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Author Topic: Help Setting Boundaries with BPD daughter  (Read 338 times)
solomom

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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
What is your relationship status with them: Parent caretaker
Posts: 7


« on: March 25, 2020, 02:07:25 PM »

I’m a single mother with limited resources.  My 19 yr old BPD daughter has moved back home with me because she was having severe mental problems living on her own across country (couldn’t pay bills, quit job, couldn’t get along with coworkers,/roommates,/friends/bosses/therapist, stopped eating or leaving her room, called me constantly saying she wanted to die) so I convinced her to come home to get help because I couldn’t find any therapists in her small town who would take new patients.

In the 6 months she’s been back home, she has refused all of the programs (partial day) and DBT therapists that I have negotiated with to make space for her, the insurance company calls to get her treatment covered, etc.  She wouldn’t cooperate (talk, worksheets or groups).wanted to dictate her treatment until she either quit or the therapists did.

So now she’s medicated and self-medicating, not going to therapy, mood swings through the roof, anger/rage at the slightest thing with some hours of peace and almost friendliness..Never-ending blaming me for everything in her life and her reactions/anger towards me. She’s aggressive, verbally abusive, self-loathing, suicidal ideation, negative about everything, has no interests or motivation, and spends most of her time in bed in the dark. I bring her food, do her laundry, validate, act as a sounding board, act as go-between with drs, etc.

Now we’re in quarantine at home her moods have been escalating and last week I had to call the police for a wellness check because she was acting suicidal. It was no help and probably made things worse.

I’m planning to move across country  to help her go to college but her instability and attitude (disrespectful/ungrateful/entitled) is making it very hard unless I can separate us and eventually make her become independent. At this time, I’d prefer  to help her from a distance or disengage entirely if she doesn’t take steps to get help. Feels like an abusive relationship that I can’t leave. I’m doing EVERYTHING for her because if I don’t, she won’t. It’s unhealthy and toxic it fir both of us. Any advice as to how I can disengage if this doesn’t get better.
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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
Swimmy55
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What is your relationship status with them: Estranged
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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2020, 04:35:21 PM »

Welcome, you ave come to the right place. The first step is for you to know you are as important as your daughter.  This is hard, I know, but you can't be everything to your adult daughter.  It sounds like she is becoming dysregulated ( suicidal ideation) A possibility would be if you have a crisis mobile unit where you live? If you do have one,  she may be willing to talk to someone coming into the home.

 I have been a single mom to my son as well and what helped me was getting my own therapist for support/ my own network.  In addition I also went to 12 step program meetings for family , Al-anon, and in my case, nar-anon ( since son was into heavy drugs as well).  These teach detachment and keeping the focus on us.  Please read around this website, click onto my name to read my previous posts ( you can do the same with anyone's name). 
Would moving across country with your daughter be realistic for you? Her?   Please write back as you are able. 
.
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PeaceMom
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« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2020, 06:18:39 PM »

Welcome! I agree with Swimmy and had another thought to add.

Most parents look at college as a step in the right direction and a welcome break, but  college itself generally won’t solve any problems long term. My DS 24 had some issues in HS and always seemed to have odd emotional challenges, but we sent him off anyway. He imploded at age 19 alone in college. His MH issues ramped up and he began to self medicate. In hind site we’ve learned that getting good grades in HS is just one small indication of success in college. His friends that actually were “C” students in HS, with very healthy coping skills did so much better-graduating in 4 years w/good career paths ahead.

Have you considered allowing her to go to college on the condition that she first gets helps and becomes more of a functional adult?

I wish we would have done that w/DS. We were so desperate for him to be out of the house that we went along with his college plan even though we had serious reservations. College did not teach him the healthy coping skills he so desperately needed.
He’s back in now after 5 years of challenges and doing well.

I wanted to share my experience which may not apply to your situation at all.

Keep sharing here!
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solomom

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What is your relationship status with them: Parent caretaker
Posts: 7


« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2020, 06:57:40 PM »

Sorry I’m not sure how to reply to posts.

@swimmy55 thank you for this information. I don’t think the self-medicating (weed) is the primary issue but if it escalates to harder drugs or alcohol, I will definitely seek help for both of us. I think they haven’t figured out the right medication for her and she is suffering from pretty severe depression and mood swings. The resources in my current state are mostly out-of-pocket and not covered. I believe  the move will be good for both of us, it’s a place we’ve both wanted to live, appears to have more resources for her to get help, more drs and facilities that take insurance, and it will help us to separate into different households. I’ll be within a reasonable distance if she needs support but I don’t want to live together. Also it would be helpful to get residency for in-state tuition eventually.
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solomom

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Posts: 7


« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2020, 07:12:23 PM »

@peacemom I completely agree with that approach but because she’s going to be 20 in the fall, and this is the first goal she’s had in years, we decided to do a trial semester at a city college. It’s not as high pressure or expensive. I’ll be a few hours away if she needs me. She also agreed to get help before and during the school year. I feel that when she’s home with me she regresses into a helpless angry teenager so I’m hoping being around her peers will force her to grow up a little. We also agreed if she can’t handle school or needs a break, she will work full time and cover her bills.

