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Author Topic: Done.Done.Done?  (Read 1975 times)
Jgsmama

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« on: March 04, 2023, 09:46:59 AM »

Hi Everyone,
I am starting to face that my mother has BPD with somatic disorder. When my mom first got divorced when I was 12, I became her confidante, her best friend. She over shared with me and depended on me to make her feel emotionally better through constant discussion about her problems. It felt reciprocal when I was young and it made me feel special and mature. In my 20s, we continued to be close, but I remained her go-to therapist when she was having issues with friends or her second husband. Disaster: her 2nd husband divorces her brutally, and she gets really depressed, moves across the country with my sister. For 5 years, she relies on my sister for constant errands when she is depressed. When she loses her job she hits the deepest depression yet, refuses therapy and over relies on my sister to the point that she moves out of my mom’s abruptly and tells no one where she is for a month. My mother goes deeper and deeper into depression and anxiety. My husband and I eventually ask her to move out to where we live, hoping that dinner twice a week and a new environment may lead her to some healthier habits and mental health. Worst. Decision. Ever. Her expectations for us is to go grocery shopping for her, pick up meds, spend tons of time with her, and when we set up boundaries, she acts angry, like I am a terrible daughter…etc. We go to therapy together many times where we discuss the need for boundaries…she claims she understands, and then continues to ask us to for things for her constantly. She refuses to exercise, even walk, eat healthy, go to therapy, and seek necessary doctor visits. Her health deteriorates, she gains 40 pounds, complains of migraines, shortness of breath,  it when she goes to the doctor that can’t find anything wrong. Once she realized we wouldn’t “take care” of her, her somatic symptoms worsened, so that her story was we were neglecting her physical ailments. The day before Christmas Eve she dramatically claimed she was moving and we agreed it might be a healthy choice; we live at high altitude in brutal winters. It apparently infuriated her, according to a neighbor, believing I don’t want her around, which is PLEASE READing true. She then went into an 8-week depressive episode where she stopped eating (the Meals on Wheels I had arranged), rejected her doctor’s suggestion she go into a nursing home for a few weeks to rehabilitate her atrophied legs, stopped drinking water, and stopped taking medications, to the point that she became very dehydrated and asked me to bring her to the hospital. I needed to call an ambulance to transport her b/c she could barely walk. She was deemed “Failure to Thrive” and “Gravely Disabled,” by the docs and social worker and was put in a 72-hour mental health hold. The social worker and I talked about her behaviors and history and she said my mom had a personality disorder and she couldn’t believe I was still around. She was then sent to a 2-week program 3 hours away, talked her way out, and my aunt picked her up b/c she happened to live in the area of the hospital. I have not spoken to my mom in a week b/c the last time we spoke she accused me of sharing too much with the social worker and blamed me for the mental health hold. My aunt is currently making arrangement s for my mom to return in 3 days. She has also set up therapy and some other supports. I feel physically sick that my mom is returning and that she will want to engage in the same sick “care slave” relationship with me and my husband. BTW, my mom is only 70, and I have been managing her depressive lunacy for 14 years of my adult life. I have a 3-year-old and a full-time job. And I feel done. I don’t know if I should just estrange myself for awhile or permanently. The boundaries do not work. The relationship is sick. And I am exhausted. Help! Advice! Perspective!
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zachira
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2023, 10:19:42 AM »

You are far from alone in having a mother with BPD with many challenges with boundaries like you have described. My mother with BPD is deceased. I am low contact with nearly all my disordered family members. Probably the most important boundary to have with your mother, is to let her be responsible for her emotions and crisis, without taking on her emotions which is a big challenge. Mothers with BPD groom their children, especially their daughters, to feel their emotions for them, to take on their crisis for them, so they don't have to face how they feel inside. The dilemma many memebers on this site with a mother with BPD seem to feel the most challenged by is how to deal with their values about feeling they cannot abandon completely a seriously mentallly ill mother. Usually the boundaries change with time, with children making very serious decions about how much time they will allow themselves to be around their mother with BPD and how much they will do for her. There are many children who decide to go no contact with their mother after doing everything they can to establish healthy boundaries with her which are completely ignored by their mother. It is typical to go low contact and no contact for periods of time before arriving at a more stable relationship which can be low contact with boundaries strictly enforced or no contact with boundaries strictly enforced. You will soon hear from other members who will support you and share with you what has worked best for them, which may be very different from what you decide to do right now.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2023, 10:27:03 AM by zachira » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2023, 02:23:24 PM »

