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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

The Borderline Personality Disordered Family, Part II: The Children

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Apr 4th 2007

How are the children of the Borderline Disordered Mother and Father affected by their parents' psychopathology?

In Part I of this series we learned that it is a common experience for the children of the borderline mother and father to be experienced by their children as projections of themselves. Projection is a term that means that aspects of a person's self concept are placed onto the other person. Therefore, if a borderline mother believes that parts of her inner self are bad or evil this will be projected onto one of her children. The child onto whom so much "bad" is projected will then be viewed as bad or evil by the parent. This child is known as the "bad child." In a similar way aspects of this mother that she thinks of as good will be projected onto one of her children whom she see as the "good child." This perception of others as all good or all bad is typical of the way the borderline personality views people and this is referred to as "splitting." Splitting means that people are viewed as either good or bad. While it is common for young children to split this is something we learn to overcome by realizing that people are a mixture of many characteristics. The borderline person never really learns about shades of gray in others or in themselves.

The Good Child:

It is also true that, for the borderline person, there are constant shifts in the way people are viewed so that others are sometimes seen as all good and benevolent and suddenly viewed as persecutory and evil. The children of the borderline are victimized by the ever shifting perception their parents have of them. As long as the "good child" remains loyal and obedient to their parent they will be viewed as a perfect child deserving of love and protection. However, this means that the child must learn to give up any hopes or aspirations for their own development.

The mother or father cannot tolerate the good child becoming independent and autonomous. A fundamental feature of the borderline personality structure is that they are "insecurely attached" meaning that they constantly fear abandonment. Therefore, the demand of the borderline of her child is to be there to care for and love this parent.

This good child, learning to surrender all sense of self, becomes depressed, hopeless and resentful because they have submerged their own needs in order to protect themselves from the potentially violent parent.

There is a wonderful, old classic Hollywood movie from the 1940"s starring Bette Davis and entitled "Now Voyager." This old classic is occasionally aired on television stations like Turner Classic Movies. In the story, Bette Davis plays the role of an adult daughter who is constantly victimized by her tyrannical and borderline mother who cannot and will not allow her daughter to live her life as a free and independent movie. Only after the daughter has a nervous break down, is placed in a mental institution and recovers her sense of self worth, does she declare her independence from this suffocating mother. In her voyages around the world she is tested but repeatedly discovers great strength and courage within herself. The role Ms. Davis played was of the "good daughter" who always submitted to the whims and demands of her mother's endless demands. This role is a magnificent portrayal of the fate of this good and perfect child. The two dimensional, flat and colorless life is the evidence of how dispirited and depressed the good child is.

The Bad Child:

The "bad child" does not fare as well as the "good child" because the "bad child" becomes the target of the hatred of the borderline parents. This is the type of adult survivor of child abuse I have frequently worked with as patients in psychotherapy. Typically treatment takes a long time because of the amount of damage that has been done to this person's self esteem and dignity. The steady and systematic physical and emotional abuse heaped upon this child is devastating. Physical scars fade and vanish but the emotional scars that this individual carries around with them remain deeply imprinted. Long after they are adults these patients report dreams that stereotypically deal with the themes of being pursued by Nazis, animal predators, murderers of all types and of having no place to hide and find safety. The world does not feel safe to someone who has survived such massive abuse. For these people feelings of depression, guilt and fear run deep. These emotions are accompanied by low self esteem and difficulty function in the world of work and intimacy. One of the great psychoanalytic writers of the 1980's referred to this type of abuse suffered by the child at the hands of the borderline parent by term soul murder.

What Saves Some of these Survivors of Abuse?

There are a number of factors that can enter into the life of a child to save them from the consequences of murderous parents:

1) Even if one parent is able to act as a shield and protector against the abusing parent this can go a long way towards bringing balance, sanity and protection to the child.

2) There are those children who run away from home. For most children this is not a good idea because they can fall into the hands of predators in the outside world. However, I have worked with a number of cases where, once the child reached adolescence they ran to the home of a friend and family they knew well and found permanent protection.

3) Benevolent neighbors, school officials and religious leaders in the community who notice something is wrong can call child protection services and have the state act and remove the child to a safe place.

4) Close relatives who are aware and care about the child will act, at times, and remove the child from the home and fight out the issue of custody in the courts.

What have your experiences been with the Borderline family and its children? Your comments and experiences are welcome and encouraged.

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at dransphd@aol.com for details.

    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    The "Bad" Child and the "Good" Child - Laz - Mar 16th 2015

    I grew up as an only child with two parents: a possibly borderline mother and a possibly narcissistic father (only heard about his diagnosis through my mother). I often experienced being "perfect" for several weeks, but then a "trigger" of some kind (my father, the holidays, jealously over socializing with friends outside of the house, going away to college, by choice of boyfriend, not cleaning my room, etc.) would send my mother into a raging episode wherein she would trap myself and my father in a room and scream at us for several hours, e.g., name-calling, false accusations, any of our "sins" over the past few months. My father and I would mostly remain silent, since there was no "winning" with her, so to speak. The worst "episode" is my mind definitive of a psychotic break: she read my diary because "she thought I hated her" (I was going through a mild teenage-angst phase), cut up a dress of hers and piled the pieces in the middle of my room with the journal on top, and locked herself in her room for 24 hours. This was never discussed until very recently; of course, her justification for this is that "she was worried about me," but as a result I have never been able to journal again and have lost trust in her as well. 

    Walking away from my 3 boys on eggshells - Kevin - Aug 25th 2014

    Well after 6 years of trying to be a father in a nasty divorce with a borderline cluster "B" and a court system that allows her to alienate and use the children to emotional abuse me, I have no choice but to cut them all off to save myself!

    Does this sound familiar? Why would the Family court allow this to continue for so long when they know the truth about her?

    Reason: The Family court system does not and will not care about the best interest of the children. IT'S ABOUT MONEY!!! The longer you can keep lawyers and therapists involved and fill those court calenders... the more judges assure their counties will receive funding from states to cover their salaries.The children don't matter and the effects on society because of this will be huge!

    Maybe one day, my children will realize what she and the courts did to them and save themselves too? I would hope so for their own good.

    No matter what happens, I will always love them but protect myself from the effects she put in them.

    Borderline mother with a Narcissist step father - cindy - May 22nd 2014

    I was raised by a boderline mother who married a nacissist man, my step father.  You are right in this article about the children who survive.  I ran away but before I was old enough to run away I always managed to find families to kind of assimilate into to at a very young age.  Age 5 is when I started that.  I think that alone is what saved me from the horrible abuse.  I knew enough at a young age probably from hanging out with my little friends and seeing how their families acted together.  I am 50 years old now and totally estranged from my abusers. I entered therapy after my first marriage cause well I married a narcissist.  Then again that terrible marriage is what caused me to enter therapy.  I am now married to a wonderful man who supports me, who understands sometimes at 50 I am scared little girl who goes back to those days.  I do beleive as children we are born to survive , that is our instinct and those families that took me in per say is what saved me. 

     

    I divorced BPD husband to protect kids and myself - Mi - May 10th 2013

    I did it a year ago, after 15 years of being loved and hated. I am sorry I did it so late. My older daughter is 13 now, and she was wrongly diagnosed ADHD. Her behavior was caused by unstable and unpredictable home environment, which depended on the father's mood. At first both girls (13 and 6) were visiting him at his new place. Last year during a visit  the older one refused sth and it accelerated his anger. He told her he does not want her and does not love her. Now it is 9 months since she had seen him last time. The younger one kept on visiting hime every 2 weeks for weekend, but I noticed that she started to dislike the visits. During last visit the story was the same : he told he does not want her. When I read websites about BPD and relation with BPD parents, I think the moment of No Contact came.

     

    I did not realize the strange behaviour of him was BPD until we went trough a couple therapy. I decided I escape for sake of my  kids and myself. I do not regret anything except that I tollerated it so long.

    Possible BPD mother and volatile, violent father - - Mar 9th 2013

    Oldest of 9 siblings.  Several of us suffer from depression and eating disorders, one has already committed suicide, one has attempted several times.  My father is dead and my mother is in some never never land of our wonderful family an childhood good times.  Any therapy for that?

    Now, Voyager - - Sep 10th 2012

    I'm so glad you pointed to "Now, Voyager" as a film dealing with being the child of a borderline mother. I watched the film for a second time quite by accident a few years ago, after coming to the realization that my mother suffered from BPD, and it was incredibly motivational to see Bette Davis' character transform over the course of the movie -- not to mention learn to care for another child dealing with a similar mother (the daughter of Paul Henreid's character). 

    Livia Soprano seems another classic example of a BPD mother (putting out a hit on her own child!) -- not that I'm suggesting Tony is the best role model;)

    need a little help please! - - Jul 11th 2012

    my mom has been diagnosed with bpd and bi polar several years ago. i did not have a ggo childhood. not a day went by that i had to push mom to town( she threw herself in a wheelchair, a healthy walking person), be her live in maid, caregiver, punching bag. she always thought i was lying or doing bad things behind her back. she did not trust me but yet wouldnt let me have wings, until i had enough and just up and moved out one day. a few years ago i severed all comms with her and didnt give her my married name or new address. just the other day she sent a spy into work and thats how she found out im expecting. i dont know what to do or how to protect my child from her bc she can lie and call family srvs or whatever, there are not grandparents rights where i live but, what tools do i have to protect my child and the rest of my family from her. i dont what her to have contact with my child at all. period. she almost destroyed me she will not destroy my family. please help.

    I have BPD myself.... - - Jun 8th 2012

    I have BPD myself, and attend a therapy group and all of the other women have children. I have witnessed them talking about their kids, how they love/ hate them, the anger outbursts, the emotional abuse, the controlling, the manipulation, the gaslighting, their total inability to understand the pain of having a parent with self-harm/ suicidal behaviour. It's all about them. Adult kids having kids. They project their own 'badness' onto their kids.

    And it makes me sick how the therapists in the group enable this behaviour. I am the only childless woman in the group, mainly because I don't want to abuse my own kids, pass the BPD on or subject them to my instability. Having BPD is no excuse or reason for abusing a child. The therapists think I am too judgmental, and I need to 'walk a mile in their shoes'. But I am on the side of those poor kids. I hope they realise that just because their mother has a PD, that it's still abuse, and not the disorder.

    I'm convinced that a lot of psychologists/ psychiatrists have their own leftover abuse issues, and their own denial of what abuse is, actually enables it. I was even gaslighted by a therapist who said my standards of parents are 'too high' because I disapprove of how these BPD women treat their kids. I have been bullied by the group, for voicing my concerns over how the kids are treated, if they are getting help themselves because many are showing sings of PTSD or developing PDs.

    This is how BPD child abuse is perpetuated, because even the psychiatric system enables it.

    I am so sorry for all the people on here who had a BPD parent. I had Narcissistic PD parents, and I know that type of abuse very well, it's similar to BPD child abuse.

    OK, they didn't chose to be abused or have BPD. But, they chose to have kids, they are responsible for everything that happened. pwBPD may not be fully aware of their behaviour, as it may just come out with relationships. But they are aware of their instability, so they are responsible for having a child knowing they are not mentally healthy.

    Parents with BPD are totally accountable for the abuse, even if you never get it from them. Please don't think about why your parents got BPD, why BPD happens, or try to fix them. Your parents emotional wellbeing is not your responsibility, even if they have a 'mental illness'.

    I would say to cut ties, start your own life and relearn who you are.

    help! - concerned in CT - Apr 29th 2012

    This is a boy so very full of potential. He wants to go to school, but can\'t get there regularly when his mom won\'t let us take him. Now cell phones are gone, so the boy has no emergency communication. We have called CPS to make sure someone is aware the family is in crisis (the daughter has run away), and have assured the boy that he can call us any time should he really need help (we were very worried about mom\'s mental state beyond BPD, as she was becoming increasingly erratic and paranoid).

    I have close friends whose mothers had BPD, and they tell me that it is critcally important that we keep telling the boy that his mother has an illness and that it is NOT his fault, and just be there for him. But I also know that mom has said he can\'t speak to us and that, even though he is, at 10, the \'adult\' of the house, he is very very confused, and I don\'t want to make it worse.

    What is the best course of action? It is so hard to see a boy this talented (a prodigy really) being broken on the rocks of his mother\'s psychosis. Do we wait until he is old enough to process the situation, or say to heck with mom\'s admonitions, and make sure he knows he has the right to demand access to school and needs separate from those of his unstable mother.

    Our greatest fear is that he will have literally no where to turn if things get VERY critical. It moves me when so many grown-ups with BPD parents wished that someone would have cared enough to validate and/or intervene. thanks!

    Mother - - Oct 11th 2011

    My mother and father had 3 children I am the eldest. My father was sent away by my mother after she made us choose (in front of him) who we wanted to be with...she had met someone else and accused our father of abuse, killing our dog with rat poison...the list goes on. After her remarriage she had a son. The 4th child. As the eldest I had to take care of my siblings, feeding, clothing bathing, I had to quite school because she was " sick" and I had to help her...at 16 I had to get a job and give them my paycheck...Growing up My brother and I were the bad children..my sister 4 and little brother 6 months were the favorites..the good children...when my brother wanted to go to college "we make to much money you cant go" I knew I couldnt...I couldnt keep friends or go anywhere because if I tried I would always be in trouble for some thing when I got home..." forgot to turn on the dryer...forgot to take the meat out of the freezer" my brother joined the army and we have not seen him for 20 years...until 3 years ago. Neither of us speaks to our mother. My youngest sister and brother do. But the three of us are now closer than ever...I know that her personality disorder is the reason...she refuses to talk to anyone...yet shes at the doctors constantly with an "illness"....It would take another 5 pages to list everything that has happened in my life....I still in my 40's want my mother...I have accepted that its not possible. I make sure every day that I have not continued the cycle.....

     

     

    I'm a child of a borderline father - Akka - Aug 28th 2011

    I see that most of the comments are about borderline mothers. I'm daughter of a borderline father. In oposition to my brother, i still cannot communicate with my father. Maybe I'm more sensitive than my brother is and I don't like the communication based on disrespect and screaming. It was/is difficult for me to survive his rage crisis about trivia (for exemple the bread laying on the table, their bladder sick dog pissing at home) or saying that he knows better what I'm feeling/thinking or I supposed to feel/think than I do, disrespecting my mom and last but not least, his irrational theories about everything, despite the facts. I really felt and still feel as Alice in wonderland when his around (in a negative way).

