Just seeking peace

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Seeking Peace, Jul 29, 2015.

  1. Seeking Peace

    Seeking Peace Member

    I found this site after searching for answers online. Just desperately trying to make some sense of everything. My heart aches. I go back and forth between feeling guilty, to feeling angered. Constantly self-doubting what is real, and whether I am simply crazy. I apologize now if it is all over the place – but I have spent so many years trying to compress everything that as it comes to me, I am just going to type it.

    Difficult child is 20 years old now. As young as 6 or 7, there has been red flags that something was different. Her biological father demonstrates many of the same traits, although I am not sure his is near as severe. He has basically been absent from her life since age 2. I heard numerous stories of how difficult he was also as a child; to the point that he was sent to live with his mother at the age of 13, or the alternative would have been divorce for his father. His mother was actually diagnosed with a mental illness later in her life, although not BiPolar (BP) or Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I have heard rumors that she put her own mother through a lot…

    Difficult Child has been diagnosed with BiPolar (BP), a learning disability, and ADD. But even with treatment, medication, and countless other avenues we took to help her, she seemed to only grow worse. For years I doubted we were simply dealing with BiPolar (BP). Once she was 18, she was officially diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), although it was prevalent years before. I am 99% sure THAT is exactly what we have been living with. Whether she is also BiPolar (BP), I have no idea anymore…maybe it is that, and the Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) developed as a means of coping with BiPolar (BP). All I know is a lot of time, effort and money was spent trying to treat her – and every time something new was mentioned, we went into it with such great hopes that maybe THAT would help.

    I always feel so guilty when I read about people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) feeling so lonely and are terrified of being abandoned. I think that my daughter did not choose to live like this. She didn’t choose this for herself! I find myself wondering whether my daughter even realizes what she is doing to me. Whether it is with ill-intent or something she truly cannot control. Those thoughts are really what keeps me hooked. Why I continuously move my boundaries…I really think if I KNEW with certainty she thinks I am just weak, and looks down on me, and really I am not MOM to her, but just a supply – then I might be able to move a step ahead…but distance, no relationship, THIS relationship couldn’t feel more unnatural to me. I think that is why it is such a struggle – morally and ethically it is not right for ME to not be there, to not try again and again – to not help her, or want to fix things. I KNOW in my head what is real, but in my HEART, I cannot seem to find any acceptance or peace.

    I made the mistake of researching Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and came across several sites that essentially place all blame on the condition developing because of parent’s neglect and not meeting the child’s needs. Add to that first hand experiences with that same belief and attitude from the very people you turn to for help, and no wonder you feel so alone and beaten down. Sometimes I really second guess myself, and wonder if we DID cause this. Then I think about everything we have done and tried, and about how her biological father is….and my mind says this is absolutely genetic…but as a mother, it is so difficult not to blame yourself. To wonder if I should have really not had children. Truly, these Doctors and therapist cannot even begin to imagine life like that. They spend an hour, and send you on home. I really think until one actually lives in their own home, like a prisoner, and constantly checking and double checking, you cannot really understand what the caretakers endure…

    Then I DO think I have been at times distant from her. I have been angry at her. I have favored my younger child more at times. Especially these last several years. I have refused to come to her rescue or respond the way a normal mother would! The therapist I have been seeing the past couple years tells me that I only responded like any other mother who is worn out, and has tried everything to try to help their child. A mother who no longer knows what can be done, and is just human. That the way my daughter treats me is not normal. Is not how a daughter treats their mother. But Difficult Child has a way of always making me feel like I have failed as a mother. Also I truly believe in HER mind, she REALLY believes it too. And seeing how she is, I feel like I MUST have somehow failed her.

    I have read some of the other post regarding problems parents have had, and do have, and it was amazing to me to see so many others experiencing the same things. Difficult Child’s moods and reactions have always been triggered by a want. If you wanted a tantrum, just tell her no. Not that it would matter, as she would do it anyway regardless. There has never been respect for boundaries. If she wanted something, she just took it. Not just from us, but from anyone or anywhere. Even stealing money out of my wallet a few months back the last time we allowed her to come back home. I cannot say that she has ever told the truth about anything, oftentimes creating stories and lies that serve zero purpose or gain. Although, I have learned over the past several years, she has used smear campaigns (mostly against me) to gain attention and drum up sympathy. I can only imagine what all she has said about myself and my family. Extremely vicious and outright nasty accusations and lies….or that her childhood, her treatment by us, by me, is why she is how she is…and sadly, others, even those who first hand have had similar experiences with her, still think she is that way because of US.