jgsmama, I'm tired for you. That's a heavy burden to carry. I'm glad your aunt is stepping up. Can you rely on her and/or others to carry more than they have until this point? Maybe an honest conversation with the family about the limits you've reached?

The boundaries do not work.

pwBPD do not maintain boundaries for anyone else. Boundaries we set don't control other people, they can only define our response to someone else's behavior. The difficult part is to identify what your limits can be, because she lives with you. If your mom continues to neglect her health, you will have no other option but to...enlist the help of medical practitioners and have the ambulance pick her up for another extended stay?  From other conversations here, I learned that adult caregivers can be reported for abuse in certain cases. I'm certain some of the nurses and doctors you mentioned would be able to provide guidance about your options.

Temporary estrangement can work wonders for healing. You may need time to gather up your strength and see clearly to know what to do next. Is that an option?
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2023, 07:08:39 PM »

You have just described my mother in a lot of ways, and so much about your story parellels mine.  I can really related to the intensity of your struggle right now.  One significant difference is that my parents didn't divorce.  Instead, my father died after a protracted and lengthy illness.  That came with it's own set of problems for my ubpd mom (the illness and the death).

The first thing that comes to my mind with your aunt is that your mom would have called her, and your aunt obliged and enabled. If your mom left the hospital on her own volition, your aunt would have picked her up somewhere other than the hospital possibly.  If she didn't go into the hospital to collect your mom at discharge, she would have known something was up, and your mom probably told her the narrative she wanted her to hear. Is your aunt sympathetic to your situation, or do you think she is offloading the problem by delivering her back to you?

I would insist that home care be arranged before your mom is returned to her home by your aunt.  If there isn't an appetite for that from either of them, then it's no longer your problem.

She should not be delivered to your house.  That just can't be an option.  Make sure your aunt knows that.  If you think there is a chance your aunt delivers her to you, I would arrange for the house to be empty, and/or not answer the door.  I have been in that situation.  I have even had a safety plan for myself, and escaped my own house.

I too have called the ambulance for my mom - 3 times to be exact. The first time emergency released her into my care because mom insisted on being discharged, and the emerg ward was packed.  I screamed alone in my car until I was so hoarse I couldn't talk for days.  The second time I called the ambulance I was more prepared and I briefly explained the basics of the situation to the emerg doc, and stated I couldn't take her home until home care had been arranged.  That took a while so she had to stay in emerg for another 24 hours.  OMG - chaos. The third time I had to call the ambulance her GP admitted her until home care could be arranged.  She broke her arm but uses a walker - which she couldn't use with a broken arm.  The drama she caused while in hospital and the texts she was sending me were all bonkers. She cancels home care the first chance she gets once she's home.  She hates it because getting home care "makes her feel like a child".

I could write a book about her shenanigans.  It's nuts. Like your mom, my mom was demanding I be her 24/7 emotional and physical caretaker.  As a result, I came out of retirement and went back to work full time.  She went nuclear.

