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Things I couldn't have known
Supporting a Child in Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder
Anosognosia and Getting a "Borderline" into Therapy
Am I the Cause of Borderline Personality Disorder?
Emotional Blackmail: Fear, Obligation and Guilt (FOG)
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Author Topic: Is this all my fault? Did I cause this?  (Read 47169 times)
Starry
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« on: October 28, 2006, 05:21:22 AM »

I've read about parents with multiple children where one is BPD and the other(s) is/are not.

Is it our fault that a child behaves like they do? Is it possible to prevent this behaviour.

What do you think?

An insecure Starry04
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2006, 06:35:32 AM »

Children will react to us - you know that. A lot of times they pick up our signals when we're fearful or angry more easily perhaps than when we're jolly or loving - it's a survival thing that all of us have to any degree. Kids that are extra sensitive will absorb things more readily, and sometimes it's overwhelming to them and - by default - they might 'shut down' those sensory perceptions that seem to make them more vulnerable and beef up those that will 'protect' them.

I hope others will come along to offer you more support about the impression your therapist gave you. Your actions, feelings, and behavior do not totally dictate those of your daughter, but I'd say that they will have an affect on her - how could they not?

hang in there,

~ jr
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2006, 09:02:29 AM »

My therapist says that her behaviour is a consequence of mine.

I understand that it affects her, but for me that is different than what he said. I assume he meant that I do not speak up enough to her and don't offer her enough strict things like: every day breakfast at 8.00, don't walk outside with no shoes on, do this, don't do that and stick to that ... .I think he finds me to easy going, and I sometimes doubt myself. I know that I love my kids, but I find it sometimes difficult to raise them.

Thank you for your answer, it was very helpful.

Starry
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2011, 08:10:15 AM »

I separated from my ex-husband 4 years ago and we have been divorced for 2 years now.  It seems all my dd problems started then.  

She was diagnosed with ADHD when she was in 2nd grade and she has been a "high-strung" child ever since.  

I tell myself everyday that this isn't my fault, that her "mental health" issues are not caused by me and my very close and wonderful friends tell me the same thing but I have let it creep in my mind over the past couple of months as her issues have gotten worse.  

She totally blames me for everything that has ever happened and for making her daddy leave.
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« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2011, 08:42:27 AM »

I also know the feeling of those thoughts creeping in because they still creep in for me at times too.  

One thing you have to understand (and I'm learning) about those with BPD, is that every crisis, small or big, can be a trigger.  My dd25 uses those triggers to self harm and project inward instead of aggressive outward projection, but its still the same ill way to deal with stressful situations.

You will never be able to keep stressful situations away from your daughter.  There will be losses... .will you take responsibility for all those too?  They don't have the emotional capability to handle their feelings and emotions.

I have also been divorced for two years, separated for four.  I remember the incredible fear I carried before and after about how this would affect my kids.  That's normal to fear.  Throw in that one of the children has a PD and it is almost impossible to not have that fear of "what am I doing to them... ." brought right out into a bleeding scab.

NTB
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2011, 04:20:45 PM »

I struggle with guilt as well.  So many things that I have read say that parenting is part of the issue that creates BPD.  I wish I could go back and redo my daughters early childhood.  The only thing that helps me is my other daughter is very healthy and functional, and they shared the same parenting.
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2013, 02:59:47 AM »

We too are a loving parents and we thought we did a good job. We gave rules, love, encouragements and support. Lots of friends, a doggy, friendly neighborhood, holidays, books, movies etc. But our son hates us and says we did and do everything wrong.

When I read the book for psychologists, as compared to those for families, they wrote very hard things about the families of BPD children.

This is why, I wish to know whether there is something seriously wrong that we did.

Our other son is perfectly ok.

Survive
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lbjnltx
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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2013, 07:04:07 AM »

The National Institute of Mental Health's view on the cause of BPD



Here is a link to some additional information on this:

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17988414




Personally, this is how I see my role in the development of the BPD traits that my dd16 has had:

She was born a sensitive soul, the opposite of myself.  I am a cerebral type... .thinking and reasoning over emotions.  There is a mismatch to some degree there.  To counter balance her emotions I replied with reason and logic instead of validating her feelings and helping her learn to balance herself.  The invalidating environment only added to her emotionality.  She was diagnosed w/separation anxiety at 2 years old, even though I was with her constantly.  When difficulties with school began and the hormones began to rage at the same time her emotions became unmanageable for her and myself and me not understanding what she was struggling with.  At age 11 she was dx w/ODD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and went untreated despite being in therapy and working through a parenting program.  At age 12 she was diagnosed by her new therapist and through inpatient complete psych testing as "emerging BPD" and MDD (Major Depression).  At age 13 she began having psychotic episodes (possibly from depression).  After 2 years of individual/family therapy (partial Dialectical Behavior Therapy) she continued to spiral downward in her depression, psychosis, raging, self injury, risky behaviors, lack of identity and absence of empathy.  She went into residential treatment for 10 months where she was able to get stable, learn skills and return home to us.

She was born predisposed to develop the disorder, had I known how to parent a highly sensitive child... .   if someone had used those terms our lives may have been different than they were.  Instead terms were used that directed her treatment towards parenting a "difficult child" and a "strong willed child", which she was, yet the underlying problem that drove her "strong will and difficulty" was her sensitivity.

I hope that this information can help you accept the present and move forward in your journey to parent your son and get him the treatment he needs.

ljnltx

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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2013, 07:13:29 AM »

ljnltx, I guess we have something in common: my son is highly sensitive, I am very logical... .  He had always been all right until the age of 12, when everything began. I wonder, if I had known, our lives too would have been different!

Our son wants, as he says, "all the bad to us", and he is really succeeding! WHY, I don't understand why... .

 

Thanks also for the link to the origins of BPD. Very important too.

Have a good day,

Survive
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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2013, 08:07:24 AM »

One on the most interesting things that I have learned on this site is the idea that we often unknowingly reward bad behavior and, over time, this shapes the problem.

Blaise Aguirre MD gives an excellent example of a teen who fear abandonment and threatens suicide when her boyfriend breaks up.  The lad finds out, he is horribly concerned, and he reconnects. <click here>

Bottom line.  It worked.  It becomes learned behavior.

Many see this as manipulation.  According to Aguirre, it's a pwBPD resolving fear.

How we contribute is not always obvious.  


Date: Nov-2011Minutes: 41:56 

BPD in Adolescence  | Blaise Aguirre, MD | NEA-BPD 2011 Meeting
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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2013, 08:30:31 AM »

I also would get myself all crazed when I read books about the parents of BPD children.  How they often come from abuse or invalidating parents.  No matter how hard I searched I couldn't find anything that we did.  

But the more I thought about it the more I realized that it is not so much what we do or what the world does as it is how they perceive things.  Skip's point makes sense. Everything around us effects us.  I tend to be a pretty adaptable person.  In my office I am completely methodical yet outside I am really highly-sensitive and a random thinker much like Reality.  My DD is a very abstract thinker also, and that is why I understand her so well.  My other daughter is a very black and white thinker, very logical and methodical and when I am with her I am in a much different frame of mind.  Both of my girls had a similar upbringing however they way they are effected by the world and how they adapt to it are two very different things. My older daughter was able to blow off the common rejection kids deal with in school.  She would not allow herself to be bullied.  :)D was also bullied in school but reacted totally differently.  She was not able to move on from it, which made her the perfect prey.  Oddly enough my older daughter is now a "Crisis Counselor" and the other night she was explaining to me what she learned about personality disorders.  She told me most often there is a crisis or trauma in the persons life that they do not effectively deal with.  They use ineffective ways to deal with this trauma and the longer they do this the harder it becomes to deal with it.  Their perception changes and a personality disorder begins to emerge.  BPD being the most common.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that it is not what we do but how they react to their world.

Griz
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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2013, 08:37:29 AM »

One on the most interesting things that I have learned on this site is the idea that we often unknowingly reward bad behavior and over time that shapes the problem.of you.

It is all hindsight now... .  

I like listening to the ways you express your self, as I am so different from you. As you well know, I am a highly-sensitive person, i would go so far as to say exquisitely sensitive.  I am also an abstract-random thinker, nothing logical-sequential about me.  I live in the world of visions.  

Funnily, I think I was a perfect fit for my son in some ways.  I understood who he was.

Only when I understood what my d needed was I able to empathize with her and balance myself in wisemind.  When my d learned to balance herself in wisemind a place to meet on common ground was created. For some... .  like myself I needed to get in touch with my emotional mind and for others they may need to get in touch with their reason and logic mind.  It is the balance that we all seek... .  ourselves and our children.

Then, he was badly bullied in Grade Five.  That trauma started the disorder.  The mask went on.  The hiding of who he was.  Enter the drug world at 15.  Not too useful to have a highly sensitive, shy mother at that point.

The propensity to awake the sleeping giant of BPD is fragile amongst the onset of puberty and the difficulties of being a teen.  I used to wonder if my d had not had such a difficult year at school if she would have developed the disorder.  I accept that  it was bound to happen as this world is a difficult and dangerous place for teens who are already highly sensitive.  The time to have contained the sleeping giant was as a toddler, teaching her to manage her emotions then... .  teaching myself how to help her do that.

The advantage of being like you is your ability to problem-solve calmly and methodically.  Having a logical, methodical approach is very helpful.

Temper that with validation and it is ultimately good.

I wish I had known you when my son was 15,

Me too  

I wish I was back then the way I am now... . 

although I think the stress of seeing my son start to de-rail put me in PTSD mode and I was really not coping at all, even though I looked like I was, teaching, smiling... . 

Sorry to digress here.  :)id I cause my son to have BPD?  I don't think so.  Could I have been a more effective mother once the BPD started churning?   Definitely, yes, but I was too exhausted to find the place somewhere, probably in the States, to get him the help I couldn't give him.

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« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2013, 12:16:18 AM »

I think our kids are the target of bullying because this illness lends itself to behaviors which others find very uncomfortable, and so they lash out at the weak.  Basic lack of human compassion that is rampant these days.

I have terrible guilt over decisions we made during our daughter's growing up years that we thought were for the best, and they were the OPPOSITE!  I am absolutely in a grieving process right now.  As much as I feel relief at knowing wth is going on (finally), I am devastated that what I thought was good parenting, was the opposite of what our daughter really needed.  Certainly, the misguidance from the mental health professionals are also to blame.  Ultimately, blame/shame/guilt are not productive, and exactly the OPPOSITE of what we as parents need for healing.  

I close a book as soon as I read anything having to do with BPD being the result of bad parenting.  Those of us with more than one child, where the other child grew up w/o BPD have daily living proof that it's not true.  It could be true in some cases, but it seems far from the truth here, where we all agonize over our children's pain and love them dearly.

In my experience in Washington State, after the age of 18 there was NOTHING we could do to get our daughter help.  If I could go back in time, I would have been way more proactive before that 18th birthday, no matter how pissed she would have been.  At least maybe she would have had a diagnosis, even if she chose to not do anything about it.  I think laws are different in different states, but basically we have to wait until "she is a danger to herself or others".  

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« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2013, 07:18:03 AM »

Interesting report out of Harvard... .

Inborn Biogenetic Temperaments

The degree to which Borderline Personality Disorder is caused by inborn factors called the —level of heritability“ is estimated to be 68%. This is about the same as for bipolar disorder.

What is believed to be inherited is not the disorder, per se, but the biogenetic dispositions, i.e. temperaments (or as noted above, phenotypes). Specifically, BPD can develop only in those children who are born with one or more of the three temperaments noted above: Affective Dysregulation, Impulsivity, and Disturbed Attachments. Such temperaments represent an individual‘s predisposition to emotionality, impulsivity, or relationship problems. For children with these temperaments, environmental factors can then significantly delimit or exacerbate these inborn traits.

Many studies have shown that disorders of emotional regulation or impulsivity are disproportionately higher in relatives of BPD patients. The affect/emotion temperament predisposes individuals to being easily upset, angry, depressed, and anxious. The impulsivity temperament predisposes individuals to act without thinking of the consequences, or even to purposefully seek dangerous activities. The disturbed attachment temperament probably starts with extreme sensitivity to separations or rejections. Another theory has proposed that patients with BPD are born with excessive aggression which is genetically based (as opposed to being environmental in origin). A child born with a placid or passive temperament would be unlikely to ever develop BPD.

The fact that girls are more affiliative, and boys more instrumental, is believed to explain why there is a much higher frequency of females (i.e., approximately 75%) with the BPD diagnosis. This suggests that the disorder may be primarily a disorder of relationships. In contrast, antisocial personality disorder occurs disproportionately in males (about 75% of those diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder are male) and is thought to be primarily a disorder of action.

Normal neurological function is needed for such complex tasks as impulse control, regulation of emotions, and perception of social cues. Studies of BPD patients have identified an increased incidence of neurological dysfunctions, often subtle, that are discernible on close examination. The largest portion of the brain is the cerebrum, the upper section, where information is interpreted coming in from the senses, and from which conscious thoughts and voluntary movements are thought to emanate. Preliminary studies have found that individuals with BPD have a diminished serotonergic response to stimulation in these areas of the cerebrum and that the lower levels of brain activity may promote impulsive behavior. The limbic system, located at the center of the brain, is sometimes thought of as —the emotional brain“, and consists of the amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, hypothalamus, and parts of the brain stem. There is evidence that the volume of the amgydala and hippocampus portions of the brain, so critical for emotional functioning, are smaller in those with BPD. It is not clear whether such neurological irregularities have either genetic or environmental sources.

In summary, research indicates that individuals who have difficulty with impulse control and aggression have reduced levels of activity in their brains in a number of key locations. It is theorized that in persons with BPD, mild to moderate impairments in several systems result in —errors“ in the gathering, dissemination, and interpretation of data, and they are consequently more likely to respond with acts of impulsivity or aggression. ~ John Gunderson, MD (2006)


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Esperança_Hope
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2013, 09:35:37 AM »

Many studies have shown that disorders of emotional regulation or impulsivity are disproportionately higher in relatives of BPD patients.

It´s not anyone fault.  It´s reality.

What are we going to do with it?

Thanks everyone, you all wrote wise words, gave here a lot of empathy and shared their painful feelings.

Yesterday , i was reading Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder: A Family Guide for Healing and Change and the author tells about guilt is a response to loss. For us, mothers, parents, guilt is awful, exaggerated because we feel highly responsible for the well-being of our children. We judge ourselves under unrealistic standards and we dwell on "if only´s" and "I should have´s".  We feel we should have been able to prevent the BPD and the worst.

Guilt exacerbates grief and interferes with the development of compassion for our loved one´s BPD. Grieving our loss  and acceptance with  acknowledgment make us free to experience the reality with our BPD´s children.

Theories are good to understand the disorder but what  is , for me much more important , is to experience the world in between my DS31 and me, and his world.  He is a my son... .  the way he is. I´m learning to love him the way he is... .  and he is learning to love himself as well.

You all have my prayers and love
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« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2013, 09:51:47 AM »

Thanks, Esperança,

As your name, you give me hope.

It is a hard time, though, when everybody tries to help telling you :"You should do this or that". When something is wrong with your child, then everything gets under a magnifying glass and seems to be bad.

I feel we did a lot of mistakes as all parents do, but we are not horrible people!

Anyway, I can't lose the sense of guilt, and I feel many people think we, as a family, are responsible for our son's suffering.

Survive
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« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2013, 12:36:09 PM »

Everyone has such wonderful insight into this topic... .  this elephant in the room!

I would also like to add that BPD can reveal itself at different ages and then present in different ways, and the parental response is more age related.

If a child starts having extreme issues at a very young age, such as ibj's, then steps can be taken to get the right help before the child has developed into an adolescent. At these very young ages, there is perhaps a better chance to affect change.

However if your child is quiet, has good friends,  does well in school, and doesn't cause much anxt anywhere else until they hit adolescence, then as a parent you are hit with a monster you never saw coming. Your shy child turns nasty, hangs out with the worst kids, wants to be sexually active,  starts cutting, taking drugs, develops eating disorders, telling big lies and fails school. You scramble to find help, only to have it be the wrong kind. Your friends are appalled and start giving you suggestions, or they dump you like you have the plague... .  and the pwBPD becomes a tornado, sucking all of the life out of the family trying desperately to get them back on track.

Then it gets worse. Up until this point, you might have been able to keep your child's dysfunctions fairly quiet... .  within the family. People on the outside sense there is something going on, teachers are getting concerned but not worried yet, and there are rays of hope interspersed in your pwBPD's life... .  a good grade, eating well, smiling more, going places with friends.

But we have a new difficulty as parents, not one that was really in use by teens until only a few years ago... .  the Internet. You are horrified to find out about the way your pwBPD uses this new tool to access the underworld, and you deparately try to keep up and maybe even stay one step ahead of watching the water come over the dam. But your pwBPD can access this new way of communicating anywhere and anytime. Even though you have restrictions and consequences and rewards... .  none of it can control the desire of the pwBPD for attention... .  from anyone.

Then your struggles become public. Beyond whatever lunacy your pwBPD is posting on FB, there are the criminals they have contacted for sex or  drugs or just to run away to consider. The police become involved... .  and they might show up at school or at your home because your pwBPD has accused you of abuse. The news spreads like wildfire. It is a nightmare.

Then when you finally get your pwBPD diagnosed, the DBT therapists might accuse you, the parents, of being "invalidating". This is the final blow to the parental psyche, until you realize it is start remembering what your history is with your child, and you realize it is complete crap.

I am not saying that the pwBPD does not feel unheard, I am saying that the cause of BPD is NOT BECAUSE PARENTS DID NOT VALIDATE THEIR CHILDREN.

Good parents are made out to be the bad guys in much of therapy, and certainly in popular opinion, and it is completely erroneous. BPD exists regardless of parenting styles... .  and this board is proof of that Smiling (click to insert in post)

However we as parents do lead the way of the future of how to maintain relationships with our very dysfunctional children, no matter what their age. The books and some therapies are great launching points for dealing with our sick children individually.

