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I think my mother may have bpd & Munchausen
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I think my mother may have bpd & Munchausen

Since I was young, my mother hasn't held a job, kept friends and was always extremely controlling, obsessive compulsive, and I always thought she was crazy. She was highly neglectful ( I was 10 watching a 4 year old and baby until 2 in the morring), she never puts her highly intelligent mind towards one thing, one goal for too long, she was always in and out of physically/mentally abusive relationships (her being the abuser, but it was also reciprocated).  For the past few years, having so much time on her hands because she doesn't work, and my younger siblings are all in school, she has a lot of time to use her imagination to create fake problems. She has sat me down, on at lease 5 occasions, to tell me she's dying of all different types of cancer, or has some other serious illness. Over the past few years she has also become, pretty much, obsessed with all types of disorders. First it was ADHD, her and everyone around her, she diagnosed them with that. She had more illnesses between that and the next severe disorder. She asid she had hypoglycemia, then everyone around her had it aswell. She went as far as faking a seizure, buying gluecose and these weird shakes to keep her sugar level balanced, and took vitamins aswell. Every conversation had to do with hypoglycemia, it was an obsession. During my pregnany she was forcing me, by telephone,  to get tested for it because she thought it was such a serious disorder. Doctor's run tests to make sure that you sugar levels are correct because you can get diabetes during pregnancy only. I was tested, and I was fine. Trying to explain that to her was not easy, she tried convincing me that meybe I don't have it, but my child still could. We even stopped talking for months because I wouldn't push a test out of the doctor for my unborn child. I told her not to worry every conversation we had and that if my child has it, then I will make sure he eats every  few hours...that it wasn't a big deal. Her rsponse was "YOU'RE GOING TO F**** UP YOU CHILD!" There was a large arguement where all honesty was put on the table, then her and I didn't talk for atleast 4 months. The only reason why we began talking again was because I called her didn't ask for any apologies (she told my older sister she wanted an aplogogy fromme) and never brought it up again. Well, now she says she has Aspergers syndrome. It is crystal clear, to me, that she has never had this problem, it has come out of nowhere. She has always been extremely social, honestly a little too social and open with others, she even went to school (for a short time) for broadcasting, she has excellent communication skills especially when explaining how strongly she feels about something, it is obvious she doesn't have it. But now she's saying that my brothers and sisters have Aspergers too. She even tried convincing my husband that he has it. She bring herself and the kids to the doctor, if they don't give her the diagnosis she wants they're the worst doctors in the world, they're wrong, and she changes doctors. Now I'm at the point where I have tried to confront her about her faking illnesses problem, and she won't even talk to me. She's actually "disgusted" by me and "wants nothing to do with" me. A few months ago, she was calling me daily (we live on opposite sides of the country) and talking for hours, now she hates my guts.  Only myself and one other person has ever confronted her about all of her lies. Everyone else is scared, she puts fear in people. Also, past history includes: suicidal attempts 9even in front of  me at age 13), in and out of mental hospitals since she was 17, 5 kids by 5 different fathers, I attended 15 schools without being an army brat, my younger brother who is only 16 has also attended 15 schools. She's always best friends with the neighbors then, all of a sudden they're the devil basically and she'll move almost immediately and most likey  get restraing orders on them. This isn't even the half of it either. Everyone goes along with what she says because if you disagree, in any way, you're the sum of the earth abd she will never tlak to you again.... well until she forgets about it. I fear that my younger sibling are in a bad environment because she tries to push these different diagnoses onto them. She can also be cruel and mistreat them. She doesn't want help, she doesn't think she has one problem wrong with her... that I'm the crazy one. Before her and I began fighting, I asked her how many doctors she thinks  she has visited over the past year and she at first said she couldn't count, then she said it had to be over 20 or 30! She's got major problems, and I don't have anyone that can help guide me in the right direction. I don't know what to do anymore. My 16 year old brother lives with me right now because she kicked him out of the house on the NY/CA border, to go on a greyhound to boston, to live with his unfit father who hasn't been in his life since he was a little boy, then his father sent him out to the west coast with me. I fear that my mother will have an outrageous fit next, and probably call the police and say I kidnapped him or something. I'm not joking either, please help!!
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Wow! ... you have a lot to deal with. I'm so sorry for your on-going issues with your mom.
And, I commend you for both standing up to her (which, obviously isn't easy) and trying to protect your siblings (another tough situation, especially since you're expecting a child of your own).
I'm no expert. So, my input is just that... input; not medical advice nor legal assistance. As for your mom's seemingly erratic behavior, I can't imagine what her issues are.
No doubt, her issues are complex, many and perhaps, far reaching!
But, it's obvious to me that she's in desperate need of attention... even negative attention. And, why do people "need" attention? Validation... a need to be recognized and, usually... valued. But, you can't exactly value someone whose behaving in a "toxic" manner, can you? Personally, I'd ignore your mom or, at least, minmize contact with her. I know that that's easier said than done. But, you have your own life and starting your own family; and, you don't need to be distracted by all of the drama that is a result of your mom's actions. If you don't live near her, count that as a blessing... because then, she's not within striking distance. And, as far as the "kidnapping" claim. She'd have to prove that. And, she wouldn't be able to prove it without disclosing her shortcomings (which would appear to be many) and her glaring unfitness as a parent. Afterall, didn't she "kick" your brother out of the house? So, if she were to accuse you of "kidnapping," all that your brother would have to say is the truth: "mom kicked me out of the house and, my dad didn't want me either."
I hope I've help you in someway.
Again, this is just my input.
Good luck... my prayers are with you and your family.
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Avatar_f_tn
I found this account somewhat interesting.

