Worried about my mother's paranoid traits

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saskia

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Worried about my mother's paranoid traits
« on: January 04, 2018, 05:24:24 PM »
Hello all.  First post.  This may be long...
I am 37, single, no children of my own.  My mother is 69 and has been with my dad, 70, all her life.  He (a placid man) is getting to the end of his tether with her now and I don't blame him.  I have no siblings.
I suppose for most of my life, I have felt something was a little 'off' with my mother, like there were some things you couldn't say to her/in front of her, but it's only in the past few years that I've really begun to do research and understand things a little more.
Some examples of her behaviour:
When I was younger, I was often accused of pretending not to see her on the street for example, in her words to 'be smart' or 'try to make her look stupid' (I genuinely hadn't seen her and any attempt to explain this was flatly rejected)
When I was a teen, she observed my friends in a group and told me they were 'looking at each other' behind my back (could have been true, who knows)
She regularly told me not to trust women and that they were all 'just jealous'
She told me at the age of 4 (!) that a school friend of mine was just a 'phony' friend (I had to ask her the meaning of the word).  Looking back, I think she did this because she didn't like the girl's mother.
Over the years there have been numerous occasions where I have been accused of: making faces behind her back; making a bad gesture e.g. if I am fixing my eye make up with my finger, I am giving her the finger; making 'smart' comments just to humiliate her (she historically invents slights and insults, reinventing conversations from months ago); laughing at her behind her back; exchanging glances with my dad; plotting to do unspecified things to her: 'you're doing things against me'; deliberately tripping her up at an airport with my wheely case...
I should mention now that she is hard of hearing.  I know there is a correlation between hearing loss and paranoia.  She can hear adequately with a hearing aid but is understandably nervous of socialising.  It has got to the point now where she won't go to any family gathering: my dad has to go alone and make excuses.  There is a local hard of hearing support group but she flatly rejects the idea of going.  She doesn't trust anyone at all (apart from my dad, just about), and hasn't had a single friend in my whole lifetime.  She also hasn't worked since I was born.  Her hearing problems have always been there but apparently got worse after I was born ('you went away with all my goodness') and I think are worse now than ever, though she can actually still hear with her aid.  I understand that that is a real difficulty for her but in all honesty, I'm not sure that her personality would be drastically different even if she had perfect hearing.
All my life god forbid I accidentally spill, drop or break something,  More often than not a drama ensued about how I had done it deliberately to get at her and she 'saw my face while I was doing it'.  My 28th birthday was ruined after I had apparently deliberately spilled a drop of wine on the carpet with a 'bad look' on my face towards her.  She 'just knows' what I'm doing and I 'needn't bother' trying to tell her otherwise.  She 'knows what I'm like'.
She never really has a good word to say about anyone.  Relatives are criticised and accused (never to their faces) of 'getting at her' too.
It has been tiring, so tiring, and things are escalating.
In recent years, she has started to get paranoid about technology.  She thinks strangers, neighbours and family members are plotting together to 'get photos of her'.  On my dad's 70th birthday I made the mistake of checking my phone in front of her in a public place and she accused me aggressively of taking pictures of her with it to 'send on'.  There are dark mentions of photoshop etc.  My dad told me that she suspected family members at a recent funeral of having hidden cameras on their clothing, just to get 'photos of her hands'.  She also believes there are people snooping around their property, surveying, fitting trackers on their car. 
I could go on with the examples.
I live 600 miles away from them and see them once or twice per year.  She isolates herself, that house is like a fortress and she didn't set foot outside once the whole 4 days I was visiting them for Christmas (she is physically healthy).  The whole visit I felt like I was walking on eggshells, then she had a huge tantrum the morning I was leaving about unspecified 'things' that people (including me) are apparently 'doing to her'.  I tried to comfort her and 'focus on the feeling not the accusation' (I've done A LOT of reading) but she remains mistrustful of me, though I can see a glimpse of a woman who just wants to be heard, to be honest.  It's so hard.
My dad is struggling and I am worried about them both.  He has recently retired so I think is seeing her more clearly than before, if that makes sense.  He told me he suggested she go to speak to someone about her 'anxiety' and of course she responded 'they're the ones who need help, not me.'
So what do I do now?  I know I can't make someone seek help but at the same time feel that to just 'leave her to it' is neglectful and uncaring.   I also worry about the future.  If my dad goes before her, she only has me, and she doesn't even trust me, or anyone.
And the effects on me of being brought up by someone like this?  Well, I'm in therapy...and it's doing the world of good.
Please, any advice, commiseration, similar stories?
Thank you for reading...