Esparanca was right - the most important but perhaps the hardest thing we have to do is let go of the idealized child. Only then can we really perceive them as individuals with their particular needs. Only if we approach them almost as strangers can we begin to have a relationship that works. The past only works against this concept, and who they were supposed to be is no longer applicable.

So to all those friends and family who try to offer suggestions... .  be kind because they mean well. You can say "we are exploring every avenue to help our child, and we are doing the best we can"... .  or my personal favorite, "every family has something, and she's our something!"

This condition produces very different life stages as well.  We are now at the very difficult stage of trying to figure out how to have a relationship with our dd19 who is having a baby soon... .  

I know I cannot subject myself to seeing this poor child living in a bad environment, with flea bitten dogs, filthy apartment, and a marijuana grow site, with no ability to affect change. My disabled dd will not be able to travel anywhere without her toxic bf so if we are to see her it will only be in his presence. He and his mother and grandmother are constantly at her place "helping", and they are all smokers, which makes me sick.

And now she has threatened me with cutting me out of her life completely, because I don't always tell her what she wants to hear.

I don't know... .  it makes me sad, but would I be sadder just living with my pictures of her beautiful life, or spending all of my brain power to deal with the sad reality she is living and about to subject to another human being?

This is who we are as parents of pwBPD's.

FM

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« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2013, 01:25:38 PM »

Surely every one at one stage or another feels it is their fault, I did at the beginning.

Even if there is a close family death you blame yourself for a while, its natural I believe.

Still, that does not help for the future does it, Im not saying that about you but about me really. I kept thinking, I was not validating enough, I cant read people so I must of not related to my children. Yet dont forget I have 4 children and they are ok.

I was brought up in a very non validating environment yet I do not have BPD or anything at all.

It really upsets me when People ask is it their fault, because you know what... .  we all have enough on our plates, and you only have to get to know these people on this site to see what caring loving parents they are, lots have read parenting books and done courses, that is a fact, most have given up their lives because we adore our children.

So so called professionals have written books, we read them because we care and want to be proactive they we get wrong messages saying it may be us that caused it. It is wrong it is an old fashioned idea, just like when they used to say about autistic children, now they say its not true.

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« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2013, 01:47:23 PM »

Everyone has such wonderful insight into this topic... .  this elephant in the room!

I would also like to add that BPD can reveal itself at different ages and then present in different ways, and the parental response is more age related.

If a child starts having extreme issues at a very young age, such as ibj's, then steps can be taken to get the right help before the child has developed into an adolescent. At these very young ages, there is perhaps a better chance to affect change.

Let me clarify for understanding ... .  my d didn't show extreme signs until adolescence.  She was dx w/separation anxiety at age 2 and showed this from time to time.  Overall she was a very happy child and we were very close.

While I totally agree that an invalidating environment doesn't cause BPD it certainly doesn't help and perhaps a more validating environment could help a child learn skills to manage their intense emotions so that the full blown disorder does not develop later in life.

If we want to help our children we must be willing to be honestly objective about our role as primary caregivers.  We must do what we are asking them to do... .  see how their actions affect others, take responsibility, accept what can't be undone, and learn skills to make positive changes going forward.

NEA-BPD

Etiology of BPD

John G. Gunderson, MD


borderlinepersonalitydisorder.com/notes-gunderson
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« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2013, 05:44:53 PM »

Well this idea is exactly what those on the outside of this condition want us to admit to... .  that somewhere in our parenting we could have been better, and avoided causing the suffering of our children.

I think this is ridiculous and circular thinking. Unless we can look into each child's upbringing, I think that the notion that "we could have been more validating" is like saying... .  "we could have eaten healthier" or "we could have read more books"... .  it has no meaning because it implies that there are degrees of understanding and compassion that exactly works, which some parents are blessed with and some are not.

The extension of this argument could be that when science gets to the ability to genetically test for this during pregnancy, like down syndrome, that these children should only go to parents who are good at validating at exactly the degree necessary for this particular child, or the pregnancies could be terminated?

As Heronbird pointed out, she has several kids who are not BPD, and she was the same with all of them. She may have maintained closeness with her dd because of her innate personality, but who knows how other pwBPD's would have reacted? Where could she have improved on her parenting performance? She could not, as we can all see from her postings that she is one of the most compassionate and sympathetic moms on the planet! Smiling (click to insert in post)

I would submit the controversial idea that the pwBPD's are individuals, and while as people with a mental illness they need our compassion, they also have to exist in a world that does not validate others in ways that might support them enough to thrive. We can be a safe haven of for them, to describe the world and be compassionate, but eventually they have to validate themselves. This is what all children need.

So our job may be to be the voice for the rest of the world to understand the intricacies of this condition, as displayed by our individual children, rather than reinforce the existing psychiatric idea that BPD is both caused and exacerbated by lack of the "right" kind of validation in parenting.

FM

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« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2013, 06:05:22 PM »

I don't believe anyone is blaming the parents here.  What we are establishing is that our kids could have benefitted from being parented a bit differently had we been aware of what/how we needed to do to parent these extremely sensitive children/adolescents.  I don't believe that is a "cure" for the disorder... .  just a foundation based on knowledge and the most beneficial parenting style for them.  As my d's case shows, early intervention can have very positive results.  I acknowledge the mistakes I made in my daughter's upbringing so that I can validate her and her experiences.  It isn't that we parent poorly, it is that we may not have parented that particular child in the most affective way for them.

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« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2013, 06:16:18 PM »

My point is only that no one, even in hindsight, can know the "correct" way to validate these kids because they are all individuals.

I think it's impossible to make mistakes when there is no recipe to follow... .  Smiling (click to insert in post)

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« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2013, 06:33:11 PM »

I see validation as a personal thing... .  validating each feeling with empathy in the moment and that makes it tailored to each individual.

How do you see it?

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« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2013, 06:42:22 PM »

I think it is important  to remember that we usually react to our difficult child in the way that makes the most sense at the time.  Especially when you take mood, hunger, fatigue, stress, etc into the picture.  In other words, sometimes i have the patience of Job and other days,not so much.  It was also hard to know what constituted normal behavior and what was outside the realm of normalcy.  Tantrum throwing toddlers, rebellious teenagers, this is normal.  Power struggles are also normal.  Hormones rage and we do the best we can as parents.  Mine is 22 and I am just now realizing that a lot of what she did was not normal.   I remember putting myself in time out some days when I felt really overwhelmed.  Fast forward to today:  sometimes I am patient, understanding and empathetic and sometimes I just see red with her.  We are all human.  All I can do is take baby steps in repairing my relationship with her and as I get more educated about BPD, NPD and hpd I can at least understand her better.  (Did all these disorders exist 100 years ago?). I really am so grateful I found this forum.  You all have great insight and advice.
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« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2013, 07:01:16 PM »

We as parents can provide a safe haven for our kids for a while... .  but the rest of the world will not. So my job now is to help educate people about mental illness.

My boys are 13 months apart. I worked very hard at being a good mother and I know I did a good job.  Back in 1983 there was no talk of "validating" yet I spent enough hours in the library trying to figure out what was wrong with my ds to learn I had to tread lightly and do things differently with him.

We have to be careful not to beat ourselves up. 

I wish my mother wasn't bi polar, I wish my brother didn't die of leukemia, I wish I didn't get cancer, I wish my husband didn't have cancer but all the validating in the world would not have changed any of that.

Learning to validate is a good thing and can help us communicate with our pwBPD, it can help us communicate with everyone better. 

But BPD was going to rear it's ugly head no matter what.

Just my opinion.
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« Reply #25 on: January 05, 2013, 07:53:05 PM »

Dear friends,

You know, I think our darlings are the kind that need a village to raise them.  They are rather complex, we might all agree.  I think we all needed more support in a common everyday kind of way, like good friends, non-judgment and the APPROPRIATE TREATMENT AND EDUCATION advantages.

The society is our village, so... . 

Reality

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« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2013, 08:22:07 PM »

Over the past two years I have often asked myself, what did I do wrong?  What could I have done better? But the bottom line is, I did my best. I am sure I did somethings wrong and I am sure I did somethings right but none of that matters now.

What is most important now is that I learn the tools I need to help DD and I learn alot here.

Griz
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« Reply #27 on: January 06, 2013, 04:03:04 AM »

This is a great conversation to have.  I think all of us struggle with guilt.  A couple of days ago one of the staff members at the residential said something about my daughter being one of the ones lucky to come from a good family.  I think my response was if we were a good family we wouldn't be here.   Is that statement true?  I don't know.  Sometimes it feels true.  Sometimes it doesn't.  Life is hard and I would never have wanted this for my daughter.  Whatever we did or didn't do wrong I think we are all here to figure out what to do that is right/better/different and that makes us good parents.
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« Reply #28 on: January 06, 2013, 07:05:33 AM »

crazed

Maybe it's true that your ds is one of the lucky ones to come from a good family.  Many kids grow up in horrific homes and while they may not get BPD they suffer so much in other ways.

"If we were a good family we wouldn't be here" that's definitely not true!  You were loving, supportive and now are doing everything you can to help your ds and family.  It's the future we want for our kids... .  we want to help make it better.

BPD was lying dormant for a while and then decided to strike.

Someday, just like with Autism, science will unscramble this mess of BPD and learn it's true cause.  Remember when Autism was thought to be caused by "refrigerator moms"!

Be kind to yourself because as Griz said you did your best (not your second best) but your best.

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« Reply #29 on: January 06, 2013, 11:12:12 AM »

Part of me knows I didn't cause this and all of me knows that if I had known differently when she was younger that I would have raised her differently.  She needs far more softness and empathy than I had provided for her. That's not because I'm a bad mother, but because she didn't come with an instruction manual at birth.
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« Reply #30 on: January 06, 2013, 11:37:53 AM »

I think it is important for us to remember and realise that there is a very big difference between a Psychiatrist/clinician and a person who loves someone with BPD.

A clinician will be very detached, even if compassionate its so very different, Love is the biggest thing, its better than even all the money in the world.

I think while a P would of done loads of training, they only know what they have been taught. We have lived it, its different and a good P will understand that too.

This is one reason I liked Valeries book, it didnt occur to me that Valeries book was one of the only books on BPD that was written by a person who has a loved one with BPD, all the others that I read were from Ps
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« Reply #31 on: January 06, 2013, 11:43:28 AM »

I found this board by searching desperately outside Italy when I read one book on BPD for clinicians. I was horrified to read:"Negative relationship with the parents during early childhood build structural distortions and disorders centered  on hostile dependence from authority", then, always on the same page:"Psychodynamic suffering comes from a lack of affection due to poverty of reflection and acceptance from the parents, lack of protection and good upbringing from what the idea of a frightening and menacing world takes origin, with the perception of a lack of affection and a low personal value."

You can easily imagine how a parent feels when, having just heard of BPD, they start reading the first things!

I can tell you this is the reason for which I am translating Valerie Porr's great book, so that nobody in Italy gets the stab we felt in our chest.

Ciao from Italy!  

Survive

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« Reply #32 on: January 06, 2013, 03:56:48 PM »

Hello. My first time posting here. My dd23 is very sensitive.  She had neglect before we got her at 2, but I think I see how my parenting may have added to it.  She was needy, I went back to work after 3 mos.  I suffered from depression, when I was down I didn't play with her, so there was inconsistency.  I lost 2 immediate family members when she was young, and traveled to help care for them, leaving her home with my hubby and son27.  During her high school years I had 2 serious bouts of cancer.  Then after always supporting her, I got panicky in recent years that she seemed to be doing worse (acting more immature for her advancing age).  This board is really helping me to see that all the support must address her fears, and not mine.  That realization is helping me to calmly deal with assisting her, guiding her in ways that don't scare her.  This has given us a very pleasant weekend, and a little more cooperation from her.  And my husband has been calm because I am.  Hope I'm back on a better track her.  This site is certainly a life saver.

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« Reply #33 on: January 08, 2013, 04:14:53 PM »

Survive and all  

I can honestly say that my dd had a great upbringing, she would even tell you that, she got on well with us and loved her family. We never had loads of money so we played lots of imaginary games, went to parks etc etc. Just generally a nice life and lots of love too.

Sure, now and again I may of been a bit invalidating or busy, but just normal. I read loads of parenting books, and did courses to make me a better parent, totally committed.

So we are living proof that we did nothing to contribute.

Moira, your story is different, she had a bad start, you think you may of added to it, you will never know for sure, it may just of been in her genes.
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« Reply #34 on: January 08, 2013, 07:35:52 PM »



Well, I agree with the possibility also of a genetic component since I know a little about birthm and have spoken to her.  DD  also has eating disorder, oddly enough we saw signs of it from day one, but had no idea it would continue to be a problem.  Pediatrician always said she would outgrow it, but that's not what happened in this case.  Right now she's being treated for that, willingly; but doesn't buy into BPD dx nor willing to do therapy for it.

thanks for your reply heronbird!

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« Reply #35 on: January 09, 2013, 09:57:15 PM »

Wow.  These posts are very interesting and informative to read.  I have been subjected to the exact same thing - made to feel guilty because I didn't parent in the right way.  I too did my best, and there is no such thing as the perfect parent or person for that matter.  I appreciate the Moderator providing the link and providing some insight as to how the disorder could have been managed better if we had only known at the time.  I'm still not sure about what is meant by I didn't validate enough.  I am on board with the fact that my daughter is an emotional sensitive person and I am much more of a cerebral type and therefore had a hard time understanding when she was four why she cried for absolutely no reason.  My question is, how much validation is enough?  When she was younger I always acknowledged how she was feeling, and praised her for her efforts.  For some reason, she seems to want validation now dd25 for everything she does - extreme praise, otherwise she feels as though she is not living up to some standard she thinks i have.  I don't understand what is required of me now to change the way I behave.  I don't criticize, and give credit where it is due.  I don't yell at her now that she is an adult - her consequences are her own for her behavior.  I am at a loss to what she wants from me.  Perhaps to treat me like garbage and then i put up with it.  From what I have read, that is not what you should do with bp, because it will make their illness worse.  Thanks for listening.
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« Reply #36 on: January 09, 2013, 10:33:50 PM »

How much validation is enough?... .  it is an ongoing lifelong human need... .  to be validated... .  to have our feelings acknowledged and understood.  PwBPD need it more than the average person due to their intense emotional states and emotional thinking.  If you think about it in terms of us as moms... .  this is why we come here... .  to share our feelings and emotional thoughts with others who can validate us... .  we need it.  When we are validated we feel understood and this soothes us... .  and most often relieves our emotional thinking enough to learn new skills... .  this is the secondary goal of validating our  BPDkids/adultkids... .  hopes that the validating environment will soothe and lead to maturity and skill learning.
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« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2013, 11:19:55 AM »

I was VERY protective of my dd's physical needs.

That said about being good with her physical needs I am going to start by saying that I don't think I had the greatest innate "mother-y" skills of being a mom to a very sensitive child- but I feel that I might have been an good enough mom- for a conventional child, regular child... .  and dd might have come out way way better-  I believe- based on the fact that I would have known how to raise her and it would have been easier to bond and all of that.   I can look back to when she was born- and so on... .  and see that there were behaviors or oddities... .  that I was inadequate to deal with.  I was naive too.

So not having the innate skills ( and not even knowing that consciously) still determined to be a good mom- I read read read- HOW TO BE  MOM books which were not even abundant  and reading about how to be a mom is really about being a mom cerebrally... .  not from a motherly place.  I wanted so badly to be a GOOD MOM.  I knew I was stumbling.  

In hindsight long before I found this board I knew much of what I might have done differently.  And that was to have been more tender with my child.  So yes- I know this.  I know that I did the best and read those books and I wanted my child to grow up healthy and happy.  But always always always felt inadequate.  

I can go back to infancy and see things in my dd that were not normal and then as time went on- more about dd's oddness  showed itself-  but I did not know the right ways to deal.  I did not understand.  

I cannot go back.  But for years I wished I could have.  Now my dd is so physically ill and things could not feel more difficult or painful.   Too big a price to pay.  Back then when I read read read- there was NOTHING about sensitive children.  And even when dd was 13 and really starting to act out - I searched for help... .  and no books- the school psychologist was of no help... but now - years later- there are all kinds of books about the kind of parenting my dd needed and even if it was from a cerebral place and not instinctual- I would have done the right things.  

I love my dd very much... .  and I became those things to her that she still needs at her adult age - I am  tender, loving, validating, and emotionally supportive.  She too has become more loving and we express love to one another lots which if you look back over my first years' posts you would not see this in what I wrote.  I think it is because of changes in dh and I for the better-  and now I see changes in dd in ways.  But still she is in such a bad place- and now the bar is so high- I can't save her.  

Those if only's.  I KNOW KNOW KNOW that if only's do no good.  That said- maybe I have less guilt than I used to have- and maybe I should say - that the "if only's" when they kick up- is sadness and regret that I did not know what I needed to know.

If my dh ever joins this board ( which he'll never do) - he can tell you how he was inadequate too... .  for he talks about it to me and his own pain.  As I wrote above if my dd had been a conventional child - it might well have been a different story for her- being born with a different personality etc than her having been born the way she was - to parents who did not know what to do with a very sensitive child and having our own inadequacies.  

Sorry for such a sad, downer post but today this is how I feel.
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« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2013, 11:42:22 AM »

Dear wtsp,

Such sad truths you tell... .  if only... .  if only... .  back then we knew.  We didn't... .  that is truth.  We do now... .  that is truth also.  Which matters now the most?  It is the present, because we can't change the past.

In the present you are ... .  fully knowing... .  fully practicing all the skills your d needs.  She won't accept help, that is up to her to change.  If she chooses you are fully prepared to walk beside her.  That is all you can do.

Acknowledging what... .  in retrospect... .  our kids needed in the past... .  where we fell short of their needs is part of radical acceptance... .  letting go of what we cannot change in the past and moving towards letting go of what we cannot change in the present. 

 

lbj
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« Reply #39 on: February 11, 2013, 07:35:16 AM »

After reading through these posts again I realized that we did parent our ds very differently from my nonds.  We adopted him at birth and right away he behaved in some unusual ways. 

