boundaries and how to gracefully exit conversations or try to redirect them.

This a marathon, not a sprint....and really your number 1 job is taking care of yourself...your hubby and then when opportunity arises...try to connect with your daughter on an emotional level.

Best,

FF


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on August 02, 2020, 02:38:02 PM
formflier:

Sounds good. But I do wonder how to be empathetic and open while I'm being attacked and told that I am a bad parent, bad person, and literally the reason for all of my daughter's problems. It seems like it would take the patience of a Zen master. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Meanwhile, it looks like I will have lots of time to ponder whatever input I receive. My daughter has been doing DBT therapy for a while, and I strongly suspect, from some of the psychoanalytical verbiage in her last IM conversation with me, that her counselor has at least hinted I'm the main problem. So the counselor is most likely proud of her for dissolving the relationship.

I've read a lot of posts on this forum from parents who are frustrated because many counselors still adhere to the idea that BPD is usually due to parental abuse and/or neglect. New research suggests there may more of a genetic predisposition than what was previously known. My daughter mentioned in her IM that BPD stems from parental abuse of a sensitive child.

Since the core of BPD is "splitting", the belief that someone is all good or all bad, I'd think a good counselor would ask my daughter if she could think of positive aspects of my personality and our relationship. But I'm not a counselor, and I wasn't in the room (or phone or Zoom session) when the sessions were happening, so I have no real way of knowing what went down.

I just know I'm up against a mighty thick wall.


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: formflier on August 02, 2020, 06:04:26 PM

Do you really think that a counselor that has never met you would suggest to their patient that someone else is the main problem?

Does that sound like something a counselor would say???

or

Does that sound like something someone would say that is uncomfortable looking at themselves?

Best,

FF


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on August 02, 2020, 07:21:12 PM
Well, as a person who has seen a variety of counselors in my life, I've had good ones, and others that were....not as good. They can be as opinionated as anyone else. Or they can be stellar. It's a mixed bag, I think, like any profession.

Looking at myself and trying to figure out what I did wrong and how I could've/should've done it better has (unfortunately) been a major theme in my life. I'm a memoir writer, specifically focused on family of origin experiences, so I'm not lacking in introspection. But this is a situation where I can't just introspect my way out of it. That's part of what makes it so confounding.

It's worth noting that my son's perception of me is entirely different from my daughter's. We get along well. I asked my daughter during that last conversation if she feels I parented the two of them differently, or showed him any favoritism, and she said no, she'd never even thought about it. When I mentioned the new estrangement to my son, he seemed surprised and said, "I don't think of you as a bad mother or a bad person. At all."

I honestly don't believe this is all my fault, though of course there are many things I could have done differently, or better.


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on August 03, 2020, 02:33:13 AM
The other weird thing is that her recent behavior, and the ultimatum, as well as laying the blame for her BPD at my doorstep, all seem to be fairly recent developments. Today I scrolled backwards through a couple of years of our IMs. This took a while, as you might imagine.

Most of the IMs seemed pretty innocuous--the two of us making arrangements to get together so I could buy her dinner, her asking me for advice about a new boyfriend and a toxic roommate, me arranging to give her money so she could move into a new apartment, me giving her money to help her get back on her feet afterwards, me giving her money when she first lost her job after the pandemic, etc.

Her worst period was after the death of a close relative, a couple of years ago. I won't go into detail, but it was very traumatic for the whole family, especially my daughter. She initiated a couple of cutting incidents and a suicide attempt afterwards. I reached out to her many times, as I was incredibly worried for her. She assured me that I was not to blame for her BPD and that I had never been anything other than supportive. I told her I would always be there for her if she needed someone to listen.

So, I think she feels abandoned since my husband and I moved to AZ only a few months ago. And then there's the coronavirus, which is driving a lot of us bonkers. And....well, I do wonder about this new counselor she has now.

That's all for now, I promise.


