Home page of BPDFamily.com, online relationship supportMember registration here
January 16, 2022, 10:12:32 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Board Admins: Harri, Once Removed
Senior Ambassadors: Cat Familiar, I Am Redeemed, Mutt, Turkish
  Help!   Boards   Please Donate Login to Post New?--Click here to register  
bing
Expert insight for adult children
101
Family dynamics matter.
Alan Fruzzetti, PhD
Listening to shame
Brené Brown, PhD
Blame - why we do it?
Brené Brown, PhD
How to spot a liar
Pamela Meyer
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Hello; mother with BPD traits, seeking cameraderie and advice  (Read 306 times)
eaglestar

*
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Relationship status: strained
Posts: 35


« on: November 26, 2021, 02:58:12 PM »

Hello, I am a young professional, and my wife and I have a new baby at home.  We live several states away from my parents, who have been married for almost 50 years.  I have always had a very close relationship with them, but lately my relationship with my mother has become very strained. 
Since I was a child, she has had periodic emotional outbursts characterized by extraordinary anger usually directed at one person (and that one person was usually my father, but was sometimes me, and never my brother).  Despite this, she would regain "control" after a few days or weeks and then become very loving and caring.  She would act as if nothing had ever happened.  When I was a child, she would periodically tell me all the horrible things my father was doing to sabotage their marriage, but once I became a teenager, I began to observe their interactions and judge for myself that some of what she said was simply false, and most of it seemed to be a twisted version of the truth.
I went away to college and visited them frequently, and things were good.  It wasn't until I moved back for a time when in between jobs that I saw the behavior return with a vengeance.  For example, one time, my father moved a can of green beans from one shelf to another after she had put it away.  She flipped out, yelled that no one in the house "respected her", and threw a several days-long fit including the "silent treatment" where she refused to talk to anyone.  But if the phone rang and she had to talk to the repair guy, she sounded perfectly normal.  She would come to me and say "I need to talk with you", take me aside, and proceed to tell me that I was the source of her marital problems, that I was always a problem for them and that "despite all I've done for you" I continued to "come between your father and me" and that I needed to leave.  After many of these "talks", I left as quickly as was possible, and now lead an independent life. After I left, our relationship improved for a time.  We talked every day on the phone.
However, since my father retired and they moved several states away, she has progressively slipped into deeper depression.  She raised the concern that my father was suffering from memory issues, and he was initially diagnosed with fronto-temporal dementia.  This devastating diagnosis carries an average 10 year life expectancy.  This was later rescinded by a qualified professional, and replaced with "mild cognitive disorder".  Even this diagnosis was called into question by another provider who couldn't replicate the results--at the moment, the diagnosis stands on one provider's record and has been rescinded from another provider's record.  After he visited my wife and me to meet his new grandson, I saw no evidence of any kind of cognitive deficit in him.  He behaved exactly as I remember him, as a retired executive capable of deep philosophical thought, sound financial reasoning, and a bit of absent-mindedness around "mundane" tasks like loading the dishwasher.  I tested him a bit, asking for his advice on some complex topics and without any preparation he was able to give me the same thoughtful answers he always has. 
My parents are having significant marital problems.  She is fixated on my father's "cognitive" issues and talks of almost nothing else.  She called my wife at one point and listed off many things she had done for us, and then demanded that in return we give my father an "ultimatum" regarding his conduct toward her.  I told her this behavior was unacceptable and inappropriate, and things have not been the same between us since. She throws accusations of verbal abuse around, and I seriously doubt the veracity of these claims because I overheard one such "example" and it was not even close to abuse. 

Initially, we were scheduled to fly to see them.  My mother canceled the trip at the last minute due to concerns that the trip would harm her health, and we arranged to have my father come to see us instead.  After saying that she would "never" stop him from coming to see us, she reportedly gave him a hard time as he was leaving for the airport, saying something like "well, I guess you're going to be where you want to be."

My mother has a long history of repeatedly accusing my father of infidelity.  I also doubt the veracity of these claims, because at one point, I witnessed the interaction she called "flirting" and, like almost everything else she believes about him, it was seen through a filter. 

