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Author Topic: Hello -new + need advice on balancing my emotional vs. daughter's needs  (Read 304 times)

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
Relationship status: on the verge of estranged
Posts: 16

« on: March 06, 2023, 03:30:12 PM »

My 25 yo adopted dd was just diagnosed with bpd ( in addition to cPTSD, pervasive depression and an eating disorder). After years of turmoil and chaos this is a blessing. She was dx with add in early childhood. She was provided support in as many ways as possible and she was stable until middle school. At that point things went downhill. Family life became increasingly toxic. At the beginning of her senior year ( 2014) I was diagnosed with breast cancer. When I described the behavior of dd and her dad on the day of my biopsy, all 3 of my physicians requested that I leave the home now. I had been planning on leaving once she made it through high school- but they felt the toxic environment would have a negative impact on my treatment and possible survival. The night after my biopsy she had an issue with friends and threatened suicide. Her friend's mother called me the next morning and informed me. I wanted to take her to the hospital but she and her Dad refused. Dd hit the wall that spring- ended up in a psychiatric facility (She and her Dad had no say: she threatened self harm at school and policy mandates an automatic trip to the hospital)- at that time bpd was brought up but they would not dx. her because of her age. Dd ended up in a therapeutic high school and for the years that followed there have been repetitive cycles or failing out of college, a stint in a CLE program, relationship difficulties, job difficulties, an abusive romantic relationship and increasing bouts of self harm.

A brief comment on me. When I made the decision to leave my marriage, I engaged in individual counseling.   At the end of my first session my therapist recommended I read "The Emotionally Abused Woman" . Well that was eye opening and explained many things. My mother most likely has BPD.  At this time she and I have very minimal contact.  I shielded my daughter from contact with her but my daughter is aware of her toxic behavior. I stayed in therapy for several years and though I learned much about my behavior patterns and made many changes there is still much more work to do.  Dd has lived on and off with both her Dad and I.  Early on I made it clear that to live with me meant both working and school part time or one or the other full time. There was much angst between us when she decided to move to a far away state and live with her bf and his parents- funded monthly by her Dad. I had made a point to insure she had a comfortable living space when I bought my 2 previous homes. When she chose to leave home (a parent's home) to live with her bf, I told her that she had now declared herself to be an independent adult. And that while she would always have a bed to sleep in, providing her a comfortable living space would no longer be a priority for me. ( i.e.- bedroom and individual living space). A few months ago after seeing my new home ,dd indirectly felt me out about the possibility of moving back in with me. I told her that while I would love to have her living nearby and be able to do things together, before I died I needed to see that she was self sufficient. That it would be possible only if it was temporary such as while she was in the process to get her own place.  She currently lives with her Dad, his gf  and the gf's 2 college age children.

She is currently enrolled in an intensive program- initially she was just going to have a thorough evaluation and diagnosis but has stayed for 2 rounds of 28 days that have included multiple types of therapies. She is scheduled to transfer to a long term residential young women's program in about 1 1/2 weeks.  There has been a lot of discussion and fretting about how the transfer will take place. There is a schedule gap in between discharge from one and admission to the other. She had permission to take her car although she would not be permitted to drive it until later in the program so wants to drive her car.  Her mental health team wants a family member to accompany her however she was traveling to get there.   I try to give her space and limit talking on the phone to about once a week. When 8 days went by I called her. Usually when she doesn't answer I hear the "user does not have voice mail set up". This time I heard "phone is not available".  I reached out to her clinical coordinator (cc), explained that I was trying to give her space but wanted to know that she was ok. I also laid out some options as to how I could assist with the transfer. ( I have just moved to a new state, and need overnight care for my elderly Golden- ). The cc told me that dd was trying to be as independent as possible and had made the decision to fly directly to the residential program. I texted dd, told her I had spoken with her cc and thought she had made a very smart decision. And that while I had commitments that evening and the next, it would great to chat with her if she was up for it. Dd responded with a text of many hearts and said she had been in a bad mood, didn't have her phone but she would definitely be up to talk the next night. The next night she did not answer her phone. I texted her "I tried to call but gather you do not want to talk. Sleep well. Love you." She did not respond to me at all for 2 more days. Meanwhile her Dad and I had talked,  he said that both organizations had agreed that she could go a few days early or a few days late in order to avoid a gap in care. We felt one of us as her parents should accompany her. He agreed that if I could find care for the dog, I should go. ( She has permission to leave the residential program to attend his and his gf wedding in April).   There is currently an email thread concerning her transfer that includes her home therapist, her current cc, her dad, dad's girlfriend and myself. I had sent an email to the group stating I had obtained overnight coverage for my dog and was available to accompany dd on the later date. I shared that I had purchased tickets but they were refundable if a different decision was made.  Finally that evening I got a phone call from my daughter.

