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NorCAMom

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« on: January 11, 2017, 03:31:51 PM »

I am new to the message board, and am glad for the opportunity to connect with others who understand what it's like to try to parent an adult child with BPD.

My BPD daughter is 27. She began self-harming before age 2 by continually scratching her cheeks until they bled. She developed anorexia at age 16, began binge drinking around 18, then suffered with bulimia and extreme alcohol abuse until about a year and a half ago. She also has extreme anxiety, self-loathing, and bouts of depression. Like many BPD sufferers from what I understand, my daughter is also extremely intelligent and can be quite witty and charming.

She was in and out of residential treatment as well as day treatment and outpatient programs since age 17. I lost count, but I believe she has been in approximately 32 facilities around the country for eating disorders and alcohol addiction. I feel like I spent years on the phone with United Healthcare trying to get her approved for various treatment. Unfortunately she was not diagnosed with BPD when she was younger, and my experience has been that treatment facilities treat the symptoms rather than dig deeper for underlying causes. With her, no treatment ever "stuck" once she left a program.

She lives about 3 hours away from me by car (I am recently remarried) and is renting a room. She is no longer binge drinking and as a result is doing better than she was (i.e., legal trouble from shoplifting while drunk, as well as being homeless many times) but things are again on the verge of falling apart. The pattern is that she gets a job, does well for about two months, and then has some sort of trigger that sends her into a tailspin. She stops going to work, gets fired, runs out of money (plus she has out of control spending sprees) and of course, expects me to write checks until she's back on track. I have repeatedly paid for her rent, deposits, food, etc. all the while hoping she can finally turn things around and support herself. It has become a financial strain, yet I have continued to give into her demands for financial help because I have constant fear she will be on the streets again. She was raped and badly beaten when she was homeless and this is a nightmare for me to think about.

The relationship I have with my daughter (continually rescuing her) is creating a strain between my husband and me. He is wonderful and supportive, but like the rest of my family, concerned about my "enabling" behaviors toward my daughter. I am hoping to get some guidance on how to distance myself from the constant drama and chaos of my daughter's world and ideally learn how to have a more adult-like relationship with her. She gets mad at me when she doesn't get her way, and then generally offers profuse apologies a few days later (until the next time I say no).

Any comments are greatly appreciated! Thank you and I am looking forward to learning how to create a better balance in my life (and sleep better at night!)

Thanks for listening.

NorCAMom
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Our objective is to better understand the struggles our child faces and to learn the skills to improve our relationship and provide a supportive environment and also improve on our own emotional responses, attitudes and effectiveness as a family leaders
Lollypop
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2017, 11:52:50 AM »

Hi there NorCAMom

Welcome to the board. Gosh, you've been though the mill and on it continues.

Having a BPD adult child is just totally all consuming/exhausting and a heavy challenge for the strongest and longest marriages. Many times either me or my husband has wanted to walk away. Somehow we've made it this far. Our BPDs is 26 and is currently at home. Fortunately he's progressing and we've found a way to improve our relationship with him despite the problems that include him self medicating. I found a very large bottle of diazepam yesterday.  So yeah, despite us not giving him money we still enable.  I see it as a balance of priorities. The drugs are just symptoms.

My BPDs started to turn around the day I told him I would give him no more money. He knew I meant it. I kept to my word for the first time in my life.

For him to behave like an adult, he has to be treated like one. Still in a loving way, but with clear communication and emotional support. I'm very happy we've found a way to walk beside him as he grows.

We hope to retire in 3 years and my BPDs has to learn how to live independently. I'm finally being the parent he needs.  It's taken me 10 years and the fact that he is the age he is helps me immensely; there is no doubt that he is an adult and is responsible for himself.

I changed my approach with a lot of help here in this forum. I know it can be done. We've managed to communicate so much better, validate and keep consistent.  We get onwith our own lives and refuse to be responsible for him. A massive weight has been lifted from our shoulders. It's not easy but you have taken the first step.  

You don't have to stop being there for your daughter, but you are totally in control of what you will do and what you won't do for her. Only you can say if you're ready to say to yourself, enough. That's where your new journey begins. It's a positive step to make for you all.

It takes strength to say no. Yes I still prepare to have "those" conversations but I still face Him square on. It's done very nicely and very fairly in short conversations.

L

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The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing & to watch someone else doing it wrong, without comment. ~ T.H. White
NorCAMom

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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2017, 02:13:11 PM »

Thank you, Lollipop. I appreciate your insight, and clearly we have some similarities with our BPD children.

I agree that as long as I provide financial support she will think of me as her safety net. The dilemma I have is that when I cut her off financially before, she ended up homeless and experienced sexual and physical abuse, which added to my anguish.

But that said, she must be accountable for her own mental and physical health and safety. I definitely understand this intellectually but it's the emotional aspect that tears me apart.

My daughter is beginning to understand she responsible for her life choices and that it's up to her to seek help for her BPD symptoms.

I think there is progress but it's often one step forward and two steps back. I'm sure you can relate to that as well.

i wish you and your son the best. There is hope for us all and luckily I am an optimist by nature so I will never stop believing things can get better.

Thanks so much for reaching out.

NorCAMom
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Lollypop
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2017, 09:17:19 AM »

Hi there Norcamom

Just thought I'd touch base with you.  How are things going?

You are so right, having a relationship with our adult children who suffer with BPD is wrought with fears, ups and downs, and confusion.

L
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The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing & to watch someone else doing it wrong, without comment. ~ T.H. White

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