She has always held my great-grandmother in a very high regard, as the epitome of a loving person.  She wants to be just like her, and has even nicknamed herself the same thing that she called her grandmother now that she, herself, is a grandmother.  But her behavior is on a different plane of existence from what she aspires to be. 

I learned about BPD a while ago, and think it fits well.  I don't know how to even begin to get her help for this, because she is not open to admitting her contribution to anything that has gone wrong in her life.  Her thinking is so inflexible that even the suggestion would likely result in a weeks-long silent treatment, followed by an even more strained relationship than we already have.

Since she started these accusations of abuse against my father, I have pulled back from contacting her.  I now only call about once a week instead of once a day, and sometimes go even longer.  I feel she has really crossed the line.

He is not a perfect person.  He can be impatient, at times arrogant (though not since this diagnosis...he is more humble than I've ever seen him), and impulsive with his words.  He can say things that anyone would take offense to.  He can be selfish.  But he is not an abuser, he is not unfaithful, and I truly don't believe he is cognitively impaired.  I worry she is gaslighting him.  I know it's not really my concern at this point--I could just move on and live my own life with my own family.  But I love my parents.  I want to help them, and I want my son to have a good relationship with them.  Has anyone experienced a similar situation?  Thank you for reading this far!
Logged
Woolspinner2000
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Relationship status: Divorced
Posts: 1869



« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2021, 06:41:39 PM »

Welcome, eaglestarWelcome new member (click to insert in post)

So glad you found our site and have posted some of your story. We certainly understand about the drama you have gone through. BPD and the behaviours that come along with it can be very complicated to deal with. I had a lot of frustration and so many other feelings in dealing with my uBPDm. It's beyond tough. I'm so glad that you've been reading and becoming aware of BPD.

One of the topics you brought up reminds me of this article about Projection behavior

Does any of the article sound familiar to you?

Take care,
Wools
Logged

There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.  -C.S. Lewis
eaglestar

*
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Relationship status: strained
Posts: 35


« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2021, 08:04:29 PM »

One of the topics you brought up reminds me of this article about Projection behavior

Does any of the article sound familiar to you?


Thanks for the welcome!  And yes, she absolutely does exhibit this behavior.  I think she most frequently projects onto my father.  Thanks for sharing the article!
Logged
beatricex
****
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Other
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 422


« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2021, 12:30:11 PM »

hi eaglestar,
Welcome to this safe place to talk about our BPD mothers.

I think you're asking good questions.  I personally haven't ever brought up the subject of BPD with my mom, because I believe she's been projecting her BPD onto me for years.  I actually learned about BPD because almost 23 years ago, after my first husband and I split up, he mailed me a book about it (and claimed this was my problem and that I should get help so we could get back together).  Since I know he was not seeing a counselor, the only way he could have come up with the idea is that he spoke to my mother and she suggested it.

Weirdly, I read the book and had that aha moment, where suddently all your mother's quirks come into focus and you realize what you're dealing with.  It's exhilerating and depressing all at once.  At least I now had a name for what I was dealing with.

But, no BPD's do not get help and pointing out to them that you think that's what they're dealing with, typically just sends them into a rage.  Unless they are younger and still living at home, of course.  Then I guess they're open to the idea of it, because that's a different generation. 

Glad you're here, and please share more if you like.  I found your explanation that your mom typically attacks your dad first, then you, but never your brother, very interesting.  Why do you think that is so? 

I kind of had a similiar experience, as the oldest daughter (but not the oldest child in my family, I have two older brothers) my mom often confided in me, but also seemed to get the angriest with me.  On the other hand, she mostly left my youngest sister alone.  It is interesting how they treat people differently.  I always thought it was because I am generally more independent and my youngest sister is more dependent and I was thus thought of as more "challenging."  My mom also suffers from OCD and she's a hoarder.  There's quite a lot of control issues with her, and raging is how she got us in line too.  The can of beans story made me laugh.  With my mom it was how we all loaded the dishwasher.  She would literally rage at us if we did it wrong.  Totally bizarre, and I get it.

b

« Last Edit: November 27, 2021, 12:35:43 PM by beatricex » Logged
eaglestar

*
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Relationship status: strained
Posts: 35


« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2021, 02:50:44 PM »

I found your explanation that your mom typically attacks your dad first, then you, but never your brother, very interesting.  Why do you think that is so? 


