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someone from the borderline paersonality disorder forum told me about this site and about how it may be useful for me to vent and voice my mixed bag of emotions dealing with my mums terminal cancer and dealing with the fact that we dont have the normal kind of bond that most kids seem to have with their parents.
i dont feel guilt about it- as i know it wasnt me who broke the bond. but i do find myself feling wierd about looking forward to a life without the constant comments- criticisms and judgements- dramas- manipulations and tantrums. put it this way- I am looking forward to emotional freedom. I am at the stage whereby one more cutting comment that she comes out with is nearing the end of the comments and I have this horrid feeling of glee that its now going to soon end- and yes i do feel guilt about it- although i dont do guilt like i used to. i also have feelings of wierdness knowing i am not going to be breaking my complete heart when she dies- although i take comfort knowing that i will genuinely miss her- and miss parts of life that we had together. but during these last two years she was to ill to enjoy life and too mentally ill to keep a converstaion going- so i feel as though a lot has been killed off before she has even gone. its all too wierd. i am just wondering- whether this is actualy normal- even when an elderly parent hasnt had sever mental illness in their lives- im wondering if people in their adult feel wierd because their world isnt going to come crashing down when their parent dies. i know that this isnt right- but even at the end i am still not able to form the deep bond that ive always wanted since childhood- she is nicer than she has been and kinder- but now she is getting more pain and discomfort- she is starting to be grumpy- and no one is doing the right thing by her and whatever i do from here on in will not be enough for her. so the actual illness itself stops those feelings of unconditional love and a deep bond. i just feel sad that i have a mum who i love- but who is also a prickly difficult person to love at the same time. does anyone else identify with this? and i wonder if this kind of thing is felt by normal people who havent had mental illness in their lives?
Reply with quote #2
Welcome,Kate. You have a lot in common with many here. You will also find caring and ideas that may be helpful.
First, you have to get a handle on your feelings of guilt. Right now you are being as hard on yourself as your PD elder is. Please accept yourself for being human in an impossible situation. Don't replay all of those hurtful things you've heard or experienced. Next think of ways to take better care of yourself both emotionally and physically. You sound exhausted. You may need more rest and ways to relax. Some elders (especially N's & people with PD) may lack awareness of other's feelings and needs. They focus only on themselves. You can't please them so you must protect yourself by setting boundaries. Do what is reasonable for you. Ignore those hurtful words & actions. As for your feelings about your mother, accept that they result from all the many challenges you've had. Hugs & peace- Dee Dee
Reply with quote #3
NORMAL. Normal normal normal. Whether your parents are lovely or beasties, it's NORMAL.
"i know that this isnt right- but even at the end i am still not able to form the deep bond that ive always wanted since childhood." There is no right or wrong here, Kate: your feelings are your feelings, and extremely understandable given your parent. The part that isn't right is that you didn't have a mother who gave you the love and support that would naturally form that bond you lack. Not. Your. Fault. Terribly sad, yes. But nothing that you should blame yourself for or feel guilty about. I'm sorry for what you're going through, but glad you found this little board; the people here get it. Don't make yourself out to be a bad guy; you're not.
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Hi Kate, welcome
Sorry you're one of our bunch, but together we're quite something special. By which I mean, sorry you're dealing with it, but glad you've found this place. There's so much support and empathy/sympathy here. Just knowing you're not the only one will help so much. I think it's perfectly normal to feel the way you do, especially when your mum wasn't the picture-perfect mother we all wanted. Does anyone else think it's a lot to do with our elders living longer and especially living longer with severe health/mental illnesses? Not that long ago our parents would have died at the first stroke/heart attack/fall down the stairs because the medical world simply didn't have the means to keep them alive. People are caring for parents who have reached what were once astounding ages... before WWII, how many 80-somethings were around? Or 70-somethings? Or anyone who had appendicitis or a compound fracture or even measles? Not meaning to derail your thread, just trying to be supportive, trying to say that caring for the elderly... the very elderly... is pretty new in human experience. Is it any wonder that it's overwhelming? Throw in a personality disorder and wow, it's amazing any of us are coping at all.
Reply with quote #5
Hi Kate, sorry you are facing such a difficult time, but from what you write, you seem to have a handle on things. I think PQ nailed it - feelings just are - you can't change what you feel, nor should you.