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: Swimmy55 on August 03, 2020, 10:33:31 AM
I recognize what you are doing because I have done it myself.  You are scouring through everything , leaving no stone unturned, for some clue of what caused this.  On a deeper level you could possibly be looking for something you have done to cause this.  Rest easy, Mother, you did not cause this. Scouring through gives us a sense of control.  I even do it now from time to time.  The thing is, we ( I am speaking for myself as well) have to accept the fact that this is something going on in their brains and we can't really know what is going on in their brains.  They themselves don't even know what is going on in their brains.  

I gently suggest - Please don't get into the twisty pretzel trap of trying to find the right thing you can say/ do to make her better and make this all go away.  Only she has the power to deal with her BPD.
~ The conversations between her therapist are theirs alone  since she is an adult.  Please consider letting this go.  I know it's hard.  You  can't go by what she says to you regarding her sessions either.  
~ You as an adult, have the right to move and live anywhere you want.  You have the same rights as she does.


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: formflier on August 03, 2020, 11:02:35 AM
Well, as a person who has seen a variety of counselors in my life, I've had good ones, and others that were....not as good. They can be as opinionated as anyone else. Or they can be stellar. It's a mixed bag, I think, like any profession.

 

So to clarify...

Have you experienced a counselor that told you that you were not the problem, named someone else as the problem they had never met and insisted you communicate their judgment to the person the counselor had never met?

Best,

FF


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on August 03, 2020, 12:01:37 PM
Formflier:

Yes, I have encountered counselors who suggested that other people were to blame for my problems.

Also, there are many counselors who blame their client's parents for their dysfunction. Read the "Is this all my fault? Did I cause this?" thread (warning: it's long) on this forum to get a sense of other peoples' frustration about the prevalent psychoanalytical theory that BPD is caused by parental abuse and/or neglect.

It seems to me that you are being rather combative, and I want to politely request that you be more aware of my feelings about this issue, or we should end our conversation here.


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on August 03, 2020, 12:13:10 PM
Swimmy55:

Thanks. I feel as though I'm walking the line between trying to understand what went wrong so I don't do it again in the future, and accepting the fact that I can't control the past and letting it go.

It has only been a month and a half since my daughter initiated the estrangement. So I'm in the "what the heck went wrong?!" phase of my grief. Still in shock, I guess. It's my goal to get to acceptance, but I have to go through this long, painful process.

I will start therapy (again) next week, with a new counselor here in AZ, so we'll see how that goes.

I know you've been there yourself, so you understand. Many, if not most of the parents have gone through a similar process. It's so tough, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I guess, over time, we learn coping strategies, though I'm sure the pain doesn't diminish completely.

Thanks again for your compassion.



Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: Swimmy55 on August 03, 2020, 12:20:56 PM
Wow, can I ever relate to my son's therapist stating in front of him, his father , his step mother and me that it was my fault he was the way he was.  ( This is when he was  15)  This was Sheppard Pratt in Towson MD, so a very esteemed institution.     I had to go to her supervisor to complain about this ( didn't do much good).   I will write more later, but know you are not alone.  I am so happy you will see a therapist( I am doing that as well). 



Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: formflier on August 03, 2020, 01:20:19 PM


It seems to me that you are being rather combative, and I want to politely request that you be more aware of my feelings about this issue, or we should end our conversation here.

Oh my...please don't take this as combativeness, my goal was to introduce a different perspective and to make sure  we each understand each others life experiences.  

For instance...I had a "biblical counselor" claim that the Bible empowered him to overrule my VA doctors and that in fact I'm not a disabled veteran.  Obviously our counseling relationship ended and in fact my relationship with that church ended as well.

So...there are bad counselors out there.  That being said I would NOT recommend you take what your daughter said as an accurate recitation of the counselors words or intent.  

Is it possible it happened..yes.  

Is it likely?  Well, I would say not..especially if this counselor is an actual licensed mental health professional, since that would most likely be viewed by licensing boards as unethical behavior.

