Adult Children of Mentally ill Parents

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Adult Children of Mentally ill Parents
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Re: Setting boundaries

I am a 38 yr old mother of 3 kids now. I have dealt with my undiagnosed mother all of my life aside from a few times when I cut off contact with her. I agree with the other reply that you need to reach out to possible mother figures. I am blessed to have had a very active, concerned, loving grandmother, the same kind of aunt who took me in when I was 13 and the state finally recognized that if left in the care of my mother I would die. I also have had a close relationship with my step-mother and a few other awesome women. Without them I am terrified to imagine what my life would have been like. Would I have had any self esteem of self knowledge? Would I have learned forgiveness and selflessness or courage? Probably not. They were and are the women who told me that I'm smart and beautiful, kind, a wonderful mother. My biological mother has never said anything close to that. In her "up" times she may have said I did a good thing when I told her I couldn't stand her negativity anymore. Otherwise she has done said and done nothing positive in my entire life. Your statement about her viewing you as an extension of herself hit me in the heart...that sums up my entire relationship with my mother. I have finally just this past Friday petitioned the court for a restraining order against my mother. She has called social services on me and my children 8 times in the last 5 years. I am finally making my stand and refusing to be her doormat anymore. I allowed her to stay in my home I worried about her and prayed for her endlessly and just since my birthday last month, I have decided that I cant spend the next 20 or 30 years being afraid of what chaos she will bring next. I understand the feelings of guilt...I have always lived with that. I think growing up with a parent like ours grooms us to be guilty and also to seek unhealthy relationships where our personal boundaries are never respected. Please please please find a good therapist who can help you to find yourself and recognize that you are a good deserve happiness and love and peace like any other human being.

Re: Setting boundaries

I am 38 and my mother has (undiagnosed) BPD. It has been a long way for me to get where I am now - which is reasonably happy and content in my life. If you can find other mother figures to help you, that's great and very helpful. But if you can't find anybody to help you, it doesn't mean you have to deal with it alone.
My experience has been that I need the safe feeling of having "my own therapist" who will listen to me and validate my feelings.
I don't know your mother or her specific way of being, of relating to you and others. But I can tell you that my mother has never ever been able to acknowledge any of my feelings. She has never understood anything. And this will not change.
So it is possible that your mom will never understand your position no matter what you do to explain it to her. Not because you don't explain it right and not because of anything you do or don't do, but because she can't at this point in her life, with her limitations. Now, your mom may be different, everybody is. But that's how it is with mine and it's taken me many years to acknowledge that. I'm still working on it.
But you made it this far, and you have reached out, and that's a sign of immense strength.

Re: Setting boundaries

Just wait until you're older and the mentally ill parent disinherits you and gives it all to your equally mean sibling! Then you have what I went through. Actually like William Shatner has recently said, death can be the ultimate cleansing! I have been renewed in my father's absence. It took 10-15 years, but now I love life for the first time since I was a kid.

Hope and time...

At 21 you're ahead of the game by starting to understand it all. Good for you!