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NickyLynn

Worried that I'm borderline

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So after my relationship in my late 30s with my mother grew completely toxic, I started looking up information on the way my mother interacted. I didn't know if it was her OCD that caused her to be this way. Then after some time I started to suspect narcissism. Then I found a write-up on borderline personality disorder and other than the impulsivity, it was spot on. She has always needed me to be with her, there like a parent for most of my adult life. She did the classic splitting - where she would talk about a wonderful new coworker and then 3 weeks later they were the worst person she knew. She had huge boundaries issues - sitting with my kids in my bedroom and eating all my food and getting food in my bed and showing up at any random time with her friends or guests at our house and expecting to just interrupt whatever was going on in our lives. She had treated me growing up as the "golden child" and treated my sports successes and such as her own. My brother who did not succeed in sports because he was skinny and small was devalued often - which I didn't realize until much later. Everything in both of our lives was about how it made her look. In her mind anything that was happening to her was happening to us and vice versa. She wanted her kids and any friends in her life to wear the same clothes she did and basically validate and be her. She would demonize us to familiy members if we ever did anything she didn't like. In my 30s my brother and I finally learned to compare stories because she would tell such terrible things about the sibing to the other one about supposed wrongs or hurts. Six years ago I had to "divorce" my mom because she was hurting my marriage - calling for long phone calls where I barely would talk because she only wanted to share about herself and I was supposed to validate her or hated who she hated.  I came to realize even if I told her about any friends I had - she never bothered to learn their names or know who they were unless she had met them and they had been kind to her. My mom for her part is completely unaware she might be doing toxic things to her sisters and extended famiiy - trying to control their behavior and treating them horribly if they don't conform to her wishes. 

Fast forward to now and I'm realizing I struggle with trust in relationships and assume people will do me wrong. About the same time I broke off with my mother, I started to realize I was paranoid about all my friendships. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy where I start to behave in a way people don't like, then I don't trust them and then they abandon me. I learned at a young age that love was conditional and based on me making my mom the center of the universe. 

I am lonely and sad to the point of frequently being suicidal (for the last 10 years). I do have a good relationship with my husband but I am worried about being codependent on him like my mom is with her husband. He can't even have hobbies outside of her. She is unaware that is OK for him to do something separate. I guess the only thing I have going for me is I am aware of things I am doing wrong - I just can't seem to stop. 

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Hi NickyLynn.  I read both your current posts.  I won't say you're doing fine, but it sounds like you've got some clarity and have taken positive action where you can.

I'm the son of a narcissistic (adopted) mother.  I know exactly what it's like to have her stomp all over your boundaries on one hand and, on the other, appear to be Mrs. Wonderful to the rest of the world.  Sometimes her flip was as quick as a visitor closing the door...and, yeah, that's literally. 

In my case, I ditched her years ago.  I can look back now with some amusement at how predictable her response was.  It nevertheless took me years to get some kind of peace with it.  Hell, this was the woman who RAISED me.  This is the woman I was supposed to trust as a kid.  She was my FAMILY.  And she BETRAYED me repeatedly with absolutely no conscience.  Look, after so many years, that's nothing short of devastating.  You're having to rewire the child part of your brain in your late 30s.  I had to do it about the same time in my life.  So, too, a part of me wondered later why I hadn't ditched her sooner.

If I may, you done good.  You did what you had to do for your own sanity.  Though I'm a guy, I found this site helpful:

I was sorry to read in the other post about your therapy experiences.  If you only hear it from one person, I'd like to encourage you not to give up.  Good for you that you recognized they were inappropriate and you walked out.  Some people are so intimidated they don't.  I'm on my third in several years.  My mistake was settling for interns.  I started a couple weeks ago with someone who I think gets me.  Tough as it feels, I hope you'll continue to pursue this.  You may find this useful:

Edited by Tungsten Aromatics
Links in violation of ToS

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Hey NickyLnn, I’m so glad that you have 

begin to put the puzzle of your past 

and present together.  Hopefully from 

here you will begin to enjoy the rest of 

your life as you begin to move forward 

and learn how to deal with the past so 

that you can appreciate your present 

life to come.

Hang in there my friend and continue to 

move forward in a positive direction.

