19 Year Old: Learning That My Mother Had Bpd Freed Me Emotionally.

My mother had me when she was young, 16 to be exact. I never knew my father because she left him when I was a baby. I have repressed many memories from my childhood (like many children of BPD parents have) but I always felt it was my fault. I had ADHD so I always figured that I was the one who was in the wrong, which is why today I say sorry ALL THE TIME and feel guilty for things that I shouldn't. My mother always confused me and I could never understand why she acted the way she did and said the things she said. She lied to me my whole life, which I am just now realizing.
When I was six, she married my stepfather and had two children by him. I love my brother and sister SO MUCH and always thought of them to be my full siblings. We are very close even though we have a 7 and 9 year age gap. My stepfather divorced her about 7 years ago and I had to step up to watch my siblings while my mom went to school and worked. She had made me HATE my stepfather by fueling me with lies. She told me he cheated on her with the neighbors and said he was trying to take my siblings away, etc. My mother would praise me for stepping up and helping her and then turn around and call me a ***** for doing something wrong. She would tell me her friends didn't like me and that is why they wouldn't come around when in fact SHE sent nasty texts and emails to them. She has been engaged 6 times, married 3. All of the marriages were after a few months and they all ended in divorce (the second one was especially devastating. Since he is the father of my siblings, she fights him in court constantly). I have always been a very independent kid (made breakfast and dressed myself when I was five, always slept by myself, etc.) and this TORTURED my mother. BPDs have children so that they always have someone to always reciprocate love but since I didn't really need her, we were always fighting and she said I hurt her because I didn't love her.
It was my first year at college. I am a smart kid (graduated high school with 68 college credits) but I was NEVER able to figure out why my mother treated me the way she did. I was always afraid that she would do the same to my sister and brother (I am very protective of them). I was taking a psychology class and we were given an extra credit opportunity to attend a seminar on personality disorders. Trust me when I say that I was never looking for an answer to my mom's problems. I never even knew she had one! I just figured she was super sensitive. I went to the seminar and there was a whole presentation on borderline personality disorder and that was my ah hah moment. The symptoms explained my mother perfectly. Creating interpersonal chaos between herself and others, becoming infatuated with someone and ignoring them the next day, every situation was either all good or all bad, etc. I researched it a bit more and then decided to stop. I knew what was wrong with my mom and that was fine but I also knew that I had to keep that information to myself.
A few months later, I waited for my mom to come pick me up from my dorm and boy, did I get a surprise. My mother brought her Spanish 26 year old boyfriend (she is 36) to help her move me out. I had never heard anything about this guy at all! The way they were touching each other made me very uncomfortable because my mom never acted like that with past boyfriends. She would beg him to speak to me in spanish (I'm a Spanish major) and she would say how smart he sounded when he spoke like that. Not to sound like a brat but HELLO! I was the one actually learning the language and this guy actually grew up in Spain! She never said that I sounded smart when I spoke Spanish. Hell, she discouraged me from learning it! I went to visit my BEST FRIEND in Argentina when I was 18 and my mother said that I would come back with AIDS because I was a **** (I had told her I lost my virginity to my longtime boyfriend a day or two before she said that) and that I would get stabbed.
Anyways, the things he said to her in Spanish were all about how he loved her and how they would marry and move to Spain. I figured they had dated for awhile and that she just didn't tell me (I didn't call her that often). When we got home, I was the only kid there because my siblings were with their dad. I had to be with her boyfriend all the time. My mom's new friends (she can't keep them for long) loved her new boyfriend and said that they were the perfect match, blahdeblah. I got a weird feeling from this guy. The stories he told were just too extravagant and they didn't seem real. I always give people the benefit of the doubt so I believed the guy. Also, my mother WORSHIPPED him. I would be having a conversation with her and then all her boyfriend had to do was make a sound and she immediately turned all her attention to him.
When I finally saw my sister and brother 3 days after arriving, I knew something was wrong. My sister was always the one underneath my moms arm. She was the favorite and EVERYONE knew it. When she got out of my dad's (I call my stepdad 'dad') car and immediately hugged me but ignored my mom, that told me everything I needed to know. She had started to treat my siblings the way she treated me. In the past, I was the punching bag and I was glad to be as long as they weren't but when I left for college, she turned on my sister. My sister cuddled with me that night and told me everything. My mom used to tell them that I was the bad kid but when I left, I was the angel and my sister was the *****. That guy she was dating, THEY MET A MONTH BEFORE THEYBPICKED ME UP. My sister kept telling me how afraid she was because my mom kept talking about how she wanted another baby and how she was going to move them to Spain without my stepdads permission. I became furious. My mom could abuse me but NOT my sister. I revealed to my sister my thoughts on our mom having BPD and she told me that my stepdad and stepmom told her the same thing. My siblings had started to see a therapist and she also diagnosed my mother without even meeting her. I had planned to sit down with mom and tell her everything the next day after everyone had gone to sleep.

