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Author Topic: She sees me as her mother  (Read 861 times)
Riv3rW0lf
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« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2022, 10:46:14 AM »

Why am I afraid of my mother...

I am not so sure I feel scared anymore. I think ... My mother has a way to look sane every time I distance myself. Like she texted me this morning saying : "you must be so stressed about your move. By the way when is the date? You must know by now." And part of me know she only wants the date to plan her visit of her grandchildren because I have come to realize that... I don't think she loves ME. But part of me hopes...

So... Not so much that I am scared of her. More that I am scared I will let myself become blind again and let her manipulate me again. Because part of me will always love her and look for validation from her. There is nothing I can do about that part. Another part of me understand her pain, where she comes from, and part of me wants to help her. HELP, not rescue. I worked a lot on myself and I am proud that I can now answer her from a place of love, albeit after a LOT of meditation and time thinking. I can give validation to myself, but part of me will still always hope one day she sees me for who I am.

So... I am not scared of her, I am scared of myself. Of my own capacity to be blind to my own flaws when it comes to my relationship with her.

I don't like who I become when it comes to her. Right now for exemple, I am trying to figure out how to answer her very simple text. I am not scared of the backlash, I am scared of the underlying message I might put in it. I am tuned to her, but she is also tuned to me. She just knows when to text, what wording to use, and she knows when I am detached, and she knows how to lure me back in.

I am not scared of her, I am scare of who I become when I am in constant relationship with her. I get impatient, I ruminate, I stop playing with my children, I stop listening to my husband, I get in my head and I can't seem to shake it. This is when we are on bad terms. When on "good terms", I feel obligated to call her every day, to answer all her questions, all her texts as soon as possible. I give her all my attention, even if my daughter is requesting it, because it's the only way I get some sense of being validated by her, she doesn't say it but at least she is "happy". She takes so much more space than her texts. Even if she doesn't mean to.

I didn't care last time what she said to me when she got mad. I cared that she didn't see ME. Still today, she doesn't see me, she doesn't see what she did to me. She never will. And to be seen, I have to become someone else, and I hate what I become for her. Even my accomplishments, she made her own by saying she must have been a good mother, seeing what I became. She wasn't proud of ME, she was proud of HER, when truth is, I owe what I am today to myself and to my husband actually. I started my own business because he believed in me, and he gave me so much strength. He is somehow always able to give me back the confidence she robbed me from when I was young and vulnerable.

I want to cut her off, but I can't, because I know she hurt, and I just can't close my eyes to that pain she carries with her. I am scared of what I will become if I cut her off, and I am scared of what I become when we are in constant relationship. It's like... I can't be myself, no matter the option. So hard boundaries seem the lesser evil. And distance.

...

That was deep, even for me Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)
« Last Edit: January 12, 2022, 10:58:51 AM by Riv3rW0lf » Logged
Riv3rW0lf
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« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2022, 11:15:53 AM »

I do think it is possible you let yourself be manipulated in becoming her enabler. It happens to me all the time, which is why I have her under "spam" now, and why I am trying to condition myself to put hard boundaries in place.

You know.. even if your mother is elderly : it is HER decisions to not get professional help... And you have nothing to be ashamed of. If she falls : it is on HER, not on you. And maybe it would be a godsend... If she falls, then the hospital can force her to go in remission into a nursing home. It happened to a lady we cared for. She broke her hips and had to stay 6 months in a nursing home. When the 6 months was over, she decided to go back to her house but I am pretty sure at that point, the family had legal leverage they chose not to use.

Not saying I want her to fall, just saying : there is nothing you can  personnally do about it. And it is ok to tell her: "Mom, if you don't want professional help, you will be on your own, because I cannot keep doing what I am currently doing. I love you, but I am done."

Or is a part of you, like me, scared of yourself? Scared of admitting your own limits to her? Scared that this very action might change you somehow? I might be off, but I think whatever emotion we feel tells us more about ourselves than the person our emotion is directed at...

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Couscous
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« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2022, 12:49:47 PM »

I’ve actually come to prefer the term “overfunctioning” as opposed to enabling.

My well-founded fear of separating from my mother and having boundaries is that it will lead to her “discarding” me due to her no longer having any use for me. After my mother remarried when I was 18 she left the country I didn’t hear from her for three years. After I tracked her down I decided that the best strategy for me was to make myself indispensable to her so that she would need me too much to ever disappear on me like that again. And so began my long career of being the overfunctioner in our relationship.

This pattern continued until I had a rude awakening two years ago when I finally understood that being needed isn’t the same thing as being loved.



 
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« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2022, 01:27:14 PM »

What was her reaction to you after you called APS?   What made it too long?  I'm trying to figure out what the lines in the sand are about what is the "appropriate time".  

