Sons of BPD moms

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Wolf

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Sons of BPD moms
« on: June 05, 2020, 01:34:54 PM »
New member here. I was wondering how many of you are sons of BPD moms (correct me if I'm wrong but it seems most of the members here are female?). Was wondering if the effects of being raised by a BPD mom are different for males. I was raised by a BPD mom (undiagnosed because she refuses to acknowledge any problems with herself). I'm also an only child so everything fell on me. Pretty much every day of my childhood was either an extreme emotional battle with my mom or witnessing my mom verbally (and sometimes physically) abuse my dad. I do love my mom but I don't want anything to do with her. Anyway, despite this I think I'm fairly well-adjusted except I have a major problem with emotion. I can't seem to experience much emotion, especially sadness. Like even during actual tragedies (and I've experienced a couple recent big ones), I just go numb and move on--I don't actually grieve. It's sort of like hyper-resilience I suppose. It doesn't really matter what happens (good or bad), I just almost immediately put it behind me and move on to the next thing. That's probably the biggest point to emphasize here--my attitude is basically always "Move on to another thing immediately." I suppose that's a defense mechanism from childhood, and most would say it's unhealthy but in some ways I like it. I'm literally incapable of mentally dwelling on anything no matter how good or bad it is. I have no problems with substance abuse or anything like that but I'm basically addicted to porn and video games (as a grown man) and don't care or plan to ever stop. Other than this I'm basically happy. I have friends and decent social skills although I sometimes blow it with women since I don't know how to express feelings/interest/intimacy in a meaningful, deep way. Basically I'm hyper-analytical and often don't know what to say when it comes to touchy topics like that (probably cuz subconsciously I'm afraid of offending). I'll often either say nothing or be called a "creep" because I'm too blunt and don't know how to be sensitive/emotional. I DO have empathy and care about people but I just can't really get emotional in a way that makes me appear sensitive to others. One time a girl was telling me all about her problems and I listened and then basically just said "yeah, sorry, I can't help you." I felt kinda bad but in the end I really don't know how to deal with emotion. It just makes me uncomfortable.

Anyway, I know I might sound like a jerk but I'm just putting this out there. Anyone else have similar experiences?

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Psuedonym

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Re: Sons of BPD moms
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2020, 02:12:49 PM »
I'm not a man (sorry!) but I did want to let you know that everything you're describing is textbook behavior for any child of a PD. I would run, not walk, and read the book C-PTSD From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker. Don't let the name throw you off, when you read the description of C-PTSD, you will see yourself. One thing Pete focuses on is that children of PDs end up stuck in a hyper vigilant fight/flight/freeze/response. Freeze is disassociation, or escaping reality, which includes things like....video games and porn. Another thing he talks about is that since you weren't allowed to have your own feelings growing up and learned to repress them, you end up feeling....nothing at all. It is self-preservation, but it's not good. As the title of the book suggests, when you're stuck in this mode of not feeling, you're really just surviving. Anyway, I can't recommend the book enough, it has helped me tremendously.

Also, there are men on this forum, I promise!

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Wolf

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Re: Sons of BPD moms
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2020, 03:37:45 PM »
Thanks @Psuedonym. Appreciate the support

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Maxtrem

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Re: Sons of BPD moms
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2020, 05:13:58 PM »
Hi Wolf, I'm also the only son of a uBPDM and it all fell on me too. You seem to do a lot of dissociation, I do too, but at a lower level than you. I tend to get a bit of amnesia in difficult moments, I remember the event in general, but not the details (a form of defense mechanism). I have also forgotten almost all of my childhood, which would also be a defence mechanism, and I have had flashbacks recently that have saddened me a lot. Denigration, death threats, threatening to euthanize my dog, etc.. I'm a very analytical person, but in my work that's a great quality.

