Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD

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rainbowdash

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I'm the product of uNPD (overt) mum and uNPD (covert) enabling dad. I believe that I was my mum's scapegoat and dad's golden child and my brother vice versa. I truly believe that this combination has caused my brother to become uNPD and I'm a complete co-dependent, anxiety-ridden submissive personality. I've been reading a lot of posts on this forum and I see a lot of pain that parents feel when their kids turn out to be PD. I have seen my mom feel guilty about her parenting, but nowhere to the extent I have seen in the posts here. I don't think she truly grasps the horrors we faced growing up. My brother says that he tried to commit suicide at age 14 and my parents didn't even know until he turned 21. My brother doesn't have a relationship with my dad and considers my dad a sociopath. He has a superficial relationship with mom and me. I know he is suffering a great deal and is not happy, but I chose to disconnect from him to protect myself from his abuse (it is a long story that's irrelevant here). But, that's not the reason I'm posting.

Fast forward to now, I have a 6 year old child. I see a lot of my brother's personality in her. She is spirited and high needs and very demanding. She is defiant, needs to control everything, has anxiety, doesn't mingle with people easily. On the other hand, she is extremely bright, super sensitive, very funny and outgoing once she gets to know people, she is mature for her age and understands more than her years. Everything is a power struggle with her and no type of control works on her. I used to resent her behaviour, but as I learnt about NPD, my childhood, I'm able to reframe and handle things better. For the first 5 years of her life, I had post-natal depression and chronic pain and highly stressful job, which meant I couldn't be the calm, patient parent that my high-needs baby needed. I've recently read a book called "Unconditional Parenting", which says that we put ourselves in our child's shoes and see the world from their perspective. Using this gentle but firm technique is helping. I've managed to reduce the number of power struggles and arguments at home. But the occasional temper tantrum still happens. My biggest fear is that my daugther will turn out to become like my brother.

I'm being more patient, more loving, showing that I love her no matter what, controlling my propensity to shout and scream and all in all trying my best to create a harmonious home. Being an ACoN, she triggers me a lot, but I'm doing my best to give her a sense of comfort and safety. I know that at 6, my daughter's personality is not formed yet, so I have a chance to save her from having this BPD/NPD illness. But I don't know if genetics will still win out.

My question to all the parents with grown kids, is there anything you wish you'd done differently to make your kids turn out different? Can you pinpoint the trauma that caused your child to become what they are today? What would you say your pitfalls were? What advice would you give a mum of a young child so that her child doesn't go down the BPD path? Finally, was anyone able to turn around things with a child i.e. been bad parent but turned around and met the child's needs and reformed the child's personality?

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momnthefog

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2017, 02:45:19 PM »
My question to all the parents with grown kids, is there anything you wish you'd done differently to make your kids turn out different? Can you pinpoint the trauma that caused your child to become what they are today? What would you say your pitfalls were? What advice would you give a mum of a young child so that her child doesn't go down the BPD path? Finally, was anyone able to turn around things with a child i.e. been bad parent but turned around and met the child's needs and reformed the child's personality?

Rainbowdash,

Welcome to the forum.

I have PD and nons....biological and adopted kids.  I plan to answer your questions from several perspectives.

"is there anything you wish you'd done differently to make your kids turn out different"    I believe this statement assumes that its primarily environment that determines how a child turns out.  Based on my experience, it's a mix....genes, environment, nuture (or lack thereof), and the child/teen/young adult/adult decisions.

For my PDs....I wish I'd seen warning signs early enough and understood enough about PDs that I got them into counseling early.

"Can you pinpoint the trauma that caused your child to become what they are today?" 

Both my PDs were adopted from soviet style orphanages.  trauma includes prenatal environment, institutionalization that prevented development of "normal" mother-child nurturing and bonding. 

What advice would you give a mum of a young child so that her child doesn't go down the BPD path?

Counseling.  What should have been concerning behavior I brushed aside out of lack of experience in parenting.  Two very important traits that my non PDs have that the PDS don't have....empathy and resiliency.

"Finally, was anyone able to turn around things with a child i.e. been bad parent but turned around and met the child's needs and reformed the child's personality?"