She was irritated that the *strange lady* was in her house asking questions. Soon forgotten. As per APS suggestion, we started the “Friendly Visitor” program with a very nice elderly lady who came by a few times to talk with my mother. Mom was consistently rude to her, so that didn’t work out too well.

Waited too long? Well, she started doing some behaviors that became more problematic. She stole a tree in a 15 gallon pot from a neighbor, which involved law enforcement, and me, to explain things to everyone.

Then she mistook the lawn chair for a toilet.

I’d clean her house and she’d disassemble things randomly, like putting a lamp shade in the kitchen, strewing peanut shells all over the house, generally tearing things apart.

On a very hot day, she forgot where she lived and sat outside the house next door (which was for sale), thinking she’d locked herself out.

She forgot a teakettle on the stove that had a plastic handle and started a fire.

There’s more, but that’s a good sampling.

I'm trying to picture "inner narcissist", but can't.  Can you share an example of an inner narcissist?  Exactly.  

Remember that Pat Benetar song, “I’m gonna harden my heart”? It’s sort of like that. Instead of feeling, “OMG, this is so awful that you are losing your abilities and are frightened and vulnerable,” I come from a thinking place, “OK, this is unworkable as is. What can I do to change things?”

Or, remembering the times she tried to manipulate me through shaming me or trying to make me feel guilty, I’d think, “Wow, that used to work on me. Sucks to think that a mother would do that to a child.” Then I’d think, I know you have the ability to choose how you behave toward me. If you want my company, you will be motivated to be pleasant. If you choose otherwise, then I’ll leave and I will speak to you tomorrow.”

You are definitely enabling her to stay independent of the system. Can you think of not doing certain things that could let her *fail* in a safe way? Recording all that you do is a good step and could be helpful to show that she’s not capable of managing on her own.

Do you think that your mother is unaware of being unable to live independently? I know my mother felt shame about no longer being capable of taking care of herself, since she was so proud of her independence.

Really, if you called her bluff, not that you’d want to do that, and said, “OK Mom, you don’t like me or appreciate my help. I’m done. You can figure it out for yourself,”  that would likely strike fear deep in her heart. She needs you. She knows that, and probably is very angry about it.





 



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« Reply #34 on: January 12, 2022, 03:01:17 PM »

This thread is incredible.

So, I've set up a diary to record the date, the time and duration, the place (eg her house, the bank, the doctors office), what we did

It's only the second day, and we're already shocked.  We're already up to 10 hours 

I think we need to assess if we need to withdraw some of what we are doing.  The consequence of this is terrifying. But, as long as we are giving the level of support we give, the system sees her as managing quite well because she has resources and knows how to use them.  If she can do that, she has capacity, which means she can refuse public health supports.

I also had to ask myself, "what am I most afraid of with my mom"?

Answer: after everything I've done to support her my entire life and all that I've invested into the relationship, I'm afraid of complete and total rejection by her (and her vengeful words of projection that I have heard so many times).  I don't want to be rejected by my mother.  I think that's it, but I'm not totally sure if that's it.


M, just want to lift up the hard work you're doing here. Wow.

I don't have much to add, just want to say heartfelt thanks to all who have shared. If nothing else, we can share a blanket in the cold and let each other know we're not alone.  With affection (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2022, 06:15:47 PM »

Agree that this is a good thread!

Methuen, I think you have had a lot of great advice and only have bits and perhaps tangentials to share.  One thing that strikes me as I read posts here and in your thread is some of the self messaging that happens.  One of the best things I ever did to help aid in differentiation from my mom and, more importantly, help my own coping ability, was to change the words I used to describe my feelings.  Now I am not talking about when venting and trying to get to the bottom of a particular issue in therapy or with your husband etc, but rather, those words we use to describe *to us* the difficulties we have in interacting.  Phrases like "I can't deal with this" or "she is manipulating me" or anything like that *that I say to myself about my own abilities* were disempowering and emotionally crippling for me.  Re-frame your reality to one that is more empowering.  Change your language and change your thoughts?!  

I guess what I am saying is to stop using  emotionally inflammatory or disempowering self talk when dealing with these issues.

Rather than focus on the fact that you *have to* take care of your mom (or whatever else) change it up to, for example, "I choose to do this as it is a reflection of the person I am and the person I want to be".  The first is self-defeating, the second is more empowering, and I think more accurate to you.  

At the same time, working through your fear of your mom (great insight there) and her reactions will be tough but vital.   To me, it seems like separation of self is what is needed here.  She can get angry, stop talking to you, disown you, etc and you *will* survive it.  It will be sad and hard and very uncomfortable but you will survive with hard work on changing your self talk language, and radical acceptance.  We can't do much about our family members enmeshment with us until we get control of our part in the enmeshment.  Trained from birth or not, we do have the power to change.  

