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Author Topic: Having a non-diagnosed BPD mother  (Read 434 times)
SciNerd

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« on: January 11, 2019, 11:25:40 AM »

I've known since I was 13 that my mom was overbearing, and not like other moms. That's when we first started fighting, I was coming into my own and starting having my own opinions. She and I disagree on almost everything I believe, feel or do. The disagreements aren't like others, where people can agree to disagree- I was forced to submit to her beliefs and apologize for having my own. I learned to manage her, to not tell her what I was doing, to be agreeable and calm. This last year however just about took both of us over the edge... .My step father died suddenly, someone who really understood my mom, helped her with her guilt tripping and loneliness. He would talk both of us off the ledge after she would rage at me for hours. With him gone, no one was there to keep her in check and thus began my spiral of self doubt, guilt, and anger. I went to the doctor in the summer and my blood pressure had skyrocketed (as someone in their 20s, not exactly expected). I told her the story of my most recent fight with my mom and she directed me to a therapist and assured me it sounded like BPD, which I had never heard of. Turns out she fits the description to a T, and this information has given me some of my power back in my life. I hate that no one but my fiance knows, and that my family is being made to think I am a horrible child and she puts on her happy face around all of them. I hate that I can't tell them what hell I have been going through with her, and to share some of the burden I feel with them. I'm an only child, I am the only person she feels she can be herself around (as she tells me often)... .So I feel this intense burden to keep her going, making her life better as she did for mine before I was 13. Anyway I'm just hoping maybe there are people out there that have felt the way I felt, like giving up on your own mother and just running away from it all, but knowing you never could.

-Only child of a *suspected* BPD mother.
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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2019, 12:45:48 PM »

Hi Scinerd,

I'm sorry about the loss of your father in law. It must be hard for you and the rest of your family and hard times do tend to bring out the worst in pwBPD.  Having a undiagnosed BPD mom is a rollercoaster. I've been re-negotiating my relationship with her for six years now, and with the help of the rest of my family things have gotten a lot better, even if I still go through very difficult moments with her. While the bad moments have gotten less frequent, and found quicker resolutions, the good moments have increased. But I did go through six months of silent treatment from her when I first started redefining the relationship where I essentially established that abusive behaviour would cause me to leave.
You say that you are alone in your family and frustrated that you can't tell them. I never told anyone in my family about it, and in the end I did not find it necessary. We could just as easily discuss her behaviours and how we needed to respond to them without talking in abstract terms about BPD. I used to also feel alone because I was my mother's scapegoat, but I realized that when I feel in distress or upset that I have every right to reach out to other family members and have found them to be responsive. I had to work on allowing myself to be vulnerable with them, which was something I had worked hard not to do because my upbringing always meant that vulnerability openned you up to attack. Anyway, as you navigate different situations with your mom I would encourage you to keep posting. It has been a long and hard path for me but I am at a place where I can say that my relationship with my mother is better than it has ever been in either of our lives - which is not to say that she doesn't have her traits, I just know how to better protect myself from them and look after my own needs.
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Turkish
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2019, 12:16:20 AM »

I'm my experience,  also as an only child,  puberty was a huge trigger for my mother.  Sure,  I was am argumentative teenager,  but it was more than that.  Children should never be burdened wth managing their parents' emotions.  This is am unhealthy and dysfunctional role- reversal.  The term for this is covert or emotional incest.  Does any of this feel familiar:

https://bpdfamily.com/content/was-part-your-childhood-deprived-emotional-incest

I'm sorry that you lost your dad,  and your mom her husband.  It's of course normal and healthy to support family with love. It sounds like,  however,  that not only are you feeling burdened with continuing your old role,  but also that you are expected (implicitly) to take on the role of her emotional caretaker which your father used to do. That was also dysfunctional, but it was their relationship and their business.  You don't have to be a proxy spouse.

I sense guilt. You are not alone. 
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2019, 06:29:28 AM »

You are not alone. Although I'm not an only child, I can relate to your situation as my BPD mother has convinced her FOO I am a terrible child to her. They maintain there is nothing wrong with her. It's embarrassing to be around them knowing what they think about me.

While my ( deceased ) father was ailing, I think they and my father assumed I would continue to be her emotional caretaker, but she was very abusive to me and I could not take it. ( nor should I). My father had taken on the role of your stepfather, and also enlisted us children in that role as well. Our family revolved around mother's needs and wishes. I decided I would not take that role. My parents were angry at me for that.

It is sad to see the splits and divisions in my FOO due to this, but I don't want to be a doormat to her, and that's what she wants from her children.


