I can make a number of suggestions, not in order of importance. 1. Begin settings limits for acceptable behavior from your daughter, and impose consequences when she oversteps the bounds. 2. Try not to respond to anger with anger. Though your daughter may seem to be trying to provoke you and may even seem to like getting a big emotional response (to her it may show you care), what she more likely needs, and what you probably need, is a calm, stable, predictable environment. 3. Consider keeping a concise diary, in objective terms, that records what your daughter does and what may have brought it on. This can help you learn detachment (which will make #2 easier) and will help others, such as mental health professionals, assess what's going on. I understand what you mean when you say "terrorizing the family," because I've seen it myself, but that won't be specific enough if you find yourself talking to a therapist, a counselor or advisor at her school, or (as may happen) the law. 4. If your daughter is still to some extent under your control, try to get her to go with you to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional, or else try to get her to go by herself. The former is preferable because persons with a personality disorder often distort and misrepresent what's happened; to assess her accurately, the psychiatrist will probably need your notes and your views. 5. Learn more: look for informative websites or support groups on the Internet, and read a book such as this one (Stop Walking on Eggshells, which I've read and recommend) or one of the others that Amazon will suggest to you. This particular book, I know, has special advice for parents of children who have or may have borderline personality disorder.
Thank you so much that is all really helpful. I actually have gotten her to go to counseling for family counseling. But, the counselor started seeing her first and now will not talk to me either to answer any questions (I totally get that, she's an adult) but I mean questions that aren't about her therapy. She won't even talk to me about setting up more family therapy since there was never one. We went for the first visit she asked to speak to her alone and then that's the end of it. I don't even know if she's continuing to go. So, so much for that. But not responding with anger and me being calm I usually try and disassociate so to speak so I can talk to her without a lot of emotion but after a few times of her being so nasty. I get furious and threaten to take away her cell phone. Now I need to do it more. The problem is I don't live with her, she's with her dad and she's starting college. My reach is limited. And her dad will never agree with anything I say that is about her. He excuses her. So, I'm trying to do it myself. It's so different than when she was with me. But, thank you so much your helpful suggestions are a balm to my soul. Thank you for taking the time to respond.
I really feel for you. My daughter is a Borderline, and I have been dealing with her irrational, venomous behavior since she was an adolescent. She is now 36 and still twisting reality and being venomous. Being generous, rational, and having continued expectations that she will "grow out of it" will only hurt you. My granddaughter is so precious to me; I may lose her if if don't tow the mark with my daughter.
My advice is.... Be true to yourself. You can never please them. Do you have other children? I hope so. Good luck. SR
I have a 25 year old daughter who is now pregnant and her behavior is worse than ever...I do not know if I can tow the mark..she is totally destroying any and everyone around her with her lies and manipulation. As far as helping the person with the 18 year old...I wish I could give you some sound advice on how to help her, However, if there are other children involved just protect them from their sister as much as you can. We actually spent a seperate weeks vacation with each child tolet them know they were special and it kept the special week frombeing a total wreck because of our BPD daughter. I acutally wish our daughter would go into therapy I think she would benefit from it and as well as her husband.
I'd like to suggest some things again; I apologize for repeating myself, but I believe these tactics can be useful and are well worth trying. One: Set rules, explain them, and don't tolerate violations. If the family dinner is being disrupted, you may have to send the BPD person away from the table. If private space or time isn't being honored, you may have to lock some doors. Two: seek advice, learn, and try out what you learn. There are books, Internet support groups, and counselors available. This forum isn't a very good place for exchanging detailed suggestions, but there are people and places and sources for that.
One thing that is very frustrating is that the doctor/therapist won't talk to you at all unless your loved one has signed a release. But due to the HIPAA laws, they just can't. You can't blame them.
But you CAN get your message to them. You can write them letters and provide useful information for them, so they have a better understanding of what your loved one is doing. After all, we all know that all the manipulation and webs of stories that our loved ones will give them must make it pretty tough for the doctor to sift through. They may not be able to talk with you, but you can make sure to have your message heard by writing to them.
The other thing I would suggest is to seek out NAMI. (www.nami.org) You will likely be able to find a local chapter that offers support. They have an amazing 12-week course designed for people who have loved ones with a mental disorder. It's amazing, in-depth, and absolutely free, and it will likely really make a difference in your life.