Thanks for your response!  I am honestly not sure why this is.  Perhaps others on here have some insight.  We are very different people.  My brother left home early, struck out on his own, and rejected much of my parents' life advice.  He made some life decisions he later regretted and then followed most of their advice in his early 30s.  He now leads a responsible life, is married, and is mostly financially independent from my parents.  I followed most of their advice, relied on their help for considerably longer than he did, and never really made any major financial or social mistakes.  We are both active in our respective churches, both of which are different than the church my parents were both raised in.  We are similar politically.  Interestingly, though, I was the one politically aligned with my parents from the beginning, and my brother only became aligned with them more recently in his adulthood.  I suppose I could say that I was the "good" one and he the "troublemaker," but I feel this is slightly disingenuous because I was constantly labeled by my mother as "too smart for your own good," "manipulative," "cold-hearted," and "calculating."  That doesn't sound like someone she would think of as "good."  She would constantly downplay his major behavioral issues and life choices.  So maybe she thought of him as the "good" one and me the "troublemaker?"  Or, perhaps more accurately, the "evil genius?" 

My brother finds it hard to believe that she ever said any of this to me.  In fact, it's only been since the two of us have been recently collaborating to try to save our parents' marriage (and assets) from a nasty legal battle that I've disclosed her behavior to him.  I did it in a wall of text I sent him, and apologized for how it must sound.  I knew it sounded ridiculous, maybe even vindictive, because he has never seen anything but the well-behaved, intelligent, composed, thoughtful, loving mother.  I hesitated to send him the text, worrying that perhaps he would share it with her and then I would incur her wrath.  But in the end I thought his judgment is likely better than that.

I do wonder if anyone else with more experience with this disease has seen similar behavior and could pick out anything about our dynamic that rings true with known research.
Logged
eaglestar

*
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Relationship status: strained
Posts: 35


« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2021, 11:27:10 AM »

Update: yesterday my mother texted me and I think it is the first time that I recognized the behavior from what I've read on this message board here as trying to drag me into the Karpman triangle.  This behavior has been repeated so often in my childhood and adulthood that I couldn't list all the instances, but I never recognized it before.  I used to call every day on my way home from work.  It bothered me that these calls *always* were about whatever was troubling her most at that time.  It was usually something about her health.  She does have real health issues, but if she's not in a fight with my father, it's literally all she can talk about.  I would try to give advice or just listen (as I learned from reading the book 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,' prior to getting married that sometimes, women just want to get something off their chest and don't want advice).  But as her behavior has escalated in the past few years, these calls got more and more troublesome, to the point where she would sound manic on the phone, demanding that I "do something" to "hold [my father] accountable".  If I took a neutral stance or, Heaven forbid, defend my dad or try to help her see that perhaps his actions were unintentional or even misinterpreted, she would get vile and nasty and not speak with me for a week.  The worst was when she called my pregnant wife and told her that she hoped that when our baby grew up, he was not a coward like me and would stand up for her against me when I turn out to be just like my father.  When I told her what she said was wildly inappropriate, she cut off communication for two weeks.  An attempted conversation about halfway through was strikingly awkward, as she tried to stick to neutral topics like the weather.  Then went back to normal, and offered to buy us cookies and pay for an ice cream date.

Now, don't get me wrong...most of the time, our daily conversations were much more benign than that.  They would start off with something neutral like how my day at work was, what the weather was like where we were living, what it was like where she was living.  But she would inevitably fit in something that was troubling her (either her health or my father), and the rest of the conversation would be about that and nothing else. 