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Violet00

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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2019, 03:57:38 PM »

Hi SciNerd, I want to say I know that as an only child it feels like there is no one to share this burden with. I think it’s great that you started seeing a therapist. I think it is also important for you to have a support system- friends , your fiancée -People who know what you are going through. A lot of times people with BPD are very skillful at manipulating you so that at some point you start to believe their version of truth and reality and I think having some other perspective on your relationship will remind you that you are not the person that you are scared your mom portrays you to be to your family. I also think that even if your family doesn’t know she has BPD  if they are familiar with her rages they Don’t take what she says about you for granted...
But I think grounding yourself and having a perspective on your relationship from therapist, family and friends  will somehow ease the guilt and shame of being “the horrible child”
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« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2019, 12:26:27 PM »

Hi SciNerd,

I share your experiences of being the only child of my mother.

The emotional incest started when I was 11 years old, and I quickly found that the best way to relate to my mother was to go along with what she said and felt (even if I didn't agree with her).

She was emotionally abusive with my grandmother and wife, and I finally put my foot down after my wife told me she wanted a separation, and told my mother that although she can feel offended by what me and my family does, there are certain actions which I will not tolerate.

The extinction bursts that followed was extremely unpleasant (physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, suicide threats, and abandonment threats), and I didn't stick around to witness the actual extinction of her behavior.

Now I am going very LC with her (just emails and texts).  It is currently difficult me, because she gives me constant guilt trips for being denied contact with the "angel in her life." 

If you can gradually reduce contact with her, it might help you guys ease into a more healthy relationship.
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Turkish
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« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2019, 01:13:44 PM »

I was reading somewhere about a story of a family from another culture. You don't question Mother.  Ever. They said that their mother tested positive for hepatitis.  When they were around family meals, the mother would continually dip her utensil into the common meal dish.  They all felt uncomfortable and didn't like it yet no one dared say anything. 
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SciNerd

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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2019, 11:39:10 AM »

Wow thank you all for the supportive and helpful advice!

Turkish, I read the article you attached and it really hit home.
"Not surprisingly, the character flaws we have the hardest time accepting are the ones that wounded us most during childhood. When our parents act in destructive and familiar ways, our present anguish is magnified by our early pain. Underneath our grown-up dismay is a little child crying out for more love and safety."

It is such a work in progress, but Violet00 I think you have a point for sure with keeping grounded with people who know the real me, and know what I've gone through.

It is SO reassuring to know there are others out there experiencing this.

Last week I went to visit my mom for a trip to Florida, which she paid for, and I spent a lot of time leading up to it being worried about how it would go. It lived up to my expectations (horrible), and it almost felt like a self fulfilling prophecy. She started to guilt trip me and because I had been so tense before I went down I just snapped... .I am so not proud of how I delivered my feelings to her. I felt like everything I said  came out like an annoyed/angry teenager. I guess it was my inner child just coming out. I didn't shut down her rage, I just kept it going for two hours, because apparently I had a lot of pent up feelings. Of course none of what I said matters because we just went in circles. This is such a work in progress, some days I feel like I have the hang of it, others I'm flailing around no clue of how I see the future looking.

I want to thank you all for taking the time to message me, it makes me feel a little more sane.

Cheers
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Harri
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« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2019, 11:58:23 AM »

Hi SciNerd. 

Losing it and letting the anger and pent up hurt happens sometimes.  Yep, it is not good and it sounds like it is not in line with how you want to act but it happens. 

I am not trying to minimize what happened but (!) use it as confirmation that you have healing work to do and lets see if we can pinpoint some areas you can focus upon.   

You said it seemed like a self-fulfilling prophesy.   How so?  What sort of internal messages ran through your head?  What were your expectations for the trip?  I think it will be easier to find the negative expectations, but I also think there were some positive ones as well which might be harder to find. 

Want to do a bit of digging?
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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2019, 02:09:18 PM »

SciNerd I can relate. As an only child with an uBPD mother I always knew she was a ‘force to be reckoned with’. The sound of her yelling my full name in public venues still haunts my memories and I spent my childhood terrified of her ( think small very timid child). I continued to play her game for too many years and would up my game for her approval as I aged ( girl trips to NYC, grandchildren) but she still raged. My husband was my real eye-opener, he saw first-hand what she did to me. She wasn’t just the anecdotal ‘crazy mother’ stories anymore- she was an abusive mother who unexpectedly and regularly raged at me. I have struggled with FOG with my estrangement from her. I first stepped away from her 2 years ago but was drawn back in with a sob story. I haven’t spoken with her for 6 years and don’t have as much FOG- this gives me hope for my healing journey. Have Peace. Have Hope. Have Calm
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« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2019, 12:10:42 PM »