There is a booklet called "Hope for Parents" I publish that you can get (see www.BPDCentral.com for a list of the contents because it is not in stores). Also on BPDCentral there is a list called ParentsofBPs. There is also another web site called NUTS run by a woman named Sharon. Google it. My new book "The Essential Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder" gives you five main tools that are really **concrete**. I spent three years on it and it reflects the 12 years I have spent studying this disorder.
I strongly reccommend "Borderline Personality Disorder in Adolesents" by Blaise Aguirre even though your daughter is 18. Another suggestion is to go to NEABPD.org.
I know that I've suggested one booklets and two books, but they all cover very different things. It will be the best money you have EVER spent.
My goodness, I have been looking for someone who has a daughter like this..... approaching 30, 4 children, has cut us off of her life AND our precious grandkids. Never been officially diagnosed, ( I don't need therapy, it's all your fault) behavior in adolescence and adulthood getting worse, fitting the bill for BPD/narcissism/ and goodness knows what else. Always had a turbulent relationship with us, on and off/ "taking away the grandkids" when we needed to be "punished"--- which was quite often, and we don't even live in the same state..... visits always ended up badly, and of course, it was always something we did or said.... or didn't do, OR said. Too much to tell, the pain is vivid everyday because we love her and our grandchildren, whom we haven't seen or talked to in over 3 years. The "cutoff" is even more severe now, because she moved and no one has her address or phone number; she knows that her father is ill, but doesn't seem to care; her husband has also cut off his entire family ( perhaps at her request) He was a nice guy with a lot of patience, but he is a human being. I had heard a rumor that they were just co-existing as of 3 years ago. Her sister was able to make contact with her through an e-mail, letting her know about her father's condition and my strong desire to speak to her about him, and she replied that she had no time for " BS" or games right now, as she has "a lot going on in her life" People like her seem to have no feelings; it is so sad; I truly sympathise with you, I don't know much about your story, but i often said to my husband that i wished there was a support group for people who have adult children like ours, who cause so much misery and destruction, and see themselves as perfect and use "projection" ( it's you, you, you, who is manipulative, interfering, agressive, irrational, nasty,overbearing, etc....) to cover their own behavior and throw the blame; they select one parent, usually the MOTHER. I tried EVERYTHING in the past, nothing worked, went as far as apologizing for the things I had done wrong since she was BORN, and things I never did, begging her to forget the "past" which she seems to thrive on to bring up all sorts of things to accuse and make me or her father, or sisters feel bad ( sisters want nothing further to do with her, they have tried, too) they are adults with their own lives, and they feel for us, but nothing has worked. They, along with friends and other family members, have suggested that I "let go" when they realize the pain that I'm in, but it is so much easier said than done, how do you let go of a child that you love still very much? When I look at photos of this beautiful little girl, and think about how sweet and funny she was as a very young child, my heart breaks, and the tears flow; the question then keeps coming: WHY? We had gotten so close to our grandchildren too, and they loved us, what must they be thinking? That WE abandoned them? Cards and gifts had been returned to us and to the other grandmother, sometimes shredded. Horrible situation, but feel supported a bit, knowing now that I am not alone; my husband adored her, but seems to take this better than I; of course, many men do not express their feelings as women do... Thank you for reading this..... If there is anything I can do to be of help or support, please let me know......
I came across your post regarding your daughter and read the advice. I would be interested to know if some of the people that have replied have lived with a borderline or have just researched it. I too have an 18 year old daughter that I believe suffers from borderline personality disorder.
I spent the last 18 years raising my daughter by myself. When I have tried to set limits my daughter has responded in the following ways over the years: 1) Took my work planner & threatened to burn it if I didn't give back her straightening iron (I took it away for one day b/c she kept leaving it on). 2) Told me if I didn't let her go out with her friends she would take a knife to my kitchen counter. The mark is still there. 3) One day when she was grounded a workman was downstairs in our house. While the two of us were upstairs, she began to screaming & begging for me to stop hitting her. 4) Went out into our front yard and yelled at the top of her lungs that I got knocked up when I was a teenager & that I can't hold a man. 5) Stole my cellphone and threatened to call the guy I was dating & tell him the "truth" about me. It goes on and on. This doesn't take into account the two times she has been arrested for domestic violence against me. Her facebook page is filled with horrible lies about me & pictures of me that she has "photoshopped" to make me look terrible.
