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Advice on relationship with mother (depressed/BPD)

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Seekay2019

Member
Joined
May 12, 2019
Messages
5
Location
Canada
I am hoping to get some advice on my relationship with my mother.

I’m in my 30s and my mom has had depression my whole life. She was a good mom in a lot of ways, always paid us compliments, put us into extracurricular activities and was proud of us. At the same time, we used to always fight so much, constantly while I was a child. By the time I was 13 and had a bus pass I was never home because I just hated fighting with her so much. We were always on eggshells with her. I thought I was a bad child, disobedient and manipulative, and that’s why we fought. I always felt guilty about it. And I always felt conflicted about my relationship with her. Note that I didn’t have turbulent relationships with anyone else but my mom.

In my 20s my mom was told she might have BPD and I started to realize that she had been baiting me into fights my whole life. I was just too much of a straightforward person to ever realize the passive aggressive tactics she had been using (knowingly or unknowingly). She still does it but now I see what it is and I just don’t engage.

My problem is, because of all this, I just don’t trust her at all, and have a huge wall up with her. I have a great relationship with my dad and brother, and I know it makes her jealous and also hurts her to see how I am with them but not with her. She sulks or keeps quiet about it, as her main avenue for attention seems to have always been being the victim. At the same time, I do think our relationship is sad, and she has every reason to be sad about it. I’m sad too but I have set a boundary with her because I don’t feel I can trust her with my feelings. I feel she has baited me into being upset my whole life so she could swoop in to be the hero and comfort me. Opening up and being vulnerable with her feels like a violation- like that’s what she’s always tried to manipulate me into doing.... so I have a wall up.

The thing is, she is also very supportive, like she always says how proud she is of me, and she puts on a brave face when we talk even when she’s sad (but I can see through it). But she also does things like say that I’m her best friend when clearly that is not the case. Am I being cruel by not trying to trust her again? I still feel on eggshells around her, she’s still really defensive and sensitive and I don’t feel I can speak my truth to her without it becoming about her.... but it seems like she’s trying and I just feel like I’m being cruel by not also trying to make it better and instead just having a clear boundary (e.g. I only spend time with her when the whole family is there, I rarely have 1-1 time with her).

Is her support and love real or a manipulation? I feel it’s often more about what she would have wanted from her parents (and didn’t get) than what I want from her. Am I cruel not to be trying to improve our relationship? If I do try to have a better relationship with her, is it possible to regain some trust after so many years of dysfunction and it being all about her needs? I feel so sad for her as I know she’s hurting... but I hurt too and I just don’t know what to do.
 
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Lora

Well-known member
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
89
Location
United Kingdom
My daughter has bpd and it is sad and difficult to understand as a non bpd the best advice I can give you that a psychologist gave to me was to read the book stop walking on eggshells. It allows you to have a deeper understanding of what they go through and how they function as well as how you can improve your relationship Hope that helps 😊 Sending you a virtual hug
 
OCDguy

OCDguy

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2016
Messages
820
I'm no Doctor or expert on these things. I hope you don't mind me sharing my opinions though... to me it seems like neither of you understand one another... have you both ever considered joint counselling?
 
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Seekay2019

Member
Joined
May 12, 2019
Messages
5
Location
Canada
Thank you @Lora I will take a look at that book and I also heard about another one - “I hate you... don’t leave me” that someone with BPD also recommends. I am trying to acknowledge that she probably has a very different perspective on her behaviors and doesn’t mean to cause the harm that has been caused, which is helpful in seeing a path forward that doesn’t involve only anger and hurt.

@OCDguy that’s a great idea! I don’t feel safe having these types of conversations with my mom alone so maybe family therapy sessions would help us to collectively make progress on healing our relationship in a safe environment.
 
OCDguy

OCDguy

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2016
Messages
820
Understanding each other has surely got to be progress :)
 
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