Will it work 100%?  No, especially not if you think you will not feel sad, angry, hurt, etc.  I can't say for sure but your T might have been getting at that point when she said there are no good solutions.  Lots of times, that is a true statement and that is where radical acceptance comes in.  My T's have said it to me time and again.  Same thing here on the board.  It is true.  Maybe not what we want to hear but accurate.

Your mom is who she is.  Chances of her changing are nil, yet it seems, to me, that there is still some hope there inside you.  Perhaps hope that she will see you as you are, the person worthy of respect, love, appreciation, etc when you do these things for her.  It will not happen (well, chances are extremely low).  She will continue to be who she is, along with even more changes due to dementia, making things even more difficult.  We can't change things up until we accept this.  That does not man being a doormat, accepting abuse or anything like that.  That is NOT what I am talking about here.  I simply say to focus on you, your well being and health.  That may mean no contact for a while or forever, or very limited contact or controlled contact.  The choice is yours.  You have the power to choose just as she has her own power to choose how she responds.  Her choice is on her, not you.

My mom disowned me when I first "abandoned" her by moving out of the family home at around the age of 38.  It was devastating but I survived it.  Took a good year and a half to stop dissociating about it (and i mean all day long dissociation).  Part of what helped was to tap into my anger, not to blast her or tell her off (tho that did happen on occasion) but rather to take that anger, hurt, resentment and put it into a more workable bundle.  It helped me focus on what was right for me.  

Her actions are her choice.  Yes they can hurt but we survived worse with far less skills and maturity right?  We can do this.

I have seen you grow over your time here and have been cheering you on.  Lets change things up a bit.   Virtual hug (click to insert in post)

Just in case none of this applies or resonates, disregard.  Just some random thoughts here.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2022, 06:22:31 PM by Harri » Logged

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« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2022, 11:49:27 PM »

I am beginning to understand much better how the biggest challenge that we face as adult children of BPD mothers is not boundaries; it’s separating from our mothers, like Harri alluded to. More accurately: it’s the prospect of separating which causes us anticipatory anxiety.

The following article, even though it’s about fear of flying, explains the issue better than anything else I have ever read about this topic. Paragraph header (click to insert in post) It’s a difficult read but the good news is that this issue can be overcome. Here’s an excerpt:

But anticipatory anxiety remains a challenge, for the very thought of doing something independently causes a replay of rejection by the mother—beginning at 18 months, but no doubt lasting throughout childhood, and extending into the present—and that powerfully remembered rejection and abandonment of his real self causes the person to experience, or go to the edge of experiencing, almost unbearable distress.

As this almost unbearable distress descends upon the person who is trying to operate as an individual, he is likely to abandon his attempt to operate as an individual...


https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/conquer-fear-flying/201312/borderline-personality-disorder-and-anticipatory-anxiety
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« Reply #37 on: January 13, 2022, 12:47:10 AM »

What Harri has written below really resonated with me in terms of where I am at at the moment in trying to separate and make peace with the possibilities that I can and will walk away if it all gets too much. What that might look like and feel like for me to press the big red button. I also agree with Harri about the self talk and keeping it strong and focus on your strength "I can do this, I am a survivor". I had a triggering call with my mother yesterday but rather than become tearful (old response) I felt pissed off and decide it will not ruin my day. I know all this is easily said but you are deeply involved with your Mum right now but I think the work is to start pulling out and start delegating chores and disappointing her. What would happen if all your family weren't available to clear the drive of snow? How would that be made to happen otherwise?

Excerpt
At the same time, working through your fear of your mom (great insight there) and her reactions will be tough but vital.   To me, it seems like separation of self is what is needed here.  She can get angry, stop talking to you, disown you, etc and you *will* survive it.  It will be sad and hard and very uncomfortable but you will survive with hard work on changing your self talk language, and radical acceptance.  We can't do much about our family members enmeshment with us until we get control of our part in the enmeshment.  Trained from birth or not, we do have the power to change.  
« Last Edit: January 13, 2022, 12:58:37 AM by Goldcrest » Logged
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« Reply #38 on: January 13, 2022, 12:58:09 AM »

Couscous, that article is brilliant. Gosh that all makes sense. The things I have cancelled in my life or avoided because I just felt too terrified at the eleventh hour to do them.
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zachira
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« Reply #39 on: January 13, 2022, 10:28:17 AM »

Couscous,
Thank you for another great article!
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« Reply #40 on: January 13, 2022, 11:08:44 AM »

Thank you for the article Couscous !