I have also recently realized that I began to appreciate myself in my mid-twenties when I began to have a lot of academic success and recognition from my university. After that it was similar at the beginning of my career, I progressed quite quickly. Before I had no real connection with myself, it took an acknowledgement from university professors and business executives to give it to me. I recently realized that my family, who denigrate, criticize, demean me, manipulate and use me, only inspire contempt for me, while my bosses, I admire them. The recognition of these people whom I admire has therefore thwarted many of the negative effects caused by my family. It is following these successes, that I started to meet girls and look for a real relationship.

On the other hand, I have great empathy for others and a real desire to help them. The suffering of others does not leave me indifferent. I don't have an addiction either, I like certain alcohol very much, so I never buy any. I've already had a certain addiction to sex (especially at the beginning of my sexuality), especially when I'm happy with limited stress. But today it's no longer a problem, I have a fulfilled sexuality with my girlfriend.       

There seems to be a lot more women on this forum, but the experiences are similar and the effects on our lives too.

I also love my mother, but there is still contempt for her behaviour.

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Wolf

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Re: Sons of BPD moms
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2020, 04:51:38 PM »
Thanks for the reply maxtrem. I'm sorry for what you had to go through as well but glad you're doing better. Regarding emotions/dissociation, I believe you may be right. I can get emotional but it takes extreme concentration, time, and effort along with no distractions,   and I have to purposely work myself up into such a state (it's difficult almost like meditation). Given that most people experience sadness/euphoria spontaneously, I assume this is due to disocciation being my default state. It's also worth noting I was the exact opposite as a child--I had extreme emotions daily until my mind to late teens. I've also dealt with on and off OCD but that may be unrelated.

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Wolf

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Re: Sons of BPD moms
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2020, 05:07:46 PM »
I'd add that I do really enjoy music and can briefly stop feeling numb when I listen to certain songs loudly. Love hard rock bands like Linkin Park, badflower, Slipknot, parkway drive, but also some more soft and slow stuff on occasion

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iwillrise

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Re: Sons of BPD moms
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2020, 07:12:06 PM »
Hello Wolf. I can relate to almost everything you've said. The part that has to do with feelings specifically.
I lost all of my feelings, I used to feel happy, feel sad, etc. Now, I am just totally numb, everything is repressed. I can only feel the area of my diaphragm getting occasionally hot or something. I like to think about that as it is  all of my repressed emotions trapped there and that I will someday release all of them.
I really believe that we can get our emotions back.

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Duck

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Re: Sons of BPD moms
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2020, 02:36:05 AM »
I am not male and my dad has a different PD, but I also lost all emotion at one point in my life. I actually remember the moment when I lost the last little bit of it. My dad was throwing a tantrum and I felt the last bit of emotion turn off like a knob on a radio. This was around college age. I spent some years like this, and then I decided to make room for emotion in my life and I gave myself permission to feel emotions if they were still inside me somewhere. Many people recommend doing this with a therapist because you may be surprised and overwhelmed by what emotions are hiding inside you. A lot of people are surprised to find an ocean of unexpressed anger. To me, it is worth searching for my feelings and letting them out. It is as if I was robbed of part of my humanity by my parents. I am working with a psychologist on it right now and she is helping me with PTSD. I think it will help my marriage. My husband was really confused early in our marriage because of my lack of emotions. When we had arguments or problems, he assumed I didn’t care, but I did care. I was just accustomed to shutting down and dissociating.

My husband sought help for a porn addiction. He has a similar coping mechanism. I don’t judge porn from any kind of religious standpoint or anything. I am not an anti-porn crusader. I will say it got in the way of our sex life and being emotionally intimate like two human beings. I can only speak from my own experience, but it made it harder for us to connect. He has his own childhood stuff and porn and video games is how he learned to deal with life’s problems.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 02:45:17 AM by Duck »

