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Author Topic: Mother with BPD with narcissism  (Read 161 times)
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Relationship status: Separated
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« on: January 13, 2021, 06:38:42 PM »

Just discovered this site and am looking forward to feeling less alone.
 Mother and father in their 90s; dad in significant dementia state, mom with significant physical ailments. Mom is a poster-child BPD with lots of anger, volatility, always a victim to someone (in her mind), impulsivity and many other classic traits - including a shopping addiction. It has always been difficult to deal with her and as far back as I can remember into childhood, she always diminished whatever I accomplished as either nothing special or less than what she had expected of me; felt like she was always in competition with me. As a kid, I just read it as not being good enough, constantly disappointing her, and it was obviously "my" fault. It was not until I was a young adult that I began to understand that there was a name for this, and that it was BPD. She is also a hoarder (yup, like what you see on the Hoarders show, but no dead animals or food; just piles and piles of clothes, papers, broken ancient "finds", tag sale stuff, etc.)
I would avoid spending much time with her for years even though it limited access to my dad, who is not a problem. The only two people she regularly attacks are my father and me; my brother is the anointed prince even though he figured out how to spend less time with her than I. As well, I discovered after many years that she would call my brother to complain and cry about how I upset her - even making up conversations that never actually happened, which was how it was discovered when my brother asked me about a couple. When confronted with lies and fabricated stories, she would simply act like a little child with a sad face and give some excuse like "I was upset that you hadn't called me" or something. I could go on way too much, so suffice to say, it is very difficult to feel close to a mother who constantly criticizes, erupts like a toddler, and NEVER apologizes to anyone for anything (since she is always "right" of course).
As an adult up through my 40s, I kept pretty good boundaries from her and was able to kind of shelter my 3 kids from her criticisms, which included them (but never my husband because he's a man). Then I felt a true break point from her when she made a horrible comment about a friend of mine who had divorced her husband and fell in love with a woman. "I hate those people" she said. I was aghast and challenged her on her hate; she just brushed me off. I was disgusted by her hate, as well as for her total preference for males over females in everything, even the tv news broadcasters she listens to.
It was a few years later that my beloved son came out as gay. In that moment, I knew that I would forever stand by and love my son, and would have to totally walk away from my own mother if she even hinted at hurting him. She claims that it makes no difference to her, but it is SO obvious that they way she sees him and treats him has changed dramatically.  So sad.
Now my parents are in their 90s, my children are in their 20s and I find myself as the primary child in charge of helping my folks in absolutely everything. After getting a big dumpster, my husband, kids and I spent weeks cleaning out portions of their house so that there were actual places to just be able to sit. The yelling at me was constant with that one; she totally freaked out about "throwing out everything important to her". (Note: the full closet of saved empty plastic grocery store cookie boxes were a classic example of "important".)  I then secured trained help to be with them in their home five days a week from morning til just after dinner to help them. They can no longer drive anywhere (aside from the pandemic), so I take them to all of their medical appointments, etc. My father needs to be watched now constantly as his dementia has significantly increased. She yells at him all the time for spilling things, retelling stores, asking the same questions - again and again- and generally verbally abuses him (no physical abuse). It's horrible to hear. I have power of attorney and handle as much as I can for them to keep them safe and still in their own home as they desire.
So, here I am. I'm just struggling with the realization of how I physically react to having to even speak or deal with her; increased heart rate, sense of dread, etc. And of how I struggle with the realization that she really does not have the capacity to truly love anyone in a healthy way. As a parent, I know how much I love my children and understand that it's not brain surgery to have a loving relationship with my kids. We hang out together and travel together sometimes, but my kids have their own awesome lives. It is not difficult to show my kids that I love and respect them. Knowing how easy it is, I find myself struggling with how newly hurt I feel by the way my own mother dismisses, gaslights and continues the constant criticism. Not sure why I ever thought she was capable of more; but it has gotten much worse in recent years. Ugh.
So please, remind me of the importance of holding fast to healthy boundaries; there are currently a LOT of cracks with no light shining through. 
Thank you for sharing your thoughts in any way.
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2021, 10:28:42 PM »

Hi Andi1956,

Yes, boundaries are important. Can you share one or two you are enacting for yourself?

My mother was also a hoarder, in especially the last two decades, the utter filthy kind. After you cleaned up, has she started again, or do you keep on top of it? Hoarding can be driven by fear of loss, and there can also be a kind of reverse OCD component to it. Very hard on family members.

