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My daughter has BPD - Carers UK Forum

My daughter has BPD

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
I am really struggling to cope with my daughter who has bpd. Does anyone have the same experience? I feel like I am always walking on eggshells and she can suddenly turn into a rage screaming abuse at me, she is like a different person. I have brought my two girls up alone and work full time. I am so tearful, I feel so sad for her but also so difficult to ,manage, I dont know how to respond to her emotions or her threats. She has a view of her past that me and her sister do not relate to or happened. I would really like to hear from any parent who has a child with bpd. Feeling very lost and alone.
Hi Gemma
Sorry to hear about your daughter's problems. I have a son with anxiety issues so my problems are similar and opposite - he's too quiet and withdrawn, but I do still walk on eggshells.

There are other parents here coping with bpd -put the terms and letters in the forum search box and you'll soon find past threads to see you are not alone. Have a good browse as it may take sometime before any come along to post.

Meanwhile, can we ask how old your daughter is?
What help does she get ?
What help do you get?

Do you know the excellent mental health website s Mind and Rethink, links below. Mind also has young minds for those under 25, and their long suffering parents. They all have help lines, support groups and forums too
https://www.mind.org.uk/information-sup ... m481lynw1I

Gemma, hi, maybe I'm being a bit too 'harsh', but I would say that some 'firm love' is called for (not 'tough love' - that IS to harsh!).

Whatever your daughter's diagnosis, I think you do need to draw boundaries, and make it clear to her that some behaviours are NOT acceptable. That when she flies off the handle, you tell her that she is not entitled to do so with ANY other human being, and no one deserves to be on the receiving end of it, whatever is causing it. Remove yourself from her, and tell her clearly but calmly, that her abuse is not tolerable and you will not tolerate it.

She is entitled to her viewpoint on life, but not entitled to not allow you yours! ie, she must accept that the only option is 'to agree to differ'.

What does your other daughter think of the situation, and her sister's behaviour?

We should NEVER 'walk on eggshells' around others, whatever their sufferings etc. Even those with MH have a 'duty of mutual respect' to other human beings.

She is NOT the only person in the world thank you, and NOT the only person with problems. Those with MH can, sadly, become highly 'self-focussed' and only think of themselves and their own unhappiness.

I would strongly advocate that you keep in mind the vital difference between 'supporting' and 'enabling' your daughter. With 'support' you help the person COME THROUGH their problems. With 'enabling' you allow them to CONTINUE with their problems.

All too may carers, especially parents of children go into 'worried parent' mode, and that may not, alas, be the best thing for the adult child concerned. It can keep them 'infantilised' and prolong the adverse situation.

All that said, IF IF IF, the BPD is both untreatable and incurable, then all you can do really is to try and protect yourself from it, and protect your other daughter. Do bear in mind that often those with any form of MH believe their condition IS incurable and untreatable - but that in itself may be part of the MH itself, and also gives the patient 'free reign' to not have to respect anyone else.

Sorry if you think this all 'too harsh',. but I was raised by a mum with MH, and I have a neice with MH, and they have taken a toll on my family's happiness.....
Thank you for your replies, Mrs Average I have tried to look in this forum typing the terms in but nothing comes up. Thank you for your links.. they are really useful especially the support for siblings which I will definitely share with my youngest. She really does not understand and has decided it is 'just her personality'. My daughter with BPD is 20. She is under a psychiatrist and currently doing DBT. She had a particulary unhelpful therapist who told her that her family are just DNA and 'now she is over 18 she doesn't need to be involved' with us. I have made a formal complaint but the damage is done. Jenny thank you. I have tried all this but she does not understand at all and it is so hard to draw boundaries as I feel I will isolate her further. and I just want her to feel loved. But I know it is not helpful for her. Recently after her 'episodes' she has been a bit better however she thinks she IS her illness and that is her identity. Mrs Avarage, I totally relate to your experience, I had several years of her not leaving her room, not washing or caring and shouting abuse if I even knocked on her door. She was initially diagnosed with depression. She was admitted to hospital with suicidal thoughts and met others there who self harmed etc and the then started cutting herself. It is so hard being alone and dealing with this. I never know what mood she is in or if she will suddenly 'turn on me'. I do now stay extract myself and try to tell her it is not acceptable but she blames me and says it is me. I will stop going on now
Gemma, no need to say "stop going on now" when you are here. Does anyone else use this phrase to you? Very often it's finding the forum, writing it all down, that helps clarify things. The people she has seen sound awful. I believe that ultimately we are all responsible for our own happiness, it's no good continually blaming others. Your daughter is treating adulthood as pick and mix! Not wanting yo listen to you, being horrible and rude to you, but apparently still expecting you to house, clothe and feed her. Maybe point out to her that as she is an adult, she has NO RIGHT to live with you. You are trying to help her and she needs to try to get better too?
If she wants to feel better she needs to move forward somehow. Does she have any hobbies or interests which seem to make hef happier and lift her mood? Have you asked Social Services for a Carers Assessment? Is she in receipt of any benefits?
I have a friend whose daughter was diagnosed with BPD in her early twenties. With help and the right medication she is fine now, married with a baby now, so there IS hope.
hmm, sounds like she's feeling extremely sorry for herself - ie, blaming you instead of taking responsibility for herself.