I have spent the last 10 years trying to get her help. She has been to several psychologists, psychiatrists, 2 inpatient therapeutic boarding schools etc. All with a different diagnosis. She will say she needs help when she is in her remorseful stage but then she will tell the therapists that it is me & that nothing is wrong with her. She is very charming and sweet when it serves a purpose. She has started meds but will then stop them.
Within a month of getting her license, she had it revoked for driving 65 in a 35 residential area. I tried to send her to college but within two weeks of being there she was admitted to the ER unconsicous. She stated she was slipped something in her drink. Later her roommate at college kicked her out of their room saying she lied about what happened that night. She dropped one class & failed another. Has walked out on three jobs and makes excuses why she can't get another.
I finally said I had enough. I wasn't paying for college anymore & she wasn't coming back home. When she lived with us, I lived as a prisoner in my own home. Locking my bedroom door when I wasn't home so she wouldn't steal my things and locking my bedroom door at night b/c I was afraid of her. She has two younger brothers that were having to suffer as well.
After I "kicked her out", I was criticized by many family members. How could I put my own daughter out on the street? The reality was that it was her or me. She had control over me through her lies, manipulation and intimidation and I wasn't willing to live like that anymore.
I love her dearly but she has made the choice not to seek help. I gave her thousands of warnings and chances to stay. It breaks my heart that she may never be able to lead a productive life.
So, my advice to you is that you must at some point say "enough is enough". Take care of yourself or you will not be able to be there for the other people in your life. I wish I could give you advice as to how to help your daughter but I have not found that answer yet. I'm trying to come to terms with the reality that if she doesn't want help it may be very difficult to get it for her. Take care, Lori
Keeping a journal of when and how the outbursts happen is important. My daughter was diagnosed BPD at the age of 12. The dr.'s wanted to separate us for a minimum of 2 years, because I HAD to be a bad mother for my child to have this. She was on a schedule of every 3 weeks of having a horrible outburst and then tings would calm for a while until they built up for the next outburst. It seems like it may have been hormonally based for her. She is 28 now and we have just begun rebuilding our relationship in the last 2 years. I am so grateful that I never closed the door - as tempting as it was once in a while. The grand babies are precious.
I think the parents here would really enjoy being in an online support community that I run called Welcome to Oz. For more info, see my web site, www.BPDCentral.com. See the line "Join the Welcome to Oz family community" (or something just like that) on my home page.
For all of you who have a child with BPD: there is hope. I was finally diagnosed 7 years ago as a BPD. My mother recognized from the time I was 4 that there was "something wrong" but never knew what it was or how to deal with it. After a failed marriage and a suicide attempt, I decided to get help. Now, 7 years of personal therapy and 3 years of DBT therapy later, I am a functioning adult who can accept responsibility for my own behavior. I have a good relationship with my parents again, but my ex may not ever be able to forgive and understand. I wish all of you luck and hope that soon your BPDs will hit the point where they finally ask for and implement help.
I'm glad to hear it. I know much is possible when a person decides to seek help. The value of the book Get Me Out of Here, by Rachel Reiland, is that it shows what can happen when a borderline person seeks help. The trouble for many of us is that our borderline persons (BPs, as the eggshells book calls them) haven't yet recognized that they need help. Bryghtfalcon, would you like to say more specifically how you decided? I recognize that "failed marriage and suicide attempt" is reason enough, really.
This is all so sad, but there is hope for some of you, and I am happy to read that. As for me (see Ann Smith above) I don't think there will be a silver lining. We had helped our daughter so many times before in her life, with love and joy, with money or anything else. But.........
A contact around the last holidays turned out to be a disaster, she only wanted money from us to pay for a lawyer to get her husband out of trouble with the law, nothing else, did not even ask how her Dad was, knowing that he is ill; we decided that after not hearing from her for years and not being able to speak to our grandkids since 2005, we would not blindly begin to send checks to an attorney, not even knowing where it would take us financially, being retired, but we told her we loved her and wanted to help her if we could, but thought that she should at least make something right first by her allowing us to speak to our beloved grandchildren, and rectifying a mess she created by not allowing us to have contact anymore with her husband's mother, with whom we have been friends and supported each other, her being in the same boat. She made her husband call his mother to tell her to cut contact with me, (us) and if she agreed, HE MAY be willing to work on their relationship (he and her) which was also cut off. The mother told me this when I called her, and sadly and regretfully told me that she wanted to TRY to make things work with her son and perhaps also be able to speak to or see her grandkids. I told her that I understood, and that she will always remain my friend, which she echoed.
