Should I tell my adult children/her stepchildren about BPD?

  • 11 Replies
  • 216 Views
*

IcedCoffee

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 61
UBPDw is now serious about a divorce after 20 years. I'm trying to keep the marriage together, we have two young children.

Should I tell my adult children (her stepchildren) about the suspected BPD? I'd feel disloyal but that's the sort of thinking that a pwBPD relies on! If I did tell them I'd swear them to secrecy.

*

JustKeepTrying

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 183
Re: Should I tell my adult children/her stepchildren about BPD?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2021, 12:55:05 AM »
IcedCoffee,

I can't tell you what to do and everyone has a different situation.  But I can share mine and perhaps it can help.

32-year marriage - I walked out with no warning.  I was scared for my physical well-being - he (OCPDxh) had become increasingly erratic and physically intimidating.  I had an 18-year-old son with me but my adult children were out of the house.  I told them.  I never thought they wouldn't believe me.  They didn't.  It has been two years and very rocky.  They are angry and have sided with their father - all because I walked.  I know in my heart that they see it but they are just not willing to make that mental shift.  Someday. they will and I pray they have the tools to deal with it.

How often do they see their stepmother?  What are you hoping to gain from sharing?  Are you seeking their support?  What kind of support can they give?  Be very clear and understand exactly what you need from the interaction.

I suggest that you try to find a therapist for yourself.  Someone you connect with who can give the support and tools you need for this next chapter of your life.

*

IcedCoffee

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 61
Re: Should I tell my adult children/her stepchildren about BPD?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2021, 03:24:51 PM »
Thanks. Yes, it's for support. At the moment my therapist and this forum are the only places I can share things. And this will be my first question next time I speak to my therapist!

If it does come to a divorce I expect it will be unpleasant, and I wanted to prepare them. Anyway, I'll probably keep quiet for now.

*

notrightinthehead

  • Host Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 3634
Re: Should I tell my adult children/her stepchildren about BPD?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2021, 06:49:18 PM »
The general attitude here is that we try not to talk badly about our PD partners.  However,  there is nothing wrong with stating facts and telling your truth.  If you believe that your partner is mentally unwell,  you can say that to your kids and anybody who needs to know. If you feel threatened,  this is your truth,  you can say, "I do not feel safe here."  To minimize the psychological challenges that you experience with your partner would be enabling them.  Your kids might have wondered about some behaviours of your partner. You can guide them towards more information and you can validate their feelings. You do want to equip them with tools that will help them deal with the difficult people in their lives.
I can't hate my way into loving myself.

*

IcedCoffee

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 61
Re: Should I tell my adult children/her stepchildren about BPD?
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2021, 10:57:38 PM »
It's complicated, isn't it?! One of my adult children is one of the few people my uBPDw hasn't split over. And he's only ever seen one side of her. Also I don't think he's had much experience with MH problems. So he might not believe me anyway!

I'm going to keep quiet for now.

Thanks for the advice. It's made me think.

*

Cascade

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 590
Re: Should I tell my adult children/her stepchildren about BPD?
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2021, 11:13:37 PM »
I think you could test the waters by just mentioning something a little vague, and then you may be able to see how they would react if you told them outright. It may be that they already know. Our adult children all know how I feel about their dad's mental health, but they have all seen enough of his behavior when they were growing up to know that something wasn't quite right.   

*

IcedCoffee

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 61
Re: Should I tell my adult children/her stepchildren about BPD?
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2021, 04:46:11 AM »
That's a good idea. I'll wait for face-to-face.

*

square

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 140
Re: Should I tell my adult children/her stepchildren about BPD?
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2021, 02:37:37 PM »
Imo

If someone seems to be asking for more clarity about a possible PD person (why did they do this? Have you ever seen them do X too? Etc) then I might START talking about specific traits or patterns. Yes, I have seen her accuse me of doing the thing that she is in fact doing. It could be ďprojection.Ē Itís very confusing, isnít it? Iím not sure why she would do it, could be to distract from her own behavior, could be that she is sincerely confused, hard to say. Sorry you had to experience that, itís hard.

If the person keeps coming back to try to understand more, I might consider mentioning PD. Eventually. Maybe. But Iíd be super careful.

We might all be super certain and thatís okay for us to have in our heads to help us understand and cope. But outwardly lay diagnosing someone with a mental illness has a lot of baggage.

When the PD concept ďclickedĒ for me, I wanted to tell everyone. Including my PD. Like, wow, isnít this great? We finally know whatís wrong with you. Ha. No. Thank goodness I kept my trap shut.

What if you tell someone your idea and it clicks and they tell someone? Mentioning you, or not. You might think you can trust them but who knows. I myself was almost unable to keep my ďmindblowĒ to myself.

Also I would only talk at all when someone expressed interest or when supporting someone through a specific conflict. I tell my kid that her father was very dismissive of her needs and she had every right to express them, when that situation comes up. And itís about her, not me. I admit I might sometimes say I know how it feels but I donít vent to her.

I also have a friend whose adult daughter has something HPD/BPD/DPDish. Iíve been tempted but I am convinced itís better to just talk about the traits - and only when she brings it up. Maybe someday. She is absorbing my feedback but really, who knows how she would react to me ďdiagnosingĒ her daughter?

And what do I know, anyway? Iíve been wrong about things, or not seen the bigger picture. Iím not totally off base but there are other factors including possible TBI.

And I would not even bring anything up at all on my own. If someone doesnít mention PD behaviors they are having to deal with, then Iím not bringing it up.

Looong post short (sorry) if in doubt, Iíd wait. And wait. And wait. Get support here but not from adult kids.

*

moglow

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 15132
  • >^..^<
Re: Should I tell my adult children/her stepchildren about BPD?
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2021, 03:44:20 PM »
Are they aware, have they questioned the way you're treated? Why not tell them what's going on, addressing that and her insistence that you divorce- open that line of communication with them. Absent an actual diagnosis, no, I wouldn't bring it up or mention possible PD. You may or may not be correct, she may or may not ever seek a diagnosis or help of any kind.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 03:49:25 PM by moglow »
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.Ē  ~ Cap'n Spanky

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

*

IcedCoffee

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 61
Re: Should I tell my adult children/her stepchildren about BPD?
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2021, 05:19:06 PM »
I'm generally a positive person, but I like to know what the worst-case downside is. The worst case is possibly that it affects their relationship with her. And that would be very bad. Ok, I'll be quiet for now and wait and see if the divorce proceeds. If it does I'll rethink.

Thanks!

*

moglow

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 15132
  • >^..^<
Re: Should I tell my adult children/her stepchildren about BPD?
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2021, 08:34:39 PM »
"...The worst case is possibly that it affects their relationship with her. And that would be very bad...."
Worst case (to me) is sharing speculation of mental illness, that's repeated to her and blown all out of proportion. Then she loses it taking out everyone in her path - you, all the kids, extended family and friends, forcing everyone to take sides or be gone, etc. If she already is upset over medical issues, think how much worse she might see mental issues, "fault" or perceived blame, talking about her behind her back... Just say no, go with what you know and can do something about. Protect yourself and your family. 
 
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.Ē  ~ Cap'n Spanky

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

*

IcedCoffee

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 61
Re: Should I tell my adult children/her stepchildren about BPD?
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2021, 09:51:36 PM »
I agree. That was what "very bad" meant. But your description is a lot more detailed and unfortunately extremely accurate!