    Now I live in another country and am thankfull that don't have to "deal" with him often. Still this "relationship" left a lot of scars. I have problems with my identity, self esteem. I'm just starting  to slowly give myself a chance as a "real me". I always loved to draw, paint and was pretty good at it (as my mom says). But for my father all artist are lazy bastards with nothing in their heads and such a thing as art is useless and makes no sense. So as I was also a good student he wanted me to become someone with a "university diploma". I admit I did it because I wanted him to just leave me alone. Now I regret it, because I really love art and this is what interests me the most.He once said: "You will forget about it (art), when you'll start to study on university". Nope, didn't work. In fact it made things even worst. I didn't have time to paint because had to study and was constantly depressed because of it.

    My mom is a good person but comes from a pathological familly, so I don't really blame her of not protecting me and my brother from our father. She was and is a victime to. I think she had this defense mechanisme of not getting involved. Maybe she thought it's normal because her father was way worst than that (drinking, phisicaly and psychologicaly threatening).

    I come to my parents house about twice a year. Always with mixed feelings. I'm constantly on guard when his around even though I'm 30 now. Fortunately his not drinking as often as before and manage to be sober for the time me and my husband are there.

     

    Divorced to borderline with children - dana - May 31st 2011

    in my case, my son is 4 years old and my ex-husband is borderline aggressive. How I can tell my son what happens to his father and also protect you from any reaction you have your father?

    Thank You - Erin - Mar 27th 2011

    Thank you everyone for sharing your stories. Until the past few months I always assumed there was a solution to the disturbing relationship I have with my mother. I assumed with more effort, with more concern for every fluctuation in her feelings that things would get better. I was always trying to make her feel better about her life and life her up, despite her horrible abuse.

    My brother committed suicide several years ago and everyone assumed that it was related to his own mental disorder. But truly I can see after reading through all these stories and the article discussing the "soul murder" of a child raised by BPD parent, I am convinced my mother was the primary cause. He was the "bad" child and although I suffered a lot of her abuse, it was only when I tried to intervene. She would constantly tell him she was his father (who she demonized and said was out to hurt us). Her angry rants would go on for hours, whole afternoons, and often late at night. It took me years to realize that I never felt at ease watching movies or reading, because she would never let us relax. There was no leisure allowed when we were kids-- there was always something she wanted to yell at us about or something she demanded would get done (even if the house was entirely cleaned by me, the lawn was mowed, the laundry done). No one knew because like others mentioned, we lived in a nice suburban area and she was a functioning, working professional. I did my best to protect myself but walking out into the yard during the fights or running away for a few days, but how the system works in these situations is sad. There is nowhere to go for long. 

    There were the late nights with her yelling about almost anything when we had school, every holiday was ruined by screaming and fighting, and she was always intentionally depriving us of things she could provide-- we had to advocate for more clothes and I was constantly using my work money to buy my brother a better wardrobe. OR she would make us pay for things when she messed up like running over a suitcase and then making us as kids work it back. She shunned his friends, and they hated coming over. She eventually tried to cut my off from all my close friends as an adult. We were both required to work outside for hours and hours on special occasions (missing dates, sports practice, or social engagements). There was no compromising or allowing us to do it another time. She would always claim there was more to do around the house but would never give us a succint list. We begged for it so we could hold her to it, but she rarely caved and always stated that we shouldn't ask. It was torture.

    No matter what important event or holiday it was she always had to ruin it and she is doing it again with my upcoming graduation. She intentionally made plans with her boyfriend to go away over christmas during my holiday break (and after alienating my father and all her family and my relatives) I had nowhere to go. Thankfully my boyfriend's parents welcomed me into their home. For graduation, she is jealous about anyone else attending and she told me I had to call her and explain to her why I want her to come, and if she wasnt there it was MY fault. She also, like many of the other stories here mentioned, wants all the credit for my achievements and any help she did give came at the high cost of always having to give into what she wants. Nothing ever makes her happy for long and I am constantly living in fear of her calling to yell at me about something. 

    Despite her resentment of the "burdens" of parenthood, she fought my dad tooth and nail for years to prevent him from getting custody. She made accusations of child abuse, of domestic violence, of neglect, but the irony of this manipulation was that she was all those things and he was not. Yet, because of her manipulative nature she was able to keep us in her grasp until college. And then I lost my brother only a few months after he left.

    Although I have healed a lot from therapy, loving friends and reconnecting with family, the most healing thing for me was validate what I always knew was true-- that my brother was not fully responsible for his death and that surviving this sort of childhood is absolutely a challenge. I am fortunate that I have been able to make a happy life for myself, but sad to hear about how common this situation is.

    aunt of survivors - Maren P - Jan 31st 2011

    I thank you all for the vulnerability and honesty in sharing your stories.  I became the foster mom to my nieces when they ran away from abuse.  What I now believe is that their parents had BPD, at least their mother does, possibly brought about by the psychological abuse and trauma of her husband.  I need to understand what my niece went through, so I can help her, and this forum is very helpful to me.  Thank you!

    Support Forum for those hurt by loved one's PD behaviours - Klarity Belle - Oct 18th 2010

    I just wanted to provide a link to a well informed and supportive forum set up specifically to help those in relationship to a personality disordered individual http://www.outofthefog.net/index.html

    Thank you Dr Schwartz and team for allowing me to provide this link here.  I regularly post links at Out of the Fog to these 3 bpd articles which are so very helpful to anyone with a Borderline in the family.

    in recovery - staying alive - Sep 21st 2010

    I am currently in recovery from ending a 6 yr relationship with someone who appears to have paranoid borderline personality disorder.I am also in recovery from being raised by a mother who appears to have borderline personality disorder.I have been emotionally tortured for most of my life and I have difficulty maintaining relationships with people.I also have intense trust issues.I have an 11 yr old son who is autistic who I am sometimes afraid to luv.I am extremely insecure.I downplay my accomplishments yet I am still an overachiever.I am a little bit of a mess.

    I want my life to expand and I want to find love.I want to be in a healthy relationship eventually but I am presently too governed by my emotional attachment to past relationships.I have never spoken to anyone about these particular concerns, although I am really not at all embarrasesed or afraid of doing so. I guess you would say that I am on the path to self discovery/acceptance.This is very frightening but also some how enlightening.I am very spiritual and I believe that in recent times, I have encountered different people/circumstances that have allowed me to exit this intimate relationship without having a nervous breakdown.As far as my mother is concerned, I have recently made the connection between my current ex and the behaviors my mom exhibited when I was a child.This has been helpful.I now understand why I remained in such an abrusive relationship for so long.I also realize that I have to have a controlled relationship with my mother or risk, an emotional meltdown.

    Now, it is so peaceful in my home with my son and myself.There are no eggshells on the floor and we laugh, giggle and stare off into space with tranquil delight.It is a struggle from day to day because I do miss my ex. I have always identlifyed the fact that she has a mental illness, however I feel strong enuf to choose life over their impending doom.I understand that I have a responsibility to myself/son.Even if you love someone, if they refuse to get help you don't have to suffer in their darkness. I am someone who is full of light and openness. Please let me shine with hope, love and forgiveness.Amen     

    I think my mother is BPD, but she doesn't fit all the criteria - troll - May 7th 2010

    My sister and I have known since adolescence that there was something terribly wrong with our mother and my sister began investigating fairly recently and believes she has BPD.We were not physically abused regularly growing up (though there were times that I now see that we did suffer what would be called physical abuse), but the emotional abuse was constant.  Our mother would rage and rant, and you never knew what would set her off.  Upon reaching late high school/college age both of us endured our mother ranting and calling us sluts and whores for the least sign of an interest in boys.  I remember living in fear of my mother finding out I might have an interest in a boy as a teenager because she always ranted that we were NOT to date until college.  I have suppressed a lot, my sister remembers more.  I remember vividly thought that I was treated like the most valuable object on the planet by my parents until age nine, when my sister was born.  My place in the family abruptly changed then and I was constantly told I was jealous of my sister and hated her (until I became so angry I decided I DID hate her).  I was regularly told I was NOT to turn out mentally ill, like I was told constantly I was showing signs of doing; at age 11 I was placed on tranquilizers by my pediatrician for throwing “fits” as my mother would say.  I can’t count the times my parents would talk about how I must be mentally ill and was going to turn out a failure, all right in front of me as if I were a piece of furniture, their voices raving and frantic, so upset at what I was allowing my (child) self to become and do to them.

    My Dad is not narcissistic, but he generally went along with anything mother told him to keep the heat off himself.  My sister, beloved of my mother already for being a baby, grew to be what I considered his “hope” of having at least one normal child, I remember feeling that at a teenager, I was bad and she was his hope so he loved her more.  But with mother, the minute I left for college, my sister began assuming the “bad” roll.  It became a very long story then of each of us being good or bad at different times, both of us suffering from depression, me becoming an alcoholic, then getting sober and separating myself for long enough to be considered miraculously the “good” daughter by default (my sister and Dad’s close relationship caused a great deal of jealousy with my mother).  And now my sister has two young daughters and she told me that both our parents simply dote on the 2 year old and have lost a lot of their former interest in the 6 year old.  We agreed it is eerily like when we were small.  Our mother couldn’t get enough of the older grandchild until the baby arrived.  Our parents are old now, and our father isn’t well.  If something happens to him neither of us will even consider bringing our mother into our homes. 

    Cristina - Klarity Belle - Apr 24th 2010

    So sorry to read of your experiences with your bpd mother.  Was your diagnosis for bpd official?  What you say comes across as very rational under the circumstances you have endured. 

    I used to wonder if I suffered with a PD myself but later found out that my symptoms were in fact Complex PTSD - this is not on the DSM as a disorder itself yet but may be catergorised in the future.  It has crossover symptoms with bpd - i.e. abandonment depression but from my own experience it doesn't shrare the symptoms of irrational rage towards others or dangerous behaviours/infidelities etc.  It is common for those reared by PD parents to suffer Cptsd symptoms and sadly to find themselves in abusive relationships.  Good news is with therapy and a good support network it is possible to manage the symptoms and lead a more fulfilled life.  Here is a link to a great article about Complex PTSD. http://www.pete-walker.com/fourFs_TraumaTypologyComplexPTSD.htm. The forum I mentioned in a previous post is a wonderful place of support for those who have had involvement with family or spouses/partners with a personality disorder.

    Support group for victims of BPD parents/partners etc - Klarity Belle - Apr 24th 2010

    I have been a member of a wonderful support site called Out of the Fog for the last 18 months.  It is a very wise and informed community and a safe place to share the pain of having been raised by a bpd (other PD's too) or having been in relationship to them.  This is a forum which has been set up specifically for those caught in the cross fire of personality disordered family or partners. being a member of this community has helped me as much as being in therapy. Both therapy and this top quality online forum have helped me to heal more in 18 months than I had done previously in 43 years!  My sincere good wishes to all here who are doing their best to recover from the fallout of being raised by a bpd parent. http://www.outofthefog.net/index.html

    Thank you Dr Schwartz and team for permitting me to share this information here at mentalhelp.net.

    Another "Bad Child" in Recovery - Jill - Apr 3rd 2010

    I am yet another "bad child" of a BPD mother.  I've spent a great deal of time confused and in therapy.  It seemed for so many years that none of my three siblings would understand what I've been through.  My mother's lies were quite convincing.  Through counseling and a great deal of love from friends and supporters I've managed to pull away and make boundries that allow my mother limited access to me personally and emotionally.  This gives me a great deal of freedom that I never thought was possible in my life.

    I no long question what I did wrong.  I was a great child growing up--always picking up the slack where my mother failed.  It seemed natural that someday if I endured my efforts would be recognized.  Instead all I got was more condemnation.  As a result I am an adult that is very talented and resourceful.  I believe many of my talents are grown from striving so hard to be good.  For this I must thank my neglectful and flawed mother. 

    There is hope.

    borderline mother borderline child - christina - Mar 1st 2010

    I am the "bad child" of a borderline mother.  I have also been diagnosed with borderline personality.  I am just starting to understand the abuse and neglect that i suffered.  My mother had two sides to her. She was be an abusive neglective drunk most times, and then all the sudden be a religious finatic and trying her best to be a good mother. She would be good for a short time and then become the abusive neglective drunk again. This happened several times in my childhood. I am now 24 years old.  My mother has been sober for four years and seems grounded in faith for the first time, but still refuses to acknowledge the past and the abuse.  I moved close to my mother two years ago to try and understand why i was not able to get over the pain and move on with my life.  I brought my children into her life also and she has developed a loving bond with them but still doesnt validate me and is always pointing out what i need to do for my children or what im doing wrong.I know i need to cut ties with her and accept that she will never be the mother i have always wanted and can never give me back my childhood.  I am now in a toxic relationship myself and am hurting the ones I love.  I am so scared of living out the same life that she did, and my children being scarred like i was.  I understand i have to take responsibillity for my actions and dont want to hurt the ones i love anymore.I am lucky that my children are young and still have a chance, but am worried about the damage i have done to  my partner who has stood beside me for seven years. I dont want to let go of him but feel like it is the right thing to do so that he can heal. I have not begun therapy yet so i am still triggering and hurting my loved ones, but  i have the knowledge and determination to recover.  I am struggling with what is the right thing to do for myself and my family.  Should I leave my family until I gain the skills I need to have a healthy relationship with them or continue the road to recovery with them and take a chance on damaging them further? I appreciate any insight and suggestions from people who have dealt with borderline personality disorder.

    =/ - noname - Feb 26th 2010

    She throws things to the wall, destroying our property, screaming for help because she is beeing punchd (but she is the one who punches me in my stomach first, biting me) today she said again that she will set the house on fire. The hospitals in the near know her very very good > over 30 times/ year in hospital..

    she tries to hurt my father which believes because he married her he cant leave her. and if he defenses himself the police is beeing called and he is to blame.. again..

    she says she cant sleep anymore (takes pills every night and then she sleeps but always claim that she doesnt)

    Its horrible when your mother knows a lot about medicine

    I always knew  something was wrong with her and therefore i didnt like her, but neverless i had my father. I really want to send her to a mental hospital and i dont wish to see her again.. but HOW? I dont wanna leave the house, because its my home. If i would leave i would not know what to do anymore... we have dogs, fishs i cant leave. no way.