I thought of my brother a lot reading that... And then I had flashbacks of the time just before I met my husband. I spent one year living by myself in an apartment before I met him, and I was a big emotional mess. I remember once after some guy rejected me, that I literally sweat blood as I was having a huge emotional meltdown.

I was uncomfortable going to the grocery store by myself. Anything that I had to do by myself, going to the gym, etc. came with so much stress and anxiety, and it took an incredible amount of willpower. I ended up smoking pot, a lot, to decrease my anxiety. And running... Running close to 50km a week, 10km a night. Just running to get that big endorphine rush and tire myself out to stop the thinking. 

It's scary to admit it but, sometimes I wonder if I didn't just fill myself with the strength of my husband. And if he was to ever leave me, would I just revert back to the old me? 

I sometimes feel my sense of self is still lacking. I wonder if I will ever be able to fill myself... By myself.

I don't mean to rob your post here Methuen ! Just a lot to thought on. It makes sense that being rejected for being who we are would lead to a poor sense of self. And a poor sense of self would generate anxiety when needing to do things independantly, because we might tend to fill ourselves with the ideas and emotions of the people around us as opposed to filling ourselves with ourselves. Which explains, for me, my feeling scared of being close to uBPDm (because it means I fill myself of her), of feeling scared of cutting her off (I don't think I know who I really am without my husband).

Maybe the road to find ourselves and truly heal is to really accept our fear and move past it by finally truly owning who we are and to accept the inevitable rejection from our uBPDm ? And be at peace with it.
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« Reply #41 on: January 14, 2022, 07:53:56 PM »

Even my accomplishments, she made her own by saying she must have been a good mother"
My mom has said the exact same thing, many times.  It's just freaky how our BPD mother's are like a cookie cut from the same flawed cutter.

I want to cut her off, but I can't, because I know she hurt, and I just can't close my eyes to that pain she carries with her. I am scared of what I will become if I cut her off, and I am scared of what I become when we are in constant relationship. It's like... I can't be myself, no matter the option. So hard boundaries seem the lesser evil. And distance.

My last in-person contact with her was a week ago.  There's still been a couple of phone calls regarding medical appointments, and texts, but not seeing her has helped me to feel a little safer.  So, like you say...distance.

I am slowly working my way out of needing the family's love and approval I will never get
Yeah.  When you stop and think about it, what a thing to have to do right?  I believed I had come to grips with not needing her love.  I've grieved it and moved on. I have "radically accepted" her for who she is. I have a lot of compassion for her because of the abuse she grew up with.  So accepting her, and having compassion, that part is good.  The problem though is that I am still figuring out how to detach from her emotionally, so that the things she says and does don't hurt.  Anyone figured that out?  Please help Paragraph header  (click to insert in post)  Zachira, you must be an incredibly strong person, because not only have you had to work on this with your mother, but also siblings.  And still you plod on, and and keep moving forward, even if it is slower than you want it to be.  What incredible resilience you must have from all this.  Thanks for your encouraging words.  You are an amazing reflective listener.

One thing that strikes me as I read posts here and in your thread is some of the self messaging that happens.  One of the best things I ever did to help aid in differentiation from my mom and, more importantly, help my own coping ability, was to change the words I used to describe my feelings... those words we use to describe *to us* the difficulties we have in interacting.  Phrases like "I can't deal with this" or "she is manipulating me" or anything like that *that I say to myself about my own abilities* were disempowering and emotionally crippling for me.  Re-frame your reality to one that is more empowering.  Change your language and change your thoughts?!  Rather than focus on the fact that you *have to* take care of your mom (or whatever else) change it up to, for example, "I choose to do this as it is a reflection of the person I am and the person I want to be".  The first is self-defeating, the second is more empowering, and I think more accurate to you.  
I had to sit with this for a day.  I have to agree this is something a lot of us probably need to work on, and I'm guessing working on this should help us stop feeling like a "victim" of our mother's BPD...?  Thanks for entering the discussion, and making this point.  I needed to hear it, because I have clearly become "stuck".  If I work on changing my thoughts, maybe I can become "unstuck" and move forward.  This is sounding like I need a whole paradigm shift...

So instead of "I am trapped by my duty as a daughter to look after her insatiable and intense  and infinite and continually growing needs" (my truth), I should think/say:...  "I choose to be involved in mom's caregiving because that is who I am, but I am learning that I also need to look after myself,  and not only her"...?  I think that could work for me. It does feel more more empowering, and also includes a solution.  Let me know if that's not quite what you meant.

