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Orangesoda

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« on: April 07, 2021, 09:37:06 AM »

Hi. What brought me here and how to make a long story short? My 35 yr old son married a woman who may have been diagnosed with BPD in the past and is exhibiting all of the related behaviors. They moved into my house and renovations were started (halted due to Covid and financial issues) on a basement apartment for them. They had a baby, my grandson who is now 13 months old. Tension in the house increased drastically with the birth of my grandson and exploded into a physical attack by my DIL on my son, police involvement and DIL leaving the home at the end of December 2020.

Since that time I have been providing full time care for my grandson while my son is at work. DIL visits Mon/Wed and Saturday - which has now been increased to Wed/and all weekend on a trial basis. My son wants to make the marriage work and is caught in the middle between protecting his son and saving his marriage. CAS is involved with DIL and trying to provide support to her while she awaits a diagnosis.

I am afraid for my grandson's growth and development and have noticed disturbing interactions and behaviors since his birth. Through research I came across a scholarly article on NCBI, "Children of Mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder...." which described exactly all of the behaviors I have been witnessing.

It is difficult for me to juggle between protecting and caring for my grandson and providing support to my son and DIL. I feel as if I'm an emotional hostage and I'm afraid of the possible negative outcomes and the high risk to my grandson. He's just a baby and we are bonded, he turns to me for his needs. I need more information on what I can do to help offset the risks and how to best support everyone involved while at the same time setting and maintaining healthy boundaries for myself. (Tall order). So that's the reader's digest condensed version of what brought me here today.
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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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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2021, 09:17:06 PM »

Just to clarify - does DIL take your grandson to her place for weekends now, or does she come and spend the weekend at your place?
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Orangesoda

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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2021, 10:02:18 AM »

Thanks for responding Sancho.

DIL comes to our place. She is staying with her sister who is also unstable. It's a 45 minute commute, but my son works close by so he picks her up on his way home from work and drops her off on his way in to work. DIL is not capable at the moment to take care of the baby without supervision, which is why my son doesn't want to move out - I'm here to keep grandson safe and provided for. She's unable to pick up on baby's cues and there is no consistency in feeding or nap times. The article I read mentioned the "still face paradigm" which describes exactly how she has interacted (or rather not interacted) with baby from day one. She's not mindful when it comes to child safety issues putting baby in risky situations, and when she rages everything around her becomes a target.

DIL wants to come back full time, more so for financial reasons I think,  but I set down ground rules before I would consider it. I stressed that I have a right to feel safe in my own home and my number one concern was the best interests of grandson. I told them that DIL needs to get a diagnosis and take her medication if she's prescribed it. (She's had issues with not taking her medication in the past).They both need to attend parenting classes as well as relationship counselling and they need to get their finances in order (i.e. a budget and plans for debt repayment). I have a difficult time with maintaining boundaries and both of them are attempting to push and manipulate me into letting her back here now.
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EZEarache

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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2021, 12:41:24 PM »

That's a lot to deal with. I am the father of a 10 month old. Both my partner and I are high conflict and I had to leave do to police involvement as well. However, finances are not really an problem for us, and we have a full time baby sitter at the house who has been a god send.

Can you please provide the exact URL to the article you mentioned above. I am still trying to figure out for sure if we are BPD or not. This might be a useful resource for me.

As a new parent with a baby born in a pandemic, I really have no understanding of what "normal" conditions mean for raising an infant. As an experienced primary care giver, would you say that it's been easier or harder during the pandemic?
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pursuingJoy
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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2021, 02:59:46 PM »

I have a difficult time with maintaining boundaries and both of them are attempting to push and manipulate me into letting her back here now.

I think your requests are reasonable. It is your home. Can you tell us more about your difficulty in maintaining boundaries? How does that play out?

The pwBPD in my life has a way of demanding, urgently. She'll say, "If you don't ____ in two weeks, I will _____." Once I realized that her urgency and any related deadlines are made up and rooted in her fear of rejection, I was able to stay calm. I don't have to match her urgency. I give myself permission to act when I feel the time is right.

I've felt like an emotional hostage before and it's no fun. Are you able to identify moments you felt like that, and what triggered it?
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Orangesoda

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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2021, 03:37:04 PM »

Hi EZEarache

Here is the link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3268672/

I think the pandemic makes life a little more challenging for everyone. Children, even infants don't have access to structured activities where they can learn to socialize and burn off energy (i.e. my son and DIL would like to get grandson into swimming lessons but all extracurricular activities have been suspended). We all have to keep to our own homes so popping into the neighbors or a friends house for coffee and some adult conversation while the kids play is not an option. There is a greater sense of isolation for family members. On a positive note, parents have more opportunities now to bond with their children.