I'm not sure how to answer this one.  My kids are who they are....they really haven't changed much in personality since they were toddlers.  I'm not sure that a parent can reform a child's personality.  What I've observed is that as they age their personality galvanizes or hardens.....I do have my youngest teen son who I had a really tough time with from 14-17....we've repaired our relationship.  I started cooking with him and that's been the key.  We found something that we could do together that was non confrontational and allowed us to bond as mentor/mentee and from there he's trusted me and taken my counsel. 

These are really good questions.  I hope some other parents chime in.   Hhaw has had some good experience with her daughters.  She's shared her experiences here and you might find some ideas in her posts.

momnthefog

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rainbowdash

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2017, 02:56:27 PM »
Thanks for your detailed reply momnthefog.

Can u elaborate on the warning signs.

I think a part of me believes that my brother wouldn't be what he is today if he was treated with a lot more kindness, compassion and understanding. I'm trying to do that with my child and the difference is astounding. Her reactions have mellowed quite a bit. It is extremely difficult for me to be understanding because I've never had it modelled to me.

My reason for asking is because everyone agrees that genes, nurture, environment all play a role in pd. If a kid has genetic propensity towards pd, then can the other factors compensate enough to give them a chance.

No matter how much suffering PDS perpetuate, I can't stop thinking about how much more they are suffering inside.

I know I dropped the ball in the first 5 yrs of my dds life, so I'm looking for any saving grace to make sure she grows up to be a well adjusted adult.

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Wild Lupines

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2017, 03:08:48 PM »
My opinions come from my own experience, feel free to use or discard them as you like...

I'm a foster-adoptive mom now of over 20 years. I adopted three kids from foster care and have fostered others. All of my kids came from backgrounds of severe trauma, including PD parents. I had a malevolent PD mom and was raised in abuse myself, so I understand what it is like.

My kids came to from some really horrifying backgrounds, including one with reactive attachment disorder. Most people would assume my kids would never get better. I am happy to say that all my kids are grown now, or almost grown, and none have a PD. They are all very healthy, high-functioning, empathetic, and loving young adults. You would never assume where they came from if you met them. They are amazing young people, and I am super proud of them!

One thing I discovered in my parenting journey is how important it is we not impose our own worries on our children. I didn't want to either assume my kids would end up like my family, or their own parents. The key is meeting the kid where they are at, honoring who they are as little people, and helping them grow into the best adult they can be. Like you are doing, we try and create harmonious, loving homes where they can flourish. At the same time we are guiding to teach them empathy, compassion, integrity and ethics.

It's important to recognize warning signs and intervene rapidly when needed. For my kid with reactive attachment disorder, I swung into immediate action and got both of us involved in intensive attachment therapies and other help. At one time I had three children all involved in round-the-clock therapies, from occupational therapy to psychiatric care. You're the best judge if your child has a trauma history or is displaying signs of needing intensive interventions, or if this is something you can deal with at home.

I think it's good you can tell when you are triggered. That's important! You have a child who is high-spirited, funny, sensitive and a whole lot of other amazing traits. That is all good stuff!! Power struggles and tantrums are normal at those ages. I've dealt with rages and worse, and still the kids ended up fine. I would suggest that when you feel triggered you have a strategy, and what's more important, own it to your child. I used to say things like, "You know, sweetheart, right now your behavior is hard on me. I'm going to practice my deep breathing. You want to practice with me?" This way the child can see their behavior does affect others, but they are included in the solution.

If possible, instead of punishing her, raising your voice or sending her to time out when she is acting up, have a set list of time in chores that you do together. For instance, if she acts up, her consequence is to wash dishes with you. Or sweep the kitchen floor with you, or rake leaves with you...or whatever. The idea is to facilitate attachment and empathy by showing her that misbehavior doesn't result in shunning (which is a PD trait) but rather compassion and love and responsibility and working it out together (healthy traits).

I believe it is very important that children be raised with clear expectations and structure. I made sure they could channel kinetic energy into sports and play. At the same time I had firm expectations for behavior.