Like PJ said, the boundaries aren't for your mom.  She isn't going to respect those because she doesn't have the capacity for that.  Never gonna happen. The boundaries are for you.  You tell her what you are willing and able to do, if anything.  Then you have to hold that boundary regardless of her reaction.  She is obviously going to push back.  My husband filtered my texts.  Some people will "block".  Your mom will likely go ballistic because whatever you say you will do to support her (eg help her with grocery shopping once a week) it's never enough and nothing can come close to meeting their needs which are greater than the height of all the Himalayan mountains combined. If you have already reached the end of your rope, it is not your job to do anything for her, it's your job to take care of YOU.  Believe it or not, she is an adult, and needs to be allowed to find her own solutions.  If she is a danger to herself, then document it, record it, whatever, and call the ambulance again.  She's out of control, and you can't "fix" her.  She's not your responsibility, because she can't cooperate and she's not willing to help herself. When someone is that out of control, we have a duty to report if it's a safety risk, and after that, we have a duty to take care of ourselves and our own family.  She will FOG FOG FOG you.  It's rough.  But look after yourself and your family.  Report her issues to the medical system as needed. Document every time you report, who you reported to, etc. to protect both yourself and her.

Getting involved in her drama is like running inside a burning building.  Almost no one would do that. But the problem is that when they are "out of control" they say things to us in a rage that can't be unsaid.  These things are emotional blackmail.  The truth is they've trained us to accept emotional blackmail over time, and so for us to set boundaries and hold our own boundaries and not give in to the emotional blackmail is really really hard at this stage.

Can you stay in touch with the social worker who spoke to you at the hospital?  Can you make an appointment to see that person?

Do you have a therapist or counsellor you see?  Apart from this forum, having someone non-virtual who is licensed to help you navigate this quicksand can really help support you through this transition so that your mom doesn't drag you down with her.  Your mom will do whatever she needs to in order to "have her needs met" - by you, whom she sees as her emotional caretaker. She truly believes it's your DUTY, and she feels entitled to have you be her caretaker and servant.  That's my experience, and this BPD thing seems to be pretty much "cookie cutter".

You can let go of being that caretaker.  It's ok to let go.  My mom has a lot of charm, and is very manipulative with everyone including her friends, so she now has a whole army of people that help her.  Home care is another option for your mom, if she doesn't have friends.

« Last Edit: March 09, 2023, 07:29:32 PM by Methuen » Logged
Jgsmama

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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2023, 11:36:55 AM »

Thank you everyone! Your responses are so helpful and validating. Update: my aunt took my mom to her home for a week to set up services in our town from afar. (Sorry if I was unclear, but my mom has her own place, does not live in my home, thankfully!). My aunt and uncle agreed that I need a break from this situation for a couple of months. They seem to understand that she is mentally ill but know nothing about BPD. My aunt sent her on a four-hour shuttle back here, and she supposedly has set up necessary services. My mother has not contacted me in two weeks, and I assume my relatives let her know I was taking a break. My life has become more peaceful. I’ve read Stop Caretaking the Borderline/Narcissist and Understanding the Borderline Mother, which have helped a lot! I do have a therapist but feel a bit disappointed that she did not identify my mother as BPD years ago. She thought she was a narcissist, but oh well.  I will reach out to social worker from hospital. She also runs the council on aging, which is taking care of many of my mom’s services. Again, thanks for your support! I haven’t figured out how to respond to individuals yet, so I apologize if I did this incorrectly.
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« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2023, 08:59:52 AM »

This is really great news Jgsmama. It sounds like your aunt has been a big support for you.  It must have been quite conflicting for your aunt to pick your mom up without her actually being discharged, but it sounds like she has her finger on the pulse of the problem and spent a lot of time putting measures in place for your mom.  That is so helpful. 

This brings you much needed relief right now.

Thank goodness.  I hope it lasts for you.  Take care of yourself and your family.
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« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2023, 07:24:00 PM »

Hi JgsmamaWelcome new member (click to insert in post)

I'm so glad you're here for support.  Virtual hug (click to insert in post) You've heard from some of the best already.  Smiling (click to insert in post)

As I read your post, I thought of a book that might be helpful to you. It's a bit different than the rest in that it's written from the perspective of one who wrote about living with a mom who had BPD. I just thought you might want to look into it:  Missing: Coming to Terms with a Borderline Mother

There is a direct link that takes you to where you can purchase the book near the end of the post if you are interested.

Wishing you rest,
Wools
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« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2023, 10:07:09 PM »

Hi,

It sounds like you're going through a really tough time dealing with your mother's mental health issues and the unhealthy dynamic between you. It's understandable that you feel exhausted and overwhelmed, especially with a young child and a full-time job.