New parents like yourself have more challenges I think because just adjusting to the lifestyle changes and juggling of being a new parent is difficult enough without the additional restrictions Covid presents. For me as a grandparent, it's difficult because it's been 25+ years since I've had little ones, a lot has changed in the area of parenting and I don't have the same resources available to me as I would have if I were younger and this were my child.

I really don't know what 'normal' conditions means either, so don't feel so bad, but I do know that it's extremely important for a child to feel safe in their environment and things like consistency, a routine and reducing or eliminating conflict helps with that.
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EZEarache

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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2021, 04:00:08 PM »

Orangesoda,

I appreciate your insight, and thank you for the link.

We had consistency down. We were doing really well with that, it was just the conflict and I am as much to blame as she was. Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post)
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Orangesoda

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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2021, 05:08:00 PM »

Hi pursuingJoy.

Excerpt
Can you tell us more about your difficulty in maintaining boundaries? How does that play out?
Well, first it's sometimes difficult for me to determine what line has been crossed and to find the words to clearly state the issue. Then it's difficult to find the appropriate time to discuss the issue and stick to the topic without getting sidetracked by arguments. Not to mention developing a healthy boundary to set without being all 'dictatorship' about it. So it kind of plays out like this:

Before I will even consider DIL coming back here to live you both have to do A, B and C. Once you do that we can discuss boundaries and consequences. The 'demanding urgently' you mention comes into play; "Mom, DIL's sister is kicking her out at the end of the month because DIL doesn't have any money to pay rent, and she has no where to go". "Mom is it safe for DIL to come here for visits if she's staying at a shelter, with Covid and everything?" "Mom I can't afford to keep driving her back and forth my phone's going to get cut off because I can't pay the bill, I pay rent and I say she's coming back". Normally I would eventually relent in an effort to be fair. This time however, my responses were 'Don't show up with her at the end of the month telling me she has nowhere to go because if you do you'll both have nowhere to go.' 'I believe it would be safer for her staying at a shelter because they have stricter precautions than at her sisters and she would be eligible for a vaccination being in a group setting'. 'You haven't done any of the things I laid out, I won't even consider her coming back until you do and you're free to pay rent somewhere else'.

This is a moment where I feel like an emotional hostage because I'm afraid that son will move out with her in anger and take the baby. The baby will be abused and neglected and live a life filled with hardship and pain. It is even more so triggering for me because I am an adoptee who has only recently (within the past 2 years) realized (and am still realizing) the effects that adoption had on my life.
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beatricex
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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2021, 05:22:01 PM »

Hi Orangesoda,
There is a another thread about people with borderline parents.  I post on both because I have a mother with BPD and a stepdaughter I suspect has BPD.  The stepdaughter is an adult.  I can say that while I dissociate a lot, my siblings and I turned out pretty OK.  It only takes one sane parent LOL.

So while I completly understand your concern, I'd say it's a bit early to think your grandchild's life will be completly destroyed.  You can be a good grandmother and I encourage that.  My own grandmother, I believe, saved my life doing one simple thing.  Everytime she saw me she told me I was a good girl.  Seems simple but it was really powerful as I only heard projections from my Mom.

good luck and remember to take care of you

b
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Sancho
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« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2021, 06:33:03 PM »

I think the boundaries you have set are very, very important. One thing to keep in mind as things move forward: as time goes on the baby will - naturally - attach to you. If DIL moved back in the near future (which I have to say I hope is not the case) you will probably find at some point that there are HUGE issues about the baby's attachment to you. BPD mother sees this as abandonment - and huge jealous issues. You could be living upstairs  and not allowed to see your grandchild.

Medication is often really helpful for some aspects of BPD but the core issues are still there, and abandonment and jealous still seem to affect interpersonal relationships in my experience.

Others here may have a different experience.
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Orangesoda

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« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2021, 07:40:20 AM »

Excerpt
My own grandmother, I believe, saved my life doing one simple thing.  Everytime she saw me she told me I was a good girl.  Seems simple but it was really powerful as I only heard projections from my Mom.
Thank you Beatricex for the reassurance and the other thread suggestion. It's just so difficult for me to see him struggle, hear him constantly crying when she's here, it's highly triggering for me.

Excerpt
...you will probably find at some point that there are HUGE issues about the baby's attachment to you. BPD mother sees this as abandonment - and huge jealous issues. You could be living upstairs  and not allowed to see your grandchild.