I would say that your mother definitely has bpd.  I am not so sure about Munchausen's.
Your mother's behavior seems to parallel my own in places.

I sense that you are highly critical and judgmental of your mother's behavior vs being understanding and accepting.  Perhaps distance and space is advisable for both of you.

An inability to hold done a job and maintain relationships are symptoms of bpd.
Control and obsessive-compulsive behaviors are ways to manage stress and anxiety.

Perceiving your mother as being crazy would only perpetuate the problem and even cause a significant deterioration in her condition.  It feels a bit like being beaten when you're down.  Coming from a significant person in her life would have been difficult.

Yes, she did neglect you and your siblings, but do you know what was going on for her at the time?
I expect she just didn't have the resources (emotionally or physically) to deal with the situation at the time.

People with bpd can become highly fragmented which means we can become disorganized and unable to initiate and follow through with goals and tasks.
Even simple things become impossible.  For example, following a basic budget or nutritional plan, or even exercise program.

I think your mother has perhaps retreated to relationships she experienced when she was growing up.  I expect it was her who was being physically and mentally abused.
I expect in her current relationships that she would at various times be either victim or abuser.  One defends against the other.  It can be extremely complicated.

I think what your mother is doing, is creating an environment in which she can be nurtured.
I sometimes want to be sick myself (but not have the consequences of the illness).  I think this may mean that I want people to listen and to pay attention to me and my needs.  Often our needs are pre-verbal and we are not able to articulate them.
I accept that this extreme, but for just one moment in our lives, we are significant.
BPD is extremely complex and it challenges both patients and clinicians alike.

The real or perceived illnesses could be due to anxiety.
Other diagnoses to search could include: factitious disorder, malingering, hypochrondriasis, panic, somatization, etc.
I think what may be happening is that your mother is experiencing all her symptoms as physical.  In reality she may have just split off all her emotional/ psychological symptoms.
This could be a hard issue to work through.

I wonder what triggered your mother's obsession with low blood sugar.

I almost get the sense that your mother is psychotic.  This can happen in people with bpd who become extremely stressed/ anxious.  It certainly sounds like she may have lost some contact with reality.

You were right to establish boundaries for yourself.  These are extremely important.

I have asked for apologies for when I feel I have been mistreated.  I expect a lot arises due to misunderstandings and mis-communications.  When people with bpd get stressed, and interacting with others can be stressful, they don't communicate that well.  I don't expect she would have forgotten the real or perceived grievance.