It might be helpful to set clear boundaries with your mother and stick to them, even if it's difficult. It's also important to prioritize your own well-being and mental health. Seeking support from a therapist or a support group for families of those with borderline personality disorder could be helpful for you.

Ultimately, the decision to estrange yourself from your mother is a personal one, and it's important to do what's best for you and your family. It's okay to take a break from the relationship if it's causing you harm. Remember that you deserve to be happy and healthy, and it's not your responsibility to fix your mother's issues.
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Jgsmama

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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2023, 02:50:56 PM »

Crazy update: like I said, I am taking a break from contact with my mom after her “talking her way out of the psych ward episode,” while my aunt and uncle take over. I got a text from uncle last night that, after returning from psych ward/aunt’s house for a week, she’s been in her own home for 4 days, and last night fell in the bathroom, broke 2 ribs and ended up back in the emergency room to stay overnight. I haven’t contacted her b/c the boundary had been drawn that I was taking a break for a couple of months (and b/c the last time we talked she blamed me for getting her locked up.) My aunt lives 3 hours away and my uncle 15 hours. We are only 40 minutes.  My husband wants to reach out to her, but I argued we can’t open that can of worms, that the hospital needs to be clear that she does not have a caretaker so they will seek appropriate services and so she doesn’t try to traumatize/r engage us. Ugh. So hard.
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2023, 05:11:57 PM »

Jgsmama,

It's interesting that your uncle is calling you.  I presume he knows you are on a "break".  His actions seem like FOG if he's implying it's up to you to go to her because you are closer.  I don't think this is fair.  Another perspective for looking at this, is he is farther away and therefore lives a more emotionally safe distance from her, so perhaps this is a time he could pitch in and contribute more, since you are on a break.  Thoughts?

This is intense.  And it fits with the pattern of chronic chaos from a person who is not coping. At all.

Follow your instincts.  Let the hospital staff observe her and assess her.  Let them do their job.  Let them contact you.  That would give you a chance to explain the situation to a new social worker.  Then perhaps the two social workers from two different hospitals could talk to each other.

In my experience, when the hospital discharges her, they will discharge her to your care.  That is what emerg did the first time they discharged my mom - to me - and without ANY after care plan for her. I was shocked, and I was not consulted or included in the conversation prior to the discharge.  And they told me right in front of my mom.  What could I say with her sitting there watching me? In your case it is much more complicated, because after your disclosures to the social worker, your mom was sent to a two week program.  In my experience, the person with BPD blames the closest relationship (in this case you) for pretty much every event/happening they are distressed about. (My mom somehow blamed and screamed at me for her injuries sustained from a fall under her plum tree and I wasn't even at her house when she fell that time.) If you go to your mom now, after all this has happened, she is going to be VERY dysregulated.  Are you feeling strong enough for that?

Personally I think you are showing courage and wisdom, and self-care to not immediately run to rescue her.  This is an extra-ordinary difficult thing to do, because she is your mother and despite all the chaos and trauma, I am going to go out on a limb in my thinking that you probably still care for her. I love my mom, but it's a very complicated love, and I have learned that it's not at all a safe love.

I think one of the first questions the hospital would ask her, is about her next of kin.  If she hasn't named you as a contact, I would respect that.  It seems to me that the hospital would contact you.  Thoughts?

Your husband has not had the same set of experiences and perhaps is approaching the problem from the framework of coming from a FOO with more "normal" family history.  I don't want to speculate, but I do believe that people who DON'T come from dysfunctional families would immediately want to reach out and help and go to the hospitalized person.  However, those of us with dysfunctional and chaotic family members and dynamics know intimately what this means and how complex it becomes in a mere instant.  Your mom isn't likely to function any better after falling and breaking two ribs, than she was before the fall when she was sent to her two week program after her 72 hr mental health hold.  So...is this really a good time to get involved when your intention was to take a 3 month break?