    From all the things i read i am the"good" child but i dont care. She makes so many debts just to get me clothes... -.- how childish is that. She has an IQ over 135 ... -__-

    What can i do so she doesnt make debts anymore? I dont want all the debts to go on the house. i wouldnt be able to be happy anymore if the house would be sold. I am going to take away her computer soon.. she buys a lot(too much) on the net. i am feeling like a freaking mother but i dont even want kids

    she makes messages on forums like : Ohh how much would i really like to care for about one of your children begs for contact information and is annoying other people like hell , is creeping out other people like this, got sometimes banned. Makes dumb comments how my birth was like: oh and yeah i was screaming and she is now nearly 20 and she is fat and everything. she makes it so easy to find us(i am scared i wont EVER find a job when my future boss sees this!!) and if i contact the support they say it doesn violate their term of rules. thats so childish again..  i think writing about about my life would be a good thing to do..

    my brother is also very very violent. he destroyed all the doors, and one time he threw a knife after me. great hm?

    also got bullied for 10 years and i am still alive even with all this horrible experiences!(really bad bullying like setting hair on fire and entering our property)

    i finished a good school around a year ago but  have not a job which makes me beeing down.. last year before finishing school was great.. got much friends who trust me, showed people my skills by beeing the second best final exams

    english is not my motherlanguage so please dont be too hard on me

    sorry for writing so much but i need to write down all of this or i cant calm down for at least Today.

     

    thank you - Wendy - Feb 25th 2010

    Thank you so much everyone. Jesus is a savior and forgiveness and boundaries seems to be my only way out. It's good to see people who learned to do this and aren't BPD too with constant anger and bitterness....This website and the comments are helping me a lot.

    Re: Letting go - LA - Feb 18th 2010 - Catherine Todd - Feb 25th 2010

    Thank you for your kind and gentle and heartfelt response. It made me realize how important God is in our lives, and that God can save us all, and is there no matter what our torment may be.

    "Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot Heal."

     

    Amen and God Bless.

    Re: Responding to BPD Stories - - Feb 15th 2010 - Catherine Todd - Feb 25th 2010

    I know exactly how you feel. I DID become an "emancipated minor" and have still had to put up with stories about me all my life. Now that my mother is gone, my siblings apparently bought these stories that were told about me after I left home hook, line and sinker, and have continued to repeat without question exactly as repeated by God-only-knows-who started them (but we all know who did) for the past 46 years. Yes.

    I am 60 years old and haven't seen many of my family members for over 25 years but when I have any contact at all, I am accused of the most outrageous things and these people have been saying these things behind my back for 30 years to my son, unbeknownst to me, while I paid for his plane tickets to go to "family reunions."

     

    If only I had known, I would have kept him away from all of them before the damage was done. Why do we only see these things in hind-sight? Oh, what we go through trying to have decent family relations, like all the "normal people" we see "out there" and "on TV." Where are they? How to achieve it? I still don't know, but I have learned (over and over) that going back to a dry well just doesn't work. It only causes more suffering and pain. And thirst! Dying of thirst. Now I try to pray and ask God to forgive them, as I can't, but apparently "they know not what they do." Fine and dandy, I can stay out of their line of fire. Let them find someone else to burn at the stake. Apparently they are not satisfied if they don't have someone for their funeral pyre. Let them burn themselves next time. They can go to their own funerals, not mine. I  can be free with a simple, no-contact rule, while I ask God and pray for healing to begin.

    Letting go - LA - Feb 18th 2010

    This is in response to Sad in Texas.  I believe that even though we have struggled with mother's with BPD, there is a reason.  I know that I would not be the same person that I am if I hadn't gone through what I had gone through.  I AM a happy person now with a loving family.  Do I wish that I had loving parents that I could talk to and laugh with...YOU BET.  But, my husband and I decided that OUR family would start the tradition of a loving, caring and laughing family.  I think you have to get to a point and decide if a relationship with a person with BPD is worth it.  When my mother was abusive to me, I tolerated it.  When she became an issue with MY kids....that was it.  I also have surrounded myself with stable individuals, people who are honest and are a positive influence on me.  I will be very honest with you...Jesus got me through my childhood...and even now.  When I was young, even in high school, and my mother was in her "mood"...I would sing Jesus loves me to myself.  You would be surprised how much that meant to me to have someone love me unconditionally.  If it hadn't been for him I believe I would have considered suicide to get away from the abuse. I personally do not think it's possible to be in a relationship with someone who has BPD and have a non-chaotic life.  As long as that individual is part of your life you are constantly dealing with drama in one form or another.  That being said, I do believe some people are able to deal with the chaos and can have a relationship...but not me.  As long as my mother was in my life, I was sad, angry, confused, and just downright unhappy.  I have no grudge against her and I pray for her daily...but I can't have a relationship with her.  

    Responding to BPD Stories - - Feb 15th 2010

    After just concluding a particularly awful phone call episode with my mother (who I have been trying to reach by phone for 2 months), who I fully suspect to be BPD, I found this article and comments to be very helpful.

    I've known for years that my mothers was BPD, even though there has never been a formal diagnosis.  After years of beating myself up (though also moving more than 1,500 miles away in order to avoid the constant blaming, criticism and extreme verbal abuse), it finally occurred to me that something was wrong with my mother.  So I started to read books and articles, and talk to those who seemed to have knowledge, even personal experience, in this area.

    Reading your stories here, I find them both heartbreaking and reassuring...the personal tragedy of this BPD parent is seemingly irreparable, but the personal recovery of the BPD's adult child does not have to be a dead end.  We can recognize the issue, and learn love ourselves in spite of the BPD parent who is lost to us.

    I'm 43 now and still trying to figure this out.  My mother told me tonight that "I'm done with you," then compared me to someone else's "better" daughter, because I have apparently failed to follow some prescribed expectation of servitude and fealty that I was not informed about. 

    It matters not to her that she has not visited me in 15 years (has never been to my currrent home), nor that I sacrifice my own meager income and work schedule to ensure that my teenage son and I have always visited her at least once per year.  It's never enough for her...

    It's hard to know when to reach out and what to say, knowing that, depending on when I call, I get either Jekyll or Hyde.  So perhaps I'm not as consistent in being as touch as I should be, as I feel devastated every single time there is a rough episode where I find myself and my family being denigrated and cruelly derided by my mother...I just can't ever seem to get over that slicing pain, typically followed by days or weeks of crippling depression and distraught self-questioning.

    In retrospect, I understand much better now why I ran away from home repeatedly from age 14 to 16.  I pursued minor emancipation at 16, but the local sheriff and court would not acknowledge this request unless I could prove constant physical abuse (though this was frequent enough).  So I simply moved in with a friend when I was 17, went to work and didn't speak to my mother for a year.

    There have been many ups and downs in my relationship with her since then, but her self-centeredness, irrationality, narcissim, verbal abuse, unfair judgement, and active distortion campaigns to family friends and relatives (letting them know how useless, fat, uneducated, neglectful, disloyal, stupid and uncaring I am) have been constant, if not reliable.

    And after all that, her opinion of me still matters to me, which is what causes the most unbearable pain.  If I could just get over wishing and hoping that she would act like a normal parent, accept me for who I am, skip the lying, pettiness, drama and abuse, then everything would be OK, right?

    Regrettably, it does not appear to be that simple.  Her mother was clearly BPD, and even worse.  I'm trying to do everything in my power to never behave towards my son the way that my mother has dealt with me.  I'm present in his daily life, involved in his school, highly positive and communicative at all times, and have never raised my voice or hand to him for his entire childhood.  We trust each other deeply, and I respect and support his dreams, goals and wishes, all things my mother could never do, nor recognize as neglect or abuse.

    Any helpful thoughts or suggestions on how to move on?

    Sad in Texas

    6 years - me - Feb 10th 2010

    So i found this lil comment section and would like to share with you all bpd at its finest. im 33 and met my ex  at 26. we had a lil girl which is now 7. we were married for 3 years. i married her to protect my daughter. In the early on in our relationship i started to notice wierd lil things about her. she would fall to the floor and jirate and tick in her speach she would throw temper tantrums and scream out "the all leave me" or rip knives off the table and run and lock herself in the bathroom and try to cut her self. other times things where thrown...plates knives lite candles. the list goes on and on. ive been spit on, socked, had a 2 gallon humidifer tank thrown off my back. ive had a running  hair dryer thrown into a shower with me...thank god the cord was a inch too short. ive been beat over the head with cordless phones while sleepin. my daughter was pulled around by her hair till she had knots...she was kicked she was spit on she was shaken. she was left in a cold bath tube until she had a headache. while her mother fell back asleep. one morning she left my at the time 3 year old daughter wondering the house untill about 2 in the afternoon. when my daughter tried to wake her up she told her to shut up and placed her hand over her face and held it there till she stopped moving....thank god shes ok. dcfs decided nothing could be found and gave her back because she couldnt tell them what happen. I then divorsed her and left with basiclly just my clothes. lawyer told me no chance i was getting my daughter. i since remarried to a very stable and grounded women and had a lil boy which is 1 now. 3 monthes after my son was born and recived my daughter on visit with a black eye covered in makeup by her grandmother, and her mother , and a rearend that was so blaack and blue i cried. i had her arrested and took her in a emergancy temp custody in court. she has told lawyers and everyone that could listen it was me and i am abussive. she faces 6-30 years for beating my daughter with a weapon. and were currently going through a custody change.....living with a bpd is horrible. these people dont know ther sick and refuse the help i have nothing but respect for the people who made it out...protect your children!

    What a wonderful concept - LA - Feb 8th 2010

    I grew up with my BPD mother (my father left when I was young).  When I was a child I thought that my family life was normal.  I didn't realize that parents aren't supposed to say one nice thing to you and then follow it up with two negative things. Nor did I realize that sitting your child in the middle of a kitchen and throwing silverware, glasses and plates while calling you every horrible name you could think of was not what everyone else went through.  I think the hardest thing was never knowing what would set her off.  I was constantly walking on egg shells.  Expecting at every turn a slap, a thrown item, a name calling or just being told that the only reason I was born was to take care of her.  By the age of 6 I was cooking, cleaning and ironing.  By the time I was eight I was grocery shopping and learning to pay bills.  Who in their right mind has an 8 year old paying bills!  I didn't understand why most kids got to play on weekends because I spent my weekends cleaning...and if I didn't clean well my mother would throw everything in the middle of the room and I would start over again. ( I guess that's why I'm a perfectionist).  It wasn't until I was in high school that I realized something was wrong.  She became more hateful and violent with bouts of depression and suicide attempts (of course the suicide attempts always happend when I was on a date or some other high school function).  Soon I used high school as a way to escape my world at home.  No one knew of my life at home because I got good grades, was in Student Senate, pom poms and pep club. Though I didn't tell my mother of my extra curricular activities, in the past she would allow me to try out for different things and then she would force me to quit as soon as I was voted in or accepted into the activity.  The thing is, she had complete control over me and my thoughts.  I lived in constant guilt thinking I was unworthy for anything.  I would even protect her when people would ask questions about my relationship with her.  When I was old enough to move out she constantly called me and guilted me into visiting her.  To be honest, I didn't want to.  I had realized that it was possible to go through a day without someone trying to pick a fight with me or belittle me every five minutes (and I liked it).  Every time the phone would ring or she would show up at my doorstep I would just cringe.  As I became older my mother depended on me more and the more angry I became.  She wouldn't pay her rent or electricity and she would guilt me into paying it, even though I was barely making ends meet I always found a way to come up with the money to help her financially (often doing without myself).  I suppose what I was willing to put up with changed when my husband and I became pregnant with our first child.  The day my mother was told about the child I received a phone call from the ER.  My mother had overdosed.........again.  So there I was 2 months pregnant, nauseous, holding a puke bucket for my mother while the charcoal did it's job.  Every holiday, birthday, pregnancy or any other momentous occassion, was always destroyed by my mother for years to come after that incident.  Then one day my mother decided that she should be able to move in with us (my father-in-law had moved in with us after my mother-in-law passed.  He was in his 80's and needed help).  She felt it was unfair that he was living with us and she wasn't, even though he was 30 years older.  When I refused, she became angry and said some not very nice things.  Three days later the Department of Children Services showed up at my doorstep.  My lovely mother told them that I was abusing my children (I had four).  Needless to say DCFS cleared us of all charges.  It was on that day that I finally walked away from her.  Eight years passed and I felt I should check on her (partial guilt and deep down I had hoped she changed).  I was wrong.  She did not think she did anything wrong eight years prior and she was still manipulative, hateful and quick to belittle me.  I walked away for the last time after five months of trying to reconcile with her (she said that I had messed up my oldest son for life).  It was the best thing I did......I'm happy again and so is my NORMAL family.  I am very conscientious as a parent...always terrified that I'm going to be like my mother.  I suppose that is what will keep me from being like her.  As a parent, I don't understand why she did the things she did.  I encourage my children to accomplish whatever they set their hearts on and I can't imagine hating or wishing ill on any of them.  Though I struggle with trust every day (always thinking that if someone is nice to me they want something from me, or if someone offers me a gift or help I feel guilty until I can repay them somehow) I am lucky enough to have a husband that has encouraged me to accept that sometimes people are nice just to be nice.  What a wonderful concept.

    wow, thank God for sharing.... I am not alone... - Jennifer - Feb 2nd 2010

    This has been such a blessing to me.  I am married with 4 children.  And praying everyday for recovery and healing from the mental/ emotional abuse of a BPD mother, who is so unloving and lost.  It is hard to keep boundaries when they are violated.  So loss of contact was the next step.  We wait in prayer for her to come to an understanding of the reasons as to why we have boundaries.    Still waiting, but whatever the outcome, The Lord is in control.

    Broken Daisy - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Jan 29th 2010

    Hi Daisy,

    Can you ever recover from what happened to you as a child? In my opinion and experience the answer is Yes, you can recover. However, it is important that you stop trying to get confirmation from your mother, brother and anyone else in your family.

    I urge you to enter psychotherapy and to look to people in the world outside of your family, in the form of friends, to find acceptance and love.

