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question on validation issue with bpd


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Anyone else here struggle with trying to validate the feelings of someone with BPD? My DD claims that i invalidate all of her feelings and I know that this is part of the BPD spectrum. But, how do you validate when they are so totally negative about everything. I have tried to find ways to let her know that I understand how she might feel, but, often I can' agree with her assessment of things.........like the statement..... "NOBODY likes me".....and its always one extreme or another....its simply isn't true that nobody likes her.........she a very likable girl when she's not doing some dumb thing to harm herself. I just don't get it. This is why she will not speak to me now.......she told her father......because I invalidate her..... I have never in all my life been so concious of just about every word I have spoken with anyone like I do with her....the level of encouragment and support .....being her #1 Fan and cheerleader.....always here to talk and never judged in my own opinion, although I am sure its natural to feel judged when someone doesn't agree with what you are doing to yourself. Now she is wanting to stay in Florida with a woman who is another patient at the hospital...... ;) I don't know how wise that is........who is this woman and what is she in there for? What is her living situation? Who knows. I am sure if I bring up these questions that I will be accused of not supporting her trying to make it on her own.

And, i got big time drunk yesterday. I guess I was having a major pity party about being rejected. I know the nest will be empty.....always knew it was coming, but I so wanted it done in the right way. Eased out on her own with life skills to take with her. Not this on the street with strangers I met in hospital in Florida. Time to get off my pity pot. I suppose there is nothing I can say or do that will change her mind if she has it all worked out on her own. I just can't help but feel that she will be going from the frying pan into the fire....if she leaves this hospital and takes up with strangers in another state. She won't have her medical coverage for her meds, or anything. Its hard to watch what is happening, knowing full well in my own heart, from my own experiences, what she could be going into. It scares the hell out of me for her sake, but I cannot prevent her mistakes and her pain. She has to learn on her own. I was hoping they might have a step-down treatment center.....where she can work and still be under care and in groups, etc. I want to ask about that. I don't know how hospital would view her making plans with another patient.

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Anyone else here struggle with trying to validate the feelings of someone with BPD?

remember you are validating their emotions, not their emotionally influenced view of reality. (see my signature for a fancy way of saying this.)

"NOBODY likes me"

"it must be amazingly painful to feel that unlikable and alone."

rationally, she probably knows that this is an irrational thought.

but it hurts just as if it was reality.

so validate the emotion, not the reality.

never in my life have i felt such understanding as when i had a therapist say "i will never really understand how painful your life is, what you feel every day, i only know that it must be unbearable." and he wasn't saying "your father is a bad man and you are useless", he wasn't validating the thoughts that were storming around the emotions, he was saying that the ache inside was real, and it was. and THAT is what needs validation. that empty, hollow, helpless, lonely place inside that feels the pain. that is what needs to be acknowledged for what it is, which is something so painful it defies rational description.

Now she is wanting to stay in Florida with a woman who is another patient at the hospital...... ;) I don't know how wise that is........who is this woman and what is she in there for? What is her living situation? Who knows. I am sure if I bring up these questions that I will be accused of not supporting her trying to make it on her own.

you are still the parent. she is still a child who needs limits set. you aren't supposed to be her best friend. it's ok if she hates you for saying no. she will get over it and one day realize you were right.

And, i got big time drunk yesterday. I guess I was having a major pity party about being rejected. I know the nest will be empty.....always knew it was coming, but I so wanted it done in the right way. Eased out on her own with life skills to take with her. Not this on the street with strangers I met in hospital in Florida. Time to get off my pity pot. I suppose there is nothing I can say or do that will change her mind if she has it all worked out on her own. I just can't help but feel that she will be going from the frying pan into the fire....if she leaves this hospital and takes up with strangers in another state. She won't have her medical coverage for her meds, or anything. Its hard to watch what is happening, knowing full well in my own heart, from my own experiences, what she could be going into. It scares the hell out of me for her sake, but I cannot prevent her mistakes and her pain. She has to learn on her own. I was hoping they might have a step-down treatment center.....where she can work and still be under care and in groups, etc. I want to ask about that. I don't know how hospital would view her making plans with another patient.

what you are dealing with is scary, and it's ok to have a pity party once in a while.

but don't let her make a REALLY stupid mistake where she just looses all medical and familial support.

she's pushing and pushing, but that doesn't mean she really wants you to let go.

trust me.

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Hi, Guys and thanks for your help. karuna, she is 17 and will be 18 in a few short weeks.......on St. Patrick's Day.