    “For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.” ― Rudyard Kipling
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2021, 11:42:31 PM »

I could relate to many things you wrote about including having an emotionally immature mother, a mother who couldn't regulate her emotions to the point of mentally abusing my father (who had dementia as well), and a mother who was always making comments about "men".  In my mom's case, half of her comments idolized men (similar to your mother), the other half of her comments were full of vitriol about men.  She always "liked having a man around" (to do her chores), but was easily as capable of disparaging one "because he was a man".  These comments were a daily occurrence, so it was a confusing message to grow up with as a girl.  I am an only child, with no extended family, solely responsible for a very geriatric 84 yr old uBPD mom. It's tough. My father died 15 yrs ago.  He was a healthy normal person who did his best to manage a challenging wife.  When he became ill, my uBPD mother was not emotionally equipped to manage caring for him, even though she was a nurse and had an "idealized" fairy tale plan of "taking care of him".  Instead, she couldn't manage the stress of his progressing illness and how it impacted her, so in her frustration she  mistreated him, which included yelling that he was a "retard" because of the dementia.  It only got worse, until dad went into a complex care facility.  Once she had her "space" back at home, and he wasn't under foot all the time "getting in her way", her behavior improved, and she spent time with him daily at the care facility.  I think it was genuine, but I think other factors were in play as well, including making herself look good in the eyes of others.  Based on my experience and what I have learned about BPD, I would extrapolate that most pwBPD aren't personally equipped to care for the complex health issues of their partner at home.  Back to the present, like you, I take mom to her medical appointments (sometimes that is a two person job).  I also do her grocery shopping and a million other things.  My mom recently had another fall and broke her arm.  Since she already used a walker, a broken arm complicates the simple act of walking, cs how do you do that with 1 arm?  So now she moves even less, and claims she has lost 15 lb since her fall.  Tells me she has trouble getting up off the couch (she's frail and weak), but doesn't want to eat food cs she still has the idea in her head that food will make her fat.  It's an impossible situation.  I don't argue with her.  I don't explain, or rationalize why she should eat.  It's hopeless, because of the disease.  I just do my best to support her.

Your situation will be different, but as it evolves, many things will seem irrational and impossible to you too in all likelihood.  And yes practice boundaries.  Boundaries were brutal for me to learn with my mom.  I'm still learning and practicing.  It's hard because of the FOG.  But without boundaries, their needs are like a black hole.  And once we are sucked into that black hole, good luck extricating yourself.  My advice is to also figure out what self-care for you looks like, and really really practice it.  Keep posting here. Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 11:51:04 PM by Methuen » Logged
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Relationship status: Separated
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2021, 07:50:48 PM »

Thank you for your replies Methuen and Turkish!
(I'm not exactly sure if this is the way to reply; I'm more used to hitting a "reply" button under comments on FB, so I hope this is okay.)

Boundaries truly are the hardest thing to maintain with my mother as she is constantly demanding things to be done for her, etc. And, as Methuen noted, my mother also constantly berates and yells at my father as he struggles with dementia. It's like watching her kick a puppy. It's horrific, and in that, I feel the anger bubble up within my heart.....and then need to immediately exit lest I end up telling her off. She is incredibly selfish and mean.
For my part, I try and limit even talking to her at this point, but still arrange for things they both need and continue to help get them to doc appointments. I feel better in my own skin when I refrain from "chatting" with her as if she is a normal, healthy person to be around. I answer her questions as needed, but NEVER share anything of a personal nature about me, my children or my life. To refrain in this way makes me feel much safer emotionally around her. I found a technique years ago where I visualize her as NOT my mother, but perhaps just a grouchy neighbor down the road who I don't know much about. It feels much less personal and less threatening emotionally to me. Treating her like more of a semi-stranger makes it easy to hold onto my personal boundaries, share only information that is necessary and shorten the length of time I need to spend with her to just what is absolutely necessary; and all without telling her off - because I wouldn't do that to a neighbor that I was just helping in a minimal way.
It still makes me sad that in doing so, it limits my time with my father who is just a confused little puppy at this point. Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post) 
For me, it's the emotional boundaries that are hardest to hold onto, but also the most important.
And btw - your mother sounds EXACTLY like mine in so many ways.  Ugh!!! I'm so sorry!!!!
Side note: could you help me understand (as a newbie) - What does pwBPD or uBPD mean?
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Relationship status: "Divorced"/abandoned in Feb 2013.
Posts: 10992

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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2021, 09:47:43 PM »

I muddled through here for the better part of a year pretending to understand what things like uBPDstbx meant! Undiagnosed BPD soon to be ex.

Here's a guide: What do all these abbreviations and terms mean?

    “For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.” ― Rudyard Kipling
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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2021, 03:51:01 PM »

Hi Andi1956,
My mom is also a hoarder.  Of all the posts I've read on here, your mom and mine sound very similiar, also your response to her (to treat her like a bad-mannered neighbor, Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)).

It is what we must do to survive.

You said "she always diminished whatever I accomplished as either nothing special or less than what she had expected of me"  And, there was a golden child too, your brother.  Uncanny, really, that this is so similiar to my own situation. I have three brothers who can do no wrong.

My parents are still together as well, luckily no major health problems like dementia yet...that must be awful for you.

 Virtual hug (click to insert in post)



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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2021, 04:37:47 PM »

It must be terribly difficult for you to endure all that emotional baggage. I understand that guilt you must feel knowing how emotionally lost your mother is. It is such a familiar situation with one part of our brain feeling like "it shouldn't be like this" and another part screaming "it is like this." Try to go easy on yourself and maybe hire someone outside the family to do some of the clean up or even once a week an outside caregiver. Senior centers often have connections to support people, if not for your parents maybe for you. This is tough stuff. I am sorry you are minimized, but grateful you are such a terrific mother and defender of your own children.
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