To do this I created simple house rules. My house rules are : 1) Kindness 2) Good manners 3) No rudeness. By putting the focus on interpersonal skills I was able to focus on the stuff that matters. I let a lot of stuff go...that traumatized, spirited son had his share of bad grades, for instance. But by focusing on the interpersonal skills he was able to learn how to work with others, and the grades eventually caught up. I believe everything flows from attachment. Once a child learns attachment, which means empathy and developing a conscience, then that is the foundation of all growth.

Your family history doesn't mean your lovely daughter will develop a PD. I didn't develop a PD and I was raised in such a family, and my kids didn't either. More than anything I suggest trying to enjoy your daughter as much as possible. Find activities you love doing together. Petting zoos? Nature walks? Reading together? Playing with paint and making art together? Feed both your souls with fun activities that bring you together. This will help reassure you that you have a wonderful child and are a great mom. Because you are!!


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momnthefog

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2017, 04:25:57 PM »
wild lupines those are great idea and comments!

To clarify I have two adopted kids without PDs who were in a similar institutionalized setting. Why the didn't develop PDs yet came from similarly troubled early environment is a mystery to me.

warning signs...in my son who is ASPD would be oppositional behavior.  I believe there were also times when he was lying/manipulating and b/c he was the oldest I chose to believe him rather than younger kids.  he was my first child and I had no comparison...once other kids came along and I could see the difference, it was shocking.  I'm not sure where the line is drawn between oppositional and headstrong.  many would call me headstrong, but I'm not oppositional.  I do break rules just because I can....I suppose in my mind that's the difference....rule breaking for the fun of pressing boundaries.

Warning sign for my daughter the BPD would be difficulty in regulating her emotions.  From an early age she was able to turn off and on emotions.  It was like a faucet.  On/off.  Tears/rage/joy.....I think early intervention had a really understood more would have been helpful.  When they were adopted no one was talking about reactive attachment disorder.  She is fairly high functioning BPD and has made progress of sorts with some counseling on her own, but she still struggles to maintain relationships longer than 6-9 months and her life is often full of drama of some sort or another.

And....my bio kids have had their issues.....but I'm focusing on what I feel I saw but ignored in these two as children. 

I do agree with wild lupine that there are many who are born into families with PDs who are compassionate and full of empathy....but I guess often we (my mom is NPD) are codependent overgivers and enablers, rescuers.   :stars:  I'm certain that a T would dx me with all of those.

this is a great discussion and I hope other will continue to share.
"She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible.  She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings."

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rainbowdash

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2017, 06:14:28 AM »
Your family history doesn't mean your lovely daughter will develop a PD. I didn't develop a PD and I was raised in such a family, and my kids didn't either. More than anything I suggest trying to enjoy your daughter as much as possible. Find activities you love doing together. Petting zoos? Nature walks? Reading together? Playing with paint and making art together? Feed both your souls with fun activities that bring you together. This will help reassure you that you have a wonderful child and are a great mom. Because you are!!

Thank you so much for your detailed reply Wild Lupines. It is reassuring to hear that there is hope. All I see around me are either PD kids or completely docile, compliant kids based on the parenting style of my extended family. It is nice to hear that your children were able to overcome such trauma and create a calm life for themselves, with your help ofcourse.

My daughter didn't go through such trauma. Her issues are more - sending her to nursery when she was barely 2, sleep training using sleep lady shuffle method around 2.5, leaving her with my husband and in-laws for a month and going to my parents house to recover from meningitis, my dealing with post-natal depression and then me travelling for a week every month for 6 months, while my parents and husband looked after her and losing my temper with her when I got overwhelmed. I spanked her a few times when she was younger when I lost control, but realised it was awful and stopped and not done it in more than 3.5 years. These things seem to affect her greatly. She finds it difficult to take no for answer. I began to worry and really read up about it, when I noticed she was lying. I did realise that may be I was expecting too much from her, so I eased off. She is extremely defiant, hates to be corrected and takes everything so seriously.

I'm debating whether taking her to a psychiatrist will help or should I give it a few more months calming things down at home and seeing.

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rainbowdash

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2017, 06:22:28 AM »
warning signs...in my son who is ASPD would be oppositional behavior.  I believe there were also times when he was lying/manipulating .....

