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Author Topic: Only child of mother with suspected BPD - new here  (Read 98 times)
alwayseggshells

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« on: June 28, 2020, 03:59:58 PM »

Hi there!  I'm hoping this forum will prove useful.  I truly believe my mother has undiagnosed BPD (and quite possibly a high functioning ASD.)  I'm an only child and we share a home with my parents as they are senior and will need to be cared for.  This adds an extra level of complexity.  I'm tired of walking on eggshells and really need some strategies to hopefully dismantled the tactics that have been used on me for so long and give me the freedom and ability to set boundaries (that are respected) which has eluded me my whole life.  I do understand that this disorder is the result of the subject enduring hardships, and I respect that.   In the end, I want to help my mother to be able to have positive relationships across the board - with her husband, with me, with her grandkids, and friends.   To do that, though, I realize that I need to educate myself - that's why I'm here.

Biggest concerns are how to help her see that what she perceives as being slighted, excluded, rejected, unloved, unappreciated, left out, uncared for - are actually just her perceptions.   And that her feeling this way and voicing those as reality actually is pushing away the very people she perceives as offenders - so a vicious cycle and self-fulfilling prophecy.    She is extremely enmeshed with me and living in the same home doesn't help.  I look forward to your experiences and input!   Welcome new member (click to insert in post)
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zachira
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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2020, 05:39:04 PM »

You are wondering how to help your mother with suspected BPD. You have come to the right place as there are many members with mothers with BPD who post here. My mother with BPD died last summer. I am thinking that setting boundaries with your mother and taking care of yourself are the two most important things. First, if she is not treating you right, you can walk away without any explanation. I often did that with my mother when she was ranting and raving about nothing that made any sense, and it helped me not to take on how badly she was feeling and allowed me to keep my inner peace and calm. Are there people who your mother wants to look good in front of who she does not want to know how she treats her family in private? I often had those type of people at the house, and my mother was a lot nicer to me and others in their presence. Other members will share their experiences with their mothers who have BPD or uBPD. What do you do for self care? Keep us posted on how you are doing. We are here to listen, support you, and help in any ways we can.
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alwayseggshells

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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2020, 09:08:49 AM »

You are wondering how to help your mother with suspected BPD. You have come to the right place as there are many members with mothers with BPD who post here. My mother with BPD died last summer. I am thinking that setting boundaries with your mother and taking care of yourself are the two most important things. First, if she is not treating you right, you can walk away without any explanation. I often did that with my mother when she was ranting and raving about nothing that made any sense, and it helped me not to take on how badly she was feeling and allowed me to keep my inner peace and calm. Are there people who your mother wants to look good in front of who she does not want to know how she treats her family in private? I often had those type of people at the house, and my mother was a lot nicer to me and others in their presence. Other members will share their experiences with their mothers who have BPD or uBPD. What do you do for self care? Keep us posted on how you are doing. We are here to listen, support you, and help in any ways we can.

She actually doesn't rant/rage unless her rejection sensitivity kicks in.  She doesn't scream at anyone, which I know is uncharacteristic.  She doesn't seem to understand that the way she treats people daily - she would never tolerate for a second.  But no, she doesn't hide it, because she doesn't feel she has anything to hide.  If anything, she feels that she is the victim.  She also is constantly trying to "help" which ends up belittling others and treating them as ignorant or stupid.  When people don't take her suggestions - that's when she really has a hard time and claims she's "unloved", "unappreciative", "oh what a terrible person I must be to want to be helpful"... like little toddler tantrums.  She also speaks in a very intense manner, needlessly which is offputting and creates drama out of the most benign situations.  She's neurotic and phobic, and very controlling and manipulative in an attempt to not feel fear, I imagine.   She functioned very well in a high capacity in the work environment, but while she can work as a high level secretary at work, at home she needs/asks for help even wording an e-mail or making a phone call which totally confuses me.   After reading a book on children of BPD mothers - I can say she is definitely predominantly the hermit and the waif, with a big dose of the queen.  Definitely not the witch in any capacity. 
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Methuen
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2020, 12:01:36 PM »

Excerpt
I'm an only child and we share a home with my parents as they are senior and will need to be cared for.
Can you explain this a little more?  In what kinds of ways will they need to be cared for? 