    Dr. Schwartz

    Broken Daisy - Daisy - Jan 29th 2010

    I was unprotected from a disabled brother who wreaked terrible psychological torment on me. And occasional physical abuse.

    My mother punished me for complaining and telling the truth of what was going on.

    My father was terribly punishing to me.

    The after effects are almost too much for me to deal with each day.

    I recently told one of my siblings about this and I think that one told my mother. Now she is acting hateful toward me.

    I am in my fifties! I have tried to deal with this all my life. When I have mentioned it, I am treated with distain and cruelty by my mother and rejection from some of my family.

    Can a person like me ever really recover from such a dysfunctional family system?

    Thanks,

    Daisy

    Horrifying, just horrifying - Catherine Todd - Oct 15th 2009

    Reading all these stories at once could be like reading my own, which I have yet to write down in full. My heart bleeds for everyone of us and I wonder what can I do? I recognize the BPD tendency in myself too much of the time, although I rarely (I hope) act on it. My own son is an alcholic and doesn't speak to me, and gives no other reason than "you know what you did and until you admit to it, I have nothing further to say to you." What kind of crazy talk is that?

    I always blamed myself for his angers and rages, as he is so much like my father it is frightening. I blamed myself for his rages, as I had a terrible time with my own temper as well even though I promised, and kept my promise, that I wouldn't "act like him." My father, that is. Later on I found that all of my sisters were afraid of disciplining their children the same way I was, as none of us wanted to beat our children the way we were beaten. Thank God the laws have changed and people like my father would now be in jail!

    BPD apparently "runs in the family" and I have been painted as a "black sheep" continually by my mother and the worst /most of my sisters. I am lost most of the time trying to figure out what to do about these people, my so-called family, of which I have NO interaction except negative ones, which is why I haven't seen any of them in person for over 25 years. My sisters did not want me at my mother's bedside prior to her passing and she agreed apparently to pacify them.

    What mother would agree to something like that? What kind of "sisters" would continue their vindictive hatred over things that never happened or have never been talked about directly to me, but always behind my back for the last 50 or more years? I am almost 60 years old and I left home at age 16 - went to court to get away early as an emancipated minor - and these people still attack me every chance they get. Having no contact with them for almost 20 years I thought that my mother's cancer and subsequent death would surely  be a time of reconciliation for us all. Boy was I wrong! One sister is married to a Methodist pastor and even she and her husband have defamed me all my life. Her husband has only met me twice but says he believes what he hears about me "because the stories have been consistent all these years."

    Stories told by these hateful vindictive individuals are TRUE because the stories never changed? What kind of mentality thinks this way? This is Pastor David Graves and his wife Julia, who teaches Bible Classes at the local Bowie Methodist Church in MD. What kind of people would do and say such things?

    I give up on the BPD Family. In my own unfortunate experience, these people NEVER CHANGE. The best thing is to just stay away, as the bumble bees and wasps of this world never stop stinging. It is their nature and we just have to learn to avoid them. As they will never change.

    It was interesting to read about people having dreams for years of being chased, murdered, tortured and more. That went on in my life for many years until my mid to late thirties, really, when I stopped all contact with my parents when I was 38 years old.

    The vengeance then reigned down upon my head, as I also disclosed the incest and sexual abuse I suffered by my father when I was growing up in that hell-hole we were forced to call "home." The rage of my mother and sisters has never abated, and they have done their best to discredit me with stories of "memory loss due to life-time drug use" which is simply not true at all. It's absolutely ridiculous, but one sister, the pastor's wife Julia Graves said "If I could state that I had never smoked marijuana ONCE then she would believe me!" What kind of statement is that?

    Trying pot once when you are 18 years old doesn't give one "permanent memory loss" and doesn't make you a life-long "drug user" any more than having a glass of wine at dinner makes you a life-long alcoholic. But in my crazy family, any weapon will do.

    Lucky for me, I've seen all the addictions of alcohol and prescription drugs in my family (on both sides) and have been able to make a concious decision to never go down those paths. It doesn't solve anything and it only hurts the person who has already been hurt so much. Now I really try to turn to God to "heal these wounds" that I cannot heal, as I feel there is nothing left. If we were born genetically dysfunctional, then what more can we do? If this is what it takes for me to turn to God and Faith and Prayer, then so be it. It will be worth it in the end. God willing.

    Thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences and pain here on this website. For the first time I can see that I am not crazy, and I am not alone.

    God Bless! Catherine Todd

    still struggling - Bernadette - Aug 16th 2009

    I am now 39 yo and have not overcome the terror of my own childhood.  It haunts me on a daily basis.  I now work with professional people who have confidence and self-worth, who were loved by their parents.  I am baffled by how I have managed to create a life for myself and continue to pray on a daily basis that I am nothing like my own mother who; with my father, raised 3 children, myself, sister and brother.  None of us have any relationship with each other.  I have not seen my brother in close to a decade.  He was the "good son".   He is probably more psychologically and emotionally handicapped than either of my parents as he can not hide behind a mask of normalacy in public, his insanity is clearly evident by his lack of ability to even converse appropriately w/ others. 

    The Bad Child - Linda - Jun 29th 2009

    My husband is the bad child. He has a brother who is the "Golden Boy" as he refers to himself. My husband's brother is 40 and never married. He is very colse to "Mom & Dad" and put his own needs aside to remain loyal to them.

    My husband is still sickly attached to his parents too. We have marital issues as a result. His parents dominate him, threaten him- manipulate him into keeping the grandchildren in their lives. He caves in to get some some sort of approval.

    They fit classicly into the Borderlilne Family. "Mother" is a controlling, dramatic nightmarish woman. So cunning. Her father abandoned her and her sibllings as children and she has alluded to further abuse.

    Thanks for this article.

     

    The long ride - Jordan - Apr 27th 2009

    I was the good child since birth and my older brother was the evil twisted child. She would physicallly abuse him right infront of me and she would laugh @ it sometimes. Then as time of hell passed she finally let him move in with my wonderful christian father. And then that is when it started the once good child became the evil twisted child. And she would beat me down to my last pulp. Then when I qas in the sixth grade she KICKED me out of the house and said go live with your F*CKEN father. And so I did. AND to the current day positon I am still a Tween and it is hard to get out of the after ride that she has created when I moved a way.

    Thank You! - Traumatized - Apr 8th 2009

    Thank you for validating me through this article and the comments. I have often felt so alone and defective. I always wondered how a mother could hate her own child. I now know that she hates herself...it feels like it is coming at me but is her internal state.

    TO: Just Now Brave Enough to Speak - - Jul 8th 2008 - Aurora E. Hunter - Feb 12th 2009
    I hope that you are still in therapy and that you have been convinced that "telling" is a large part of the cure.  If you have not yet shared your experiences but are keeping them to yourself, you are suffering needlessly.  Telling will not make one go crazy; not telling will.

    Helpless in Ontario - Excellent place for support - Nelly - Dec 28th 2008

    Firstly, I am so sorry to hear of your problems and your understandable worries and concerns for your grandsons and your daughter.  I feel a bit guilty to Dr Schwartz and his team for my 'plugging' of another forum on the BPD pages.  Mentalhelp.net is a fantastic forum and offers great support on a variety of mental health issues BPD included.  However, another forum I have found to be of great support is Out of the Fog.  It is a forum specific to supporting those in relationship to someone who has a personality disorder. BPD is the most common disorder discussed on the board, there are some very experienced members administrating & posting on the forum.  The support to new members is excellent.

    I have read posts on there by another lady in your position who has found methods to support her grandchildren, she would be a great person for you to take advice from.  By reading some of the posts in the 'unchosen' and 'parenting' sections you should be able to come across her experiences & be able to contact her also.  I wish you well in finding the right way to 'help' your family. Here is the link  http://board.nook2.com/

    Kindest regards, Nelly.

    borderline daughter How to help her children - - Dec 27th 2008

    Does anyone have any advice for a grandmother of three boys. Their mother, my daughter, is borderline and also has a substance abuse problem. Her husband is a sailor and doesn't seem to understand what is happening to the children as he is not home very much. One thing my daughter does all the time is to complain that we don't spend much time with her children but she sets it up that this can not happen very often. Christmas is a nightmare as she can not focus on the children for very long and is very unhappy. She has a deep hole that nothing can fill.

    I am so worried that something is going to happen to one of her children. She is the queen mother in the home and the children, especially the teenager, is afraid to say anything to her.  She is robbing the children of a childhood and I don't know what to do for them or how to get her help. I am afraid to confront it head on (as is my style) because I am afraid of the fallout. She emotionally blackmails us. Has anyone out there every tried any kind of intervention that worked before too much damage has been done. One person commented that no one helped her even though they knew what was going on. How could someone have intervened. Thanks from helpless in Ontario

    You won't become her! - Nelly - Dec 24th 2008

    Hi Sarah

     Your post moved me to tears - its awful that a mother could make you feel that way when you are such a kind, caring, intelligent and accomplished person.

     Never mind what the neighbours think or what your mother is saying to others, YOU KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT YOURSELF! Thats what counts and the friends and family you do have to support you.

    A great forum for those related to BPD relatives is http://outofthefogsite.com/index.html

    good luck and happiness for 2009, Nelly

    It isn't even funny - sarah - Dec 23rd 2008

    My Mother is so borderline it isn't even funny and she is without diagnosis, which is ironic since she has put alot of effort into persuading everyone that I am crazy over the last 10 years. Mom utilises the temper thing in a strange way, you could be sitting around, just talking and suddenly out of no-where she'll turn on you, it's like her mood just sort-of falls. It's usually an innocent comment you make thats a trigger. I had thought BPD gets better with age but she seems to be getting worse or expressing it more, it's hard to tell.

    It happened earlier, she came home from work, we chatted, everything was cool, we made a list for the last of the christmas shopping and then as we were talking I mentioned something (insignificant) that was a trigger. Her face dropped and she started saying I was nasty, a bully..etc it happens so much these days. I feel no progress in our relationship, it all seems like a bad cycle of us just getting on seemingly fine, then there's a trigger (sometimes not even a trigger, she'll think that I've been talking about her, or that I've robbed her or something totally unprovoked), then we argue, then she storms out or does something that damages my rep like making up some story about me for the neighbours/relatives.

    But this time I challanged her, I kept my cool and we went through the trigger, she had been bullied in the past by my father, I explained that sometimes we re-live situations and get defensive even when its not necessary. She said that she felt that I was evil, I told her she had a right to her openion but that I did not feel I was evil. She said I was "just like him" (my father) he was evil too, I asked her what my drive in "intentionally hurting her" was she said that me and Dad both hated her, there was something about her that we hated and she wouldn't reveal it and I didn't ask her to. I asked her how she would have felt if my brother had said the same statement (trigger). She said fine because he isn't evil, so I asked her and she confirmed that the statement itself wasn't hurtful, more the thinking behind it. I asked her to imagine if hypothetically there was some test that could prove without doubt that my comment didn't come from a bad place and she admitted it would be bliss. (All this by the way was through exorsist-eque screaming from her, unwritable profanities but although the answers didn't come easily just getting her to talk was a major breakthrough).

    The irony of the whole thing was that when I asked about the years of bullying she got from dad, she nonchalantly shugged her shoulders and said: "people get bullied,it happens" apparently talking in the third person is a sign of un-delt-with issues in psychology. I think that that's what borderlines are, projecting something that they've bottled-up onto someone else. Its too traumatic to deal with the actual event or the actual person so this is just an easier way of venting. I don't really get the splitting thing, I know that children have it, maybe they never develope it or revert back to that very basic childhood survival thing after trauma. If you think about it it in a purely animalistic fashion, paranoia is a survival tool, asking people to shut it down is shutting-down their defences, maybe just creating a safe environment whereby they get two options and they get to choose is the best bet. I can see why they are a therapists nightmare, progress is snail-speed.

    I think I became the "bad child" when I started to become bright, my friends were intelligent, and looking back I can see that they would have been a threat, (all doctors and lawyers now)  in mom's eyes they had to go. She has done everything to stop me from getting an education, at secondary level and through college, (hiding books, threatening suicide the week before exams , anything really that would throw my concentration). My exam dates had to be kept private by extended family members. Don't get me wrong, I'm no genious or anything but I have a degree (mom's defined criteria for intelligence) and thats enough of a threat for her. I don't think she hates education per se, rather she is threatened by it, she always calls herself stupid when she does anything wrong and doesn't really feel that she is intelligent enoughto do much really. But she is smart and that adds to the irony.

    I hate BPD in the same way that an alcoholics daughter may hate alcohol, it stunts everything & you feel that you are never getting anywhere with these people who seem to live in a loophole of unaccountability. This lack of accountability means that children of borderline parents never recieve closure, they walk on eggshells and don't really have a right to feel anything unless it's been okayed. For me personally I have developed an obsession with quantifying everything, looking for trends etc. Mom has managed to persuad a large proportion of my family that I am nuts, I have been academically stunted and generally feel worthless. My life is completely void of friends or any form of social stimulation. Sometimes I feel like I'm already dead. I am constantly afraid of what she is saying about me to other people. And to many my character has already suffered defamation. Sometimes I wish she was dead. Other times I wish her bpd was dead. My biggest fear is becoming her!

    Still the Bad Child - Siouxie921 - Dec 17th 2008

    This website certainly resonates with me.  I am still the "bad child" because my mother still treats me like the bad child at the ripe age of 52.  I've tried over the years to get along with her, but it is almost impossible to talk to her over the phone.  How does anyone make amends with someone who has steadfastly refused to acknowledge all the abuse?  In her mind, she's so perfect, so how can her daughter be so dysfunctional?

    A great support forum - Nelly - Dec 6th 2008

    Hi All

    After posting my own comment on this board earlier today, I took the time to read through all the posts.  Each story so painful to read.  My recent ex partner (still very much loved) is the 'bad child' of a borderline mother.

    I enjoy being part of mentalhelp.net and I also take part in other similar forums, all of which have been a great support to me in my own quest to understand why I, as a co-dependent type have been attracted to a variety of partner's over my adult life who have a personality disorder or present strong tendencies towards one.

    Recently I came across another forum The FOG team.  where I found other people who were in or had been in relationship with someone who suffered BPD or other PD's.  People like myself are referred to as 'chosens' because for whatever reason we have made the choice to be in a relationship with someone suffering a PD. 'Unchosens' are those who did not choose this kind of relationship but who are related to someone suffering a PD.