I thought I was showing her love by listening and trying to give advice, especially when advice was explicitly requested.  But now I realize that the reason our conversations were so starkly different from conversations with literally everyone else in the world, especially my father and close friends, was because there was a *formula* to the conversation.  It's not natural.  It's predictable.  Up until I recently stopped calling every day, I would sometimes pull into the garage and feel like this 15-20 minute conversation has taken more emotional energy than anything I dealt with my entire day at work.  Or I would simply sigh when she hung up the phone and think, "Well.  I hope she got something out of that," or "This doesn't feel like a relationship but maybe this was a building block that will help her get closer to me."

When I talk with my father or other close friends, we talk about things we find interesting.  My father has an interest in architecture, literature, the news, politics, classic movies, and music.  He always has something interesting to share.  "Let me tell you about this article I read in the Wall Street Journal today.  I'm emailing it to you now."  Or "Yesterday I was taking a walk and I went past the neighbor's house and they decorated for Christmas. Guess how many nativities they have?"  Or "So I've been tracking my steps and my Apple watch lets me count swimming as 'steps.'  Do you know how swimming translates to steps?  It's really interesting how they've been able to codify that physiology." 

So yesterday my mother texted me this wall of text which was basically a stream of consciousness.  She demanded to know who I thought the victim was in their relationship.  She then fixated on the word 'if' that he used in a written apology to her for something he did that actually was pretty bad (something I encouraged him to apologize for), and said that because he used that word, he clearly didn't mean a word of what he wrote.  She ended with a request that I 'please explain' my stance. 

Because she idolizes my brother, I said (knowing that she had been in touch with him as well) that he and I both want what's best for them, and will continue to support them both as they go through this trial.  She demanded to know why I continued to talk to my father.  I wrote back that Brother and I will continue to support them both as they go through this trial.  She accused me "you'll continue to talk with him no more what he did." [I include this quote because she is highly educated and usually does not make typos...this tells me she didn't proofread and that is very uncharacteristic.]  I responded that Brother and I will continue to support them as they work through their issues.  I ended with "we both love and have sympathy for both of you."

By repeating myself, unifying myself with my brother, and not falling into the trap, I feel that I escaped the Karpman's triangle.  This text was yesterday.  I don't know if she'll text again today, but since I stopped calling daily, she has gone a week or so before reaching out to me.  I think I've deeply offended her, and I'm just waiting for the call with the angry raging (that is her MO--silent treatment first, then rage).  I just hope she doesn't cold-call my wife again.  Though my wife and I have discussed that possibility and she is battle-ready.
Logged
Couscous
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Sibling
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 231


« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2021, 02:00:34 PM »

Eaglestar,

My heart really goes out to you and your wife. You are in a real double bind and there isn’t going to be quick and tidy resolution to this.

The issue is that “doing battle” just means gets hooked back onto the drama triangle. The ideal, longterm solution, though difficult to follow through with and not for the faint of heart, would be for you and your wife to completely “detriangle” your relationship with your mother.

This would mean your wife would stop taking your mother’s calls completely, and you would longer discuss the subject of your father with your mother. At.all. This she will likely interpret as high treason. A very predictable response will be that your father and/or brother will possibly jump into “rescue” your mother and will begin “persecuting” you in order to force you back into your old role. The key is not take any of it personally, which is easier said than done. Good luck to you.



« Last Edit: November 29, 2021, 02:11:39 PM by Couscous » Logged
eaglestar

*
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Relationship status: strained
Posts: 35


« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2021, 04:58:33 PM »

Eaglestar,

The issue is that “doing battle” just means gets hooked back onto the drama triangle. The ideal, longterm solution, though difficult to follow through with and not for the faint of heart, would be for you and your wife to completely “detriangle” your relationship with your mother.



I cognitively recognize that this might be the only way to resolve this problem and not have it eventually get in the way of my own marriage. Emotionally, I still want my son to have a Nana. I still want to be able to call my mom on my way home from work. I miss her, even though I think I more miss the idea of her than the actual interactions we had when we were talking daily. I feel like I'm not ready yet to do something that would cause her to put me on the "enemy" list permanently. Right now, I get the impression that she's telling everyone in the family that I'm totally on my dad's side and won't listen to anything she says and am completely unsympathetic (which is right on par for the unemotional, unfeeling, too-intelligent-to-understand person that I am, right?). I get this impression based on what my brother has told me she says to him, the Golden Child (I just learned this term!)