Thanks for the feedback Sancho. We're already there with baby's attachment to me. From the time he came home from the hospital I have been put in a position of providing care. (i.e. Do you mind if I go for a smoke, if we go for a coffee, shopping, etc. We can't get him to sleep will you rock him?) As he became more mobile he actively sought me out. During one feeding incident she said "I see the way he lights up every time you walk into the room, you might as well be his mother!"

I try to stay out of the way as much as possible when she's here. Because the basement renovations are incomplete everything is set up for baby upstairs so I spend a lot of time in my bedroom (it's downtime for me from child care). Like I said in an earlier post, I try to make myself small, and it's difficult for me to juggle between when I should intervene and when I should back off. I'm constantly providing reassurance in the form of "you're his mother, nobody can replace you, he needs his mother."  I use my own adoption experiences to try to reinforce her importance in his life. But it feels so hopeless because as you say 'the core issues are still there'.
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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
Sancho
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« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2021, 07:54:49 PM »

It sounds as though you have a lot of insight into how to steer your way through this.

Do you have any idea when the renovations will be done?

If the little family were living in the renovated downstairs, how you you envisage that would work?

I am sharing my house with BPD d - long story - and I spend a lot of time in bedroom too! BUt this time she doesn't have a separate space like you will have.

Can it work do you think?
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Orangesoda

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« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2021, 09:28:51 AM »

It sounds as though you have a lot of insight into how to steer your way through this.

Do you have any idea when the renovations will be done?

If the little family were living in the renovated downstairs, how you you envisage that would work?

I am sharing my house with BPD d - long story - and I spend a lot of time in bedroom too! BUt this time she doesn't have a separate space like you will have.

Can it work do you think?

Honestly, I don't think it can work. I can't see the renovations being done any time soon, and in a way this is probably a good thing. It is extremely stressful for me to hear and see him fussing and crying (he is a completely different baby when he's with me, calmer, more settled, knows what to expect, goes down for naps no problem, etc.) so if her being here 3 and a half days a week upstairs is an issue, I can only see it being more stressful with her being here full time downstairs.

How do you feel about spending time in the bedroom? Everybody here tells me I don't have to hide, but for me I don't feel like I'm hiding, I call it down time.

Edit: just trying to learn how all the tools work...
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beatricex
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« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2021, 10:25:09 AM »

hi again Orandesoda,
Like Sancho, I also see a huge problem with your grandchild's attachment to you.  This is abandonment, in the eyes of a BPD'd mom.

I have seen it with my own Mom and my grandmother (in fact, my brother and I recently had an interesting conversation about that), and as a grandparent myself, my husband and I are currently cut off from our grandchildren who are 1 and 3.  My BPD'd stepdaughter is extremely manipulative and is using her children to hurt us.

I hope you're prepared for this, as it's typically what comes next.
 Virtual hug (click to insert in post)

b
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Orangesoda

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« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2021, 03:49:58 PM »

hi again Orandesoda,
Like Sancho, I also see a huge problem with your grandchild's attachment to you.  This is abandonment, in the eyes of a BPD'd mom.

I have seen it with my own Mom and my grandmother (in fact, my brother and I recently had an interesting conversation about that), and as a grandparent myself, my husband and I are currently cut off from our grandchildren who are 1 and 3.  My BPD'd stepdaughter is extremely manipulative and is using her children to hurt us.

I hope you're prepared for this, as it's typically what comes next.
 Virtual hug (click to insert in post)

b

Thanks for the hug. I'm aware, I've already been threatened to be cut off, but I'm not prepared emotionally. I'm prepared to go to court if need be, but I'd really rather not. I think I have a strong position as not only have I been providing physical and emotional care since he was born, but I have also been providing for him financially as well. This is the only home he knows and DIL is very low functioning (unable to hold a job, no apartment, didn't complete high school). My son is ADHD, diagnosed as a child, and he has a difficult time with organizing and juggling all of the demands between work, parenting and high conflict relationship.

How does one prepare themselves for being separated from a child/children they have developed a strong bond with? I'm so sorry you and your husband are experiencing this. What do you do to cope?
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Sancho
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« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2021, 02:50:40 AM »

Hi Orangesoda

Yes I like spending time in my bedroom. I have a small place with open kitchen/living room. I wish I had thought of going there earlier!. I used to be in the kitchen, so a sitting target for any abuse moment. I have taken to changing my thinking to imagining myself being in a share house - rather than my home. I have my room etc and share facilities. Feels so much better! I do most of the work though, but I come out, do the job, go back!

You seem to have come to one important decision: you will take legal action if the baby is taken elsewhere. You are clear about that.