    It is a fascinating forum and run by very wise and experienced administrators.  The active members on the site are also very insightful and share their own experiences very openly.  There is great support shown to new members.  I highly recommend it to anyone who has suffered in a relationship to someone with a PD.  The site is especially geared to those who have suffered through relationship to someone with BPD.

    Good luck to us all in our individual recoveries, Nelly 

    Avoidant adult child of borderline mother - Nelly - Dec 5th 2008

    Hi Dr Schwartz

    We have communicated before on the Shame and Avoidant personality page, from which I learned a great deal.

    I was in a relationship with a very lovely man who sadly presented most of the symptoms of Avpd.  He would be typical of the 'bad child' you describe in the above article.  His mother treated/still treats him terribly and yet his younger brother 'good child' can do no wrong.  My ex partner ended up avoidant and unable to form or hold onto intimate relationships, whereas from what I can gather his brother has grown up with more narcissistic tendencies, and surprise lives just 2 miles from his mother.  While I was with my ex, I felt that these two people, mother and younger brother, even though they were miles away and not in contact often, somehow governed my his life and state of mind.  I used to dread the aftermath from my ex anytime he had a telephone conversation with either of them.  It would send him spiralling into a pit of shame for days.

    The saddest thing is that this man is a truly beautiful person locked behind his walls.  I have had to let him go as my own needs and the needs of my children were not being met by him and he was very anxious and uncomfortable even with the normal reciprocal demands of family life.  We still keep in touch about once a week on the phone and I try not to let my own hurt come through in those conversations, i deal with that in my own time.  I am part of a very good support group now called Out of the Fog which helps support those in or out of relationship or those related to people with personality disorders, mainly borderline.  Through my learning on that site it struck me that my ex's mother fitted the profile of a borderline mother perfectly.

    The hurt and rage my ex carries within himself towards his mother & brother is huge and I wondered if you could recommend a book I could buy for him on this topic.  There is one called 'understanding the borderline mother' which has good reviews but I thought perhaps you may have another suggestion? 

    I appreciate your support again

    Nelly 

    Emotional Scars - Allan N Schwartz - Dec 3rd 2008

    To Salina and everyone who has suffered growing up with a borderline parent,

    It is very important that you stop thinking that your scars are permanent. If you are continuing to have problems healing from the abuses you suffered as children, please get yourselves into psychotherapy with a good clinical psychologist or licensed clinical social worker. In my opinion everyone has the capacity to recover from the worst possible experiences that life throws at us. If we allow the scars to remain permanent then we are continuing to submit to the abuse, even though it happened many years ago. I want to urge all of you to learn more about abuse and living with a borderline parent. In addition, there are many excellent self help books in the market and, even better, you can use the self help section of our website. Finally and to repeat, get yourselves into psychotherapy if you continue to be plagued by bad feelings resulting from childhood.

    Dr. Schwartz

    good and bad - selina - Dec 3rd 2008

    although i had 4 younger siblings, my mother alternated the good child, bad child label between myself and my younger brother. she was extremely emotionally and physically abusive, putting us both in hospital with severe injuries. the stories she told the doctors were so elaborate that they never suspected child abuse. it was hell for 20 years, and although the majority of the physical scars have faded, the emotional ones are raw. my brother has a serious drug problem and is very emotionally defensive. my self esteem is non existent. i cant make friends. i allow everyone to walk all over me, i cant deal with confrontation, and worst of all i dont know who i am! i gave up the chance of self development when i was 7 in order to avoid making her angry. my greatest fear now is turning into her. my boys will never have to go through that. i no longer have anything to do with her. cutting her off is the first step in my healing process

    i'm just figuring this out - eli - Nov 18th 2008
    i was the good child until i was about thirteen and then my mother changed towards me. my brother was the bad child. i am just now learning about all of this and still struggling to unwind myself from the emotional grips of my mother. she always made me feel sorry for her and guilty about her bad marriage to my dad. i was never able to develop normally because every time i did she would use some sort of emotional entanglement to submerge my adult identity. i need to get help for this because i feel like i have lost my life and my mother's waif/queen borderline disorder has seeped into me so deeply i don't know how to start a new life. good luck to all of you!!! thanks for the article.

    I was the good child - - Nov 16th 2008

    I tried to earn my worth from my achievements.  All hell broke loose when Dad died last year.  I turned 40 this year, and after 2 failed marriages (I married my mother twice), 3 masters degrees, and a lifetime of wonderful, supportive friends, I began dating the first healthy person in my life, but horribly sabatoged things without even knowing what I was doing.  Things came to a head when the poor man had finally had enough and ended the relationship.  I attempted suicide (after 20 years of therapy, 10 years as a therapist and a life of seeming stability).  It was a near lethal attempt; had he not gotten me help when he did, I wouldn't be here write this today.   I have some OCD and one of my worst fears has always been that I have BPD.  After 2 weeks of in-patient treatment, I finally got in touch with the 40 years of rage that I've been stuffing and taking out on myself.  I realized that I do not- my mom does.  I am finally attempting to sever all contact with her, despite the extreme guilt this evokes.  I figure this was a huge wake-up call and that it's high time I try to make at least one positive decision for my own benefit.  If the book about how to survive a Borderline Parent had been written sooner, I could have skipped 20 years of therapy and 2 painful marriages.  But, I figure there's always time to break free and become healthy and whole. Here's to new beginnings and compassion for my mom and to all those who suffer and are doing the very best they can despite their horrendous upbringings.

    Bad child, then good adult, now cut ties with mother - Katy - Sep 12th 2008

    I was the bad child for many years.  From birth my BPD mother categorised my younger sister as the good child, as she felt I was my father's favourite and therefore she could have her own favourite in my sister.  When I suffered sexual abuse as a preteen at the hands of my her adored second husband, she refused to believe me, branded me a liar & hated me even more for 'attempting to ruin her happiness'. My teen years were a misery. My sister subsequently suffered the abuse but dared not say anything for fear of losing her status as the good child. 

     I eventually went to live with my wonderful grandparents who gave me a normal life for a few years.  They gave me the self-confidence I have today. 

    After many years in my 20's being told that I was 'too selfish' for daring to study for a degree, 'looked like a whore' if I wore a short skirt, ridiculed for my taste in boyfriends and being told I'd never make a good mother, I escaped and moved overseas. 

    5 years later I returned with my husband and 2 children to find my sister had finally revealed the truth about her abuse.  Suddenly she became the bad child and I the good one.  My mother then smothered me so much with her conditional love that I felt suffocated.  It was only when I released my own children were suffering due to the pressures placed upon me to keep my mother happy and being torn between her and other family members she had blacklisted, that I chose to cut her out of my life.

     I feel relief that at last I can be my own person.  It will take a long time for me to feel comfortable accepting that others might be kind to me just because they want to be and that I am deserving of such kindness, but I hope these wounds will heal.  I know that by making this cut I have stopped it perpetuating to my children and that is enough for me.

     

     

    Borderline Mother who just died... - Ann Junta - Aug 26th 2008

    I am twenty-five years old and mother who has BPD just died two months ago from a very horrible cancer.  I am just now able to come to terms with the severe emotional abuse I suffered from since I was about five.  I have a twin brother and we switched from being the "good" and "evil" children depending on who obeyed her in a particular situation.  Sadly, my brother was more often the "evil" one and I was the "good" one.  My brother and I are just now getting our lives back together--the stunted growth we suffered from at the hands of our mother (our father and oldest sister left us when we were twelve years old and my mom moved us 3200 miles away from home) all those years is just now being reversed.  I turned twenty-five a few days ago and I have realized that I am just beginning to figure out who I am and to feel worthy of good things and success.  

    My mother was sexually abused as a young child and repressed those memories until she was in her mid-forties.  My brother and I were around seven when the BPD was in full-force, no doubt motivated by the memories of the abuse.  My mother began accusing my father of beating her (none of us ever remember anything like that happening) and even had him thrown in jail a few times for domestic abuse.  My mom would slap me at moments that were totally inappropriate and have these insane rage outbursts and then break down and cry and beg us to come back.  Five minutes later, if we didn't do what she wanted exactly, then it was back to the insanity.

    I became my mother's caretaker--her threats of suicide and child-like behavior robbed me of my childhood.  She would mock me by asking me all the time why I wasn't happy anymore--I had been such a happy, wonderful child...where did that go?  My mother stole it from me, that is where it went.  I wasn't allowed to have any friends (the passive aggressive manipulation was legendary) over to the house because it was always filthy (my mother also horded objects and never threw anything out, was a compulsive shopper, couldn't hold a job--they were never good enough for her or there was always some little thing wrong with it that she just couldn't handle) and dark (we always had the shades drawn) and she chain smoked.

    If I ever asked for anything she would start screaming at me what a self-centered spoiled rotten brat I was and make me feel so ashamed of wanting anything.  I trained myself not to desire anything after so many years of being guilt-ridden and scared.  This was one of the worst things that happened to me because I never felt like I deserved anything from anyone.  I still get anxiety to this day when I have to even ask a server at a restaurant for another napkin or anything that might inconvenience  anyone.  I suppose I am still waiting for my wrathful mother to come out of nowhere and start screaming at me.

    My mother was, at times, the most loving and sweet person there was.  She was very, very intelligent--her IQ was off the charts and she graduated from a very prestigious private east coast university.  There was so much potential that she threw away.  She died at the age of sixty-three from lung cancer from smoking cigarettes.  I hated her for that because it almost (call me crazy) felt like an extension of her BPD.  There was no reason for her to die that early, but even her treatment and desire to live was tainted by her BPD.  She used her illness as the final way to control her children and to abuse them.  When I would suggest that she not smoke anymore she would accuse me of hating her and what I horrible person I was.  I took the best care of her in the world, more than she deserved from me, as my last gift and capitulation to her. The amount of guilt I accumulated in the past two years of her illness would be enough to kill someone.  Her illness also caused her an immense amount of suffering and sparked that early desire of mine to protect and shelter her.  I tried to have her become the adult I so dearly desired at the end of her life--I refused to take the parent role and that made her hate me and put me down.  Of course, nothing with a mother with BPD is that simple.  There were interruptions of the sweet, caring mother that I always wanted and this ripped my heart out when I saw her dying of that horrible disease.  So I'm conflicted.

    I feel free in a sense, but also incredibly angry because after her death there was sudden clarity.  I am filled my anger and unresolved issues with her that I want to talk to her about and I can't.  I want to tell her about my eating disorder when I was sixteen years old and how I thought that if I looked like a child and stayed a child that it would make her happy.  I want to tell her that I tried so hard to save her from herself my entire life and I felt like such a failure because she was always so sad.  When I was in high school, my mother sent me to live with my father when my anorexia became life-threatening.  I slowly got better living away from her, 3200 miles away, but the guilt was still tied very tight to me.  I went away to school at eighteen and made the mistake of not calling my mom frequently.  9/11 hit and she used that as a weapon against me.  In an email she sent she said, "I know, I just know that if I was in one of those towers, you wouldn't be holding a picture of me and looking for my body. I just know you wouldn't".  That put me over the edge so much that I attempted suicide (46 sleeping pills) but ended up in psych ward for a week.  

    A few weeks later, my father kicked me out of the house for the suicide attempt and I was back with my mother.

    Fast forward a few years later and I am proudly at a very well-renowned  university and almost finished with my degree.  I have some survivor guilt but I know that i am on the right path to being healed.  Thank you for providing me a space to share my story.

    Good and Bad - dan - Aug 23rd 2008

    Thank you all so much for sharing your stories. I suddenly feel less 'different'.

    I, and my two sisters, were all alternatively good or bad depending on on the whims of our BPD mother. She physically abused us several times, broke my sisters leg,  constantly verbally abused, would systematically threaten to kill her self, and did everything in her power (which was great) to make sure we never developed a sense of self- esteem.  Of course, then she would be really nice and loving if we met her whimsical and outrageous demands. It was pure evil some-times. 

    My father, like a coward, pretended like it never happend. He worked 80 hours a week to be away from her and he used us as emotional sheilds. If he did witness her abusing us, he'd asked us to the be grown ups. he would say things like "you know what she's like. just apoligise for me. dod it for your dad".

    it such a shame, the man has some good qualities, but he is a coward. That's been a really hard thing for me, to look at my father and know that he's a coward - that i was fathered by a coward. 

    I'm 32 now. Through therapy, reading a shit load of books, playing music, and living over the other side of the world for 6 years I feel like i've stepped out of that life. I can see it from the outside. I did not deserve any of the abuse, i am guilty of nothing and am slowly washing away all that false shame. I didn't make my mother sick, and i didn't make my father a coward. And kids are never, ever responsible for there parents. 

    Now, i'm on to the next step. creating my own life on my own terms. And buidling my self esteem. I'm terrified and exhilarated all at the same time. I'm  also exhausted. So i'm resting up. Parents like that will suck the life out of you. I've got years of sleep to catch up on.

    Thinking about developing my self  seems so weird that it's almost funny. I'm going through stages of development that i was supposed to go through 16 years earlier. A late developer. At least i'll never lose touch with my inner child! 

    So, I only have one person to care for, and that's me (at least for now).  Wish me luck on my journey as i wish you luck with yours.

    Lastly, i got just one tip. I stopped referring to my parents as 'MUM' and 'DAD'. I çall them by the first names or refer to them as my genetic predecessors. And when i think of them, i picture them as being tiny. Like two little ants calling up from the ground with squeaky voices speaking shit that i can't understand. It's a good practise and has served me well. I hope it helps you too.  Good Luck,

    Dan 

     

    I was the bad child - - Aug 14th 2008

    My mother targeted me so frequently and consistently, I remember several occasions my siblings (older and younger) would actually point this out to her (from age 7 or 8 on).  This didn't happen often, as it precipitated even worse outcomes.   As the stereotypical bad child, I worked very hard to be 'better'.  I felt if i worked a little harder, she would love me.  But it was never enough.  I left home and rented a room while in high school.  Put myself through college, and nowhave a higher degree.  Throughout undergrad years, still looked for acceptance and approval, but the more I achieved, the more she disapproved.  After I married and became pregnant, I was able to really relate to the concept of 'mother'.  I fell in love with my baby during pregnancy, and during those months became increasingly angry as I learned to see myself as an innocent victim (because until pregnancy, for some reason I could not relate to myself as an innocent victim.  I always 'knew' there must be something wrong with me, because she was nicer to my siblings, no matter how hard I worked.  I didn't know the reason, but I felt logically there must be something wrong or she would like me).

