Adult children of those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder often struggle with many aspects of the relationship (or lack thereof) with the parent that has BPD. Responses of adult-children with a parent with Borderline Personality Disorder to questions from A.J. Mahari about ending the relationship with a borderline parent.

Often Borderline Personality Disorder so negatively impacts relationships that even what one would hope could be or would be a relationship with a borderline parent is one that needs to ended in order for them adult child to heal and find a healthier way of relating and living his or her own life.


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Given that you are the adult-child of someone with Borderline Personality Disorder and you likely can't or don't want to leave or end the relationship like a spouse may, how would you respond, based upon your experience, to the following questions:

1) How do you end a relationship with a Borderline?

I did not – she did, when I revealed her scheme to attempt to have her 6th husband declared incompetent. I told his family and him. She had huge rages, continues to, and husband 6 is angry with me also. My husband is an attorney and she was claiming that he was helping her (NOT) and that we saw him being confused with alzheimers (NOT) – I would do it again if placed in the same position.

2) Has anyone "left" – ended a relationship with a Borderline parent?


My brother and sister have. They call her by her first name, and refuse to take her calls, mail, etc.

3) If so, how did you do that? What has been the outcome/benefit for you?

My brother just stopped taking her calls, etc. My sister did same. Many reasons, the lying, they have children they wanted to protect, and just plain out being too busy to deal with her lies and manipulation.

4) Even if this is not what you have personally chosen in your life, what advice would you give someone wanting/needing to end a relationship with a Borderline Parent?

I remember being around 15 yrs or so, and beginning to feel sick when I was ever around her. I continued to blame myself, I am bad, terrible, stupid, awful. She told me many times she hates me and sorry I was born. I continued to just need someone to want me, and let her do, say, act out however she needed just so one day she might love me. I hear this is a common thread.
My advice to anyone is to get help and cut ties. Don't wait. Don't cut ties meanly or hateful or "tell all". Just explain you need to be independent for a while, and that is all. Don't wait another second or allow this person to do to you what I allowed for years.

The shame only gets worse, and the low self-esteem from not taking control of your only life only gets lower. Everyone deserves a chance to live without being vilified and hated, especially by one's on parent, sibling, spouse, or child.

I know that is strong, but if I had to do it all over again, I would have run away around 14 or so, and never looked back.

39 Female, White, Mother BPD, and father bipolar schizophrenic.





1) How do you end a relationship with a Borderline?

I have no answer to that,I keep my mother at a distance by letting her know that it´s now up to me to make the rules if we are to have any relationship at all in the future.Sometimes I don´t hear from her in weeks,sometimes she calls every second day or so to talk to her grandchildren. If I feel weakened (I had a baby about a month ago and have felt under the weather for a couple of weeks) I let my husband do the talking, he´s an excellent negotiator. I just feel anxious when I hear her voice if I´m generally feeling weak or sad.

But I think that a clean break is the best way, just let them know why you can´t deal with them any longer. Many BPD's, at least the high-functional kind (like my mom) won´t face the fact that they are indeed mentally ill until they are confronted.

2) Has anyone "left" – ended a relationship with a Borderline parent?

Not entirely,I feel too guilty to do that yet. I know I´m too soft at times, but, she always promises to behave, respect us and/or starts to cry and tells me how much she loves me and misses me. I have a hard time being consequent then…

3) If so, how did you do that? What has been the outcome/benefit for you?

I honestly don´t know if I would benefit from breaking our relation altogether or if it is best for me to just keep it the way it is today, i.e, keeping her at a distance and just talk every now and then. She has partner and I guess she´ll marry him eventually (apparently he can stand her since they have been together for 2 years now, and actually, I think he has a soothing effect on her for some reason, maybe she subconsciously knows that she has to restrain herself in order to keep him). So I don´t feel that guilty for "abandoning" her any longer. She´s also less jealous and don´t need that much attention any longer.

Funny as it may seem, she has always preached the importance of NOT being clingy or afraid of abandonment.

4) Even if this is not what you have personally chosen in your life, what advice would you give someone wanting/needing to end a relationship with a Borderline Parent?

Be sure that this is what you want and listen to your heart, you will probably know what´s right for you. Be honest to the parent.

Cecilia


The best advice I've ever been given is to recognize that if/when you decide to break off the relationship, allow yourself the grieving process… denial, anger, depression, acceptance. I know somewhere in there is supposed to be bargaining, and I'm not sure if those are in the right order, but it's true. I haven't chosen to do so with my mother yet, but I've noticed that other people that I know that have chosen to, have had a hard time with expecting that once that decision is made and carried out, that there would be this huge weight lifted and life would just be simpler. While that is true on some levels, the only way to truly be done and able to move on to deal with the personal aftermath of having grown up the way we have is to really grieve.

For myself, someone who hasn't chosen to break it off yet, I've had to let myself go thru that process over the knowledge that I will never have any more than what I have from her right now. I've had to make sure that I don't NEED from her, I've had to go thru this process, am going thru this process and have to make sure that I am progressing in this process. I have had to make sure that I don't get bogged down in one part or another. that i don't let myself stay angry or depressed. I had the hardest time getting out of the bargaining phase. I kept thinking, if she would just say this or do this than I wouldn't need that.

