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Common Behaviors / Re: Aunt Flo and PD behaviors.
« Last post by IcedCoffee on Yesterday at 11:59:49 PM »
Ouch.

uBPDw had 2nd vaccination yesterday. She spent two weeks researching the effects and getting anxious. I was mostly MC but did once say "I'll be there if you need me." That got me both barrels at point blank range!
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Common Behaviors / Re: Aunt Flo and PD behaviors.
« Last post by 11JB68 on Yesterday at 11:40:52 PM »
IC I can relate to a upd spouse being triggered by health related topics. For decades Updh would not see a Dr. If he made a physical complaint and I suggested he should see a Dr for it he would blow up, rage, catastrophize etc. I stopped suggesting it. He ended up in the er with a heart attack just over a year ago...
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Dealing with PD In-Laws / Re: The Mask Slipped in Spectacular Fashion
« Last post by Sneezy on Yesterday at 11:08:04 PM »
When my mom moved near me (two and a half years ago) she was taking the maximum amount of hydrocodone that Medicare would allow her to get per day.  Her doctor prescribed it for her after knee surgery in 2003 and just kept her on it through the years.  Yes, mom has bad knee pain, she is barely mobile, and her arthritis is debilitating.  It still does not justify the high dose of hydrocodone.  When mom moved here, her new doctor wouldn't prescribe it for her.  And there was hell to pay.  She was not addicted, but she was physically and mentally dependent on it.  It was just one more difficult thing in a very difficult year.  At one point, Mom had a huge meltdown because she had seen a news story on how taking too much Tylenol was bad for your liver.  She started carrying on that she needed her hydrocodone because it was so much safer and better for her than Tylenol, and why couldn't I see that, and why wouldn't the new doctor give it to her, and why did she move near me when I clearly didn't care about her pain, etc., etc., etc.

I truly blame the medical/pharmaceutical industry for this horrible opioid problem.  Doctors prescribe, or used to prescribe, opioids on a regular basis.  For god's sake, when my kids were teenagers, their dentist gave them a 30-day supply of opioids for minor wisdom teeth removal.  It got out of hand.  And then all of sudden, the tables turned, and now we blame people for being addicted to this stuff.  It is unconscionable.

However, none of this changes the fact that your MIL is addicted and, as others have said, boundaries are now more important than ever.  I'm sorry your husband has to deal with his mother's addiction.  But if he can see the addiction as the number one problem at this point, and set boundaries accordingly, it may also help in dealing with the PD. 
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Dealing with PD Parents / Re: does it ever hit you that you're unloveable?
« Last post by doglady on Yesterday at 10:29:52 PM »
When I started T, several decades ago, the therapist asked me why I was there and how she could help me. I burst into tears and when I was finally able to consider what I wanted, I told her that I wanted them to fix me so that I would be someone that my family would love.
The shocked expression on her face will live in my memory forever as 'OMG what the hell kind of people has this poor girl been dealing with, to deliver her into a puddle of tears on my office floor?'
It still comes in waves in rotten moments.
But the expression on that counsellor's face is the best remedy I have to fight it.
I hope you'll imagine it & use my memory every time that rises up.
Abuse is abuse is abuse and the shame for that belongs with others, not with you.  :bighug:


Sandpiper, I had a very similar experience in my early 20s. The psychologist basically said to me: 'I think you need to get right away from your parents.' He was right. Unfortunately it took me a few more years to do it.

I also used to spend a lot of time, even as a very little girl, thinking 'what can I do to make my parents like me?' I have to keep telling that little girl she deserved someone to love her.

But basically, my short answer to the question posed is: Yes.

The long answer:

Although I know on the face of it that I am someone who wants to get along with others, who would hate to harm anyone, and is generally very sensitive to others' pain, I can never really shake the feeling that I am fundamentally unlikeable and unlovable.

There is absolutely no surprise about why I feel this way - my uPDm basically told me from the time I could understand that I was selfish, nasty, that I'd ruined her life and she didn't know where she'd gone wrong with me. She often told my younger GCbro to just 'stay away from her' (usually when the little shit had hit me one too many times or intentionally wrecked something I was creating and I'd had enough and finally retaliated).

Anyhoo, that all set me up nicely for general rock-bottom self esteem and, of course, put a target on my back for school bullies, which my parents would then tell me to ignore or say that they seemed like 'nice kids' to them, or they 'knew their parents' (so, um, it couldn't be that bad!!!??)

So, yeah, I was supposed to put up and shut up. Of course, this led to a love life where I attracted (and was attracted to) narcissistic, unobtainable types (like my unloving distant enF). I also attracted 'friends' who used me as a dumping ground, as I'm caring and a good listener. Often, they were nowhere to be seen if I needed support. I found that if I ever stepped out of my assigned role of people pleaser and available therapist, or if I had the temerity to stand up for myself in a polite manner, even when I made sure I used direct examples, 'I' statements, no blaming or name-calling, etc, it still was the general pattern was that FOO, narc bf's and 'friends' would rage at me for having the audacity to be anything other than their doormat. I used to wonder why people seemed so angry with me if I sometimes assertively pushed back on their behaviours. And I would often default to thinking, oh, I guess I'm in the wrong and should just try and be 'nicer'? After all, I was unlikeable, and I should feel lucky they would deign to put up with me. Of course, nothing changed and I usually just became more depressed and resentful about these relationships. It didn't occur to me that perhaps I was in relationships and friendships with people who were very unsuitable for me.