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louisebt

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Re: Worried about my mother's paranoid traits
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2018, 05:48:10 PM »
Hi Saskia,

I resonate with alot of what you write here. PD's present in different 'flavours' and one of them is paranoid type. My mother is on this side of things, very mistrusting, interprets things very weirdly, which when stressed and now aging and probably brain damage from chronic alcoholism resulted in a recent psychotic delirium, which was terrifying.

The escalation you describe to feeling people are spying/ photographing or bugging her is really getting to the more psychosis end of the scale, which may respond to anti psychotic medication (my mother trusts medication more than therapy!)

She has recovered from this but convinced herself I and my partner was trying to steal her money, her house and control her by getting POA, which has catalysted me coming OOTF and getting unenmeshed from her.

Reading 'understanding the borderline mother' she is a classic 'hermit' type (the core internal storyline they have is 'the world is dangerous') and that book has been so helpful understanding that my mothers distrust of me is not about me, but about her inner world which is very bleak and constantly misinterpreting others behaviour.

in case it's helpful the taglines on dealing with hermit mothers in the book is:

Re-evaluate rather than react to fear

Believe in yourself and our own basic goodness

Expect rejection to follow closeness

Calmly maintain your perspective

Being alone is her choice, not yours

Respond to conspiracy theories with reason

Set limits to preserve your sanity


The hearing loss sounds really hard as it will make the anxiety and misinterpretation of external stimuli much worse.
Unfortunately, in the book it also points out hermits are the least likely of all BPD to accept therapy due to their paranoia and it sounds like your mum is also expressing that. My mother went for a short while a few years ago but as soon as she confided any childhood trauma to the therapist she freaked out and shut down, which is apparently typical.

For me understanding that although my M could look strong and independent on the outside but instilled a deep fear of life and that the world is a hostile horrible place due to her paranoid traits has really helped me work on that stuff for myself.

And I realised that unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, my mother will never really trust anyone, including me, and that will be the undoing of her. Trying to prevent that was exhausting.


« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 05:57:33 PM by louisebt »

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Obliviot

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Re: Worried about my mother's paranoid traits
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2018, 06:01:11 PM »
Welcome!  That sounds really overwhelming, good for you for getting help in therapy and here.  It's reasonable that you're worried about her and what will happen as they both age. 

There's another poster on here who had a care organizer that she paid for that sounded like it was worth every penny, WomanInterrupted was that you? 

Realistically it sounds like your mother would have to transition to a secure care facility permanently, so if you felt up to it you could research one for her that's close to your father. 

 

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saskia

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Re: Worried about my mother's paranoid traits
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2018, 06:23:10 PM »
Hi louisebt

Thank you for this.  it's interesting, because I definitely see the crossover between different PD types.  Aside from the paranoia, I see elements of narcissism in my mother (everything's about her), as well as borderline traits (black and white thinking).  I have been reading the book 'Walking on Eggshells' which is mainly about BPD but a lot of it has been relevant and helpful.

I definitely agree with you about the hermit borderline - I did come across that term online and going to read that book now.  Thank you.  Maybe I'm doing too much 'trying to understand' but I think it's part of the journey I have to go on in order to arrive at the point where I am in the best place to help her.

It's such a strain isn't it?  But you're absolutely right about the bleak inner world, and those quotes help a lot. 

Wishing you the best

**edit** as just seen your edit
Yes!  The instilling of fear and the world being a hostile place.  And her seeming so 'normal' to any outsider.  My mother probably appears independent too, and I know people perceive her as quiet and unassuming, though her interactions are few and far between these days.  Her sister called her on Christmas day to say she was thinking of her and even that was later reflected on as having negative undertones...  My mother sees herself as being the most moral, innocent, misunderstood person in the world...

« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 06:29:47 PM by saskia »

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saskia

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Re: Worried about my mother's paranoid traits
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2018, 06:34:14 PM »
Welcome!  That sounds really overwhelming, good for you for getting help in therapy and here.  It's reasonable that you're worried about her and what will happen as they both age. 

There's another poster on here who had a care organizer that she paid for that sounded like it was worth every penny, WomanInterrupted was that you? 

Realistically it sounds like your mother would have to transition to a secure care facility permanently, so if you felt up to it you could research one for her that's close to your father. 

 

Thank you Obliviot.  It's just so unimaginable her even letting someone in the door who isn't me or my dad.  This all helps me to organise things in my head though, to plan and to present things in a manageable way to my dad.  In a funny kind of way, this is bringing me closer to my dad now we're talking about it.  Every cloud...

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practical

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Re: Worried about my mother's paranoid traits
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2018, 08:51:23 PM »
Welcome to OOTF!

How hard it must have been growing up when the very way you were was wrong. There is unfortunately very little you can do for your M in a direct way. A lack of insight is one of the problems. Would your F or you be able to talk to her GP? Or maybe write out your observations about the paranoia and send it to him? If your M finds out she'll be upset but it seems you are already in the doghouse and have been there for most of your life. Do this only if you think it will ease your mind, I wouldn't count on it achieving anything. You may want to check out NAMI.org and possibly give them a call to find out what your options are. Otherwise try to detach and work on yourself, you are the only person you can heal. Check out the Toolbox     for this.
If Im not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Im only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when? (Rabbi Hillel)

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echo_

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Re: Worried about my mother's paranoid traits
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2018, 09:13:48 PM »
My GM is similar, she isolates, and used to keep duct tape on her computer webcam because she thought someone was watching her. What was damaging to me growing up around delusional thinking was it was never worked on, it was never really addressed and/or validated by anyone as strange or unconventional behavior. It is scary to see abnormal behavior treated as normal, especially when the family just kind of goes along with it or accepts it rather than the person seeking help. I am sorry you had to experience this growing up, especially as young as 4.

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WomanInterrupted

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Re: Worried about my mother's paranoid traits
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2018, 03:00:57 AM »
No, Obliviot, it wasn't me.  It was another poster who hasn't been around for a while.  She had a Geriatric Case Manager coordinating all her mom's care.

This can be found in the Elderly PD Section, but here's the link:

http://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=998okm4fvblapqojt9ej7ftt56&topic=68854.0


Saskia, I think a GCM is an *excellent idea*.   You hire this person - they work for *you.*  They don't hector, browbeat or say things like, "Why don't YOU help them out?" - or otherwise blare the FOGhorn.

I'd hire one close to your parents.  Most of your contact with this person will probably be via phone or email, but that should work - you tell them what's going on, they assess your parents and make determinations on what kind of help/services  they might need, then try to convince them to accept that help or utilize the services.  8-)

If your parents - or one of them - is/are *really* slipping, they'll make recommendations to APS or other professional agencies, while you stay *out of it completely.*  The GCM can be your fall guy, but since you're paying this person, it's really more a matter of him or her just doing his or her job.  :)

If you decide to look into a GCM, don't be afraid to tell the *truth* about your parents - your mom has always been paranoid and seems to be getting worse, your F enabled her but now that he's retired, even *he's* just about had it (so he says, anyway - enablers can talk the talk, but rarely take that walk away from their PD partner, because they have their own issues and their Dysfunctional Dance is *so* involved that they wouldn't know how to function without the other person) - *ANYTHING* that is your truth and pertinent to the situation (such as a refusal to wear hearing aids) should be mentioned to your GCM, so this person gets the correct lay of the land, so to speak.

How do you explain to your mom, who is paranoid, that somebody is coming in to just kind of scope out the situation, ask questions and just get to know them?

You don't.  You tell your DAD and he can tell her, since he picked her.  His wife?  HIS PROBLEM.   :yes:

If you don't want to (or, frankly, just can't be bothered) to hire a GCM, this falls under the realm of "Their Stuff" and warrants NO further involvement from you.  If you *want* to walk away, you're ALLOWED to - just because you're an only child (like me), doesn't mean THEIR STUFF has to land on you like a house. 

