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Author Topic: 8.03 | When the children of a BPD parent are at risk  (Read 46037 times)
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« Reply #30 on: December 07, 2009, 08:29:33 AM »

Hi again meridian,

I am really angery  and depressed and everything.

That's not unusual. Have you had treatment for the depression? It clouds your thinking and makes everything harder. If you haven't, I'd urge you to speak to a doc and also get some counseling. this is often a process you need to work one on one as well as with others (here, for example). You can post more about what you're experiencing at the "coping with relatives" board and also at the personal inventory board at https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?board=27.0.

I wish I could make all the pain go away, meridian. It's just something all of us have to work on, bit by bit. It can get better; I know from experience. We're here for you.  xoxox


What they call you is one thing.
What you answer to is something else. ~ Lucille Clifton

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« Reply #31 on: December 07, 2009, 08:48:08 AM »

B& W,

Thank you for your concern.  I do not take western medications and yes I have a T that I have been with for five years.  He has been great and has gotten me this far.  I think sometimes everything gets to me more than other times.  I guess it is the nature of this diease.  I think my major issue is that I am still tied to him fiancially but I am working on a plan to get out from under that.  I am trying to go back to school and get a PA.  I think once he does not have power over me anymore I will feel a lot better.  I appreciate your advice and respect your opinions.  I think I will feel better when I know there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Thank you.

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« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2010, 11:22:12 AM »

So often the case, children do not have the courage or opportunity to talk to someone about mental illness issues in the family.

•   Leaving young children unable to care for themselves alone, or effectively alone (through excessive sleeping, drug or alcohol abuse, or other distracting addictive behaviors like spending a great deal of time online, texting, or gambling).

•   Leaving older children unsupervised for stretches of time beyond their age and development level. For example, a mature 10-year-old can probably spend some unsupervised time alone but should not spend an entire day alone or have the sole care of younger children.

•   Physical abuse—beating, punching, kicking, pinching, slapping, hair pulling, burning, etc.

•   Locking a child in a room or other space. Locking a child out of the house.

•   Singling out one child as “bad” or for particular punishments.

•   Expecting children to care for parents instead of the other way around.

•   Threatening or injuring a child’s pet.

•   Abusing one child in front of another.

•   Not supplying adequate food, clothing, shelter, rest, or schooling. For example, a parent who is very depressed may not prepare regular meals. Children are sometimes told to stay home from school to care for a parent or to clean the house to help the parent out.

•   Failing to provide medical care. This might be brushing off an injury or ignoring a fever or signs of a chronic illness.

•   Failing to provide a safe home environment. Exposing a child to risks, such as risk of fire (smoking while intoxicated) or sexual abuse (bringing home strangers for risky sexual encounters).

•   Inconsistent parenting, sometimes being very loving and taking care of a child’s needs, other times ignoring or punishing, switching for no apparent reason.

•   Excessive chores. Providing a sense of responsibility through age appropriate chores is good parenting, but if the child is required to do chores for long periods of time or beyond his or her capability, that is too much.

•   Punishing a child by destroying or giving away his or her possessions.

•   Invasions of privacy (not caretaking), such as taking the bathroom door of the hinges so the child cannot have privacy while bathing or using the toilet.

•   Sexual abuse.

•   Relentless criticism, including telling a child he or she is “evil,” “bad,” “just like [someone the parent hates],” “worthless,” and so on.

WOW. This list list is like 99.9% my childhood. It is so eye opening. It's easy to get to the point where because you want a "mom" so badly you convince yourself "it wasn't that bad" or "she did the best she could". I realize that it was that bad and that she didn't do the best she could. The words in quotes are HER thoughts in my head, not MINE... .Idea
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« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2010, 11:34:06 AM »

On the idea of abused children appearing "normal"... .I can definitely relate to this. No one knew anything was as wrong as it was. I didn't dare tell anyone for fear of the punishment. Family members I have spoken with to ask about my early childhood (don't remember most of it) say that while there were weird things & they noticed she was off, they never would have guessed I was being physically abused. I would strongly suggest if you even have and inking that something is off or weird, do not leave your child alone with a BPD parent. Speaking as one of those children, I often wondered why if people felt she was off, why didn't they DO SOMETHING? Why didn't the neighbors do anything? Why was she being protected by dad and not me? Those kinds of thoughts don't go away. They are just as difficult to deal with as the actual abuse. Really try to see the  |> for what they are... .
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« Reply #34 on: January 27, 2010, 11:38:56 AM »

I am so glad this popped back up it is very timely right now in my life. These are the kind of things that are so helpful around this site.
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« Reply #35 on: August 29, 2010, 02:50:29 PM »

Thank you B&W -- this is a big issue I have in my life. I worry about my kids and how their dad's behavior will effect them.

I mostly worry about the two youngest, because they have to spend time with him. It's not quite a 50/50 split -- I have an extra day a week.

He's not outward abusive (except on one occasion). It's mostly verbal. Also, it's little things. That makes it hard to say it's wrong with out being nitpicky.

