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I'm sorry for the delay in responding but the subject is so painful to me. I did want to let you all know how much your words have helped me. They are like salve on a wound.

FoggedFrog, thanks. It is painful for me to remember the time (as a young teen) when I was cruel to my brother and copied our father. It has taken me most of my life to forgive myself for that. I did get a chance to apologize again to my brother again and this has allowed me to let him go. At least he knows I am sorry. Since that time (about age 16) I have tried really hard to break my family's generational cycle of abuse. I know I succeeded with my children, at least. I don't think I"m the bravest of the four of us, perhaps just the luckiest.

Cordelia, Your relationship with your younger sister sounds so much like my relationship with my brothers. I am glad you had the courage to say No to her requests, but I really understand the guilt over saying No. Isn't it funny how we can draw boundaries when our children are involved, boundaries that we couldn't draw for ourselves? I had never heard the term sibling concierge service, it is very useful. In my case, my brothers rarely asked me to do things for them, I just offered and offered because I felt they had no real parents. Well, that's not entirely true. One brother did demand a lot of academic help in college, and another (I suspect) wants to renew contact for self-serving reasons. But for the most part, I offered and they accepted but didn't really care about me otherwise. Each time I start to doubt myself, though, I will try to remember what you said about logical conclusions, because it's true.

Kate, I did not know that anyone else lived in fear of another's suicide, and felt an irrational sense of responsibility over it. Thank you for helping me feel less alone. I know that people are responsible for their own choice, but I alway struggled with the idea that no one ever has any responsibility for another's suicidal acts. What if you had done something terrible to them? Wouldn't a drunk driver, say, who caused a child's death, be responsible for the mother's depression? I still haven't figured this out yet, but I guess the answer is still no. I guess we are only responsible for our own lives. Thank you for helping me as I release my responsibility for my brother's life.
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Going No Contact with a PD Parent / Fear Guilt and Anxiety
« Last post by Holly1234 on Today at 01:38:46 AM »
I officially went NC with my Nmum 6 months ago. It has been a year since I've seen her and the only phone conversation I've had in that time is a call 6 months ago to tell her I was no longer speaking to her.

I had an outwardly 'charmed' childhood. My father (who is now deceased) was a surgeon and he made more than enough money to pay for me and my older brother (who was 5 years older than me) to go to private school and live in a nice house etc. My parent’s marriage was both their second marriages and my father had three children by previous marriage. We had intermittent contact with them while growing up (they lived in different parts of the country).

Growing up my Nmum was obsessed with appearances. She wore only designer clothes, jewellery etc and drove only expensive cars. In retrospect this was all a part of her narcissism. When it came to a roof over my head and a good education: there was nothing lacking. However, there was zero emotional engagement and after many sessions in therapy I realise my NMum was emotionally abusive and neglectful. She would intermittently ‘love bomb’ with expensive gifts to keep me feeling indebted to her.

My brother was a bully. He focused on my every weakness and ridiculed everything I was interested in, he bullied my friends and recruited his friends to bully me as well. He was aggressive, intimidating and at times violent (there was an incident when he was 19 and I was 14 that he held a knife to my neck).

My father attempted to intervene at times. My Nmum was always passive, often justifying and condoning my brother behaviours. It was clear that my role was to ‘go along’ with things and never raise an issue. My Nmum turned a blind eye to my brothers behaviour and she would join in on belittling me in a passive aggressive way (I was constantly told I was ‘too sensitive’ and ‘easily offended’).

My parents marriage started to fall apart when I was 14. My brother had been moved in to an apartment that my parents had bought for him so I was the only one at home during this time. My mother enjoyed going clubbing and would be out 4 night a week, returning at 11pm drunk. Her and my father would argue until 2am in the morning. My Nmum set up the narrative that my father was an angry controlling man (which in retrospect was unlikely to be the case) to justify her ‘need’ to avoid the house and drink 4 nights a week. They separated when I was 16. They did not discuss with me that they would be divorcing, my mother’s only statement was ‘some relationships have an expiry date.’

The aftermath involved both of my parents coming to me with their problems. Including lengthy discussions about how horrible the other one was. My nmum moved her boyfriend in to the house within a year of the divorce. My father remarried and moved overseas soon after. My Nmum refused to catch up or have interactions with me without her boyfriend there. He was aggressive and entitled (likely emotionally immature and now someone with a PD).

The abuse from my brother and what I now realise was covert/vulnerable narcissistic behaviour from my Nmum continued in my early adulthood. I eventually went NC with my brother after continued bullying.

It took me a lot longer to go NC with my Nmum, the catalyst being a death threat from her boyfriend and her starting to belittle and degrade my son.

After a lot of therapy, I realise now that my family had set me up as the scapegoat many years ago. The narrative was that I was ‘spoilt’, had two loving parents, and all of my success was as a result of their financial investment in me. This view is also shared by all of my siblings. Any time I ever raised any issue, I was gaslit, dismissed and bullied.

I am incredibly grateful for all the opportunities I have been given. I have made sure to work incredibly hard and built a successful life and I have a happy marriage and a beautiful son. Going NC was the right decision, I could not watch my son be subjected to the same treatment as I was. I also don’t think my wife could continue to be around my Nmum who makes constant cruel and belittling remarks all while maintaining a façade of being the ‘perfect’ mil. My Nmums entitled behaviour was taking a toll on our marriage. Her boyfriend was obsessed with our son and also expected to be treated as a grandparent. They demanded ideal relationships.

I’m not sure what my reasons are for writing in the forum. I can’t seem to let go of all the guilt. I felt like I was left with no choice but to go NC. I had tried everything else, low contact, grey rock etc. There was no way to maintain a relationship with my Nmum. In my last conversation with her she continued to use the same narrative of ‘I didn’t realise you were so sensitive’, ‘but you were such a happy child’, ‘you are so easily offended’, ‘you’re taking that out of context.’ Anytime she acknowledged anything, it was lip service in the hope that I would yet again go along with things and maintain the family image.

I know there is no chance she will change and my priority has to be protecting my family. She actively triangulates and demeans. However, it still hurts to think of all of the smear campaigns that are going on. I was my Nmum’s emotional support animal throughout my childhood. I stood up for her, I stayed the ‘perfect child’ to counteract the behaviours of my brother. I have sacrificed enough. The financial help they gave feels more like blackmail than anything else. I look at my son and remind myself that there is no way that I would ever feel that he ‘owed’ me for things I did for him as a child or a young adult.

I want to be able to break the cycle with my family. Maybe I need support in having the fortitude to continue to stay ‘no contact’? A community that won’t judge me for ‘being spoilt’ and being the fly in the ointment to their image of a perfect family.
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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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