Being more social actually represents a better prognosis for someone with bpd (than say someone who isolates them-self).
This criteria is also present in the impulsive behaviors.  That can equal promiscuity and sex.

The fear may not be warranted.  People need to maintain their own personal space and boundaries (and values and beliefs).

It sounds like she could benefit from having a psych assessment and then possible treatment.

I hope your fears about possible kidnap charges are unfounded.

I don't think your mother's mental health state is very stable (or balanced) and I would strongly urge you to try and facilitate assessment and treatment.
You really shouldn't have too many problems getting her to agree to go, but a lot does depend on how you manage the situation.

At this time, because of her present mental health, I think you need to protect your family from her.

Take care
J
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your advice. I know that i should be more inderstanding of my mothers issues, just after a while it becomes so frustrating and it is tearing my family apart. Sadly, I have tried to confront my mother already about her issues at hand, and of course, I'm the one with the mental health problems. everything I say to her, she reflects back to me without even realizing it. During the times where she tries to say things just to hurt me, she is also belittling, and makes me wish I didn't exist sometimes....

She is extremely cut off from the world. She lives in upstate NY on an indian Reservation where she's looked down upon by them since she is  only 1/4 Native. So i don't think that she is going to be out and about any time soon. And yes, her problems have worsened since she moved there. Also, I don't think she'll be getting out too much because she truly believes that she has Asperger Syndrome, which is in the spectrum of disorders with Autism. When I was younger, she never suffered from such "social ineptness". Aspergers is her new obsession.

When it comes to her goals and tasks, she can complete them as long as they are short terms. She is actually extrememely persistent with cleaning, organizing and thinkgs like that. Her problem is sticking to one thing, and focusing on it long enough to actually evolve into something better.

A doctor has already diagnosed her with Sommatization, but of course "THEY'RE ALL WRONG". Until she gets the diagnosis she feels fits her best, without making her sound crazy at all, she's going to keep searching.

Well thank you for your repsonse, only time will tell what she has.

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Avatar_n_tn
My I can certainly understand where you coming from with your mother. My grandmother is exactly the same way. She is a true borderline in every sense of the word (impulsive, extremes of love/hate, promiscuous, mood issues, self-image changes, suicide attempts, etc.) but she also has narcissistic PD thrown in with it so she has a Marilyn Monroe complex and is still getting boyfriends at almost 80! (She looks 65). Anyway, she did all of the same things to my mother and I wasn't aware of it until I was much older and bought a house near her. Bad mistake.  She started all this stuff with me that she's been doing to everyone in the family and in her generation (my great aunts, her in-laws, my grandfather) for years.  She can be evil and hateful and write horribly nasty letters (she is queen of the poison pen or in person but doesn't do the phone too much). (Usually if a fight starts on the phone she will hang up and march over and scream) and then flip to loving and super over the top nice. A psychologist explained it to me that the closer you are to the person (relationship-wise), the more frequent and more extreme the flip/flopping between love and hate will be. So people in the community or in a store will think she is this sweet old lady while those closest to her are sleeping with one eye open and never know what she'll do next.  BPD is not curable and most therapies don't work because they get pissed off at the therapist and leave. Most psychologists have a love/hate relationship with these types of patients themselves because they are the most frustrating people to deal with and there is never a solution but all that certainly keeps them in business!  Anyway, my best advice to you is to keep communication with your mother to a minimum. I didn't speak to my grandmother for 8yrs (she had a fit over something she imagined and decided I wasn't her granddaughter). Anyway, though I was initially very upset and couldn't understand how anyone could be like that, I have since realized it is the best solution. If you keep communication up, you will walk on eggshells or get dragged into drama after drama for the rest of your life. Send her a card here and there, don't call and don't take calls. I am sorry to say but that is what will keep your sanity and keep her from controlling you.  Remember, "that which angers you, controls you."  If you really want to find peace and happiness in your life you have to make peace with the fact that your mother is like this and it is what it is and you can't do anything about it. You can only control yourself and your own actions and reactions. Don't give her an audience, distance yourself from her and the love/hate business will tone down considerably. Trust me. Good luck to you.
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Avatar_f_tn
To Afenster

I strongly disagree with a lot of what you write (but not all).

