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Author Topic: Is this all my fault? Did I cause this?  (Read 47172 times)
pessim-optimist
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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.

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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.

qcr
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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.

lbjnltx
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