At the same time, working through your fear of your mom (great insight there) and her reactions will be tough but vital.   To me, it seems like separation of self is what is needed here.  She can get angry, stop talking to you, disown you, etc and you *will* survive it.  It will be sad and hard and very uncomfortable but you will survive with hard work on changing your self talk language, and radical acceptance.  We can't do much about our family members enmeshment with us until we get control of our part in the enmeshment.  Trained from birth or not, we do have the power to change.  
OK...I think I've separated my "self" from my mom quite successfully in all respects except for the emotions.  I know who I am, and what I like, and have my own belief system yada yada yada, but she still has a tight hold on my emotions.  For example, when I was recently away on winter vacation in a warm climate, she texted me the following:  "I am out of groceries".
Here are the facts:  1) She is weak and can't walk through the grocery store holding onto a cart anymore 2) She failed her driver's medical and can't drive any more 3) I do her grocery shopping 4) I don't mind doing her grocery shopping 5) She knew I was about 5000 miles away and couldn't shop for her groceries 6) She had enough groceries in her house to last her many weeks beyond my return from holiday 7) When I got back, her fridge was still full of the food I had purchased for her

So when I received that text while I was on a beach on holidays, I had an emotional reaction. What was her "intention" for sending it?   So, how do I separate from her emotionally so that I can stop having these negative reactions to her behaviors?  My reactions to her language and behaviors is a big problem for me.  So to Harri's point about "changing your thoughts and language", what would be empowering language to use after receiving that text from her, and better than my words at the time which were "why did she send me this now?" and my emotional reaction of being very irritated and frustrated?  I never ever replied to that text.  I  went for a swim in the ocean, and enjoyed the people I was with at the time. But it frustrated me then, and it still frustrates me now.  So, I have individuated from her, with the exception of emotions.

Chances of her changing are nil, yet it seems, to me, that there is still some hope there inside you.  Perhaps hope that she will see you as you are, the person worthy of respect, love, appreciation, etc when you do these things for her.  I simply say to focus on you, your well being and health.  That may mean no contact for a while or forever, or very limited contact or controlled contact.  The choice is yours.  You have the power to choose just as she has her own power to choose how she responds.  Her choice is on her, not you.
I have a confession.  Up to now I believed that changing my way of communicating and interacting with her (using validating questions, using SET, not JADEing, setting boundaries etc) would change the conflict (which it has), and make things better between her and I (which it has) but, something is still wrong. I have burned myself out and am not "well".  Her behavior has not changed.  In some ways it has intensified.  So, your quote above has helped me to see that what I have to do, "is less" for her.  In supporting her to live independently (which I was motivated to do because it was a more palatable option than living with us), I opened myself up to too much contact with her.  These days her medical needs are so intense, that I am doubting that I have it to even transport her to all her appointments, much less do her grocery shopping, her online purchases for underwear, changing her light bulbs etc.  

So I need to start "doing less" for her, to take care of myself.  Wow.  I just saw the balance beam make a shift with the weight change there.

For this to happen, I have to be OK with whatever reaction she has to that change in support.  And there it is.  

So, how do I tell her?  "Mom, we are tired and I am unwell.  I need more time to take care of myself, so I won't be able to take you to every appointment anymore.  Who else can you ask to help you?"  

Thoughts?  Feedback?






« Last Edit: January 14, 2022, 08:01:18 PM by Methuen » Logged
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« Reply #42 on: January 14, 2022, 09:45:53 PM »

I don't think you have to avoid feeling hurt and/or angry when your mother mistreats you. Of course, it hurts and stuffing your feelings, becoming indifferent, can lead to the feelings becoming overwhelming. From my perspective, the key is to not become emotionally overwhelmed by how your mother mistreats you, while acknowledging your feelings and processing them in small doses. I meditate nearly every day so no feeling stays with me too long before I become overwhelmed by it. I also try to move as much as I can all the parts of my body so I do not store up uncomfortable feelings. Clearly you fear your mother's reactions which could be pretty over the top when she realizes you will be doing less from now on. I would skip most of the explaining as your mother has no interest in your feelings and give her the most basic information, like so and so is coming to do ____ for you at such and such a time and date. If your mother objects, you can say something like: well I guess you won't be getting _____done as I have done everything to make this happen. I know it feels terrible to say these things and it can help to try to remind yourself that the healthy boundaries you are setting with your mother are for your benefit and hers.
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« Reply #43 on: January 15, 2022, 04:23:09 AM »

I agree with Zachira.

Validation only seems to work when it is crisis mode.

If it's not crisis mode, then I would also keep it simple and direct as well. She sees your as a mother, so use a mother tone. Calm and firm.   Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post)

In the end though : you know her best. And you also need to be at peace with your own words, i.e. express yourself in ways you need to express yourself.  We all have things we need to say. Once you've said it, with no blame and an intent of helping both you and her, then you can let go. And it is easier to let go if you are at peace with your words. So if it means telling her you are tired, then say it.  Say whatever YOU need to say to be at peace with the whole thing.

