Feeling timid around unBPD mom

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Orangecounty

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Feeling timid around unBPD mom
« on: February 10, 2019, 08:46:37 PM »
Does anyone else feel timid around their BPD parent? I feel very fearful getting emotionally close to her. It's so bad that I find even if she's emailed me a friendly email and I want to write a nice reply back, I almost feel like I go outside myself and have to pretend I'm someone else writing the email. I feel the same way on the phone. She's been very hurtful in the past, always very invalidating of my feelings and has done some outright hurtful things. It doesn't help that I suffer from anxiety disorder but I think this also has a lot to do with past experiences. I don't know how to deal with these feelings. It also makes me avoid her, I'm really bad about calling her back,m visiting etc.. Any suggestions?

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Malini

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Re: Feeling timid around unBPD mom
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2019, 12:21:24 PM »
Hi Orangecounty,

Just by going with what you wrote, I think you have a reason to feel fearful. Sheís been hurtful and invalidating towards you in the past and no-one wants to be exposed to these sorts of behaviours. Itís your gut telling you to beware and on to be on your guard and itís rooted in reality based in her past behaviours.

It sounds as if you are medium-chilling her already, which is a really good thing to do when you have to have contact with people who donít have your best interests at heart.

I was terrified of bumping into my NM at the beginning of my journey coming OOTF. Frightened of punishment and frightened sheíd withdraw her love for me. It was only as I started to detach emotionally from her that I was able to overcome these fears. I did some inner child work too which was helpful. Therapy could also be a way of addressing the fears and determining what level of contact works best for you and your needs.

Perhaps you can limit your interactions with her to a minimum. You donít have to pick-up or answer her calls if you donít want to. You can choose when and how you interact with her so it causes you minimal damage. Initially it feels weird to have to protect oneself so much from the one person who should have only unconditional love for us and our best interests at heart, but sadly,  that person isnít our parent.

Iím sorry youíre having these feelings of fear and anxiety and send you a big hug of support.

"How do you do it?" said night
"How do you wake and shine?"
"I keep it simple." said light
"One day at a time" - Lemn Sissay

'I think it's important to realise that you can miss something, but not want it back' Paul Coelho

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Orangecounty

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Re: Feeling timid around unBPD mom
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2019, 12:32:47 AM »
Thanks so much Malini for your kind message. I am definitely medium chill with her. The weird part is I feel quite emotionally disconnected from her. Maybe itís a fear of confrontation?

It does feel weird having to protect myself from my own mom. We were close when I was young but as I got older my mom got worse because she was no longer getting all of her needs met and we suddenly had our own thoughts and opinions on things. With my mom itís basically all or nothing, thereís no grey area. So I always feel like Iím walking on eggshells.

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daughterofbpd

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Re: Feeling timid around unBPD mom
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2019, 02:41:32 PM »
It also makes me avoid her, I'm really bad about calling her back,m visiting etc.

My M would shame me for not calling enough, visiting enough, not sharing enough with her, etc. etc. I would feel bad and guilty until I found OOTF and found out that it was perfectly okay (even healthy) to limit my contact with her. Thereís a reason we have anxiety about contact with our mothers. Our bodies are telling us that our Ms are dangerous to our mental health. After being hurt so many times, I think it is a good idea to try and protect yourself by not getting too close. For me, I only talk about superficial things with my M. I donít want her to know anything she can try to use against me later and I donít want to fall into the trap of trusting her again during a time that she is acting nice because the fact of the matter is that she WILL turn on me eventually and I cannot trust her.

You mention you have anxiety disorder. Have you thought about maybe a childhood with a BPD mother is the cause of your anxiety disorder? I have found that my childhood is the root of a lot of my anxiety. 

I just wanted to let you know that I think the way you are feeling is 100% normal for the situation. The way you feel is justified. You donít have to call or visit more than what feels comfortable to you. You must learn to put your mental health above what your M wants. Itís a tough road but I promise it does get easier. This site has a ton of great resources and thereís lots of great book recommendations on another thread as well.