I think she believes that I don't believe her that the sexual assault thing last summer really happened. There were no forensics found. But, I did believe her and took her to the ER for the exam was there all night, did all the follow up appts with the People against Rape.....yada yada. I didn't pursue the prosecution because I believed she was far too fragile and with no forensics to back her up, it would have been a "she said......he said" thing and you know how brutal that can be to these victims. They would have attempted to destroy her because she has problems. I believe I made the right choice.

I did try to tell her though, that she went over to their house, already under the influence......she took an entire package of Coricidin before she went over there. I tried to explain to her that when she is so "under the influence" of anything, that she creates a position where is so much more vulnerable to men taking advantage of her. Even if she was out going to clubs or whatever, men will take advantage. Sighhhh In her mind she thinks I am blaming her for what happened. I am not.....but she won't listen and I can't seem to tip-toe enough in explaining what I mean to satisfy her. This is just the latest of situations where she feels invalidated. God, I had no clue she was this sensitive. Thanks for explaining how the empty pain feels, Penny. The hospital where she is now, is supposed to start some EMDR therapy with her. I am very optimistic about that. Between starting new meds, the therapy and EMDR, I hope she can begin to heal from all this.

She knows that at 18 she can go. They all anticipate that age like its some kind of magical turning point to them. She knew she could legally quit school when she turned 17......and on her 17th birthday, she walked out the door and never went back. Nothing I could do about it.......she showed us all.

I will be doing some reading today........more of it. I have to find a way to communicate that I don't dismiss her emotions....I don't. I also think DBT would do wonders for her as well. But, I think she also needs ongoing therapy after this stay, and if she goes away with someone down there, I know she won't get it. I am hoping to make a case for a halfway house for women. Ease her way back out there, with the support to fall on every day of the home. I just ache for her, and damn I wish I could make this boo-boo go away, and its so frustrating that I can't do it. All I have known to do is try to get her to the people, right good professional people, that can help her heal.

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Steel,

I really feel for you, it must be hard to be on the sidelines looking on when the maternal love is obviously so strong.

I remember dating a guy last summer, who on the second date invited me to his house, where he jumped on me and mauled me. I managed to get out, and get the bus home, where I told my Dad. I was angry and felt that he had taken advantage. My Dad calmly explained that if you don't want to have sex, it's really counterproductive to go home with a guy, even if you have already said sex is off the menu. I remember feeling really invalidated and upset that he had said that. I wanted him to be angry along with me, because my anger was part of me asserting that I mattered and the guy was out of line. He was out of line. But so was I in my actions. I see how your daughter might feel that you assertion that her taking substances might leave her more vulnerable is blaming her and making it 'her fault' even though I can also see the valid point that you have.

The thing about some individuals with borderline personality disorder is that black and white thinking kicks in, and it's either/or, never both, and people can get on the wrong side of the line and be alienated, like you are being. I agree with Penny that you are her mother and need to advise her soundly even though she dislikes it. It might be worth trying to get across that you want to understand how she feels, maybe make some time just to listen to her 'twisted thinking' without trying to argue it or refute it. Sometimes there is a place for that, and often it is within therapy. Sometimes if we give someone the space to rant their feelings they start to see on their own that they are inaccurate representations of reality.

I hope for you and your daughters sake that she stays on in therapy and gets some DBT. But she will be an adult and has to make decisions for herself, hard as it is to watch.

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Yes, Karuna you are right and thank you for sharing your experience with me. You know I think most women have had some type of experience with a 'male' being inapproprite with them.......you instance was a dating thing, sometimes its family member or neighbor.....and doesn't seem to matter whether actual rape/penetration took place or not.......it effects us all in the same way. I believe this dude fondled her....and she believes that her jerked off beside her...while she was out from this drug..whatever it was. She kept slipping in/out conciousness. The effect was no different to her than being brutally raped. The damage is the same.....its a trauma....a violation and its violent. I do understand. Its happened to me. I was hoping to teach her something and that she might learn from this experience about allowing herself to be in such a position. Hell, she was driving a car under the influence and could have hit someone or really hurt herself. Thank God that didn't happen. What I was trying to relay to her is by going under the influence of drug/drink, things can happen that we can't control, because we are out of it. I hate the bastard too. You know what I'd like to do to him......especially since there was no way of proving her claim......I was angry and damn I wanted him to pay for this. I did believe her. Like her I want to see him punished for what he did. Your date probably took advantage of you and you were probably sober at the time. Anyone inclined to ravish any woman in that manner, is an opportunistic bastard anyway. Being under the influence just makes it easier for them to do what they do. We do need to be aware and be on guard for ourselves.