It's funny… i just found myself typing out an apology of sorts (I deleted it of course) saying that I'm sorry if this wasn't what you were asking.. etc. etc. I'm so programmed to be sorry before there is anything to be sorry about. Especially since you're never really sure if there is a hidden agenda in the question asked from a BPD or if it's really straight forward. The few times I've posted here, each time I've observed more and more things that I do or say, or the way I say them.. I'm always covering my ass. And the funny thing is, it doesn't matter if you cover your ass with a BPD, you're going to be wrong anyway!

Cassia


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1) How do you end a relationship with a Borderline?

By setting up boundaries, witch is a personal thing – everyone has their own boundaries.

2) Has anyone "left" – ended a relationship with a Borderline parent?

I did end my relationship – I did not say to her that I am ending this – I told her that if she would not accept my boundaries I would not be able to be in touch with her.

3) If so, how did you do that? What has been the outcome/benefit for you?

The benefits for me in my life have been that I have been able to grow as a person more than I ever have during my life time and I am 39 years old now.

4) Even if this is not what you have personally chosen in your life, what advice would you give someone wanting/needing to end a relationship with a Borderline Parent?

If you fear quilt, leave it up to them, set boundaries so high that they will not be able to do it. You will have to change your own values, understand that it is not wrong to live a life of your own and I recommend that you will do all you can for yourself, find a therapist, be active in these kinds of groups, read/study about BPD for your own sake and be gentle to yourself.

BM


1) How do you end a relationship with a Borderline?

I cannot, at the moment, say how to end a relationship with a BPD parent. In my case, only time will tell of my success or failure.

2) Has anyone "left" – ended a relationship with a Borderline parent?

My siblings and I are attempting to end the relationship with our BPD mother. This process has been ongoing for 6 months.

3) If so, how did you do that? What has been the outcome/benefit for you?

Our father died 10 months ago. Mother's problems escalated with his death. Just prior to and after our father's death Mother continuously vilified and told painful, outrageous lies about her children. When not lying about her children she told anyone who would listen, strangers included, how much much she was about to inherit or had inherited. My siblings and I walked away from Mother just a few days after our father's funeral.

After a month, Mother contacted me and begged forgiveness from her children (actually, she needed our help in building/setting up her new home). The terms were that we would help her but she had to stop lying about her children and that she had to retract the lies she has told about her children just prior to and after our father's death. She agreed. We spent 6-8 weeks helping her (she lives in another state) and during that time she gave us property and money.

She decided to get help for her 44 year narcotics addiction. We "catered" to her while she was in rehab and continued to work on her property. We had an agreement that if she wanted her children in her life, she must complete her program. As soon as the house was ready for move in, she signed herself out of the rehab facility against medical and psychiatric advice. We walked away as agreed (she did not hold up her side of the first agreement either……….she did not retract the lies and continued to lie). Now she is suing us for the return of the property on grounds of "acts of ingratitude" and has accused us of "stealing" money, emotional abuse (no contact with her) and even physical abuse, etc. etc. I believe that the lawsuit is her only "tether" to her children, much to the detriment of all. This issue is not about property or money, the issue is about her abandonment, which she fears and then ultimately creates.

We are hoping and praying that once the lawsuit is over, that we can truly be free of our BPD mother. I fear, though, that later she may resort to other drastic means to create a thread of connection in a further attempt to control and manipulate her children.

It is important to note that my brother removed himself emotionally from mother several years before our father died. As a result, Mother viciously slandered and vilified him in their community and continues to do so. He is the only sibling living in close proximity. The rest of us live in other states.

4) Even if this is not what you have personally chosen in your life, what advice would you give someone wanting/needing to end a relationship with a Borderline Parent?

My advice is to break the ties as early as possible. Get good counseling for as long or as often throughout life as needed. Don't second guess your own judgment and don't allow the BPD parent to separate you emotionally from your siblings or close, supportive relatives.Take care of yourself. Don't be taken in by whatever tool is used by the BPD parent to "rein you back in". Create your own family with your siblings or other family members who have also decided to walk away.

Parent yourself and each other. Be forewarned of all possible repercussions, i.e., vengeful or harmful acts by the BPD directed at you. That is, be prepared for clever and painful manipulation.

In addition, referring to the parent by their first name helps to eliminate the expectation that is implied by a parental title.

Debbie


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Are you an adult child of a borderline mother or father, or both? Are you still struggling to cope with the borderline mother or father in your life? Do you have unresolved issues that you'd like to discuss with others that understand? If so, please visit my Non Borderline Message Forum register to join in on many discussions taking place between non borderlines, family members etc and adult children of those with BPD in a relatively new section of this forum.

© A.J. Mahari, November 9, 2008 – All rights reserved.

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Ending a Relationship With a Borderline Parent – Adult Children of BPD