Possible Borderline (BPD)

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by carefree, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. carefree

    carefree New Member

    I'm new, never posted before but was hoping for gentle advice. After years of denial and hoping for maturity, I'm beginning to accept that my 18 year old moved-out daughter possibly has undiagnosed borderline personality disorder. Last night on the phone she pummeled me for an hour about how I haven't been pursuing her when she's mad at me. She's correct, since she no longer lives here, when she gets angry I've apologized, then just given her space with an occasional weekly text of "I'm here if you need me...". She said that she wants me to call her instead, and not to text her unless I plan to call and apologize. She's accusing me of being passive aggressive, and when I remained consistently calm on the phone she accuses me of talking in a monotone which she tried to get me to apologize for because she felt unloved. She has a history of self-injuring, been hospitalized for suicidal ideation twice, tried and discontinued many medications, and was in years of therapy, both alone and with me, but mostly alone. Last night on the phone I truly don't know what she was even mad about to begin with, she hit me from so many directions, and was being rude and trying to micromanage my words, and at the end I suggested a therapy session for the three of us but she refused. She moved out in March and pays for almost everything herself. She's independent in that way, but the past month or two I can't do ANYTHING right. Nothing. It's as though she finds me just to pick a giant fight. To be honest, it seems as though she has always had the upper hand emotionally, especially with her past history. It makes me afraid to cut her off because, well, what if...? I'm just not sure what my role is, stand firm and probably watch her up the ante like she's usually done, or just try to smooth things over so I have some peace?
  2. Mamacat

    Mamacat Active Member

    I'm also new here and I don't have a lot of good advice like some of the others. Your post rang some bells with me. I had to also be careful of how I worded stuff, if I asked about her well-being, not just my granddaughters. Couldn't say anything that she perceived as critical or negative. She became very defensive and usually found a way to blame me. I've ordered the book Walking on Eggshells recommended here because that's what I did. Keep posting and reading. There's a lot of good advice here.
  3. FlowerGarden

    FlowerGarden Active Member

    I would not let her go after you for an hour on the phone. If she won't have a normal conversation, I'd hang up on her. If she threatens to harm herself, I'd call the police. She's trying to hold you hostage on the phone which is emotional abuse.
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  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I would (and have said calmly to my son)"When you can speak with calmness and respect, I will be happy to talk to you. I have to go." *click*

    It hurts both of you to allow her to abuse you and get away with it and it doesn't help you to listen. Don't do it. Would you listen to anyone else talk to you that way? Why can she?

    At the first sign of abuse tell her what I said above and get off. Do something you like to do with people who are nice to you. Being your daughter doesn't give her the right to boss you around and treat you like trash.
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  5. Snow White

    Snow White Temporarily in the Magic Kingdom

    Hi and welcome, carefree. So sorry you are experiencing difficulties.

    My daughter acts the same way. When it happens on the phone, I tell her that I am not going to listen to any abusive talk and that if it happens I will hang up. Because my daughter doesn't transition well, if she starts going off the rails, I remind her that I am going to hang up. If she continues, I then say, "I'm hanging up now. Goodbye." She doesn't do that often anymore.

    I'm learning to detach from my daughter and the behaviours that are unacceptable.

    What is the worst possible thing that would happen if you hung up the phone when she was ranting at you? If she threatens self-harm or suicide, then that ALWAYS means a call to 911. Doing that with our daughter nipped that in the bud pretty quick. And if the 911 call was truly warranted, then all is good, as your daughter will be in safe hands.

    The Walking on Eggshells book is good and I also found "When Your Adult Child Breaks Your Heart" to be a great resource.

    Hang in there and keep posting. We're here to help.
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  6. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    I am sorry for what you are going trough but look at the bright side because its quite bright in your case.You have a daughter who did not refused help and it payed off of course she is not cured she will never be cured but she manages quite well. She is 18 and on her own 2 feet and that is amazing.Now maybe the medications do not work anymore and she did not find a new prescription that works.Maybe moving alone was too much for her and she can not manage the ilness she is suffering from the best you can do in such situations is take the advice of my fellow members and try to help her only when she is calm and reasonable.
  7. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I called 911 for suicide threats too. After all, I take it seriously but I don't have the power to stop it. Guess what? The suicide threats ended.