I also agree that I don't think we can completely stop reacting emotionally, however, maybe we can react less longer...
« Last Edit: January 15, 2022, 04:28:51 AM by Riv3rW0lf » Logged
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« Reply #44 on: January 15, 2022, 10:18:42 AM »

Also an only child (my sister died of breast cancer over 33 years ago at a young age), I went into my mother's care in her final years with the attitude of "I choose to care for Mom in my home because that is important to me and my values." Without my husband and a 5x a week caregiver, I could not have done it. I had help with driving, shopping, her personal care.

That attitude of being true to your values is critical. It kept me on track and sane during some rough days.

I don't know how NOT to be hurt at BPD behaviors aimed at us. My mom, even with her few BPD traits, used silent treatment to cope with her hurt and anger and frustration at the restrictions of her aging conditions -- those were the tough times, when I had to tell her she couldn't do something she was used to doing, or when I had to talk with her about something that embarrassed her (the toilet seat). The loss of control was so difficult for her.

But the silent treatment sent me back to a child not understanding what I had done or said to make her angry. I hated it. My husband and I had an agreement that we would ignore her silent treatments and conduct our household interactions as if she were not "punishing us." So if she didn't reply to an announcement of what was for dinner, H would wait a few seconds and cheerfully say, "Okay, I guess that's good!" Eventually, she'd work her way out of it.

I think imagining her as a recalcitrant preschooler is what got us through that -- we treated her as we would have our children at that age. No way was she going to run our household with her silent treatments.

But I never got verbal abuse (probably because her issue was NOT being able to handle anger, so she stuffed it and used the silent treatment).  How do you -- or do you -- imagine your mother when she begins her verbal abuse? Perhaps some visualization could help you distance your emotions from what looks like your mother but is acting like a ____________.

I also wanted to mention that your mother's care team might be able to give you some info and indication of what to expect when the dementia reaches a more critical stage. The first time my mother did not recognize me broke my heart. The first time she hallucinated scared me. I had not been prepared -- but the hospice nurses quickly got me up to speed and got the right medications. You might need to make decisions at some point that your mother is no longer capable of participating in making -- some help from her doctors on what those markers are would be helpful.

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« Reply #45 on: January 15, 2022, 11:54:45 AM »

I sure dealt with my mother’s verbal abuse beginning when I was an adolescent, and lasting until her dementia overtook her personality.

Some of the things she said to me when I was a young adult are still so firmly etched in my memory that I can recall specific details of the setting, the weather, the exact words she used, etc. It was really wounding to me at the time and remained so for years.

When I moved her 600 miles closer to me so that I could look after her, I had to change how vulnerable I was to her abusive words. I distanced myself emotionally, thinking that I had this job of caring for this old cranky lady who said nasty things. Lots of times I felt amusement instead of vulnerability and hurt.

I remember one time she not only said abusive things to me, she lunged at me, trying to attack me physically. It was after she had locked herself out of her house and used a knife to break into the house through the door from the garage. She broke the door and had taped it back together.

I determined that I needed to buy a new door, since it was splintered around the lock set, and wouldn’t be able to be securely locked. She went ballistic, accused me of wasting money, and then tried to attack me.

At the time, it seemed surreal, but later, I found humor in it when I relayed it to a contractor friend who was going to be the one to install the new door. He was worried that she would attack him too.  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

The door installation went smoothly. She was polite to him. I now have the old door as a table in my basement in the workshop. The basement cat has her kitty bed there and can look out the window.

I guess the upshot of this long winded story is that the mother I knew as a child and young person was not the mother I ended up caring for in her elder years. She had no power over me, unless I let her, and I was damned if I was going to let her pull her shenanigans on me now that I was an independent adult.
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« Reply #46 on: January 15, 2022, 02:27:35 PM »

Excerpt
I have "radically accepted" her for who she is. I have a lot of compassion for her because of the abuse she grew up with.  So accepting her, and having compassion, that part is good.

My two cents in this which may not apply to you at all, is that I think that sometimes we want to jump ahead to acceptance prematurely, and that this is sneaky way for us to avoid really holding our mothers accountable for their actions. My T is actually trying to help me feel a little less compassion for my mother and whole lot more for myself.

Excerpt
The problem though is that I am still figuring out how to detach from her emotionally, so that the things she says and does don't hurt.  Anyone figured that out?

I think that inner child or parts work are probably the best approaches for reducing childhood wounds, but that’s a longer term thing. For things that you can implement immediately there are quite a few techniques for lessening the impact of a parent’s hurtful behavior in Children of the Self-Absorbed. There is also an interesting checklist that can help you determine to what degree you have achieved psychological separation.