As for the 'I am my illness'....oh yes, that's JUST what my niece thinks! She defiines herself AS her illness and considers herself 'incurable'....'I'll always have depression' she said to me over Xmas. I missed a trick and forgot to reply, 'No, you'll always be PRONE to depression....that is QUITE DIFFERENT'.

Adolescence is a 'tricky time' for many youngsters, and even without the BPD your duahgter might have found it a 'bumpy ride into adulthood.'

You say she perpetually blames you, and has a 'different version' of events than you and her sister. What does she blame you for? What events?

Does she - or do you - know WHY she is so unhappy with her life?

I would also strongly recommend extending the firm love into the most basic of the Maslowian hierarchies of need - ie, food, shelter, warmth etc etc. The key truth of life, as any good Yorkshirewoman will know (") is 'Aught for Naught'. She does NOT get a 'free ride' in life. She's been a legal adult for two years - how is she 'earning her living'?

OK, maybe she's on PIP or whatever, but if so, that money has to go towards her food, her keep, etc etc. It is not 'spending money' for her.(if that's what she's using it for). The food she eats has to be paid for, and if not in money, then by her labour - so is she 'helping around the house', does she do the washing up, put the bins out, hoover etc?

This is essential for all of us, but I firmly believe for those with MH it's even more important - firstly it 'grounds' them in reality, not the fevered distermper of their self-obessed minds. Secondly, it 'diverts' them, because it literally occupies their time. Thirdly it is 'therapeutic per se' - we ALL feel better after 'a job well done'. And fourthly, most importantly, it teaches them there is NO free ride in life.

My niece (who can and does and will work when she is feeling 'OK')(and sometimes does, yes' force herself when 'rounded up' by her mum....or when she needs the money her mum pays her for some of the work she does as 'extra') (ie, work her mum would pay someone else to do otherwise), basically is of the deeply held opinion that having MH 'excuses' her from having to work. She has the mantra 'I can't work because I'm ILL'.

Having MH is her ultimate 'get out of jail free' card when it comes to the 'aught for naught' truth. Like many of her generation, she takes the welfare system 'for granted' and does not regard her PIP payment as being paid for out of the labour of OTHER PEOPEL (ie, taxpayers). To her, it is 'free money' and is there to 'compensate' her for the ordeal of being ill!

Again, I know that sounds harsh, but so many young people simply don't get the 'aught for naught' truth of life. They do seem to think there is 'free money' (and free bank of mum and dad, and free housing at home, etc etc etc.)
Hi Gemma
I'm sorry the search didn't bring results for you. Maybe you were searching the site rather than the forum. Here's the link to the forum search

put bpd in the first box and it brings up 364 links

I'm also giving you the forums invisible Teflon shield coat. You wear it at it all times and it means that daughters comments and barbs just slide right off and no longer hurt or can get to you. Its lightweight and flexible so it protects you constantly as you reflect all her comments back to her e.g "I hear that you are angry at me. I am not angry at me. I am doing my best" she might say "your best is rubbish. You dont help me" you then say "I am doing what i can. You must help yourself" etc etc. You will say this so often it becomes repeated like a broken record. The coat also has speedy self defence systems which remove you from the room or the conversation much much sooner than perhaps you have been doing.