Although she always agrees to do the grown up thing, she rarely follows through and then I feel obligated to pick her up off the ground. I think I’m the one who needs to learn to set the boundaries and cut out some of the support. Not to simplify her condition in any way, but when she was 14  I tried to teach her some independent skills like fixing her own breakfast and packing school lunch, she stopped eating and developed a serious eating disorder that she still battles today. Or when I tried to enforce any consequences like grounding her or taking her phone, she’d have a panic attack and talk about killing herself. So you can say I have parented from a fearful position most of her teenage years.
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PeaceMom
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« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2020, 08:17:52 PM »

What you describe is very common in this group. We parent from a one down position bc we don’t know any other way and we are obligated legally to keep them fed, sheltered, in school. Unfortunately that doesn’t teach them to take over their self care in a healthy way.  Parenting these pwBPD is totally counter intuitive to all the parenting classes I attended. Where you model and teach skills then hand then over at certain age appropriate times. I tried that and my DD (Im speaking here about my adopted DD20 w/UBPD) also developed an eating disorder, she just couldn’t prioritize making or eating healthy meals herself so instead she wouldn’t eat at all or eat pure crap. Natural consequences just didn’t produce the textbook results w/DD20.

I highly recommend the book “Loving Someone with BPD” by Manning. It was extremely eye opening.

It sounds like you are getting a solid plan in place and she’s onboard. It could be successful! I wish I had made an appointment for us (my DS24) to meet with the college counseling department to set up some type of group or individual session so he could have had that resource in place from day one. (Another hind sight lesson)
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solomom

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
What is your relationship status with them: Parent caretaker
Posts: 7


« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2020, 09:29:11 PM »

@peacemom thank you. I hope our plan works out. She always hated school and wouldn’t consider college until she took s gap year living and working on her own. There was a period of time, studying for her CNA and working in a nursing home, she felt very proud of herself and worked hard. Hoping she’ll find that direction and work ethic again in college.

I will definitely get that book. Thank you for the recommendation!

Parenting is all hindsight....I wish we’d learned about BPD sooner but no one suggested it even though her behavior is ‘textbook’  But like her last therapist described, they keep us hostage when they refuse to grow up and become independent.
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livednlearned
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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
What is your relationship status with them: Divorced January 2012
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« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2020, 08:19:07 AM »

I’m the one who needs to learn to set the boundaries and cut out some of the support

It takes a lot of strength to do this and your cup is a bit low -- maybe pick a small thing to start?

What is something you feel comfortable starting with?

It should be something you have control over, and something you feel able to tolerate.

Sometimes the easiest boundaries are ones you don't have to verbalize. If you decided to stop doing her laundry, for example, you would simply stop doing it. That's something you have control over.

You would have to decide if you can tolerate the feelings of seeing her laundry pile up, or her wearing dirty clothes. And if she punished you for not doing your laundry, you might want a clear statement lined up about why. Maybe something like, "We could take turns. How about you do laundry for us every other time. Any time you're ready to start, let me know. Then I'll do the next load."

She won't do it probably, but you will have explained the terms of how things work in the home without necessarily ordering her to do something she isn't yet ready to do.

What do you do/say when she rages at you?
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Breathe.
solomom

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
What is your relationship status with them: Parent caretaker
Posts: 7


« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2020, 09:41:49 AM »

@livednlearned that’s very good advice. I’ve put my foot down about laundry or nagged her, then she might do  a load or two but then it piles up all over her room and I’ll do a load...so I haven’t been consistent in my position so she hasn’t been consistently taking it on as her responsibility. When she lived on her own for that year, I visited once and she had a mountain of dirty laundry that she’d keep wearing until her ex would come over and do it for her. She’s trained us all to save her.

When I was more mindful and immersed in BPD books, I would try to validate her feelings, hear her out, disengage when she escalated or became verbally abusive. Recently, I started raging right back, I know that it’s wrong and just adds fuel to the fire, but I’m human and overwhelmed.

I’m working on my reactions now, in these close quarters, regardless of the inaccuracies or anger, to keep my composure. Also focusing on my self-care practices so I can handle these interactions better and work out my own anger about this situation. Because I am angry. This feels so unfair and unmanageable. She’s taken away my sense of peace and hope of ever having my life back. Sorry, I know that sounds dramatic.
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livednlearned
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What is your relationship status with them: Divorced January 2012
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« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2020, 10:13:09 AM »

Not dramatic at all  Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post)

One of the experts on BPD, can't remember who, said these are not just difficult personalities, they are the most difficult. And there's research on BPD caregivers having the most emotional burnout of all caretakers, more so even than schizophrenia, and higher than caretakers for loved ones with medical issues.

This is a pretty tough time to try and make changes.

Be kind to yourself.

Are you able to get time and space to yourself?
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solomom

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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
What is your relationship status with them: Parent caretaker
Posts: 7


« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2020, 11:31:38 AM »

@livednlearned thanks, I’m trying. We live in a 2 bedroom apt and last week I was feeling very under the weather, mild symptoms but given COVID concerns, I tried to rest. She was having none of it and was at a level 10 all week with nightly rages and crying meltdowns. Now I’m feeling much better but realize I need to claim my self-care time even if it means getting up an hour early for a run. Early hours are usually when I have the most control over my time. She wants to engage when she’s upset, seeks me out to rage. She also wants to engage when she’s feeling better, talks at/to me for hours. Both forms of engagement are draining and difficult. This is how she burns out friendships. Trying to carve out time to myself has been a challenge with COVID isolation.

When she was gone for a year, I worked a lot, paid down my bills, started running, ran a half-marathon, set goals, reconnected with friends...nothing really special or crazy except that I was happy. I felt at peace and hopeful. Since she’s been home, I feel none of that anymore.
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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
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