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« Reply #47 on: January 15, 2022, 05:12:10 PM »

So when I received that text while I was on a beach on holidays, I had an emotional reaction. What was her "intention" for sending it?   So, how do I separate from her emotionally so that I can stop having these negative reactions to her behaviors?  My reactions to her language and behaviors is a big problem for me.  So to Harri's point about "changing your thoughts and language", what would be empowering language to use after receiving that text from her, and better than my words at the time which were "why did she send me this now?" and my emotional reaction of being very irritated and frustrated?  

One of the strategies I've used is to view my mom's behaviors as an observer.  I use what I call a 'field study' technique.  I think of it like going out to watch wildlife and making notes of what you see.  So, for example, if I go out of town, it is likely my mom will contact me with some need or problem.  So when it happens, I note the behavior, and will think, "oh, there it is, attempt to get my attention since I'm away."  I try not to analyze it.  It has helped me not get so emotional and remain more neutral to her communications.  She's still really frustrating, but this helps me move through it a little faster.   
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« Reply #48 on: January 15, 2022, 07:47:41 PM »

The problem though is that I am still figuring out how to detach from her emotionally, so that the things she says and does don't hurt.  Anyone figured that out?  

I don't think we get to the point where it doesn't hurt - I think it can get to where is doesn't feel as personal once we realize the person who says it has a mental disorder. I think we can change how long the hurt feelings last for us, but to not feel any hurt, I don't think that is entirely possible.

When my mother says hurtful things, she has chosen them to be hurtful and she knows that bringing up certain things to me is hurtful and she chooses them.

However, I have stopped trying to get her approval. I wanted my father's approval and tried for that so long as I had a chance to try. But he dismissed my attempts. People tell me that he didn't mean it, that he was not thinking because he was sick before he died, but I don't know for certain.  My mother, at the time, was angry at me, cold and hurtful. I had hoped she might have some empathy for her children who had just lost a father, but that is not who she is. I try to be a good person to her to the extent I can manage- because of my own values but I have no expectations for how she responds to that.
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« Reply #49 on: January 16, 2022, 02:25:59 AM »

Thanks for the suggestions.   Lots of ideas there for me to think about and try.  

So one of the appointments I took mom to recently was to see a specialist about her Parkinsons.  He prescribed Cinimet to counter the shaking so that she could manage every day tasks easier and maybe be able to do some hobbies again.  He started her on the lowest dose, and only half of that.  She agreed to try it.  It was the only medication suitable to try because of her history.  

I delivered her meds to her.

She has decided she doesn’t want  to take them.  
I suspect she’s in denial about her Parkinsons.  She calls her shakng a result of “old age”.

Her choice.  

I suspect she likes the attention of being picked up and ferried to her appointments, and getting attention from the doctors.  But she doesn’t like what they are telling her, so she ignores their advice.  This is becoming a pattern, and seems like a waste of everybody’s time.

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2022, 02:34:39 AM by Methuen » Logged
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« Reply #50 on: January 16, 2022, 04:59:03 AM »

I recall at my college graduation, we were walking around campus and my mother complained about being thirsty. So I went into a campus snack area and asked for some water. (bottled water wasn't a thing then) and they gave me a cup of water for her.

I handed her the cup of water. She looked at it and said in a dissatisfied voice " I changed my mind, I don't want it anymore" and dumped it on the ground.

I wouldn't have remembered this incidence if it wasn't hurtful. It was my graduation. Somehow we remember events at milestones like this.

It didn't occur to me that if she was thirsty, she could get her own water, but we were so used to taking care of her, to serving her, that this was what we did.

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« Reply #51 on: January 16, 2022, 09:14:18 AM »

Methuen, that's another piece of information to be shared with all her medical team -- "purposely non-compliant with meds." All of these bits add up to a true picture of her situation, which of course she's trying to hide.
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« Reply #52 on: January 16, 2022, 10:38:32 AM »

Methuen,
It really does makes sense that a person with BPD would thrive on all the attention due to their medical problems and would not be motivated to comply with taking medication or whatever would help them to get better. My aunt apparently faked being suddenly ill at a holiday gathering and the emergency responders, all volunteers, had to come. My cousin was furious at her mother for wasting people's time this way, especially on an important national holiday. It does seem like you are working on not rewarding or reinforcing your mother's manipulation of others to get more attention for herself, to not feel so abandoned.
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« Reply #53 on: January 16, 2022, 11:16:19 AM »

I agree that reporting non compliance helps. I think it has to be looked at in the grand scheme of things. My mother is not compliant with some of her meds. They sent a nurse to help her organize them into daily doses in a pill container but she let them do it and then said she's going to organize them the way she wants. However, she still qualifies as mentally competent. She's quite aware of where she is, current events. She's also able to take care of her personal needs- bathing, dressing, eating. However, non compliance in addition to not being able to do other things is a factor. Methuen, I think your mother needs more assistance with daily tasks than mine does.
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« Reply #54 on: January 16, 2022, 11:18:08 AM »

It didn't occur to me that if she was thirsty, she could get her own water, but we were so used to taking care of her, to serving her, that this was what we did.
This hit home.  