Scinerd,

Please, please, please, don't let family members make you feel like you are bad. I have done that my whole life and with therapy, I can now look past it. People, unfortunately, are going to look at us as being in the wrong if they don't deal with the odd behaviors of a BPD, as a caretaker does. There is nothing we can do about it. My feelings now are that, if people judge me in a negative way, then they are not worth my thoughts and it's their ignorance and not me. My family enables my mom because they let her act up and then she acts normal the next minute and they let it go instead of confronting her. They, too, are also in denial that she is mentally ill.
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« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2019, 11:25:16 PM »

Scinerd, that family guilt is so strong. I grew up in a rural farming community. They know she’s difficult but still say ‘but she’s your Mom’. My response has become an eye roll... .
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« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2019, 01:42:11 AM »

Hi, SciNerd. Thank you for posting and joining the community. It sounds like you’ve been through a lot. Please don’t be hard on yourself over how you reacted to your mom. How can you not? You have emotions that need care. When your emotions are punched, you eventually react. That’s normal. You love your mom, but there’s a lot of anger there. It’s hard dealing with disordered people.
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Sad4Her

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« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2019, 07:39:11 AM »

Scinerd,

Yes, SafeandCalm is so right. If I hear one more person say, "... .but she's your mom"! They don't have to deal with our mom's for a day most of the time. We do it for the amount of years we are alive. You stay strong and know that we are all hear to tell you that you are good. I love my mom so much that it physically hurts to start breaking away and setting boundaries because I know she is like a child who doesn't understand and she thinks I'm abandoning her. However, I've learned that it's what I must do for my own survival. Life is so short and we need to make the best of our lives and try to be happy and that starts with pushing the negative out.
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SciNerd

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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2019, 03:22:23 PM »

Thank you Sad4Her and SafeandCalm, you both have such real perspectives on this, especially with a mother in your life with this disorder. I think it feels extra betraying when it's your mother, someone who you're told you should be close to and who should love you unconditionally.

Harri, you're definitely right there's a lot of work to be done on my end, and I'm happy to dig (that's what I'm here for Smiling (click to insert in post) )

The trip felt self fulfilling in that I had felt in the weeks leading up to it a large sense of anxiety, anticipation of being alone with my mom, no one there as a buffer and no escape as I had flown down. Historically, I've been alone with her when she lashes out and I typically am in a moving vehicle, or some place I can't escape. So this whole notion that I was flying down to Florida, alone, made me feel very vulnerable but I was optimistic that it would maybe go differently, and it'd be a chance for some reconnect time. Her and I had had a blow out on Christmas day, and never had any debrief from it. Her and I didn't speak, then I flew down to see her. So things hadn't been in a great position to begin with (part of my anxiety with going there). My expectations were that she would probably lash out at me at some point during the week for "abandoning her at christmas". She wasted no time and the fight actually happened quite early in the week, which I did not expect. I think my head space was still very angry about our fight from Christmas that in hindsight it probably wasn't a good idea for me to go down there at all. Of course you feel guilt that she spent all that money on your flight so then you do and wind up hurting yourself even more.

I find anymore that the more space I have from my mom, the better my opinion is of her. The more space you have from a situation, the more clarity and kindness you can find in your heart...you know?

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« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2019, 06:56:21 PM »

Excerpt
I find anymore that the more space I have from my mom, the better my opinion is of her. The more space you have from a situation, the more clarity and kindness you can find in your heart...you know?
Yes, I know this feeling.   Distance and time can give that to you but they can also be deceiving as well.  Balance is important.
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« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2019, 09:40:43 AM »

SciNerd,
Yes, I completely understand the feeling. Although that guilt of keeping your distance comes, it still is so much healthier for us and we CAN deal a bit better with them when we know we can get away from it. Hang in there with all of us together.
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« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2019, 09:52:27 AM »

Distance is so good and healthy for me but, I am waiting for the ‘ other shoe to drop’. There will be some drama that my uBPDm will formulate ( usually based on my elderly father’s health) where she will drag me back in. I feel more prepared to deal with it when it comes but have anxiety every time the phone rings. I hate that I give her this power.
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Sad4Her

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« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2019, 10:47:11 AM »

Safe and Calm,
What I can give you of what I learned from my therapy is that you are getting stronger with each step. Just the fact of knowing that you are giving her power is a step towards recovery rather than back when, maybe like I thought , you were doing and thinking that was what we are supposed to do, adhere to our uBPDm's every command. Now you are aware that it's not ok to be treated that way and, like you said, you can be more prepared to handle it. When that time comes, please know that we are all here and feel it with you so reach back out for support. I know that I will for sure because I'm waiting for my mom's shoe to drop very soon.
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