They're competent adults - THEY can figure it out, without your help.

And they have phones that dial numbers other than yours.  Anything they could possibly want or need - there's an AP for it, I'm sure.  :yes:

This is a situation I'd walk away from, if I were you, since she's accusing you of things you didn't do.  I would NOT take a chance she says something to somebody and suddenly APS is investigating YOU for elder abuse!  :aaauuugh:

It would come back unfounded and you'd be cleared, but it's *stress you don't need.*  >:(

As for my own experience, unBPD Didi was a lot like your mom, but unNPD Ray didn't start becoming paranoid until he was in his 30's - and it just kept snowballing.  The nursing home has diagnosed him a psychotic, and with the things I've told them, said he's probably been that way most of his entire adult life.    :blink:  I'm NC with him, for my own sanity - and the safety of the nursing home staff and *residents.*   I'm one of his triggers - when I don't do what he thinks I *should* do, all hell breaks loose!   :hulk:

If I'm NC, I can't set off his paranoid delusions.   8-)

BTW...I don't think Ray is strictly psychotic.  He's also unNPD and his PD is REALLY running the show now, which has led me to look into Schizoaffective Disorder. 

On her YouTube Channel, Kati Morton describes it as, "Bipolar 1 and Schizophrenia having a baby."  You get ALL the mood swings of Bipolar 1, with none of the flat affect of Schizophrenia, but the person has delusions, word salad, and paranoia associated with Schizophrenia.

If you think this sounds like your mom, it could be worth checking out.  It fits Ray to a T.

 :hug:


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saskia

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Re: Worried about my mother's paranoid traits
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2018, 12:39:31 PM »
Thank you everyone for your replies and advice.
I guess reading back it looks like I painted every moment of my childhood as bad, which is definitely not the case, and I guess I've read enough of this site now to know that you all understand that.  My mother has some 'good' moments which can last weeks, months or years (only weeks these days really) and in those times she has a sense of humour and things go relatively smoothly.  She always took good care of me in practical ways and I didn't want for anything as a child.  No physical violence apart from possibly one slap as a teenager but my memory is blurry on that.  No substance abuse, which obviously I'm grateful for.  She almost never drinks: there's a sense of an ultra-moralistic stance there.  She never 'lets go' really in any way and is very moralising about my dad's smoking cigarettes and basically anything that is off what she sees as the 'straight and narrow'.  For years I put this down to her generation and culture, but I've seen my peer's parents behave very differently. 
She was always completely ill at ease with my emotional life.  If I was upset about e.g. an argument with a friend, she always suggested to me that it was my fault, or later when teen romances went wrong, it was pretty much dismissed as 'nonsense', 'one day you'll laugh about this', 'you're too serious', 'no wonder they don't like you if you're like that'.  She hated me crying and also hated me being excited (that was called 'up in the clouds').  Now as an adult I limit what I share with her as I expect invalidation and dismissal, then she berates me for 'keeping things from her'.  She can be kind on the surface: I got one text from her after a recent break-up saying she 'hopes I am feeling better' but we don't really go into stuff.  When I've tried, it's like she isn't equipped; we talk different languages.  She has said a few kind things to me, funnily enough more in the last few years as she gets generally more difficult.  It's like she knows what she's 'supposed' to say but can't keep it up.  Hard to explain.  Can anyone relate?

echo_ mine covers up the webcam too!  I was pretty creeped out when I saw that, then a friend of mine told me many IT professionals do the same so...then I wasn't sure what to think.  (my mother is no IT professional, or professional of any kind)

practical - that is a very good idea about writing things down to show the GP.  I have asked my dad to tell me when the appointment is (he is going to get some general advice about how to deal with her), but communication with him is slow as she looks at his phone so we have to rely on his 'secret' email address.  Sigh.