Warning sign for my daughter the BPD would be difficulty in regulating her emotions.  From an early age she was able to turn off and on emotions.  It was like a faucet.  On/off.  Tears/rage/joy.....

I find these two signs in my daughter - Oppositional behaviour and switching from one emotion to another instantly and also going from 0 - 100 in an instant. She is fairly dramatic too, everything is a catastrophe i.e. a small cut, graze or stubbed toe is the end of the world.

However, I noticed something today... I had asked her to turn off the lights in her room before coming downstairs and she forgot. I saw it and asked her to go turn it off. She said "You do it", so I went upstairs and did it myself. As I was coming down, I heard her muttering "But it's not my job... if its my job and I don't do it, then mummy will be angry". I replied, "You don't turn off the lights because mummy will be angry if you don't. You turn off the lights because you care about not wasting electricity." and I went about doing my own thing and started loading the car. She came outside behind, closing the door behind her and said "Mummy, I closed the door and turned off the lights". I said "thank you" and we went off to school.

I think I handled it pretty well. May be she is feeling attacked/shamed when I tell her things. I don't know how to get it through to her that I'm on her side and that she shouldn't feel so threatened. It could be because I was unkind and shouting and yelling before. I like to think that I could reverse things now. Any ideas?


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Wild Lupines

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2017, 02:10:27 PM »
I think it takes time. In foster care they say to expect at least a year in a new home before the child begins to trust. You daughter has experienced a lot of chaos. I'm not saying that to judge you in any way. She had you traveling and leaving her at times, and this can be very concerned to a sensitive child. Then you would raise your voice, and that can also be traumatic to a sensitive child. Again, not shaming you in any way. She needs time to understand the dynamic has change.

You can't let her defiance and rigidity run the household (or you). Just a thought, but when you asked her to turn off the light and she told you to do, that might be a time to set a gentle but firm boundary. When she gets away with telling you no and making you do it, that reinforces her defiance, because she gets to boss you around. I would say something like, "In our home we turn off lights to save electricity." Then depending on what works with the specific child, I might use humor. "Race you up the stairs to turn off that light!!" Or I might I might use sympathy. "I know its not fun to have to go back up the stairs, and you're probably stressed getting ready for school. But you need to turn off the light. How about I give you a hug when you get back down?" Figure out what works for her. In over twenty years of therapeutic fostering, I've found a surprising number of kids respond to warm, loving humor, as well as rewards. The point is not let her be able to defy you, but to find gentle ways to break the defiance cycle.

I use rewards a lot to break these negative cycles. I don't think it spoils kids, it's a temporary technique to move past the defiance. After all, us adults like rewards too, we want to get paid at work, and have a nice treat at the end of a long day. Same with kids.  One thing I've done is have a treat basket. It's a special basket filled with little toys, I get them super cheap at the dollar tree, and special little treats like a favorite gum. When a defiant child does something without arguing, they get to pick from the treat basket. That rewards positive behavior. I also "catch" kids being good and make sure to reward them. For instance, catch your daughter playing peacefully, or resolving a conflict with a peer, and take her aside and tell her how proud you are of, and offer to celebrate this awesomeness that she is.

Finally, for the histrionics and dramatic response to tiny incidents, I think in terms of not feeding the behavior. So if she runs to you with a stubbed toe acting like she lost a limb, it's okay to me muted and calm in response, saying something like, "Oh, I'm sorry to see that. Hey, did you finish that drawing?" In other words, redirect her. Reward positive behavior, ignore irritating behavior and set firm boundaries around negative behavior.

I hope I'm not out of line with these suggestions, they are just things that have worked with me & my kids....feel free to ignore them or whatever you like!!!


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rainbowdash

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2017, 05:42:23 AM »
Thanks for the advice wild lupines. It helps a lot. More than you can believe.

After yesterday's lights episode, she turned off all the lights upstairs by herself, without prompting.

You are right, I have been a very bad mother to my kid. I was a good enough mother, who did her best for a mellow kid, may be. But for my super sensitive high needs baby, I was an awful mother. I have a lot of trauma within me which caused it. I didn't know my childhood was abusive until Jan this year. My brother kicked me out of a company we both started together, that I invested $35k in and then turned around and said I threw him under the bus when I quit. That was when I came across NPD and my life turned upside down.