I had to "teach" him how to cuddle and he's very cuddly now.  His anxiety was always so high so we had to time how much in advance to tell him things that were going to happen (good or bad) so that he didn't spend weeks worrying or obsessing.

Of course cut all the tags off his clothes, fan in the room in every season etc.

He was so sensitive and every day was so bad for him because he had no friends and kids made fun that I home schooled him to get him out of that awful school... .  then found a very small private school where the kids and teachers were more accepting of him.

One of the highlights of his youth was getting him into a traveling boys choir.  They sang all over the world and though he was only in it for a couple of years-going to all his performances was like going to all my nonds games.  It made him feel proud.

But you can only keep them home and sheltered for so long.  The world is so unaccepting of these kids and as he got older it got so much more difficult. 

That is when we realized that what worked before wasn't working anymore.

Though he has his moments he doesn't rage at us so much... .  he just says he feels empty.

Like that video "When love is not enough".
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« Reply #40 on: March 14, 2013, 11:22:31 PM »

In my research, which hasn't been for long, I keep coming across the belief by many that BPD can be caused by abuse, trauma, etc. The only thing I can think of that may have happened to my son is he was forceps delivered. He was never abused, physically, mentally or sexually, never had an accident to cause injury to the brain. Has never been abandoned or treated any different than all the rest of my kids. I even homeschooled for many years. I am a stay at home mom and always put my children first. He has been difficult for as far back as I can remember (my kids actually remember more than I do, all of them, including this son remember him being in time out a lot even before he was 8). I do however suspect that his paternal grandfather may have suffered from this also but was never diagnosed. 

It is easy to feel like I am to blame, the BPD son says so, the research insinuates. But honestly, I am frustrated and tiered of feeling guilty for something I really don't believe I created. Why do I keep racking my brain trying to remember something I may have done or said to make him feel unloved or abandoned to the point he would become like this?
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« Reply #41 on: March 15, 2013, 05:48:37 AM »

Hi JKN77 Smiling (click to insert in post) I don't have any research or smarter people than me to quote for you. I know for my daughter, it was sexual abuse that was the trigger, but I also think (in my complete layman mind) that some people just have a mental illness... .  they are prone to it through maybe genetics or something like that. I know that we have not yet grazed the surface of the mind and our understanding of these things is almost vague sometimes.

You sound like a fantastic mother who loves her children dearly, has provided and cared for them as any loving mother would. Guilt is the worst of our emotions in my opinion, and I don't think you should let yourself be changed by it. My favourite saying these days is "It is what it is" and truth is, our children have this illness, whether through trauma or otherwise, and all we can do is learn about it, maintain or own sanity by doing what we can for them without letting ourselves be taken completely over by it.

First and foremost, love yourself and look after yourself... .  the best thing a child can have, whether they be grown or young, is a mother who is well, healthy and happy.

xxxxxx
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« Reply #42 on: March 15, 2013, 01:38:47 PM »

Hi JKN77 and Mandii

 I think you both will find some great resources here right at the top of this board.

bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=56210.0

You are both right in questioning the abuse and trauma cause for BPD as well as wondering about the role genetics play. You are not crazy and you are not guilty.

If you have time, take a look too at this video. I found it tremendously helpful.

Dr. Blaise Aguirre MD talking about Borderline Personality Disorder in adolescents and children

bpdfamily.org/2013/05/bpdfamily.html

Keep reading and keep searching and keep posting. We are here to help you find your way.

Mamachelle
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« Reply #43 on: March 15, 2013, 02:07:56 PM »

The most important thing for me is to remember that there are multiple factors that can lead to BPD. It expresses in each individual in a unique pattern. This is why there are 9 criteria and only 5 are needed to apply this label to the actions and responses of the pwBPD. IMHO, trauma can increase the intensity and hasten the developmentment of BPD. Research shows that the areas of the brain that appear to be overactive or underactive with persons dx with BPD are similar to areas impacted by those dx with PTSD. Maybe this is what leads to this assumption from earlier theories of cause for BPD.

The other part for many parents here is that our kids seem to perceive or interpret things in very negative ways - even 'good' things sometimes. So what they remember as traumatic - or build intense skewed memories of as trauma or abuse - would not have effect others involved in the same way. This explains, at least for me, why siblings react so differently to the same situations.

And there are genetic factors too.  So many things can happen to an individual life along a lifetime - genetics present at conception; development in the womb; complications at birth; impacts of experiences in a lifetime. I avoid looking for a specific genrealized cause, and pay attention to what can be effective for me to do in a different way within my family. And this is where my experiences of support and knowledge here on this board has been so valuable.

Glad to have you here - keep coming back. We understand.

qcr  
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« Reply #44 on: March 15, 2013, 03:30:43 PM »

JKN77,

You did not cause it.  Allow yourself to realize this.  

I, also, homeschooled my dd/21 for 11 years.  She was loved, protected, nurtured.  There is no family history of emotional illness.

My dd has always been difficult.  She was born this way.  

I knew she was different.  Perhaps I could have responded to her in better ways, more sensitive to her different emotional needs, but she was never abused at any time.  I did the best I could with what I had.  I'm sure you did, as well.

Even with her high conflict personality, we managed to be OK with my dd at home.  Once she turned 18, proclaimed herself an adult, moved in with a munipulative bf, left a stable environment and entered an unstable one, her behavior worsened.  Perhaps that was the trauma that tipped her balance.

You are trying to find a logical answer to all this.  There is none.  

Don't saddle yourself with more pain by taking on misplaced guilt.  Take care of yourself and be strong.  Continue to show, by example, how one lives life.  Someday your son might need your strength and be ready to accept.  Then you will be strong enough to help him.
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« Reply #45 on: March 16, 2013, 11:00:08 AM »

Thank you so much for your replies. I really appreciate you and this board. Life can be so trying.

I remember once talking to my bishop about the trials in life. He said he heard that "if all the trials were in a hat and we were able to draw what we wanted out of that hat, we would end up drawing the ones we already have". I told him, "maybe, but I sure would like to take a look in that hat".
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« Reply #46 on: March 16, 2013, 09:51:43 PM »

Hi everybody!  

The very fact that you truly ask yourself these questions proves that YOU ARE A LOVING PARENT.

Those are the first questions any loving parent will ask themselves. You do your best, and that's the best you can do.

Then there's the: "What could I have done differently"

You reflect, and if you can find something you could have done better, you try to learn from your mistakes. (nobody's a perfect parent, so there's always something to learn if we are open to it)

Then follows: "What can I do now" THAT'S AN IMPORTANT ONE.

Two books I have discovered lately are a tremendous help in building our understanding and skills in our relationship to people in general and incidentally to our children with BPD as well:

"Boundaries" by H. Cloud &  J.Townsend, and "I don't have to make everything all better" by G.&J.Lundberg

I think these two books are essential for us with children with BPD since they can help with so many practical skills in relating to our children in a way that builds-up and supports their soul and unique personality.

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« Reply #47 on: June 14, 2013, 09:28:34 PM »

First, let me say that I have been reading this board for a while now and have found many posts both helpful and comforting. I hadn't joined until now, reading this thread I really felt a need to reply.

My thoughts on "is it my fault" (oh boy have I beat myself up trying to figure that out!):

I wonder if the idea suffering trauma/bad parenting/abuse that lead to them having BPD comes mostly from self-reporting by those with BPD to psychiatrists and in studies? I know that in the case of my 23 year old daughter, during times when her symptoms are really bad she will tell anyone who will listen how awful and toxic her home life was and is... . but that's based on her version of events and reality, which isn't always even in the vicinity of being truthful or reality based.

I am not saying that there aren't people with BPD who have had trauma, but I don't think every person with BPD had trauma or parenting that caused their BPD.

BTW, is there somewhere here that lists all the acronyms? (what is a pwBPD?)



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« Reply #48 on: June 14, 2013, 09:43:56 PM »

Please see below the statistics from scientific studies:

The National Institute of Mental Health's view on the cause of BPD



Here is a link to some additional information on this:

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17988414




so you are correct... . there are genetic components and a biological propensity for the development of the disorder.  In other words... . if abuse were the sole cause of the development of BPD then abused people would all have BPD and people who were not abused would never have BPD.  Of course neither of these statements are true.

Due to the hypersensitivity and emotional immaturity many pwBPD (people with BPD) experience situations as abusive even though they are not considered abusive according to normal standards.  That can be a difficult concept for us to grasp and accept.  It is their reality.  They report their reality as they experienced it... . often making false claims of abuse yet it is/was real enough to them.

P.S. It is customary for our new members to post an introduction on the New Member's Board here:  https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?board=5.0 and I look forward to learning more about you and how to best support you here on the site.  For a list of acronyms take a look here:  https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=26601.0

Glad you are here!

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« Reply #49 on: September 05, 2013, 08:18:46 AM »

With respect to cause, this part of the article seems to get at the heart of the issue.  One has to be careful with blame and remember if the focus is "its not me", that is a type of blame.

Importance of Searching for Cause

If families are to be involved as a support system, there must be some plausible answers to their questions and their bewilderment. Some families will deny that anything exceptional happened in rearing the person with BPD. A few will say that their child rearing was benign, but that they later learned of sexual abuse by a hired caregiver or someone outside the family. Some will admit to having administered harsh punishments. But most simply cannot understand why there is a presumption of abuse so unbearable that it has led to such pathological behavior and misery in one of their children. The existing body of theory on the psychosocial antecedents of BPD presupposes a rearing history that many families simply do not recognize as damaging enough to lead to manipulation, fears of abandonment, self-mutilation, or attempted suicide. And they do not understand why their other children turned out so differently.

Moreover, there is apparent inconsistency in the findings that BPD is associated both with the presence of overly abusive parents and with no parents—with their actual loss through death, illness, or abandonment. Granted, children raised in foster homes are more likely to have experienced abuse, including sexual abuse, in these environments. However, these are not the caregivers who are willing to undergo family therapy or to belong to advocacy organizations to help their loved ones. These concerned and cooperative parents inevitably fluctuate between bewilderment, anger, and a guilt that is only dimly understood. There must be some explanation of their very different perception of events.

A second reason it is important to look for causality is that etiological theories inform and shape the treatment premises of individual psycho- therapy and family interventions. Regardless of caveats in their training, theories of defective parenting inevitably affect the attributions and attitudes of the mental health professionals who offer these interventions.


From Understanding and Treating BPD
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« Reply #50 on: September 29, 2013, 12:25:01 AM »

Based on several things from my experiences in my life and from other's stories here and with other parents/grandparents in my community there are many paths to an individual living in the middle of the conflicts of BPD. The 9 criteria of this disorder show a clear picture of this. Living in the chaos of their lives must be traumatic in itself. The behaviorial aspects - often seen as some form of emotional dysregulation. The lacking sense of self - defined from psychological, societal or neurological/physiological perspectives.

All the points of view seem to be converging in the past few years. And there are treatments that seem to be providing improvement - for our  all pre-dbt children all the way into adulthood. Often the biggest roadblock for the person with BPD is for the them to choose to fully participate in treatment for the long term needed for stability and improvement. Most espcially those that act out in anger, rage, blaiming instead of acting in with self-injury, suicidal thoughts/actions, seeking support in the ER. One to two years seems to be a consistent time-frame in my readings about most treatments to lead to long term management and recovery.

There are many professionals that hold onto old theories of 'trauma' being the sole cause. And an out-dated and limiting definition of trauma.

All this study on my part leads me to the conclusion that, yes, my BPDDD27 does believe that she grew up being emotionally abused by dh and I. And for my part I have to accept responsibility that my best efforts to parent her were often invalidating. I was triggered by my own profile to react in anger toward her with threats of dire consequences if she did not pull herself together and follow the 'rules'. Stict behavior management techniques did not work. I was too angry to find the love/attachment based parenting tools that I have been reading about recently.

As I learn more about myself, take really good care of myself, seek out support in my family and community with safe people, and practice many of the skills and tools here at bpdfamily.com things get better. This healthier attitude within me allows me to let go of what others say to me that don't fit my new beliefs about my DD's path to BPD, and what may work for her if she chooses treatment for her BPD issues.

And practicing Radical Acceptance - DD is who she is, will be who she will be, that I am able to love her unconditionally, support her with validation as much as possible, protect my core values with good personal boudnaries does lead me toward HOPE.  I did not cause this disorder -- DD was born with a less resilient ability and high sensitivity to her world. Yes, even in my best efforts as a parent I could not provide an environment to prevent the triggering of what feels like trauma to her. It was lots of little things that built up in her, unresolvable as a child, dysfunctional coping strategies as a child, unkown to all her caregivers as a child... .

The important questions for me now is how to learn better parenting to support my gd8 in avoiding a similar path as her mom - and gd is learning new ways to cope with the traumas in her life and move on from them; how to support DD in choosing to reach out to the community as a young adult to get her basic safety needs met so she can choose treatment and then to persevere with treatment.

Finding blame for where each of my girls are today is pointless, leads to negative neurological feedback loops, and undermines all our abilites to find HOPE.

This is long -- I have been working on BPD understanding and skills since 2009 when DD was dx with BPD with psych and neuropsych eval.  I is still a roller coaster - she has refused to accept her need for treatment as it is all my fault. I am hoping I see a glimmer of hope that she is changing her attitude in this - again court ordered.

What do you all think? What have you read, experienced, learned that is changing the old paridym (how do you spell this word?) for parenting our BPDkids?

qcr
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« Reply #51 on: November 02, 2013, 05:47:16 AM »

To DreamLight - i know your post was loong ago but i just now (fortunately) came across it.  two words - thank you.  the most relieving post i've seen since i joined.  i now hate the phrase "strong willed" and "difficult" child.
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« Reply #52 on: March 27, 2014, 01:25:16 PM »

I am working on my maternal guilt over my BPDD in my own therapy. Yet my own therapist hints at things I may have done to bring this on my BPDD - maybe enmeshment, abuse, unstable home life etc etc... She's delicately asked all these things over past year or so.

I am so SICK OF IT! How many of you have just Stopped Talking about your BPD children to all your friends and family just because you are SICK OF BEING BLAMED! Yet many of us here - fathers are ABSENT!

I HATE the way society destroys Mothers! Look at all the cases in the news - the Columbine shooters, the Adam Lanza case, the Denver theater shootings, it's ALWAYS MOM's FAULT! We CANNOT accept this! It is an assault on women and motherhood and it is complete B.S.!

When my own husband was alive - he blamed me too. I met with one of his "friends" for lunch the other day and she asked about my BPDD - I told the truth - that she had attempted suicide a few years ago - she said "Well she learned that from you didn't she?" What the heck? I almost slapped her - really - the rage was hard to control.

My BPDD is 34 years old - like many of us here - I have nearly bankrupted myself trying to provide some treatment that will help. I have also tried tough love with restraining orders and calling police. I have paid for her college, bought her a car, sent her "abroad" for "studies", done much more than most of the "mother accusers" likely would have done.

Even if there was abuse (which there wasn't and I have probed her more times than I can remember in case she suffered in silence) she is 34 years old - she has had so many opportunities for therapy - it is her responsibility to work it out.

This is logical as I type it, yet I will oscillate back to guilt I am sure in 24 hours or so because there is no one supporting us mothers - just blaming. No one I can call to help me help her. Of course I would not have had children had I known this was possible outcome - an mental illness with no cure.

My own youngest daughter - at 21 - says she will never have children seeing the outcome with her sister - both had same parents, same upbringing - yet her sister will likely never be well. Why is this my fault?

Why is this BPD the fault of any sane, non abusive mother?

Dear Society - Please Stop Blaming Us! Try helping us instead!
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« Reply #53 on: March 27, 2014, 03:20:12 PM »

I cannot count the number of times I have been speaking to a CPN of my DD and felt slightly wrong-footed, not that anything was directly said just a tone or an implication that there may have been issues in our past relationship - except there weren't and the only problems I ever experienced were when she had one of her episodes due to HER illness, why would anyone be 'to blame' for an illness?

I feel like screaming 'HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW THIS STUFF ITS IMPORTANT!' but I never say anything because at the end of the day I need their help for dd don't I?  

Anyway take heart from the fact we are all in this together - it is explained in the Valerie Porr book, It seems that these issues are finally being brought to the fore, but how long before the system 'catches on' I wonder!

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« Reply #54 on: March 27, 2014, 03:37:36 PM »

I know my maternal guilt sometimes at low points with DD  is overwhelming.  

I wrack my brain for things I may have done to cause daughter's BPD.  

My husband doesn't suffer from worries about what he did wrong at all, though.  He says we did everything for her, we were kind and loving, it's not our fault - end of subject.

I think it's a female thing, this blame and guilt we put on ourselves, even when it's probably undeserved.  Most of us feel it, I wish I didn't, it accomplishes nothing.  
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« Reply #55 on: March 27, 2014, 05:39:46 PM »

MY maternal guilt comes in because when she was a baby I struggled with alcoholism.  I drank heavily for a year when she was about 18 months to 2 and half and then I got sober and have been sober since.  So that is the only possible thing I can think of, of any neglect or anything in her past.  Then I beat myself up because I left her dad when she was 4 and I worked full-time as a single mom.  12-hour shifts in the nursing field so some nights I didn't get home until 7:30-8.  Her memories are of me being gone a lot.  

I have to echo what has been written, why should anyone be to blame for this?  Perhaps in some cases it is the result of abuse and or neglect or some other trauma and in some cases there is no cause.  It just is.  
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« Reply #56 on: March 27, 2014, 06:40:36 PM »

Our children with BPD saw and felt things differently than we did, and because of that we could have inadvertently acted or reacted in ways that made things harder (or worse) for them. We may not have done it on purpose, but it happened. Our hearts were in the right places, but it happened. We didn't treat them any differently than our other, non-BPD children (or maybe we did, because our BPD children were different, and we felt we needed to do things differently with them), but it happened.

