borderline personality disorder · bpd · dbt · mental health

Family & BPD.

I haven’t been posting because there are about 4 or 5 things that all require at least several sessions each that I want to bring up in therapy all at once tomorrow. So I don’t want to just word vomit all over the blog about these intense things until I’ve explored them with my therapist and made some kind of sense of things. Otherwise, I’ve been good on a personal level. But, I have a big issue on a family level that I know is very BPD related and until I hash this out in therapy and try to come to some kind of resolution it will on the surface level continue to hurt me inside.

I decided to post about this because whenever I look online about having BPD and coping with family, I always see the reverse. Streams upon streams of information on how to ‘cope with’ ‘handle’ or ‘survive’ a borderline family member. Seriously, wtf. I am trying to survive myself, as are so many people with BPD, I didn’t realise there needed to be manuals of information about how to ‘survive’ me. More stigma, more negative BS streamed by people who don’t know the reality of the situation. So I want to put a little something out there. I have read entire blogs upon blogs, watched videos upon videos of people with BPD who have had difficult upbringings, who have had problematic family members, who have been undersupported, undernurtured and down right mistreated growing up. So where’s their support in survival? What about people like me who have had to grow up in this kind of situation and then cope with MH on top of that? I don’t see pages upon pages of actual help. You know for people like me, who actually want to break the cycle.

The thing is, I know all too well, the other side. The ugly side of BPD, the ‘surviving’ someone with BPD. My own father is an undiagnosed severe case of BPD who has only just calmed down from the age of 50+ (As it does with age). He’s still so triggering. Is it any surprise that as a child, he was separated from his parents young, abused by his auntie (he hasn’t even told us all the ways but I know it was definetly through labour and verbal abuse at the least). Is it any surprise he went on to get BPD? Maybe not. I can see how his childhood shaped him and yet, he didn’t work on himself. So there is one parental factor and environmental factor that left me in trauma before I was even the age of 1.

Then my mother, my mother was an orphan and she was raised by their auntie. Although she was raised well, and my auntie (her older sister) then went on to raise her and my mum lived with her. My mum had for the most part, an OK time growing up. But I do believe the lack of a mother figure meant she didn’t maybe learn the things she needed for when she was a mum, that and maybe just personality? I’m not too sure. I know she made a stupid decision sticking with my dad. Anyway, as part of her coping strategy she was always out. I know I didn’t get validation, I didn’t get time with her. I didn’t get what I needed.

I know this and yet in therapy, this has just meant I have had to deal with this isolating feeling. Here I am dealing with BPD and the very harsh reality that my parents added to it and have made recovering from it a very isolating experience. My mum’s not uncaring at all, she’s kind and giving and makes friends very quickly. But what I needed, and need I didn’t and will not get. So I have faced this reality. So many of the other blogs I have read, the individuals are going through a similar situation. Either being totally invalidated, or cut off, or refused support, or just treated as if their MH issues don’t exist, or that their emotions just aren’t important. Is it any surprise they have BPD? So where is their support?

I know I have this gaping hole of affection and I know I need to fill it inwardly, I just wish it didn’t have to be an isolating experience. I think before therapy, I had always been treated as if I was the issue, so I felt that once I’d worked on me I’d fit in with my family and all would be well, I’d have a good relationship and fit in. But, the reality is, I don’t fit in. I feel even more out of their world. When I lived out, I felt out of place there too. 

The issue I have in the present with this is, being able to accept the family dynamics I now have. There’s a character in ‘Reign’ (my most recent series obsession – last season finished this year, RIP. </3) called Leeza she’s the eldest daughter of the mother of the king of France, Catherine. She comes into the series wanting to destroy her mother’s work of keeping her son on the throne.


(Leeza’s probably revealing another scheme here). 

Catherine teams up and gets help from her younger daughter, Claude. Claude and her work as a team at some points and Catherine has shown to be there for Claude time and time again in the series. What Leeza later reveals is that her mother had neglected her growing up and Catherine admits to this. Leeza resents their teamwork and you can see the jealousy in her face seeing how her mother is now able to be there for Claude, care for her and support her when she never did that for her? This is so similar to what I feel and my situation. 

My father mainly treats my youngest sister as if she’s the only main child he has. (Like seriously, he doesn’t even try to hide the favouritism). We’re kind of all used to it and don’t really care much about being close to him anyway because he’s too draining. But, with my mother, she’s also catered to my sister in a way I have never experienced. My mum has been there for me in my tough moments but never in this way. My sister and her spend a lot of time together, my mum seeks her company, she’s there for her woes, at 21 my sister lives with my dad and my mum goes over to spend time with my dad and her, so she has the attention of both parents more than any of us ever have. I can’t help but feel, where was all of this for me? The massive difference between me and Leeza here is that, I don’t want to set out to ruin my mum’s life in some kind of grudge, on the contrary, I support my mum with the household finances, I help in the house, I try to schedule time to spend with her. And yet, we don’t have that bond. My mother has never even tried to have that bond with us. I have had to cut off from trying to get that emotional support and love from her because 1) its too late 2) I have learnt I will not be able to get that. Do I feel jealous? I like to think I’m not because I hate that emotion. And I know it’s too late, I am too old and my mum made her decisions. I am happy my sister is getting love and support but I can’t help but feel angry. Angry in the sense that, she can be that way with her but not me? Where was any of this for me? Why doesn’t she seek my company out? Why do I still care? I am left to deal with BPD when most of this is most likely a result of all the dysfunction in the household I grew up in, and then I’m left to heal and support myself. In the end thinking this way makes me a victim, and I’m not a victim. I don’t want this to be anyone else’s burden, it would just be nice you know?

When my sister comes around they spend a lot of time together, and I feel out of the loop. I feel like I’m watching their close bond and I am on the sidelines. I try to involve myself but they don’t always involve me. I want to give up feeling any way about this. I want to radically accept it all. I really do. I have tried, I have tried to accept that this is my family, this is the way they are. They will not change. I read another blog of a younger youtuber who was totally invalidated and emotionally abused even by her mother and elder sister who were totally disregarding her experience and all the while she is battling BPD and going to therapy and trying to get better. I know it’s not just me, which is heartbreaking too. But it just feels like one other difficulty to deal with. I want to live just for myself. I want to heal for myself and give myself what I wasn’t given. So today, instead of being angry at my mum, for not being home, not calling back fast enough, etc etc. (all BPD abandonment type of thing) I looked inwards and realised I’m actually sad. I’m sad and I need things that I know I can’t get from them so I need to give them to myself. At the moment when I ask myself this I think I need, some kind of comfort. Some kind of self-care. I am going to do something that I think is fun and that will make me happy and then maybe some positive self talk and connecting with God, which always makes me feel less alone. Other than that, I am just going to wait until I can talk about this in therapy tomorrow.



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