But over time I think the little things can errode a child's self-esteem and sense of well being. Little things such as he putting himself first before them. He say he doesn't have any money (he makes more that $100K a year), but yet will purchase items for himself and girlfriend. He telling them he will take them to Sea World, but instead takes his girlfriend and says it wasn't fun anyway. He making my youngest give his gf a hug and say she loves her. If they disagree with him, he yells at them and says that's your mom talking or screams they need therapy.

They don't tell me much, because they don't want me to confront him. So they protect him. I've told them that they are allowed their own thoughts and feelings. I have to be really careful what I say so that it doesn't appear that I'm badmouthing him.

I just pray that this doesn't effect them in their futures.  I want them to know that they are important and that they matter and sometimes it feels like every time they come back from their dad's we are back to square one.
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« Reply #36 on: November 15, 2010, 04:22:14 PM »

I am writing because I have been really noticing over the past year both how BPD mom impacts the kids  (SD 6 and SD10 to me) and also how some of the work we have done to work on self esteem stuff with them has helped. 

In reading "the Borderline Mother" the by Christine Ann Lawson. something clicked.  I do not see the BPD mom in the kids' lives as being strictly one of the types she outlines, but the dynamic described with the "waif" mother fits.  Mothers' message is that life is too hard.  She threatens suicide to minor emotional problems, gets the kids to be her caretaker, babies and indulges them, does not make them do anything that would add hardship for her (irregular homework, skipping things that would require mom to drive, etc), is sometimes verbally abusive but mostly uses victimized language. 

I have seen the impact on the kids' self-esteem over time, and also on their immune systems. They are pretty happy kids who seem to have pretty decent self-esteem.  SD10 has learning disabilities, but the most potent "disability" seems to be that she just gets emotionally overwhelmed when with her mom and then cannot focus on school at all.  Her brain just shuts off when her mom is having a hard time, which is often. She has a lot of anxiety about her mom, wants to be with her when mom is crazy.  When mom is doing okay, she is happy being away from mom.  As SD10 has begun to differentiate and separate from her mom, she has become alternately more enmeshed and craving independence.  Mom has also been evicted in the past year and does not want to get a job, so she living with a friend and kids are sleeping in the same bed.  This creates a lot of enmeshment and also idealization of toddler years, which was the last time they slept with mom. 

SD10 has become decreasingly trusting of her ability to perform in school.  The funny thing is, she tests as having a very high IQ and when she is not overhwelmed, she performs very well.  Then she feels great self esteem. 

SD6 seems to feel very good at school and good at things.  SD10 was BPD mom's favorite up until recently.  She is fearful her mom does not love her, or might leave.  But she knows she is loved by her dad and me . Recently, she became her mom's favorite and is not exhibiting more of the signs of reduced self esteem but also more clinging to mom. 

I have experienced one of the biggest challenges for SD10 is how out of control things feel to her.  How powerless she feels.  Mom is constantly telling the kids they are moving to another state and that mom will get full custody.  But the reality is that mom and dad share 50/50 custody.  Mom has never attempted to get more custody.  Meanwhile, mom seems to move a lot and change in more challenging ways. 

SD6 has started to echo some of this frustration of not knowing what is happening.  She says, "Mommy says that we are living with her, you say something different, I do not know WHO to believe." 

With SD10, we dealt with her frustration over her powerlessness to live where she wants to live, or to even know what her mom REALLY plans, by acknowledging her feeling of powerlessness, and by talking about ways of seeking power that do not feel good versus ones that do feel good. 

We talked over time about ways of creating power that feel good and help you.  We gave her various options for activities that she could be in charge of and work toward.  One was designing and building a tree fort.  That was about a year and a half ago.  The tree fort is about 5/6 done.  SD10 has worked on it consistently.  It has walls and a roof and got a window this week. 

Over the past year, I have seen her become increasingly clear that she CAN do what she sets out to do, that it takes commitment and focus, and in her words "not freaking out when someone tells you 'no', just trying to figure out what you can do that will make it work for them to help you."  She seems confident in a way that may just be innate to her, but feels like we have helped her to get that she IS CAPABLE. 

She also has more and more tried to make her sister things when her sister is having a hard time, or to help her sister get wheat she needs.  I feel this has really shifted things for her. 

We helped her make a swing for herself and we let her play on it when she has 'time outs.'  We have focused on time outs being a time to take a deep breath and to take care of yourself when you are really upset, to take a break and come back when you are more full emotionally.  SD10 has a really hard time taking time away from the thick of it... .she wants to argue her point and melt down emotionally... .like mom... .rather than disconnecting and coming back to it later.  She has really grown into using time outs herself.  She often will ask to swing when she is having a hard time, or to ask for some down time, sometimes with her dad or me.  I really feel like the tools we have given her have helped. 

I see SD6 going through her self-esteem issues, differently than her sister.  But I hope we can continue to provide tools for both kids to find in themselves the resources to deal with the places of despair and the victimized approach their mom provides to them .

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