All though she is her illness, she is feeding that illness by your interactions. every time she gets a response from you she is proving herself right.

It is a fact of most mental illnesses that no matter what someone on the outside tries to do to help or cure, any long term improvement has to come from the sufferer themselves. You cannot change her or cure her. She has to do that for herself.

Our job on here is to help the carer look after themselves, rather than look after their caree. This is especially true in the case of mental illness which is a very very long haul indeed. You would benefit from counselling, exercise, daily fresh air and some "me time" on a regular basis. By modelling good healthy behaviour you are doing her good too.

I like Jenny's comments on firm love. Clear consistent boundaries with lots of praise and no backtracking or giving in. Yes she will push and push those boundaries but that is her decision. Your job is to stand firm and offer support. Supporting is not taking the weight, it is giving little bits of help when she asks for it, not diving in rescuing, not preventing falls but being there with a hand to help herself up.

You need someone on your side to build your self esteem which has been so knocked for so many years. I'd suggest face to face counselling which you can self refer for or find a private therapist. It's money well spent.

Meanwhile wear the Teflon coat
Counselling designed specifically at my disabled mum's endless demands helped transform my attitude hugely. I no longer felt guilty about what I couldn't do, but proud of what I could. Most importantly of all I was given "permission" to say "no" (or rather taught how to avoid jobs without saying no precisely!) so that I could make time for my own life.
It's so easy to feel guilty, but actually, none of this is your fault, so you have nothing to feel guilty about.
How much do you do for yourself, or have you fallen into the trap I fell into of doing so much for others that my own things never got a look in? Do you belong to a club, society, WI or similar where you can truly be yourself, never mentioning your daughter.
As well as mum I also have a son, brain damaged at birth, now 39. I kept part of my life (running a national lorry club!) just for me, very few members knew about my son. This really helped me keep a balance.
My current "me" thing is dressmaking for my holiday in Crete in September, two weeks of sun, fun, laughter, dancing, trips out. A few of my "Crete Friends" know about M, but mainly I just try and concentrate on leaving all my troubles behind.
It really does help when things are tough to look back on happy times and know the next is only 7 months away!! I also try and enjoy all the getting ready process, and my shopping trips may have a little something with my holiday in mind.
I've just found this free, online course you might find interesting
https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/you ... todo/24972
Ironically (and sadly!) (sigh) parents are sometimes NOT the best person to deal with the MH issues of their children! I can see, from my own family, that nearly everything my bro and SIL did in raising their daughter, and how they react to her woes, has contributed to those woes.

They have fretted and fussed over her like a pair of neurotic mother hens, 'bleeding' whenever she bleeds, etc etc. THey constantly offer her 'comfort blankets' (she literally turns up at their house in a state of collapse - and I mean collapse - over Xmas for days she just lay on the sofa casting a pall over EVERYTHING - her unhappiness just DOMINATED the airwaves!)

Conversely, I believe that the children with MH actually behave WORSE towards their own parents - and probably for the same toxic reason. How is your daughter with her sister, other people? Or are you targeted out as the 'baddie' to endure her wrath, complaints and self-pity?

All that said, IF IF IF she is blaming you for something specific (this 'different version of events' that you referred to earlier), then surely it is worth the both of you going to a neutral third person ....ideally a therapist, but doesn't have to be....and simply each of you stating what you think is 'the truth' ,and seeing what the netural person says. If your daughter does have 'objective' grounds for at least some of her complaints/accusations then it behoves you to acknowledge that. And it also behoves her to accept your apology and 'move on'!

Sometimes, though, a 'bad thing' from one person's point of view might be a 'good thing' from another's For example, if, say your daughter is blaming you for, perhaps (I'm inventing this as an illustration!), leaving her father and breaking up the family unit, from HER point of view this is just a plain BAD thing....but from yours, it might have been a GOOD thing.

And there might really be no ultimate 'right or wrong' because, for example, you might have left because, say, he was unfaithful. But to your daughter, he was her 'loving dad'. The injury he did you did not affect that, did no harm to her. But YOU, by reacting to being harmed and hurt by his infidelity, left him.....and that leaving harmed/hurt your daughter as it lost her her live in dad. So YOU are the person causing her hurt and harm, not her dad!!

There is no 'solution' to this, as the same event can have been 'good' for one of you and 'bad' for the other.