I realize now--now that I've read every LINK to the right-hand side of this page, and "Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder" by Valerie Porr, and many other books--that I could've parented my BPD son when he was a child in a better, different way that could've minimized his troubles. But, I don't beat myself up for it, because I didn't know. I just didn't know, and I was "dancing as fast as I could" to just get from one day to the next with my family intact.

But, not beating myself up over it doesn't mean I'm not aware of the mistakes I made and the opportunities for validation with him that I could have taken. My goodness... . He is 37 years old now, and I didn't learn any of these things till April of 2013! Of course I made mistakes, and could have done better. Do I struggle with guilt? Yes... . I grieve for the things I didn't know, the decisions I made that were made with faulty thinking because of the things I didn't know. But today, I know enough to not dwell on the guilt and grief, and to take things one day at a time with him, just like he is with his own recovery.

Getting angry at a world that doesn't understand what we've dealt with our whole parental lives with our BPD kids is normal; but moving past that anger and getting to the point where we can be aware of what we did that we would do differently now, is healthy and empowering in a way. Please check out:

Supporting a Loved-one with Borderline Personality Disorder

Communication using validation. What it is; how to do it

TOOLS: S.E.T. - Support, Empathy and Truth

Radical Acceptance for family members.

Check out every single LINK to the right-hand side of this page if you haven't already. We don't need to accept the blame of the world, we don't need to agree with those who think we have been awful Moms, we don't need to accept the guilt that others may want to accuse us of. But giving ourselves the understanding of our child's disorder, and realizing what we need to do differently to help them recover if possible, is a very empowering thing.

And accepting that these children were not like other children--young or older when their BPD surfaced--and needed a different type of parenting than we were aware of at the time, isn't admitting guilt or culpability. It's being honest with ourselves, and then we can move on to a better way of dealing with our children now, with self-respect and self-empowerment. Because without that, things would feel hopeless, no? We are all good Moms, or else we wouldn't be here, trying to figure things out and learn how to improve our lives, and the lives of our kids.  Being cool (click to insert in post)



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« Reply #57 on: March 27, 2014, 06:58:38 PM »

I think that it was once thought of that BPD came from basically bad mothering.  Neglect or abuse.  It was for that reason that I pushed that diagnosis aside.  It is too bad because it is when my daughter was 17, and I still had some control.  I wish that I would have found a site like this when my dd was younger.  I would have definitely looked at BPD further. 

Elbry - Wow, you sound just like me.  I left my ex-husband when my kids were very young.  My ds was 3, and my dd was 10 months old.  I re-married when they were teens.(something I would never recommend.  Is to marry when your kids are in their teens.)  My ds was 17, and my dd was 15.  And, I was a nurse working 3 doubles a week.  And, on my days off, I was delirious.  My dd will tell people that it was so easy to be sneaky when she was in high school because I was never home.  That does not sound good!  And, her step dad was home in the evenings. 

When I was in therapy, my former therapist told me that she speculates that my ex-husband is BPD and my dd inherited the gene.  And, I was hospitalized when she was only 2, and there was her abandonment.  Also, had quite a few periods of hospitalizations for auto-immune illness while raising my kids.   


And, there have been a few times that my dd said that it is not my fault that my kids are screwed up.  She says that her dad's side of the family is screwed up, and that I didn't deserve what I got.  OTOH, she will tell me that it is my fault that she is messed up because I pick horrible men, and she takes after me.  But, she will never see a man that my gs does not like.  She will always choose my gs.  So, to her, I chose to marry my dh, so I abandoned her.   
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« Reply #58 on: March 27, 2014, 07:17:15 PM »

I so understand this feeling, just had a big blow out with my dd has she stormed out the door with my gd.  I feel so guilty and yet I did nothing wrong .  Its this mental illness so hard to deal with .  Everytime I hear people talking about how wonderful there kids are and people always say "thats a testiment to the parents they did such a good job" makes me sick we did a good job too its not our fault its this damn illness .   

I
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« Reply #59 on: March 27, 2014, 07:51:09 PM »

The only thing I found a bit of discomfort with in the post is the apparent disregard of the Paternal Guilt.  I don't have the stats, but... . that doesn't matter.  God knows I was there.  I got my kids away from my first ex (who has serious problems and put my children through hell), and they lived with me through adulthood.

I didn't know at the time the profound effect their life with their bio-mom would come to have on them in the household I set up with my second wife.  Things were fine at first... . but as they got older things really started to get messy.  Not just with the kids, but with my second wife.  That dynamic made things really "bad" in the house - and probably helped guide two of my kids down a path I regret clearing for them.

We all do things the best we know how at the time.  We do better when we learn better.

Personally, I don't give a rats fat backside what society thinks about what I did in my house.  They weren't there.  No one was in my house guiding me with their superior learnedness to guide my family down a prime rosed path.  So... . who cares what they think.

The only thing I want to know it - what are you going to do about it now?

What has happened has happened - and can't be changed.  So get over the guilt.  What do you want to do now? 

Continue to provide as much help as possible to your child so she can improve... . or set your boundaries on what you can and cant do and help her to the water, if she drinks she drinks.  If not - you did all you could do?

This part starts and ends with you. 

If I knew then what I know now would I have been able to do things different?  Yes.

If I knew then what I know now would I have done things different?  Mostly yes.

But some things I probably would have done the same if it was in their best interest and I sought a positive outcome. 

But we can't know then what we know now.  Not unless you have a blue telephone booth.
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« Reply #60 on: March 27, 2014, 10:41:05 PM »

I think that for us moms it may be difficult to understand the dads' side of it sometimes... .

And although we do have some dads here, they are still in the minority... .

So, thank you for your perspective woods posse - men DO tend to deal with all this differently, and I think it's really beneficial for all of us moms to see the other side of the fence.

Which brings me to a point someone made - not all, but many of our children come from one parent homes or have experienced divorce. Having both - the male and female view of things makes for a more complete picture.
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« Reply #61 on: March 28, 2014, 12:24:36 AM »

Our children with BPD saw and felt things differently than we did, and because of that we could have inadvertently acted or reacted in ways that made things harder (or worse) for them. We may not have done it on purpose, but it happened. Our hearts were in the right places, but it happened. We didn't treat them any differently than our other, non-BPD children (or maybe we did, because our BPD children were different, and we felt we needed to do things differently with them), but it happened.

I realize now--now that I've read every LINK to the right-hand side of this page, and "Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder" by Valerie Porr, and many other books--that I could've parented my BPD son when he was a child in a better, different way that could've minimized his troubles. But, I don't beat myself up for it, because I didn't know. I just didn't know, and I was "dancing as fast as I could" to just get from one day to the next with my family intact.

But, not beating myself up over it doesn't mean I'm not aware of the mistakes I made and the opportunities for validation with him that I could have taken. My goodness... . He is 37 years old now, and I didn't learn any of these things till April of 2013! Of course I made mistakes, and could have done better. Do I struggle with guilt? Yes... . I grieve for the things I didn't know, the decisions I made that were made with faulty thinking because of the things I didn't know. But today, I know enough to not dwell on the guilt and grief, and to take things one day at a time with him, just like he is with his own recovery.

And accepting that these children were not like other children--young or older when their BPD surfaced--and needed a different type of parenting than we were aware of at the time, isn't admitting guilt or culpability. It's being honest with ourselves,

So true.  I did the best I could have and I could have done better, if I knew then what I know now. 

Thank you, Rapt Reader, for articulating this truth.

Reality
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« Reply #62 on: March 28, 2014, 02:32:01 AM »

I absolutely agree, we could have done so much better armed with the correct knowledge - plus identification of the problem in early life, but who comes into the world armed with the knowledge of BPD?

It was way beyond the scope of my knowledge of parenting and i had my mum, who was a child psych to educate me!  She didn't know what was wrong either but she was better than me at dealing with the issues.

I feel sick at heart when I think of lost opprotunities to validate and understand, it's a struggle to forgive myself or other people who used to try to tell me dd was like that because I wasn't firm enough (NOT true but that's how it looked!) this made me even more lacking in patience with dd, but what I really cannot understand now is the mental health system should KNOW about this illness like we do and SUPPORT us to get over any feelings of guilt and move forward.

My dd's real dad quite clearly had/has BPD and yet during the worst periods when I am on the rolllercoaster with dd I occasionally think that I have it myself, even though I have always been peaceful and content in life by nature plus I have excecuted many long-term goals in my life and never wanted to self-harm or argue with others, that is my true nature and yet at those times I sometimes wonder if I have it since it is so confusing.

I am a lot more grounded in who  I am now, having more understanding of what is going on, but I still feel it a shame we all had to find out on here or through books and other self-research rather than from the very systems we turned to that should be in place to help us to help our pwBPD to ove forward! They keep us kind of stuck and it's up to us to smash through and learn ourselves.
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« Reply #63 on: March 28, 2014, 05:29:05 PM »

I stand by my original statement - Society needs to stop blaming us and start helping us - here's

what needs to happen:

1 - Genetic testing needs to be made available and the genetic marking for BPD needs to be identified so that mothers and fathers can be tested for this genetic mutation BEFORE attempting to reproduce - before any pregnancy is carried full term

2 - Studies and research need to be done regarding incidents of BPD in under-developed countries such as Ethiopia, Thailand, etc. etc. Is this disease limited to US and Europe or is there occurence reported in 3rd world countries - understanding the demographics will help to pinpoint environmental factors contributing to BPD. This research needs to be made available to all women considering childbirth - much like the Breast Cancer genetic testing is available or the fact that women over 40 have higher risk of giving birth to Down's Syndrome children. Women need this knowledge to make informed choices BEFORE childbirth - not blamed AFTER childbirth

3 - In the absence of reliable dependable hard scientific evidence informing mothers of the risk of BPD before birth - Diagnostic Procedures MUST be made available AFTER birth of the child. Psychiatrists and other healthcare professionals MUST develop early intervention techniques for identifying these BPD children EARLY in the development cycle

4- Once identified as BPD, a treatment plan MUST be communicated to BOTH parents - same as treatment plans and options are given to parents of children who have cancer or congenital heart defects - If parents are not given a diagnosis and treatment plan EARLY - we cannot do the right thing for our BPD children - the healthcare community is responsible for providing diagnosis and treatment for all conditions that will significantly impact quality of life for all family members

5 - Insurance providers need to wise up in terms of mental health provisions - if my kid had cancer, would I be limited to 10 sessions per year with an oncologist?

6 - Society has to understand this is a COMMUNITY issue - NOT an issue for SINGLE MOTHERS to fix on their own since many (not all) but many marriages fall apart under the strain of raising BPD children - MOTHERS NEED HELP.

7 - Well baby checks happen in US at regular weekly intervals - Pediatrician checks for height, weight, alertness, hearing, vocalization - What About MENTAL HEALTH? Why not check my baby at regular intervals

for MENTAL HEALTH? If they have BPD - I NEED TO KNOW - NOW - not when they are 19 and try to kill themselves and then I get told I've been doing everything wrong because my kid has this disease. My response to medical community - Why didn't you tell me sooner? What's the answer?

I do understand there's a plethora of DBT acronyms and dogma on how to interact with BPD's once they are identified as adults, teens - even though diagnosis is still spotty - I know All the BPD links too - my point is that early detection, intervention and prevention are a MUST.

This is what I meant by HELPING us vs. BLAMING us when our kids go off the deep end and kill themselves or other innocent people.

The world is not acting in a logical manner in terms of BPD. My advice to my 20 year old nonBPD now is still

Don't Have Kids - there are 1000's of mental illnesses they may have and no one can diagnose them or help you until it's too late - then you will be blamed for everything under the sun... .

We've got to do better than this !

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« Reply #64 on: March 28, 2014, 10:49:31 PM »

I hear you parent of BPDd... .

When we are left to figure this out, and don't know what we are dealing with, and often do not get an official diagnosis before our child turns 18, we are so alone in this and left without important tools.

Then, when we've been living a lonely nightmare for a long time, it doesn't help when we get blamed. It doesn't help our child, and it definitely doesn't help us feel better.

We may feel victimized. Becoming active in informing ourselves and others is one way to overcome the role of victim that we may feel others cast us in.

I have hope that in the near future, it will be the norm to diagnose before 18. More effective treatments are being developed and being made available more. We still have a long way to go... .

In the here and now - as tragic as our situation may be, we can still do a lot, and we can take advantage of the resources that are available, and we can work towards making our life and the life of our loved one the best possible under the circumstances. There is hope!

theplotthickens -

It has been more helpful to read BPD-specific tools, and utilize those.  Have you read "Family Guide to BPD?"  That is very helpful and empowering to parents.  I also really picked up a lot of tools from "What Works with Bipolar Kids."  Books help me the most!

That is wonderful! I also read lots of books and the resources on this website... .

I am sorry you have had such bad experience with therapists. There are therapists and therapies that only enable our children w/BPD and make things worse... .  

At the same time, there are also therapists who really understand BPD and do a lot of good for the kids and parents (Blaise Aguirre is one of them for example - he is very knowledgeable and also gracious and easy to understand)
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« Reply #65 on: March 29, 2014, 05:50:17 AM »

Parent of BPD daughter!  I think you are actually my hero for raising this!

I feel so much better having this issue highlighted, it has crystalized exactly how I have been feeling for all these years and it is as if I have just 'let go' of a few burdens I had been unwittingly carrying!

Now that I have let these go (even if they return to haunt me) I feel much more capable and clear about getting on with the important stuff ie learning to help dd!

I went to a support group once for carers of pwBPD.  It was  a new group and they actually asked us what we needed and said they were ready to learn from us, the carers, who they felt knew a lot more than they did about the reality of living with a pwBPD,  now because most of the group including myself were at the beginning of our education about BPD we were a little like the proverbial 'rabbits in headlights' ie 'What do we need? We were hoping YOU knew that!' If I had been as educated as I am now about all this I would have had some clear answers to that question 'what do we need?' but there's the thing - we go to them for help and they don't know what we need!  At least they are asking us now!

We need the things listed by parentof BPD daughter we need compassion, understanding, answers, education, more research, help to process our own feelings about being abused by a loved one, help to remain mentally healthy ourselves, validation for what we are going through, and education about the tools and skills necessary to provide adequate care without losing our own grip on reality.

Thank you parent of BPD daughter this is a crucial issue here! Everything rests on our own well-being and ability to cope and survive and yet they undermine that!
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« Reply #66 on: March 29, 2014, 08:17:14 AM »

I stand by my original statement - Society needs to stop blaming us and start helping us - here's

what needs to happen:

1 - Genetic testing needs to be made available and the genetic marking for BPD needs to be identified so that mothers and fathers can be tested for this genetic mutation BEFORE attempting to reproduce - before any pregnancy is carried full term

2 - Studies and research need to be done regarding incidents of BPD in under-developed countries such as Ethiopia, Thailand, etc. etc. Is this disease limited to US and Europe or is there occurence reported in 3rd world countries - understanding the demographics will help to pinpoint environmental factors contributing to BPD. This research needs to be made available to all women considering childbirth - much like the Breast Cancer genetic testing is available or the fact that women over 40 have higher risk of giving birth to Down's Syndrome children. Women need this knowledge to make informed choices BEFORE childbirth - not blamed AFTER childbirth

3 - In the absence of reliable dependable hard scientific evidence informing mothers of the risk of BPD before birth - Diagnostic Procedures MUST be made available AFTER birth of the child. Psychiatrists and other healthcare professionals MUST develop early intervention techniques for identifying these BPD children EARLY in the development cycle

4- Once identified as BPD, a treatment plan MUST be communicated to BOTH parents - same as treatment plans and options are given to parents of children who have cancer or congenital heart defects - If parents are not given a diagnosis and treatment plan EARLY - we cannot do the right thing for our BPD children - the healthcare community is responsible for providing diagnosis and treatment for all conditions that will significantly impact quality of life for all family members

5 - Insurance providers need to wise up in terms of mental health provisions - if my kid had cancer, would I be limited to 10 sessions per year with an oncologist?

6 - Society has to understand this is a COMMUNITY issue - NOT an issue for SINGLE MOTHERS to fix on their own since many (not all) but many marriages fall apart under the strain of raising BPD children - MOTHERS NEED HELP.

7 - Well baby checks happen in US at regular weekly intervals - Pediatrician checks for height, weight, alertness, hearing, vocalization - What About MENTAL HEALTH? Why not check my baby at regular intervals

for MENTAL HEALTH? If they have BPD - I NEED TO KNOW - NOW - not when they are 19 and try to kill themselves and then I get told I've been doing everything wrong because my kid has this disease. My response to medical community - Why didn't you tell me sooner? What's the answer?

I do understand there's a plethora of DBT acronyms and dogma on how to interact with BPD's once they are identified as adults, teens - even though diagnosis is still spotty - I know All the BPD links too - my point is that early detection, intervention and prevention are a MUST.

This is what I meant by HELPING us vs. BLAMING us when our kids go off the deep end and kill themselves or other innocent people.

The world is not acting in a logical manner in terms of BPD. My advice to my 20 year old nonBPD now is still

Don't Have Kids - there are 1000's of mental illnesses they may have and no one can diagnose them or help you until it's too late - then you will be blamed for everything under the sun... .

We've got to do better than this !

parent of BPD daughter,

Thank you for this thread.   I just bookmarked this page.

wtsp
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« Reply #67 on: March 29, 2014, 09:48:56 AM »

I'm wondering if this conversation is more about shame? I'm a single mom, raising a kid who appears to have a sensitive genotype -- he is 12, and I am holding my breath hoping he doesn't develop BPD like his dad. Well, holding my breath and then applying the tools I learned here, about SET, validation, and learning everything I can about empathy. Plus he sees a therapist once a month. He talked about wanting to take his life when he was 8, and that launched a thousand ships, trying to understand how he could be so emotionally fragile.

I didn't realize that what I had been feeling was shame, which is a much more intense feeling than guilt. (Guilt being "I did something wrong" and shame being "I am wrong." I feel guilty when I don't have time to help S12 with his homework and he doesn't hand it in on time, but I feltshame about who I was as a mother. I know I'm a good mom, I'm attentive, and thoughtful, and make sure S12 has what he needs. But underneath that was a really painful tangle of shameful feelings about what motherhood was like for me. It's so disappointing compared to what I dreamed of for myself.