I just got back from my cranio work with my massage therapist. Have any of you used that type of therapy? OMG its so amazing.......the knots we carry around in our bodies and anxiety from these traumas. I'm learning to breathe deeply, and not hold my breath in fear anymore. I was actually doing that in my sleep......holding my breath, even during/after an operation.....nurse having to tell me to take a deep breath.....I stopped breathing. I am learning to let go and to relax and how to stay calm instead of bunched up with fear. God, its so good to be able to take a deep breath in and let it all the way out. I forgot how good that felt. ;) I am working hard at taking care of me in the midst of all this. I forgot who I am......if you asked me I would have said "I am A***** mother." Learning to be good to myself is a hard thing to do. I feel selfish/narcissistic. I am not used to receiving from others......I was the giver....it feels uncomfortable a bit to let myself be treated well and do whats important to me.....aside from everyone else. But, I have been surrounded by such good therapy and I am soaking it up like a dry sponge. I talk to the therapist while she does this massage work about feelings and whats going on in my body and where I experience the fear or tightness and its so amazing.......how deeply I am learning to relax and let it go.

Huggs to you both and thank you so much,

Lyn

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i love cranial sacral. miracle for TMJ and tension headaches. i don't care if it sounds like "quackery" cranial work is godly.

can you get your daughter into a DBT program? there are intensive day programs in many areas. DBT is supposed to be done along with ongoing one-on-one therapy, ideally....

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I am going to find out when I go down there next week. They may be releasing her soon.....I hope not but they may. She definitely needs follow up therapy and DBT would be the ticket I'm sure. She was supposed to start EMDR today. Thank God for these types of treatments.

I so want to talk to her, but funny thing is, everyone here is telling me that her NOT talking to me is a "good sign" that she is working on things. I know she won't want to come home with me when she gets out. Funny, when I see these pictures of Brittney Spears running around all wacky out of control, shaving her head and flashing her naked crotch, sighhhhh makes me think of my girl....because although not same actions, same out of control behavior that makes no sense......self harming.....don't need to be a cutter to do that. Destroying any reputation and sense of self respect you might have does same thing.

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HM. Just another point of view here, Steel -

after going through a ton of crap with both my daughters and only recently discovering my own, hidden/blocked trauma - I see 2 things going on here - your daughter's internal stuff that she really needs to deal with AND the usual mother-daughter tension that's just inevitable when they grow up.

Wonder if it would be possible to avoid or postpone the mother-daughter situations until she's got her feet back under her a bit more? Like have her Dad do most of the announcing of your joint decisions/opinions? Sounds like there's enough on everyone's plates as it is, and just adding in the emotional mom-daughter stuff is just making things more confused.

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HM. Just another point of view here, Steel -

after going through a ton of crap with both my daughters and only recently discovering my own, hidden/blocked trauma - I see 2 things going on here - your daughter's internal stuff that she really needs to deal with AND the usual mother-daughter tension that's just inevitable when they grow up.

Wonder if it would be possible to avoid or postpone the mother-daughter situations until she's got her feet back under her a bit more? Like have her Dad do most of the announcing of your joint decisions/opinions? Sounds like there's enough on everyone's plates as it is, and just adding in the emotional mom-daughter stuff is just making things more confused.

Yes, wacky thats exactly what I am doing.......good idea. Im letting him handle it......she needs to see that Dad who is normally easily manipulated by her, is taking a stand. He will be talking to them again today at hospital.......supposedly our insurance coverage runs out today unless they can pull another rabbit out of the hat, so to speak with insurance company.

Thank you all for your support,

Lyn

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  • 1 month later...

I think she believes that I don't believe her that the sexual assault thing last summer really happened. There were no forensics found. But, I did believe her and took her to the ER for the exam was there all night, did all the follow up appts with the People against Rape.....yada yada. I didn't pursue the prosecution because I believed she was far too fragile and with no forensics to back her up, it would have been a "she said......he said" thing and you know how brutal that can be to these victims. They would have attempted to destroy her because she has problems. I believe I made the right choice.

I did try to tell her though, that she went over to their house, already under the influence......she took an entire package of Coricidin before she went over there. I tried to explain to her that when she is so "under the influence" of anything, that she creates a position where is so much more vulnerable to men taking advantage of her. Even if she was out going to clubs or whatever, men will take advantage. Sighhhh In her mind she thinks I am blaming her for what happened. I am not.....but she won't listen and I can't seem to tip-toe enough in explaining what I mean to satisfy her. This is just the latest of situations where she feels invalidated. God, I had no clue she was this sensitive.