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saskia

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Re: Sons of BPD moms
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2020, 09:14:54 AM »
Hi Wolf, I'm female, an only child and share similar upbringing dynamics. My mother's verbal ire was more directed towards me than my dad; he was mainly just passive.
I do feel emotion - and actually always have - but developed a very strong and automatic dismissal of my own feelings. I would always try to talk myself out of feeling upset or feeling anything and would live in a pressure cooker of denial to myself and others. On the outside, I came off as capable and fortunate, with a life that - on the surface - went smoothly. Inside I felt wrong but automatically assumed it was just my own 'nonsense' (guess whose voice?) and I should just learn to pull myself up and be 'normal'.
A lot of the time when people say 'boys are raised not to cry or show any emotion' I think, well yeah, that is definitely frequently true, but even as a girl, I relate. As a child, my tears were met with anger or indifference, or at the very most an impatient "stop upsetting yourself", ANYTHING seen as 'deep' or enquiring was immediately dismissed ("weird, the way you are") and joy or excitement were immediately stifled or quashed ("stop that 'up in the clouds' nonsense"). My mother was very into what she called being 'realistic' (read pessimistic). There was no affection  - that was seen as 'mollycoddling'.
Maybe because I am female and society and friends expect me to be somewhat emotional, I was able to hold on to some feelings but ONLY while alone (secret crying, emotional fantasies as outlet, journal writing etc). Expressing to others has always felt fraught with danger and the deep-seated expectation that people will reject me if I'm not completely neutral and plain sailing in my interactions.
I'm 40 now and for a few years have been on the journey towards taking my own feelings seriously and expressing them. It's tentative but it's happening...
I write this not to make it all about me but to share an experience that maybe you will relate to parts of - I think that in itself helps.
Also I echo one thousand times the recommendation of Pete Walker's book!
All the best  :)

« Last Edit: June 08, 2020, 09:30:01 AM by saskia »

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PeanutButter

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Re: Sons of BPD moms
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2020, 10:07:00 AM »
All of this is very helpful to me.

 It is similar to what my H has expressed.

  He was an only child. His M was upd. She did not protect him. His updD use to tell him "you better stop that or ill give you something to really cry about."

Once he had children his DD scapegoated and his DS made the GC by his parents.

Thanks for sharing all. It helpd me understand more of what it must have been like.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2020, 10:09:45 AM by PeanutButter »
If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle

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Psuedonym

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Re: Sons of BPD moms
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2020, 02:29:36 PM »
Hey Wolf,

I realized when I wrote my first reply that I left out that feeling nothing is also a symptom of depression (which could be caused by c-ptsd but also can be a chemical imbalance). Might be a good idea to talk to a professional. if you've never seen it I think Hyperbole and a Half's description of this level of depression is the most accurate I've ever seen: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html I know I related to this and maybe you will too.

 :bighug:

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Wolf

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Re: Sons of BPD moms
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2020, 01:48:33 PM »
Thanks @Psuedonym. Interesting stuff. I wouldn't say I'm clinically depressed although I'm obviously not a doctor. I laugh at things I find funny, and I get mild satisfaction out of some hobbies. It's just that I don't have extreme emotions anymore, which is the opposite of how I was as a kid (as a teen I used to uncontrollably shake with anger and sob for long periods of time over seemingly small things). Now even the big tragedies don't bother me nearly that much. I can get briefly sad for a few seconds/minutes if I focus really hard on a sad thing and then I just move on. As someone who has experienced both the capacity for extreme, sustained, acute sadness and the lack of capacity for such a thing, I prefer the latter.

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gcj07a

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Re: Sons of BPD moms
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2020, 01:42:37 AM »
Wolf,

I am the son of an unBPDm. I do have an older brother and younger sister, but I spent the most alone time by far of any of us with M mostly because I was the golden child. My job was to regulate her emotions for her. I went no contact with her nearly a year ago and it has been WONDERFUL! As part of my process, I was diagnosed with C-PTSD and Depression (on top of the OCD I had already been diagnosed a few years prior). I have been very numb, very resistant to digging into my emotions because I learned the hard way that I wasn't allowed to have emotions. Or needs. Or, really, an independent identity. I too have let major tragedies pass by with a mere shrug, but then I find myself emotionally volatile out of the blue in reaction to small things. It is like beneath my outer crust is the magma that occasionally erupts (apparently randomly) via a volcano. However, I am currently doing EMDR work to address my experience of trauma and it is very much about me a) exposing myself to the actual memories I have long since buried as far beneath the surface as I can and b) allowing myself to feel emotions and validating those emotions. It has been really helpful.