I see my upbringing in a different light and see how many things of my mum's that I unconsciously repeated with my daughter. If I could burn myself alive for it, I would. Honest. It is so shameful. If I had known, I wouldn't have had a kid. I truly believe that if my brother had been shown compassion, he would have turned out ok. But my mom simply resented him, dreaded him. Just like I resent and dread my daughter. I feel terrible for feeling this way. I don't even know if that feeling is mine or my mother's. She keeps saying "children r a pain in the heart", "in my next life, I'm sure I will be childless", "I need to cut off from my kids to be happy". Now I don't know if I feel these towards my daughter or if I'm parroting my mother.

I felt the same way about my in-laws. She hated them, so I thought I hated them. But when I was with them, I loved them and felt so comfortable. This feeling was very confusing for me. Finally, I reconciled that I like my in-laws, they mean well and my mom is messed up.

I don't know if I'm projecting my feelings for my brother onto my daughter. One thing is for sure.... If I'm present and in the moment, then I absolutely adore and enjoy my daughter. But it is hard for me to stay present. I get triggered a lot, have lots of flashbacks and get anxious and snappy.

If I can manage to stay present then I think my daughter has a chance. Sometimes I resent t, why did I have to have such a difficult child? Sometimes I feel that I messed her up. Sometimes I feel she chose me because I have the determination to give her the care she needs. She would wither away under a mum like mine.

I'm sorry if I'm rambling. It's just there are so many conflicting thoughts in my head. I wish I could just bury my head in the sand.

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momnthefog

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2017, 11:37:39 AM »
It sounds like, in addition to parenting questions and challenges, there are a number of things you are trying to work through related to your FOO.  Have you considered counseling for you?

Have you read Drama of the Gifted Child or Complex PTSD?  Both of those are excellent books that help get to the root of childhood issues.  In the last couple of years I've begun to recognize the dysfunction in my FOO and how that impacted my choices, my parenting, my outlook on life, how I respond to others. 

"She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible.  She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings."

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rainbowdash

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2017, 12:34:25 PM »
You are right momnthefog. I'm going through and processing a lot. I have considered counselling. I was in therapy for 2 years for post natal depression and did CBT and IPT then. I'm still unpacking the PD aspect of my family and it makes so many things clear.

I'm reading the Parenting the intense child using DBT techniques book. I think those techniques are applicable for both myself and my daughter. I will leave this thread open and come back to post updates frequently.

Reading this forum, especially posts from parents of teens/pre-teens gives me hope. I also feel that if I'm able to ground myself, it will help a lot.

Thanks so much for everyone for your inputs. Please keep sugesstions/anecdotes coming. It is really helping a lot.

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biggerfish

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2017, 04:56:15 PM »
  • Is there anything you wish you'd done differently to make your kids turn out different?
  • Can you pinpoint the trauma that caused your child to become what they are today?
  • What would you say your pitfalls were?
  • What advice would you give a mum of a young child so that her child doesn't go down the BPD path?
  • Finally, was anyone able to turn around things with a child i.e. been bad parent but turned around and met the child's needs and reformed the child's personality?
   

  • My one PD child needed more of my attention than she could get, as I had five children. To have done a better job, I needed to have had fewer children. That said, I really wanted to have five, so I'm not sure I would change things, knowing what I know now.
  • I didn't know that PD is caused by a particular trauma. In my kid's case, she first presented with OCD when she was quite little. I don't have any idea what could have led to that. Later she was diagnosed with bi-polar but I think she has borderline personality disorder. I can't connect it to anything in particular.
  • I had anxiety, and was overwhelmed by my parenting job. So my pitfalls were in lack of patience mostly.
  • Do just what you're doing. That is, when possible, put yourself in your child's shoes and see the world from their point of view. Just be awake and alert. Trust your instincts about how to handle things, but also consult experts.
  • I'm not sure I could have done much for my daughter's personality. It seemed pretty in-born to me. So I come around to my first answer -- a little more attention would have helped her. But I think she was born with the PD.