    Eventually got therapy, and now have a real sense of self, but cut off ties to mother, to protect children and myself.  Sometimes I still grieve for my lack of parents, and part of raising my children is going through the grief process.  Each time they reach a milestone and I feel so much joy (which is easy to feel, although when i was younger I feared I would be a bad mother), and I would also feel a little sadness, remembering that no one celebrated this milestone for me.

    These feelings are normal, and have mitigated over time, with the self-awareness gained from therapy.  

    My interpersonal relationships are nearly normal, however I still find myself sometimes engaging in behaviors that reflect my early feelings that I need to 'work a little harder' and at times, even with completely normal friends, I find myself being unable to accept help/support/gifts, anything, while I still feel the need to give/be supportive.  These are not abusive relationships (although I had more of those when younger,, prior to therapy), I just find it difficult sometimes to have appropriate boundaries surrounding my ability to say 'no' to others, or else I will volunteer help where none is needed.  Yet I still feel a little twinge of guilt, if someone so much as buys me a cup of coffee!  And I can have trouble in asking for what I need, emotionally or otherwise.  Even given that the friend in question would probably be more than happy to comply.  I believe it's a fear of rocking the boat.

    An area I am aware of, but still working on, at age 37.   Happily, my children will not be products of a dysfunctional home, and in our family at least, the cycle will not continue.

    My step mother is a Borderline - Jerry - Jul 31st 2008

      When I was in my late 30's my father married a Borderline woman. None of us knew it at the time but not long afterward my father had a stroke. While visiting I became aware that my step mother (I call her the ESM, Evil Step Mother) was giving him  his medications much more frequently than he was supposed to be getting them.  In my father's post-stroke mental state, he was confused about all the time. She would convince him that he hadn't taken his medicines and get him to take them again.  I witnessed this happening on several occasions and I called her on it.  That made the switch.

    My ESM has forced him to change his will (he bawled like a baby because he didn't want to do it). She told him if he didn't that he had to be out of their house within an hour.  He's not well mentally after the stroke so he does anything she tells him to do now.

     I am not allowed to see my dad any more.  She won't allow it. No phone calls. No visits. Nothing.  She has told him false stories about my family and totally re-written the past 40 years of history in his mind.  She's destroyed our family.

     She does allow my brothers to talk to him, but only if she's there with him, and she controls what is talked about and what is not.

    Unfortunatly there's no way for me to help him.   The state will not step in to help unless my dad is willing to speak up against her. He is not because he believes that she will hurt him and throw him out of the house.  The stroke has left long-term damage to his ability to reason and think.  Without his testimony, no one can help him in spite of the abuse she does to him.

    He was recently admitted to the hospital after a regular doctor's checkup. Seems his medication levels were so high he was bleeding through his skin.  I know it's just a matter of time before she kills him yet I'm helpless to do anything about it.

    Used to be the Good Child - Pam - Jul 20th 2008

    As an only child whose father died when he was 14, and whose mother had an emotional deathgrip on him, it's hard to blame my dad for gradually increasing symptoms of BPD. I don't remember abuse as a young person, just the pervasive feeling that I should fit into a mold of the perfect family [that he never experienced] with my creative, smart older brother who ended up cutting us all off 15 years ago.

    There was a time when I felt exactly as Dr. Schwartz describes, learning to surrrender all sense of self (as a post-military service returnee to the family) became depressed, hopeless and resentful as long as I was in my father's sphere of influence. It never did occur to him that I was a fully functioning adult with a valid sense of values. Independent children he actually had to be around (trouble always started when the kids who moved across country had to co-exist as adults with Good Old Dad) became a threat if we didn't behave as clones. Fortunately, a type B mother was able to buffer this attitude until she had a stroke and the dysfunctional group was forced back together without her sensible advice.

    Now, at 52, I'm the Bad child understudy pressed into service because Dad's attempt to "own" my older brother by debt turned into a search by private investigator to find out where Brother went. Still not certain why I was cut off, too, I remember brother saying, he decided to change the terms of the loan. Typical BP behavior, "What promise?" It's cut me off from my brother for no good reason except that somehow I'm perceived as part of the problem.

    Leading to the usual child of BP (or a person with many of those characteristics), automatic assumption of guilt for sins approved by others. Ever since this rift occurred, Guess Who has tried to mediate/ placate, the usual stuff for a person accustomed to power struggles while growing up. Many of my dad's friends, fortunately, have been supportive of me in this silly debate about "You knew what I wanted" when there was a letter saying, "use the money as you wish, no conditions". They recognize some deficit...but it doesn't raise my sense of self worth enough to make life feel real, that I have an existence and a place and am worthy of functioning as a full member of society. I keep thinking that having this long to bumble about is a good run for such a loser (although the feedback is not so negative), a terminal cancer diagnosis would be kind of a blessing. To leave this earth before the wacko dad and his Money Trove would relieve me of dealing with the "not till you're 70" or total dissolution of his estate and "gotcha" payback if he gives what's left to charity as a final punishment for...offering to take care of him if he will just move out in my part of the country (pacific northwest, not the worst fate in the world).

    It's become a pattern of sorts: the BP "forgets" a lot of details, although he's vigilant about details of his money and has every penny and artifact accounted for after his death (the ultimate control...beyond the grave) and decides the "dependable" kid needs some money. First it was a loan to brother, now a "gift" to the only remaining caregiver, daughter and son-in-law. Stupidly, I, the daughter, decided, how can a gift go bad as the loan did with my sibling? After all, I'm the GOOD child, and it's a gift, right? No, 4 years later my dad is finally admitting to my direct question, "Was it a gift?" that "it was a gift...with conditions."

    Blind for so long... - Now Evil Daughter - Jul 11th 2008
    I never knew my Mother was a borderline until she suddenly saw me as an evil daughter when I was 40.   Before that, I just doubted myself constantly and saw myself as a failure.  I still strongly feel that I am a complete failure.  (Even though I have amazing children, a successful career and the sweetest husband ...)  


    My crime that caused the switch -- I had the nerve to do what my parents told me not to do but I thought was right and felt I had no choice about -- talking to a family member about something... 

    ... Now I am largely cast aside and reviewing my life in a different light... I don't think I was ever loved in the way that I love my children...  I was reading the Grapes of Wrath and was so incredibly jealous of the family starving to death as I envied the Mother's love -- she welcomed back her son who had committed murder, for goodness sakes.  

    My sympathy to all others speaking here...  My experience was so much less severe and yet so painful ...  God bless you all. 

    Just Now Brave Enough to Speak - - Jul 8th 2008
    I went to my first therapy session today and it was the first time I ever spoke about my childhood abuse. I am 37 years old. I never wanted to even think about the abuse because I was so scared that my BPD mother would find out somehow that I was not keeping her secret. I have been able to shove my memories and feelings down enough to be a kind, educated, productive person and good mother, seemingly unaffected by my upbringing. It is not until recently that I have been feeling such sadness and am beginning to remember specifics that before I thought were hazy dreams or some horrible craziness inside my head for fleeting moments. I am reasonable enough and mature enough to accept that these things happened TO me not BECAUSE of me (as she made me believe). I am scared though that these memories are making themselves known...scared to feel....terrified that I might remember...scared that I might go crazy if I have to remember the craziness as it happened to me as an abused and coping child who didnt know anything else but the craziness. I hope that I can look back and view them as an adult and feel closure and move along maintaining my compusure as I have for so long. I really dont want to do this. But it appearently time.....I am glad to have found this website. I hope that I can find resources for coping. Good luck to all of us taking steps toward positive change!

    please help - George B - Jul 3rd 2008

    Hi my parents were like this. I struggled  to get away. I would run away as a teen and the police would return me. I was considered by my father allways the a bad one and my brother. I think thats mostly because my mother would set us up me and my brother and say to my dad we did disobediennt things or things we didnt even do. I think she did it to keep us closer to her because they fought alot and all ways threatened to leaves each other and stayed seperated weeks at a time on and off. To my mother i was a good one till I was 15 teen. All the niebor hood girls thought i was cute my mom would tell me there all bad and i believed her. But then one or 2 start it going so far out of there way to talk to me. And i was so super isolated hurting and miserable and lonly I some how opened up i was scared but i figured my dads allready beatin the crap out of me and my mom will love me as long as i do and think as she wants and have no friends or life. But then i thought how can she love me if she sets my dad up to kick my ass. So i prayed and hoped maybe this young girl could give me love so i wont be alone like on the movies(I was stil a teenager). I am 26 now. Every girl that i tryed to start a relationship with has been similar to my mom. The only relationship i had that lasted more then 2 months was my last. My x threw things across the room when she was mad broke things of mine i use for work. Threaten to erase all my short storys I wrote off my computer basically my lifes work. She would kick me and say i was herting her im abusive for holding her back orr if i tryed to take something from her she was goig to break. And all these things happend when it innvolved my old friend she said i would leave her for her. Or if i got a big audition for a role that involved kissing scenes. Now heres where i need help. We all ways fought still the same reason. I said I was going to leave i cant take this all ways. But one day she said you all ways say that. And i said i do but i love you i dont ever really want to leave and could never be with some one other then her. As soon as i said that she says she does not know what she wants and we should seperate. It hert so bad i cried like a baby i couldnt under stand why some one i took so much from and still sacrificed my trust by telling her i only want to be with her would do that. I all so suspected that she did it to hurt me or teach me a lesson for saying i might leave if she keeps treating me like this. I packed my stuff to leave and she begged me please dont leave after i told her i dont want to be friends and she will never see me again. Then she said ok we can be together but claimed with a fierce passion i just need time to myself whats wrong with that. Before i was leaving she even said she just thinks she can find soebodys whos a better match for her. Unfortunatly the place i was going to stay in gets took by some one. So i stay cuz i have no where  to go(i had no friends to stay with ok fine no friends at all) She then goes back to sorry i dont want to be in this relationship after i tried to fix it again. I then just exsploaded I said to her ill destroy you. you think you can just munipulate and hert me like this. So i left to the street but first broke a $2600 item that i paid half for but she thinks she paid for alone. She then called me demanding i compensate her or the police will get me. I still tryed to resolve things between us and get back the relationship but she said i did to much and her parents hate me its over and give me my monney for the broken item. I said no. And that was that she never talked to me again just once by myspace the day before valentines day. She said congratulations on getting into the college i wanted to go to I havent gotin that monney from you when am i getting it let me know take care. Yeah it seemed mad fake she doesnt talk like that and I said never allready.I think she did that to make me feel bad cuz its valentines and she so dosent care about me or is so over me. But this hert so bad i wanted to kill myself and it still herts why? whats wrong with me I don't really date anymore im afraid to get hert so bad I have been through enough in my life. I felt like killing her at first in my mind i thought she did so much to isolate and keep me then leave me alone so no way she can ever or should ever get to be with any one  whos not me. Now I just feel pain of being alone and wonder if love of a woman is worth it. Maybe my x was normal in the end im messed up. I think maybe no girl will ever really love me and definitly wont stay with me forever. whats wrong with me?

    wow lol i just read this back to myself and i think i get it i feel hert from the abuse like when i got out my parets house i wanted to kill them to for the way they torchered me(who wouldnt). Im pissed at this reched person for what they were doing the good bad thing to me too. and i was following along wow. I was even going to not post this after reading it cuz i dont want that cruel person knowing they hert me even after but screw them they can cuz i feel better and i know this might help some one in a similar situation. I will get through it and become stronger and they will just stay miserble and twisted id rather be thisthen that any day. But if you can answer me this how do i avoid getting into a relatioship with a psyco. I know or think i did it because ifelt safe in the fact that i didt want to ever be alone again and i thought this was a second chance to be a good (souless) slave. So ithink i have to avoid ever being some ones slave (giving uo myself and rights or dignity) for some ones love.

    please add more info help me understand email me actors1stsafe@aol.com

     

    For the longest time - JCM - May 28th 2008

    For the longest time, I never figured my mom was the problem. I feel so stupid that I did not realize until I was twenty-one years old that my mother was mentally ill. Though she has never been formally diagnosed with BPD, I honestly believe that she displays all the characteristics of it.

    My mother has never been a happy woman. Everything in her eyes is seen negatively. Even when good things happen, she finds some sort of way to make it look as terrible to others as it does to her. Gladly, my other family members recognize that something is wrong with her but I never figured why no one, inlcuding them, helped me to escape her abuse. everyone knew but no one did a thing.

    For the first ten years of my life, my mother had various "relationships" with sordid, unsavory men. As soon as she met them, they were practically living in our house. Her relationships never lasted. When I wasn't staying at other people's homes, she would verbally and physically abuse me at home. She would call me every curse word she could think of. Plus, she made a constant habit of calling me "stupid" or "dumb". She would take extreme gratification in publicly abusing me, almost as if she had an audience (ex: she would slap, yell and hit me in the fame in public). The more people were present, the worst I was treated. She did anything to get attention - even if it was the "wrong" kind of attention.

    She has punched, kicked, slapped and committed other horrible acts against me that no mother should commit against their child. One of my earliest memories is when I was 3 or 4. My mom used to wash my hair in the kitchen sink and since she claimed that I wouldn't be still (what 3 or 4 year old would?), she balled my hair in her fist and slammed the back of my head against the inside of the sink walls.

    Her mood was so unpredictable that I had to watch everything that I said so that it would not send her into an angry, violent mode. She is the type that would go from 0-30 seconds to get aggressive (banging walls or tables, shouting in people's faces with spit flying out). I could tell almost immediately when she was in a bad mood - and it was always each day. She has severe esteem issues..almost as if she she feels like people need to constantly adulate and worship her. She complains that she has never gotten a reawrd or recognition for the work she had done...hmm...maybe if she wasn't a bitch all the time, she would recieve those things. She also is the type to fish for compliments. Everyhting is a competetion to her, like she has to one-up everyone. For example, people in my family who have or are going to travel to a different country will get yet another chance to hear my mother talk about her trips overseas that everyone has heard a million times and could probably repeat verbatim. No one in my family likes her and hates to see her come around...she intentionally initiates agruments with others. I guess misery does love company.