    We did put her out of the house at 18. Then allowed her to move back home a few months later after she spent a week in the hospital and was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). That lasted three days, and she left on her own again. Since then she has lived in at least 8-10 places (back at our house three more times on top of it, and us requiring her to move out the last time a few months ago). She has additionally had at least 20 different jobs in the last couple of years (none lasting more than a week)…been in 3 accidents – just absolutely living reckless. She’s even a habitual ER patient now. (Means of skipping work, or diverting attention off of another situation) I fear for her safety. I fear she will eventually truly end up on the streets. I have even come to the point that I think a shelter would be GOOD for her! At least then she would have a caseworker…

    I would allow her home if she really did what she was supposed to do. Go to work, and go to therapy. Nothing more, nothing less. But time and time again, she comes home, and spends so much time and energy portraying she is doing what she is supposed to be doing, and all the while, not doing any of them. Even going as far as pretending to go to work, etc. I cannot babysit my 20 year old. I cannot trust her, and cannot leave my 13 year old in that situation either. Add to that the absolute ZERO respect and utter disregard for everyone else in the house….it literally drove me to the point of a nervous breakdown. She has tried to stay with grandparents, Aunt, boyfriend’s family, etc. All turn out the same every time…

    There is always so much drama, and lies, and gas lighting that you really doubt what you saw with your own eyes. You get so exhausted defending yourself to EVERYONE – people you considered friends, your own family, and to everyone the Difficult Child reaches in the community. My name has been slandered to the extent that I would love to move far away where NOBODY knows us.

    In all of this, I really feel like I was always her biggest advocate. Yet, she now has decided to “cut ties with her family” (again, basically me). She blocked my number, she blocked me on FB….I really feel like she intentionally withholds love and attention from me as a means of punishing me. Punishing me for not being the mom she thinks I ought to be. That I am not allowed to be hurt, or angered, or draw a line in the sand on how she will and will not treat me….and somebody tell me – if I did – if I really held to those boundaries, would she eventually start to respect me and treat me any differently?? I feel like she disrespects me because she really believes I have wronged her, and abandoned her, and have failed her.

    Now, I simply see that I am codependent on her. Constantly hanging on every word, every action. Worrying about her taking care of things. Knowing she isn’t and terrified of the consequences that she will be faced with because of it. That I am a basket of nerves. This has driven me to my own therapist, medication, exercise – whatever I need to do to finally find peace with this situation. I find myself unable to sleep, my chest feels tight all the time, and just literally so unbelievably anxious and on edge. Terrified of what is to come next all the time. Terrified every time the doorbell rings that it will be her standing there, or the phone rings, and it will be yet another parent telling me how horrific I am for not allowing her to come home. It is not going to change. Every time she has come home, she has continued the same behaviors. We are not equipped to help her the way she needs to be helped….and the thought of NOT helping haunts me equally. ….just sucks me dry emotionally…. I feel like people (even my husband and therapist ) get tired of hearing me repeat the same things over and over…

    Seeking peace
  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome SP,

    I'm glad you found our little corner of the world.

    There are no easy answers for what you are dealing with but what I can tell you is this:
    It's not your fault.
    You have nothing to feel guilty about.
    All the emotions you feel, love, anger & confusion are normal when dealing with a D C
    Genetics play a huge role. It's not just about nurture, nature has a part in this.

    From what you have shared it's clear that you have done all you can to get her the help she needs. There comes a point when you have to let go and release her to be responsible for herself.
    There are many people in the world and some are here on this site that have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and function quite well.
    It comes down to an individual choice. Your daughter needs to decide for herself that she needs to put forth the effort. You cannot do this for her.