I totally respect your thinking that you need to wait and let this play out on its own.  Perhaps she and the hospital can come up with a plan for her care.  It's possible that if you voluntarily get involved, you are adding more fuel to the burning house.

It's very very complicated.  Sending warm hugs.
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Jgsmama

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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2023, 06:24:59 PM »

Methuen: Thank you so much for this thoughtful response. My instinct is telling me to hold firm and I really appreciate the support and validation.

My uncle and aunt do not understand BPD or have the space to process that she exhibits its tendencies.

My husband does come from a dysfunctional family with no boundaries, but he is the 5th child and is never in charge of the big decisions. I am the first born daughter and the only child still involved with my mother. He is following my lead now and is working to understand the complexity. 

Again, thank you so much for sharing your own experience and understanding this insane plight!
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« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2023, 06:05:44 AM »

I have had the difficult situation of telling my BPD mother that I do not want her to move closer to me. Reading your posts and Methuen, I know what kind of situation that would be. My H agrees as he's seen me get distraught and stressed around her. It's not a position I wanted to be in- to say that. I would have loved to have my parents closer to me but when visiting them when my father was ill, I saw the extent of my mother's BPD behavior. She treats me as if I am her servant, ( your term "care slave" fits) not a daughter, and she's emotionally and verbally abusive.

My mother is angry at me and blames me for this, yet, she seems to find something to be angry at me for no matter what. Over time, she's had several ideas that "this is what she needs" to be happy but when that something she needs is provided for her, it doesn't work.

BPD mother is elderly but in general has been in good health for her age. She also seems to constantly have some complaint though. I actually think it's her expression of her difficult emotions. Sometimes though, it's been a real issue, thankfully not too serious ones, but we can't tell what is what. Because of her age, she has signed consents for her medical team to speak to me and so, it has helped me to speak to a nurse when possible, to get an accurate report about how she is doing.

How much contact you wish to manage is up to you. One thing I have realized is that the distance is a boundary for me, because boundaries do not register with BPD mother. To her, my purpose is to meet her needs when she wants. I don't live close enough to her to run errands for her or do other things for her. I do these things when I visit. It is difficult to say no to my mother or hold a boundary.

I want to comment on the "fall in the bathroom - broken ribs" event. My BPD mother has had similar situations. I have taken her to the ER for this and have been told you can't see this immediately on an X ray, so the doctor decides on her symptoms and the report of falling- this means they take her at her word. My mother is not always telling the truth so it's hard to know if this really happened or not. I don't know if you can see a broken rib on an X ray eventually or not but they have said they can't see it. Of course,  I would err to believing her but I don't know if it's actually happened.

I began to have boundaries with my parents when my father became ill. BPD mother got angry at this, enlisted my father to "her side". At the time he passed away, it seemed her family also was enlisted to "her side". The phone calls you get from your aunt and uncle are similar to that position. I didn't expect them to change their perspective but over time they have realized there's more to her situation than they knew. They are still supportive to her, but also have been recently supportive to me as well. Reading about the Karpman triangle dynamics will help you understand that- if/when you hold boundaries with your mother, you will likely be the bad guy in this scenario and your aunt and uncle may also see you as the bad guy. This feels very hurtful but it's a part of the dynamics. If you step away, people in your mother's circle may distance themselves from you. To try to say anything to correct the picture would be seen as speaking poorly about my mother. I didn't know how to change it and so didn't say much of anything. Over time though, my mother's family began to notice there was more to her behaviors than what they thought. I could not have predicted this.

These are not choices I ever wanted to make. I didn't want to disappoint my father but being my mother's doormat and tolerating how she treated me was not acceptable either. In addition, my kids were old enough to be enlisted as her "care servants" too and she would do that when we visited. There was no way I'd allow that.
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2023, 09:49:38 AM »

Jgsmama, this is so stressful.  Sorry you are going through it.  I agree with continuing to hold your boundary.  I am glad your husband is supporting you in it.

