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Author Topic: A support thread for those of us who have decided to go no/minimal contact  (Read 1347 times)
Leaf56
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« on: August 14, 2023, 12:05:15 PM »

Hi all. I posted here quite a bit from July-December of 2021. As I said in an answer post today, I quickly realized after reading here for a while that this problem never actually gets better, at least not in a way I can accept. What I think this board could use is a support group for those of us who've  made the decision to stop helping our adult children/go no contact and the like. What we need more than anything is a welcoming place where people understand this decision and don't judge us for making it and can commiserate with us about the intense guilt this decision causes and the constant doubts it brings with it since it's so antithetical to everything we've ever done/felt in relation to raising and loving our children. I hear so much anguish in so many posts from parents who KNOW there's nothing more they can do and who just want to be let off the hook. We are a minority here, but, as there are several different boards here for the phases of romantic relationships, so should there be separate sections for the phase parents are in with their BPD children. Any interest?
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2023, 02:38:17 PM »

I am interested.  We are all at different stages in this experience.  If you had told me to just walk away 10 years ago (my daughter is 33 now). The idea would seem unthinkable.  As time goes on people tend to wear out and even become ill.  I think a safe space to support each other without being nudged in a direction we’re no longer comfortable with would be really helpful.
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Leaf56
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2023, 02:44:57 PM »

Acheymom, yay! It helps me just to hear you say that  Smiling (click to insert in post) And yes, exactly. Everyone is at different parts of this journey. Have you ever looked at the romantic section of this site? They have their area broken down into 3 sections, one for each stage of the process:

Bettering or Reversing a Breakup
Conflicted About Continuing
Detaching and Learning After a Failed Relationship

At the very least it would be nice to have a pinned thread but better even would be if ours could have two sections that more explicitly reflect the stages at which we are, and of course folks are free to go back and forth anyway as they do on the romantic section.
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Leaf56
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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2023, 02:55:44 PM »

And just FYI (you can click on my posting name to see my old posts for more detail), my son is 27, able-bodied, has a BA degree and almost finished his MA before he dropped out. I haven't given him any money since July 2021. I found and paid for the last and final therapist who "fired" him as a patient in July 2022, and I decided then that that will be the last thing I pay for. He lives in his dad's house, smokes weed daily, hasn't worked for 2 years, and is now on Medicaid. I've seen him once in the past 2 years for lunch with the woman he is using for support (can't bring myself to call her his gf). Every month or so he'll call, I'm sure because he still thinks that if he sounds pathetic enough I'll bankroll his existence, and every month or so I'll call him because I feel guilty but it always ends with him saying he'll kill himself. I'm at a point where I just can't kick the guilt. Maybe I never will. But I'm firm on no more money/help.
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Tulipps
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2023, 07:08:33 PM »

I'm interested, Leaf.
Like you, I check back periodically for support.
It's now 2 years since I've seen my bpd daughter, age 36. She is blocked on our cell phones. Funding stopped as well. My CLh and I have been sucked in a few times, responding to benign sounding emails (our birthdays, eg). Once we reply with a "thank you", the barrage of messages begins. We've stopped responding and the messages stopped.
We've learned, through others that she is alive, appears well employed, and not on the street as a prostitute, as was  threatened countless times.
At times, I feel like my heart has been cut out, but I carry on with my own life.
 
 
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Leaf56
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2023, 07:37:31 PM »

Hi Tulipps! Great to see you here, although I guess bad that we both still feel the need to come sometimes, but it helps so much to know you’re here. I’m able to find humor in my situation more and more, which sometimes helps. There have even been busy months at a time when I’ve not thought about it much, then he makes contact and I go into a tailspin for days. I have more to say but have to run right now. Please expound if you want/have time and I’ll gobble it up when I’m back later tonight.
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Astarry
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« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2023, 11:36:16 AM »

Hi I'm living in Western Australia but cannot find any place for support except my Psychotherapist who has been asking me to go no contact with me mum for 20 years. Yes, you heard me, 20 years.
However last week I got it.
I'm very shaken up and feeling insecure. I live in public housing so it's impossible for me to move as she lives down the street from me. My 29 yr old son doesn't speak to me neither does my oldest brother because of her. She is diagnosed bpd,. Narcissism, elements of psychopath.

I'm learning to be gentle. I am pretty much unable to excersise..