My other strategy was  to simply make myself scarce, which would then lead to even more rage from these folk because I wasn't complying with their demands. This led, in the end, to a self-reckoning, where I decided no-one gets to push me around anymore, and I did some pruning. This led to further smears and accusations of selfishness, and abandonment, etc. Oh well, it was them or me (see, even writing that makes me feel selfish and unlikeable).

Anyway, I'm at the point now where I do know that I am basically a decent person, who acts in a reasonable manner, and who wouldn't harm a bloody fly. So, after decades of caring about whether others liked me, I think if I a live a life that's about being kind to others while asserting myself when necessary, then other people can decide to like me or not. Some people continue to be extremely angry with me that I have chosen for them not to be in my life, and this triggers my feelings of unlikeability, but I am half-past giving a shit with trying hard with any of it. I've given up on being 'likeable.' It's too exhausting.

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{{doglady}}

You get it. Thank you.

Now, how do we spread the word? Thoughts, Feelings, Ideas?
Anyone?

Because we don’t need anyone else thinking and/or feeling they’re alone and they have this requirement, this burden, this belief somehow there is “more” they “should” do or be.

We are enough. We have done enough. People that come from “good enough” backgrounds never even think about limiting contact or terminating their relationship  with their parents.  How much more evidence do you require to “prove” to you they aren’t as you *know* they are? That their pattern of behavior isn’t your “imagination” etc.?  Please, suggestions regarding some behavioral  benchmarks so those of us who doubt our experiences can point to, see, deeply beyond words understand something concrete and decide, “OK, that’s enough?”

None of us are ever 100% when we go NC it’s the Right Thing.
Rarely is the “Right Thing” the Easy Thing.

The Struggle Is Real™️
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Hi,

there is https://www.mentalhealthforum.net/forum/forums/borderline-personality-disorder-forum.142/ which is for pwBPD (and they have other forums as well). I'd recommend that family and friends of pwBPD take a look there to see things from the BPD perspective. It is very upsetting though, to read what our loved ones are probably going through.
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I agree. That was what "very bad" meant. But your description is a lot more detailed and unfortunately extremely accurate!
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Sit tight-and your reservations are well founded. Your boundaries may very well /
(IMO, should) catch them off guard. You’re.....”different,” somehow and they need a hot sec to adjust. My bet is they’ll roll over and show some rendition of a soft underbelly aka “Well yes of course! I understand what you’re saying...”

Like hell.

If these people are anything they are adaptive in a heartbeat or less. I wish I had been as smart as you a couple of decades ago.
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Any one who tells another adult they “HAVE TO” do anything is blatantly trying to control YOU. Doesn’t *that* behavior ring a bell?! The rest is just details. Promise.

Hey Tundra Woman, it sure does ring bells (shudder). I say this as one who was persistently 'controlled' by my uPDm for about five decades.

This is such an helpful thread, with lots to think about. I agree with what everyone is saying, and can add my experience if it helps anyone.

I too was brought up in a religious household, with a very conservative, controlling uPDm and and a weak enF. So forgiveness was definitely all about turning the other cheek, which played out in our FOO as simply 'putting up and shutting up' at all times, even when I was being bullied at school, for example. My parents would also never call out anyone outside the FOO on poor behaviour. They would seethe and vent about it, though, but then deny they even were doing this, and would certainly rage at me if I had the temerity to point it out.
My uPDm and enF  have always been very submissive people, and regards themselves as 'great helpers' in the community and the church in our small local area. You therefore can imagine the image they had of themselves and how important it was for them to uphold this ideal. But someone had to be sacrificed so that they could maintain this fiction. As I mentioned, I rarely called out their submissive behaviours as I knew they would become angry and attack me. Same with their emotional abuse and incessant criticism of me. There was no point, as their over-reactions would be so damaging to me. I would count the costs and just swallow my pain and shut down even further. Unsurprisingly, I became very depressed as a child and adolescent, for which they then punished me further for not smiling enough. It was a no win situation. Damned if you do...
The rug-sweeping, denial, invalidation and gas-lighting (mostly from my uPDm - my enF would tell me privately that he wanted to leave her!!!) was ongoing, but they seemed to see it as somehow necessary to uphold their image of themselves. They just seemed to live a lie, in my opinion. So yeah, forgiveness in my FOO was about them putting up and shutting up in public, venting in private, then expecting me to put up with their abuse and shut up about it, too. That's logical in PD-world, I guess.

And, as for them requiring forgiveness for anything, well, my uPDm was so perfect and saintly, what would she even need to be forgiven for. She has 'never done anything wrong.' Again, PD logic.

