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Author Topic: Building a Healthy Life Around a BPD Mother or Father  (Read 12710 times)
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 225

« on: April 07, 2007, 08:04:59 AM »

Building a Healthy Life Around a BPD Parent or Family Member
Summary: Learn to effect safe emotional distance from a BPD mother/father, heal from abuse, correct personal deficits acquired in childhood, reconnect with extended family, find inner peace.
Audience: This board is intended for the adult children of a borderline parent and members with a borderline sibling, in-law, or extended family member who desire to move past their feelings of woundedness and anger to place of growth, self-awareness and working on balancing one’s self and family.
Objective: The objective of this board is three-fold:

1. to work on healing from an abusive childhood using the Morris Foundation Survivor Guide as a benchmarking tool;

2. to emotionally detach from conflict and find peace by either:

  • remaining in emotional and physical contact with the pwBPD (person with BPD) and using relationship management tools,

  • therapeutically breaking away (temporarily or permanently) with the intent to heal.

3. to identify and work through the learned and inherited traits often acquired when born in a “BPD” lineage or growing up in a dysfunctional household.

General Approach: The PSI Board (Parent, Sibling and In-Law) style is one of mindfulness and problem solving combined with support and validation.   It is about compassionate camaraderie and a shared search to find perspective and centeredness and to grow above the conflict; to work through and overcome our past pain and our frustrations; and to identify and work through healing and personal growth models.

Members are asked to tie their expressions of frustration and anger to problem solving or part of the abuse recovery process.  Venting with no direction and co-ruminating is discouraged.

When to Post
Your feelings and thoughts are welcome at anytime. There is no such thing as posting too much or making a post that is too long. (You are also welcome to read any of the posts  in any of the groups.) Some members post when only in crisis. We encourage members to also post when the situations with family members are not as upsetting, as these can be times when it is easier to process feelings and make the next round of upsetting events to be less overwhelming. We also like to hear about small changes that have made things better for you, as we are always here to celebrate  with you as things get better.

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 225

« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2014, 08:19:16 PM »

I think my relative may have Borderline Personality Disorder; now what?
  • Growing up, were you constantly walking on eggshells?
  • Did your parent force you to parent her at a young age?
  • Did your sibling try to invade your friendships, get you into trouble, and take up all of your parents' energy?
  • Did you get accused of being a bad, selfish person whenever you act in your own interest and not your relative's?
  • Did/do you hide strange or abusive behavior from your own spouse or children?
  • Did your family "gang up" on you?
  • Did you have a lot of problems on special occasions, with a relative who ruined weddings, graduations, and holidays with emotional fits?

Discovering Borderline Personality Disorder
Your relative may have borderline personality disorder (BPD). Since borderline disorder is not well known, many come across it almost by accident and have an "aha" moment when they recognize the patterns fit the mysterious and hurtful behaviors they have seen in a parent, sibling, in law, or other relative. Sometimes a friend or acquaintance hears family stories and suggests BPD might be the cause. Some find it through the magic of an Internet search, using search phrases like "raging mother," "mom tells me she hates me," or "manipulative, mean sister." Commonly, an adult child or sibling enters therapy to cope with a difficult relationship and the therapist says, "Your relative's behaviors sound like BPD."
Such a simple statement, but it can recast the experiences of a lifetime. Coming to bpdfamily and reading the stories of other adult children of BPD parents, siblings of people with BPD, or in-laws you may have feelings of being overwhelmed by the similarities and flooded with strong feelings, perhaps relief or even anger or fear.
Our Reactions Are Okay
Common reactions, accounting for the relief, are:
  • I am not alone.
  • You could be writing about MY mother, father, sister, brother, in-law, etc.
  • I am not imagining this.
  • Maybe I'm not such a horrible, selfish person after all.
  • There is someone who will understand.

A member writes about first coming upon bpdfamily.com/bpdfamily.com and reading other members' stories, she felt:
Relief. I was so deep in FOG (fear, obligation, and guilt) that I didn't know up from down, who I was, or what I wanted. I thought I was crazy and did not trust my own memory. Reading others' experiences made me feel validated. I did not have the courage to post for a very long time, but I kept a little document with sentences copied from these boards, whether it was a wonderful piece advice, an experience that closely mirrored my own, or an astute observation. I would read it over in times of stress and sadness to remind me that I am not a bad person, nor am I crazy, and that there are others out there struggling with these same issues.

You may also have feelings of guilt for allowing your mind to travel down this path about your relative, who may feel very sure there is nothing wrong with him/her and the problem is all to do with you. Other reactions may stem from fear or guilt:
  • I should not be talking about my relative.
  • My relative has had a very hard life, and I am here complaining. I am a bad person.
  • My relative will know I am thinking these thoughts. My relative always knows what I'm thinking.
  • I am betraying my relative.
  • I am bad or evil for asking these questions.
  • I will be punished.
  • I am afraid of how my relative will act. My relative has stalked me or been violent in the past.
  • My relative will injure him or herself.
  • My relative will sense that I am researching BPD.
  • Now I am just like all those other bad people who have hurt my relative.
  • My relative will rage at me.
  • My relative will turn my family against me.

These fear and guilt reactions are summarized well by one member:
I lurked for a long time before doing anything other than simply reading what others had to say.  When I finally posted, I felt horrible guilt and anxiety for "betraying" my mother and making a big deal over "nothing."  I soon came to realize that these feelings were ones my mother had conditioned me to have, for her benefit, not mine, and got over the anxiety.  But it was hard to post at first and I'd spend hours afterward questioning the advisability of doing such a thing and vowing I'd never post again.  Obviously, that's a vow I didn't keep.

You may also feel depressed, as floodgates of feeling and memory open or as you take in the information about BPD, some of which is pretty difficult to take. You may feel angry that the medical system, the child welfare system, and your own family didn't identify these problems and help more when you were young and vulnerable.
All of these reactions are normal.
Where Do We Go from Here?
Now what? The good news is that as an adult, you have far more options, power, resources, and opportunity to make changes. At bpdfamily.com, you've come to a safe place where you will receive support for your situation.
One member writes:
From bpdfamily.com, I’d received the first validation IN MY LIFE for my thoughts and feelings around my mother and possible BPD. I felt a great sense of community because here, at last, were others who’d shared similar experiences and who responded non-judgementally.  

We have provided Lessons, in a post tacked to the top of the board to help you sort out your experiences and work on improving your life going forward.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2019, 09:12:39 PM by Harri » Logged

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