WomanInterrupted Thank you for your detailed response.  I will look into the idea of a care manager but I don't think we are quite there yet.  I have a feeling we will be in the future, though.  I will definitely be telling the truth when it comes to any professional who gets involved.  She  doesn't actually refuse to wear her hearing aid, it's more that she refuses to come into contact with anyone these days.  I have definitely worried about the possibility of her accusing me of something serious in the future.  She can be quite manipulative and talking to her can often feel like talking to a primary school child so yeah, I wouldn't put it past her to dole out accusations.  But at the same time she does like to keep up the demure, respectable face in front of absolutely everyone apart from me and my dad so who knows.
Yeah I must admit I do feel a little angry that my dad is only really paying attention to this now that it affects him.  To be fair, it's getting worse.  They always had a very traditional division of labour so my actual upbringing was 100% her.  When we argued when I was a child or teen he did not get involved at all, often leaving the room.  I always had the impression he just thought 'silly women arguing'. 
I am my mum's trigger too, it seems.  It appears she has many, but I am the only one who *knows* I am a trigger, if that makes sense.
You said they have phones which can call numbers other than mine, indeed they do.  But guess what?  My mother NEVER EVER calls me.  Never.  Because when I was at university (we're talking almost 20 years ago) she perceived me to be 'grumpy' when I answered the phone so she thought she just wouldn't bother since then, to 'teach me a lesson'.  My dad calls me rarely.  I do the dutiful weekly call which to be honest I dread, though often it goes fine.  I call as if I don't, I'll have worse hell to pay in the future.  I know this needs to change.

Thanks all.  I'll post more as and when...

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bopper

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Re: Worried about my mother's paranoid traits
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2018, 03:28:15 PM »
Quote
When I was younger, I was often accused of pretending not to see her on the street for example, in her words to 'be smart' or 'try to make her look stupid' (I genuinely hadn't seen her and any attempt to explain this was flatly rejected)
This is because they aren't able to understand boundaries between people...that you do not see/do/want what she does. So if she sees herself, you must too!


Quote
When I was a teen, she observed my friends in a group and told me they were 'looking at each other' behind my back (could have been true, who knows)
She regularly told me not to trust women and that they were all 'just jealous'
She told me at the age of 4 (!) that a school friend of mine was just a 'phony' friend (I had to ask her the meaning of the word).  Looking back, I think she did this because she didn't like the girl's mother.
This is because you are starting to indivuate...starting to make your own relationships outside the one with her. PDers want you to rely on them only.To give them all your attention.

Quote
So what do I do now?  I know I can't make someone seek help but at the same time feel that to just 'leave her to it' is neglectful and uncaring.   I also worry about the future.  If my dad goes before her, she only has me, and she doesn't even trust me, or anyone.

Think of the 3 C's:  You didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it.

Right now all you can do is support your dad...ask him to talk to the doctor about the paranoia. If she is deemed a competent adult, there is nothing you can do but protect yourself.
Just because they are incapable of loving you, doesn't mean that you are unlovable.
Anything makes the false self appear real is supply.

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saskia

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Re: Worried about my mother's paranoid traits
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2018, 08:56:05 PM »
bopper - thank you for this.  It all makes so much sense and every time I read a little more into this, I uncover a little more of the lifelong nagging 'mystery'.  Not recognising boundaries - you are so right.  Wanting all my attention for her - yes.  I've realised for a while that she was fine when I was a little girl, when she was the 'boss'.  She idealises the child version of me: 'you were always great company'.   Now she says 'you're not like a daughter at all'.  Well, she is not like a mother at all.  I am caught at the moment between so many emotions: grief for what could/should have been, guilt, worry, and excitement and spark at living a life a little more separate from her.  Without her voice and constant 'emotional tasering' in my head (thank you bgirl12 on another thread for the term).

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DustyMemories

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Re: Worried about my mother's paranoid traits
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2018, 01:35:44 AM »
Hi Saskia,

Welcome to the forum and thank you for posting about your experiences. Forgive me if I get a bit long here, in your thread, however I think I have arrived at a very interesting realisation about my mother because of it. This has been a very eye-opening read.

First, I salute you for wanting to help your mother. Please remember there's only so much you can do. You and your father can give her the opportunities to fix herself, but if she won't take them, that's not on you. Do only what you feel you can cope with. Walking away is acceptable. Other people on this thread have given you some excellent advice that will allow you to walk away while making sure your mother is taken care of.