DD: I want "insert name of Dad's girlfriend" ( soon to be step Mom) to take me. I don't want to hurt you.
Me: ( yes not a great response)- well- I suspect your Dad also isn't feeling too good right now either.
DD: Yea- I need to do what is best for me. In my trauma therapy I am having memories of trauma from you and Dad. I don't want something to happen if one of you came that would damage our relationship.
Me:  I hope it will be safe and successful transfer. I need to get off the phone now. Maybe at some other time you can talk to me.
 DD: I love you.
Me: I love you too ( and then I hung up.).  

I know my response was not great- I felt blindsided. I was devastated, heartbroken. I should have seen this coming. It is a very familiar pattern. If I said something she didn't like or if she was going to do something I would not support, might hurt me or make me angry- she would ghost me.   Then when she reconnected with me she would do so in a way that was extremely painful to me.  She had just recently told me she realized how supportive I had always been of her and that I was an amazing Mom, and that she knew that I and her Dad's gf had her back. She had heard them arguing about her - and I am all too familiar with that pattern. I told her that while I was glad she had support, at some point she would need to learn to deal with her Dad on her own.  Once I got a slight grip on my pain, I thought maybe that particular discussion had promoted this, or maybe she was trying to handle her attachment issues. But her comments lead me to a different conclusion.

 After reading through many of your links and threads-I believe Dad's gf is now her Favorite Person. ( I think maybe her Dad and I have constantly rotated  thru that role.) I have come to realize there is a repetitive pattern of idealizing and then devaluing me- which is damaging to me. (One week before this I was "wonderful. amazing supportive etc.)  

As for dd: she knew from a previous conversation that I would be hurt if gf was chosen over me. It is a normal feeling/ response and part of me would like to believe my daughter was trying to avoid hurting me. The problem is that the way she chose to communicate this damaged me far more than her choice. Does it hurt me that she made that choice- yes.  But at the end of the day it is HER choice and I do understand her reasoning.  Making her choice was ok and my having hurt feelings was ok.  Much more damaging to me was that after telling me my input was important to her-she ghosted me. Then hit me with her choice followed by stating she was having memories of trauma from her Dad and I- and then she used all of these a rational for not damaging our relationship?   The truth is the way she handled it greatly damaged our relationship.

I have to come to realize that because of her illness she may not have been capable of handling it any other way.  This is a long time pattern of behavior that has been and continues to be damaging. For a long time friends and other loved ones have said they are concerned about the emotional and physical toll this is taking on me. And they are correct- I am not equipped to handle this type of damage even if it is not intentional. Truthfully it is a behavior pattern I would no any longer tolerate from anyone else.

My emotions have settled greatly after reading so much of the information on this site.  I have explored the website for NEABPD though the audio on many of the videos is too poor for me to hear. I have registered for the Family Connections classes. I have set up an appointment with a local therapist to get myself help. There are several questions I have and I would greatly appreciate any feedback offered.

