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Author Topic: My daughter abandoned me when I got cancer  (Read 316 times)
Bbyro

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 3


« on: December 07, 2022, 11:17:00 AM »

My 25 year old dd has numerous mental health diagnoses including bipolar and Asperger’s but nothing really sits clearly. Reading here about BPD is a huge lightbulb moment for me!

With short periods of calm she is lovely and high achiever (although self absorbed). But any obstacles lead to off the scale rage (always to me) as everything is my fault. Also periods of terrible depression, crippling anxiety and self loathing. Raising her has been absolutely exhausting but I’ve done everything I can to be the best mum I can.

This February I was diagnosed with breast cancer and was very sick indeed. My daughter responded with a rage - saying that she has no mental health problems as it’s all due to the trauma of me being a terrible mother etc. other than angry messages she has not wanted any contact with me since my diagnosis. I made the big mistake of sending a present for her birthday to remind her of my unconditional love and didn’t realise that anything that reminds her of me triggers the anger.

Now I’ve read a little about BPD I’m starting to think that maybe me getting cancer and at risk of dying could have triggered a fear of abandonment?’That would really make sense to me. Her father abandoned us when she was a baby but she now lives with him and absolutely adores him. I am grateful for this although I suspect he fuels her antipathy to me.

Since my cancer diagnosis I have been unable to stop thinking about my girl and how much I miss her. She believed I wronged her by getting her mental health support as a child and I haven’t been able to find peace in my heart which is affecting my recovery. Finding this website gives me a little hope in the form of a frame of reference to understanding my DD’s behaviour to me at the most frightening and vulnerable time of my life.

I’d always been strong and seeing me so ill and weak may have been very hate and fear inducing. I’m looking to understand her not judge her. Just reaching out for support really.

Since breaking contact with me she is apparently doing really well so i must be grateful for that but it really hurts.
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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 #1 on: December 08, 2022, 04:27:32 AM »

Hi Robbie97 and welcome to the family here. I think you are describing a very typical bpd response when you describe your daughter's reaction to your awful news.

BPD seems to have some elements of Asperges -the inability to see things from the point of view of the other person (it's always 'what about me?) It also looks like rapid cycling bipolar at times. But your daughter's reaction to your news is so typical of BPD.

Yes the instant reaction is anxiety/fear which quickly turns to intense abandonment. One of the things I find most difficult with my dd is the inability to discuss anything at all that might raise her anxiety level. As soon as I start she becomes abusive.

This is so frustrating and exhausting. I can even understand the response to the gift in terms of bpd, because anything that brings the fact of your health to the front of her mind would trigger abandonment and then anger.

In these situations it is so painful - even hearing they are doing well (though I doubt things are as rosy as presented) can be hurtful. It's like you have poured all your energy into supporting your child then - bingo! - you are air brushed out of the picture.

But just a couple of things that come to mind:

The first is not to take to heart your dd's framing that you have caused all the problems. This is BPD! They will focus on one person - it seems to be the one person that they rely on most - and that person is the cause of all the pain and they are to blame because they didn't 'fix' it.

So the mantra of the 3 Cs is helpful - I didn't cause it, I can't control it, I can't cure it.

The first time my dd moved out of my life I was so anxious, upset and worried. After a few times, I decided that I needed to use that time to regroup, look after myself a bit etc so that I would have some energy for the next crisis.

I know the gap in your life is very painful, but I can't imagine dealing with the cancer at the same time as dealing with those abusive outbursts.

You have done everything you possibly can for your dd and it sounds as though you have done well.
Your dd is safe and coping at least okay and has the support of her dad.
Now take hold of that space to nurture yourself, breathe in and value yourself and the days that you have, so that you can give overcoming the cancer your best shot.

When you feel sad about dd, send some loving thoughts her way, keep your heart positive that this is a time given to you to focus on yourself and your healing. Be very kind to yourself and most of all I think, appreciate that fact that you have been the best mom to your daughter - you have given everything that you could.

Now a little time to focus on you . . . .




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Bbyro

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 3


« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2022, 07:08:42 AM »

Thank you sooo much. I cannot tell you how reassuring your words are to me. Making that BPD connection is a game changer. My daughter can be quite manipulative and Will fabricate medical conditions to add stress and drama to life, so I never really know what’s real. Despite her bipolar diagnosis I’ve never seen her have a manic episode, although I know mania can show as rage. At the moment my maternal gut instinct is saying BPD and understand the abandonment/diagnosis connection is so helpful and helps me take her blaming words less personally. Everyone tells me to forget about my girl and focus on healing. I’m trying! But I find myself thinking about my dd all the time. Hopefully now I have a better understanding it will be easier to put her emotionally to one side.
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Sancho
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« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2022, 10:09:04 PM »

Hi Robbie97
Manipulation is another big part of the BPD puzzle and I am so glad you are making connections. It is much better once you understand that all these weird symptoms and signs are part of a particular disorder. Manipulation is one reason historically - and also in the present time - why people with BPD where not treated well by the medical profession.