The most parsimonious explanation is that your daughter misunderstood something the counselor said and also felt more comfortable "pointing the finger" at someone else...rather than looking in the mirror.

If you ever get a chance to have additional conversation with your daughter about this...I would recommend you express concern and ask to speak to the counselor so you can understand and possibly heal the issue about which this counselor has made a judgment.

If it's a real issue....you will likely get access.

If it's not..then it's likely a "unfixable" and "un-understanble" problem that pwBPD often like to have, which appears to help them maintain victim status.

Again..   :hug: :hug: :hug:

Please don't take my words as combative.

Best,

FF


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on August 03, 2020, 09:57:04 PM
Formflier:

Thanks for the clarification. I really do appreciate it.

It's not my place to interfere in any way with my daughter's counseling process. She'd be unlikely to supply me with the name of the counselor, anyway, if we did start speaking again. And, if she resumed communication, I'd be most likely be too overjoyed to even think of asking.

She's entitled to her process, even if I disagree. Still, I am frustrated by the sudden vilification after all this time. I love my daughter and want her back, but I can't rush the resolution or magically fix a longstanding problem.

Thanks again for the taking the time to clarify your points and for sticking with the discussion.


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on August 03, 2020, 10:45:36 PM
Swimmy55:

Yes, I am also glad that I'll be resuming counseling, now that I'm in a new locale. I had a wonderful counselor in WA state, so I got kind of spoiled.

I really have nothing against counselors, of course! A good one is a godsend. The others, not so much.

Sorry to hear about your experience. We parents experience so much guilt anyway. The last thing we need to hear is someone insisting our child's mental health condition is all our fault.


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: formflier on August 03, 2020, 11:52:57 PM


It's not my place to interfere in any way with my daughter's counseling process. 

Right..and just to be clear, discussing it with her without participating would fall into interfering (IMO).

Very wise of you to let her counsel and they talk about whatever they talk about.

Best,

FF


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: Thanks on August 04, 2020, 11:46:28 AM
Hey MsLeah,
I totally get this - we have been dealing with my cancer and our relationship with my adult daughter blew up at about the same time. I am convinced her sudden blaming of me coincided with my diagnosis, out of her deeper fear of abandonment (my death). I have seen this before with my one (out of 5) siblings who is also BPD.

I totally agree with Swimmy55 when they advise that you not try to do a deep dive into seeking reasons to blame yourself. In a way, blaming yourself is a way of being co-dependent, and I have found the best and healthiest approach is to take care of yourself and your husband in loving ways.

Self-care and self-love sends a powerful message and modeling for your daughter. We only send messages to my BPD daughter around holidays and events, that are brief and appropriate. And we never respond to blaming or angry messages from her. That approach seems to have helped her get a least a little reoriented.

Having a break from dealing with a BPD child is a chance to focus on your own needs and I am sending you a wish for hope and ease in what you have been feeling - good luck!


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on August 07, 2020, 12:37:51 AM
Thanks, Thanks! :)

I've been taking a break from this board for a couple of days, since I was on it so much for the past week. Trying to get my head on straight, and take care of myself and my husband.

I'm certainly working on self-love and self-care. Since my daughter lives 1500 miles away and has remained true to her word not to contact me for any reason, I'm sure she won't notice these efforts. But I'm doing it for myself, because I certainly need it.

I'm so sorry to read about your cancer diagnosis, and hope you're receiving good treatment. My husband has been fortunate in that his treatment has been exemplary, both here in AZ and in our previous home (WA). We are coming up on the one-year anniversary of his stage 4 diagnosis, and he's doing remarkably well.

Please take care, and thanks again for your kind response.




Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: once removed on August 26, 2020, 04:19:39 AM
I've been taking a break from this board for a couple of days, since I was on it so much for the past week. Trying to get my head on straight, and take care of myself and my husband.

i hope that youll stick around. you dont have to do this alone, and experts suggest having a strong, consistent support group.

how to be empathetic when someone levels attacks at you and cuts you off?

its hard, to say the least.

i imagine that when my ex was telling me i was a jerk, the worst boyfriend in the world, all the things i never did for her, i was probably thinking "well thats not true, im a decent guy, i try my best, and ive definitely done those things". and while i was doing that, i was missing what she was really saying. which is easy to do! our bpd loved ones tend to speak in such over the top terms.

but thats what really listening with empathy is all about. its about being able to step away a bit from our hurt, its about being able to step away from what is over the top, and about really listening to what a person who, inherently, struggles with communication, is trying to communicate.

someone developing BPD traits is not necessarily about growing up in an abusive household. certainly thats true some of the time, and thats what the earliest research pointed to, but you need look no further than this board to see some very, deeply, loving mothers. BPD traits are quite often more about a highly sensitive person in a family that spoke a different language. i dont have BPD myself, but thats kind of my background as an HSP. one example is that my parents always told me theyd always love me, no matter what. usually in the same conversation was the notion that theyd love me no less if i failed at something, so long as i did my best. somewhere along the way, i think i internalized the idea that i was primarily loveable only when i was at my best, far from what they were trying to communicate!

for right now, as heartbreaking as things are, i might give it some time before reaching out. if you try to be nonchalant, it will likely be perceived as invalidating. if you try to be direct, youre probably opening a can of worms.

i would think long and hard. is there anything you want to apologize for? thats a rhetorical question that you dont need to answer now. and even if there is, i might wait.

and if there isnt, it might be best to let the ice thaw for a while.


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on August 27, 2020, 11:10:34 PM
Once Removed:

Wise advice. I was doing well, focusing on my husband and myself, and keeping fairly steady for the past three or so weeks. But I had an uneasy feeling in my gut, kind of a mother's intuition. My daughter lives in Portland, and she is very political. So, every couple of days I Googled her name to see if she'd gotten into trouble.

As you most likely know, Portland has been the epicenter of Black Lives Matter demonstrations for some time now. I am all for demonstrations, but not violence or rioting. Well, last night I got the news I'd been fearing. My daughter had been arrested with 24 other people for trying to set fire to a police station.

I sense her involvement was minor, because she had only two charges--disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer. The Portland DA announced today that the city won't pursue folks who only have those charges, just ones that involve resisting arrest and more serious, violent infractions. I found this out from doing more internet research.

But she was there, and she wound up getting off scot free with no bail, no charges, etc. I'm relieved but also afraid this will embolden her. Also, in a bizarre twist, a well-known right-wing journalist posted the mugshots of all the arrestees on his Twitter page so people could take potshots at them. Someone posted the name of my daughter's workplace on hers. Her mugshot got over 1800 retweets. She was thoroughly doxxed.

Her bio-dad, who despises me (I'm afraid it's mutual) and has been actively encouraging the estrangement, was pleased with the arrest and bragged extensively about it on his Facebook page.

So that's what I'm up against. I broke my cool and my silence and gave him hell. My son sent her an instant message beforehand, asking if she wanted to talk, and she refused to respond, even though they've kept in contact after she and I became estranged last June. Her dad is proud of her and she will go out of her way to keep his approval, even if it means continuing to ignore her mother and her stepdad, who has stage 4 cancer and raised her since she was six.

I couldn't make this s@#* up if I tried. Not sure what to do next. I'm reluctant to send her a letter now, for obvious reasons.


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: Swimmy55 on August 30, 2020, 12:27:54 PM
You are doing the right thing by giving her ( and more importantly, yourself) space on this.   It is good to hear she is ok physically .  It is impossible to do, but if you can concentrate on that for today - that she is physically safe.  One mini step at a time.  Detachment!


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on August 30, 2020, 03:53:43 PM
Hi Swimmy:

I'm afraid I haven't been very detached. The mayhem continues in Portland, with a new shooting last night (this time a right-wing person, next time a left-wing person, and so it goes). I'm sure she's out there again, continuing to protest. The demonstrations started out peaceful, which I completely support, but now they're nothing but chaos. I fear for my daughter's life, but she won't even talk to me.