What a disgusting situation for all of us.
Daughter was nasty, abrasive, agressive as a response to our reasonable request, and we never her from her again. Heard they are in trouble with the law, in and out of courts, lost their business, and are in foreclosure. Concerned about the grandkids in all of this, hope they are doing ok.
Setting limits with people with BPD is very difficult for a number of reasons:
* Most family members have let them slide by for so long * Respecting limits requires a degree of emotional regulation, so difficult for BPs * Communication is an issue
I could go on and on. Setting limits is a *process* that begins with you understandng what limits are and what they mean to you. It never really ends because you must always be alert.
What people don't understand is that they often sabotage their own limit-setting by sending mixed signals. It's often better to NOT set limits then set them in the wrong way, because it can make things worse.
I spent three years writing my new book, The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder, with the goal of teaching family members a number of skills they need to survive and even thrive in their relationships. Setting limits is one of the five skill sets. I strongly recommend the book, which you can get here or at my own site, BPDCentral.com.
This isn't practical advice--sorry if anyone's bothered--but I thought I should mention a report on a recently developed form of therapy. Three studies show good success rates. See details at http://www.physorg.com/news177830854.html
I think I've read every book written on borderlines, or at least most of them. At the bottom of this note, I've posted links to two papers that might help. DBT papers are also on the web. After more than a decade of research, I've found DBT, and the two papers linked below have the best success.
I think the biggest benefit from reading these is to remind myself that I have to remain dispassionate while my BPD close family member lives in chaos. Sometimes the chaos and negativity gets directed at me. Even when the funnel cloud is whirling away somewhere else, I still feel an overwhelming sadness that I can't help more, and that despite my best effects the chaos in their lives will continue, and maybe ruin their career and relationships.
Here are two pdf articles from new research studies that actually give Non's some hope. The fatty acids actually worked on my BPD and the chaos stopped. Then they decided they didn't need them because there was nothing wrong and stopped taking them. It makes you think that some people just like the chaos. Hope these articles help someone else. The pdf's can be downloaded.
Thank you so much! I also have five grandchildren that I also have been "cut off" from. This is the second time I have been "cut off" and this time I am taking the suggestion to "let her go", only because of what someone said to me that: "You know what she is going to do, why keep doing that to yourself?" So now, I am trying to take care of myself. I sure will miss my grandkids, but as many people say the grandchildren will grow up and realize that something wasn't right, if they don't already realize that. Thanks again!
I feel your pain, Sandy Gwin, have been through it, many times, and I too, decided to try to let go; it isn't easy...... please read my original post above, and to this day, the chaos continues, even with her father now seriously ill; she doesn't seem to be too concerned with calling, visiting in the hospital, and yet she "preferred him" over me all these years. I am concentrating on him solely, as he is terminally ill unless he gets a transplant in time; even this does not phase her. I can add sociopathy to this behavior, it is very sad for us, her, her children who have been sometimes "allowed" to love us, and many other times, not. What does this do to children? To teach them that grandparents are disposable? It is the same with their grandparents on her husband's side. I have so much pain that I have begun to feel numb to it all, which is the best thing that could have happened to me right now, and I am able to focus on the real love of my life, who has been loving ME for over 40 years.
1. Are you in therapy or attending some kind of 12 step meeting or group therapy to get perspective from others? I ask because in dealing with BPs it's easy to actually fulfill some of their characterizations and act unreasonable back. That's one of the worst parts, is joining the crazy! :) There might be opportunities for you to detach or respond to her in a way that will be more beneficial for everyone that you could learn from peers.
2. She is asking you to stay out of her life, how about respecting that boundary? It will make life easier for everyone.
3. That said, write letters to your grandkids and send them to someone else for safe keeping so they can break the seal and open the letters on their own when they're old enough. Right now the only story they have about your family is hers. Some of them will probably really appreciate knowing you cared and why you weren't a part of their life they way you'd like.