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Author Topic: Looking for support and friends  (Read 157 times)
raoulf
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What is your sexual orientation: Gay, lesb
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
What is your relationship status with them: Estranged
Posts: 2


« on: February 12, 2020, 12:32:27 AM »

Hi,

I'm not entirely sure where to begin.  I'm a 32 year old gay male and my mother has untreated BPD.  I've only recently, through the help of my therapist and a very supportive partner, begun to recognize just how not okay my childhood and early adult relationship with my mother has been.  About three years ago I moved to NYC after law school.  I met a very supportive partner shortly after moving here, we got engaged about a year and a half later and will be getting married this April. 

It was shortly after our engagement that my mother's attitude towards me began to radically shift.  When I had first come out she had not been very supportive.  She would oscillate between moments of support and rage over my sexuality.  While she had initially liked my partner, once I told her I was engaged her feelings for him changed overnight.  She suddenly became suspicious of his "motives," she began questioning every aspect of the wedding, our timing, the guest list, why he decided to propose to me when he did.  She started to question whether she would get along with his family (even though she had never met them) and furthermore became convinced that they had somehow commandeered my ability to make decisions and were dictating how the wedding should be.  For a good period I continued to try and rationally explain all of our decisions, how much I was in love and how happy my partner made me only to have her come back weeks later with the same suspicions and conspiracy theories.

This all transpired as I entered therapy to deal with my own issues surrounding OCD and depression.  It was also in these sessions that I was finally able to begin opening up to the emotional and physical abuse that I fell victim to during my childhood at the hands of my mother.  She was someone who at times could be so loving and supportive and then at a drop of a hat suddenly fly into a rage and make you feel like you were the tiniest person around.  It was this constant and sudden oscillation of behavior that I have come to realize contributes to the root of my OCD symptoms which are comprised of a fear of punishment and that I myself am evil and deserving of punishment.

All of this has recently come to a head.  About a month ago, my mother, via a call from my sister (I have two sisters who still live at home) informed me that they she (my mother) did not want to attend my wedding and would instead be willing to pay for a separate reception in my hometown.  I responded that I did not want a separate reception and wanted them all to come to my wedding so they could celebrate with me.  I asked that they think it over and let my know what they wanted to do.  About two days later my mother responded, via email, that my entire immediate family would not attend the wedding because of my "complete and utter lack of respect for my family." 

This has stung in a way that previous slights have not.  I have always tried to be there for my mother and the rest of my family.  This however has also felt like the last straw for me.  I have come to recognize through this most recent interaction that at least for the foreseeable future I cannot continue to attempt to maintain a relationship with my mother because it is severely impacting my own emotional wellbeing.  I have not spoken to her over the phone since the holidays (during which time I took my partner home with me and we were treated as if we barely existed the entire trip).  While I know that this approach is personally what I need right now to process and heal the emotional wounds that she has created, I also can't escape the guilt that I feel. 

Growing up my mother was the queen of the household.  She controlled everything and her love or rage was used to keep her children in check.  Being on the side of her rage, while not collapsing and trying to crawl back to her good graces this time has me feeling particularly vulnerable and guilty.  Again a part of me recognizes I need this time to heal, while another part of me feels like I need to call her, apologize, and ask for forgiveness.

I'm hoping to find others who have similarly had to cut ties with a parent or other family member for the sake of their own mental health.  Hopefully to find others who have had to deal with the guilt of choosing to cut the person out of their life.  Any suggestions or well wishes are welcome.  Thank you.
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Methuen
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Posts: 341


« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2020, 01:20:44 AM »

Welcome Raoulf Welcome new member (click to insert in post)

This sounds typical BPD. 

Excerpt
About two days later my mother responded, via email, that my entire immediate family would not attend the wedding because of my "complete and utter lack of respect for my family."

Uge.  This is the hook to try to draw you into drama to defend yourself.  As you probably already know, doing that would escalate the situation.  Avoid getting drawn into JADEing.  Don't respond by taking the hook.

Excerpt
I responded that I did not want a separate reception and wanted them all to come to my wedding so they could celebrate with me.  I asked that they think it over and let my know what they wanted to do.

Great boundary setting Raoulf.  They have plenty of time to change their mind, once the emotions settle down, and calmer heads prevail.

I'm guessing you're well familiarized with the many resources on this site, but just in case, here's a link to some of them:
https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=334882.0

I'm 57, and my troubles with my mom's uBPD came to a toxic head for me last summer.  I had to go NC for a couple of weeks (road trip out of town with H) just to center myself and start to think about how I was going to look after my own wellness.  Then I went LC for a while, until uBPD mom 83 yrs had a fall (whilst she was alone) resulting in 4 fractures.  Life got extremely complicated as I supported her through that and then she raged at me that her pain was my fault.  Then I had to go NC for a while again to keep my own well being safe.  I have sought a lot of resources to learn to manage my relationship with her, and her and I have been in a kind of LC equilibrium that seems to be working for both of us for the time being.