It is hard to predict what the hospital will do, but there are some positive things I notice in your situation.  During the prior hospitalization, your mother was put on a mental health hold, and the SW identified her personality disorder during the last hospitalization.  She even said she was surprised you were still around.  Your mother was discharged to your aunt and not to you.  And so far, the hospital has not contacted you.  Being re-admitted within 30 days of a prior hospitalization, raises a big red flag for the hospital.  ( I am a physician and run a hospital).

The hospital definitely wants to get your mother discharged as her condition does not warrant acute care, but they bear responsibility for discharging her to a safe environment.  Her readmission demonstrates she probably can’t live safely alone.  It may be best to lay low, and not make discharge to your care /home an option.  Do not contact them.  Be prepared if  they contact you.  Be very clear that you can’t take responsibility for your mother and let them know your priority is her safety.  Put it back on them. The will likely begin looking at options such as skilled nursing facilities, board and cares, nursing homes, etc.  Those options will be best for your mom and best for you.   You don’t have to take financial responsibility for it, let their social workers figure it out.   

It is great that your aunt and uncle helped previously, and  had some level of insight and support for your needs.  Long term, that may not be sustainable for them. They may be figuring out the depth of the situation and if self aware, they may be setting their own boundaries. It would be easier for them, if you rescued your mom, but it is not the right thing for anyone.  It is hard to know what they are thinking.  Your job is you, your feelings, your boundaries.  You have your own family and life and should prioritize them and you.




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Jgsmama

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« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2023, 01:23:28 PM »

Mommydoc: this is such comforting advice. Thank you so much. I’m not positive they put in her record she has a personality disorder, but when the social worker talked to me during her last hospital hold, she blurted out that it sure sounded like she had one. This social worker is also the director of the council for aging in our town, so I feel like the hospital does have a clear picture of the situation. There is this lurking feeling in me “I’m her daughter; I am being cruel; I should call her; it’s her birthday in the 20th…etc.” It’s so painful and counterintuitive, but your words are a sobering reminder of the reality of this all.
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« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2023, 01:19:11 PM »

There is this lurking feeling in me “I’m her daughter; I am being cruel; I should call her; it’s her birthday in the 20th…etc.”

One possible way to resolve this would be to send her a get well card, and then flowers and a card for her birthday.
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« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2023, 05:25:04 PM »

Great idea.

I send flowers. I am more comfortable doing that as sometimes the messages on the card don't feel appropriate to me and the messages with flowers are brief. Flowers seem more "special" than cards and so I feel less "neglectful" if I do something special.
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Jgsmama

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« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2023, 08:36:57 AM »

On the other side, we have been NC since she accused me of “getting her locked up” on mental health hold 3 weeks ago. I am concerned that if I send her something on her birthday she will assume I am sorry for neglecting her/NC. Thoughts?
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kells76
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« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2023, 10:26:21 AM »

She might "assume you're sorry" even if you didn't send cards or flowers, or if you call instead, or if you don't call, or if no matter what you do she wakes up one morning and "feels" that you're sorry.

In a way, maybe that can be freeing for you -- you can do whatever allows you to have integrity and live your values, and you can do that knowing that what she might feel about it isn't something you can control.

Of course, that's assuming you don't explicitly write in the card "I am sorry for locking you up the other week" Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

Joking aside, it is ok when we deal with a pwBPD to act according to our own values, knowing that their emotional responses aren't under our control.

Hope that's a helpful option to consider;

kells76
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« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2023, 11:18:13 AM »

Whether you remember her birthday or not, it can help when trying to get along with a disordered person, that we can validate the nice things they do and not reinforce disordered behaviors by seeming to validate them.
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« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2023, 01:15:08 PM »

She might "assume you're sorry" even if you didn't send cards or flowers, or if you call instead, or if you don't call, or if no matter what you do she wakes up one morning and "feels" that you're sorry.

In a way, maybe that can be freeing for you -- you can do whatever allows you to have integrity and live your values, and you can do that knowing that what she might feel about it isn't something you can control.

Of course, that's assuming you don't explicitly write in the card "I am sorry for locking you up the other week" Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

Joking aside, it is ok when we deal with a pwBPD to act according to our own values, knowing that their emotional responses aren't under our control.