Hi, I know that (a) we've never spoken and I feel like I'm butting in here and (b) this is an old thread, but I feel compelled to say that in these two paragraphs, I was struck (hard) by how much I could identify with your daughter in this particular aspect of the situation you've described. My situation is not identical, but reading this really hit a nerve.

I haven't been diagnosed with BPD, but I have many of the symptoms and won't be surprised if I end up with that diagnosis. I was raped at 16 (different circumstances: I wasn't high and it was my then-boyfriend who raped me, but it's a long story for another post) and I didn't tell anyone about it for more than a year, because I was so ashamed and afraid of being judged. (Gotta love that good upbringing in "that old-time religion" for instilling these fears in the hearts of young girls everywhere. Me? Bitter?) When I made the mistake of finally telling my mom about it - two years later - she reacted in almost the worst possible way, by accusing me of somehow being to blame for what had happened. I could not have been more shocked and hurt if she had physically slapped me in the face, because that's how her words felt to me anyway. This was exactly why I had never told her, and she proved in an instant that I'd been right to keep the information from her. I'd never make that mistake again. Of all the people in the world I thought would support me and understand how I was feeling, I'd ranked my mom among the highest. This almost completely destroyed my ability to trust people. I am firmly convinced that her reaction was more harmful to me than the actual rape itself. Now I'm about to turn 34, and I still haven't regained the closeness that I once had with my mom. I've never forgiven her for how she reacted and have had recurring instances of wanting to go off on her, unleashing a torrent of all the bad feelings I've had for the last 15 years.

The reason I'm saying all of this is not because I think you've accused your daughter of being the one to blame. It sounds like you've been very supportive, in ways I wish my own mother had been. However, I know that if it were me in her shoes, it could take only one sentence to wreck all of the good effects of your support. I really urge you to do whatever you can to let her know that you believe her and that you don't blame her for what was done to her. Please try to show her that you believe her, for her sake. I'm not a professional or anything, but I think it could really help her a lot, just knowing that.

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I think she believes that I don't believe her that the sexual assault thing last summer really happened. There were no forensics found. But, I did believe her and took her to the ER for the exam was there all night, did all the follow up appts with the People against Rape....

I also had her in with very good therapists here that specialize in trauma and sexual assault. I did believe her.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Out of my mind with worry. My God, freinds, Ali took an overdose a week ago and spent 3 days in ICU and then move to psycho ward She went back to the recovery home and was doing well for the past week.

She got a job at Friendly's restaurant and was making very good tips, each day.. The rule at Recovery Room was to turn in all monies over $60 each week. She didn't do that. Last week she used some tips to buy herself a snake from pet store. Last night she was in large NA/AA meeting. Supposedly she stood up in the middle of the meeting and said "i want to get a drink now" I know the people there tried to talk to her....but she walked out the door anyway , found a store where she could buy Robotissom amd drank it all. They had no choice but to put her out of the program.. She would not abide by any of the rules. They tood her to a hotel room last night; and she would have had 2 nights there. Today she called a guy she met at the Mt Vernon psych ward. He said she could come stay wiht him. So she packed up all her belongings at the halfway house, got on a train and headed to DC.I am so sick and worried right now to the point that I can't begin to express it. I am sure many of you have been there.........in the dark pleading with God to help her.........

I did tell the director at the halfway house when he lets her go to NOT let her take the Lithium with her. It can be deadly and suicide attempts is part of the equation. Johns Hopkins is in the Baltimore area not far away. I was thinking that maybe there they could help with some ECT or something. When you are at the end of your rope, including finding help for them.......what to you do? I don't know.

But honest to God, There is this lingering thing in the back of my mind that says I may have to bury my daugther. What a helluva thought that is.........but hon its there all the time and it torments me. I know that her Dad and I did everything in our power to help her. Getting her the finest help out there and therapy and paying out of pocket. Its so expensive and now there is nothing left but debt.......from having to be self-paying. The insurance benefits ran out. Sighhhhhhh. I feel so desperate, helpless and afraid. would you guys please keep her on your prayer lists? she needs God to intervene now. She has no response to people who are qualified to help her. She needs God now.

I am tired and drained and therefore I will go to bed now. Thanks to uyou all for being there. Love and appreciate you and all of your well wishes, concern and all the researched help that I found here.

Love,

Lyn

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