I think every situation is a little different.  Some of us are NC, some are LC, and some live with their BPD's in the home.  All of us struggle with guilt.  In the beginning, that was the hardest part for me.  My H read books about BPD along with me, and comes to T with me, and thus is a great support and sounding board for me.  I'm 7 months into my "recovery" after I hit my low with BPD mom, and I can honestly say I don't feel the guilt like I used to.  It definitely gets better. The key is education, and learning all the relationship tools we can:  SET, boundaries, validating questions, and no JADEing have been super helpful for me.  T and this board have been invaluable.  All of it helps to work through the FOG (guilt) you are talking about.

You already set a great boundary with your response to her email. 

Welcome to our bpdfamily.




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Methuen
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Posts: 341


« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2020, 01:40:03 AM »

I regret missing the most important message in my last post:

Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming nuptials!
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Person2
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
What is your relationship status with them: No contact
Posts: 51



« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2020, 09:29:06 AM »

Hi Raoulf  Welcome new member (click to insert in post)

Welcome! I’m a newbie here myself. In the short amount of time I’ve spent on this site, it’s helped me immensely, and I believe you will also find it helpful and supportive.

I too struggle with my relationship with my uBPD mother. I’m currently about 2 months into NC (I let her know that I need time to process on my own, without her influence), but I plan to go to LC at some point (when I feel strong and ready).

I feel similar to Methuen in that I don’t feel guilt as intensely as I used to. By taking advantage of the various reading resources listed on this site, allowing myself to sit with my feelings, not be overwhelmed by them, and letting them pass through me, I’m doing a lot better. There is hope!

Sorry to hear about your issues with her and your engagement/upcoming wedding. Although it is painful, it’s what brought you to wanting to address the impact that this relationship has had on your life, which is definitely a positive! I read recently, that the best thing that we can do for any of our loved ones is to focus on our own healing. I understand your sadness, but please don’t allow her to be the focus on what is a major life event for you.  Virtual hug (click to insert in post)

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Choosinghope

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
What is your relationship status with them: Limited contact
Posts: 37


« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2020, 09:56:59 AM »

Hi Raoulf, Welcome new member (click to insert in post)

You are in good company here. Sadly, I can relate to almost everything you wrote. The conflict with my uBPD mom that caused my current NC was also triggered by my wedding. Almost the same pattern happened, actually. The difference with my situation is that my H and I didn't set clear boundaries when she blew up before the wedding because we wanted everything smoothed over and peaceful. While it kind of worked, it just made the problem worse once we were actually married. So I can tell you, whether you start enforcing boundaries now or after the wedding, it will be necessary. Maybe have a very honest chat with your partner about just how important it is for your mom and FOO to be at your wedding. I really wanted my mom to be there, so we chose to placate her and apologize for whatever wrong we had done her that time. But, it is a matter of priorities I guess. Planning a wedding is such a special and difficult time, and I would encourage you to focus on you and your partner through this process--not your family drama/chaos.

To answer your other question, I and many others here also struggle with the guilt and emotional distress of going NC with a parent. I'm going on 4 months, and it has been an incredibly difficult time. But, it has been a chance for healing, growth, and incredible insight into myself, my mom, and really what I hope to achieve in that relationship. It has so freed me from emotional stress and allowed me to focus on my marriage, my happiness, my job, and building my new life. I wish I could say that the guilt magically goes away, but it does certainly fade and become easier to manage. The biggest thing for me to realize has been that taking care of me and my new family is and should be a higher priority than keeping my mom happy and stable. Someday I will be able to have a relationship again, I hope, but this time of healing is essential first. I hope this helps! I know for me it was incredibly powerful learning that I wasn't alone in this struggle. Congratulations on such an exciting stage in your life!
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raoulf
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What is your sexual orientation: Gay, lesb
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
What is your relationship status with them: Estranged
Posts: 2


« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2020, 12:14:25 PM »

Methuen, person2 and choosinghope - thank you so much for your kind words and advice.  Finding this forum has been so incredibly helpful and it is so comforting to finally find a community of people who have experienced some of the exact same experiences as I have.
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zachira
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Sibling
Posts: 1666


« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2020, 12:40:35 PM »

My heart hurts when you describe what you are going through with your mother with BPD. You are not alone and in company of other members who struggle with having a mother with BPD and how she behaves. You are wondering about what kind of contact to have with her if any for your well being and mental health. Most members pondering about contact with a mother with BPD usually experiment with what works best at the time and often go between LC and NC, sometimes permanently deciding on either LC or NC. In my experience, it can help to not put too much pressure on yourself to decide whether or not the type of contact you choose will be permanent, as time will let you know what the right decision is.
My mother who passed away this summer had BPD. She did not want any of her children to get married, was terrible to my kind BIL and made sure to ruin all my brothers' relationships. Only my sister got married. Since I started posting here in 2017, there have been many discussions on the PSI board by members who are going through similar challenges with a mother with BPD when they decide to get married. It seems that getting married is the ultimate threat that a child is abandoning her, for a mother with BPD.
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!
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Spindle0516
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Inlaw
Posts: 121



« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2020, 09:45:57 PM »

Hey there, Raoulf!  Welcome new member (click to insert in post)

Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming marriage.  Way to go! (click to insert in post)

I am not the child of someone with BPD, but I am a daughter in law. I have been with my husband for 5 years, but we only married last June. There definitely seems to be something about marriage and how it is triggering for the BPD's in our lives.