Question #1: When patients are engaging in EMBRE or some type of trauma therapy is it common for them to lash out in anger towards people they feel have abused them?
If the goal is to reach the point where no one is to blame- how is this achieved if the therapy focuses on and promotes anger about the past? Success would require the ability to move beyond the past.  How much of a risk is there of patients afterwards refusing to reconcile with their families?
We have had 2 zoom meetings with her mental health care team. Both times I have asked for resources or information on how parents can be supportive. The only thing I have received was a recommendation for family therapy. I found the NEABPD on an internet search and thankfully found your forum as well.  I am angry and frustrated with her treatment team. If I had been given a head's up about possible anger issues- I would have been better prepared for her phone call. I felt truly blindsided. I didn't expect them to offer details or provide therapy but she is part of a family system.  The residential program does include family therapy and I am hopeful that will help us create healthier ways of connecting.

Question #2- At this point my emotions are still incredibly raw. I made a point of sending a response on the earlier mentioned email chain stating that dd had shared her wish for the gf to accompany her and specifically thanking the girlfriend for doing so. I do not hold any animosity towards anyone- just too raw to engage.  There is supposed to be another zoom meeting prior to discharge- that will include dd, psychiatrist ( who had pointed out how supportive gf was during a previous zoom), her psychologist, her clinical coordinator, her Dad, Dad's gf and myself. I do not believe I can emotionally handle this meeting. Also- if dd cannot manage contact with me right now- how is my presence even beneficial?  For the moment if such a meeting does occur- I plan to bow out by saying I have a previous commitment. Is this an appropriate way to handle this? I am just not sure what to do. Maybe I will be up for it before the date is set but right now- I can't.

Question #3- It is clear my daughter does not want any contact with me right now. Sadly- I also do not want any contact with her.  I want to be sure that I handle this in a way that does not negatively effect her progress. She is finally engaging in the type of therapy she truly needs and I want her to be successful.  But I cannot sacrifice my emotional health to support it.  If she calls I will not ghost her ( that is her method). I will text her that it is not a good time for me to talk on the phone.
Is that an appropriate way to handle my need for no contact? I don't think she could handle or process my reasons why right now.

Question #4- Family therapy is part of the residential program- I am hopeful her team will be reaching out- how much of this do I share with them? I guess my concern is this- is their focus just about her and her needs or the needs of all family members? Not sure I am feeling trust or faith in the system. Right now the only way I feel I will be protected is if I walk away.

Question #5- The emotional roller coaster. Right now I don't know which is more terrifying- that I will cut all contact with her or she will cut all contact with me. I plan on sending her an encouragement card ( just remember that behind you is a lot of support and love- with a  kitten of course!). I will mail it so that it will be waiting for her at the new program. That is about all the contact I can handle right now. The unknown of it all is also so painful. How do you determine if and when to contact or accept contact?  
I apologize for the long intro and many questions. Having read so many of the others it is clear most of these journeys are long and painful. Just reading the information here has provided much comfort.  I'm very grateful to be here.

Our objective is to better understand the struggles our child faces and to learn the skills to improve our relationship and provide a supportive environment and also improve on our own emotional responses, attitudes and effectiveness as a family leaders

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
Relationship status: on the verge of estranged
Posts: 16

« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2023, 06:56:58 AM »

 Please share your experience with family therapy- .

I wanted to update on my initial post from yesterday. My dd discharge zoom is planned for a day that I legitimately cannot  attend- changing the time will not matter. I am in transit ( 5 hour drive) for a medical appointment that I cannot change. And I don't think attending this zoom while driving is a safe idea.

