I've suspected that my mother was undiagnosed bpd for a few years now but for some reason never thought to search "bpd mother". Reading this thread has cemented what was previously a strong suspicion. My mother grew up in a nightmare environment of both sexual and emotional abuse, and I can't even begin to imagine what that must have done to her. However, she's been exacting her own form of abuse for as long as I can remember and it only seems to be escalating (I am 30!) She has gone through a great deal of legitimately terrible experiences and I'm really struggling with how to cope without sacrificing my sanity, finances, home, etc. Sorry in advance for the novel--this is just the latest, doesn't even cover the 25 prior years of chaos and fear.
Throughout my life, my mother has seemed to thrive on being the victim (even when it wasn't the case. To ask her, here is no pain equal to hers, and this has been compounded by recent-ish events. This is where I'm hoping for some guidance.
About 5 years ago, my parents had an abrupt change in financial circumstances--they went from wealth to nothing. That's an entirely different story (for which my mother takes no responsibility). About a year after, with very little done to try to remedy the situation (from either of them), my mother was diagnosed with cancer. She kicked my father out as he was released from the hospital after a near-death brush with pneumonia (another fun story) and refused to let him near her, so her entire care was on me. During the year that she was being treated (double mastectomy, chemo, radiation), I spent the majority of every week with her when I wasn't at work. I used up all of my sick, vacation, and personal days to help her. Needless to say, it was not enough (and she would tell anyone who would listen how I was never there, not helping, etc). I would never try to minimize what she went through but her treatment to me during that time (and now after) was vile. I do not begrudge her the care that I gave her, what I can't stand is her revisionist version of it.
Now she is 2.5 years cancer-free (although she still refers to herself as someone with cancer, particularly when she thinks it will get her something). In the time that has elapsed, she has done very little to address her financial situation (though if you ask her, she's done everything that there is, always, all by herself). This has included ridiculous business plans and applying to jobs for which she is not qualified. She has continued to live in a 3500/month apartment--in the last year with a rotating cast of roommates who start as her best friend/saviors (they're going to hire her! They're going to pay the rent in full! They're getting her free legal advice!) and then inevitably turn into monsters, bullies, abusers. Through selling things, kindndess of friends, and most recently a random church, she has managed to stay in this apartment by the skin of her teeth.
I have given her money, groceries, and a world of other forms of help during this time (which she conveniently forgets as soon as those things have happened, telling anyone who will listen that I'm a neglectful and hateful daughter). She has a massive storage unit and an apartment full of valuables, which she has been selling at a snail's pace because she wants to get top dollar (while she's texting me every day telling me that she's going to move into a shelter or kill herself the next day). I have offered to pay her rent IN FULL in a cheaper location, pay for/help with the move, etc. and she says that she would rather kill herself or go to prison than live somewhere other than nice parts of manhattan. When I find her roommate situations (that she'd move into), she has a seemingly endless list of excuses for why she can't. When I told her I was apartment-hunting for myself or with my roommate, she said "which option would be best for me?".
I could almost deal with her constant needs and staggering selfishness if she wasn't simultaneously lashing out at me and telling everyone how terrible I am. Every day, it's another crisis. Every reaction I have to these is wrong. If I am running late to see her she tells me she doesn't want to talk to me again. If I try to offer solutions, she tells me I'm diminishing her problems or being condescending and that I want to see her hit rock bottom.
She is back to saying she's going to put everything in storage (for the same amount of money as shared apartment rent or an apartment somewhere cheaper) and move in with me (to my tiny 1 bedroom apartment). Basically she values her belongings over me. She's been making terrible decisions about her finances and her future for 5 years now. She will tell me that she has no friends and is a shut-in but if I cancel plans with her, she'll berate me for having forced her to cancel all of her other plans. She'll tell me that she's literally starving and then demand gourmet delivery food instead of groceries that would stretch for more than 1 meal when I go to visit her. She tells me she can't afford to eat but has premium cable and internet. and a BMW.
My blood pressure is through the roof in spite of medication (I am a slim, otherwise healthy young person), my hair is falling out in clumps, and I have started having severe intense panic attacks. I've cut her off for about a month in the past but she always weasels her way back in with kindness and manipulation. I am beginning to feel like my only option is to cut her off completely (block her number). In a perverse way, it almost seems like it would satisfy her, given how much she clings to the narrative of being utterly alone with no help. If she moves in with me, it truly will wreck my life. She is an entitled, vitriolic, abusive person and I know that as soon as she got here, she would never leave and every day would be about catering to her needs. I really don't know what to do at this point.
sg318 sg318
31-35, F
2 Responses Aug 31, 2014

The same thing happened to my mother. Her father started molesting her when she was 7. It went on until she ran away when she was 16. Her mother became jealous instead of protecting her. Her mother poured boiling water on her face trying to make her ugly so her father wouldn't want her anymore. She was so badly beaten at times she had to go live with other relatives because they were afraid her mother would kill her. She ended up with my father, an abusive alcoholic with bipolar disorder. He put her on a mountain top isolated from everyone. We lived off the grid with no running water or electricity. When she was a child she was her IQ was tested and she had a genius IQ making the sadistic mind games spectacular. Both my sister and I developed severe PTSD and used drugs and vodka to cope. We got into drugs at a really young age. My sister was 12 and I was 14. I quit when I was 17 but it took much longer to quit drinking. We both had angry voices in our head beating us up all the time telling us we were worthless, we didn't deserve to live, we ruined my mothers life, we were monsters just like our father. My sister died at the age of 23 from her drug use. because we lived in isolation she was my only witness to what happened to us. Sometimes I feel all of this rage and I don't know what to do with it. I love my mother and I know she did her best. She became a successful business women. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. My life has been a roller coaster ride. I rise to the top and then I come crashing down. I achieve success only to destroy it and start over. I've devoted my life to healing trauma. I studied somatic dance, yoga, meditation, and human behavior. After 30 years of practicing these arts I am still haunted by the angry voice. I've learned to talk to it. I've learned to listen instead of blocking it out. I call my ego the butler in a palace of the mind and the voice is the dark specter a messenger between life and death trying to lure me to my own demise.

Cut her off completely. Whether you help her or not won't make a difference of how she views you. You will still be the evil daughter to her and her friends who thinks she's deserves the 'mother of the year' award.

Our stories are strikingly similar. However, I have a great sense of relief that I live halfway around the world from her. Therefore, I am no longer am subjected to the daily drama and abuse. My father who chose to stay all these years, however, is a whole other story.

But back to you--- RUN! RUN AS FAR AWAY AS YOU CAN. Then, when you are the farthest possible, only then do you consider communicating with her. Loving her from afar is the only way to go. Save your sanity. There is nothing you can so about hers. Unless she really, really tries. But you know how that goes.