uBPD Mother in a Health Crisis

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Iris1022

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uBPD Mother in a Health Crisis
« on: January 21, 2021, 04:06:56 PM »
Hi all,

I rarely post but I'm a frequent reader. All of your stories help me through my own situation with my uBPD mother!

I really need some advice/support/commiseration right now as my uBPD mother is going through a serious illness. She lives across the country from me and in normal times, I've been able to manage boundaries and limited contact although it took me a while to get to that point.  However, she's now dealing with cancer and expects me to drop everything to rush to her side. She lives alone and my father has been out of the picture since I was a young child. I'm an only child (which means I alternated between the role of GC and SG my whole life, but that's another story for another day...)  so everything is falling on me at this point. Mom has a close friend nearby but has recently started refusing help from her, and she is also refusing help from my aunt who was going to come into town to help her out. I've lined up home health services for her to help with daily household chores, transportation, errands, etc. but I still feel like I'm going to have to fly out to go and help her nonetheless because I want to do the right thing. This is all causing me a great deal of stress because I have a young child (8yrs old) who needs me at home and we are in the midst of a pandemic which makes everything more complicated. I realize I am deep in the FOG but I'm not sure what to do.

A bit more background...Part of the reason I want to go is to meet with her doctors myself because I feel like I'm not getting good information from my Mom. She typically either gives me minimal information or drama-infused information so I'm not sure what the true story is. She also does very little to help herself out. For instance, she refuses to eat properly (not new, she has always been like this which has contributed to her health problems) and she resists certain simple suggestions that would help her symptoms. For instance, her doctor told her to drink Gatorade to help her electrolytes stay in balance and she refused, saying "ewww - yucky" like a toddler. I spent several weeks with her during the holidays and got her some really nutrient-rich, easy to swallow foods to try (like smoothies) and she never tried them, just deemed them as "nasty." It is so frustrating. It's as if she wants to lie around and moan and groan and demand attention.

I'm so stressed and torn. I know she's being manipulative but I don't want to be the bad daughter here. I want to rise above her antics and do the right thing by helping her out the best way I can. This is causing strain with my marriage as well because my husband has had enough of her and thinks I should let her be. After all, she made life choices which led her to this point. (Driving people out of her life, refusing to live anywhere near us, treating her body like utter crap for years upon years, etc.) By the way, in relation to the "treating her body like crap" piece, she blames me for that, saying that she was always too busy being a single mom to take care of herself properly. Aye aye.

I feel like I'm rambling on here so thank you for sticking with me if you've gotten this far. I would appreciate any advice or support, as this whole situation has caused me to feel triggered, extremely anxious, and torn as to what to do next. Help!


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Andeza

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Re: uBPD Mother in a Health Crisis
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2021, 05:17:21 PM »
Quote
It's as if she wants to lie around and moan and groan and demand attention.

Because that's exactly what she wants to do. I'm not even joking. This is what uBPDs DO, and they do it all day every day until you're ready to pull your hair out. And if that's all she wants to do, I see no reason for you to subject yourself to it. The right thing to do is always going to be take care of yourself first, so you can take care of your family of choice as best you can.

She will do what she will do. It is not your fault she has denied reasonable help. She is a reasoning adult of sound mind (I know, I know) and has made her choice. You DON'T have to hop to just because she chose you. Thus far in your life she's done nothing but blame you for her own shortcomings and failed to take personal responsibility for her actions and habits. But she's been happy to blame everyone else, of course. Par for the course.

Remember, it is a parent's duty to take care of their children. Not the other way around. It was her responsibility to look after her own welfare and make arrangements should her health take a turn for the worse. Her failure to plan is not your emergency. And it's not your responsibility to get down to the truth of the matter either. More than one person on here has had a pd parent claim "CANCER" only to still be kicking and screaming abuse decades later. No sign of cancer to be seen.

Not going does not equal bad daughter. That is the programming talking, my dear. It has been instilled in you from a young age, waiting to be called upon and trigger you into a course of action that you would not otherwise choose. It's okay to not go. It's okay to protect yourself from abuse. It's okay to break the programming. It's okay to look after yourself, and your new family, first and foremost.
Remember, that there are no real deadlines for life, just society's pressures.      - Anonymous
Lasting happiness is not something we find, but rather something we make for ourselves.