I have recently lost my mother (? histrionic with some narcissitic overtones) and I have been initially feeling a lot of the same things - that I "should" be crying and grief stricken, especially when I see her friends weeping at their loss. I did the daily hospital visits out of pity, to prop up her image as the perfect mother to her friends, and to make sure she got the care she needed - I just felt like I was acting and the person in the bed had no real connection to me. Truth is, it just felt like a huge weight lifting when she died - the dread I'd felt for decades had gone, no more put downs, no more prying interrogations, no more subtle cutting remarks, no more controlling, no more tantrums and pettiness. Like you, any bond that might have formed with my mother withered away in the first few years because she couldn't or wouldn't be a loving mother. I did feel guilty that I don't feel more, but a couple of weeks down the line I am realising that I nolonger have to have my feelings moderated by my mother into "acceptable" and "wrong". I just feel relieved, I can't change that, it's up to other people to deal with how they feel.
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I know this post is old, but I am experiencing the same thing with my mother (that is not old though - 51). I tried to find subject on the matter of borderline personnality having cancer and I didn't find any... So, my mother is 51 and she is having cancer. She thinks it is generalized - but who knows if she is just saying her body hurts so to make me feel guilty of her illness. She lives with her mother and doesn't have any money of her own (she lost her job after she got into a huge conflict with her boss and never recovered from that. i.e. nobody wants to hire her she says, and wouldn't get any job and keep it). It is difficult because she is not independant and into a lot of pains, and blame me for not taking enough care of her. But I can't. She is destructive. I am just going to university now (I'm 28), because I felt so lost and destroy for a good part of my life. I didn't know life was not that dangerous. That people did not all want to break me like she does. Now, she doesn't want me to abandon her. But all I am thinking is how I hope she really has generalized cancer so she can go fast and I can be free from her. I know it is really a bad feeling, maybe childish, but she says so much violent things. I'm afraid of her feelings. Once, she physically abused me and I thought she was going to kill me. All because I was screaming to let me get out of the house. She told me today I deserved it - she told me that because I refused to go to a family party for christmas and invited her instead to go to a restaurant. This is so wrong. I'm sorry, English is not my first language so my thoughts don't seem elaborated. Also, I just got out of a terrible supper with her, where she said really violent things to me. It seems she is happy that I am sad, and happy other people are having a hard time in their life. As if it compensate her problems. Anyway. I'm really sad I don't have a good relationship with her. And really sad she is having such a hard time with life. And terribly nervous to have to accompany her in her illness because I have no idea how to continue to take care of myself while doing that. I want a life of my own. I am beggining to have that and now I need to take care of her again... I'm tired, really tired. Thank you for reading me.
Reply with quote #7
Hi, Rosie. Welcome to this forum. Your English is fine, don't worry about that. Does your mother have a diagnosis of cancer, or does she just think she has it? She could be just telling you that to get your sympathy. Anyway, physical abuse of another adult (you) is NEVER acceptable, no matter what her condition is. You would be justified to limit contact with her.
Reply with quote #8
Here is a link to a help group for those of us who deal with personality disordered folks in our lives.
It lists the most common personality disorder traits, and ways to deal with them. I believe there are several folks from this board who are also on that board too.
I send you strength to deal with your situation.
(Your English is great, better than some US citizens I know . )
Reply with quote #9
Thank you Mike and Middlegirl for the infos and the welcoming. She had a diagnosis of uterus cancer, with the development of the cancer being the worst. She doesn't feel good right now and I can see that, so she thinks (doesn't have that diagnosis) that she has generalized cancer. As for her being physically abusive - and mentally a lot -, I limited my contact with her. But I feel like a terrible human being not having more contacts (once every 2 week in a café, we take a sandwich and talk for 2 hours). Though, I find it is way too much already, but I suck it up because of her illness I guess. I am an only child and my father left when I was young, so she basically has me. My family is present I think (I don't talk to them neither, because my mother kept pushing them away from me, and because when she physically abused me, no one helped me get through that - it was really though : I had to stop working and was in post traumatic stress for quite a while, so couldn't do anything and felt so lost). Rosie
Reply with quote #10
I understand what you mean about borderline pers. disorder. My mother has partial narc. qualities too. It seems harsh to discuss this as she's just become a widow, but she was always badmouthing my dad and resenting the cost of his care now puts on her martyr act. Luckily, I tell her plenty when need be, draw boundaries and the other sibs and rels know what she's up too. She thinks I"m supposed to keep secrets from the doc but I wont and she's already on a lowdose pill to help her mindset. But there's still stress as I live nearby in her own home and she makes my job more difficult. She indeed bites the hand that helps her most. I was about to turn matters over to senior services and drop my POA before she ruined my health and family. She's very reliant on me for business matters, getting more forgetful and defensive and then blames me for her problems. Classic denial, lies, twisting stories... luckily my brother is moving her out of state in spring to a board and care. He's a doc and can do more for her or at least get good referrals. She can use some of his orthopod skills too.