    I agree that it's good she can support herself. You don't have to worry about that and that's good.

    When she says she has always felt unloved, don't take it personally. Part of borderline disorder is always feeling unloved and even if you told her you loved her 24/7 it wouldn't work. Setting boundaries and sticking to them is imperative if you want a relationship with a borderline and it will always be up, down, around, chaotic and at times abusive. So you need to learn when to walk away and to be firm and consistent.

    Do buy "Walking on Eggshells." It is online, in all bookstores and probably in the library. And also check the online support forum called BorderlineCentral.com. Learn all you can so that you are not d surprised and don't feel guilty. Learn how to protect yourself. And take good care of YOU. You can not cure your daughter, you can only be nice to yourself. And you should.
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    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
  8. carefree

    carefree New Member

    I know you all are correct. I'm going to compose a letter to her today. Thank you for all the responses, I appreciate you sharing your experiences.
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Carefree.

    Here's an article that you might find helpful.

    What is detachment?
    Detachment is the:
    * Ability to allow people, places or things the freedom to be themselves.
    * Holding back from the need to rescue, save or fix another person from being sick, dysfunctional or irrational.
    * Giving another person "the space" to be herself.
    * Disengaging from an over-enmeshed or dependent relationship with people.
    * Willingness to accept that you cannot change or control a person, place or thing.
    * Developing and maintaining of a safe, emotional distance from someone whom you have previously given a lot of power to affect your emotional outlook on life.
    * Establishing of emotional boundaries between you and those people you have become overly enmeshed or dependent with in order that all of you might be able to develop your own sense of autonomy and independence.
    * Process by which you are free to feel your own feelings when you see another person falter and fail and not be led by guilt to feel responsible for their failure or faltering.
    * Ability to maintain an emotional bond of love, concern and caring without the negative results of rescuing, enabling, fixing or controlling.
    * Placing of all things in life into a healthy, rational perspective and recognizing that there is a need to back away from the uncontrollable and unchangeable realities of life.
    * Ability to exercise emotional self-protection and prevention so as not to experience greater emotional devastation from having hung on beyond a reasonable and rational point.
    * Ability to let people you love and care for accept personal responsibility for their own actions and to practice tough love and not give in when they come to you to bail them out when their actions lead to failure or trouble for them.
    * Ability to allow people to be who they "really are" rather than who you "want them to be."
    * Ability to avoid being hurt, abused, taken advantage of by people who in the past have been overly dependent or enmeshed with you.

    What are the negative effects not detaching?
    If you are unable to detach from people, places or things, then you:
    * Will have people, places or things which become over-dependent on you.
    * Run the risk of being manipulated to do things for people, at places or with things which you do not really want to do.
    * Can become an obsessive "fix it" who needs to fix everything you perceive to be imperfect.
    * Run the risk of performing tasks because of the intimidation you experience from people, places or things.
    * Will most probably become powerless in the face of the demands of the people, places or things whom you have given the power to control you.
    * Will be blind to the reality that the people, places or things which control you are the uncontrollables and unchangeables you need to let go of if you are to become a fully healthy, coping individual.
    * Will be easily influenced by the perception of helplessness which these people, places or things project.
    * Might become caught up with your idealistic need to make everything perfect for people, places or things important to you even if it means your own life becomes unhealthy.
    * Run the risk of becoming out of control of yourself and experience greater low self-esteem as a result.
    * Will most probably put off making a decision and following through on it, if you rationally recognize your relationship with a person, place or thing is unhealthy and the only recourse left is to get out of the relationship.
    * Will be so driven by guilt and emotional dependence that the sickness in the relationship will worsen.
    * Run the risk of losing your autonomy and independence and derive your value or worth solely from the unhealthy relationship you continue in with the unhealthy person, place or thing.