Rainbow, I think it's wonderful that you're asking these questions. Your kid is lucky indeed. And it sounds to me like you're already doing a great job.
 

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rainbowdash

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2017, 12:42:47 PM »
Thanks biggerfish. Your comment brought tears into my eyes. I am trying my best. I decided not to have more kids because of health issues, but now I'm glad I decided that. At least I can give her 100% attention and hope for the best. If at the end of it all, I look back like you and say I gave it my best, without regret, I think that will be a win for me. Like you said, some kids are wired up differently. She might still be an intense adult, but if I can give her tools to be a functional happy human being, I will consider it a job well done.

Just yesterday, I dealt with a difficult situation with my daughter. I work full time, so I enrolled her in a holiday club for 4 days (while I managed to take the rest of the christmas break off). She has immense difficulty mingling with new people, making friends and dealing with unknown situations. She was in complete distress yesterday and her stomach was churning with anxiety. She was begging me not to send her there, but I truly had no choice. I did contemplate working from home and just keeping her home, but I felt she needed to learn to face this fear. Earlier, I would have shouted on her or resented her for making things so much more difficult for me, but last night, I validated and re-validated her 100 times. I empathised with her that it must be hard to meet new people. I also wrote a note that she can show the staff members to give me a call if she needs me and gave it to her. I showed her that my office is right across the street from her club. Finally, I stayed for around 20 mins until she settled in the session. I told her that she is having tummy butterflies and the butterflies are fluttering about because they get too excited about going to a new place. All she needs to do is tell the butterflies to calm down and go to sleep. Framing it this way, helped her a lot. I did not receive a call from the holiday club so far, and I will be able to go pick her up in 30 mins. I hope she is having a good day. I'm expecting outbursts after I pick her up, but I will let her calm down with TV and see how the day goes.

DBT techniques are hard, but they seem to be showing hope for me.

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solongStockholm

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2018, 09:44:54 AM »
Rainbowdash- I worry similarly for my DD2. What's helped me WONDERS is a podcast called Unruffled. The host/speaker is Janet Lansbury who has very quickly become my parent model. Here's her website, but I still suggest the podcast as she tackles tricky/difficult/confusing infant/toddler/child behaviors one at a time, each in a 15 minute episode. The format is perfect for me, not overwhelming and after every 15 minute episode I walk away with some actionable step. So empowering.

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rainbowdash

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2018, 07:03:46 AM »
Thank you SolongStockholm! I will look it up. The parenting with DBT techniques is helping me a lot. I see a marked improvement in my daughter's behaviour. I can see how difficult it is for her to regulate her emotions. I'm able to be present and help her manage them slightly better. I'm not feeling attacked when she has a massive crying fit anymore. Once she cries her heart out, she is able to handle the situation a little bit better. I'm able to heal myself a little bit each time I help her.

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zephyrblue

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2018, 12:27:44 PM »
rainbowdash, you are going through a lot right now. Being a parent is stressful by itself.  You're coming Out of the FOG at the same time.  My hat is off to you.

I am the adult child of a uPD, alcoholic father and enabling and maybe covert PD mother.   I am childless by choice, partially because I didn't want the responsibility of a child and because I was afraid I'd mess up my kid if I had one. 

IMO the fact that you are aware that your daughter's behavior triggers you and are actively seeking help to manage her and your own responses better bodes well for the whole situation.  Here are two bits of advice that I think will go a long way with your daughter.

1.  If you lose your cool and yell or are too harsh with her, at a later time when things are calmer apologize in an age-appropriate way to her.  You don't have to beat yourself up.  A concise, honest apology will go a long way.  (The only apology I ever got from my parents was a single "I'm sorry you feel that way" from uPDfather. Even at 13 yrs old I realized it was a non-apology.)

2.  Take a little time each day to simply be with and listen to your daughter.  I understand that on some days that will be difficult.  It won't always be fun.  But if you're just there and letting her be her--providing she's not acting out or anything--those moments of acceptance, companionship, and love will be remembered. 