It also fits with my mother’s need to have me be her mother, and have her needs met. I am wondering if perhaps I have become a carer to her as currency for her approval.  I have been  in the field of “helping professional” my whole life, so it just fit with my values to help my own mother as she aged, and her numerous health conditions resulted in her needing more support.  

Like NW said, when she said she was thirsty, she ran to get her a glass of water.  On the other hand, H and I recognized what was happening and instituted a policy for ourselves of not doing what she could do for herself.  If she wanted us to do something which she was capable of doing herself, we simply told her she could do it.  Occasionally we would stay with her to ensure things didn’t go awry eg dr appts.  Despite our “policy” the level of care for her has increased.

The advancement of the Parkinsons has complicated our policy, because of the severity of its symptoms.  She even avoids phone calls now because she can’t get her words out.  So I always assist with her important calls- like her doctor appointments ( if by phone instead of in person). She drops her pills and can’t pick them up because of mobility issues.  She cant feed herself with her right hand anymore, and uses her left instead (which doesn’t shake - yet).  The Parkinsons is a game changer.

However , her recent refusal to take meds for her Parkinsons symptoms is interesting.  She says they make her dizzy/nautious.  But last week she said it was her eye drops making her dizzy/nautious.  The week before that she acknowledged to her Dr that her dizziness and nausea was a result of anxiety.   Her med for that was increased.

I have “taken the week off from mother”.   She thinks it is because I have been nursing a bad back ( which is true and started when I had to shovel snow to transport her to the Parkinsons specialist).  The “week off” has been good for me.  But I am still struggling with what I will eventually have to tell her to maintain lower contact.  

“I need more time to look after myself and pursue my own interests”?  We all know what she will say to that.  

So, just not care what she says  and indulge “ my inner narcissist “?
« Last Edit: January 16, 2022, 11:24:54 AM by Methuen » Logged
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« Reply #55 on: January 16, 2022, 11:35:19 AM »

Regarding her non-compliance of taking her meds, I reported that two days ago.  The response?  If she doesn’t want to take it, there is nothing we can do. 

I just keep passing on the info to her care providers (family doctor and the elderly care consultant who will be doing her assessment) and articulated that I am burned out, and is it possible to get services to support her? 

The catch is that she has to agree to said services, which she doesn’t want.

She wants us and her friends to do everything.  Her friends are also in the 80’s and 90’s. 

It appears we are in a position where we have to just let her struggle and fail. She will feel abandoned.
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« Reply #56 on: January 16, 2022, 11:42:50 AM »

I have become a carer to her as currency for her approval.

That has been the currency in my family. Our worth was contingent on how we could serve our mother's needs. I agree it also probably has been a component of our other relationships and career choices. However, I also think women have traditionally entered the caring professions- teaching, nursing, social work- these fields are predominantly female so that is also a cultural influence.
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« Reply #57 on: January 16, 2022, 11:46:40 AM »

“I need more time to look after myself and pursue my own interests”?  We all know what she will say to that. 

So, just not care what she says  and indulge “ my inner narcissist “?


Yup. Perhaps rather than going into such detail, say, “I’m busy, Mom. I can be there ________day.”

The biggest issue I see here is you letting go of your need for her approval, as well as worrying about your integrity as a caring daughter.

You’ve got the second covered. The approval is the biggie.
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« Reply #58 on: January 16, 2022, 12:06:57 PM »

NW - good observation on the cultural influences.  These were the careers that were acceptable for women to enter, and where there were fewer barriers, and more opportunities.

Cat Fam - thanks.  I think that is what I needed to hear.
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« Reply #59 on: January 16, 2022, 12:14:11 PM »

As Cat indicates, the less detail explanation, the better. As with communicating with divorced co-parents, use BIFF -- Brief, Informational, Friendly, Firm.

As much as possible, you can communicate the positive of what you can do, rather than outright refusals.

"Mom, this week I can do a grocery run, Run a few loads of laundry, and take you to your appointment on Thursday."

"But....but....but..."

"You'll need to make other arrangements for that. This is what I can do this week."

"...[escalating protests and an insult]..."

"Bye, Mom."
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