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Fiasco

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Re: uBPD Mother in a Health Crisis
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2021, 05:20:55 PM »
A few things jump out at me. The undisputable, scientific fact is that if you fly to her you could bring her the virus and kill her. You could catch the virus and risk your 8 year old's loving parent, you. Now let's pretend there was no pandemic and you could safely and easily go to her. You have proof positive that in your moms case "you can lead a horse to smoothies but you can't make her drink". Not only is she not going to, she may be taking particular joy in thwarting your efforts. I know my bpdm loves the special attention of asking lots of questions, getting lots of advice, and then following none of it. It must be hilarious to her. The excitement of yanking your chain over hydration and nutrition may actually mean your presence makes her health WORSE. You'll get lots of good thoughtful advice here but the point of it all is you, personally, matter. And it's not just ok to prioritize yourself, your marriage, and your child, it's the right thing to do. Hugs.

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Amadahy

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Re: uBPD Mother in a Health Crisis
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2021, 09:49:42 PM »
Hi, Iris,

I'm sorry about this!  My Nmom last year began falling and was in and out of rehab services and finally became incapacitated enough to need long-term care.  I know she would have liked me to take her in, but after having her in my home for six months and having to evict her some years ago, there was no way I was going to do that to myself or my family again.  Your mom sounds like a handful and you are in no way required to sacrifice yourself, your marriage and your family to go into a situation that could compromise your mental or physical health.  We're here to support you in whatever you decide -- going out, not going, or offering some or no help long-distance.  It is up to you and you are not a bad person if you hunker down and take care of yourself.   :hug:
Ring the bells that still can ring;
Forget your perfect offering.
There's a crack in everything ~~
That's how the Light gets in!

~~ Leonard Cohen

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Sneezy

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Re: uBPD Mother in a Health Crisis
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2021, 11:10:00 PM »
What sometimes helps me is to imagine myself in the position of the older mother, like your mother, who needs help with a health problem.  What would I do?  Well, to begin with, I would never expect my daughter to leave her 8-year old child in the middle of a pandemic to fly cross-country to help me.  That seems completely upside down and not at all what I would want if I were older and ill.  Instead, I would be grateful for good friends and a sister who could help me, and also for the services that my daughter helped set up from afar.  I would also take the doctor's advice and drink the damn gatorade whether I liked it or not, because I am an adult and not a toddler.  Unfortunately, you have hit the nail on the head when you describe your mother as acting like a toddler.  That is exactly what she is doing.

You have done enough, more than enough actually.  It is completely up to you whether you will choose to do any more or not.  But please believe that you are a very good daughter and have already done enough.  Do not let your mother continue to guilt you into doing more, especially to the point of impacting your own health and your family's health.  Because no matter what you do for her, it will never be enough.  Your mother sounds like mine - a black hole of neediness and despair.  The more you do, the more she will demand.  What you did yesterday won't matter, it's all about what you are doing in the moment when she demands your attention.  I can't emphasize this enough - you will never fill the black hole of need.  You will never pay enough attention to her.  You will never provide enough care for her to make her feel better.  It is very sad, but you can't fix this.  What you can do is decide exactly what you are willing to do, then do it without feeling guilty for not doing more.  Easier said than done, I know.  Good luck   :hug:

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ShyTurtle

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Re: uBPD Mother in a Health Crisis
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2021, 11:12:52 PM »
You need to create some clear and firm boundaries for yourself to protect your own wellbeing. Have you read the book "walking on eggshells"? It has some great tips for dealing with family members with bpd.

I remember when my mother was in the hospital after emergency surgery to remove an infection. At one point I actually said she would have to ask a friend to drive her to her appointment because I had to work. Triggered, she started to bawl right in front of the doctor. It was awkward. I went low contact after that.

Going low contact has been the best thing for my overall wellbeing. 
🐝➕

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Thru the Rain

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Re: uBPD Mother in a Health Crisis
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2021, 11:52:53 PM »
I'm sorry you're going through this, and sorry your M is sick.

I question why she has rejected help from a friend and from her sister, and why she has rejected help you set up from afar, and why she refuses to follow her doctor's recommendations.

Whatever the "why" is, its not rational. There is nothing you or anyone else can offer from the outside that will fill the black hole of neediness. Your absolute priority should be your 8 year old - who ACTUALLY needs you to take care of her since she's not an adult.

I've been dealing with my own cancer situation this year. I follow my doctor's recommendations to the letter, and have asked for help when I need it. The fact that your M is rejecting local help and isn't following doctor's suggestions tells me she not really taking the situation seriously at all. You aren't likely to change this no matter how much you put your own life on hold.