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8 hours ago, NickyLynn said:

I guess the only thing I have going for me is I am aware of things I am doing wrong - I just can't seem to stop. 

Don't underestimate how important that is! I obviously can't say whether you have BPD or just some BPD traits but either way the first step to getting better is recognizing unhealthy patterns. Many BPD sufferers never get better because they are utterly unaware how they themselves contribute to their issues, they assume that the whole world is out to get them and then leave it at that. 

I've struggled with BPD since my teens and my social life is a mess because of it, I cannot be close friends with someone without driving them away. A relationship seems impossible and my impulsive behavior tends to destroy months of progress every now and then. Still, after learning a lot more about BPD I have been able to improve myself to some degree and am much more stable than I used to be. Once you're fully aware of your cognitive patterns you can take appropriate steps to counteract them. Sure, it will not work all the time and you'll still have your moments but any improvement is a good step. Hang in there, you can do it!

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5 hours ago, MarkintheDark said:

Hi NickyLynn.  I read both your current posts.  I won't say you're doing fine, but it sounds like you've got some clarity and have taken positive action where you can.

I'm the son of a narcissistic (adopted) mother.  I know exactly what it's like to have her stomp all over your boundaries on one hand and, on the other, appear to be Mrs. Wonderful to the rest of the world.  Sometimes her flip was as quick as a visitor closing the door...and, yeah, that's literally. 

In my case, I ditched her years ago.  I can look back now with some amusement at how predictable her response was.  It nevertheless took me years to get some kind of peace with it.  Hell, this was the woman who RAISED me.  This is the woman I was supposed to trust as a kid.  She was my FAMILY.  And she BETRAYED me repeatedly with absolutely no conscience.  Look, after so many years, that's nothing short of devastating.  You're having to rewire the child part of your brain in your late 30s.  I had to do it about the same time in my life.  So, too, a part of me wondered later why I hadn't ditched her sooner.

 

MarkintheDark I really appreciate your thoughtful reply. It means more than I can say. Being as I am I constantly struggle with rejection and abandonment issues. Funny enough I think my problem got worse after I cut ties with my mother. I spent so much energy dealing with her I wasn't really able to even consider what my own life looked like. I don't know about you but I feel like along with the paranoia, my worst challenge is that I don't know what I like or don't like because I grew up always just taking on her wants and needs as my own. I'm actually 46 but have struggled with this since mid-thirties. 

I have a harder time making friends now than ever and I'm quick to hate people. I so dislike that I do that. And it's all chicken and egg... they treat me crappy, but is it because I treat them crappy first or talk about myself too much? I don't really know. 

My mom loved me I think in her way, but her borderline personality disorder and OCD is so extreme and she is unable to consider anything her fault. I suspect she is completely lost as to what she did. I tried to tell her on various occasions, subtle and then more blunt until one night with her at dinner it all spilled out in a super harsh way. She did what all BPD do and stopped talking to me. 

It's funny I feel like I'm more self aware than ever in my life and also the most broken I've ever been. 

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2 hours ago, lonelyforeigner said:

 

I've struggled with BPD since my teens and my social life is a mess because of it, I cannot be close friends with someone without driving them away. A relationship seems impossible and my impulsive behavior tends to destroy months of progress every now and then. Still, after learning a lot more about BPD I have been able to improve myself to some degree and am much more stable than I used to be. Once you're fully aware of your cognitive patterns you can take appropriate steps to counteract them. Sure, it will not work all the time and you'll still have your moments but any improvement is a good step. Hang in there, you can do it!

How do you control your emotions? When I'm in that maelstrom of fear I want to die or disappear or stop feeling. I have gone to my car to bawl in my workday or a real or imagined slight by someone else. My whole core of existence is based on the validation of others and even knowing that I can't turn it off!!!

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Well, since you asked how do I control my 

downs I usually cover my self up with

helping others and it tends to get my mind 

off of my issues.  I have learned that

helping others tend to make you feel really 

good about yourself and I also try to

reward myself for achieving little things in

life that I set out to do.  If you don’t pat

your own self on the back every now and 

then you might not get one ☝️ in return 

because this world can be a mean and 

unpleasant place at time.  Hang in there 

and try to stay on top of things before it

begin to get out of control is the most 

practical way of staying in good spirits 

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7 hours ago, NickyLynn said:

How do you control your emotions? When I'm in that maelstrom of fear I want to die or disappear or stop feeling. I have gone to my car to bawl in my workday or a real or imagined slight by someone else. My whole core of existence is based on the validation of others and even knowing that I can't turn it off!!!