I personally don't feel you have the right to pronounce that there is no cure for this disorder.  Many people recover from this disorder and I think it is irresponsible for you to say otherwise.  Crushing that hope in individuals with the disorder can be deadly.
Would you like to feel personally responsible for someone killing them-self because they have read there is no cure (and therefore feel their situation is hopeless)?

A lot of therapies don't work, not because the bpd patient gets pissed off and leaves, but because therapists lack skill and experience in treating such patients (which is why they get pissed off and then leave).
Therapists, and others, tend to project their feelings of hopelessness and helplessness onto the patient and blame the patient for their deficits.

There is never a solution?  Do you think people with bpd are that naive that they would pay to see T's just to be told there is no solution?
BPD patients continue to engage in ineffective relationships because they seek nurturing and to feel accepted.

In my opinion, limiting communication and contact is the worst thing you could possibly do.  This feeds into bpd peoples feelings of rejection and abandonment and exacerbates the situation.

You fall prey because you don't have strong boundaries.
People use control when they are extremely anxious.  People with bpd are anxious because they have splits (good/ bad, black/ white) in their intra-psychic structure.

I expect your behavior was so distressing/ damaging to your grandmother that the limited contact was actually the best thing you could have done for her.
(I feel you express a degree of ignorance and indifference to her situation).

You are right, she can't change her mother, but she does have the ability to influence her.

BPD behavior is not attention seeking.  It communicates real distress.
I can't believe you were so uninformed.  There are things you could have done/ can do to help your grandmother.  It's sad (and shallow) that you choose not to engage in a relationship with her.

J
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Avatar_n_tn
Afenster I hear the distress in your email. However, it is true the BPDs are extremely hard to tread and difficult to deal with.  You are blaming therapists for not helping BPDs as if therapists are bad.  And insinuating that BPDs are strictly victims of bad therapy and bad lives.

I was raised by a BPD and have a BPD child. It is absolute hell.  I totally understand how someone can get to the point of not wanting to deal with a BPD. They take, take, take. They get extremely angry if they don't get what they want. They manipulate. It is torture.  
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Avatar_n_tn
Hold on, stop abusing the girl for being uncaring. I have BDP and so does my father but mine is treated whereas he refuses treatment and acts the same as as your mother. And I can't stand being around him. I know exactly how he feels and still I can't put up with his ****. So it must be even harder for someone who doesn't understand, because you'd feel guilty about how you react. It sounds harsh but you need to send your Mother to a therapist. If I had younger siblings still in my father's care, I would have him committed in a second. BDP is a hideous thing to live with, both when you have it (as I do), and when you're dealing with someone else who has, and yes, us BDP sufferers need love and help and care. But not to the point where teenagers and children are suffering. Sorry guys, seems harsh, but if I was acting out and emotionally hurting my kids like that, I'd hope someone would commit me. Apart from anything else, in a hospital she'll get the help she needs, as well as you lot getting the emotional break you all need, before you end up developing your own mental problems. Good luck honey, and I'm sorry to have to sound so blunt.x
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Avatar_n_tn
hello. I am sorry to learn that you have this condition, but I would like to siuggest to you that actually the people around a bpd sufferer are also sufferers, and that is it perfectly reasonable and fair for someone to limit the damage do to them by severely limiting contact. after all, we are people with feelings too, and long exposure to damaging interactions with a bpd pperson can lead us to chronic stress disorders and worse. we are also entitled to live happily.
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Avatar_n_tn
hello. I am sorry to learn that you have this condition, but I would like to siuggest to you that actually the people around a bpd sufferer are also sufferers, and that is it perfectly reasonable and fair for Vawni and others to limit the damage do to them by severely limiting contact. after all, we are people with feelings too, and long exposure to damaging interactions with a bpd pperson can lead us to chronic stress disorders and worse. we are also entitled to live happily.
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what exactly is BPD?
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