I wanted to address one of things I posted above. I brought up the reaction of doctors to family behavior on the day of my biopsy to highlight how toxic home life had become.  That morning dd and her dad were embroiled in an emotional altercation that began when she was late getting up/ ready to go. ( escalated to the point that she said she rather cut her throat than get in a car with him.)  I managed to diffuse and calm the situation enough that they got in the car together. Both knew what I was facing yet they were so absorbed in their own emotions that neither said one thing to me- ( you'll be ok, good luck, love you- zip" . Then or later. I was facing a life threatening disease but it was clear I could not get necessary emotional support at home.  There is obviously much more to the story and I could write a book. This was the defining and most traumatic moment for me.  Dd and I have discussed this- I have told her she absolutely wasn't responsible for anything because of her age. Now I know she also gets a pass because of her mental health.  That did not alter actions I needed to take to protect and care for myself.

I have attended therapy sessions with her prior to and throughout her engagement in the therapeutic high school. I am not dismissive of therapy and typically not fearful of it. I am accountable as is my ex for the failure of our marriage- that was a two way street.  I know I am accountable for my flawed parenting.  I have come to understand that the trauma was experienced by all 3 of us- we were all banging each other against the wall because as parents we did not know what to do and she did not know either.  We all need grace, acceptance and a better path forward.

I love my daughter with all my heart and have given and given throughout all the angst, chaos and pain. More than anything I want to be able to have a strong relationship with her that is healthy for both of us. I know enrolling in a residential program is the best choice for her and I am so grateful she made that choice. I am very proud of her for following through. Intellectually I know engaging in family therapy is a necessary and important part of her treatment.

 Usually I am a very open  and strong person and have no difficulty making myself vulnerable. But I am really struggling. The way this process has unrolled so far- I feel that I am the isolated sacrificial lamb. Left out in the field alone until time for slaughter. I know this is an emotional response but intellectually- nothing that has occurred within the system to clarify that is not the case.

The trauma of the past and what I shared above has reared its head again. From experience I know that when I enter the family system I have no protection. I am blessed to have the support and love of good friends- but they are outside of that system.  Given history I would naturally have some anxiety over this- yet be able to work through it. The way the process has unfolded so far has exponentially raised my anxiety. It doesn't help that some people have shared with me their negative experiences.

Above all I want to protect my daughter and myself. I am taking steps to handle my anxiety- I have found my own therapist. I have ordered all of the books recommended and have spent time reviewing my books on boundaries etc.

It would be very helpful if people could share their experiences with family therapy or tools they used to safely navigate it.

Thank you

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What is your sexual orientation: Confidential
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Family other
Posts: 404

« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2023, 11:19:15 AM »

Welcome to the group, glad you found your way here - sorry it was necessary.  Welcome new member (click to insert in post)

That is a lot to unpack at once, but obviously it's much more helpful to get it all out than just say "Hi, I need advice" and leave people to ask questions...though I still have questions, Laugh out loud (click to insert in post). (In a couple of parts I skimmed down to the next part that caught my eye, so apologies if you've already answered.)

I mean first and foremost I'm curious about the long-term residential program, don't know if you're willing to share the name or at least go into a bit more detail about it - I agree it sounds like they're being really good with compromising with her and trying to set it all up to make the transition comfortable and ensure she doesn't feel trapped or abandoned (the latter being a key trigger for any pwBPD of course).  Did you have a regular visit schedule set up to see her there, or is she supposed to be NC for the first few months, or how does that work exactly?

I'm guessing where she was adopted, we can all acknowledge that BPD even on its own has a high correlation with actual or perceived adverse childhood sexual experiences with a trusted figure - and when you stack cPTSD, depression and an eating disorder on top...yeah, I'm guessing landing in your home was the best thing that ever happened to her even if she may not recognise it.

You reference the emotional and the often-understated physical toll this is taking on you, it's great that you recognise it - honestly I was in denial myself for years about the damage it wreaks on family, we can just "tough it out for her sake" - but that's not actually accurate by the end in my experience. For what it's worth, I cannot understate how much "Family Connections" program for caretaker loved ones of BPD was liberating for me - to finally be in a room full of people without snotty book-smarts and arrogant degrees on the wall, just people who knew what it was like 24/7 to be resigned to being unfairly cast as the NPC villain in someone else's story.