Hope that's a helpful option to consider;

kells76

Very well said! 
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« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2023, 04:02:46 PM »

There is this lurking feeling in me “I’m her daughter; I am being cruel; I should call her; it’s her birthday in the 20th…etc.”
I think it's key to do what your values support.  There could be many competing values surrounding this.  The value to self-respect and not being a doormat.  The value to celebrate the birthday of a family member.  This is the challenge...to work out which values supercede others because some of them are conflicting.

I love what Kells wrote.  In the end what your mom might think or how she might interpret your actions shouldn't guide your decision as much as your own values, because what she thinks can shift and change in an instant.

In a way it can be hard to separate our "values" from the "obligation" we feel, because for so long, we were under their thumb, and by being under their thumb, we felt their obligation and their values. We were sometimes afraid to exercise our own values because it could result in emotional outbursts that hurt us. 

I think if you let your own personal values guide your decision, you can feel good about yourself, regardless of how she interprets it or responds.  That is outside of your control.

I still give a card and a birthday meal for my mom.  But I gift this on my terms.  For example, this year for her birthday she wants the full-on Christmas turkey dinner (takes me two days).  She's not getting that.  I do that at Christmas and Thanksgiving and twice a year is more than enough.  Instead I will give her choices of her favorite dinners which I am willing to cook.  She can choose from one of those.  This is a great example of whatever I do for her, it's never enough. Every friend I have with a mom would be happy with a specially home cooked birthday dinner, but not my mom.  Whatever.  I still do it because it fits with my value.  If she's not satisfied, that's her problem to work out.

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« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2023, 05:54:55 PM »

I have brought food to my parents' house and found out later that my BPD mother threw it out. Sometimes she likes the flowers I send and sometimes not. I sometimes wonder if she tells me she likes them but then doesn't keep them but I don't know what she does with them.

I am concerned about spending a lot of money on a gift for her that she may just throw away or not like because I don't like to see resources wasted.  I also don't want to send her something that is so inexpensive it's junk. So I aim for middle of the road, something nice that has value but knowing that she may throw it away and if she did, I won't worry about it. So I choose the price range I am willing to have her discard or give away and not feel resentful about it.

These gifts are sent without any expectations of her behavior but from my own value system. If I want to send her something that I think is nice, then it's for me to know that I did that. I have no control over how she feels about it.

I try my best to follow my own values and to keep in mind that BPD mother is not the judge of my actions. Your task is to be true to your own values. She's going to think what she thinks.


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« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2023, 03:38:55 PM »

This is all thoughtful advice. Thank you. I am considering all of it. After the abuse she has put me through, especially in the last 2 months, I’m not sure bringing her a gift lines up with my values. I know she probably still doesn’t see it as abuse, b/c she is very sick, but I know that it is.
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« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2023, 04:48:50 PM »

After the abuse she has put me through, especially in the last 2 months, I’m not sure bringing her a gift lines up with my values.

It’s important for us to be able separate the person from their behavior, unless they have Dark Triad tendencies, in which then cutting ties with them would be for our highest good — not to punish them, but to protect ourselves from further victimization.

But if she doesn’t have psychopathic tendencies, then getting to the point where you no longer take her behavior personally, or hold her behavior against her, could possibly allow you to have an arm’s length relationship and be able to treat her as you would a casual acquaintance, or a distant relative, or a neighbor, and would probably help to alleviate the feelings of guilt.
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« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2023, 04:49:38 PM »

It’s important for us to be able separate the person from their behavior, unless they have Dark Triad tendencies, in which case cutting ties with them would be in our best interests and for the highest good — not to punish them, but rather, to protect ourselves from further victimization.

But if she doesn’t have psychopathic tendencies, then getting to the point where you no longer take her behavior personally, or hold her behavior against her, could possibly allow you to have an arm’s length relationship and be able to treat her as you would a casual acquaintance, or a distant relative, or a neighbor, and would probably help to alleviate the feelings of guilt.