The next morning, I made breakfast for everyone and of course her bf slept over. My mom asked the kids how their visit with their dad was and as my brother started telling her, her boyfriend muttered something. My mother got up from her chair, and sat on the floor near his chair and kept begging him to speak up because we all wanted to hear what he had to say. My siblings and I looked at each other and just ate in silence while they had their own conversation. After the day had started my mother said she would take us to a movie. We chose a movie, found a time, and as we were about to leave that's when her boyfriend remembered that he had a soccer game. My mother insisted that we all go to the game instead of the movie. I BLEW UP. I yelled at her that she was a horrible mother. She was ignoring her kids for some guy she met a month ago! My mother and I yelled at each other and she ended up leaving with her bf. She came back that night and as soon as she came into my room to give me my punishment, I threw sheets of paper at her. All of them were papers about BPD and I told her she had it. She laughed and said that I was the one with the problem. She brought up past experiences where 'I made her friends leave' and she told me that my exbf confided in her that I was psychotic so he left me, when in reality he cheated on me and I left him. I packed up my crap and moved in with my stepdad and stepmom, who I had hated. That was three months ago and I have learned the truth about so much that my mother lied to me about. I never want to see my mother again. Oh, and that guy is a gigolo. I found his ads on the Internet.
I was a mess before I learned about BPD. I am in the middle of a huge identity crisis but I am learning that my unecessary guilt, my inability to feel close to people, my depression is all from my mother (not to blame her or anything).
If you think your mother or father has BPD, here are some tips:
- Research your stuff. You can't come out claiming that they have a problem if you don't have any evidence.
- Don't tell them they have a problem. Most people with BPD refuse to believe that they have it and it just causes problems within the family. I made a huge mistake. I hate to cause people pain and I know that all my mom can think about is that I called her crazy. My sister and brother, who still see her, say that she tries to make a point to prove she is sane. (She acts like everything is fine now, btw. She texts me every other day asking me to come watch a movie with her and stuff. I am still furious and I don't ever want to see her again.)
- Know that you are not the one who is crazy. Things will happen and you will question your sanity, but you are fine, my darling.
- Never rely on them for money or anything. They will use it against you your whole life and they are unreliable themselves.
- Don't accept freebies from them. It will be hard but their offers are like worms on a hook. It took me awhile to realize that when my mom offered money or gifts, she was going to use them to get me to do things for her.
- Don't spend too much money on presents for them. I got my mom a Shamwow for Mothers' day when I was 13. She always said she wanted to try one and we were dirt poor. She asked me not to get her anything but I got her it anyways. She opened it, threw it in my face and ran to her room crying. I WAS 13! She yelled at me and said I should have gotten her something expensive because she was newly divorced and she deserved it. I saved up money and bought her an expensive massage and facial for her birthday that year. She said 'thanks, but I don't need this' and gave it to her only friend at the time. You can't invest money or gifts in a person who has BPD.
- Talk to a therapist. I plan on seeing one when school starts back.

Hope this all helps. I found that reading other people's stories has helped me realize that I am not alone. Some people have basically the same story I do. I am interested if children of people with BPD have the same problems I do (saying sorry all the time, identity crisis, relationship and trust problems, etc). Leave a comment if your story is the same or if you have similar problems!
youllneverknowyouwereright youllneverknowyouwereright
11 Responses Jul 12, 2012

My mom Is borderline and I also found that out during a psychology class. I think you are so amazing for protecting your siblings but don't forget to take care of you! You seem to carry the world on your shoulder, and honey, you shouldn't. No one has the right to bully you or treat you badly.

I also have trust issues and identity crisis. I'm learning to cope. I found out recently that I also have BPD ...damn it! Lol I kept pulling fits when I felt my bf abandoning me. I then realised that I might have BPD myself and in fact I do. I am open to therapy and I took a decision :I never wanna treat anyone like I was treated by my mother. Ever !!

Keep up the good work! Keep studying, never give up and enjoy life ;)

Oh my goodness!

Reading your story is like reading my own childhood story. We share such similar experiences - right down to the two younger siblings and the need to protect them. I too was lied to, and about for most of my life. I have always believed that i was a strange person and that that is the way that i was meant to be. I work within the Mental Health profession and like you, wasn't looking for any answers, but stumbled across the revelation that in fact, my mother was Borderline and perhaps she didn't just despise me as i had always thought. I have a good working relationship with one of our Psychologists and while sharing our own weird childhood stories etc, he said to me, "you do realise that your mother is borderline right" ? It was a stomach dropping moment for me and, like you, i researched until i couldn't research any more. It was traumatic and heartbreaking seeing my childhood abuse accounts written down in black and white.