 :bighug:

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rainbowdash

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2018, 07:09:06 AM »
Thanks to everyone who has replied so far. It's been over a month since I started this thread and the changes I'm seeing are amazing. I was able to work out my resentment at being a mother. I'm able to be more present with my daughter. In fact, I'm able to recognise and side step a lot of my own triggers. Basically, I figure out that A is my trigger, then I figure out what kind of events cause the trigger A. Then I figure out how I can avoid creating the sequence of events that lead to A i.e. if trigger A has 5 steps, if I get to step 1 or 2, I figure out how to avoid getting to step 3 and escalating the situation. This DBT technique is helping me quite a lot.

1.  If you lose your cool and yell or are too harsh with her, at a later time when things are calmer apologize in an age-appropriate way to her.  You don't have to beat yourself up.  A concise, honest apology will go a long way.  (The only apology I ever got from my parents was a single "I'm sorry you feel that way" from uPDfather. Even at 13 yrs old I realized it was a non-apology.)

Zephyrblue - How did you know to write this today? I really really needed to see this. Last night I had over scheduled myself. Over-scheduling and rushing is one of my big triggers and it also triggers my kid. I was already on edge and started getting snappy, but I was controlling myself. Then came the time to wash my kid's hair. Now, hair combing, washing, drying are a major trigger for me. I have a sensitive scalp and my mother was ruthless with my hair. If I shouted or complained, she would get very angry and amp up the pulling. My daughter has sensitive scalp too and no matter how gently I try to do, she screams at me and I get triggered and react like my mother did. I'm conscious of it happening, but I can't really stop it. It's like a runaway steam train. I see the destruction happening, but can't stop it.

Anyway, when she screamed and shouted, I raised my voice in a tantrumy way and said "Why do you always scream and shout when I'm trying so hard to be gentle. No matter how much I try, I always fail and it frustrates me. it's like I can never get it right." She shouted back that I hurt her a lot when i touch her hair, and she wanted her dad to do it. Her dad has a new job with 4 hour commute, so he can't do it anymore and I said that to her. We both calmed down and finished the hair washing. Then it was time for hair drying and she wanted to watch a video. Her dad always let's her watch the video. My phone was downstairs and I wasn't up for going all the way down and bringing it up so I asked, can you manage without just for today, and she screamed no. I lost it. I threw the hair dryer on the floor, walked away, got the phone, set the peppa pig show and did her hair drying (rather roughly because I was imploding inside). After that, I put her clothes on, got her into the bed.

Then I simply hugged her and said "I love you baby" in a normal voice. She asked me "Why did you throw the hair dryer". I answered "I threw it because I was angry and that was a very bad thing to do. No matter how angry I was, I shouldn't have thrown it, because we don't throw things in our house. It was wrong to do that and I'm sorry and I promise I will not do it again. Were you scared?" She said she didn't know what I was thinking, why I threw it, why I walked away, whether I was coming back. I told her it wasn't her doing. I just got very angry and it wasn't right. She told me that she is trying not to shout when i touch her hair, but her brain tells her it is hurting even though its not hurting. I told her that I will learn from daddy how to do the hair and I only know how my mummy did it. My daughter concluded that her dad's mom was gentle with hair, so dad is gentle. My mom wasn't, so I'm not. I'm in the learning pit and I need to learn how to be gentle. The we hugged it out and she went to sleep. 

2.  Take a little time each day to simply be with and listen to your daughter.  I understand that on some days that will be difficult.  It won't always be fun.  But if you're just there and letting her be her--providing she's not acting out or anything--those moments of acceptance, companionship, and love will be remembered. 
I'm making it a point to spend a lot of time with her, when she is calm and peaceful so that she associates my presence not only with tantrums but with happy times as well. I think this is very important for me, as I can remember how wonderful she really is and how I don't need to get triggered for everything.

I feel that I'm building a little trust with her. She seemed to give me the benefit of doubt yesterday. She did say, "you don't normally do these things, you must have gotten carried away from the golden rules. Normally, you are telling me these things, but today I have to tell you." God bless her!!!!

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zephyrblue

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2018, 01:50:30 PM »
I have a sensitive scalp and my mother was ruthless with my hair. If I shouted or complained, she would get very angry and amp up the pulling.

This is flat-out physical abuse.  I'm so sorry you had to suffer through that, rainbowdash. 