Some resources I have found to be helpful/informative:

Stop Walking on Eggshells by Mason and Kreger: https://www.amazon.com/Stop-Walking-Eggshells-Borderline-Personality/dp/1572246901/ref=sr_1_3?crid=3SNM28UTA9ICM&dchild=1&keywords=walking+on+eggshells+borderline+personality+disorder&qid=1592969762&sprefix=walking+on+egg%2Caps%2C239&sr=8-3

Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship by Lawson: https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Borderline-Mother-Unpredictable-Relationship/dp/0765703319/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=borderline+mother&qid=1592969809&sr=8-3

Emotional Blackmail by Forward: https://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Blackmail-People-Obligation-Manipulate/dp/0060928972/ref=sr_1_2?crid=H9V52MRKIQZP&dchild=1&keywords=emotional+blackmail+by+susan+forward&qid=1592969927&sprefix=emotional+black%2Caps%2C207&sr=8-2

When Your Mother Has Borderline Personality Disorder: A Guide for Adult Children by Lobel: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Y2F6147?ref=knfdg_R_othe_unkw

Kris Godinez's Youtube Channel is amazing: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHk_36kn2zDnVL-d23tE6bg
"How often have I lain beneath the rain, on a strange roof, thinking of home?" -William Faulkner

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M0009803

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Re: Sons of BPD moms
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2020, 07:55:40 PM »
Thanks @Psuedonym. Interesting stuff. I wouldn't say I'm clinically depressed although I'm obviously not a doctor. I laugh at things I find funny, and I get mild satisfaction out of some hobbies. It's just that I don't have extreme emotions anymore, which is the opposite of how I was as a kid (as a teen I used to uncontrollably shake with anger and sob for long periods of time over seemingly small things). Now even the big tragedies don't bother me nearly that much. I can get briefly sad for a few seconds/minutes if I focus really hard on a sad thing and then I just move on. As someone who has experienced both the capacity for extreme, sustained, acute sadness and the lack of capacity for such a thing, I prefer the latter.

Sounds like you have a case of anhedonia (low affect).  It can be brought on by trauma.

  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181880/ 

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Wolf

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Re: Sons of BPD moms
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2020, 04:47:09 PM »
Thanks gcj07a.  Your scenario sounds similar to mine. I, too, have occasional extreme emotions. I have not yet gone no contact with my mother, but she threatens to cut me off. I am in a scenario where I am in contact with her frequently. I shrug off pretty much everything that happens in my life and just move on. When my mom is throwing a temper tantrum and saying all kinds of abusive things to me (she gets hostilely angry toward me in 90% of conversations) I usually ignore it.  But in rare instances, a few times a year, I sometimes loudly yell "GO F**K YOURSELF!!!!!!!" or something similar at her. It's completely unpredictable and it genuinely surprises me when it happens because it's completely involuntary when it happens. It's like a reflex and I can go from completely calm to yelling loudly for three seconds and then back to completely calm. I also feel like I'm becoming more and more of an a$$hole in general and it's something I want to prevent. I feel like I'm becoming increasingly insensitive toward a lot of things.

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Wolf

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Re: Sons of BPD moms
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2020, 04:51:13 PM »
I've also struggled with OCD (I may have mentioned that earlier). I spent a good part of my teen years irrationally worrying I had cancer, worrying about catching HIV like a cold, and also had a period of religious obsession (intensely worried about going to hell). Now I don't even care about germs and think belief in god is a complete joke. Go figure. Lol