I feel so beaten up.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2023, 12:14:39 PM by Astarry » Logged
Leaf56
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« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2023, 02:48:34 PM »

Hi astarry, that sounds like a very awful situation. I think you might get better responses on the section of this site that's meant for people with parents who have BPD. This section is for people with children who have BPD. That said, my mom has no BPD traits, but I'm sure it's hard when one's mom does. I have no issue with going no contact with anyone in my life who exhibits BPD behavior except my son. I don't have any tolerance for it whatsoever.
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Leaf56
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« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2023, 03:30:11 PM »

The thing that has helped me the most has been talking to my former therapist from 20 years ago, who is a top cognitive behavior/schema therapist in NYC specializing in personality disorders (he's also a clergyman). I had kind of forgotten about him in the intervening years until someone on this board mentioned schema therapy, and I contacted him and he was willing to work with me and my son over the past year and a half. He, like me, thinks Marsha Linehan's approach to BPD is wrong and that DBT is ineffective. He, like me, believes that what these BPD adults need more than anything are very firm limits, parents who don't fund them after HS or college if they go, and parents and otheers who put up with zero crap from them. It helped so much to know that someone who has been dealing with these adults and their parents for so long thought exactly the same way I do about it and was even stricter and harsher in his approach of what to do than I am. He said that it's not possible to make any progress with these adult offspring (intentional use of word) whatsoever if you as parents continue to participate in the stage play that is their lives. So his view is that first parents need to stop doing anything for their adult offspring, and then the adult offspring need to decide for themselves if they want to change. He's not saying that that usually happens, but he IS saying that nothing the parents do will help and that what they usually do DO is only making things worse, so at least this way the parents can get on with their lives and maybe if the parents get out of their offspring's lives the offspring will get on with theirs. And even if the offspring don't get better, or become homeless, or prostitutes, or drug addicts, or kill themselves, it's not the parents' responsibility.

This affirmation of what I had already concluded has helped me a lot. I still have bouts of guilt and overwhelming sadness/grief. I'll probably have that for the rest of my life. But as long as I don't talk to him, I can kind of pretend that maybe he's not feeling so bad and I just do my best to block out any thoughts of him and concentrate on my other two happy, healthy sons.
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Tulipps
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« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2023, 09:16:24 AM »

Someone had told me years ago that you can only be as happy as your least happy child. That tragic thought gripped me for years until I rejected it. Remaining enmeshed in my daughter's life made my own life unbearable. What I thought was helping was definitely not helping. Ever. That shocking revelation gave me my life back. Now, the periodic sadness I feel has nothing to do with guilt or shame, only loss. It's a grieving process.
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Leaf56
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« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2023, 12:35:12 PM »

Tulipps said: "Someone had told me years ago that you can only be as happy as your least happy child. That tragic thought gripped me for years until I rejected it. Remaining enmeshed in my daughter's life made my own life unbearable. What I thought was helping was definitely not helping. Ever. That shocking revelation gave me my life back. Now, the periodic sadness I feel has nothing to do with guilt or shame, only loss. It's a grieving process."

Hi again Tulipps. Yes, "a grieving process" sums it up. Maybe it's even a traditional Kubler-Ross 5 stages grieving process (ie Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance). I know when I came here I was very much in the mommy mode I've spent most of my mom years in with him which has always been "I'm smart. If I can just figure out what this is I can fix it." That bubble was immediately burst when I realized from reading years' worth of posts here that it's unfixable and can never get better than surface-level better (which is considered success for some people but not me). Then I left this board and worked with my old therapist and over the past year and a half confirmed my previous conclusions, which helped me with a lot of the guilt but not much of the grief. I still continue to be astonished that all this is still going on. I really thought he'd get sick of it and go back to being how he was before this started. But that's clearly not going to happen. I don't feel like I've achieved any definitive stance on the situation. I've never thought "I'll never speak to him again." I still waffle back and forth in my mind all the time, and when the sadness gets to me I sometimes call him. It's not always bad when I call him or he calls me, but it usually is. I know that when it's not bad that he's just trying really hard not to have conflict, but that conflict is only a hair's breadth away. But yeah, it's a process. I'm actually jealous of people whose children have gone no contact. For me, that would be much easier than my choosing to diminish contact to the extent I have.
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« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2023, 07:44:06 PM »

I would like to join this thread. Hi again Leaf.  Smiling (click to insert in post)

I don't have anything to add today really. Please excuse me if I come across as blunt or cynical in future posts. I do tend to get 'over it" and too tired to write out my sorrow and grief. So please assume it is there to a diminishing degree when I write about the cynical side of my feelings.