Well, as silly as it may sound avoid any mood altering substances. Alcohol is an obvious trigger for impulsive and irrational thoughts but I also found that caffeine can negatively influence me if I drink too much coffee or energy drinks and spicy food can really mess with my libido which can also lead to poor decision making. 

Basically avoiding any substance or person that triggers BPD moods. I also tend to make really stupid decisions when I'm angry, in the past I would self-harm and now I'll just spend money excessively with no regards to my future or pick fights with people to test them. The main issue is that once I'm in the mood it's almost impossible to avoid doing something stupid, the secret seems to be to find an outlet BEFORE it gets to a point where you cannot handle your emotions. In my case going for a 1 - 2 hour walk has proven effective, it's boring AF but it does help calm me down and clear my mind instead of acting on impulses. 

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1 hour ago, lonelyforeigner said:

Well, as silly as it may sound avoid any mood altering substances. Alcohol is an obvious trigger for impulsive and irrational thoughts but I also found that caffeine can negatively influence me if I drink too much coffee or energy drinks and spicy food can really mess with my libido which can also lead to poor decision making. 

Basically avoiding any substance or person that triggers BPD moods. I also tend to make really stupid decisions when I'm angry, in the past I would self-harm and now I'll just spend money excessively with no regards to my future or pick fights with people to test them. The main issue is that once I'm in the mood it's almost impossible to avoid doing something stupid, the secret seems to be to find an outlet BEFORE it gets to a point where you cannot handle your emotions. In my case going for a 1 - 2 hour walk has proven effective, it's boring AF but it does help calm me down and clear my mind instead of acting on impulses. 

All of this is really good advice. I am currently addicted to coffee as a coping mechanism. Actually I am a food addict as well. I just lost 100 pounds. My weight is always fluctuating because I use food to cope. Because I need validation, I am constantly also dieting and exercising. I don't gain and lose weight as a plan for sure - I know it's not great to gain weight but when my head is not in the right place I turn to food. I've often thought I should at least go to decaf coffee since I suspect it is also responsible for my difficulty staying asleep. 

It is fortunate I am afraid of self harm even though I have fantasized about it. I am more likely to verbally self harm and tell myself that I am stupid and idiotic. I have been afraid of the pain of suicide so that has stopped me there. Plus I have two kids that I always try to remind myself really aren't better without me (although in my bad moments it's easy to convince myself they would be.)

Wow. Thank you for your thoughtful responses. I hope there is hope for us.

 

 

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There is hope for us, of that I am certain :hugs:The important thing to remember is that there aren't any miracles and as much as we would like just to wake up "normal" one day that doesn't happen. Its a slow and frustrating process but as long as we keep working on ourselves we can make small improvements and hopefully someday it will be enough to achieve a good quality of life. Some people never get there but in my experience it's those who stop working on themselves and keep trying to find quick fixes rather than making a serious and long-lasting effort.

Food is a difficult subject for me as well, I often resort to it as a coping mechanism and have fluctuated between 220 and 120 lbs... Finally starting to gain control over this but the urge to use food as a coping mechanism is there. Definitely try going decaf if you're having problems with sleep, it should help even out your moods and improve your sleep. May take a while to get used to it though, caffeine withdrawals are a thing...

Glad you are aware enough to realize that your kids need you! You may not be a perfect mother (who is anyway?) but as long as you love them and try your best you're doing just fine. I would also encourage you to be honest with them about your struggles, if they're old enough that is, children often tend to blame themselves when they see their parents struggling. 

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The fact that you are here, and can analyze the situation with your mother, as well as your own actions, tell me that you are well on your way to getting a handle on all of this. Ive been saying this a lot lately, but putting distance between yourself and toxic family members is what is needed for healing to occur.

They dont realize or understand what they are doing is hurting you, nor do they mean to do it. Regardless you need to push the guilt aside and save yourself.

( Guess i wish i could have gotten away from my toxic family way back when, but i had no other options....and i thought it was normal...)