My sister-in-law wrote her an email, but of course there has been no response. My husband's liver tumors are growing again. I'd need the patience of a Zen monk to detach myself from this situation, even though I know that would be the best course of action (or inaction).


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: Swimmy55 on August 30, 2020, 05:40:00 PM
I am very sorry Msleah.  My son just had to be  in the Baltimore  Freddie Gray riots back in 2015.  My father called me and said  he saw my son / his grandson  on the TV briefly , walking with the crowd .  Any type of walk, march, protest, he had to be out in the thick of it with his little home made signs. 

I am not sure what all was going through his mind, but I think he felt it was almost his calling  .  He came back invigorated and filled with purpose ( although it never lasted).  Perhaps for the time she is out there, your daughter feels purpose- even a sense of belonging to a movement/ something bigger than her.  Of course, that charged atmosphere could inflame the BPD impulsivity  again.  Here is where you will have to take it one hour at a time, even 5 ( or less) minutes at a time. . .   These words ring hollow right now, but admitting powerlessness is actual strength . Inaction is indeed action, even if it doesn't feel like it.   As much as you can stand to, try to keep the focus on you and your husband, as he is one adult in your life that does accept your help and support.  You are doing the right thing by doing nothing today. 


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: Lollypop on September 02, 2020, 02:36:24 AM
Hi there MsLeah

I just wanted to reach out to you because my son29 has only recently text raged. I’m to blame for everything and it hurts. You’re a few weeks ahead of me on this latest shift and I feel for you, I really do. It seems sometimes that we have so much dumped on our shoulders, it’s feels too great a burden. Though somehow we get through, one day at a time. You’re not on your own, bpd is bewildering, it twists and turns and catches us off guard.

I hope you take good care of yourself today, that both you and your husband can find something to smile about.

You’re a good mother.

You did your very best.

Nobody can demand more than our best.

Hugs

LP


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: formflier on September 02, 2020, 05:18:08 AM
I'd need the patience of a Zen monk to detach myself from this situation, even though I know that would be the best course of action (or inaction).

Maybe acknowledging that you can't detach and being deliberate about some deep breathing/meditation is your best near term course of action.

Best,

FF


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on September 06, 2020, 02:30:57 AM
Hi Swimmy:

My daughter has always had a strong interest in social justice, but I was quite surprised to note the vehemence of her sudden passion for the BLM cause. I am quite sympathetic to BLM, but not to violence. My daughter has never acted out in a violent way before, or been part of any sort of mob effort. So, although I had an uncanny feeling that something like this might happen, it still came as a surprise.

I imagine these demonstrations make it possible for her to focus on external chaos as a way to avoid her own internal demons. That makes total sense to me. A sense of mission to transcend some of her pain.

Interesting parallel with your son and Freddie Gray. My daughter made a bunch of signs, too. They were very artfully designed. I wish she'd just stuck to making posters.

I did get an email from her a few days ago, reiterating that she wants nothing to do with me. Earlier that week, I lost my cool and posted a status on Facebook about her dad and her arrest. News of the posting got back to her. I regret my action, but her dad had posted on his own page about how proud he was of her destructive behavior (!). His friends complimented him online for raising a great kid. I think that was the last straw. That man worked his butt off for years trying to turn our daughter against me, though my husband and I tried our best to reconcile with him.

I have so much bitterness now. My husband's tumors have grown in the past month, and the doctor took him off chemo. He'll be starting an experimental therapy in a couple of weeks. It's our last hope. Though he wrote my daughter an email about this development, she has not responded. I thought BPD folks were supposed to be sensitive? 


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on September 06, 2020, 02:45:51 AM
Hi Lollypop:

I'm just getting around to responding to these posts. It's been an intense week and I am exhausted.

Feel free to read my posting above this one (to Swimmy) to get an idea of recent developments.

I'm trying my hardest to think of myself as a good parent. It's hard to believe when my daughter lambasts me for being an abusive one.