Also, I only come on here rarely as I am focusing on being happy doing unimportant things and lighthearted things in my daily life. The things I have missed out on.

Bloody Narcissistic mother, abusing siblings & Borderline daughter took so up so much time, energy and would not allow for any joy. I have joy back.
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-Mother of 51 year old daughter unBPD
-Lost my son to CF age 20 - 20 yrs ago
-Estranged by her choice -14 years ago after I said I felt suicidal
-I have done all I can, she is heartless
-Now I no longer want her in my life
-Have not seen my grandson since he was 6, he is 20
Leaf56
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« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2023, 12:30:35 PM »

Yeah I hear you. It doesn't come up that often, but when it does it's nice to have a place to go to vent or express sadness to those who understand.
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StepMothering

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« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2023, 05:48:21 PM »

I would like there to be other subforums too. One standout is that adult children with BPD are handled much differently than a < 18 year old BPD child.

I am still hopeful though. Look up Tristesse on these boards. Her adult daughter has been living independently for 5 years after DBT.
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Leaf56
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« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2023, 08:19:18 PM »

To address your points, I think everyone has their own version in their head of what they would consider to be a successful outcome to their situation with their BPD child, and that's a good topic for another thread. I started this thread for those of us who have already decided to give up hope and have chosen to go no/minimal contact with our adult children to support each other in that decision. I had suggested having a separate area for that stage of this process in the same way there are three separate areas for the process in the romantic relationship area of the site.
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Leaf56
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« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2023, 08:39:37 PM »

I just realized that I thought it might help for me to add to the explanation I gave above. When I first arrived at this site 2 years ago, I was 2 things; desperate with equal parts exasperated and pissed off. I was desperate to understand what was happening with my son and desperate to figure out how to fix it. And I was exasperated and pissed off with the way he was behaving. After 6 months of intensive research and reading here, I came to the conclusion that there really wasn't anything more I could do to help him and that he really needed to figure it out on his own. But then I felt guilty, so I embarked on one last attempt by employing a therapist to help guide us out of the situation. Within 6 months it became clear that that was never going to work either. So now one year after that, I'm relatively comfortable with the place I've landed, which is minimal contact and zero tolerance for anything that even smacks of abusive language/behavior. That doesn't mean that I don't sometimes get very very sad. I don't expect the grief to ever leave me and that's just what I've decided to accept. The decision doesn't make it hurt any less, but it does bring a lot of peace.
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Grief77
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« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2023, 11:50:50 PM »

I agree.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 09:48:55 PM by Grief77 » Logged
StepMothering

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« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2023, 09:20:31 AM »

Leaf56 - I definitely agree with the specific forum you are suggesting. I does help to know that there are others who have made the decision to end communication and the world did not collapse around them. And if/when my husband & I get there we will have a place to communicate with others in the same position.
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Leaf56
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« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2023, 10:33:44 AM »

Yes, we need a place free of judgment, free of people suggesting just one more thing we can try, free of people saying "but wait there's hope," etc. All of that just prolongs our agony. We've made a decision that should be respected as much as others' decisions to continue to try. I haven't really spent much time on the romantic section, but I don't think that there are members there suggesting hope to other members to try again once they've finally ended their toxic marriages on the "Detaching and Learning After a Failed Relationship" board. I imagine it's why the board administrators created the 3 separate boards within the romantic category.
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Leaf56
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« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2023, 03:19:29 PM »

My son's birthday is in a couple days. This type of thing always poses a dilemma. I'd like to call and say happy birthday, but it will probably end with him saying he wishes he was never born and stuff like that. For the past couple years I've given him a gift card sent via email. I guess I'll do the same this year. It makes me so sad.
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Tulipps
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« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2023, 08:48:29 PM »

Leaf – I’m right there with you. Intellectualizing it doesn’t take the pain away because this s--t hurts.