    How is detachment a control issue?
    Detachment is a control issue because:
    * It is a way of de-powering the external "locus of control" issues in your life and a way to strengthen your internal "locus of control."
    * If you are not able to detach emotionally or physically from a person, place or thing, then you are either profoundly under its control or it is under your control.
    * The ability to "keep distance" emotionally or physically requires self-control and the inability to do so is a sign that you are "out of control."
    * If you are not able to detach from another person, place or thing, you might be powerless over this behavior which is beyond your personal control.
    * You might be mesmerized, brainwashed or psychically in a trance when you are in the presence of someone from whom you cannot detach.
    * You might feel intimidated or coerced to stay deeply attached with someone for fear of great harm to yourself or that person if you don't remain so deeply involved.
    * You might be an addicted caretaker, fixer or rescuer who cannot let go of a person, place or thing you believe cannot care for itself.
    * You might be so manipulated by another's con, "helplessness," overdependency or "hooks" that you cannot leave them to solve their own problems.
    * If you do not detach from people, places or things, you could be so busy trying to "control" them that you completely divert your attention from yourself and your own needs.
    * By being "selfless" and "centered" on other people, you are really a controller trying to fix them to meet the image of your ideal for them.
    * Although you will still have feelings for those persons, places and things from which you have become detached, you will have given them the freedom to become what they will be on their own merit, power, control and responsibility.
    * It allows every person, place or thing with which you become involved to feel the sense of personal responsibility to become a unique, independent and autonomous being with no fear of retribution or rebuke if they don't please you by what they become.

    What irrational thinking leads to an inability to detach?
    * If you should stop being involved, what will they do without you?
    * They need you and that is enough to justify your continued involvement.
    * What if they commit suicide because of your detachment? You must stay involved to avoid this.
    * You would feel so guilty if anything bad should happen to them after you reduced your involvement with them.
    * They are absolutely dependent on you at this point and to back off now would be a crime.
    * You need them as much as they need you.
    * You can't control yourself because everyday you promise yourself "today is the day" you will detach your feelings but you feel driven to them and their needs.
    * They have so many problems, they need you.
    * Being detached seems so cold and aloof. You can't be that way when you love and care for a person. It's either 100 percent all the way or no way at all.
    * If you should let go of this relationship too soon, the other might change to be like the fantasy or dream you want them to be.
    * How can being detached from them help them? It seems like you should do more to help them.
    * Detachment sounds so final. It sounds so distant and non-reachable. You could never allow yourself to have a relationship where there is so much emotional distance between you and others. It seems so unnatural.
    * You never want anybody in a relationship to be emotionally detached from you so why would you think it a good thing to do for others?
    * The family that plays together stays together. It's all for one and one for all. Never do anything without including the significant others in your life.
    * If one hurts in the system, we all hurt. You do not have a good relationship with others unless you share in their pain, hurt, suffering, problems and troubles.
    * When they are in "trouble," how can you ignore their "pleas" for help? It seems cruel and inhuman.
    * When you see people in trouble, confused and hurting, you must always get involved and try to help them solve the problems.
    * When you meet people who are "helpless," you must step in to give them assistance, advice, support and direction.
    * You should never question the costs, be they material, emotional or physical, when another is in dire need of help.
    * You would rather forgo all the pleasures of this world in order to assist others to be happy and successful.
    * You can never "give too much" when it comes to providing emotional support, comforting and care of those whom you love and cherish.
    * No matter how badly your loved ones hurt and abuse you, you must always be forgiving and continue to extend your hand in help and support.
    * Tough love is a cruel, inhuman and anti-loving philosophy of dealing with the troubled people in our lives and you should instead love them more when they are in trouble since "love" is the answer to all problems.