Take care & good luck with everything.
ďHow starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your egoĒ
~ Amanda Torroni

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RavenLady

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Re: Feeling timid around unBPD mom
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2019, 06:29:57 PM »
Hi Orangecounty. I've learned in recent months that it matters how I feel about the people in my life, even if/especially if they don't think it does. Our bodies are honest with us. Sometimes they go to great lengths -- even extremes -- to drive a message home. In my case, I ignored the fear signals my body sent me for far too long until I couldn't any more. I ignored them because they were about my parents and their attitudes and treatment of me. I was sure that I must be wrong to distrust them so much. It turns out my mind was wrong about being wrong, and my body was telling the truth. They are both emotional children. They can not be trusted with my emotional or psychological health. They are selfish and do damage to me. I am right to want to avoid them, at least until they have less power over my mind/heart. They are wrong to keep putting their needs on me.

If I'd figured all this out from my own anxiety a few years ago, it would have saved me a mess of trouble. So, yeah, what daughterofbpd and Malini said. Trust yourself. Watch where your sense of obligation conflicts with your self-care. It matters what you are feeling.
sometimes in the open you look up
to see a whorl of clouds, dragging and furling
your whole invented history. You look up
from where you're standing, say
among the stolid mountains,
and in that moment your life
becomes the margin
of what matters
-- Terry Ehret

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Sidney7

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Re: Feeling timid around unBPD mom
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2019, 01:33:13 AM »
I could have written your post Orangecounty - I feel exactly the same towards my mother and as I get older, I am feeling more and more distant towards her.

She called the other night and left a message, I couldn't even listed to it, I had to get my husband too - he told me what she said and her tone, it was only then I felt safe enough to call her back.  I was actually scared to listen the the voice message.

Like you my mother has said and done many cruel things, I cannot ever show emotion or talk about anything as I am always invalidated (I'm difficult, negative, will never live up to...) so now I just protect myself from her... by also stepping outside of myself to deal with her... 

I feel crazy that as a 43 year old woman with my own family I have to do this...  sorry you are going through this too.

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Orangecounty

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Re: Feeling timid around unBPD mom
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2019, 12:45:33 PM »
Sidney7,

It's so nice to meet someone who has experienced the exact same thing! Are you a highly sensitive person too? I think having such an unstable mother in our lives makes us feel like we never know how they're going to react. I feel for you. I had to laugh because sometime I have my husband listen to her messages too,lol

Thank you so much everyone for your replies and sharing your experiences, I really appreciate it. I think there's just so much emotional instability on my mom's part that going into any situation, any family event, I know there's going to be a lot of turmoil. This coupled with the anxiety I feel, it's almost emotionally too much for me to deal with, so I feel like I completely shut down. I feel I have a very similar relationship or lack there of with my grandfather. He's 90 years old but since my grandmother passed, I find him at times to be an emotionally abusive tyrant who likes to drink, a lot. I often find him rude and I only hear from him when he needs something. I think being raised the way we are, we feel indebted to these people because they're "family" even if they don't treat us well. I've had to limit only seeing him when I am at my mom's for a family function and he is present.

While anxiety disorder runs in my family (my dad and siblings suffer from it as well) I'm sure going through what I did growing up certainly didn't help. Other than a couple larger incidents as child, my mom seemed stable to us as children (even though I now know she wasn't). I think she worked very hard to be the "favorite" parent as she was afraid of losing us to my Dad. As we got older and became more independent I think that fear grew every larger and she started lashing out big time. She was accuse me of loving my dad more than her. At 18 when I finally expressed a lot of hurt feelings over my parents divorce to her, she flew into a rage and instead of being there for me and sympathetic towards my feelings, she told me she would have killed herself if she had stayed with my dad and from there grew more and more angry and stormed down the stairs angrily yelling "you'll know what it's like to be a mother some day!" I then later found a list left out in plain sight that had my name at the top and listed all the things she thought were wrong with me (because she couldn't have possibly done anything wrong) Things like, I was tired of being happy, I didn't fit in with the family, that I was timid and unsure, that I was looking for someone to lash out at etc... Needless to say, finding that list was so very invalidating.