The renovations will not be done soon, so what is on the table now is that your son wants DIL to move back in; you have put some conditions on that happening. Those things are not happening but you are being put under pressure to allow DIL back in nevertheless.

If your son works full time that means you and DIL at home with baby each day I am assuming.

Do you have regular things that you do outside the home eg work, volunteer, groups etc. Is it possible to have a set weekly routine that would mean you and DIL could pass like ships in the night?



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beatricex
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« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2021, 10:27:42 AM »

Within my husband's family, we have support.  Mainly his oldest sister.  She reassured us that it is completely ridiculous to cut off your Dad and stepmom, and never let them see their grandchildren again.  My suspected BPD'd step daughter demanded her Dad divorce me, just because she doesn't like me (I got screamed at, that I'm passive aggressive).  She basically gave her Dad an ultimatum.  The entire family sees this as what it is - abuse.  We have a lot of support from my husband's family.

We also have gone to marriage counseling on two separate occasions.  That helped the most.

We have another daughter (my step daughter) who is older and she has sided with her sister.  She also has two kids, 8 and 9.

My husband and I are coping, we have our own life.  We have hobbies and we have careers and we're focuing on that.  When his kids want to be in his life without manipulations and/or verbal and emotional abuse, and without trying to kick me out of the family, our door is open.

But we did mourn the loss, including going through all the stages of grief.

We looked into taking her to court, but because we've never provided any care for the grandchildren (they have never lived with us), and because she's married, grandparent's have No rights in our state.  Pretty much if we try to contact her, it is harrassment, and she has threatened to take legal action.  So, that cemented it in our minds, we let her go.  For now anyway.   We have only limited contact with her older sister, because it feels like triangulation.

I am also obviously coping by posting here.
b
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wendydarling
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« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2021, 11:29:53 AM »

Hi Orangesoda

I'm coming from a slightly different perspective where my DD has engaged in DBT and is driving her recovery.

Excerpt
My own grandmother, I believe, saved my life doing one simple thing.  Everytime she saw me she told me I was a good girl.  Seems simple but it was really powerful as I only heard projections from my Mom.
Beatrice this really rang loud with me. Bless your dear GM.  Virtual hug (click to insert in post)  

Orangesoda, when is the diagnosis expected as this maybe key to your DIL helping herself, and if she does you can 'walk with her'.

As well as setting firm and loving boundaries, reading up about Validation and how that'll help your GS, DIL and son and you.

WDx


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Be kind, always and all ways ~ my BPD daughter
Orangesoda

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« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2021, 06:49:55 PM »


If your son works full time that means you and DIL at home with baby each day I am assuming.

Do you have regular things that you do outside the home eg work, volunteer, groups etc. Is it possible to have a set weekly routine that would mean you and DIL could pass like ships in the night?


Yes, DIL and me at home every day. I kind of laughed at the 'sitting target for any abuse' because that's exactly where I was at too, until I took my bedroom back. I'm pretty isolated, not working, no volunteer groups, I was diagnosed with panic disorder with agoraphobia several years ago. In 2015 I experienced an extremely traumatic series of events with my adoptive parents which put me back into the whole panic/agoraphobia cycle. I'm in the process of recovery and am now able to leave my home without panic/anxiety attacks, but with the pandemic and stay at home orders I'm limited in things to do outside the home.

Excerpt
We looked into taking her to court, but because we've never provided any care for the grandchildren (they have never lived with us), and because she's married, grandparent's have No rights in our state.  Pretty much if we try to contact her, it is harrassment, and she has threatened to take legal action.  So, that cemented it in our minds, we let her go.  For now anyway.   We have only limited contact with her older sister, because it feels like triangulation.

I am also obviously coping by posting here.
b

I'm sorry you're going through all of that beatricex, triangulation is definitely something I think is happening here. Sometimes I feel as if some of the things coming from my son are really coming from DIL. In my province grandparent's have some rights, but court can be a Pandora's box, which is why I'd really rather it not come down to that.  It's good that you have things outside of yourself that you and your husband can focus on.

Excerpt
Orangesoda, when is the diagnosis expected as this maybe key to your DIL helping herself, and if she does you can 'walk with her'.

As well as setting firm and loving boundaries, reading up about Validation and how that'll help your GS, DIL and son and you.

WDx

Hi wendydarling, thanks for responding. The process is so slow, I'm not sure when the diagnosis will come as the pandemic has slowed things down significantly. I'd like to be able to 'walk with her' but I am the all bad evil MIL who is taking her family away from her. I've been looking at some of the resources on this site and I read through some posts that were part of a workshop? I think, on validation. Something I would really like to work on as I sometimes have a tendency to be pretty abrupt at times.
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