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« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2023, 07:11:41 AM »

This is all thoughtful advice. Thank you. I am considering all of it. After the abuse she has put me through, especially in the last 2 months, I’m not sure bringing her a gift lines up with my values. I know she probably still doesn’t see it as abuse, b/c she is very sick, but I know that it is.

I can relate to that, and I think it's important to act authentically while remaining civil ( not acting out anger and resentment back to her but choosing to distance yourself rather than to do that).

You may not feel you are able to send a gift at this time, and if doing so feels fake and inauthentic, then that is how you feel.

I think Couscous' point about separating the person from the behavior is a good one- not to excuse it or put yourself in the position to be abused. It doesn't mean accepting abusive behavior either. My BPD mother does have some of the "triad" behaviors mentioned. She does do hurtful things intentionally and at the same time, she's also unhappy and some of her behaviors are driven by that. It's a complicated situation. While one option is to have little to no contact with her, a value issue for me is that she's an elderly widow and for me to not have contact with her would bother me. So even if it's not an easy situation and the dynamics are difficult, it would bother me more to not have contact with her. If I send her flowers, it's not about her. Sometimes she says she likes them and then I find out she didn't. I've given her things that she may have just gotten rid of. Most of the time, she finds something she doesn't like even with my best efforts.

So if I send something, it's because I feel it's the right thing to do for me. I don't want to feel badly that I ignored her birthday, so I send something. The gesture is based on the choice of "how would I feel if I send this and she either likes it or doesn't and throws it out" or "how would I feel if I didn't do it". It really comes down to your own feelings.

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« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2023, 01:12:33 PM »

So even if it's not an easy situation and the dynamics are difficult, it would bother me more to not have contact with her. If I send her flowers, it's not about her. Sometimes she says she likes them and then I find out she didn't. I've given her things that she may have just gotten rid of. Most of the time, she finds something she doesn't like even with my best efforts.

What comes to mind after reading this is: Do not cast your pearls before swine.

Perhaps a simple card or a very brief phone call would allow you to act in accordance with your values without also setting yourself up for further hurt. It’s also seems like such a waste of time and resources to send flowers and gifts to someone who will just discard them, IMHO.
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« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2023, 02:31:28 PM »

I love that quote. The "pearls" to me are my feelings and closeness so I keep them close.
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« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2023, 11:58:58 PM »

Thank you so much for starting this thread and for your  posts, and to everyone who has posted here. I am relatively new to this site, and I am getting a lot out of reading the posts, but can't offer much advice, as I am lost myself.  I could relate so much to what I read here about everyone's mothers and their behaviors ... especially about how BPD mothers think that it is their daughters' jobs to be a "care slave."  That is what I am experiencing, and just as someone posted, no matter what I do, it is not enough, not right, etc. And, my Mom is extremely manipulative and she sanitizes all stories to make her sound like a saint and that others, such as me, don't do enough for her.

I read another post tonight in which the writer said that the BPD parent says s/he doesn't yell.  My Mom says that...she never yells, according to her. But, that's not what I hear. She yells very loudly...and even she told me that once the neighbors called the police when she was having an argument with her partner.

Anyway, it is good to know that I am not alone because sometimes I feel very alone and that everyone thinks my mother is a saint because she is so charming when she is out and so abusive when she is alone with me. 
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« Reply #29 on: April 11, 2023, 03:45:32 AM »



Anyway, it is good to know that I am not alone because sometimes I feel very alone and that everyone thinks my mother is a saint because she is so charming when she is out and so abusive when she is alone with me.  

That is unfortunately common. My BPD mother's public persona is different from how she is at home. We didn't share what went on at home with anyone. It was a family secret and we also felt it would reflect poorly on us - as if we had something to do with it- which wasn't true but we still were concerned people might think that. We also didn't think anyone would believe us.

It was when my mother began to need home health that people spent more time around her at home and her behavior became more obvious to people outside the family.

BPD is described as having a component of attachment disturbance. The behaviors are worse with the people who are closest to them.
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