Also, while almost all seniors need additional support as they age, support is different than them "needing to be cared for".  pwBPD tend to be "needy", so it can be a bit of a trap to believe that we must be the ones that must "care for them".

I agree with Zachira that two key places to begin, are with boundaries, and self-care for you.  Taking care of yourself, and believing it is ok for you to take care of yourself without feeling guilty, can be tricky if she has raised you to take care of her.   

You are right that she has no awareness of the effect she has on you.  That's part of the BPD.  This is why boundaries are so important. 

My uBPD mom is not a "bad person".  She isn't "evil".  But she can have very bad behaviors when she is dysregulating, and they are almost always directed at me.  It's a really complex disease, which leaves us adult kids feeling tumultuous about our relationship with this parent.  I used to be like you sound now, and want to "be there for my mom", and care for her because I wanted an idyllic relationship, and I fully believed I could do it.  I couldn't.  Over a period of years it slowly went into a tailspin, which gradually increased in speed.  I think I got help just before I crashed. 

We can't "fix" a BPD.  We can't "take care of them".  I tried with my mom, and she metaphorically chewed me up and spit me out.  She couldn't help her behaviors because of the disease.

Excerpt
She functioned very well in a high capacity in the work environment, but while she can work as a high level secretary at work, at home she needs/asks for help even wording an e-mail or making a phone call which totally confuses me.
  Yes yes.  This is typical of BPD.  They can be very high functioning in a professional work environment.  But this does not mean they can transfer all skills to a home environment where they struggle with personal relationships.  It's a different environment to them, and so they do things differently. They don't do it on purpose.  But transferring those skills from one environment to another may just be something they are not capable of.  Kind of like a dolphin who can learn a trick in one pool, but if transferred to a different aquarium, cannot repeat the same trick, if that makes any sense.

Welcome to our group!



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zachira
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2020, 12:06:37 PM »

I am wondering if your mother might have NPD. I figured out my sister has NPD not BPD because of how entitled she is, and acts badly in front of others. She does not care if others see her mistreating me. NPD and BPD can look alike. The difference is the BPD fears abandonment more than anything else. The NPD fears being seen for how inferior they really feel, and seek power and control over others.
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alwayseggshells

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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2020, 08:59:26 AM »

I am wondering if your mother might have NPD. I figured out my sister has NPD not BPD because of how entitled she is, and acts badly in front of others. She does not care if others see her mistreating me. NPD and BPD can look alike. The difference is the BPD fears abandonment more than anything else. The NPD fears being seen for how inferior they really feel, and seek power and control over others.

Her sister most definitely has uNPD.  And my mother and her understandably have a very tumultuous relationship, and I have virtually no relationship with my aunt because of the way she violated my boundaries from an early age.  She's unbearable to be around and when she is upset, becomes a histrionic tyrant.  It's very bad to be around, so thankfully I've been able to distance myself as I age.  But I believe my mother's most fundamental fear is abandonment, rejection, exclusion/non-inclusion.  She frequently references being "alone" although she is surrounded by family.  She won't take initiative to call a friend or invite them to do something, but will complain that nobody ever calls her or invites her places. 
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alwayseggshells

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« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2020, 09:05:20 AM »

Can you explain this a little more?  In what kinds of ways will they need to be cared for? 

Also, while almost all seniors need additional support as they age, support is different than them "needing to be cared for".  pwBPD tend to be "needy", so it can be a bit of a trap to believe that we must be the ones that must "care for them".