My mother is scarily similar to yours. Possibly not quite as extreme, although because I have very little contact with her these days I'm not sure how she's travelling now. I hope I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure she's isolated. When I was a kid she lived in a very fearful inner world, where child molesters, burglars and kidnappers lurked behind every bush. I had to lock the door every time I entered or left the house, even if I was going to be in the backyard with the door in sight at all times, or I'd get into big trouble. I couldn't go outside barefoot because she was worried that I'd get stung by a bee or bitten by a spider. She would blow-dry my hair in all but the very hottest of weather, terrified I would catch cold if she didn't. I could go on for a lot longer with examples like that.

She would also get angry with me if I did something she deemed disrespectful to her, even if I intended nothing of the kind. For example, on one of those occasions she was blow-drying my hair, I had resigned myself to the treatment and settled in with a book while I waited for it to be over. Suddenly she slapped me across the face. I burst into tears, shocked and wondering what on earth I'd done. She screamed at me: "I've been calling your name, over and over, and you haven't answered!" I explained that I hadn't heard her because I was so engrossed in my book. It was the absolute truth; I genuinely hadn't heard her. "I don't believe you!" she shouted. At which point my dad jumped in to defend me. Even he couldn't convince her I wasn't lying.

Like your mother, her paranoia seems to be increasing in recent years. I distinctly recall an incident from when I was a younger adult and still quite enmeshed with her. We wrote a letter together to a government minister, protesting a government decision. When we received the response she told me, very seriously, "I feel like we're being threatened." It was a bland, formulaic response the minister's office probably sent to everyone who wrote in about that particular issue; there was nothing threatening about it. I said as much, trying to soothe her fears, but she remained convinced there were hidden threats in the wording.

There's so much else in your post I recognise. I feel so sad that my mother experiences the world this way. Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do about it. She hasn't even reached the point where she recognises she has a problem. It's always everyone else's fault. I have therefore chosen to go virtually no contact with her to preserve my own sanity.

Louisebt: Thank you for pointing me towards the information I needed to understand my mother better. I had not come across the term "hermit borderline" before. A therapist once suggested to me that my mother probably has BPD, however I wasn't entirely sure I bought it because she doesn't completely fit the stereotypical presentation. After reading about "hermit borderline" and the other three types of borderline personality disorder, I think it's quite likely that my mother is primarily hermit borderline with waif and queen traits. I need to get hold of that book! Thank you.

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daughter

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Re: Worried about my mother's paranoid traits
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2018, 10:29:06 AM »
How does your father relate to your mother and her "quirkiness"?  Does he mostly excuse her odd behaviors and irrational accusations?  Have you been primary target of those odd behaviors?  Does he enable her, by his own non-actions and non-responses, and insist upon your relative tolerance (defenseless acceptance) of those inappropriate behaviors and expectations? 

Both my parents are relatively high-functioning, quite "life of the party" sociable.  My enabler-enforcer NF spent his married life tactically avoiding my NBM, except for dinner and social events, yet mandating his children's total compliance with NBM's mandates and total capitulation to NBM's malevolent moods.  Within our FOO Family, NBM's bad behavior and inappropriate expectations were steadfastly enabled and excused (and ignored) by NF.  NF's espoused this "your mother is your responsibility/it is what it is and it won't change" mode of fundamental disinterest in my emotional well-being, so never intervened when NBM was in attack-mode.  (I'm primary target, SG disfavored daughter.)  NF's rationale: I was "emotionally strong enough to endure (NBM's) cruelty", that he "had it far worse".  NF would complain about NBM's verbal abusiveness, then charge me with "fixing your mother".  NF excused himself from all parental duty, refusing to protect his children from harm, because it would redirect that wrath upon himself.  My NF is a passive-aggressive covert NPD, all "Mr Nice Guy" pretense, but entirely self-centered and quite controlling himself.  The overt pd-disordered parent often has a covert pd-disordered spouse serving as enabler-enforcer, their kids at-risk for significant emotional abuse.   