    All of us parents regardless of the problems we have had with our D C's have shared the same feelings of wanting to make everything ok for our children. We all have had our hearts broken because of their behavior. We get it.
    Something to think about; suppose you did take care of your daughter, you made sure she took her medications, went to therapy, drove her to work, you know, everything and you have done this for let's say 10 to 15 years. Now, remove yourself from that picture. What happens to your daughter if something happens to you?? None of us will live forever.
    It's much better for our adult children to face the realities of life on their own, that is how they learn.
    There is a good article on detachment at the top Parent Emeritus.
    Detaching is vital for our own survival. It takes time and effort. Don't confuse this with not loving your daughter but it does mean that you love yourself enough to let go.

    Others will come along and chime in.

    Read through other posts as there are years of experience within these pages.

    Hang in there!! I'm glad you're here.
  3. Seeking Peace

    Seeking Peace Member

    I just read the article. Crazy how guilty I am with making excuses...sure I'll need to read it often.
  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    The more you read it the better.
    Also, stay close to this site as it's a great lifeline.
  5. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I think the guilt and playing 'what if' are so difficult for the responsible care giver to learn to let go and control.

    My adult son is so much like his bio father and that was another area of guilt for me. Most of our difficult children are manipulative and use this guilt for their advantage.

    My son is involved with another difficult child just like him, maybe even worse. There has been so much drama, fights, lies, stealing, that no one in my family wants anything to do with either of them.

    His sister has talked to him about counseling, medications, he won't do it. He prefers to self medicate.

    He and girl friend like to threaten suicide and have drug/alcohol fueled physical fights. Both have been arrested for domestic violence and she was placed in detox for a while, he Baker Acted himself. After I have called the police a few times to check on him when he has threatened suicide he has stopped that. My counselor has helped me to deal with the fact that he may one day really commit suicide.

    So you are not alone (hugs)! I can say that my life has gotten so much better when I finally understood there is nothing I can make him do and I stopped trying. I have said it all. There is always constant criticism by well meaning people (many family members) that do not understand how gut wrenching this situations is. It's easy to judge when we aren't the ones wearing the shoes and walking the thorny path.

    Read all of the many books available about these children, it does help. Take care of yourself, you are the only person you can control. Set boundaries and stick to them. Counseling (if you can find a good one, that's hard too) is a huge help.

    This forum is also a huge help, posting (VENT VENT VENT) will make you feel better. Find a time consuming hobby and exercise.

    Wishing you peace!
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Your role and responsibility to care for your daughter is over. She has a constellation of behaviors and diagnoses that can only be handled and treated in the public sector, by Community Mental Health. In any metropolitan area there are treatment facilities that your daughter can enter. She can graduate eventually to satellite housing where she lives with other women with similar issues. She will be helped to apply for SSI.

    Your daughter does and says all kinds of things that are related to her disorder. It is not your fault, whether she says it is or not. To the extent that you take it in and suffer and blame yourself, you are hurting yourself for no reason what so ever.

    Everything she does is related to her diagnosis. You did not cause it. You cannot cure or control it. You are right. It is likely genetic. That would be like blaming the cat because her baby turned out to be a kitten.

    All of this does not matter. You only use each of these to accuse yourself:
    We are glad you are here. It is not your fault. The thing to do now is to do what it takes to get your daughter into a system where she can be helped. You cannot help her. It will only hurt you more and hurt your other children.

    Keep posting. We care about you. There will be people here to help you every step of the way. Take care.
  7. Seeking Peace

    Seeking Peace Member

    We were able to get her into mental health publicly that offered Dialectical behavior therapy thought to be the best current technique for treating Borderlines, but she was able to convince the therapist that it was because of me she suffers. The therapist told her DBT was not what she needed, but she should continue to come to see her cause she definitely needed a place she could turn....

    I even told her the other day going to the local homeless shelter for woman would be good. It's a shelter, food, safe place, and they have case workers, therapist, etc. They recognize mental health related homelessness and work to help people get in programs and get much needed help.

    Unfortunately, I can only keep telling her about those options. I can't make her go....
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    If you choose to torment yourself, this is not your daughter's responsibility or fault.

    If you focus on her and neglect your own needs and happiness, that, too is a choice you are making.

    If you take responsibility for that which she does or not do, this is a choice, as well.

    Just as you cannot make your daughter do anything she does not want to do, nobody else can exert influence over you.

    Right now, you can decide to focus on yourself: your contentment, your health, your happiness. Your daughter has nothing at all to do with any of these things unless you permit her to.