I apologise constantly, cannot trust a soul (well, if you cannot trust your own mother...) and tend to feel great discomfort when people try to get close to me - tending to run off into the distance and be on my own. I also can never accept any help from anybody and you are absolutely bang on when you mention never relying on them for money, help etc, for it WILL be used against you in the future in order to manipulate and make you feel guilty. I have two boys of my own and have always taken such care in treating them with respect and as individuals. They have so much confidence, many close relationships and the self identity that i still have not managed to find.

Thank you for sharing your experiences - i know that you will have suffered pain as you wrote. Good luck for the future hunny, wishing you well! Be a success, don't be a victim.

You are really brave :) We haven't met, but I am super proud of you!!

Personally, I chose to separate myself physically from BPD/alcoholic/violent-world four years ago by moving away. It was amazing and tough at the same time. Maybe this is the way you feel at college--that moment you sit in your new place, and realize that you are finally safe ... Finally free ... It is such a warm feeling! It took a physical change for me to make that mental change you describe in your story.

Aside from a therapist, a truly loving and accepting friend group is a beautiful thing to participate in. Finding people who love you no matter what can take time (don't let yourself be taken advantage of by other dysfunctional types), but my God it is beautiful!!

Go out of your way to read about healthy relationships just like you would study any other subject--I liked Anthony DeMello's book "Awareness," Boris Cyrulnik's "Resilience," lots of stuff from James V. Potter and literally hundreds of articles on healing from this kind of past ...

Spend lots of time around people who respect each other.

Some people get really into meditation and develop the skill to observe the out-of-control person without feeling the compulsion to react ... you could totally free your soul from the cycle of co-dependence.

Do something creative that allows your soul to switch from 'surviving' to 'thriving' mode. Do music, dance, art, writing, sports ... Something that let's you be you and celebrate your awesomeness! :) .

This last one may sound silly, but try it--Look at a picture of yourself as a child, a picture you really love at an age you felt relatively safe. Say to that baby, "[Your name], I love you and care about you so much. I am so sorry about what happned to you, I understand how you feel more than any other person. But we are safe now, I am your parent now, and I promise to always love you and take care of you the way a mommy should. You are safe and it's ok." Words to that effect. I thought it was going to be stupid but it had great healing effects!

People with BPD feed off the emotional energy of others like zombies, so it is your job now to set safe boundaries and rebuild your soul. You are clearly smart and a survivor, so am sure you can do it. Give yourself a generous timeframe ... Say 3 or 5 years ... And start to build your new life where you are in control. You will love it and you deserve it.

Wow, I am so thankful that so many of you are figuring this out so young! I am 47 and have been dealing with it for about a year now. I am free indeed! My problem now is trying to explain this to my kids. They think their grandparents are great (mom is BPD and dad is highly codependent). I just don't want them to fall into the awful trap. My kids think I am just over sensitive. My mom is very "sweet" around people but when I am alone with her and especially when she cannot control me she is hateful and never apologizes. I have no feelings for her now. I used to be bitter but, thank God, that is gone. She likes to make stabbing remarks. For awhile I thought about no contact. But changed my mind. We live 4 hours away and see them rarely. I have been putting up healthy boundaries for years not knowing the problem was BPD. The suggestions made in the original article are excellent. May you all find healing and wholeness... mine came through Jesus Christ.

Very impressive. You are smart, brave and have your eyes wide open. As a child to a BPD mother who just realized that on the age of 23, I must tell you - don't procrastinate going to a therapist. A really good one (they are people, some are excellent and some are mediocre) . As you figure, your mom didn't give you support and never will. Love yourself and give your self the most important gift - learning how to support yourself (not that you aren't) and freeing yourself. good luck.

my mum was diagnosed with BPD when I was 10. I left her when I were 17, she always promised she'd change but never did. Your story reminds me of her in each and every way.

wow you sound so strong!

Thank you for this! My mother has (undiagnosed, but extremely obvious) BPD. And I'm finding that reading others' stories have had an amazingly cathartic effect on how I am dealing with this. I recently was seeing a therapist and he diagnosed her right away. It helps to know that I am not the problem and to know that I am not alone. I suffer from major depression as a result from my upbringing, but work very hard (almost) every day to combat it. The key to my recovery (and what I keep focused on) is that I never let her break my spirit (whereas I think my sister wasn't as stong). Good luck and please talk to a professional ASAP and it will help you more than you could ever imagine.