Anyway, I know I am rambling (although this is another thing I was often accused of, if I ever tried to explain something in a nuanced way rather than or question their word salads) but forgiveness for me is a different thing:
I forgive my FOO for all this. Which means I can let go of even needing an apology (I also know I'll never get a real one). For me it is more of a detachment from needing anything from them. I think that on some level 'they were doing their best' (as I keep getting told) but their 'best' certainly wasn't what I needed.  They were certainly able to show my younger four siblings more affection, particularly my uPDGCbro. They fed and clothed me, but showed no real love, attention or approval as far as I can recall, only incessant criticism and scapegoating. Anyway, I no longer need any of this from them. I also don't actually want it anymore.
And for me, forgiveness does not include reconciliation. My parents want the reconciliation (aka have me return to their cult to continue the fiction) but without them having to do any work. Because to work on it would mean they would have to acknowledge some responsibility for the relationship breaking down. And I know them both well enough to know that is NEVER going to happen. It therefore would be very foolish for me to put myself back in harm's way.
So while I wish them well, I will not acquiesce to their demands to visit me or maintain contact, despite them using all sorts of guilt trips to try and compel me to comply, as that would greatly hinder my recovery. They claim I am making them ill by not doing what they want (ie. rejoining their cult), and I hear one way or another about these guilt trips as I live in a very small community with many connections to FOO. However, at this point of my life, I'm putting my needs and those of my H, S and D first. I still feel guilt and that I am fundamentally unlikeable because that's how I was trained. But going back into their cult wouldn't alter any of that. It would soon be back to Square One.

TL;DR: For me, forgiveness is not about rug-sweeping and denial, it is about accepting, and detaching from the situation needing to be other than what it is. Forgiveness is about letting go of any expectations of the other party and just letting them be who they are. Forgiveness doesn't have to include reconciliation where there has been no acknowledgement of, or willingness to work on, the difficulties that led to the breakdown of the relationship.
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Dealing with PD Parents / Re: She can't even hold it in for fifteen minutes
« Last post by doglady on Yesterday at 08:46:01 PM »
Hi Cat,
Boy, do I hear you!
My uPDm told me, ad infinitum, from the time I could understand:
"You were such a sunny-natured child."
"Where did we go wrong?"
"You've ruined my life."
"You are selfish."
"Why can't you be more like...(insert basically anyone)?
I had to mirror her very conservative, religious, traditional opinions or she would sob uncontrollably and say I was upsetting her 'on purpose.'
My life had to unfold according to her script: what I studied, how I had my hair, how I dressed, who I married, what I said, right down to what expressions I was allowed to have on my face, etc etc.
My thoughts were also policed (because apparently she knew what I was thinking at all times and it 'was not nice') .
She controlled me (and enF) with tears, 'illnesses', endless nagging, 'death stares' and pointed silences.
She told others I was a problem child while presenting herself as the long-suffering martyred mother.
I was compared unfavourably with other relatives, my friends, people on TV, anyone really, throughout my childhood and adulthood.
I could go on, but you get the picture. :(

So during my childhood, I just gave up and shut down, because nothing I could do was right. Ever. Unless it conformed with her impossibly exacting standards. And then, of course, I was punished for being sullen and uncommunicative. Talk about a double bind. I was so depressed, and no one helped me. I was just told by my enF to get the scowl off my face.
And on and on and on it went.

As Starboard Song says, this pattern of pervasive negativity takes its toll (does it ever!). The ironic thing about my uPDm is that she also regards herself as THE most positive person around and only ever has 'nice things' to say about others. The interesting thing is, though, that her particular flavour of positivity has always been used as a weapon against me, eg, if I ever mentioned that someone had bullied me at school, I would be answered with something like, "but what did you do?!!" or that she knew that person's mother and they seemed 'such a nice person.'  ::) And so on.
In the end, it was her or me, and I eventually opted right out, in my fifties. I only wish I'd done it decades ago and moved far, far away. Unsurprisingly, attempts have been made to get me back into the cult, via guilt trips, smearing, and gaslighting from other relatives, along with my uPDMIL (who of course my uPDm is now very close with) who all love to tell me that uPDm has only ever 'had my best interests at heart' or 'tried to do her best.'  Honestly, uPDm would win an Oscar for her smarmy, faux-ingenuous, poor sad old lady shtick.

In the end when we do cut off from this kind of relationship, I do think it really is because of death by a thousand cuts (more like a million, really). But often, there is a straw that breaks the camel's back, too. And because this is 'just how they are' they don't see the damage, so that when we go LC, VLC, or finally make the break to NC, they can manifest some semi-genuine kind of shock, which of course allows them to carry on with their narrative of "I just don't know what we've done wrong." Because in their own minds, they haven't done wrong. They are just being their own wonderful selves.

I'll stop rambling, but guess I just wanted to say, this thread really spoke to me, and I feel you and I understand the heavy burden of it. You're not alone.

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