I've been reading Brene Brown lately, who writes a lot about shame (and women, and she has a book coming out about shame and motherhood) and this conversation reminded me of an interview where she said,

Excerpt
When we talk about shame and powerlessness, we’re really talking about three specific components of power: consciousness, choice and change. For women experiencing shame, the ability to produce an effect that could counter shame is very difficult because most of us are unconscious of what we’re feeling and why we’re feeling it. Shame often produces overwhelming and painful feelings of confusion, fear, anger, judgment and/or the need to escape or hide from the situation.

Meaningful, healthy change requires us to assess both our strengths and limitations. We change from a place of self-worth, not a place of shame, powerlessness and isolation. Real change requires awareness, insight and thoughtful decision-making – these are rarely present when we are experiencing shame.

We change from a place of self-worth. I just love that. It has been brutally hard to look at my shame and where it's coming from. In a way, shame is the reason I'm a good mother. The more shame I felt, the harder I worked to be a "good" mother. But shame also made me feel confusion, fear, anger, judgment, and a desire to escape difficult feelings at all costs. These are all secondary emotions to shame. So they won't ever go away if the original shame isn't felt and resolved. With shame, if you stand in it and feel it, and practice self-compassion, things will feel pretty bad at first, and then they feel better. There is almost a feeling of relief. And it's a daily practice.

Dealing with shame is the hardest thing I've ever dealt with. And it has been so counter-intuitive, but being vulnerable about these feelings is having an effect on all my relationships, including with S12.

Excerpt
Therapy is a joke.  It is just a way to target parents and blame us.  If we are too strict, we are "rigid" and if we are too flexible, we are "not providing structure and consequences."  If we are afraid of our child's outbursts, we are "focused on being victims," and if we don't react to the outbursts, we are "detached."  If we stand up for ourselves, we are "defensive" and if we don't we are "passive."  barfy LOL!

No matter what you do, IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT, LOSER MOM!   rolleyes

I remember feeling this to a lesser degree when I first took S12 to see a therapist. Just taking him to see a T at that age made me feel shame. I didn't want to see the report.  :'( I felt so judged, and so incompetent. I think a lot of people can't fathom the shame we are experiencing, and don't realize how defensive we become, trying to protect ourselves from feeling how we feel.

Maybe I was fortunate, but I have felt validated along the way. Actually, I've been so hungry for validation I think I seized on it any chance I had.  Smiling (click to insert in post) The parenting coordinator involved in our custody case, S12's therapist, my therapist -- they have all, in their own ways, recognized how hard this is. And that allowed me to feel vulnerable, which made it easy to feel self-compassion. Makes it a little easier to heal my way forward.










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« Reply #68 on: March 29, 2014, 11:49:46 AM »

I don't expect my take on this will be popular nor what many of us grieving moms want to hear - but here it is.

I think kids like my dd, diagnosed with BPD with bipolar tendencies at age 17, are born "hardwired".  She is so much like her birth mother it is uncanny.  I'm very much convinced she is the way she is and there simply is no "fixing" her.  The best we can hope for is to "soften" the edges - try to encourage therapy, encourage education and the acquisition of job skills, validation, getting a job, encourage empathy, etc.  However, if anyone thinks they are going to "fix" her they are bound to be disappointed.  There is no "fixing" her.  Like an alcoholic or someone with a chronic illness, they may stop drinking or find a treatment that helps the symptoms of the disease, but ultimately they are what they are and no one can cure or "fix" it.

I love her but I no longer expect a great deal from her and am always pleasantly surprise when something good happens.  Then, I hold my breath until the next shoe drops and the drama begins again!  :)espite it all I have had, and still have, tremendous guilt, shame and embarrassment.  If I had it to do again there would be things I would change.  But, in my calmer and more reflective moments, I don't believe it would really have made much difference.      
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« Reply #69 on: March 29, 2014, 07:58:11 PM »

I don't expect my take on this will be popular nor what many of us grieving moms want to hear - but here it is.

I think kids like my dd, diagnosed with BPD with bipolar tendencies at age 17, are born "hardwired".  

... .  The best we can hope for is to "soften" the edges - try to encourage therapy, encourage education and the acquisition of job skills, validation, getting a job, encourage empathy, etc.

Popular or not, LAHdedah, to a great extent you are correct: these babies' brains are wired differently. For one thing, their overactive amygdala sets them up for being 'hijacked' emotionally from an early age (their emotions being extremely intense and lasting longer than normal), and that in turn interferes with healthy development and learning - so they miss out on a lot (don't learn appropriate skills), that leads to further frustration and strong emotions and so on the downward spiral goes... .

This innate wiring can be somewhat tempered, so that the child can learn healthy responses and behaviors. In order for this to be accomplished, there needs to be extensive understanding of what's happening, and very specific tools and approaches to help create the needed neural connections in the brain through repetitive experiences.

The good news is - our brains can learn and change even in adulthood. The bad news is - the longer a brain works in a certain way, the more it takes to change it (i.e. it is easier to sculpt a chid's brain than an adult's, and some changes may not be possible later on). That's why the experts are trying to push for the possibility to diagnose in teenage years as that is the critical time of brain development where much can be accomplished.

We love them, wanted our kids to be healthy and happy... . it's all a part of our grief - we look at what is and wish it weren't so, that we could somehow change it... .

All we have to work with is the present and the future, though, and we can only do our best in the now.
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« Reply #70 on: March 30, 2014, 09:21:40 AM »

I am working on my maternal guilt over my BPDD in my own therapy. Yet my own therapist hints at things I may have done to bring this on my BPDD - maybe enmeshment, abuse, unstable home life etc etc... She's delicately asked all these things over past year or so.

Do you think your therapist might be trying to get to the source of your guilt and press on it a little bit, which is triggering defenses and making you feel judged? My therapist, who can be very blunt and tough, did this with me. I had tremendous guilt about not protecting S12 during the marriage. N/BPDx would rage at S12 at the dinner table, and I would just sit there, not saying anything or doing anything. N/BPDx would call S12 a terrible child, he's just like his mother, can't even tie his own shoelaces, going to grow up and be a loser, etc. And I would do nothing! Just wait until N/BPDx stormed out and then try to comfort S12 quietly so N/BPDx didn't hear us talking and come back in.

I was working through this with my T, feeling so awful that I didn't protect S12 and she said, "Well, you weren't protecting him." 

It felt like a kick in the stomach. Even though I had just expressed the exact same sentiment, it felt so cruel coming from her. I didn't see any of this clearly, just stormed home in a huff and talked crap about my therapist to friends. That maybe I was going to switch therapists because she wasn't supportive, her style was too abrasive. I got lots of indignation from friends who accused her of being burned out, a know-it-all academic. Friends are good for taking sides  Smiling (click to insert in post)

I don't see my therapist any more (too broke), but if I did, I would go back to her and tell her that I was ready now to go there, to that really painful place. That I didn't protect S12.

When you stand in the pain, it really isn't judgment from others that hurts, it's the judgement we have for ourselves. We don't want society to be so cruel to us, or our therapists, or our friends, because we are already doing a number on ourselves that is far more painful than anything they can inflict.







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« Reply #71 on: March 30, 2014, 11:32:37 AM »

I am working on my maternal guilt over my BPDD in my own therapy. Yet my own therapist hints at things I may have done to bring this on my BPDD - maybe enmeshment, abuse, unstable home life etc etc... She's delicately asked all these things over past year or so.

Do you think your therapist might be trying to get to the source of your guilt and press on it a little bit, which is triggering defenses and making you feel judged? My therapist, who can be very blunt and tough, did this with me. I had tremendous guilt about not protecting S12 during the marriage. N/BPDx would rage at S12 at the dinner table, and I would just sit there, not saying anything or doing anything. N/BPDx would call S12 a terrible child, he's just like his mother, can't even tie his own shoelaces, going to grow up and be a loser, etc. And I would do nothing! Just wait until N/BPDx stormed out and then try to comfort S12 quietly so N/BPDx didn't hear us talking and come back in.

I was working through this with my T, feeling so awful that I didn't protect S12 and she said, "Well, you weren't protecting him." 

It felt like a kick in the stomach. Even though I had just expressed the exact same sentiment, it felt so cruel coming from her. I didn't see any of this clearly, just stormed home in a huff and talked crap about my therapist to friends. That maybe I was going to switch therapists because she wasn't supportive, her style was too abrasive. I got lots of indignation from friends who accused her of being burned out, a know-it-all academic. Friends are good for taking sides  Smiling (click to insert in post)

I don't see my therapist any more (too broke), but if I did, I would go back to her and tell her that I was ready now to go there, to that really painful place. That I didn't protect S12.

When you stand in the pain, it really isn't judgment from others that hurts, it's the judgement we have for ourselves. We don't want society to be so cruel to us, or our therapists, or our friends, because we are already doing a number on ourselves that is far more painful than anything they can inflict.

Thank you for sharing this!  I know, for me, if we were friends and had this same conversation - I probably would have said the same thing the therapist said.  And... . ran the risk of loosing our friendship.  I do that a lot.  But... . it's the truth.  And on the outside looking in... . it's totally apparent and it is what it is.

You are right.  It isn't the pain of me saying what it is which hurts, it is the pain of shame and guilt.

Personally, I want to know what I need to own in order to heal.  I don't care how difficult it is to hear.  As long as it is real and true... .

Anyway, thanks for sharing.
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« Reply #72 on: March 30, 2014, 12:04:34 PM »

LAHdeedah,

Everything you said felt so true to my own feelings.  I FOR SURE made mistakes with my daughter.  There was no physical abuse in our home, we had a good strong marriage and we thought we were a happy close family.  The seemingly All-American family. But deep down I know I didn't give my daughter everything she needed, emotionally.  She was always so needy, emotionally, and it wore me out, sometimes.  I was not the warm, loving mom that she really did so desperately want. If I knew then what I know now, I would try my hardest to be a better mom to her.  But like you, I don't even know if it would have changed things, if I'm being truthful.  But at least I would have the satisfaction of knowing I had done all I could for her.

The guilt, shame and embarressment is with me all the time. Guilt for not understanding her fragility, and maybe causing some of her emotional problems, and then shame and embarressment for all she has put us through.

I told my daughter, who is now pregnant, that I tried to be a much better mom than my mom, and that she needs to try to be a better Mom than me.  Surprisingly, she said "Mom, you were so good, I have no complaints".  :'(  The guilt still doesn't go away, though. Smiling (click to insert in post)

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« Reply #73 on: March 30, 2014, 01:10:25 PM »

I personally believe the genetic component of BPD and acute abuse as children are the main causes for this devastating disorder.  However, many of our pwBPD do not fall into the severe abuse category.

As parents, we feel the need to explain and or place blame on where BPD came from.  It is a normal part of being a parent.  However, the trauma (If that was the cause) could be something we had absolutely no part in.  Could be related to an incident or incidents when our children were growing up that we are unaware of, i.e bullying, bad daycare providers, or even a teenage romance gone bad. Children from wonderful, loving homes who were parented in an excellent way still have BPD.

To accept perceived blame only adds to the stress and guilt of trying to deal with a mentally ill child, and this is even more difficult for parents whose BPD child is adopted and their background is unclear. 

This is the hand we have been dealt, for whatever reason.  We need to accept the fact our children are ill and deal with it.  No one has all of the answers that surround BPD.  In some instances, its origin is a mystery, and self-blame will not make it go away.

It is what it is.
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« Reply #74 on: March 30, 2014, 03:13:40 PM »

i am the exbf of a woman i believe to be BPD. i read this thread because months ago i recall a mother posting in one of the threads that people shouldn't be so quick to blame the parents and upbringing and it struck a chord with me then, as it does now.

when i first met my xBPDgf, when she would refer to her family... . it wasn't like she was saying they were blatant abusers or anything, but still i remember not feeling to highly about them. our r/s came to a point where we were going to be in her hometown and we (my ex, me and 2 friends of mine) were to stay at her parents' home where she grew up... .

I was FLOORED! I expected something kind of shabby i suppose. I expected parents who were somewhat nice but also somewhat off, from the stories my ex had told me of her mom and family. her parents (biological mother, step-father) ACTUALLY were kind, warm, welcoming, intelligent. gorgeous home. pool, tennis court, lots of happy dogs. home cooked food. STABLE, HAPPY nerdy brothers with engineering and advanced degrees. Happily married sister with beautiful children who i never heard say a bad word about her fun manly-guy husband over the four years i knew them. Childhood pics of my ex, some looking happy. Other family pics where there's thirty people smiling and happy, with only my ex looking angry and distraught, hair dyed an unnatural color, sad, suffering.

her mother exuded a warm and caring attitude towards her daughter. i could feel the love between them. seriously, i was shocked at the contrast of how my ex described her childhood from what i experienced in the upcoming years with her family. i was raised across the country and have very little family out here. during our r/s her family in a way became my extended family. i was nervous meeting them because i'm used to being judged a bit--first, we were of different race, second, i am a musician and at the time i had a *BIG* hairdo! . but i'm also a loyal and loving man. i finished school and have a good job. i'm ambitious with goals, positive mindset. but, i just didn't know how they would judge me--from the *start* her family welcomed me and made me feel at home, no judgements, just, "hey goldylamont, have something to eat. want a beer?" her grandmother was funny as hell too, a real jokester, always laughing and marveling at her grandchildren.

one of the hardest parts of breaking up was realizing i was no longer part of her family, whom i grew to love. on top of that, my ex accused me of hating her family when it wasn't true in the least. then, of course when her family would speak highly of me she would get pissed and accuse me of somehow corroborating with them (against her?) behind her back. in the end it was a no-win situation, but i know the mutual respect and affection between her family and i was real. i still miss them and wrote her grandmother, mother and her sister a kind letter for being so warm and welcoming to me when i broke up with ex. i used to worry that my ex smeared me to her family, but i think at least her mom is aware of how she can be... . six months after a terrible breakup, my ex being with a new guy in weeks and smear campaign underway, i think i almost cried when her grandmother and mom still wished me a happy birthday. i guess i thought they might think i was a bad guy.

i do think something happened to my ex in childhood, but not sure what it is. she complains about her mom not being there for her--but now i see this more as my ex's distorted view of things. she says this stuff about a lot of people (me included). my ex and her sister were from her mother's first marriage, to an alcoholic father who i heard was abusive. they got divorced when my ex was around 4 or 5, then several year's later got married to her stepfather and had two more boys. so, while i see lots of possible issues that could have happened early in childhood, i see her mother more as a victim than the person to blame for all of this.

i kept in touch with my ex for several months after we broke up, before i had to save my own sanity and go no contact. one day after the holidays she tells me about her thanksgiving with her family (i always had fun on holidays with them  Smiling (click to insert in post)). my ex was *pissed*, saying she had a disagreement with her mother and that her "stupid mom just left the group and started crying over in the corner. and then the whole family was mad at me like it was my fault!" but at this point i was smart enough to realize that it probably *was* my ex's fault. i can't imagine how difficult it is for my ex's mother to have to deal with her daughter when she feels threatened. to be honest, seeing how she would sometimes lie to or treat her mother unfairly helped me to depersonalize the ill treatment i got.

i just wanted to say from the perspective of an almost-son-in-law to a mother of BPD, i totally understand your frustration with the status quo of blaming things on the parents. while i do think it's possible something happened in my ex's childhood to contribute to BPD, it's still possible that biology plays a big part in many cases as well. furthermore, whatever happened, judging from the lives of my ex's other three siblings, her cousins, aunts, uncles, etc... . they seem to be a great family and i *never* felt like blaming them after spending time with them. Sure, all families have family issues, but no my ex is grown and needs to take responsibility for the way she treats her lovers as well as her mother. All of this being said, i felt a ton of love coming from my ex for her mother and vice versa despite the occasional distortions.

Thanks for listening. I still post some mostly in the ":)etaching/Leaving" boards, and although it's a small thing to do, I promise to remain conscious when people jump to conclusions and try and blame parents/upbringing. I will point out that many parents are doing the best they can to deal, just as we did. I just wanted to say this for all of the mothers, fathers and family members out there--and kind of as a way to thank my ex's family for being there for me.
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« Reply #75 on: March 30, 2014, 04:13:46 PM »

i am the exbf of a woman i believe to be BPD. i read this thread because months ago i recall a mother posting in one of the threads that people shouldn't be so quick to blame the parents and upbringing and it struck a chord with me then, as it does now.

Thanks for listening. I still post some mostly in the ":)etaching/Leaving" boards, and although it's a small thing to do, I promise to remain conscious when people jump to conclusions and try and blame parents/upbringing. I will point out that many parents are doing the best they can to deal, just as we did. I just wanted to say this for all of the mothers, fathers and family members out there--and kind of as a way to thank my ex's family for being there for me.

Thanks!  It helps to hear it from a different perspective.  I appreciate your input!


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« Reply #76 on: March 30, 2014, 05:50:12 PM »

I personally believe the genetic component of BPD and acute abuse as children are the main causes for this devastating disorder.  However, many of our pwBPD do not fall into the severe abuse category.

As parents, we feel the need to explain and or place blame on where BPD came from.  It is a normal part of being a parent.  However, the trauma (If that was the cause) could be something we had absolutely no part in.  Could be related to an incident or incidents when our children were growing up that we are unaware of, i.e bullying, bad daycare providers, or even a teenage romance gone bad. Children from wonderful, loving homes who were parented in an excellent way still have BPD.

To accept perceived blame only adds to the stress and guilt of trying to deal with a mentally ill child, and this is even more difficult for parents whose BPD child is adopted and their background is unclear. 

This is the hand we have been dealt, for whatever reason.  We need to accept the fact our children are ill and deal with it.  No one has all of the answers that surround BPD.  In some instances, its origin is a mystery, and self-blame will not make it go away.

It is what it is.

Yep -- it is what it is. And self-blame only makes me miserable, prone to being manipulated our of my love for my DD27, and unavailable for the loving dh and gd in my home.