A friend of mine recently sent me a video clip of her own daughter, who appeared on a talk show five years ago. Her daughter has BPD and first tried to kill herself when she was eight. She's 40 now and doing somewhat better with DBT therapy.

The best information I took away from the clip was that BPD is innate. People are born with a predisposition to it. Basically, a BPD kid is so sensitive to emotional pain that parents often don't understand. So the parents become exasperated, wondering why their child is dwelling on issues that other kids just get over. The child perceives this lack of understanding as invalidation. It's a short leap from feeling invalidated to feeling abused.

So, when my daughter now accuses me of psychological abuse, my husband, my son and I become bewildered. This serves as further proof of my insensitivity, as far as she is concerned. So, if I say, "What are you talking about? None of us even know", it just makes her feel even more invalidated.

I have to learn to ask more gently, and listen better. It's hard when I'm being hammered with accusations. Right now, however, the silence is even more deafening. I'm not sure if I'll ever be granted the chance to listen.



Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on September 06, 2020, 02:51:31 AM
formflier:

Well, I do lots of yoga. In fact, I teach yoga! Have for about four years now. It helps a bit, or has helped during other stressful situations. Any of my current challenges would be a handful on it own. Bundled together, they're well nigh impossible.

Quite honestly, the pandemic doesn't help. And the extended, record-breaking heat wave (I live in AZ). I'm looking forward to cooler weather, so I can do some hiking. My husband usually comes with me, but I'm not sure if he'll be up for it.

Zumba has been helpful, too. I'm so glad our health clubs have reopened, at least.


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: formflier on September 06, 2020, 06:50:04 AM

msleah

I'm so sorry to hear about the tumor growth.  How long until the experimental therapy gets started?  Have they given you any indication of how long you should wait until determining if the experimental is working.

Seems like the waiting for results is the worst.

Best,

FF


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on September 08, 2020, 12:15:09 AM
formflier:

Thanks for your compassion. I appreciate it. My husband's experimental therapy won't begin for two more weeks. It seems like a long time to wait, but the doctor wants him to have some time to rest. Chemo takes a lot out of a person. It kills healthy cells as well as unhealthy ones.
 
My daughter knows about this turn for the worse in my husband's illness, but has not reached out to him. I got one snippy letter, accompanied by a link to an article a woman wrote, which claimed that most estranged parents are to blame for the estrangement.

Geez. I thought BPD folks were supposed to be so sensitive?


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: formflier on September 08, 2020, 06:47:08 AM

So...one  letter in how long of a period of time?

Had you sent something that appears to have resulted in her sending the letter?

Best,

FF


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on September 08, 2020, 12:28:43 PM
formflier:

Here's a handy cut-and-paste of part of my posting to Swimmy, a few days ago. It explains the reason for my daughter's letter:

"I did get an email from her a few days ago, reiterating that she wants nothing to do with me. Earlier that week, I lost my cool and posted a status on Facebook about her dad and her arrest. News of the posting got back to her. I regret my action, but her dad had posted on his own page about how proud he was of her destructive behavior (!). His friends complimented him online for raising a great kid. I think that was the last straw. That man worked his butt off for years trying to turn our daughter against me, though my husband and I tried our best to reconcile with him."

My daughter's dad actually did post on his FB page about being proud of "his" daughter for setting a police station fire and for raising her right. I'd written him an email the previous day, letting him know that I'd found out about the arrest via the news and wondering if he knew about it or could shed some light on the matter. He did not bother to respond. I had to unblock him on FB to get the additional info.

This is a guy who once tried to kill me, and then called the cops and had me arrested. I stayed silent about the abuse for years, even though we have many mutual friends. But my daughter, the social justice warrior, is angry about me outing her abusive dad on FB.

I blocked him again, so I won't be inflamed by his postings. Of course, my daughter has blocked both my husband and me. So everyone is blocked. It's a crazy and horrible scenario.