Cast not your pearls before swine, lest they trample them, and turn and rend you. --- I live in libraries; if you find an academic article online that you can't access but might help you - send me a Private Message.
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner’s ex
Posts: 2705

« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2023, 11:20:05 AM »

Hi 4love, I want you to know I see your posts and want to welcome you to the site  Welcome new member (click to insert in post)

Reading your first post yesterday, I wanted to reach out and respond, and now reading your update, I still do!

Even though I'm at work, I wanted to share my support about your second question:

Question #2- At this point my emotions are still incredibly raw. I made a point of sending a response on the earlier mentioned email chain stating that dd had shared her wish for the gf to accompany her and specifically thanking the girlfriend for doing so. I do not hold any animosity towards anyone- just too raw to engage.  There is supposed to be another zoom meeting prior to discharge- that will include dd, psychiatrist ( who had pointed out how supportive gf was during a previous zoom), her psychologist, her clinical coordinator, her Dad, Dad's gf and myself. I do not believe I can emotionally handle this meeting. Also- if dd cannot manage contact with me right now- how is my presence even beneficial?  For the moment if such a meeting does occur- I plan to bow out by saying I have a previous commitment. Is this an appropriate way to handle this? I am just not sure what to do. Maybe I will be up for it before the date is set but right now- I can't.                                                                                                                                                                                              

I just want to offer  Virtual hug (click to insert in post)  Virtual hug (click to insert in post) to you as navigate Zoom meetings when BPD is involved. So, so, so draining at best. Briefly, my H's kids' mom has many BPD traits, and her H (the kids' stepdad) has many NPD traits. My youngest stepdaughter (SD14) received an IEP last year, and there are periodic Zoom meetings. I am anxious for weeks beforehand, as Mom and Stepdad do their typical performances of "how wonderful they are, how supportive they are, how they do EVERYTHING for SD14", etc. I get physically shaky and short of breath, and I while I have challenges with both Mom and Stepdad, I have bigger issues with Stepdad.

This last meeting, last week, the way I coped was that I allowed myself to roll my eyes (subtlely) when he talked, and I also put a sticky note over his video feed, so I didn't have to see him. I kept my comments focused on SD14 and practical problem solving.

The way my DH coped was that he put his video and audio on mute/black screen (he actually did have to take the meeting while driving). So, he was there, and heard all the info, but did not have to look at or interact with Mom/Stepdad.

I also recognize that as the stepmom, there was a way in which I did not have to be there -- I could have told DH "I cannot handle this, and I need you to be there". It is complicated.


You know you and your capabilities the best. It may be that this is too much right now. Another possibility is that you are allowed to tailor the meeting to what you can handle. You can have your video and audio on mute/black screen, sticky note over whoever you don't want to look at, prep a few practical questions ahead of time if you would like to engage and seem involved, and give yourself a reward afterward. If you're still in individual therapy, consider making an appointment for soon after the Zoom meeting, so you can feel like you have a "safety net" to go to if you feel raw afterward.

Or, you could make a therapy appointment for before the Zoom meeting, so your T can help you determine if you do or don't have the bandwidth for the meeting.


I have also been through FT as a patient (eating disorder, way back in the day). Let me think about your FT question and put some thoughts here a little later.

Truly want you to know that you are not alone in your feelings about team Zoom meetings when there are PDs involved. Excruciating is the word that comes to mind. I was surprised I made it through the last one, but glad I did.

Will be back to post more later, and again, glad you're here;



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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
Relationship status: on the verge of estranged
Posts: 16

« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2023, 08:23:11 PM »


I am more than happy to share. She is going to Fulshear  in Texas. I have not had any communication with them at all. Her Dad has because he is financing her stay and coordinating her transfer.  But he has also only dealt with the admissions people. I have explored their website and listened to most of the videos posted. They young women start the program at the ranch where the day/ activities are more structured and lots of therapy occurs.  As they meet certain criteria they transition to apartments- their goal is to insure the young women successfully transition to everyday life and build necessary life skills. I know family therapy IS a part of their treatment regimen. But- I do not know how it is set up or how they structure contact. I believe this is a very good program for her. For the moment dd and I seem to already being a state of NC.  Maybe that is good for now. I am hopeful Fulshear will focus on promoting healthy family dynamics. This is non existent where she is now and sadly previous experience isn't exactly positive in this regard  either.