I shared this site with my father, who was so impressed by how well BPD fits that he said he's been spending hours looking through this and shaking his head in amazement. He's the one who taught me what the Golden Child and Scapegoat were.

Well... based on my own level of maturity on this journey, I probably have some more struggles ahead before I decide I've just had enough. I'm inching closer to getting there, the more this progresses.
Logged
Couscous
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Sibling
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 231


« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2021, 10:03:35 PM »

Ah, well I must have read more urgency in your last post than was actually there. Going slow with this stuff is really the best approach since it can all be so overwhelming.

I highly recommend the book The Dance of Anger, and wish I had read that one first when I was new to all of this. It does a really good job explaining family systems theory and has really good, actionable advice about shifting out of old patterns in a non-reactive way. It applies as much to sons raised in fused/enmeshed families so don’t let its focus on women put you off. Since you seem to be interested in the drama triangle, the book Games People Play by Eric Berne (Stephen Karpman was a student of his) might be right up your alley.
Logged
GaGrl
Ambassador
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner’s ex
Posts: 5337



« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2021, 10:40:50 PM »

I know and understand that you want your child to have a Nana.

My father moved us 200 miles from my grandfather and uBPD/NPD step-grandmother. She was toxic.

By the time I was ten years old, I knew something was "off" with my step-grandmother.

Protect your children.
Logged


"...what's past is prologue; what to come,
In yours and my discharge."
eaglestar

*
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Relationship status: strained
Posts: 35


« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2021, 06:35:27 AM »

Ah, well I must have read more urgency in your last post than was actually there. Going slow with this stuff is really the best approach since it can all be so overwhelming.

I highly recommend the book The Dance of Anger, and wish I had read that one first when I was new to all of this. It does a really good job explaining family systems theory and has really good, actionable advice about shifting out of old patterns in a non-reactive way.

I appreciate your advice. I think I'm having oscillating feelings about what to do. Is there any example of anyone who has a productive relationship with their BPD mother?

I know and understand that you want your child to have a Nana.

My father moved us 200 miles from my grandfather and uBPD/NPD step-grandmother. She was toxic.

By the time I was ten years old, I knew something was "off" with my step-grandmother.

Protect your children.

I really don't want my son to have the same drama in his life that I have had from her. But I also am worried that he will not understand and will think I'm the disordered one for keeping him from his grandmother.

At the moment, he has a relationship with my father already started because only my father was willing to see him. This may continue to be the case, and my worries might be for naught. My mother canceled our trip to come see them because of her "blood pressure". When my father said "you'd have to be an idiot to miss this opportunity to see your only grandson" she called me right away and said "he's verbally abusing me, he called me an idiot! This is why I'm canceling your trip, because this is not a good environment to bring a child to!"

I'm not sure if she'll ever be willing to see him, anyway. She is pretty much a shut-in, leaving only for the hair dresser, church, the grocery store, and holiday family gatherings. So she's never coming to see us. She does have a car and I think it has less than 10k miles on it. She doesn't really have any friends other than the hair dresser, and maybe some prayer group people and one extended relative she talks to on the phone daily.

I do absolutely feel in flux about the situation. I think what I want is likely impossible. I want what she has always talked about, when she talked about her grandmother who baked and cooked and was welcoming and loving, who invited everyone to her home (my parents have *never* had guests).  I think the ideal she wants and built up that she would attain when she became a grandmother is something she is incapable of offering to my son.
Logged
Couscous
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Sibling
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 231


« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2021, 02:27:50 PM »

I have bent over backwards in order to enable my kids to have a relationship with their Nana. I didn't let the fact that she had abandoned me and my siblings after she remarried and up and moved to a foreign country deter me in the least. I had read that sometimes lousy parents can end up redeeming themselves when they become grandparents, and that became my "healing fantasy", which I clung to that like a drowning woman clinging to a life raft.