 


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: formflier on September 08, 2020, 12:32:54 PM
 
If you could go back in time, would you have "outed" him on FB or would you have rather stayed silent?

Best,

FF


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on September 08, 2020, 10:54:06 PM
Formflier:

You know, I go back and forth on that one. Part of me wishes I'd kept my mouth shut, but part of me really needed to go public with the abuse. I figured my daughter was going to be angry with me either way. I kept silent about it for so long, which wasn't healthy for me, and it certainly didn't win me any brownie points, either.

Interestingly enough, my husband got an email from my daughter today, saying she was sorry she didn't contact him sooner, but wasn't sure what to say. She emphasized that she was deeply sorry about his illness, but was determined not to talk to me for a long while. She wanted to keep in touch with my husband, however, so she could offer support.

Despite the fact that this smacks of classic triangulation, I made it clear to my husband that he should make his own decisions re: future communication, and that I would not try to interfere in any way. I think he'll feel happier re-establishing contact, since the estrangement has hurt him deeply. Also we'll both feel better knowing at least one of us has an open line of communication with her. I worry about my daughter a lot, for obvious reasons. But I'm going to stay out of the picture and see how it goes from here.


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: GoblinMom on September 18, 2020, 08:57:09 PM

"Well, as a person who has seen a variety of counselors in my life,"

Do you think perhaps that's why she says you have "meltdowns"?

 "even if it means continuing to ignore her mother and her stepdad, who has stage 4 cancer and raised her since she was six."

I wouldn't say that to her or she may accuse you of acting like a victim.  Been there done that.

On one of your posts you said she demanded you apologize and you didn't.  On another post you said you didn't get the chance to apologize and make amends.

How do you think someone with BPD could interpret that?  As you lying perhaps?

I'm NOT saying that you lied,  I'm saying that that's how they see things.  They have an idiosyncratic moral code  (probably why some of them become protesters and advocates) and are ready to write people off for breaking it.  I

"The other weird thing is that her recent behavior, and the ultimatum, as well as laying the blame for her BPD at my doorstep, all seem to be fairly recent developments."

Exactly like my daughter.  So I asked her to describe some of the things I did.  She blames me for things like being 15 min late to pick her up or not taking her somewhere I said I'd take her.  She said they caused her deep embarrassment and stress. 

I did apologize.  She stopped talking to me when I said something she thought was a lie.


Title: Re: Recent Estrangement From My BPD Daughter
Post by: msleah on September 21, 2020, 11:44:49 PM
Hi Goblin Mom:

Sorry to take so long to respond. I'll try to answer your questions in more-or-less chronological order.

No, I've gone to see counselors all on my own, including after my daughter moved out of the house. I haven't had breakdowns first, or been mandated by the court, or anything similar. I think going to counseling is a great thing to do when you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed, or just need more self-understanding.

In our last instant message conversation, she demanded that I apologize for everything, but I didn't apologize on the spot. I was irritated and defensive. She blocked me on social media immediately thereafter, so even though I wanted to apologize to her a couple days later, and talk things over in a more cool-headed manner, I had no way of doing so.

I'm not sure how she might interpret that. She wanted an instant apology, I didn't give it to her, and she wasn't about to give me  second chance. Since then, I have sent her a couple of apologetic emails, but they appear to have fallen on deaf ears (or eyes, or whatever...)

She has communicated via email with my husband, but like I said in another post above, this maneuver smacks of triangulation. She made it clear to him that she would not be corresponding with me. He has responded to her three emails in a minimal way, because he's not really sure how to react. We want her to be in touch, but we don't want to treat me like the 1000 pound gorilla in the proverbial living room.

It makes sense that she is drawn to Antifa, because those folks tend to have a pretty rigid moral code, and so does my daughter (typical of BPD people, it would seem).

I'm sorry to hear about your daughter. It's so hard to be the parent of a person with this disorder, but the BPD person often doesn't realize the profound challenge posed to the parent.

Thanks again for your comments.