My life is coming into focus

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My life is coming into focus
« on: April 07, 2021, 07:32:40 PM »
Hello all! I'm a 40-year-old whose therapist just told her that it sounds like her mother has BPD, and once I started reading about it I can't stop. I've already read Understanding the Borderline Mother, and I've never felt more seen.

My mother is likely a low-functioning hermit who I've been parenting since I was a child. She has no friends and uses me for everything from emotional support, to financial support.

I just got the usual "I don't have anyone else to talk to" this afternoon. It's exhausting to be in her presence. I didn't really realize that the way she parented my brother and I--unable to hold down a job, toxic romantic relationships, locking herself in her room, not eating anything but potato chips and cookies, having no friends/driving away the ones she has, bitterly hating everyone, biting sarcasm and meanness, refusing to use people's names who she hated, feeling threatened by my stepmother, not taking us to doctor appointments, etc--was really unusual until I became a mom of a child with special needs.
It was then that I discovered that she didn't do any of the "grunt work" of parenting. She marveled that I could drive in a big city to bring my daughter to the hospital, and when I said wouldn't you have done that if you had to? She said no. The real break for me came when her own mother was sick with cancer and my daughter recovering from surgery, but she refused to drive my grandmother to her chemo appointments (even just to help me) and insisted that I drive her to a doctor appointment with my freshly operated on infant in a car bed.

She was obsessively overprotective, cruel to my boyfriends, but never showed up for things. I could go on and on. Now she lives in a one-room apartment with no kitchen sink, hasn't worked in more than a year. Every job she has sours on her and fires her. She loves them when she starts and hates them when she's done.

All her jobs, cars, living arrangements were the result of someone else finding them for her, for her entire life. She washes her clothes at my house because she's afraid of the basement in her apartment building. She hates the winter and is literally paralyzed with fear by snow, but when I suggest she move to the warmer climate that my brother is relocating to she said I want to "get rid of her" and that's been my "agenda" for years.

When I was a kid I realized that she wasn't right about some things. She told me that she'd know if I didn't walk straight home from school because she had people secretly following me. She thinks I'll be raped on every quiet street. She thinks the smallest dog will maul her. She always wants me to keep things "secret." Everything is shameful.

Even though I *know* these things aren't true I hear her panicked voice in my head for everything I do that she wouldn't approve of and I hate it. I push through the feeling usually but there are some times when I don't and it disappoints me. I do some traveling for work and I try to say yes to all trips, even ones I know she'd think are "too dangerous" (i.e., I'm traveling alone anywhere). I'm really trying to work with my therapist to realize that I am not obligated to her and get Out of the FOG, but I do feel so so so guilty. Especially since she knows I'd never allow her to be homeless. That was on the table last time. I could either find her an apartment or welcome her into my basement. I chose the former. I

 have a SAINT of a husband. My daughter is now 11 and I'm terrified that I will screw her up in some way. My mother went NC with her own mother, who may also have had BPD. My mother was also abused as a child by her father, who was diagnosed as schizophrenic and institutionalized. My mother has never been to therapy, but I have begged her to go. She refuses. She doesn't want to "air her dirty laundry."

Thank you for listening. There's so more I could say, but I won't. I get the feeling you all already know. Lots of love to all of you. I'm glad I found you.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2021, 07:37:30 PM by Cookie77 »


Thru the Rain

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Re: My life is coming into focus
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2021, 02:15:08 AM »
Your M sounds so much like my uPDM!

My M was also neglectful - when I was a child she wouldn't take me to the doctor, wouldn't buy me clothes or needed hygiene items, after my siblings and I left for school in the mornings she would take the phone off the hook and become unreachable all day. Any friends brought home were idealized right up until she ripped them to shreds (behind their backs), the boyfriend/future husband got the worst of that treatment.

She was extremely two-faced. Soooo nice to people's faces and sooooo nasty behind their backs. She's now at the point where she has exactly zero friends, and like your M she lives as a hermit. She tried to tell me that I'm her best friend. In fact for a few years she sent Mother's Day cards to me. I don't have children, so it wasn't a nice "you're a mom too" sort of card. No she explicitly told me that I was now her mother. I finally asked her to stop - it was so icky! I'm not her Mother, I'm not her friend, I stay in contact because I still want a relationship with her and for no other reason. I'm not a dumping ground, I'm not here to rescue her from disastrous decisions and mean behavior.

I'm about 15 years older than you, and started in a similar place to where you are now when I was in my early 40's - realizing there's a strange problem with my M and feeling trapped. By continuing to educate yourself and taking baby steps, you can put yourself in a stronger and healthier and safer place to protect yourself and your FOC.

I'm so happy that you've found a good therapist to help you through this.



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Re: My life is coming into focus
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2021, 03:06:08 AM »
Cookie77 you have come to a good place, full of information and support.  I am so glad to read that you have support from your husband and a therapist. Please read the Toolbox - what to do and what not to do and start implementing the strategies that are applicable to your situation. It is a long journey and you are not alone - there is light at the end of this tunnel.  The important thing is,  you cannot change your mother. You can, however, change your behaviour towards her. Implement boundaries. Use medium chill. Learn to distinguish what is your responsibility and what is hers. Look at what you do to enable her immature behaviour. What can you change?
Looking forward to your posts.
I can't hate my way into loving myself.