You're making great progress with your own triggers and handling DD!   :yourock:

She told me that she is trying not to shout when i touch her hair, but her brain tells her it is hurting even though its not hurting.

Your little girl sounds precocious. <3 

Suggestion: perhaps you and DD could practice combing her hair sometime other than just after baths when things are nice and calm.  You and she could try different brushes and techniques.  DD would have the opportunity to tell you what feels good and what doesn't.  You could encourage DD to really listen to her body so she could tell the difference between what her brain is telling her and what actually hurts.  I think that when everyone is calm she'll be better able to sort it out.

I used to live with my S.O. (significant other).  He has four young children.  We're still together, but I moved out for several reasons.  One of those was the negative patterns he got into with his kids, and how he refused to try to do things differently even though I was right there offering to help, brainstorm, etc.  The stress was too much for me.  ANYWAY, I say this because I had some success with one of the girls, who was seven when the following happened.  I'll call her Mary.

Mary was easily frustrated by trying to cut her food with a fork and butter knife.  She instead asked my S.O. or I to do it.  Mary has good motor skills, so I encouraged her to cut it herself.  I showed her how to do it.  My S.O.'s food-cutting technique is slightly different than mine.  He'd confuse the issue by showing her how to do it his way.  I said that I didn't care, whichever works best for Mary.  Meanwhile Mary was hungry and just wanted to eat.  Nine times out of ten S.O. cut the food for her just to get it over with, and Mary "couldn't" use a fork and knife properly.  Also, Mary's biological mother has some serious issues and enables/allows all sorts of nonsense at her house.  I am sure that biomom cuts Mary's food for her.

Since it's ludicrous that a seven-year old can't use a knife and fork, one time when the kids were playing with Play-Doh I asked Mary if she wanted to practice using a knife and fork.  She did!  We made a game of it.  We made Play-Doh food, and she practiced cutting.  There was no stress or angst.  It was fun.  So rainbowdash, I was thinking that you might be able to make games out of some of the stressful patterns you and your DD have.  Hope this helps!
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 01:52:55 PM by zephyrblue »

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rainbowdash

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2018, 04:37:04 PM »
This is absolutely brilliant advice zephyrblue. I didn't know about detanglers because obviously I've never seen one. I saw it at a hairdressers one day and I immediately bought it. I also spoke to my daughter and she agreed that she would love shorter hair so I researched hair styles and showed her a picture of a short bob... She loved it and now has short hair that she happily combs with the detangler.

My mum was anal about having tidy hair... If my hair was ruffled or I was wearing torn clothes when someone came home, I would be screamed at and called names. At the same time, she wouldn't mend the clothes or care that I was running around in torn clothes all day. So for me, having messy hair is a big trigger. My kid is happy to lightly comb her Bob and stick a hairband on and go to school. I'm allowing her to go that way and it is taking all my strength to not try and make it look all nice and pretty.

Thank you so much for all the support. I always thought I had wonderful parents. It is hard seeing the truth.

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medmama

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Re: Advice Needed: Moulding a small child's personality away from BPD
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2018, 11:30:50 AM »
Thank you for sharing this on the forum rainbowdash. Iíve never ventured into the parents discussion before, but I can relate to so much of what youíre sorting out with your young daughter. Our 6 yr old daughter sounds very similar, a highly sensitive child, with epic tantrums, which are triggered and worsening with our impatience.

Iím also trying to sort out how to help steer her away from full blown PD, as I am fairly certain her mom (my partner) has uBPD/NPD.  Her mother (my MIL) has a full constellation of GAD, maybe OCD, NPD/BPD, but is on meds and in therapy, with fairly good insight into her issues/triggers, and aware of my partnerís undiagnosed and untreated issues. Even my MIL is expressing concern for our daughter. My partner, on the other hand, refuses to acknowledge or address her own behaviours and minimizes and normalizes our daughterís behaviours.

I am very much aware, and trying my best to manage both of them. And failing, at that. To the point my own irritability and resentment (toward both of them now) is getting in the way.

It was really helpful to read the advice in your thread and how you are responding and modifying your interactions with your daughter. I need all the help I can get too.  If you have any updates or additional advice, Iíd love to hear it.