My mom has BPD and parts of your story sound very similar to mine. I have also been a very independent kid since i was little because my parents got seperated and i lived with my mom and was basically forced to fend for myself. I was forced to give up my childhood to basically raise my sister and she (my sister) was always her favorite. I was just her babysitter and house cleaner. My grandmother was pretty much my mom until she passed away when i was in 6th grade. I was now a mother to my sister and my own mother and had no one to help me. She went through boyfriends like tissues and had one that she kept around off and on and probobly still does that she would beat and scream at. After my grandma died my mom packed us up and moved us away from all our friends and family and became a even worse alchoholic and with the meds she was taking, it did not mix good. I hate to use this word but honestly, it made her crazy. Like scary crazy. I always had my dad in my life but i felt like i could not tell him what was happening at home because no matter how much i wanted to go live with him, i felt like i had to stay and take care of my mom and sister. Whenever my mom would go off on my sister or her boyfriends i would be the one to stand up and take the beating becasue i just wanted her phase to pass. I always knew there was something wrong with her but didnt know she has BPD until recently. In February of this year i was through of the way she treated me, i was done and i couldnt take it anymore. Many things happened and finally i broke down and told my dad everything. He started crying and made calls trying to figure out what he could do so he didnt have to bring me back home. So the next day we went to the court house and filled out an order for protection and for some reason the judge did not pass it. So he had to bring me back but promised me he would do anything he could to get me out of that house. As you can imagine, my mom was furious when i got home and you can only imagine what happened. After that i was not allowed to talk to my dad but ran to him immediately when i saw him at court hearings. The final decision was that the judge saw that there was in fact abuse. But not enough abuse. So once again i was forced to go back home. But he did rule that my mom was not allowed to consume alchohole while i was under her care or with the medication she was taking. The second we got home she didnt even come in the house, she walked across the street to the bar. Hours later the cops were looking for her. She broke the OFP within an hour of it being granted. That night i did one of the hardest things i have ever done. I saw her car pull up (yes, she was driving drunk.. she was VERY drunk) and as she walked in the back door, i ran out the front door and across the street to call the cops. Im a 15 year old girl who had to call the cops on her own mother. I cant even explain how hard that was for me. So after the cops dropped me off at a near by family friends house, i called my dad and he got in his car and drove 3 hours to come and get me. A few weeks passed and my mother never even crossed my mind. I wanted and still want nothing to do with her. But i got a call from the sheriffs department asking me if i had talked to her or knew where she was. I said no and they told me they would call me back and tell me what was going on as soon as they found her. (by the way she commited many suicid attempts over the years, many just for attention that i had to stop her from) I later found out that she had gone to her boyfriends house, his brother answered the door and she demanded she saw him or she would kill herself. He said he cannot let her in so she took out a knife and started cutting herself. He told her to stop and stay there and when he came back she was gone. She made it a few miles up the road, driving while extremly drunk and overdosed on pills, then crashed her car in the ditch and walked into the woods and passed out on a bush. She had a hellocopter and hound dogs out looking for her. As sad as i was i couldnt feel bad for her. That is just what she wanted. So i still never talked to her and now she is talking to my friends and minipulating them into thinking that im am the bad guy. I am the brat that wont talk to her own mother. But i cant get mad at them for taking her side. Because they dont know the whole story. It is good to know that im not the only young person that has had to deal with a parent with this mental illness.

Sounds almost exactly like what happened to me except my parents are technically still married. My mom beat the crap out of all of her children and my dad, and finally after years of us being abused she decided to leave saying how much everyone hurt her. That was 3 yrs ago, we tried bringing her back into our life and she just started hurting everyone again because she wouldn't take her meds that we made her go to a psychologist to get. She pretended that she believed that something was wrong with her so we would take her back, but in reality she just wanted her cushy life back, living in one of the richest cities in the country, in a nice house with a husband and kids who actually loved her. Needless to say she is pretty much on her own now, and there's no way that my dad is going back to her again. The saddest part is that least my dad and I are upset about losing her, but as others in this group have said, I think we more so miss the idea of what she should've been rather than who she actually was. I also believe from my experience with my mother that she, and probably most other borderlines, cannot truly love another person. In regards to having the same problems as you do, I also constantly say sorry to things that are obviously not my fault, but I'm getting better the longer I'm away from my mom. I would highly recommend keeping your distance from your mother, nothing good comes of trying to fix ppl who don't to be fixed, and borderlines are highly manipulative and will do whatever it takes to preserve themselves, as I'm certain you already know. I hope life continues to get better for you. :)

Good tips, especially about accepting 'freebies' that are never free and not talking with your parent about what you suspect. Doesn't matter anyway. I am really grieving not having a "mom" who encouraged, supported, loved me unconditionally. Lots of feelings that are working on going someplace, but right now just swimming around in the soup. thanks for writing.