I thought I would share with you a bit of what my husband and I went through in preparing for our wedding and directly following it with my MIL. Maybe you can learn something from it, but if not, that is okay too. Just know that I truly understand how confusing it is to feel so joyful about finding a partner who you want to spend your life with, but how that joy can be overshadowed by the grief and chaos that can come with also loving someone else who may be unwell. It feels so complicated and unfair.

The entire time that I was dating my husband, my MIL always presented really strange and interesting theories about relationships. She was in 2 severely abusive marriages and I often assumed that most of these philosophies came from her experiences with these relationships.

For example, she would often say that the 5 year mark is when your spouse will always change. She has elaborate stories and complex reasons for believing that after 5 years, most partners would become abusive, mean, and downright awful. Sometimes, with the way she spoke, it almost felt like a warning to me. It was as if she was saying she believed that my husband, HER SON, would become physically abusive toward me after we were together 5 years and that I should not stay with him.

I remember saying that it isn't unusual to see a "grooming period" for potentially abusive partners, but when I listen to the stories she tells me about the early days of her relationships, all the signs were there.
I once said I felt confident in my relationship with my husband and in know my ability to know what kind of behavior I wouldn't tolerate or allow myself to be subject to. I remember her making an odd noise and kind of rolling her eyes. In hindsight, it almost felt like it was an unconscious warning on her part telling me we would suffer if I married her son.

Anyway, we were engaged in April 2018 and married in June 2019. Everything was relatively calm for a while, but last January, we started to notice an increase in aggressive behavior and she was becoming more and more dysregulsted. She lives with us and became obsessed with the possibility of us "kicking her out" and everything changing after we got married.

Many of our out of town guests, including her entire side of the family, were staying at the same hotel. My husband and I travel weekly for work, so hotels have kind of lost their charm for us. Because of this, we decided to rent a small house just the two of us for the evening of our wedding. When she found out she wasn't staying in the same place of us, she had a complete meltdown. Panic attacks. Crying hysterically. Unusual aggression because we wanted time for just us. Accused us of lying to her. She did not comprehend why we would want space and said we needed to stay in the same hotel in case she needed us. My BIL, her granddaughter, her other kids, all were there and that was still unacceptable to her. She wanted us.

I was so upset that my husband and I couldn't have one night, OUR WEDDING NIGHT, to not be responsible for her. It made no sense.

We did our best to comfort her and assure her she would be okay. But it just temporarily placated her. Things escalated after our wedding and we eventually learned about BPD and we started making changes to the way we interacted with her.

I wish we had known about BPD before our wedding as I sense this can be a critical time to start implementing boundaries and learning how to navigate this as a couple. How is your partner coping with all this? Has he been able to learn about BPD as well? I have found learning about BPD alongside my husband to be so important in understanding how to support him, how we can support eachother, how to place appropriate boundaries with my MIL, and how to protect our marriage.

All this to say, you are not alone. My husband had to navigate a lot of complicated feelings around the time of our wedding and he definately felt a lot of guilt over how his mom was feeling.

Your wedding is a day to celebrate the commitment you and your partner want to make to eachother. However you celebrate, and whoever is there or not there, I hope you are able to create a day that is full of the joy and love you feel about marrying your partner.

And if you continue to need moral support or reassurance as you prepare for your marriage, or if you just need to be reminded you're not alone, we have your back. Virtual hug (click to insert in post)
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TelHill
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Posts: 331



« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2020, 02:22:58 PM »

Hi Rauolf & welcome  Welcome new member (click to insert in post)

Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming marriage!

The abusive behavior from a dysregulated pwBPD becomes noticeable after a step towards independence away from them.  I am the youngest child, the scapegoat and a female. I believe my dBPDm began to show symptoms towards me when I was 2, when children first begin to act independently of their parents. I clearly  remember her abuse of me starting early on.

I have an older brother (golden child). His moment came when he became engaged. My dBPDm raged against my future SIL for no reason. It made a joyous time scary. They married despite this. Mom never let up. My brother & SIL divorced after 15 yrs of marriage. Not sure why, but I believe my mom’s dysregulated behavior towards SIL played some part.

She is your mom and it is painful to see her sudden controlling behavior during one of the happiest moments of your life.  Read the tools and tips at this site. Work with your therapist on developing new ways to relate to your mom that honor your wishes and life.  Good luck with the wedding plans!!



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