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Mom with BPD

Discussion in 'Personality Disorders' started by ashbrun, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. ashbrun

    ashbrun New Member

    I found out several years ago that my mom was Borderline. My dad, who has been divorced from my mother since I was 6, informed me of my mom's illness when I moved in with him after enduring countless traumatic experiences with my mom and my stepfather. He told me that he had tried to get her to seek therapy, but she refused and he explained to me how her behavior marked symptoms of BPD. He gave me the book "Stop Walking on Eggshells", which I read, and I now agree with him about my mom.

    I moved in with my dad when I was 16 and I went about a year with no contact before I tried to reestablish a relationship. When I did, things were working out with us, but she lashed out at my dad and turned my brother and sister against us. So once again, I cut off contact. Another year or two passed and I tried again to work on a relationship, ending with the same result. It has now been about 2 years and we went from no contact, to about 2 conversations via text message a week and I am finally starting to work on my relationship with my brother and sister. I am now recently engaged and my mom is contacting me more and more, and she has expressed that she wants to start communicating via phone calls.

    The reason I am posting on here is that I am having trouble deciding whether to further contact or not. I will always have that desire to have a close relationship with my mom, as she IS my mother. But I am constantly afraid that if I let her too close, she will lash out again. It tears me apart everytime it happens. And as a Christian, I know it's my job to forgive her no matter what. And I do. And I pray every day for God to work in her and in myself as well so that we can have the relationship that I want so much. But after reading about BPD, it seems that the only option is to cut contact for good. Being that I am getting married, I was hoping that this could be what brings us together and that this time she would be changed. I just don't know what to do or how to proceed.

    Am I being overly optimistic thinking that things could one day be ok? Am I being ridiculous for going back again and again, knowing that her behavior probably hasn't changed?

    My fiance knows the trauma that my mom has put me through, but he doesn't understand BPD and he doesn't want me to get hurt if I choose to get closer to her. He says that he will pray for me but beyond that, I don't have much support coming from his direction. Does anyone have any advice?
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. madison1101

    madison1101 Senior Veteran


    I can relate on all levels. I am a recovered Borderline, with children who are now adults. But, I am also the daughter of an undiagnosed Borderline. My therapist and I have discussed all of Mom's behaviors, and she fits most of the criterion in the DSM-IV.

    I have been in psychotherapy for 24 years, with the same psychotherapist, for my own issues, and still struggle to accept all of Mom's behavior toward me. Yet, my therapist keeps reminding me that at this point, Mom isn't going to change. She's 86 years old at this point. I've had my resentments toward her, as well as the mental health professionals that have treated her for her co-occurring Bipolar Disorder, because they never insisted she participate in individual psychotherapy. All they've ever done is medicate and hospitalize her, since I was a baby.

    My suggestion to you is to get into psychotherapy with a licensed psychologist or social worker first and foremost. Also, get the book, "Boundaries," by Cloud and Townsend. They're Christian psychiatrists or psychologists. They are excellent on the subject of setting healthy boundaries with people. Unfortunately, boundaries are a part of interpersonal relationships that people with Borderline Personalities do not respect in any way, shape or form.

    One thing is certain, without a good deal of time in psychotherapy, with a licensed mental health professional, and possibly some family therapy, your Mom will not change. That doesn't mean you can't love her. It means that you can learn to set healthy boundaries, and protect yourself from further hurt.

    Being a Christian does NOT mean always being a doormat to unstable, irrational verbal and/or physical abuse.

    My biggest regret is that I did not get better till my husband divorced me, and my grown children made it clear they weren't going to tolerate my behavior any longer. By then, I'd been in therapy for a while, and was finally ready to change. My biggest joy is that I now have a terrific relationship with all three of my children, and can now enjoy my three adorable grandchildren. None of my children avoid spending time with me, and my daughter trusts me to babysit for her on a regular basis.

    One thing I did forget to mention. Pray. Pray for your Mom's heart to be open to change, for her to become willing to seek professional help. God is powerful, and He can soften hearts and change minds. He did mine. It took a while, but change did happen.

    God bless.

  3. bhsmte

    bhsmte Newbie

    I am very familiar with the behavioral patterns you discuss from my ex wife who was diagnosed with BPD and I was given full custody of all 3 of our children 2 years ago.

    She has also refused treatment, or to even admit her behavior is a problem and instead puts the blame on others. The kids do not like to be around her, because it is so emotionally draining for them.

    I understand a part of you would like to see things workout, especially with a wedding up coming, but I have learned one thing, and that is the pattern will repeat itself and the damage will continue to be done. That is, unless the right type of professional help is received and the problem is acknowledged by the person with BPD.

    BPD is a very difficult disorder to treat, for many reasons, but without treatment, you can expect more of the same and I would steer clear.
  4. jsimms615

    jsimms615 Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    by its very nature, BPD is a long, engrained habit of how the person relates to others. Part of its very definition is that it tends to not change over time. Also, if a person is a truly strong BPD there is going to be chaotic relationships which run hot and cold. If your in the middle of a relationship with someone like that you can't reall expect for their to be much change. You will have to accept her as she is or not at all or love her from a distance.