Your parents are still relatively young oldsters.  They are ultimately responsible for each other's care, not you, not at this stage.  Finding a GCM may be useful in future, when your parents/mother clearly need assistance.  Keep up the therapy for yourself, and maintain that sense of adult "independence, boundaries, and separateness".   For now, I'd honor my boundaries, not let myself get triggered, politely redirect your mother's offensive behaviors and hurtful statements (rather than passive silence), and not get deeply involved in their household situation.  No, that's NOT "being neglectful and uncaring"; it's respectful and prudent.  Your parents' lives and life-style is still their choice. "Good enough" is the governing principle, not "optimum" or "best solution".  It's too late to "fix your mother", too soon to take-on managing your parents' affairs.   
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 10:56:58 AM by daughter »

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saskia

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Re: Worried about my mother's paranoid traits
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2018, 09:52:25 PM »
Hi
I took a few days off here as I was processing everything.  I read Understanding the Borderline Mother and the Hermit traits almost all describe my mother perfectly.  It was a hard read which needed careful digestion.  I got pretty down as with understanding comes also the realisation that this seems to be pretty much it...she probably won't change.  So I feel sad for her and for myself and my dad as I look back over the years and, yes, into the future.  Though we never know the future, so I'm trying not to get too caught up in panic or bleakness.
I feel sad that she wasn't able to give me more emotionally, growing up.  I am starting to see so clearly what 'could have been' (as I learn more about 'good enough' mothers and what emotional support and intimacy actually is) and how this has all affected me, the person I am today, and my relationships with others.  I definitely have reflection and self-awareness and know now that the only thing I have control over is to help myself.
I did my weekly dutiful call at the weekend (heart pumping beforehand) and my mother was fine but 'surface'.  I guess that's the most I can hope for now.
Thank you for those last two insightful replies.  I'm sorry if it looked like I was ignoring or abandoning the thread!

DustyMemories
Yeah our mothers do sound similar, and it is a comfort to know we are not alone in this.  Something I notice about mine, though, is that although she was fearful, she never actually presented as an overprotective mother.  I was pretty much allowed to do most 'normal' activities as a child and teen.  Her concern back then was more about appearances, fitting in, and how I must not 'show people I'm bothered', not trust people, as well as of course the random and often accusations about me ignoring her.  Her 'safety' concerns these days are mainly about herself, not others.  She worries about herself being e.g. photographed but not anyone else.  A random memory is now surfacing: when I was a student (living away from home) she told me I should only 'study and watch TV', as all other activities were risky. (!)  She made no effort to police that, though.
I don't know if the future holds NC or LC for me and my mother.  I'll see how it unfolds.  I'm so sorry about the incident when you were engrossed in a book.  Aside from the violence, I know how utterly frustrating and despair-inducing it can feel to have someone point-blank refuse to believe you.  I always felt it was more important for her to protect herself against any slight perceived chance of me 'getting one over on her' than it was to trust me.  The opposite of the benefit of the doubt, every time.
Another random memory: I remember once her walking into the kitchen, where I was reading at the table (I was early teens) and she just said out of nowhere 'you really annoy me with that'.  Reading.  Being.  I think I asked questions and defended myself but of course I and my apparent intrinsic badness were harshly dismissed.

*daughter* Well my father has gone from in the past basically ignoring her outbursts/paranoia/mood swings, kind of projecting an 'anything for a quiet life' attitude, to now point blank telling her 'this has to stop'/'it's all in your head'/'it's not happening' (which I've told him are not the most helpful reactions, but he is frustrated and ill-equipped for almost anything involving emotions, let alone this sort of mind-warping).  I think the change in his reaction is because he's recently retired, so they're together more; and basically that she's getting worse, particularly in terms of actual paranoid beliefs.  I would say that he has unintentionally enabled her throughout the years, yes.  He says now that he did 'notice some things' years ago and 'maybe should have taken more notice' but he has a *very* strong tendency to brush things under the carpet.  When I was younger, a lot of her outbursts were when he was not there, and any argument between me an my mother that he witnessed, he just left the room and never, ever made any effort to get involved or defend anyone.  My dad is placid and peaceful but basically doesn't 'do' emotions either. I did see a lot of him in the chapter on the Huntsman partner of the Hermit mother...
I thoroughly agree that I'm sort of 'between':  I can only take care of myself, and there is as yet no reason for me or anyone else to be managing their lives.