As I have learned more and more about the convergence of current neuroscience, psychology, attachment based parenting theory, etc. it is easier to accept that my DD is who she is and even if I could have been the 'perfect parent' she would still be who she is.

I am learning to be kinder to myself, more rigorous in my boundaries with DD, and more loving to everyone in my day to day life.

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« Reply #77 on: March 30, 2014, 08:08:39 PM »

Thank you from me too, goldylamont.  Somehow your post made me feel so much better.  I am glad you took the time to post  here.  It was much appreciated.
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« Reply #78 on: March 31, 2014, 03:33:04 PM »

Thanks from me too goldylamont!  How kind of you to take the time to help ease our minds a little! 

I wish you a happy new relationship with someone who is able to value the good man that you are!
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« Reply #79 on: April 01, 2014, 03:12:45 AM »

Thank-you Goldylamont for helping me feel a bit better.

Yes qcr guilt also makes me more open to manipulation and holding on to too much guilt results in me handling things badly in the here and now. Sometimes we just need to start from where we are.
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« Reply #80 on: April 01, 2014, 08:15:03 AM »

Sometimes we just need to start from where we are.

I love this sentence, lever! I've been thinking about guilt and this thread for the past few days, trying to sort through what everyone is saying, and that sentence sums up so perfectly what I was trying to work through.

For me, there are really two things going on with guilt, and it's not really about the nature/nurture piece at all:

1. Other people making me feel guilty.

2. Making myself feel guilty.

I couldn't deal with #1 until I dealt with #2. Guilt can make me very defensive and all walled-up, or it can make me feel so victimized I'm paralyzed. The only way I could come to grips with guilt was to stand right in it and face it, and that meant having compassion for myself, which was one of the hardest things I've ever done! See: FOO. The defense mechanisms I had around stuff that made me feel guilty are nothing compared to the defense mechanisms that showed up when I began practicing compassion for myself. Which is very different than ignoring what people say, btw. To feel compassion, I had to hear what people were saying and take it in, then feel the emotions, then forgive myself and feel compassion.

It's really hard for guilt to bug you when you feel compassion for yourself. And having self-compassion makes it easier to deal with people who might judge you, or blame you, or in any way trigger your guilt.

I found compassion by realizing that I am who I am now. Just like you said, lever. "Sometimes we just need to start from where we are." I am more aware now. I was less aware 5 years ago. I can't possibly know what kind of awareness I will have in a year or two or ten. But if I keep growing, and stay open to what I'm learning about myself, about motherhood, about mental illness, about all the ways no one understands what this is like (except for people here on this board  , then I will always be growing and my awareness will evolve. I am an evolving mother!

People who judge you, or blame you -- they lack awareness. They might lack compassion or empathy. Same for us when we feel heap guilt on ourselves! We have to develop compassion and empathy for ourselves. It's the best defense.  





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« Reply #81 on: April 01, 2014, 10:40:30 AM »

I agree livedandlearned.

I was weak, I was bullied, I didn't always stand up strongly enough for my kids but I have to have some compassion for the very young woman I was. I am not weak now, I have more knowledge too. I have to start building things up from here.

We all grow and develop and live and learn. Surely we wouldn't be on here if we didn't care -we would have given up on our kids by now.
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« Reply #82 on: April 01, 2014, 05:02:48 PM »

To feel compassion, I had to hear what people were saying and take it in, then feel the emotions, then forgive myself and feel compassion.



Excerpt
It's really hard for guilt to bug you when you feel compassion for yourself. And having self-compassion makes it easier to deal with people who might judge you, or blame you, or in any way trigger your guilt.

Excerpt
People who judge you, or blame you -- they lack awareness. They might lack compassion or empathy. Same for us when we feel heap guilt on ourselves! We have to develop compassion and empathy for ourselves. It's the best defense.  

I wholeheartedly agree. What makes it so hard to develop compassion for ourselves? Seems that awareness is the first step, then stopping the automatic response inside my head -- the one that is a put-down.

qcr
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« Reply #83 on: May 11, 2014, 10:13:54 AM »

I'm sure most parents with a child with BPD feel guilty and I feel so sad about this. Parenting is such a difficult thing to do and although it may be that some children have been damaged by their parents, I also think that this is almost never intentional and that most parents do their very best, sometimes in difficult circumstances. Some children are more difficult to bring up than others because of the way they are - any parent with more than one child knows that children are different. So - let's stop beating ourselves up. I have an adult son with BPD and not a day goes by when I don't feel guilty and go over things I might have done - or not have done. But I brought him up the way my friends brought up their children, and the way his brother was brought up - and they're OK. They survived their parenting. And my son wasn't abused. He was loved and treated fairly. Of course I made mistakes, like we all do, but I worked hard at being a parent and I was thoughtful and kind and resourceful. No one who knows me would say I was a bad parent. So let's be a bit kinder to ourselves and say we were unlucky. Living with a child with BPD is hard enough - and it can take over our lives. The fact that we're on this board means we're trying to do help ourselves - and others - and our children.
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« Reply #84 on: May 11, 2014, 08:23:10 PM »

I am the identical twin, and not the parent, of someone with borderline traits. I am a non-BPD with an undiagnosed BPD/NPD mother, and I was raised by an undiagnosed but RAGING BPD grandmother. The discussion about parenting, and parent responsibility for a child's condition, stirs up so much anger and sadness for me.

My personal experience tells me that BPD involves both "nature and nurture," and more specifically, how these interact within each individual... . even monozygotic twins. But I also know, and have lived, the reality that the quality of parenting (I am not saying anyone here was a poor parent) has contributed to the emotional disturbance and mental illness in my family. We have multiple generations of absent fathers, enabling and depressed mothers, sexual abuse, alcoholism, abandonment. I feel dismayed, still, that the adults who raised me lacked self- and other-awareness, and basic life skills, enough so that these conditions are perpetuated. I am not a mom myself, but I want to help break the cycle.   

When I look at photos of my sister and myself as babies and toddlers, there is already a clear difference in our affect/facial expressions. I tend to look happy and confident and relaxed, and my sister tends to look more timid, afraid, or tentative. She had a significantly lower birthweight than I did. She stayed in the hospital for a week or two after I had gone home with my parents.

About a year ago, I found a scrap of paper on which our primary caregiver -- my uBPD grandmother -- had jotted the words we tried to say when learning to speak... . how we said them, and her "translation." One of the first of these was me telling my sister that I would help her. It seems to me that these roles, for us, were firmly established by toddlerhood. And I remember being told as a child, by our grandmother, that my parents paid more attention to me and responded more attentively to me than they did to my sister. The implication was that she was weaker and needier, and that this was "less attractive" to my parents. Did her demeanor prompt them to treat her differently, or did their treatment of her lead to a less confident demeanor?   

I have heard my father say, many times, that my twin always had a "dark cloud" over her. To make a long story short, our parents divorced when were about eight... . both of them (not just one) leaving us in the care of our deeply disturbed paternal grandmother. We hardly saw them for four years, and thereafter lived with each of them and their subsequent partners, and with other family members. The parental abandonment, with no apparent good reason -- coupled with being terrorized by an emotionally tortured adult -- was too much. I believe that our parents' self-centered and neglectful behavior (I am not accusing anyone here of that) were the "perfect storm" that struck my vulnerable sister in a dramatic way. So far, I have been unable to see my parents as having little to do with my sister's problems. While she was clearly predisposed from the start -- and may have struggled just as much with a stable home life and "good enough" love -- it's impossible to think that our life circumstances weren't a major factor in what developed in her. 

While I turned inward -- reading books, becoming silent, hostile, withdrawing, and self-sufficient -- my sister looked to others (guys and men), and to alcohol, to cope. Her distress, instability, and neediness have always been obvious, while I hid mine. And while at times I think our distress is the same in kind but different in degree, other times I'm convinced that there's more to the fundamental distinctions of one is alcoholic/BPD trait, and the other isn't. I understand neither the biology/nature of this, or how we -- as two "identical" children raised in exactly the same environment -- perceived and responded to conditions differently. 

I have read theories that with identical twins, one twin may the object of parents' projected "good" traits, while the other twin may be the object of projection of parts of the parents' personalities that they wish to disown. In any case, it isn't clear what leads to a child's ultimate personality: are unknown and misunderstood psychodynamic factors "turning on or off" genes that predispose individuals to the high emotional sensitivity of BPD or substance abuse?

I feel deep guilt that I cannot help my sister NOT to have this condition. I feel shame that I remain so dependent on her for who I am: my identity as "the strong one," the helper. She and I have always been like two halves of a whole -- we became each other's mother, father, cheerleader, pal, etc. when our parents were unavailable, and we were twisted with fear and anxiety by our uBPD grandmother. I don't think we have ever really individuated, which will be the hardest task, I am sure, of the rest of my adult life. On some level, I am convinced that Providence put me here to protect and help her. But more often now, I see that I must love her in a different way and depend on her less. This is incredibly hard, as we were fused together amid abandonment and rampant mental illness, generational sexual abuse, divorce, and neglect. It was like being in a trench, under attack, with another soldier... . and having this be the most intense, bonding experience one might ever have. It is hard to let go of it.

These are the most complex issues I have ever considered, and I spent years working as a writer at a finance company, explaining complicated and esoteric topics! In Al-Anon, I am learning to look honestly and with compassion at my own role in my family dynamics. And I see that, in a real way, we help to "create" each other by the ways we respond to one another. While I "didn't cause, can't control, and can't cure" my sister's distress, I want to learn more about the biological, neurological, and psychodynamic aspects, so I can live my part in healthier ways. Awareness of self and others seems to be key.



 

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« Reply #85 on: May 12, 2014, 02:43:11 AM »

That is such a helpful response, particularly about your own feelings and role with your twin. Thank you.
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« Reply #86 on: May 17, 2014, 11:51:30 AM »

BabeRuthless

The interaction of all you have shared so courageously with us is complex. Al Anon started me in a better direction as the parent of my BPDDD, now almost 28. I started Al Anon in 2009 when she was 23 and could no longer be in our home with my gd, now almost 9. I can see now that DD's drug use drove many of her traumatic rages in our home. I could not see this back then - serious denial to protect myself actually. Al Anon was not enough for me - it did not take the mental health and developmental neuroscience into consideration.

It seems that you may be seeking to understand this interpersonal neuroscience and the connections to healthy vs. unhealthy development of people. Reading and reading the newer books on many different things all include this research based information on how our bodies/brains/minds/emotions/actions... . are so very interdependent. There is a great impact on inter-generational patterns as well.

I can really get into my intellect fast here. I would suggest as a start for you to read "Brain Based Parenting" by Daniel Hughes. The first half of the book is all about the research; the second half is focused on teaching parents how to be better parents. For me, this is one path to breaking the bonds of the inter-generational patterns. I am diligently working on this in raising my gd while trying to develop and healthier connection with my DD. At times I have been the bipolar II, terrorizing adult in this family. I work to overcome the extreme guilt about that so I can be more effective in breaking these bonds - throwing off the chains.

Here is a link to the book review "Brain-Based Parenting":  

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=195469.0

Your sister is so lucky to be attached to you and you to her. You seem to be on a good path. I hope you continue on a path to preserving the best of your connections with her as you each gently and courageously find your ways. Be patient, be persistent, be kind to yourself - I pray these things for you both.

qcr
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« Reply #87 on: August 06, 2014, 01:53:38 PM »

baberuthless~  Thank you for telling so much of your story.  It really gives understanding.  My brother and I were raised by two severely borderline parents and he does not have BPD, but I do.  My younger children are not borderline, but my oldest is.  It seems that there are so many different factors in why someone develops a PD.  My brother can hold down a job, adequately deal with the public, and handle certain stressors that ultimately put me in the fetal position.  I didn't understand what was wrong with me.  Although he doesn't have BPD, he still has PTS from the abuse from our dad. 

The more I read about the possible predisposition to this, the more it makes sense.  And and the same time, there is much evidence that nurture has just as much to do with this disorder as nature does.  I really believe it is a case by case thing and should not be stereotyped.  I also have to deal with an amazing amount of shame and guilt with my own children...   I ruminate about how I could have parented them differently.  And the downward cycle leads me to the dark abyss.  So, I understand that disorder or no disorder this never leads to healing.  Radical acceptance is the answer regardless of why someone's child develops this. 
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« Reply #88 on: September 16, 2014, 09:13:10 AM »

I struggle with this one. But my husband & I can't imagine what we could have done to cause this in my twenty-something year old daughter. We raised another daughter in the same loving home & she is fine... .she can't understand it either.

I truly believe it has to be a pre-deposition. And, I don't think anyone dealing with a BPD child has the time or energy to worry about what they may, or may not have done to cause this; we are already dealing with SO much... .it can be all-consuming!

I'm not going to let myself feel guilty on top of everything else ~ Selusha
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« Reply #89 on: September 19, 2014, 07:48:40 PM »

I truly believe it has to be a pre-deposition. And, I don't think anyone dealing with a BPD child has the time or energy to worry about what they may, or may not have done to cause this; we are already dealing with SO much... .it can be all-consuming!

I'm not going to let myself feel guilty on top of everything else ~ Selusha

I believe you are correct!

While it is a good thing to admit where we have erred it is only helpful when we apologize to those we have hurt and make necessary corrections going forward.

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« Reply #90 on: November 09, 2014, 05:30:34 AM »

I read this article and found it interesting. I have twins both raised I the same environment one has Major Mood Depressive Order, anxiety and BPD, the other is fine. My daughter is the one affected. Her fathers side has a history of mental healt issues and so does mine. She was always the sensitive child and had frequent temper tantrums. I sought help when she was very young and quite honestly I was told she was borderline ODD and to be firmer with her. I raised my kids a single parent in the military so life was stressful and sometimes a bit chaotic. I was also young and had a lot anxiety myself. Looking back I realize now this contributed to her now.

So, I am still making some mistakes even now and I'm just trying to do my best and not feel so guilty. 
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« Reply #91 on: November 18, 2014, 05:46:15 PM »

Such a interesting topic I think we all feel guilt even if our children are so called normal it is the hardest job in the world

my personal feeling that is brain based they were born that way and im sure there family up bringing could have made

the BPD worse or better but we did everyting humanly possible to get our child help .  This illness still seems to be fairly

new no one talks about it because what you read on line would scare god himself the brain is so vast so much more

to learn and personally Im sick to death of hearing the majority is how they were raised .  I think it has to do with genes

however long ago they go back.  Some children are born with brown eyes but ... .both parents have blue eyes   

maybe generations ago who know maybe we will never know considering how compicated the brain really is but for

this parent I do my best have enough guilt to last several generations and I do not believe we had anything to do with

her illness .  So for all of us be mindful of what you read and just do your best and pat yourself on the back to know

your are doing all the right things ... .  mggt

im s
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« Reply #92 on: November 30, 2018, 04:40:54 PM »

One principle I try to keep in mind for both my DD28 and gd9 is their lack of resilience and self-reflection. This is part of the temperament they are born with - genetic. There is a trauma response that other kids do not get in same situation. This can be so confusing for the care-givers in the child's life.

So my belief is that we do the best we can as parents, we all make mistakes, some kids respond with anxiety and fear much greater than other kids. This is real to me as an influence from experiences from childhood. It is so unfair and painful when we are 'blamed' as parents.

Also, as we learn how behavior works, how our psycho-neurology works and how they are intertwined there is recovery available at ANY AGE. Our brains are flexible and new pathways can be created that lead to better behaviors and values. I believe it is up to the those that love to learn and practice new knowledge and then they can model and teach this to others in effective ways.

This is the greatest gift this board has brought into my life - tools that work when I can put them into action

qcr
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« Reply #93 on: December 07, 2018, 10:05:09 AM »

I keep reading about how BPD is associated with bad parenting. But my husband and I are good parents and judging by what I see here most if not all members of this group are good, loving parents. So what is up? Are we the exceptions to the rule or what?
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« Reply #94 on: December 07, 2018, 10:44:02 AM »

Parents do not choose their children and children do not choose their parents. How your child turns out is a combination of factors both biological and environmental. There are many people who post here who are not bad parents; they have done everything possible to help their children, yet the children are still not doing well. Some people are born with severe mental illness; there is always hope that things can get better, and sometimes the first step is to let our grown child take responsibility for their decisions, after we have done everything we can to steer them on the right course. Can you tell us more about the situation with your child and how we can help? You are courageous to reach out and ask questions that are not easy to ask. Certainly you love your child and wish only the best for your child.
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« Reply #95 on: December 07, 2018, 11:29:29 AM »

Oh FaithHopeLove, if I could only tell you how many times my husband and I have had this same conversation!

We have a 40-yr history behind us of dealing with our uBPD daughter's hurtful behaviours, starting when she first ran away at age 12.  Then we jumped in to be surrogate parents to her babies (both "surprises" who were the precious-loves-of-our-lives)... .supporting her as she fought custody battles with each of the grandchildren's fathers... .giving monies in the 5-figure range.  Well, I could go on and on.

All the while, she grew up with stable parents.  We never squabbled in front of our children... .kept our disagreements private.   We practiced our faith with our children and then our grandchildren when we were their surrogate parents.

Many-a-time we have seen what has happened in other families... .grandparents saying they refuse to be babysitters, broken homes, keeping their wallets closed... .yet, we see those families today living lives so different from ours.

We are in yet another period of no-contact with our daughter... .this time it is us holding the door closed... .but keeping a window open.  Because her anger towards me was escalating to the point of unprintable verbal abuse after I refused to give more money, she has been told we next meet in a counsellor's office.  I am 75.  What could come next?

So with all that said, my husband and I are confident in our thinking that we have been good parents... .doing the best we could... .doing better when we knew better.  Had we been armed with all the information that is available now on how to better deal with someone who exhibits BPD behaviours, perhaps I would not be here with you... .well... .perhaps.