    Everyday she comes from work angry, irritable and complaining. She got offended that I didn't want to listen to that which I have been listening to since I was born. She has almost been fired from her job for behaviors related to her mood (particularly she talked to a client as if she was talking to me, got reported, and almost fired). However, she made it seem as if it was everyone else fault, no hers. A big, glaring sign of someone with BPD is no accountability or responsibility of their actions - everyone else is to blame in their eyes. In her mind, she is an eternal victim yet its

    There was one thing I could never get. My mother is a smart woman. In fact, she was/is a social worker, so she knows what abuse consists of and that it is punishable by law. Why did she continue to do it? She could be narcissistic, too, because she also abuses by making others look weak in comparison to herself. She did this to me all the time and admitted that she knew it was" a self-esteem destroyer". You see, she puts up this tough front like she is so powerful, like bragging about how anything bad that a person endures is their own fault because they were not "strong enough" or they "let it happen". That was her life motto: "you let him/her/them/ it/ do that you..so you deserve it" .

    Another thing I never understood was the splitting thing...now it has become clearer. As a young child, my mother would confide in me as if I was her best friend. Her mood would be"okay" if I was doing things that she wanted me to do (which changed constantly - she could never be pleased because she is eternally unhappy) yet whenever we were in public together, she would specifically take malicious swipes at me to humiliate me and to show how much power she had over me. It would start with derisive staements or insults to get me to argue with her. When I would she would threaten/challenge me in front of others, as if to show how much dominance she had over me.

    In all honesty, my mother's self-esteem is limited, if not nonexistent, and whatever darkness she has lived with and bottled inside of her is hers to deal with. Not mine. It took me so long to understand that. I was so intimidated and messed up (still am a bit) because of her problem. My mother resents me, if not fully hates me. As an only child, I felt so alone. I dealt with it but I never had a chance to have a loving mother.All I had was a provider and her provisions came at a cost: she was determined to own and ultimately destroy me. Though I am shamed to admit it, I actually envy the little kids I see whose mother hugs them and showers them with love. I have never had or expereinced that.

    One last thing to get off of my chest...my mother was also a huge liar. She is so manipulative that she made it seem as if the world caused all of her problems. She never has had good relationships with men, her own relatives and now me. I cannot say in all honesty that I love my mother. I definitely do not trust her or feel close to her. I understand now that my childhood was not like many others and though I survived, I still have to deal with the reality of my past. For anyone else expereincing this terrible situation, know that it is not you. You are not crazy. You will probably go from questioning youself constantly and know that you will never find the tru answer for why your parent is the way that they are. Just protect yourself and know that none of what you expereinced is your fault.

    Borderline Mom - Melissa - May 24th 2008

    Some of my earliest memories of my mom are of her instability.  She was married 5 times, but I never knew my dad, who was her first husband.  She left him when I was born and married her high school sweetheart a few months later.  She divorced him when I was 6.  Her parents, especially my grandmother, were overly-involved in her life.  She was very dependent on them, emotionally and financially. 

    I suspect that my grandmother emotionally abused her, although no one would have ever guessed that.  My grandmother held herself up as the "savior" of my siblings and me, and that's how she was viewed by everyone. 

    Only in adulthood have I realized that my mother's BPD did not develop in a vacuum; something traumatic had to have happened in her childhood to damage her to the extent to which she was damaged.  As a result of living with her, my sister is anxious and perfectionistic, my brother has issues with anger and a history of alcohol/drug abuse, and I have been treated for anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia.  I have been through counseling intermittently over the past 20 years and am now a counselor myself. The good news is that my only issue now is with the fibromyalgia, although I do get stressed sometimes. 

    My mother died of colon cancer 8 years ago; her parents survived her for a few more years.  While she was ill, she asked for my forgiveness, which I readily gave.  My message to those who are currently in any kind of relationship with a person with BPD is to, first, take care of yourself; second, get counseling; third, set boundaries; and fourth, try to understand that the BPD person may be the way she is because she, too, suffered at the hands of others.

    Child of Borderline Witch mother - Laura - May 14th 2008

    Your essay hit directly home.  I was the second daughter of a borderline mother (and narcissist dad) and have struggled my whole life.  My mother was high-functioning in that no one outside could see the extent of the "dysfunction" (talk about understatement!).  I am doing therapy around identity issues now and woke up just this morning to internal screaming and wailing from my probably 8 year old self/dissociated ego state. My mother's borderline pathology was "aided and abetted" by her membership in a mind-control cult which is so externally respectable that most cities have tasteful edifices where well-heeled congregants gather on Sundays. Medicare subsidizes their faith healing nursing homes. They believe all is spirit, do not acknowledge the body, or matter at all. (By the way, when I had a neuropsych exam recently, the examiner took my words, which were "My mother did not believe in matter" and twisted them into "subject reports mother believed nothing mattered." She went on to question my sanity because I reported that mother told me my brother was still alive. They don't believe in death, either.) God is good and all is good.  Denial is thus elevated to a point of theology.  When my brother developed pneumonia at age 7, the parents just let him die.  The state did nothing because of the rights of the parents to practice their religion. When I tried to run away or call the cops as a teen, mother just laughed and said "No one will believe you or take your part." If I tell them to lock you up, they will." 

    Many more commonalities, but no time to write more.  Suffice it to say, my sister was the split white hero child, and I am the no-good, split black one.  I still dream of a post-apocalyptic world, being murdered or torn apart by wild animals, etc. Sister belongs to another black/white evangelical cult which believes they are "perfected" and everyone else in the world is going to hell. She occasionally still chews the flesh off her hands though.  

    Caring for the child of a BPDmother - anonymous - May 14th 2008
    You mention children of BPD parents sometimes running away to another home. I have one of those kids. The courts are in the process of deciding whether or not the child (a teenager) must return to the mother. It's a scary process. Many people love this kid, an honors student with plans for college. But no one else was willing/able to take him on because of his mother. He could have gone to a relative far away, but the courts stopped that saying he had to be available for family counseling with his mother. I pray that the family therapist will recognize the toxic dynamic and the severity of the issue. If he does have to go back to his mother, I pray that these few months out of her care will be of some benefit to him. It is difficult to take on these kids due to the BPD parent. The parent so often has no recognition of their issues or is perhaps so overwhelmed by them that they don't recognize the issues as their problem. The teen with me, his mother continually tells people, the court, and the therapist that he is the problem. Sometimes it changes and those of us helping the teen are the problem. In her mind there is one constant: nothing is her fault. It is an absolutely tragic situation.

    A breakthrough for me - Judy - May 13th 2008

    I'm not sure how I found this, but, having spent another day in tears and trying to understand all the mental abuse I've endured over the past 57 years, I found this website to be the first breakthrough for me in understanding why I feel so worthless.  My mother and brothers continue to make me feel that I am always the problem. I was beginning to think they must be right, even though I have always been the "fixer" in the family and the one everyone relied on for help.

    I have suffered with what I call "terror dreams" most of my adult life. Someone is always trying to kill me and I can't seem to find a place to hide. I wake up screaming and in a cold sweat.  I never understood why I kept having them.

    The hardest thing for me is not having anyone to listen or understand what I have been, and continue to be going through. The constant flashbacks of the violence and mental abuse are horrible.  Everyone says to "just forget about them", "don't dwell on them". They have even suggested I enjoy them!!!!  I just kept hoping someone would help shed some understanding about them for me.  This website has finally done that!

     

     

    Borderline - JENAFOR - May 7th 2008

    Where can I find a support group for BPD?

    why should I be ashamed? - - Apr 24th 2008

    Don't tell me to "just get over it".  Day after month after year of screaming, middle of the night harangues about imagined transgressions, being called by her hated sister's name (or my dad's), pets killed, hide cans and openers in my matress for days that I wasn't allowed to eat, kept away from my grandparents, trotted out like a show dog for recitals and public appearences, hide the tears/broken glasses/bruises etc, etc...... It was part of my past and who I am.  Why I am - stronger, kinder, more understanding - me.  Asperger's, fibro, nice old loonie.  Like a cancer you can have it cut out, but you can't say it never happened.

    I went to teachers, ministers, neighbors and the police to seek help.  I was told that if there was REALLY anything wrong, I wouldn't be so calm.  This was the life I had lived every day.  Showing emotion was NOT a good idea.  When anyone investigated, my parents were calm, polite, clearly well educated and spoke of me with a mixture of fond detachment and dismissive indulgence.  "That age", "very sensitive", "we've seen professionals", "best if we just ignore these outbursts".  The nice part was being ignored with overtones of embarassment for a week or two. 

    As an adult I was told that everyone had problems with mom relationships.  "You exaggerate"  My fiance's family thought I was mean to her, so I invited her to family get-to-gathers.  At least three relationships were ended because "You're a nice girl, but your mom.... well, we don't think it would work out." 

    Now I'm 50.  People tell me "well, she's getting old", "you should be more patient", "she raised/loved you, you owe her", ''You're being selfish".  I am told to accept her behaviour.  To forgive the past.  To keep going back time after time even though she calls me names, insults my wonderful husband, and has nothing kind to say about anyone but a younger, male friend (who raped me when I was 15).   

    I am a good person.  I was always a good daughter. I am trying to learn how a good friend/wife/sister in law acts.  I hope to learn how to have hope every day... not just on the outside where everyone thinks I'm happy and strong, but on the inside where I am often lonely, tired and sad.  Thank you all for being there to witness, each the others story.

    BPD mom - Maria - Apr 15th 2008

    The thing I felt most strongly growing up was reprimanding myself for being so negative. How could I think of abuse, when noone was sexually assualting me in the home, or attacking me physically? My home was nothing like the drama-movies on tv. More like the Cosby-show, just different. I had food and birthday gifts and clothes... what was I so ungrateful for? There were no scars I could show myself or others.

    It still costs me alot of guilt to think of it in a way that says "yes, it was wrong, really wrong, and it did hurt you." It's a constant balance between seperation and self-development and feeling guilty and wanting to make up. She almost never hit me (although she has), but I remember being afraid all the time. Afraid of her temper tantrums, her bullying, her laughing at me, her claiming. She would tell me I was smart but ugly, my sister was pretty but stupid. I was short, stout with long arms and short legs and would never make it as a model (I was so embarressed, I was 10 years old and like every young girl wished I could be model.) She tells me I should be happy with my fiance, I am very lucky that he likes me. I've had several bouts of anorexia and still can't accept compliments for my looks. My sister believes she can't do anything, hold a job or be self-reliant and thinks everything can be solved by batting her eyes.

    I remember her crying and screaming at the top of the stairs, with mascara on her face in a bathrobe with wierd hair, telling us what a f_ck-family we were, while we were trying to eat Christmas dinner. I remember her faking a heart attack in a store, I remember her always yelling at people and demanding to speak to the manager. I remember trying to run away with my little sister, I remember her telling me she deserved my dad's attention more than me. She came to room almost every night ever since I can remember to tell me all her problems, for hours even on school nights. She has left us in hotels telling us she wouldn't be back. She has accused my dad of sexually assualting me when we were play-fighting. She has yelled at my friends for nothing, she has banned people from the house. She would refuse to cook, or clean or wash clothes and then get mad when we secretely tried to wash our own underwear. She took us out in the only hurricane I've ever experienced to get taco's. I remember checking on her to make sure she didn't kill herself. I remember my dad being zombie in front the tv.

    I also remember the good times. Just a few moments that me doubt my own sanity, and made me never, ever tell anyone. I didn't even tell the therapist who was treating me for depression... at 13. Even now, I still wonder if I'm right. I have had anorexia and I was sexually assualted (raped?) by a boy in college... she doesn't care or even remember. I remember so many things, but none left a visible scar.

    The funny thing is, she doesn't know what I'm talking about.

    - - Apr 1st 2008

    Something keeps running through my mind, from Gabor Mate, (put an accent on that final 'e')  about ADD people feeling the need to justify their existence.  I've always felt that.  I'm pretty sure both parents felt that too--that it is not enough to simply live in the world and be, but that we must be here for something, doing something to pay for the air we breathe and the water we drink, as if producing carbon dioxide for the trees is not enough.  For others, perhaps, almost certainly, but not for us.  We have to do something more. 

    I can only wonder what life would have been had I believed those people who seemed to think it was OK for me just to be, that I was welcome and wanted and acceptable.  What would life have been had I been able to trust, at least a little? 

    It might get better.  I raised a child, and he seems to be having a great life.  I'm always afraid of the day he breaks down as I did, but somehow,  he's got some good genes from his dad,  or I did something right, and he hasn't broken down like I have...yet.  I'm always afraid though, that he's as damaged as I am, and it's just a matter of time or the right crisis before he wipes out like his mom. 

     So much suffering, and so much of it unnecessary.  I think I do have some quirky genes, and some of the issues related to being "gifted", or highly intelligent and neglected educationally, and some brain glitches from early childhood development gone awry.  But...lately I'm hallucinating what life was like with mom, as I experienced it, or as I now experience the memory of it, and mostly what I get is I was bamboozled into adopting a worldview that was and in insane. 

     I regret it took so long to begin to learn that, to really learn that, not just being told it, but really getting that life is not as fearful, terrible, anxiety provoking, dangerous, hostile, horrible and DIFFICULT as a BPD mom can make you think it is. 

    Again and again, it seems I've looked at my child, wondering at how easily he can do things, at how simple life is for him, how capable he is.  And I seem him looking back at me with compassion because  I'm so...needlessly flustered and anxious and ...inoperant. 

    - - Mar 31st 2008

    I was the good child, but God help me when mom changed her mind about that.  What I recall was that I had everything a child could ever want, but if I did anything to incur her envy, or to indicate that my talents were my own, and not all about her, the rug could be flung out from under me so fast, and I'd be fallen on my butt, suddenly with nothing, no help, no assistance, sometimes not even dinner...it could not have been more dramatic had she turned off the electricity and checked into a hotel for two weeks.  There was simply no mothering, no mom in mom role in the house, just this angry, bigger person in a sulk. 

    No independence was allowed.  No privacy.  And I was blatantly told I had not written what I had written, composed what I had composed...while we had money enough for all kinds of lessons, nothing ever lasted even to dilitante level. 