Now, 7 years later, I am having to do a complete about face after I realized that what appeared to be my dreams coming true, was in fact, the nightmare continuing after it became clear that her relationship with my oldest son was as agenda driven as her relationships with her children. Her "loving Nana" act now seems to have been nothing more than an effort to groom him into becoming her Golden Grandchild, which should come as no surprise to anyone on this board. I now find myself in the position of having to find some way to explain to my son why we aren't going to be visiting his beloved Nana anymore...
Logged
eaglestar

*
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Relationship status: strained
Posts: 35


« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2021, 03:39:29 PM »

Her "loving Nana" act now seems to have been nothing more than an effort to groom him into becoming her Golden Grandchild, which should come as no surprise to anyone on this board. I now find myself in the position of having to find some way to explain to my son why we aren't going to be visiting his beloved Nana anymore...

That sounds like a true nightmare. And as you wrote that, I realized that I could totally see my mother doing this with my son or my future other children.  That is a chilling thought. That she could continue her behavior in another generation and try to use my children against me, if she feels I've wronged her somehow. And inevitably, I will, because I'm the one who's "never on her side."
Logged
Notwendy
********
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Posts: 7706



« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2021, 06:48:50 AM »

There are so many parallels to this post to my own story- growing up, my mother would complain to me about my father, sometimes to the point of TMI. I now know this is inappropriate but didn't understand this as a teen. I was enlisted as an emotional caretaker for her, and this is parentification of a child. My parents' marital issues were obvious. At times, my mother would rage, destroy things in the house, and the next day act completely fine and my parents would pretend nothing happened. We didn't dare bring it up. My BPD mother would also tell me I was the cause of their marital issues ( not sure how that made any sense, but she said it).

I also went to college a distance away from home. Since she told me I was causing their issues, I assumed they were OK once I had moved out, and they seemed OK when I would visit. Yet if there was an extended visit, her BPD behavior was there. I had known since my teens that something was "off" with her, but had no explanation.

I have read the other thread asking about abuse. That was a hard thing for me to realize as I was not physically abused. I didn't understand emotional abuse- it was the normal in our house to be subjected to my mother's controlling and verbally abusive behavior- and she could snap in and out of her "nice" persona in an instance and that was confusing.

But I know now, she is emotionally and verbally abusive.

My father had strong enabling and co-dependent tendencies. Eventually, in his elder years, he became ill and was not able to do the things he did for her. At this point, my mother's BPD behavior escalated- it was already an issue but it became more apparent. When I visited, I could see the extent of her verbal and emotional abuse to him. I got very concerned and called social services to see if I could intervene and they replied that as long as he was in sound mind and did not go along with reporting it, I could not.

My parents had similar dynamics. She'd be nagging, badgering him, and eventually, he'd snap back at her and she'd take victim perspective. He never did a mean thing to her- just snapped back when frustrated. When he was ill, his tolerance of this was lower, and he'd get angry at her. She'd then tell everyone he was emotionally out of control, depressed or whatever but not just him. I got angry too and she then reported to people that I had emotional issues as well. Basically, if anyone reacted to her behavior- they were the one with the problem according to her.

Beware of taking on the rescuer role

These dynamic between your parents are strong- stronger than their bond with you or anyone else. Your parents chose each other because your father's need to enable matches your mother's disorder. This is something I learned when looking at relationship dynamics. I had perceived my father as a victim of my mother's behavior but learned that he was as much a part of the dynamics, even if it was difficult for him.

Although I had the role of scapegoat child, ( another sibling is the golden child) my role was to be of service to my mother, and took on rescuing behavior. Seeing how she treated my father, I stepped in to rescue him. This did not work, in fact, it played into the Karpman dynamics. The rescuer- victim bond is very strong as both are aligned against a common persecutor rather than having conflict between them- they are focused together against someone else.

It played out as predicted. I tried to rescue Dad by defending him with my mother. BPD mother immediately took victim role against me, Dad stepped in to rescue her and both aligned against me.