Finding this forum and then participating on/in it has really been a life-saver for me.   It made me face up to what is... .IS!  This 40-year-long dysfunctional relationship with our daughter was going to continue... .until I veered off and shed the role of victim-to-her-bully.  I have worked hard on empowering myself and I like the feeling.  Mostly, that is the message I try to send to others here as I respond to their posts... .get educated on this terrible mental disease... .put your knowledge to work... .but make sure to look after yourselves first!  More and more the sorry I feel is for my daughter... .less and less for me.

You are right, FaithHopeLove, when you write... ."We were not bad parents."

Looking forward to sharing more with you as we forge ahead.  It really will be a long journey so let us get as comfortable as we can.

Huat
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« Reply #96 on: December 07, 2018, 12:00:34 PM »

Have you seen this educational popup? I think it a good read.
Did I cause this (popup)  It was offline for a while as we updating some of the software. It's now here:


This is the oldest and longest discussion on this board. I think it is this most challenging question we all face.

The older literature tags BPD to abusive home life. But like any disorder or disease, the cases seen in the earliest years of discovery are the most severe.  As time goes on, and the profession is better at identifying people with the problem (either earlier stage or less severity), the clinical perspective changes.

So is it possible that your parenting style was ineffective or damaging enough to lead to the manipulation, fears of abandonment, self-mutilation, or attempted suicides?

Most experts will tell a concerned caregiver that wasn't abusive (40-50%) "no, you are not the cause of the illness" and "yes, you likely did things that were harmful to a child with a BPD predisposition".

We had special needs kids (or parents, or spouses). We didn't know it.
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« Reply #97 on: December 07, 2018, 03:24:50 PM »

Thanks for bumping up this article Skip.

FaithHopeLove I've asked the same question, my 30DD has been through DBT (diagnosed at 26)we talk, I'm still learning with you all. BPD is a broad spectrum and as you'll read more than often co-morbid with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, psychosis, OCD ……. As Skip says we had special needs children, often without realising, , they can be high achievers at school, college, uni, work have great friendships and relationships (my DD), to parents recognise their child is struggling at a young age and are right out there in the medical field trying to help their child, for years and years on end, DEEP RESPECT  

When my DD talks to me about BPD, she shares she did not learn the skills she needed (this is what she's learnt through DBT), at a young age, those are the skills she's since learnt in DBT 2016, she's now on a refresher DBT course to keep her skills fresh. She's not blamed me (yet), she's trying to work it out, she regularly talks how school, uni, work was so challenging (she struggles with Executive Function), behaviours of others, the stress to perform, she felt blind sided. Think of a dyslexia and other specials needs, before it was recognised and supported, accepted socially, emotionally and academically. Without stigma, attached.

Who is going next, jump in  
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« Reply #98 on: December 08, 2018, 03:22:55 PM »

I don’t believe I have ever felt guilty that I was the cause of my DD having BPD. She was difficult starting around age12. Of course I just felt it was “normal” teenager behavior since I had an older sister who I watched give our parents so much grief as a teen (she turned out great). We tried early on for our daughter to see a therapist but we were only told she had ODD (oppositional defiant disorder... .whatever that is). It even took a while to understand she had an addiction problem when she was a teen. I do wish I knew about BPD sooner. Yes, I would have been much better at validation and not getting so angry. But I won’t blame myself. We did not ignore her difficulties. She has seen more therapists than anyone I know and I sent her to the best rehab facilities around the country. I suspect early on when you find out the diagnosis you have a tendency to feel guilty. But the more you educate yourself, the better you understand most mental health issues with people just happen ( some do have a genetic connection). Yes, with addiction there can be genetic predisposition but again this is something that you have no control over.
As difficult as it is to have a child with BPD, I feel the last thing we need to do is get into a feeling of guilt. We are all handed the cards we get to play in life. The issue is not the cards you get but how you are going to play them.
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« Reply #99 on: December 08, 2018, 10:24:19 PM »

My son is 8 now.  When he was 6, he was diagnosed as ASD1, what they used to call Asperger's.  I noticed traits by the time he was 2. I used to call him Baby Rainman. He's still a whiz at math. 

1.5 years ago, my mother lived with us for a few months.  One day we were driving back from his sister's ballet.  My son had a meltdown in the car on the 3 mile drive home,  crying,  screaming. When he started kicking my seat I got pissed, grabbed his leg and yelled "knock it off!" He screamed louder "I WANT ICE CREAM!"

We got home and I sent him to his room.  20 minutes later,  he worked through it and was right as rain. My mom fled the house for two hours into a light rain.  She returned soaking wet. 

A few nights later,  we were on the back porch talking and she said, "the problem with kids these days is that parents aren't hard enough on them!" I knew she was criticizing me.  All I could think was "thank God I didn't have ASD!" My mother's parenting style would have ruined me,  and it would ruin my boy.  . I'm not saying anything about the parents here,  but only talking about my family. My mother also has BPD, depression, anxiety and PTSD.

I can tell the difference between him and his sister.  She can turn it off abruptly.  My son really loses control.  Though I try to keep discipline consistent, he needs more validation and space. He's almost 9, getting closer to puberty and hormones. 

I'm not perfect either.  He messed up his sister's craft necklace twice in an hour the other night.  I handled it ok the first time,  but the second time I let my anger get the better of me because D6 was crying. I yelled at him and I slammed a cabinet door after he went to his room.  Not one of my better moments.  He was angry at me until he fell asleep,  but he was ok the next morning. 

I often forget, because I see him as a kid without a Dx, that he does have special needs as was mentioned early in this thread.  He even told me once, "I like daddy's house better because I don't get in trouble as much like I do at mommy's house."  I don't want his opinion to switch, but I still have to be a parent not only to him,  but also to D6.
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« Reply #100 on: December 11, 2018, 12:29:40 PM »

i think a lot of us on every board ask the same question: "is this all my fault?" "did i cause this?". the members on Detaching for example, ask this all the time.

all children are unique, and all parents have a parenting style, and there is no such thing as perfect in either case. inevitably, the two will clash at times.

in my experience, blame is not constructive, but understanding is critical, especially going forward. understanding can change our relationships with our sons and daughters for the better, in real and lasting ways.

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« Reply #101 on: November 30, 2019, 10:57:00 PM »

I so wish to say no, it is not all your fault, or my fault. And yet  based on what I have read so for it is possible that you and I did things or said things that resulted in our children having BPD.
Feels awful, but being a part of the solution gives me hope.
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Etsy

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« Reply #102 on: December 22, 2019, 10:17:54 AM »

ljnltx,  I really relate to the highly sensitivity child. My DD was mainly a happy baby, very willful/determined  challenging (or would that be focused!), anyway just about manageable  Way to go! (click to insert in post) but with a very sensitive  Love it! (click to insert in post) soul, and a very sensory person... first to get shoes and socks off, to feel the grass or the sand between her toes, to roll in the leaves, quiet fearless ... first up a tree, whilst the boys below asked her how she got up there, very much run before she could walk.  
in fact she practical did! I spent years chasing after her, as a toddler. It was always on her terms,  could not put reins on her, as she would just lie down! (hindsight... were these signs of impulsivity and risk taking)
When DD was about 9 or 10 I read a book raising your spirited child, which at that time was the only book that I could identify with. I think that there are people out there who have a very heighten sensory system and are like the canaries in the mine, they pick up and detect the finest of details, way before others. The depth of feeling my DD had as a young child growing up, would truly just blow me away. So many many highly tuned senses. I remember the first time i feed raspberries to DD, her eyes literally nearly popped out of her head (I could see the whites of her eyes)  ... at the time I thought it was funny but it was something she had not experienced before, the same thing happened when I put her on a Fisher Price swing at 6 months old that lit up. I think the fact that we are in this forum, means that we all care, i am not sure that blameing ourselves (maybe if I had done this or that etc) helps us. There is no rule book ... but we do care and are doing the best we can... I hope ! And hopefully by sharing information on here we can begin to make a difference in our lives and our loved ones ... so much easier said than done ! Takecare Etsy
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TurtleMurtle
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« Reply #103 on: January 25, 2020, 01:39:34 AM »

My daughter was well behaved. Quiet. When she was younger.  When puberty hit, she was emotionally a beast. Mean, lied, snuck around, physically and verbally abusive to me.  Yet she was a Straight A student.  Involved in many clubs. Went on to college, full ride.  She never got into any trouble with drugs or the law. Now after therapy she is much kinder to me but really struggles in personal intimate relationships.  She has cycles and really gets bad when things change. She can't hold a job to save her life.  She goes to therapy, but stops when things are good.  Which is the worst time for her to stop. Has been in various abusive relationships (both ways) as an adult. As soon as I sensed something wrong as a pre teen she was in therapy. I had so many therapists tell me it isn't my fault. I'm a good parent.   I think something happened in the puberty stage. Like a switch. Its been a hard road. She gets therapy and has good progress.  It is like two steps forward and three steps back sometimes. I dont think in many cases its the parents who cause it. Nope. They used to say mothers caused autism and we now know thats a big lie.
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« Reply #104 on: February 12, 2020, 06:26:43 AM »

My daughter was well behaved. Quiet. When she was younger.  When puberty hit, she was emotionally a beast. [...] I think something happened in the puberty stage. Like a switch.

We had the same experience with our daughter. Something happened during puberty: we thought it was teenage rebellion and would sort itself out, but it didn't. This article recently came up on my news feed:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200129104705.htm

Excerpt
However, the brain regions that are important for more advanced social skills, such as being able to imagine how someone else is thinking or feeling (so-called theory of mind), showed a very different pattern of change. In these regions, connections were redistributed over the course of adolescence: connections that were initially weak became stronger, and connections that were initially strong became weaker.

It makes me wonder whether in people whose BPD started in puberty, rather than earlier in childhood, something went wrong with these brain changes.

TurtleMurtle: it's good that your daughter has made progress through therapy. Where we live, therapy for BPD is not available, and now that our daughter is living in a different country where she might be able to get help, she is an adult and refuses to admit that anything might be wrong. It's her family who are horrible to her, and she sees no connection between our withdrawal from her life and the way she has treated us. She has close friends and believes that they are lovely people, much nicer than her family - for all I know, they may well be, but I suspect that it is rather  because the friends haven't seen her destructive side.
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« Reply #105 on: March 15, 2020, 07:26:33 AM »

I had a similar experience with my daughter. She was a very sensitive child. She had traits of BPD which we were not aware off. We thought she was lazy, stubborn and careless. So our parenting style was not helping her in any way and it was only aggravating the problem. This guilt made me so depressed, that I have to seek the help of a counsellor. We as parents try to give the best we can to our children. That is what it counts and the rest is not in our hands.

Things started going out of hand once she reached puberty. We found it difficult to manage her, it was only recently we found out that she has BPD. The path to recovery is going to be full of challenges but I am sure with positivity, hope, faith and patience we all will be able to find a light at the end of the tunnel.
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« Reply #106 on: June 06, 2020, 04:00:45 PM »

Certainly everyone at one point or another feels it is their fault. I did at the beginning.  Along with all that people have said has been the soul searching of thinking that what I/we did was nothing out of the ordinary for another family situation, but caused lasting effects.  It is knowing that what you did may be acceptable at large, but not in one's particular family situation.  That is really troublesome for me and my family.
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Thebigyellow

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« Reply #107 on: June 21, 2020, 02:49:41 PM »

Reading through these posts is so enlightening. I am seeing a lot of correlations. Fortunately there is now research being conducted on BPD presenting co-morbid with autism.

I too have wondered how I went so wrong raising her (my BPD daughter) and why her sister and brother do not have BPD. When I read through the stories on this post, I see similar experiences. My daughter was always sensitive to fabrics, light, and ticking noises like clocks. She had quirky ways. She was head strong. She was very independent. She is highly intelligent. She had a very active imagination. As a young mother, I read everything I could about parenting. I thought a lot of stuff was “normal”. Terrible twos, teenage angst, skipped nap, “hangry”. In hindsight, I would have gotten early interventions. I didn’t fully understand there was a problem. I didn’t understand the social problems. In school, she was academically above her peers, but socially seemed light years behind. She always had black and white thinking. Nuance, sarcasm, facial expressions, social cues were lost on her. She is 30 now, but I highly suspect she is on the spectrum for autism. She always had a very rigid sense of justice. Others said she was vengeful or revenge seeking, but I don’t think that’s how she is. To her it isn’t revenge, it’s justice. As for emotionally sensitive? Oh yeah, I can remember her entering a room at like 3 years old in a panic asking, “what’s happening, what’s going on?” because she heard loud voices or a certain tone in someone’s voice. Loud voices does not equal anger, but she has a hard time with nuanced things. It could just be someone retelling a story using appropriate inflections. It happened all the time. She was very worried about locking the car doors or her sisters seatbelt being correctly placed. Yes, even at 3 years old, she was mommying me, chiding me about safety of the baby. Was my dismissal of her concerns come off as invalidating? Today, I can understand this.  She often seemed to me to be a cross between nervous rabbit and pit bull. I see now that she was emotionally sensitive. I remember waking up to find all of my clocks in the yard. She couldn’t stand the ticking noise. Still, I chalked it up to the idea that everyone has some oddities, hers are no more odd than mine or her dads, just different. My younger daughter doesn’t have BPD but she still (27 y.o.) won’t let any foods touch on her plate, doesn’t mix food, and can’t have tags on her clothes. I just thought, “people are different and no one is the same.” I didn’t see this as a precursor to BPD. I never even heard of BPD. I sometimes saw insecurity as jealousy between siblings. My point is, I know there was no great trauma. I know I made mistakes, but I also know that I did the best I could. I know I was loving and touchy/feely and affectionate. I wasn’t cold, but I was sarcastic and funny. I did not know that my sarcasm was interpreted as invalidating. Others laughed and got the joke. It was never personal or attacking, but I understand now that pwBPD can interpret sarcasm very differently.

Also I am wondering: Have others with children with BPD also notice highly advance verbal skills?
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livednlearned
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« Reply #108 on: June 22, 2020, 06:59:35 AM »

Fortunately there is now research being conducted on BPD presenting co-morbid with autism

I'm curious about the comorbidity of autism and BPD too, though I've found it hard to find research on it. Do you recommend any articles in particular?

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« Reply #109 on: June 22, 2020, 01:17:31 PM »

I'm curious about the comorbidity of autism and BPD too, though I've found it hard to find research on it. Do you recommend any articles in particular?



Here are some:

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Goeran_Ryden/publication/228478050_Borderline_personality_disorder_and_Autism_Spectrum_Disorder_in_females_-_A_cross-sectional_study/links/0c960519dc1328610a000000/Borderline-personality-disorder-and-Autism-Spectrum-Disorder-in-females-A-cross-sectional-study.pdf

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0184447

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0010440X18300026

www.lib-edpsy.alzahra.ac.ir/documents/10157/42546/223.full.pdf

“ Pelletier described two cases of Asperger’s syndrome that were initially diagnosed as BPD, and he speculated that “many adolescent and adult patients who have received a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder might have a subtle form of Asperger’s disorder”

https://researchbank.acu.edu.au/fhs_pub/4805/

This one is looking at specific genes but not just specific to BPD and autism, but looking at links between Aspergers and several early onset neuropsychiatric disorders.

This one is particularly interesting and from 2020:
https://journals.rcni.com/mental-health-practice/evidence-and-practice/differentiating-between-borderline-personality-disorder-and-autism-spectrum-disorder-mhp.2020.e1456/abs

I’m not sure if you can read the full articles, but I can download the PDFs and email any of them if interested in reading beyond the abstract.

Also, for anyone wondering about birth order, there is interesting research on that as well. My BPD daughter is the oldest sibling.

I guess I’d just like it to be known that while extreme trauma in early childhood is linked to BPD, there are just far too many of us that did not have that happen to our children. The early research suggesting it’s always the mom’s fault causes more problems and is not helpful. I get pwBPD want answers. It’s easy to assign fault but maybe there are other reasons. It’s the refrigerator mom excuse all over again.
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livednlearned
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« Reply #110 on: June 22, 2020, 01:59:53 PM »

Thank you for all the links! We seem to have an abundance of comorbid ASD/BPD in my blended family.

-Step son (21) diagnosed ASD (exhibits BPD traits)
-Step daughter (23) whose T in confidence suggested ASD (exhibits many BPD traits)
-My son (18) whose psychiatrist suspects ASD.

All kids have a BPD parent. Step kids have a BPD mother. My son has a BPD father.

Based on a forensic evaluation of my son's father during our custody battle, my son's psychiatrist wonders about possible ASD dx (father seemingly incapable of understanding the emotional lives of significant people in his life).

The DSM criteria are essentially items on a list of possible symptoms necessary for empirical research purposes (the original intent of the DSM), so I can see how someone might look at symptomatic behavior and then get to the dx from there, without starting at ASD and looking for ineffective behaviors, many that popped up in response to "wrong planet" type of experiences, like being highly sensitive to touch, sound, light.
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« Reply #111 on: August 01, 2020, 11:03:20 PM »

Wow, so many of the posts on here resonated with me. I don't know how to begin.

I've been blaming myself for my daughter's BPD since she received her diagnosis a couple of years ago. So much of what I've read in online articles tends to put the blame on parents, and, often, mothers are held to a higher standard than fathers.

I've been estranged from my own daughter for a couple of months. Not long, but it seems like an eternity. She cut off communication after an online argument. As you can imagine, it was a doozy. She blamed me for her BPD and said she had to go to intensive DBT for it.

I have no way of proving it, of course, but when she started using words like "invalidate", interspersed with "you always do this" and "you never do that" statements, I had the impression that she had been coached by her counselor to initiate estrangement. It was like she had been waiting for the chance, and I gave it to her.

How prevalent is the attitude that BPD is caused by parental abuse/neglect amongst DBT professionals in the psychoanalytical community? I have to wonder. The tide seems to be shifting, but slowly.

The "highly sensitive child" certainly described my daughter growing up. She evolved into an angry, stormy adolescent, but that didn't strike me at the time as abnormal. Her stepdad and I were both in a lot of denial, but I don't think we were bad parents. If I'd had any way of knowing how to parent a highly sensitive child, I certainly would have done things differently.