My own M is very childish and is always looking for someone to step in and be her "mommy". And she's just as happy with negative attention - maybe even more happy with negative attention. She loves to be scolded for not following medical advice and enjoys playing silly games with her doctors. I flat out refuse to participate.

If your M is anything like mine, she wants you to come and yell at her to drink her *yucky* gatorade and to eat the *nasty* healthy food. You may want to consider taking her at face value and responding to her non-compliance with "well, you're an adult" and then changing the subject and getting off the phone.

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Sneezy

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Re: uBPD Mother in a Health Crisis
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2021, 12:02:38 PM »
My own M is very childish and is always looking for someone to step in and be her "mommy". And she's just as happy with negative attention - maybe even more happy with negative attention. She loves to be scolded for not following medical advice and enjoys playing silly games with her doctors.
:yeahthat:
This is exactly what the original poster's mother is doing.  For her mother (and mine for that matter), negative attention is better than no attention, and sometimes even better than positive attention.

In normal times, a good option would be to drop the rope and let mom make her own decisions and face the consequences.  Unfortunately, covid has muddled things a bit.  I know in my area there is not an open hospital room within 75 miles (a friend had to go over an hour away to find a room for an ill relative).  And of course, people who do end up in the hospital are alone, with no visitors allowed.  But I don't think this truly changes things.  It changes the consequences for our PD parents.  But it doesn't change the fact that they are adults, acting like toddlers, who will still end up facing the consequences of their actions (even though those consequences are different now).  It may feel harder to drop the rope right now, but dropping it may still be a very good option.

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JoJo

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Re: uBPD Mother in a Health Crisis
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2021, 06:24:22 PM »
Hi!

I'm sending you so much compassion right now. I know the HUGE anxiety that this has unleashed for you... it feels like the only way to tame that anxiety is to jump on a plane and DO something. I recently went through the same thing with a cross-country disordered relative. Because of Covid, we, of course, hesitated to fly over... then we realized the relative was not only dramatizing but also taking definitive action to make herself sicker (which is exactly what your mother is doing). She did this SO we would come rescue her. When we said we weren't coming, could not come, it wasn't happening, she figured it out and started accessing local resources. She got better. I see parallels in your story here. Cancer is a serious illness and I know your mother may be gravely ill, may not get better, but even in normal times, this wouldn't seem reasonable. She HAS resources there, people who are willing to help her, just as my relative did. She needs to access them rather than having you fly across the country simply because you are her preferred servant.

Your eight-year-old absolutely 100% needs you right now. That was the line that stood out to me the most. "I have a young child (8yrs old) who needs me at home." This is absolutely true and may be the line that you come back to again and again like a mantra. "I can't come, Mom. Kiddo needs me here."

I still have a lot of anger about my own situation, that anyone would so selfishly put others at risk when they had perfectly good resources at their disposal. In my case, this relative would prefer we come out because we don't "judge her." This means she can act however she wants with us. She doesn't have to put on her "good" behavior. She's "comfortable." And ohhhh, I relate to so many comments here. The silly games. My relative will tell everyone about her bad behavior -- throwing away pills, refusing to comply -- just so she can be scolded and they can see what a "wild card" she is. It's insane.

Please put yourself first here. And if you just can't do that -- trust me, I know how difficult it is -- keep thinking about your kiddo. Don't take action just to relieve that anxiety that your mother installed in you in the first place. Stay home and wait it out. She will figure it out. You've done everything to get her help AND she has family nearby. 

When I think about all the times we jumped (as a couple) because of the anxiety our relatives created, I'm actually a touch grateful for Covid (only!!!) because it forced us to pause. When we paused, the anxiety ebbed a bit, and we could see what a bad move it would be, Covid or no Covid.

Wishing you strength to get through this and make the best choices for you and YOUR family, the one you created. I'm so sorry you're going through this. Sending a big hug your way.

Jojo

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Iris1022

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Re: uBPD Mother in a Health Crisis
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2021, 05:05:27 PM »
Thank you all for your input and support. Unless you've experienced a PD parent, it is tough to truly "get it." My husband keeps suggesting that I confront my mom and/or attempt to have rational conversations with her. Not going to happen - she's not rational in any way, shape or form and such conversations would only distort things more or result in crazy twisting/gaslighting. So again, I love hearing from all of you who have been through this!

I'm going to have to hold my ground when it comes to boundaries, as anxiety-provoking as that might be. Meanwhile, Mom is already complaining about and putting down the home health worker that I arranged to help with household chores. She doesn't fold the towels correctly apparently so she's "challenged" in my mom's eyes. (Insert eye roll here, but this is so classic...)