I think there are two points about manipulation: one is that it is part of attention seeking in order to avoid the abandonment feeling (my dd said once as a teenager 'if I don't get attention I feel like I am going to die).

The other point is that the term 'borderline' refers to the fact that the person can be on the edge of psychosis - so that they actually do think many things are real, have actually happened etc.

I don't think it is helpful or possible to 'forget' about your dd. You have given everything for 25 years and the love of a child can't be just pushed aside.

Supporting a bpd child though takes all our energy and focus - so there is a huge gap when the child is not there and the gap fills with sadness and a feeling of loss.

I think it is better to see the space as a time to focus on your health, but to hold the love you have for your daughter in your heart and mind at the same time. Sending loving thoughts to your dd, holding hope in your heart that you will reconnect, resting your body and mind and doing what you need to do to cope with the cancer.
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Tanager

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
Relationship status: Assisting with treatment
Posts: 35


« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2022, 06:17:11 PM »

Hi Robbie97,
I relate to your pain involving your daughter and her reaction to your cancer diagnosis.  Last summer my daughter (same age as yours) called as I walked into the house after a 250 mile round trip for  emergency dental surgery.  After I explained the situation there was a short silence, then "Put Luna on the phone. I want to talk to her." Luna is her dog, that we have been taking care of long-term.   Similarly, my husband has just completed two difficult months of cancer therapy. Again, very little expression of concern from our daughter.

I have experienced different emotions concerning my daughter's lack of empathy including shock, hurt, and resentment. After all, we have dropped everything and driven hundreds of miles to help her through crises more times than I can count. Like so many parents we have done our very best for our kids. We don't expect undying gratitude, but a simple "I hope you feel better," would mean the world.

The last months have reinforced the importance of caring for our own health. We are getting older, too. The constant turmoil and crises have taken their toll.  Our daughter has been living in a distant city for most of the year, getting help and hopefully moving forward .  The distance has facilitated some healthy detachment and calm. I have been  feeling acceptance rather than hurt.

Sancho has offered insight and advice.  I wish you a good recovery and peace. Take care of yourself.


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Bbyro

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 3


« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2022, 04:24:41 AM »

Omg Sancho, what you say is sooo helpful. Especially about borderline being on edge of psychosis! She has told me many times she hears voices, although her current narrative is that she has never had a mental illness and that it was all fabricated by me to humiliate her.  I’ve actually been taking this seriously and wondering if getting her mental health support does make me a bad mum. Knowing about the psychosis helps me detach from these false narratives and hopefully be kinder to myself.

The other thing I find triggering is the argument I have heard that Bpd is ‘caused’ by parents who do not validate their child’s feelings. I don’t think this is true in my case as I’m an extremely emotionally open person who encourages others to be emotionally present. But my daughter only shows two emotions, rage and anguish. This is another thing my dd accused me of, that her rage is due to me suppressing her emotions. I have s tendency to self blame (my mother has npd) so I’m pretty easy to guilt trip by someone wanting to dump blame my way! Please reassure me that this is genetic! If I have in any way ‘caused’ this I don’t think I can live with myself. Many family members including her dad and my brother show identificar tendencies.
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Sancho
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2022, 02:55:39 AM »

Hi Bbyro
If you are a person who takes what others say  to heart - as I used to be! - it is very difficult to be able to let the words of a bpd loved one go past you. But it is possible with lots of practice!

Also, when people post here, they are usually focused on their child with BPD. Sometimes though you will read a comment such as 'I have 3 other children and they are all well adjusted and coping well in their lives'.

When you think about these statements you can see that all four children have been parented by the same person, in the same way and in the same environment. Only one has developed BPD.

So the factors that come together in BPD are separate to parenting style or environmental factors.

When my dd first struggled and I was looking up information about BPD I came across a text called 'Biological unhappiness' by a doctor Leyland Heller. He is a GP who came across many patients with BPD and he is convinced the cause of the illness is in biological factors.

I think the emphasis here at BPD family is that while we do all we can for our bpd children (and getting help from mental health professionals is what anyone should do if they can) - we can only take responsibility for how we respond to the challenges bpd presents.

We didn't cause it, we can't control it, we can't cure it.
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