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On 9/3/2018 at 4:07 PM, Steveab63 said:

The fact that you are here, and can analyze the situation with your mother, as well as your own actions, tell me that you are well on your way to getting a handle on all of this. Ive been saying this a lot lately, but putting distance between yourself and toxic family members is what is needed for healing to occur.

They dont realize or understand what they are doing is hurting you, nor do they mean to do it. Regardless you need to push the guilt aside and save yourself.

( Guess i wish i could have gotten away from my toxic family way back when, but i had no other options....and i thought it was normal...)

While I appreciate your kind words, I'm not sure I've advanced all that much in the last 10 years other than giving a name to what the problem was. I've been to multiple therapists to no avail, and I can't say I'm much more mentally healthy. While I seem to keep honing in further on the nature of the problem, I feel farther than ever from any kind of solution. 

And I completely agree - they don't know what they are doing. In fact, I am terrified always that I am actually doing some of the same things. My parents on the outside appear more functional and happy than I do although I suspect we are in similar unhappy places. 

The deep emptiness I feel on a regular basis is like this giant hole that cannot be filled with anything or anyone. Nothing is enough. I just want a break from myself

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Holy smoke, sounds exactly like mys sister, never a good word about anyone, a need for people to validate it, vindictive, belittling also described a sociopath.

I divorced her and I am so relieved to be away from her. I think you must find it difficult because she is your mother. My fears improved with time. I forgave her once and went back due to my brother insiteace, 5 years down the line I was back with her emotionally and verbally abusing me. Not Im gone forever, angry brother or not. Break free forever, maybe get therapy, yand remeber ou are not . shadow of your mother. 

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On 9/1/2018 at 7:26 PM, lonelyforeigner said:

Well, as silly as it may sound avoid any mood altering substances. Alcohol is an obvious trigger for impulsive and irrational thoughts but I also found that caffeine can negatively influence me if I drink too much coffee or energy drinks and spicy food can really mess with my libido which can also lead to poor decision making. 

Basically avoiding any substance or person that triggers BPD moods. I also tend to make really stupid decisions when I'm angry, in the past I would self-harm and now I'll just spend money excessively with no regards to my future or pick fights with people to test them. The main issue is that once I'm in the mood it's almost impossible to avoid doing something stupid, the secret seems to be to find an outlet BEFORE it gets to a point where you cannot handle your emotions. In my case going for a 1 - 2 hour walk has proven effective, it's boring AF but it does help calm me down and clear my mind instead of acting on impulses. 

I'm just realizing that i have boardline personality disorder - diagnosed years ago now how freakin stupid am I to just realise it now? YOu're right reflecting back to my past behaviours alcohol was a major trigger starter. I had major anger issues. I've started reading a book about BPD - it's freaking hard to keep reading because i find myself being triggered to my past behaviour and how I continue to behave the same way now but not as drastic as it use to be. But i am still haunted by my self image and remember i was anorexic and bulimic as a young adult. HOw i see everything as black and white with no inbetween. It's no wonder i am alone and live alone. i want to find a therapist but reluctant to find one as i feel that when i reach out for help there is none......  

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I can keep control of myself well enough if I stay sober.  Drugs and alcohol unleash the beast that's for sure.  When I was younger I was completely out of control all the time.  I honestly don't know how I'm able to control myself now.  It's like I'm a completely different person than I used to be.

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On 2/24/2019 at 12:04 AM, shio said:

I've started reading a book about BPD - it's freaking hard to keep reading because i find myself being triggered to my past behaviour and how I continue to behave the same way now but not as drastic as it use to be.

It's really hard to look back at our past behavior and realize just how much damage our BPD outbursts have caused to our lives. Try not to dwell on it though, you can't change the past anyway. It does seem to get a bit easier with age as long as we are cognizant of our own thinking patterns. 

On 2/24/2019 at 12:04 AM, shio said:

HOw i see everything as black and white with no inbetween. It's no wonder i am alone and live alone.

What really drives me nuts is how I can recognize dichotomous thinking in others and yet I seem to be unable to recognize it in myself unless enough time has passed. I know what you mean, very few people will put up with our thinking and behavior and we can't even blame them... 

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Yes maybe that's it.  It gets easier as we get older.  During my teenage years and in my 20s pretty much every day I woke up I had to apologize to everyone I knew. 

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