I agree with Zachira that two key places to begin, are with boundaries, and self-care for you.  Taking care of yourself, and believing it is ok for you to take care of yourself without feeling guilty, can be tricky if she has raised you to take care of her.   

You are right that she has no awareness of the effect she has on you.  That's part of the BPD.  This is why boundaries are so important. 

My uBPD mom is not a "bad person".  She isn't "evil".  But she can have very bad behaviors when she is dysregulating, and they are almost always directed at me.  It's a really complex disease, which leaves us adult kids feeling tumultuous about our relationship with this parent.  I used to be like you sound now, and want to "be there for my mom", and care for her because I wanted an idyllic relationship, and I fully believed I could do it.  I couldn't.  Over a period of years it slowly went into a tailspin, which gradually increased in speed.  I think I got help just before I crashed. 

We can't "fix" a BPD.  We can't "take care of them".  I tried with my mom, and she metaphorically chewed me up and spit me out.  She couldn't help her behaviors because of the disease.
  Yes yes.  This is typical of BPD.  They can be very high functioning in a professional work environment.  But this does not mean they can transfer all skills to a home environment where they struggle with personal relationships.  It's a different environment to them, and so they do things differently. They don't do it on purpose.  But transferring those skills from one environment to another may just be something they are not capable of.  Kind of like a dolphin who can learn a trick in one pool, but if transferred to a different aquarium, cannot repeat the same trick, if that makes any sense.

Welcome to our group!


Interesting analogy about the dolphin.  And again, I'm here mainly to gain understanding that I can use in my own life, for my own sanity - not necessarily to "fix" her.  I'm not certain that she's capable of being fixed because she doesn't see herself as in the wrong, just everyone else. 

When I say my senior parents will need to be "cared for" - I mean in the physical sense.  My father is loaded with physical issues and couldn't maintain his property anymore.  He also couldn't walk the stairs in their home any more.  My mom doesn't have any real physical limitations to speak of, aside from being overweight (a stress/emotional eater her whole life) - but again, she is aging and I am the only child, so I'm the one who will be responsible for looking after them - we figured before one of them falls or has a heartattack or something and then things are more difficult, to be proactive in building a home together, which we did 8 years ago.  There are honestly plenty of perks, and I'm glad that I'm able to be of assistance.  But the trials are very difficult as well.  Realistically, we are unable to separate homes at this point, it would cause just as many problems as it solves, and financially it's not feasible.  So, we're in the situation up until the point at which they pass, which is why I'm trying to get some strategies. 

Appreciate all the feedback!  Smiling (click to insert in post)
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Harri
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« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2020, 03:07:14 PM »

Hi always and Welcome

It sounds like you are looking for guidance on how to manage the situation better and respond in healthy ways without escalating things.    It also sounds like you want to learn how to make things work as best you can while your parents are living with you.  Do I have that right?

Not all people with BPD rage.  It is actually pretty common to act like the waif and hermit you read about and the queen as well.  My mom could do all of them but was mostly queen when I was younger and then acted more like the waif and hermit with witch being present at times my whole life.  With 9 different criteria for a diagnosis with only 5 required, you can have something like 256 possible combinations of traits.  We mostly talk about undiagnosed (uBPD) and people with traits of BPD on this site, meaning they would not meet criteria for diagnosis but are certainly difficult to relate to.

Anyway, enough trivia!

An excellent book to read for improving communication, understanding your pwBPD (person with BPD) and bettering your relationship is Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder

Not everything has to be or should be confrontational.  We can improve things for us and sometimes by doing that we can improve things with our loved one.  It is not about fixing them, you are right, it is about meeting them where they are and making sure we understand the disorder, are strong in our self and our boundaries and are willing to put the effort in.

We have tools that can help with all of this.  I am uncertain at this point on which to recommend as there are so many.  Smiling (click to insert in post)  Take a look at a topic tacked to the top of this board:  How to get the most out of this site and see what resonates with you.  Then we can talk more specifically about your situation.

Again, welcome.
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