There is a family date of significance next month and I’ve been expecting something. Well, it came today. The baby voice email “Do you have my (childhood item) because I’d like it back”… followed by “I miss my family ☹” As soon as I saw the message, a wave of numbing anguish hit me. A reminder that my level of calm can be disrupted significantly by 2 short sentences.

If one was unfamiliar with the history, at face value the messages seem benign and sincere. Knowing the history, I see a gentle hook dangling for me to get pulled right back into the latest crisis.

It took about an hour for me to settle on a response of no response. 

Sending a virtual hug your way.
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« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2023, 10:28:36 PM »

I’d like to be involved with such a group. We’ve been estranged from our oldest who has BPD and this estrangement was a decision we made. However, there have been several other estrangements over the years where we were cut off by her. This last time I couldn’t take her abuse anymore. In many ways my life is more peaceful since no contact but in other ways this estrangement situation has wreaked havoc on my life. I feel guilty some days and angry other days, I’m definitely depressed and also going through menopause which makes everything that much worse some days.

I last heard from our daughter a couple months ago and it was via email. She’s blocked on our phones and now blocked from every email address she knew about. We helped her get back on her feet financially after a divorce and a dui and somewhere in there she had a major splitting episode and became abusive, again. She owes another relative a large sum of money who she lied to another paying back so there are other family members she’s also estranged from. She no longer speaks with her siblings and she seems to be mad at them for reasons that don’t exist in reality.

Anyway, I’m rambling but speaking to others who can relate would be great.
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Leaf56
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« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2023, 10:32:05 PM »

Thank goodness for you right now Tulipps. Thank you!! I got the “I miss my family, I just want a family” email a month or so ago gut punch too. I ended up talking to him for several hours going down numerous rabbit holes ending as always with ridiculous accusations and suicide threats wishing I’d never called.
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Leaf56
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« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2023, 10:44:14 PM »

Hi KitKat and welcome. Perimenopause is the worst, but it’s bliss when it’s over and it will definitely help, though it could take a while.
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Leaf56
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« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2023, 03:59:55 PM »

So I had the dreaded call with my son for his bday and it went really well. He was in a good mood, was making progress on a physical problem he's been dealing with (he got on medicaid and sought treatment for it on his own). But unlike other times, I no longer feel hope after calls that go well, just relief that it didn't turn into a big horrible thing.
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Rottiemom

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« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2023, 03:07:09 PM »

I am so relieved to find this thread & be a part of it. All the relevant BPD posts are supportive but I rarely read of NC for 3+ yrs like me. I have found the people that know how this state of being is. For me, a wonderful counselor has truely helped me navigate through the early stages of this -  realization of adult daughter BPD & what is bpd, the suffering & I mean suffering through mental & emotional attacks, my eventual boundary setting, the understanding of a fatal toxic situation that I had to remove myself from, and the acceptance of all of it. It goes on w/a little less grief & sadness, and I know now I am not crazy. This has spilled over to enforce NC w/ horribly toxic sibling & 2 - 1/2 siblings that just don’t care about me or how bpd daughter treated me. Believe they heard bpd daughter condemn me but as my counselor said, you know her truth & how she acted & hurt you. They never asked me are you OK? I don’t have to be around & playact a semblance of “family” nor be a recipient of passive/aggressive behavior. I’m so encouraged to read all the important life skills we can grow.
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Leaf56
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« Reply #26 on: September 18, 2023, 11:21:08 PM »

Hi again Rottiemom, I'm so happy you found the thread and felt relief. It helps so much to know that there are others who have given their all and then have said "enough" to the abuse and manipulation. Because in the end, we count just as much as they do, and there's never a reason to allow another person to treat you badly--ever. It's amazing that anyone who supposedly knows and loves you would ever believe the lies these kids tell about you. Anyway, glad you're here.
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« Reply #27 on: September 19, 2023, 01:19:35 PM »

Oh man I’m glad I’m here too. This is not a misery loves company but company that freakin understands this viciousness.  Plan to contribute more and have reread the posts & feel a little relaxed knowing others understand!
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« Reply #28 on: September 19, 2023, 07:09:40 PM »

Leaf, has the schema therapist you mentioned written any books, or at least an article or two? I'd love to look him up if you don't mind sharing his name—thanks!
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Leaf56
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« Reply #29 on: September 19, 2023, 10:14:18 PM »

Hi guiltymom, nice to see you again. I’ll send you a private message with his name and a link.
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