As I've limited my time with her and my contact, it's like she finds ways to punish me by leaving me out. Because I don't call her that often at all, one year she didn't tell me that Thanksgiving dinner had moved locations to my grandparent's house WAY across town. When I confronted her about not letting me know she said "if you called me more, you would know."

If you've read all this, thanks for sticking with me. It feels therapeutic to get this all off my chest. Sometimes I've blocked all this from my mind and I wonder why I don't want to get close to my mom. It's a reminder as to why it's so difficult.

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Dinah-sore

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Re: Feeling timid around unBPD mom
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2019, 02:16:33 AM »
It also makes me avoid her, I'm really bad about calling her back,m visiting etc.

My M would shame me for not calling enough, visiting enough, not sharing enough with her, etc. etc. I would feel bad and guilty until I found OOTF and found out that it was perfectly okay (even healthy) to limit my contact with her. Thereís a reason we have anxiety about contact with our mothers. Our bodies are telling us that our Ms are dangerous to our mental health. After being hurt so many times, I think it is a good idea to try and protect yourself by not getting too close. For me, I only talk about superficial things with my M. I donít want her to know anything she can try to use against me later and I donít want to fall into the trap of trusting her again during a time that she is acting nice because the fact of the matter is that she WILL turn on me eventually and I cannot trust her.

You mention you have anxiety disorder. Have you thought about maybe a childhood with a BPD mother is the cause of your anxiety disorder? I have found that my childhood is the root of a lot of my anxiety. 

I just wanted to let you know that I think the way you are feeling is 100% normal for the situation. The way you feel is justified. You donít have to call or visit more than what feels comfortable to you. You must learn to put your mental health above what your M wants. Itís a tough road but I promise it does get easier. This site has a ton of great resources and thereís lots of great book recommendations on another thread as well.

Take care & good luck with everything.
:yeahthat: :yeahthat: :yeahthat:

and
Hi Orangecounty. I've learned in recent months that it matters how I feel about the people in my life, even if/especially if they don't think it does. Our bodies are honest with us. Sometimes they go to great lengths -- even extremes -- to drive a message home. In my case, I ignored the fear signals my body sent me for far too long until I couldn't any more. I ignored them because they were about my parents and their attitudes and treatment of me. I was sure that I must be wrong to distrust them so much. It turns out my mind was wrong about being wrong, and my body was telling the truth. They are both emotional children. They can not be trusted with my emotional or psychological health. They are selfish and do damage to me. I am right to want to avoid them, at least until they have less power over my mind/heart. They are wrong to keep putting their needs on me.

If I'd figured all this out from my own anxiety a few years ago, it would have saved me a mess of trouble. So, yeah, what daughterofbpd and Malini said. Trust yourself. Watch where your sense of obligation conflicts with your self-care. It matters what you are feeling.

 :yeahthat: :yeahthat: :yeahthat:

I am so sorry that you feel this way, but it is your body telling you the truth. You have to listen to how you feel, and honor how you feel. For me, one of the things that helped the terrible anxiety, was when I started making choices to protect myself. Then I started feeling safer. Be your own safety. Protect yourself. Then your body may feel safer.

Also, I would like to recommend Pete Walker's book "C-PTSD Surviving to Thriving" It is about how a life of emotional abuse and all gives us all sorts of problems and what to do about it. It is validating, but it can also trigger some anxiety, so if you get it, please read it slow and take good care of yourself. <3 I wish you peace on your path of healing <3
"I had to accept the fact that, look, this is who I am. I have to be who I am, and all of us have a right to be who we are. And whenever we submit our will, because our will is a gift, our will is given to us, whenever we submit our will to someone else's opinion a part of us dies." --Lauryn Hill

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Orangecounty

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Re: Feeling timid around unBPD mom
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2019, 07:30:36 PM »
Thanks Dinah-Sore :)  The book you recommended looks really good, I will definitely look into that. You're right, I guess I need to trust my instincts more. Deep down I know I'm venturing back into the lions den when I have to deal with my mom.