Emotional abuse is hard to prove. You can call social services but if your father is in sound mind mentally, he would have to admit to it. If your father is cognitively impaired, you may possibly be able to assume power of attorney over him, but I don't know the legality involved in how to do that.
Logged
eaglestar

*
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Relationship status: strained
Posts: 35


« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2021, 02:20:01 PM »

There are so many parallels to this post to my own story- growing up, my mother would complain to me about my father, sometimes to the point of TMI....I was enlisted as an emotional caretaker for her, and this is parentification of a child....At times, my mother would rage, destroy things in the house, and the next day act completely fine and my parents would pretend nothing happened. We didn't dare bring it up...My BPD mother would also tell me I was the cause of their marital issues...I also went to college a distance away from home. Since she told me I was causing their issues, I assumed they were OK once I had moved out, and they seemed OK when I would visit. Yet if there was an extended visit, her BPD behavior was there.

Notwendy, thank you so much for your thoughtful reply.  It does seem we have a considerable amount in common.  I think we are both Scapegoat children and our mothers seem to have behaved similarly, blaming us for their marital problems and trying to recruit us at a young age to be part of their army in their war against our fathers. 

I didn't understand emotional abuse- it was the normal in our house to be subjected to my mother's controlling and verbally abusive behavior- and she could snap in and out of her "nice" persona in an instance and that was confusing.

But I know now, she is emotionally and verbally abusive.

This is what I'm struggling with.  Having such a distaste for my mother's accusations that my father is 'abusing' her, I myself don't want to mislabel something as abuse that is not abuse.  I don't like how, in our society, we are sometimes too cavalier with terms that should carry real weight.  That's the source of my hesitation.  But the more I think about it and read about this condition, the more I come to see that it does seem like abuse.

My father had strong enabling and co-dependent tendencies....

My parents had similar dynamics. She'd be nagging, badgering him, and eventually, he'd snap back at her and she'd take victim perspective....Basically, if anyone reacted to her behavior- they were the one with the problem according to her.

Yes, this is exactly my parents' situation.

Beware of taking on the rescuer role

These dynamic between your parents are strong- stronger than their bond with you or anyone else. Your parents chose each other because your father's need to enable matches your mother's disorder. This is something I learned when looking at relationship dynamics. I had perceived my father as a victim of my mother's behavior but learned that he was as much a part of the dynamics, even if it was difficult for him.

I never really thought about my father as enabling my mother's behavior, but you might be on to something there.  And you're right--this dynamic is stronger than their bond with me or my brother.  It is probably not something I can "fix."  So my focus should not be on trying to fix it.  My focus should probably be solely on how to manage to love both of them and prioritize my immediate family and my work, and not allow myself to get too distracted with their mess. 

Thank you again for your thoughtful reply.  You and many others on here have a lot of helpful insights to offer.
Logged
Couscous
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Sibling
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 231


« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2021, 05:57:36 PM »

For the longest time I was convinced that my father was "the victim", and that he was the healthy one in the marriage. And my "proof" for this was that he had left my mother after 7 years of marriage. Boy, was I in for a surprise when he joined my BPD brother's and enabler sister's coalition (even though he has a terrible/non-existent relationship both of them) after it was clear that my new boundaries with my brother and sister, which have created a rift in the family, are here to stay. 

Apparently boundaries are not tolerated in my family, (seems like we are dealing with some pretty severe enmeshment) so the only way to get off of the drama triangle is complete disengagement. I hope my family will be able to adjust and establish a new equilibrium in time, but because dysfunctional families are characterized by their rigidity and lack of flexibility, this doesn't seem likely.
Logged
Can You Help Us Stay on the Air in 2021?

Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Our 2021 Financial Sponsors
We are all appreciative of the members who provide the funding to keep BPDFamily on the air.
12years
alterK
Andi1956
Anondad
Cnvi
doghouse
drained1996
EyesUp
Harri
JD2028
lovenature
Mac5
Methuen
Mommydoc
Mutt
old97
P.F.Change
Skip
snowglobe
Swimmy55
Teno
Turkish
wendydarling

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2006-2020, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!