When A Bpd Parent Dies

As the child of a BPD mother, life has been full of research as I attempted to find my own balance and maintain it when in mother's company. Our mother was highly creative, witty, funny and entertaining, as well as accomplished in many ways, so our childhoods were a double edged sword of great experiences counter balanced by total misery when she had episodes of rage and abuse or total neglect of day to day needs of the family. Thanks to effective therapy and the increasing amount of information available about BPD, it became possible for me to understand our mother's behavior and my own responses to life which resulted from it. And, there were actually times when we enjoyed each other's company greatly.

As she aged, my mother became less the BPD Witch and more the Hermit/Waif. My sister even suggested that the changes in our mother's emotional responses made it possible for her to experience a "Redo" of their relationship during mother's last years. By the time my sister shared this information, it was too late for me to step up the level of ongoing contact with my mother because of her failing health. But occasionally I find myself wondering if I should have shared more information about my activities and interests with mother in her later years, and if that might have helped build a greater sense of closeness.

I always tended to refrain from trying to share experiences with her because she usually squashed my enthusiasm. She rarely asked about what I was doing but occasionally she would surprise me by bringing up something that interested her. Our conversations and infrequent visits were usually quiet and focused on family stories or recollections, which interested us both. But they didn't include much new subject matter. I wonder if anyone else has experienced changes in the behavior of a BPD parent in later years that resulted in a closer connection?

Mother died this Fall and during her final months, I experienced most of the predictable feelings one associates with grief, which was something of a surprise, since my feelings for her are tempered with the knowledge of how little our relationship had actually evolved, and how much more it could have been. Now that she is gone, I do not quite know what I feel and am not sure what to expect. I'd be interested to know about the experiences others may have had.

patjoh patjoh 56-60 3 Responses Dec 18, 2012

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7 years ago my father died, I would have been 22 at the time.

He was a classic chronic low functioning BPD. At times he was an unbelievable strain to deal with; he impacted my self-esteem immeasurably and was erratic and volatile both physically and emotionally.

I'm sure this is a familiar sounding situation to many of you reading this blog.

I can only mirror the author's initial experience that very shortly after his death I felt sadness and fell into a typical grieving process.

However, 2-3 weeks after his passing, the overwhelming sensation was RELIEF. I would like to be totally open about this, because I feel that it might help others in a similar situation.

I felt utter and unadulterated RELIEF at his death. The sensation was as If someone had relieved me of a physical weight being bared on my shoulders.

Any BPD is so focused on having their personal needs met that they are perfectly happy overwhelming even their own offspring. I believe that my relief was a manifestation of the opportunity to finally serve my own personal needs.

I would like to add that I am a person that is academic with a professional career and a long term girlfriend, with no issues in forming relationships, all my own teeth e.t.c

Moreover, whilst I have moments that I feel upset about his death and I reminisce that somehow things could have been different/better.

I do not feel guilt about my relief. Even 7 years on and the more I learn and become as a man, I still feel zero guilt that I am still relieved by his death.

I wanted to share this story because I felt that someone might have wanted to reach out to someone to have experienced this. If you wish to reply to my message I would be happy to communicate with those in a similar position.

Thank you for sharing this. I know the time is coming for my BPD father and i imagine myself to feel this way when he passes. Its comforting to hear someone say it out loud. I appreciate your honesty.

I'm sorry for your loss. I think that the good times are what make us stick around so long through the bad times. Your mother was a complicated person and you had a complicated relationship( to put it mildly, and say the least) it's natural to grieve what you lost and could have had. I'm sorry you didn't get what you needed. That regret you're feeling is normal, but try not to get too wrapped up in it. Maybe go back to counseling if you aren't already, that can help you process, or journal, journaling really helped me.

My maternal parent is a 91 year old BPD. No change for her as she has aged. She is still volatile and hateful and angry. Glad you had a different experience with your maternal parent. Best wishes