    I dreamed as a child, regularly, that I had escaped the house when my parents were gone, ran across the wide lawns, managaed to find shelter in a neighbors foyer...but the phone did not work...or the mysteriious enemy appeared behind my kindly neighbor, who had betrayed me, "for my own good", with the best of intentions. 

     I knwe middle class kids could not escape their nice suburban families.  Ever.  And so the dreams continued. 

    It came up in therapy.  After years, difficult to get doc to understand that dad was abusive and narcissistic, but mom was the real terror.  And a lot of the stress dad faced was that he had to go to work every day leaving his children, as well as all his belongings, with a crazy woman. 

    It is only recently that I am able to leave my home for any period of time without worrying that it will be ransacked, robbed, maliciously destroyed, or violated in some way. 

     I thought she was poisoning me as a child.  Now I realize she was simply making me dissociate.  Not quite sure how.  I just remember the terrible feeling beforehand, as I felt myself slipping away, my consciousness spiinning or numbling or dulling or fading...and then the horrible feeling of coming back.  I don't think she did anything to me while I was dissociated.  I think she just dissociated me to get me out of her hair so she could do her own thing, with her work, housework, appearance, neighbors, without being bothered by her "good child". 

    I'm mid forties and despair of ever feeling whole and normal.  I may be borderline myself, although I'm consistently told I'm not.  I certainly have traits.  I feel empty.  I'm constantly afraid of "the rug being pulled out from under me:", have never learned resilience or sustained attention, am constantly hypervigilant in a way that seems "psychic" who haven't had to learn this life skill. 

     There is sometimes a feeling-memory, a memory of dissociation, and although I KNOW nothing physical happened to me (no abuse) I just feel I can't stand any more and want to die.  It lasts a long time.  I'd do anything to escape it.  All I can figure is that it is about being so completely subjected to someone else's control. to my mother's whims and moods.  She could put me in a dissociated trance, like you'd turn off a computer, or put a game away, when she no longer wanted me around. 

    That remains the most terrifying thing I can think of.  To be unplugged like that, put away, tranced down, deprived of consciousness.  How she did it, how she learned it, is beyond me.  She is an extradinarily intelligent woman.  I'm quite certain, though, that this was not taught in college in the sixties, and equally certain people who talk about cults and psy ops are talking nonsense.  But I can see how someone a little more gullible than I've had to be could fall for a story like that.  Really.  Mama was a doozy. 

    The notion of finding a *protector* is overstated - cerine - Mar 28th 2008

    For most in not the large majority of those growing up with the disorder - either vicariously through parents or then later via a full-blown case of it within themselves do not find *rescuers and safe havens* simply because they cannot allow themselves to trust and maintain a long-term relationship. Even if they did encounter a kind soul along the journey - somehow, this too would dissolve into misery and another chalk up for failure. Most of the ones offering the *help* have ulterior motives or want the runaway to conform to whatever dictates they're handing out. Show me a BPD'er or son/daughter of one who will relent and play that game for long before the shit hits the fan. The only way as I see it to heal this is through some kind of awakening to the Truth and letting God heal it. No human being on earth has ever been cured without a spiritual implement. The soul here is infected - nothing man can do that will heal that without intervention from a higher power.

    Anyone wishing to contact me for discussion on the metaphysical aspects of this - adamatova (at) gmail.com

    Reliving the whole experience... - Blue Rain - Mar 10th 2008

    I didn't realize that my childhood and my mother were odd until my mid twenties.  I would repeat childhood stories or things my mother said only to have those around me gasp or follow up with something reassuring about me as a person.  Slowly, it all started to make sense.  Now, in mid thirties, I know my mother is an undiagnosed BP and I was the good and bad child (as the only daughter).

    Now I have 2 younger sisters by adoption.  One is clearly the good while the other the bad.  The bad child and I are so alike that my mother often calls us by the other's name, even though there is a nearly 20 year age difference. 

    I'm reliving my childhood through my sisters every day.  It's very difficult to heal myself while being submerged in the pain once again.  I am the protector of my sisters now.  It's very hard to relive the experience, face the experience, protect my sisters (I love them as if they were my own) and care for my aging mother.

     To the world, my mother was (is) a perfect parent.  I'm slowly breaking down that facade by not pretending that everything is okay and by standing up to her on behalf of the little ones.  I try to support my mom as well but I won't stop pointing out when she is cruel or unreasonable.  Those girls won't suffer the way I did.

    Growing up with a BPD mother - - Feb 28th 2008

    My mother has BPD.  As a very young girl, I remember praying that I would grow up quickly because I knew when I turned 18, I was allowed to leave the house.  When I was the "bad child," I was reminded that I should have been aborted, and that I ruined my mother's life.  I was constantly manipulated and physically punished for minor things that all children do.  I always knew my mother had a problem, but it wasn't until I was older that I realized how huge the problem was.  

    Obviously, I am very interested in the development of children with BPD parents.  As a young girl, I had enormous insecurities.  When I entered into school, I didn't know how to make friends.  I realized very early on, that good grades equated to teacher attention, and so I excelled academically.  Most of my childhood was spent trying to please others.  I am still, at 26-years-old, trying to figure out who I am and how to interact with others.  After all, I spent 18 years of my life (yes, I moved out at 18) trying to please my BPD mother.   

    Currently, I try to maintain a relationship with my mother, but it is guarded.  I recognize that she can't help the way she acts or the things that she says, but I don't make excuses for her, either.  The hardest part about having a BPD mother is the realization that a normal mother-daughter relationship is not possible.  That acceptance has been the hardest....harder than the abuse, harder than anything....   

    how could she be normal - beth - Feb 23rd 2008
    I know a 28 yr old bpd with a psychopathic father and an ocd mother.  Her friends talk about how crazy she is.  Her dad still f***s with her head to this day.  Her mother is dead now.  Maybe she'll improve once her father is gone, too.

    WELL AGHH - Karen Herle - Jan 29th 2008
    How does it feel to have your children kidnapped by the government child protective services after leaving an abusive relationship. Unduly painful.  To top it off I get the dialectic borderline diagnoses label.  My mother made me the bad child and God knows how much I suffered.  I lost a scholarship, face actual public humiliation currently based that I was the bad parent.  Funny but not ha ha although I do crack up now, like never before.  Is this relief or more punishment.  How do you trust your therapist when they report back to the Government child welfare.  Talk about privacy invasion, social perception and stigmatization gone woefully awry.  Will I ever be free of all that is attached to this, from a perspective of sanity which i poses a keen sense of.  Turned inside out by unfair justice unleashed by my mother who told everyone I was he bad parent.

    Dreams - AA - Oct 24th 2007

    I have been in and out of treatment for 12 years. I am now 27 and in desperate need of something that will actually help.

    The part that caught me was the part about the dreams. For years I have had dreams of being chased, someone or something trying to kill me. I can't scream, the phone does'nt work when I call 911. They are very disturbing. I never brought them up thinking they had no significance. Although as exciting as this tid bit is I am still weary of my future............  

    - visitor - Sep 10th 2007

    yeah, this makes sense. my mother always switches between loving and hating me and my sister. lately she announced that she no longer wants contact with my sister. this will last a couple of months - then shell come back and love her as usual. its the same with me were in an on-off relationship and right now i feel the end coming (again) because she severely abused me on the phone and accused me of abbandonement. i think she will quit contact with me soon. again. my sister and me are really thinking about quitting contact ourselves. this is so hurting and disrespectful. i dont want to be treated like taht abnymore. it almost destroyed my soul before. im so happy i can handle my own life now.  mostly.

    mom's heart: black with hate - Linda - Sep 1st 2007

    Laura, I wish I had some good news for you. I'm 52 and still trapped by her. In my case, my mother raged AND physically beat me my whole life. Today, her rages come on schedule, once a month and get this.. I returned last year to LIVE IN MY PARENTS HOME, my father is 20 yrs older than the witch, I came back to care for and protect him. A sacrafice I feel necessary at this time.

    Even after I discovered BPD (out of desparation when I moved back "home") and shared this info with our family doctor, and our family doctor recommended to my mother that we seek the help of a pyshchiatrist.. she refused to go. Everybody else is crazy, not her. After every rage, she forgets that it happened and goes about her other physcotic activities. She NEVER feels remorse and to this day has NEVER offered an apology.

    I live for the day, where I have NO TIES to her. She and/or her illness, destroyed any possibility of a relationship with my sole surviving sister. Good luck to you, take care of YOU.

    bad daughter - laura d - Aug 21st 2007

    Yes, I am also the bad daughter..

    I still get cnfused when people say 'yo're so kid'..i say "no im not!' and i thnk" how can i be..im satan!'

    what i dont understand is that my brothers and sisters do not see it even.

    does anyone know of any suport groups for this...i am goig crazy..i ahve ptsd and fibromyaliga and just am sick sick of always being the bad one.

    She called my brother once to tell him i was yelling at her(attacking her she said) so he came ovr to threaten me..when i pushed him to get out and leave me alone..he threw me to the floor and broke one of my ribs).

    my mother was helpful although she said, taht shoudl teach to watch what i say..and maybe i should learn from this..i am so pissed off now....anyway..sigh..i happen to be here hiding from her..i am shaking with the thought of seeing her face...

    is it normal to be so scared of the B mother that jsut the sound of her voice of hearing her in the kitchen makes my blood run cold?

    Good and bad in one - - Jul 22nd 2007

    I was an only child so my BPD father regarded me alternately as the good child and as the bad child. He was the best of fathers, loving, supportive, hung on my every word, we were all lovey-dovey... and then Mr Hyde kicks in. The transition could happen in a split second, for no apparent reason. It was very scary, you did not get used to it. And then everything that was wrong with the world was my fault. He could throw a tantrum in public and flay me verbally in front of strangers at the busstop.

    My parents divorced when I was ten, or, as I referred to it at the time:"We divorced Daddy." But he still had visitation rights, and often I would return crying from our meetings. I hated the law that required for me to see him, enabling him to use me as his safety valve without any risk of losing me. Or that's what he thought. When I came of age, I decided two decades of abuse was enough and cut all ties with him. Later, I found out the law did NOT require me to see him, as my mother had told me, and felt sick for all that unnecessary suffering.

    I read the advice of an "expert" on an other site recommending a mother that she allow her 8-year-old son to see his BPD father, although the kid is already in therapy. Family ties are adulated too much in this country. With a BPD parent, the best you can do for the kids is remove the destructive force from their lives to minimize the damage.

     

    daughter of borderline mother: the bad child - sharon - Jul 15th 2007

    As a mature adult, looking backward, and re-remembering the twenty or more years of therapy, the physical and emotional damage done to me by my borderline mother and borderline father, who targeted me as the "bad child" while identifying my brother (three years younger) as the good child.

    My mother was addicted to doctor prescribed barbituates...many years ago,  My father was largely absent.  I was often sent away to "visit" my grandmother and various aunts...for months at a time.  I did not understand why I was sent away but my brother stayed with my parents. 

    By the time I turned 13 I was a good student and an eclectic reader...recogized as gifted and talented by my schools.  Until I was about 13 my mother spent a lot of time with her drugs and sleeping and it was my responisbility to care for my brother,  I did not know that other families were different than mine and by age 12 I had a job in a movie theatre, cashier, counter sales,...everything but running the progector.  I joined "Young Oregonians" the local equivalent of a girls club and took classes in gymnastics and dance and whatever they offered.  I stayed with my grandmother from Friday after school until Sunday night and was always a happy and pleasing child.  I stayed summers with one aunt and spent weeks at a time with several others.  

    I sensed my mother did not love me...and that my existence to my father was only to satisfy my mother.  I had no  or little value to them as a person.

    I was hurt by not being wanted...and I do not pretend that PTSD, depression, panic attacks, generalized anziety and flash-backs of abusive moments do not still occur when I am vulnerable.  But, I survived, to become an adult who could and did make decisions about my life and how I wanted to relate to my children and I sought help to ensure I did not inadvertently target or identify my children as good or bad.   I believe I was a good mother and there were only several incidents where I heard my mothers words spout out of my mouth.

    There is one moment that is especially memorable that taught me that if I was going to live and survive childhood it would be because I was a survivor and not becaue I could trust my mother:

    I was about 11-12yrs.  We were camping on Lost Lake and my brother and I were playing in the water but neither of us knew how to swim.  My mother was a great swimmer and was a certified lifeguard.  My father dogpadded if he ever got into the water.  

    My brother's airmattress slipped away from him and I reached for it and stepped into a hole and went down.  I was old enough to know that I only had three times (what I had heard) and then my lungs would fill with water.  When I came up the first and second time...I looked at my mother sitting on the shore watching me flail and yell for help.  Our eyes met and held...until I went under...and she never moved from her chair.  My father grabbed me and I pulled him under but he pushed me off and I climbed to shore and vomited and felt ill.  When I looked up and at my mother she was still looking at me...her eyes were intense and cold...I shivered.  I knew, not belieed, she wanted me dead.  I knew, that surviving was up to me. 

    It got worse.

    Hurt Son - Sally - Jul 6th 2007
    My husband appears to be continually hurt by his BPD mother. She has demonstrated great reluctance to praise him for the smallest success, and seems most satisfied when there is distress in his life. Worse, she continues to provide "lip service" to any legitimate need and though he needs her support, she has failed to provide even minor assistance. Frankly, the longer we are married and the more I witness his interactions with her, I am not surprised that he is an alcoholic. If my mother had treated me in this fashion I too would need something to put salve on my soul. I really don't know what to do for this wounded child. She is so powerful in his life, yet refuses to interact on a genuine level. People are to be used, their needs dismissed and her aim is to generate jealousy or harsh feelings between family members in order to elevate her power. I wonder what that was like for this man, when he was a little boy and wanted someone to protect him from chidhood fear or anxiety? I can only imagine that she ensured he would remain dependent on her outlook on the world and what only she could provide. Now, knowing the truth about her must be such a horrid disappointment.

    This makes sense - - Apr 10th 2007
    I have BPD. I am sure my mother does as well. Though lately I have been reconsidering whether or not she is just a Narcisist. After reading this article it makes since. My mother projected me as the good child untill I was a preteen and then I was the bad child. I was lucky that I haad closse family friends that shielded her from emotionally destroying me. I have 2 children but by choice am not taking care of them because I am afraid I would ruin them with my disorder.

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