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I'm so glad this thread exists. My BPD mother just told me she might have cancer and that "I shouldn't worry," and the first thing I thought when she said that was, "I don't think I would worry." I mean, I didn't say that of course, and I don't know how I'd deal with it if she did have cancer (results later this week), but like so many of you have said, as my mother ages and I sometimes think about the fact that at some point she will die, I really only imagine I'll feel relieved when she dies. I do feel a bit guilty about anticipating that relief, but not in a way that overtakes my steadfastness about it. I have already grieved for my lost mother during her life and it's like she's the living dead to me, even though we're not totally no contact, I have no emotional ties to her anymore at all. She is still my mother and I don't hate her, even though I'm still processing all of the trauma from childhood. I've never posted anything on a BPD forum before though I have been silently reading them for about a year now, maybe longer. The kinship among victims of BPD mothers is healing, and to know that someone else understands the particular type of abuse wrought by a Borderline Witch onto an only daughter that she could easily isolate and abuse - well - that type of bond is really what family feels like, isn't it? I imagine so, anyway. People you feel bonded to in a very special way because of a very unique set of circumstances, even if they are "crazy." (Har-har, if only most people knew.) I'd like to use this one post to send a general universal thank you to everyone on every board who has shared their story. It has meant so much to me in my recovery.
Registered: 1438286666 Posts: 2
Reply with quote #12
Hi. I'm new to this board and actually to all online support groups. My therapist recommended I reach out to other people in my situation for more community guidance.
My mother has had stage 3 cancer for the last year and only just revealed this (as is her way) because she "didn't think [i] would care". My mom is BPD, untreated, and has not been responding well to my boundary growth over the last three years since I found therapy and a life of my own. I still want to support her and be compassionate about her situation, but I can't even bring myself to call her. She still scares the living daylight a out of me because I never know what's going to come next. Does anyone have any advice about how to handle this situation?
Reply with quote #13
I am so sorry you are going through this. I also have a mom who has an untreated personality disorder, and even though she doesn't have cancer, she sometimes has issues that require more involvement than I feel comfortable with. I think it helps to remember that our moms are toxic and dangerous to our well-being, so any contact, even if it is contact they actually need, is going to be dangerous. We have to carefully consider our actions before we act, and balance what we feel with what we know. We feel sad and scared and stressed. If you are like me, when I feel this way, I have a tendency to drop all my boundaries and want the unpleasant feelings to go away. I also have a deeply programmed urge to want other people's pain to go away at any cost. Some of this is due to very unhealthy messages I received as a kid that tell me I am bad if others suffer and that I will suffer if I do not fix their suffering. What I know is that sometimes pain happens and I cannot throw my own well-being out the window and seek counterfeit safety in pleasing, appeasing, fixing and obeying just because my someone else is hurting. I also know that d ecisions made under stress often lead me to do unsafe things. nstead of putting myself in compromising situations just to So i feel safe (i.e. make their pain go away) or feel like I am a good person, I try to tap into what is genuinely the right thing to do. This means I have to balance both my mom's needs and my own needs. So what does your mom need? Medical attention? You cannot provide that. Love and support? You can provide that. Is there a way to give it to her without harming yourself? Can you send flowers, a card or present? Can you visit her in the hospital with someone to serve as your body guard? Can you call her cell when you know it is off and leave a kind message telling her you will pray for her? What do you need? Do you need to see her? Do you need to stay away? Carefully consider what you both need and what you know, and then follow your soul. There is no one right answer. Good luck and let us know how you are doing. 4) I then look to see what they genuinely need and see if it is something they or someone else can provide, and if I put together a list of boundaries before I agree to doing anything. 5) I consciously ask myself, "What is the best way to love this difficult person without doing any harm to myself?" I then formulate a plan based on both of our needs. So last night, after going through this exercise, I called one of my siblings, and we are both going to the hospital together today. I am clear about what I will do and not do and I have it in writing in case I get weak and start to do something harmful to myself. I am a kind and compassionate person, but I cannot let my default brain do harmful things under the guise of making me feel "safe." Safety doesn't come from pleasing. It comes from seeing the truth and living it.
Reply with quote #14
I accidentally pasted another post at the bottom. Sorry!
Registered: 1438286666 Posts: 2
Reply with quote #15
No worries! Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. It's a little eerie hearing my intuitive reactions echoed in other people, but it's also reassuring.
I sent a card, but that has only seemed to exacerbate the situation on her end. Once I offer one thing, the demands for other things - the breaking of boundaries because what has been given is not enough - begins. I will try your idea about calling and leaving voicemails.
Thank you again.