Also, I have another child (male, 6 years older) who does not have BPD. He had some struggles in his early 20s (he's 30 now) but he's much more of an analytical, cognitive type, and he worked through those issues. He's married to a brilliant woman and has a great job. When I told him of my daughter's estrangement, he seemed genuinely puzzled. "I don't think you're a bad mom or a bad person at all," he said.

There's so much to take in. And I still feel guilty, like I should have at least been more aware of my daughter's problems before they had the chance to escalate. And to think she accused me of never once thinking about how my behavior affects her...I know, that's the BPD talking, but it's so hard.


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sephirathome
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« Reply #112 on: August 12, 2020, 11:18:52 AM »

Thanks to everyone for this thread. There are a lot of links and books mentioned that I now want to absorb. I deal with everything by trying to read and watch as much as I can as fast as I can, until I feel like I've gained all my brain can take.

I have been questioning everything I did or did not do. Right now, it feels like nothing I do is right to him, and I know that none of the doctors I talked to understood what was going to happen when he grew up. He was good at masking his Asperger's, and he was good at hiding all his major depressions, but over the last few years, he's changed. Maybe his masks have slipped. The intense but relatively easily soothed child I remember is gone. Now, I feel like I have to be careful that I don't get sucked into any games he's playing in his attempts to get validation and to feed what appears to be a very deep well of insecurities. I feel like he's completely looking for someone to place all the blame for his actions so he doesn't have to do any work to try to help himself. Sometimes he puts it all on one of us parents, and then sometimes, he turns it all inward.

None of this is 100% accurate. I know this, but it feels like it's all my fault. Since I spent my childhood and some adulthood as a scapegoat, I have to work through a lot of that and make sure it doesn't play out with him. I don't want to further any effects of his disorder by caving in to being just a punching bag. I also don't want to shy away from where I have f'd up. It's a tightrope walk, and I'm exhausted right now.

Anyway, thank you for this thread.
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Elsie62

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« Reply #113 on: August 27, 2020, 06:28:06 AM »

I've briefly read through a few posts on this thread and will go back and read sequentially over the next few days, but OMG why did it take me so long to find a support group for parents?  I suppose I didn't think such a thing existed because the relationship I had with D32 was unique to me.  How wrong was I?
My daughter was the sweetest little girl, quick at walking, talking and potty training.  Real sunshine.  Then around 12 she began to change, adolescence we thought (karma for me) but when she was 15 it came out about certain abuses taking place at her dad's home, and that's when the real issues began.  I found out when I got home early from an aborted work meeting and found her in her bedroom cutting, and downing a bottle of gin, and she finally told me.  The first real jab at me was blaming me for 'not knowing' and it spiralled downwards from there.  I took a year out of work to support her through the final year of school, she failed her exams but still got into college to do theatre studies, and went on to Uni.  I got calls from police because she'd disappeared and was found in a town with a knife, she got pregnant and miscarried a few times, the 2nd time she lost the baby, I travelled 4 hrs to see her at hospital only to have the door literally slammed in my face when I arrived.  I had to turn around and go home without speaking to her. 
And so it's gone on.  She's never outwardly been angry towards her abuser, or her dad (who discharged any parental responsibilities around the time of the abuse situation, so is totally out of the picture) but she has constantly torn me apart.
Even 15yrs later she regurgitates everything I did, or didn't do since she was a child.  She lived in Aus for 5 years with her now husband, and she has thrown me out of her home in the middle of Sydney; her husband is totally loyal to her and sees me as the ogre I am.  She is highly anxious and I fear she is instilling her anxieties into her 3yo.  She believes he is either Autistic, ADHD, Gay, trans - depending on the day! You name it, he has a label (all of which are absolutely fine if true, but at the moment he's just a regular 3 yo in my eyes!)
Because we live in separate countries we skype which ends in tears 8/10; or I go to visit and it ends in arguments and more tears (the last time before Christmas was when her daughter was born and was in ICU. The stress was naturally and understandably unbearable,  but all anger was set firmly at my door; if I went to hug my D it was shrugged off, if I got tearful at seeing the littlun on CPAP I was shouted at in front of nurses etc)   What starts as normal and steady downgrades rapidly to the most awful situation, and now just last week when they came to me for what should have been a lovely week in the sun, became fraught with tension, broodiness, bitchiness until she finally ignored me altogether for the last few days.  The 'icing' on the cake is when after I had a little conversation with my 3yo g/s about flying back to UK in Oct for his birthday (which I've never missed even in Aus) my son in law had a go at me for 'manipulating' his son by talking about seeing him on his birthday without asking him or my daughter first!  I was stunned, as the penny dropped that they had obviously discussed cutting me out of their life when they went back to UK. 
So sorry if I'm going on too much, but I feel like I need to expel everything that's been building up in me.  There's so much inside, and I'm holding on to my own mental health right now...  Seeing what other parents are going through has realised I'm not on my own, not that I'd wish this on anyone.
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BlueGill
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« Reply #114 on: September 01, 2020, 08:28:31 AM »

I struggle with this constantly and events that I should have handled different play over and over in my head.

I was not a perfect parent.  She was a difficult child, the classic Strong Willed Child.  There were times I would yell and her.  In hindsight I should not have yelled and should have taken a more validating approach.  I had no support as a parent, even from my husband.  Everyone always told me that she was just spoiled.  And she was emotionally spoiled.  I was there for her every minute of the day as a stay at home mother. We had a great relationship when she was in middle school, then high school came along and she was bullied for the way she looks and things went downhill from there.  But I was always there for her, even when she was nasty and mean (she verbally abuses me).  I should have set more boundaries.  I really wish I had an instruction manual and knew about BPD back then.  She is my only child (she was such a difficult baby, I didn't want to go through that again) so I have no comparison.  I do see other friends with kids who were yellers (i could hear my neighbor yelling from two houses away! LOL) and who would cut their kids down, etc, and their kids are fine.  I never called her names or cut her down. My own mother would call us spoiled brats and say I was ugly, etc, and I am fine without BPD. In hindsight I can see that my mother said those things out of extreme stress (she was a single mother). So I am torn between feeling like I wasn't a good enough parent (although I know in my gut I was) and feeling like I can't handle all this guilt anymore.
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Big M

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« Reply #115 on: February 23, 2021, 06:31:04 PM »

At some point, we all need to realize the pointlessness of this "nature vs. nurture" debate and just forgive ourselves and try to do better if and when we can.  Since the vast majority of BPD children are raised by the same people who gave them their genes- I think research to determine the true cause is bound to be ultimately fruitless.  I would add that the number of professional therapists who give up on, or refuse to treat, BPD patients is pretty telling. If the professionals give up on them, how are parents who share the genetic and environmental legacy supposed to do better? I doubt there are any parents on here who didn't do their best with what they had.  We have two children, one of them hates us and thinks we were terrible parents.  The other loves us and thinks we did just fine. We did our very best, but we just didn't have the tools or ability to do better.  We read the books, we got her the therapy, we advocated for her constantly.  We let the little stuff go.  We loved her unconditionally. In her mind, none of that happened, we always let her down, and we were horrible parents.  She finds it impossible to acknowledge anything good about her upbringing, because, honestly, doing so would require her to accept some responsibility for her own mental health, something that she is not willing to do at this point in time.       
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« Reply #116 on: March 09, 2021, 11:03:28 AM »

Hi, to all you wonderful parents! I just went through all the posts and wanted to share something. My dd29 was diagnosed with BPD at 19, while in her first residential treatment for an ED. Since then, she has been in countless treatment centers for the ED and other issues. She is now again in treatment, but this time she is driving the bus, so to speak, and is ready to face her demons, which all stem from trauma. Yes, she was a very sensitive child, yes, I admit that while raising her SIX other siblings we did not validate her feelings as often as perhaps we should have, and yes, mental illness runs on both sides of the family. (One of her sisters has serious issues due to drug use, the other five siblings are thriving.) When meeting with her therapist the other day, my DD29 shared with me that the therapist wanted to talk about her family, to which my DD29 bluntly replied, "My family is not the problem, it's the trauma." How many times over the years have my husband and I been told that we needed to validate our daughter, and been made to feel that somehow we were to blame. It was our introduction to a 12-step program that finally brought us peace, and the ability to accept our daughter and ourselves as we were, broken yet beautiful. We all are full of wonderful possibilities!
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20yearsHRS

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« Reply #117 on: March 25, 2021, 02:14:28 PM »

 :caution:Blame God but come hell or high water I'm not blaming myself.  That is such an easy thing for therapists and Phds to suggest well it is the parents fault.  It is not the parents fault.  Did my wife most likely have BPD, yes, so genetically my daughter picked up the trait.  Did I somehow fail in my raising of her?  Well of course, we all fail as not one of us is perfect and even with all the parenting books out there, every situation is uniquely different for obvious reasons.  So no, IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.  Stop the blame game folks and find the real cause, it is inside the brain. 
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« Reply #118 on: March 28, 2021, 01:03:17 PM »

I don't know the situation, but I do know mine and I'll share it with you.
I had a background in childhood development and behavior disorders and worked with children who were mentally ill. I sat on the Board of Directors for NAMI and several other boards devoted to preventing adjudication for young offenders, etc.
Early on, I had concerns about my daughter's ability to manage stress. I took her to a therapist several times to work on emotional regulation and to develop appropriate conflict resolution skills. I was seeing something, but I believed it was age appropriate and could be resolved with therapy.
Later, she suffered several significant losses and a rape and it became clear that there was something of a pathological nature happening. She was hospitalized after becoming extremely intoxicated. She told me she was hospitalized because I had been abusive. She told me her therapist believed I had BPD. She made several accusations that were not based in truth.
I saw two therapists to get their impression of my mental health and to determine whether I did, in fact, have BPD. They concluded that I did not but did explain that sometimes people who receive that diagnosis project. They also can have delusional thinking and believe what they are saying.
I have read everything I can find on the subject. There is a genetic component - I believe it's quite likely my mother had BPD. The losses she suffered and the rape likely triggered what she had been fighting all those years. I can say with absolute certainty that I did not cause it.
Sometimes our genetically predisposed children have experiences that have nothing to do with us; rape, death, social conflict. I didn't know about BPD to any real degree and it was only in retrospect that I started putting the pieces together. Had I suspected the cause of her suffering was related to a specific disorder, I would have moved mountains to get her the help she needed.
There's always plenty of blame to go around when mothers are involved. But please don't worry about blame. Learn everything you can and make sure you are healthy and strong.
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Mama Goose

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« Reply #119 on: April 09, 2021, 02:04:57 PM »

It is important to remember that our loved ones are incredibly sensitive, highly reactive and take a long time to return to their baseline or emotionally regulated self after a issue.  I truly believe that had any of us realized this earlier in their lives we would have changed the way we interacted with them.  Over time, its possible they will outgrow at least some of their behaviors but they will likely always be sensitive, reactive and slow return to baseline.

I want to leave you with this thought -- it is not easy to be diagnosed/challenged with BPD.  Think of the many holocaust survivors and all of the trauma they endured or a person wrongfully imprisoned for years on end.  Most of those persons either figured out the rules to survive or gave up.  Regardless, they did not end up being diagnosed with BPD or even a mental illness.

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otisjane
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« Reply #120 on: September 03, 2021, 09:22:46 AM »

Part of me knows I didn't cause this and all of me knows that if I had known differently when she was younger that I would have raised her differently.  She needs far more softness and empathy than I had provided for her. That's not because I'm a bad mother, but because she didn't come with an instruction manual at birth.
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« Reply #121 on: September 06, 2021, 04:32:32 AM »

 I had known differently when she was younger that I would have raised her differently.  She needs far more softness and empathy than I had provided for her.
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otisjane
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« Reply #122 on: September 07, 2021, 04:22:27 AM »

She needs far more softness and empathy than I had provided for her.
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wendydarling
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« Reply #123 on: September 07, 2021, 01:40:20 PM »

Otisjane so true my DD responded to softness, empathy and validation, that's where I started. After 6 years my DD has built understanding and resilience through DBT and therapy. And I wonder about BPD/ASD.... neurodivergence. I recently took part in a women's ASD research project and how females mask, present differently.  Virtual hug (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #124 on: September 07, 2021, 03:33:28 PM »

Interesting. I gave my 25-year-old son a lifetime of softness, empathy, and validation. Made no difference and I doubt it would've made any in your child's life, otis. Don't beat yourself up. It's not your fault.
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otisjane
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« Reply #125 on: September 08, 2021, 04:39:02 AM »

I gave my 25-year-old son a lifetime of softness, empathy, and validation. Made no difference and I doubt it would've made any in your child's life, Otis. Don't beat yourself up. It's not your fault.
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otisjane
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« Reply #126 on: September 11, 2021, 04:18:09 AM »

so true my DD responded to softness, empathy and validation, that's where I started. After 6 years my DD has built understanding and resilience through DBT and therapy. And I wonder about BPD/ASD.... neurodivergence. I recently took part in a women's ASD research project and how females mask, present differently.  A virtual hug (click to insert in the post)
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otisjane
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« Reply #127 on: September 13, 2021, 04:14:28 AM »

Part of me is certain that she wasn't my fault, and part of me also knows that I wouldn't have raised her differently if I knew differently. She requires far more empathy and softness than I have provided. This is not because I am a bad mom, but because she was born without an instruction manual.
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otisjane
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« Reply #128 on: September 14, 2021, 07:00:41 AM »

I had known differently when she was younger that I would have raised her differently.  She needs far more softness and empathy than I had provided for her.
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otisjane
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« Reply #129 on: September 15, 2021, 04:09:55 AM »

 She needs far more softness and empathy than I had provided for her. That's not because I'm a bad mother, but because she didn't come with an instruction manual at birth.
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« Reply #130 on: September 24, 2021, 05:15:28 AM »

I had known differently when she was younger that I would have raised her differently.  She needs far more softness and empathy than I had provided for her.
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« Reply #131 on: September 25, 2021, 08:25:18 PM »

Parenting such a kid require patience and a unique skill set. My son started showing symptoms when he was four years old. Initially, I thought that the anger and the mood swings are due to his age and he is my only child. But he started behaving badly in public especially with elders. That was an embarrassing situation for me. And everyone pointed me for not upbringing him well. I also felt guilty and thought that I'm a bad parent. And I started to punish him for everything. But the situation came worse as he was not having any change. Overall, I couldn't handle the situation.  I was totally confused and depressed about this. I also lost my job due to a lack of concentration. So the first thing I did was, I consulted a counselor who explained to me about the situation what my son is going through, and what am I suffering as well. My son was going through BPD. He advised me to sit for two sessions for anxiety therapy(https://www.cognitivebehaviourtherapytoronto.com/areas-of-specialty/obsessive-compulsive-disorder/). Because I must have a good mind to look after my son. For my son, the major issue was mood swings and uncontrollable anger and fear. So for him, we always provided and kept him in a cool environment. I and my husband were with him always. We played with him, Cooked his favorite food. We made him comfortable and allowed him to do his favorite activities. Every child will be unique. So the first step is to find out your son's problems and remember you are the only one who can cure them.  . The first thing we need to do as a parent is we need to understand them. I was totally confused and depressed about this. I also lost my job due to a lack of concentration.
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« Reply #132 on: October 26, 2021, 12:46:47 PM »

<3

From everything I have read, our parenting does play a role in our Childs BPD.  Some of it is nature and some of it is nurture.  However, how were we to know we had a child predisposed to this type of disorder.  We were parents doing what we thought was best. 

All we can do is try our best to learn how to parent differently now and to role model better going forward.

I too feel a lot of guilt about my parenting mishaps.  You are not alone.
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« Reply #133 on: November 11, 2021, 08:14:37 PM »

James Masterson, distinguishing between two types of patients in his classic Search for the Real Self—those who had "good-enough parenting" but still developed BPD, and those who developed BPD because of "severely damaging developmental experiences." If you think you perpetrated the latter on your child, then it's probably appropriate to feel guilt. But if you fall into the former category, as I'm quite sure 99.99% of the parents here do, rest assured: You did not cause this.

"This lifelong inability to separate [on the part of certain patients] and become autonomous was probably due to an innate genetic deficiency. The possibility that it might have been due to severely damaging developmental experiences was unlikely since their early histories were no worse than the early histories of other adolescent patients who did better in the study. Currently there is little research evidence regarding the exact nature of this type of genetic deficiency, but we have seen that some severely impaired individuals, whose conditions cannot be directly attributed to failures in nurturance or to acts of fate, do not respond to therapy of any kind; we assume that the root of the problem in these cases lies in a genetic or biologic deficiency. For example, studies have shown that the infantile psychotic will not respond to even the best mothering. In these cases, it appears that some innate deficiency, not inadequate mothering, is responsible. So nature has seen to it that we will not go through the first three years of life with the same ease or difficulty. Some of us will separate from our mothers and express our own uniqueness more easily, some of us will have a harder struggle to do so. Nature has not endowed each of us with the same psychological seeds for developing a real self, and as adults each person has her own unique range of strengths and weaknesses in the real self's capacities. What is present at birth will grown and develop, just as in a tree, the fruit, flower, leaves, bark, and structure are contained in the smallest of seeds."
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Iluvthe80s
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« Reply #134 on: November 21, 2021, 03:51:14 PM »

My adult daughter has been diagnosed as BPD. She’s in therapy and has also done a lot of reading on it. As a family, we’ve been in this storm for the last 15-16 years. Her symptoms started in adolescence with impulsive behaviors and explosive emotional outbursts. We were left wondering what happened to our happy kid. Even  in her recovery I feel shattered on a regular basis. She wants us to acknowledge that we’re to blame for not being the parents she needed and for not asking counseling early on. Each time we have an in-person visit, there’s a blow-up of blame. I can’t go back in time to be the right kind of parent. I’ve acknowledged that I could’ve done better. I’m so scared that we’ll never be able to move on to a more positive relationship because she is so intent on focusing on how we “screwed up” as parents. Part of her recovery has been very public social media posts, some of which blame us for her BPD. Is there hope? We have some good times together but I’m always in fear of stepping on a land mine.
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