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Author Topic: Reuniting with mother with bpd next week  (Read 119 times)
Celaena
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Relationship status: engaged
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« on: March 28, 2021, 08:46:54 PM »

This is my first post, or first time on a forum like this even to be honest. I've recently started with a new therapist who is the second to reinforce they feel my mother may have BPD. I've been reading Stop Walking On Eggshells and  I've gotten emotional several times reading words that describe how I've felt my entire life.

I am in my 30's, the oldest of 3, living with my partner(now fiance) of 12 years half a country away from my family.
After a major blowout two years ago where my mother verbally eviscerated me because I needed to get off of the phone, I finally walked away and cut contact with her. Since then I've been in therapy, learning how to set boundaries and healing now that I've begun to shed the guilt, shame and negative thoughts. She has ignored our separation, often texting me that she loves me, telling my siblings that the issue is solely with me.
We reconnected briefly via phone calls after I got engaged, where I firmly set boundaries and limits. I told her that if she raised her voice or began saying mean things I would end the communication. Within one month of reconnecting, this happened and I calmly but firmly told her "I told you I would end the communication if you speak to me this way- I am going to hang up now." and did. She pretended this event didn't happen towards me while telling a very different story to others (blaming and exaggerating- she had NO idea why I hung up on her, she didn't even raise her voice). This was about 14 months ago. We have texted sporadically but that's about it.

In September my grandfather on my dad's side passed away. I was fortunate to be able to attend his social distanced funeral. Though my parents are 15 years divorced and my father is remarried, my mother still feels victimized. She chose to attend the funeral and I avoided her most of the time, set firm but polite boundaries ("no after the funeral I will not be available I will be with my cousins"). She exhibited a lot of the same behavior- loudly telling my sister within ear shot of me that I was in a foul mood. Also lavishing with love- crying saying she loves me and is so happy to see me, aren't I happy to see her? She brought gift bags for myself and my fiance. It was extremely hard and I broke down more than once. I hadn't seen my mom in over a year and wanted nothing more than to hug her and move on end rebuild, but I know from past experience this would just land us right where we had been before.

I am now trying to start a family of my own and that naturally has me thinking a lot about my own mother and her absence in my life, which I feel every single day.  Now that I have a therapist experienced with BPD and coping with family members with BPD I feel I am slowly gaining the tools to investigate the degree to which I can see her in my life and how I might begin to navigate that. I big issue for me is the lifetime of gaslighting, so while I know much of the advice is to essentially emotionally be the bigger person, I often have trouble letting go of the ways and times she's hurt me (this stems from a fierce need to maintain my own reality amidst the gaslighting). I am working on this. She's very talented at saying the meanest possible thing and I struggle to not rise to that even though I know that's exactly what she's looking for.

I am going next week to visit my sister and help her move which also happens to fall on her birthday. My sister, while earlier on in her journey of healing, is beginning to reorient the way she see's the red flags we've all witnessed in my mother and I feel so fortunate to have a support system in her and be one for her as well. My mother would often pit us against each other so this is very new for us and I fear trusting it sometimes.

My sister recently let me know that my mother will be coming to help her move as well. She let me know that she completely understands if I can't or don't want to come anymore. I really would still like to go. I would like to see if I have learned and grown and healed as much as I think I have. I also feel there is a goal and a mission- to pack up and move my sister- which helps and adds a distracting quality. I'm not sure if this is a good idea, but we already don't have a relationship so how much worse can it be? My sister has a very calming quality on my mother and I don't see her lashing out at me in rage, but more likely in small passive aggressive ways, and as always the narcissistic lean (unable or unwilling to tune in unless it's about her).

I am already prepared for the worst, but I would welcome and relish any tips or advice anyone in this community may have about this first real and extended (5 days) interaction with my mother in 2 years.

And if you've taken the time to read all of this I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2021, 09:00:42 PM by Celaena » Logged
Notwendy
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2021, 05:21:40 AM »

Will you all be staying in the same house?

One thing I have done when visiting my BPD mother is to not stay in her home. It adds to the expense of visiting but having my own hotel or Airbnb space has helped with these visits. She's used to her own routine in her own home, and having visitors disrupts that. Also if I have my own space to go to to sleep, it's easier on me. If you don't have your own space somewhere else, make your room your space- where you can go to if you are feeling emotional.

Shorter visits with a purpose help reduce time for drama. Meeting for lunch or dinner, rather than having unstructured time.

I try to be as neutral and non reactive as possible. Yes she may say things that are upsetting or mean, but I try to not contribute by reacting. It takes two people to continue an argument. Stay focused on the job at hand- to move your sister. Maybe offer to run an errand or something to get a moment to yourself. "I'm going to get more packing tape" " I will pick up lunch for us".

Beware of triangles. This is a potential one with sister+mom and you. Don't take this pattern personally - it's common in dysfunctional relationships. Consider that insulting remarks from your mother say more about her than you.

Realize that even if you have had therapy, your mother will relate to you with the patterns she has. Have a support person to speak to ( out of listening range of your mom). Practice self care- you may need to take a walk, or go get something to eat, to recharge. When you get home, do something nice for yourself- even small things like a walk, get a favorite meal, get some rest.
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pursuingJoy
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2021, 03:42:42 PM »

Calaena, I went NC with my family for over a year and I remember the anxiety I felt the first time I went to visit them.

Are you there now? Please keep us posted. I'd love to hear how it went.

pj

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