Dd is the product of a teen pregnancy , the bf was of age- the bm was 14 when she got pregnant. I was in the delivery room- cut and cord and was the first to hold her. Their was a repetitive family history of teen pregnancy- which was considered a red flag for ADHD. I know nothing about the bf history- he was terrified of charges being brought against him and essentially disappeared..

I was oblivious of the effects the toxic family environment was having on my health until my breast cancer. Within the next 4 years I had 3 major surgeries ( thankfully only one for cancer), dd ended up in a therapeutic high school, crashed and burned at college, exited a CLE program, crashed and burned at college again all while we were also navigating a divorce.  DD will often ask me if I remember something from that time period and I have to tell her no- I don't remember very much about the time. I have told friends that if we lived in medieval times I would be one of those women who took sanctuary by living in a nunnery!  That's a little much for present times though. I recently had another health scare. I have moved to an area that is very much a sanctuary for me. Now that I am settled my focus was going to be healing and self care. Unfortunately, as usual I have allowed these events to pull me "off the rails" so to speak. I must do the hard work to "detach" enough that I do't allow any of this to negatively impact me so much.

Thank you so much for your input!


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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
Relationship status: on the verge of estranged
Posts: 16

« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2023, 09:20:33 PM »

Thank you so much Kells76- I loved your suggestions , they made me laugh for the first time since this started- as I imagined the post it notes over a few faces!

I must confess though - I HATE the video and for the 2 zoom meetings I attended would not do them. DD Dad's gf didn't the first time and didn't realize the 2nd time when she did and I didn't that see I could the smirk on her face when I passed on doing so- if only I had a post it handy!

As per my update- the meeting is tomorrow and scheduled when I must be in transit for a medical appointment. In an email to all- I have the informed group of my conflict, thanked them for their work with dd (using the new name she wants and not her given name- that's another rub) and gave dd praise for her hard work etc..  I also requested her Dad call me with an update. He responded privately to me in a good way- so that is a positive.

I am not feeling so good about FT. Despite engaging in parent's therapy group and occasional FT when she was in the therapeutic high school- very little positive family dynamic changes were addressed or happened. And I am very put off and frustrated with the current establishment. I understand their focus is intensive care on the patient only and not the family. But to provide no resources after having been asked twice? And worse- during the last zoom the psychiatrist made a point of saying during the group zoom that #1. she was very proud of how dd had handled being quarantined (covid). This was wonderful. #2, Then she went on to state - I know your stepmom sent your some things and that was very helpful.   This was unprofessional. She said this knowing me- the MOM was hearing this. Saying that to only dd is one thing. The appropriate and neutral comment would have been to just say- "family" sent you things.  To be clear- dd isn't presently living with me and I don't have access to her personal belongings. And I did send her things she requested of me ( healthy snacks and fruit) and spoke to her almost every day during her quarantine- but I guess that doesn't count.)  I am pretty sure most of the email group except me knew dd did not want me to accompany her. All this makes me feel I have been left in the dark and am most likely the sacrificial lamb.

I don't have a problem being accountable for my own behavior or vulnerable to an extent. To do so I need to feel safe. In the past, Dd and her Dad have ganged up on me- (verbally or emotionally -not physically).  If I cannot rely on the professionalism of unbiased staff- again- I feel I am walking to a system that will not protect and I am outgunned.

I realize much of this is my past trauma. Hopefully my new therapist will put me straight, offer some useful techniques- or the best outcome-  the staff at the residential program will offer a holistic approach for the whole family.

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