    Read more: http://www.conductdisorders.com/community/threads/article-on-detachment.53639/#ixzz4P3VnBF33
  10. carefree

    carefree New Member

    Thank you for this useful piece. I will keep thinking it over! Wrong or right, it seems to be the last 5 points that are causing me some tension. I'll be looking into that, to be sure. Again, thank you for your response.
  11. carefree

    carefree New Member

    So can I please ask for more advice? You all have been so helpful. After my previous above mentioned conversation with my daughter, I decided after advice on here, much thinking, prayer and council, to write my daughter a letter. In it I wrote complimentary things, and I also put a much needed boundary of sorts up: I stated that she can feel free to talk to me as long as the discussion stayed respectful and calm. If not, we would have to end the conversation and try again at a later time. I also told her in the letter that if she limits contact with me or de-friends me on social media, that is her decision and that I would respect it (not chase her like she apparently expects me to). I also did not apologize for any generalized parenting mistakes like I usually do because she hadn't mentioned any to me. (Our previous phone call ended badly, and she specifically said, 'Don't text me unless you're going to call me to apologize.' (For what I don't know.)) She may or may not have received my letter as I haven't yet heard from her. Here is the current situation, we are making a 6 hour road trip with my children to Disneyland, including her, on 11/16. I'm concerned because not only do I not know where we stand, but I've just put up this boundary about not letting her verbally pummel me that I'm not sure I can uphold in the van. I'm concerned she will try to have a discussion or argument with me, and I could use some practical advice, in case of a worse case scenario. I'm anxiety ridden. Thank you all for the help.
  12. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    if she is borderline, and she does have traits, she probably will use the car as a place to be unpleasant because you are trapped. I'd be leery of bringing her with because of you needing to be calm and her siblings needing to be able to enjoy the trip. Are they young?

    Can she drive herself and stay in her own room? if not, you have to do what you feel is right, but expect her to be herself. She is incapable of changing for the trip. Borderline us borderline. it doesnt go away without years of intensive help and the will for the person to change.

    if you feel guilty not bringing her, bring her, but do so with wide open eyes. You can always drive her to a bus station and send her home if she is abusive. Tell her in advance. Yes, she will be angry, but she cant ruin your vacation.

    Most of our kids (I know mine did) laugh at our letters or twist what is in them and hold them against us. Or they don't even read them. I always advise against committing anything to paper but thats jmo. To stay sane with a borderline, consistency and firmness are mandatory. They eat weakness or timidity alive. They smell it a mile away. Without treatment they are manipulative, abusive and can spoil any event. You just never know. its always a risk.

    Sorry she is putting you through all this nonsense. You may want to ask the same question on borderline central since everyone there is familar with the disorder and the game. Hugs to you.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2016
  13. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with SWOT.

    If you do decide to bring her, it may be prudent to practice the art of refraining....DO NOT ENGAGE. Find a phrase you can offer no matter what she says, something that will keep you as detached as you can be on a 6 hour drive with a young woman who may be Borderline. "yes honey, thanks for sharing, isn't the scenery beautiful?".....or just "thanks for sharing" and move on......

    A counselor once told me, "when you engage with crazy people, you too become crazy." Excuse the judgmental word crazy, it was the way it was expressed to me.....but you get the drift. It made a lot of sense to me since I grew up with much mental illness and I was at a point where I could finally see that quote as being true. Remember that your daughter is living in a skewered reality, it is NOT your reality.......and you do not have to convince her of the true nature of reality.......let it go.....whatever she says, let it go.

    If she becomes abusive, tell her you'll drop her off at the nearest police station and she can find her way home. (that's a bit tongue in cheek......) Don't let her abuse you. Perhaps think of a consequence you can live with before the trip and let her know that if she pulls anything that is disrespectful or abusive, you will ...???.....take her to the nearest bus station and buy her a ticket back.......but if you say that, you have to keep your word and follow through.

    Be present with boundaries.....don't engage.......practice deep breathing.......bring along peaceful music or fun games you can play with your other kids if they are young.....bring your "tool box" (the resources that work for you)......put the serenity prayer on the dashboard.......prepare yourself as best you can.

    Hang in there......we're here for you....