Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Understanding the Borderline Mother | Enlisting Allies Against Her Target of Rage

In the book "Understanding the Borderline Mother" by Lawson the topic of how the BPD mother organizes a campaign of denigration (p. 141), which is exactly what happened to me when my mother disliked what she was hearing about my wedding. Lawson says, "The borderline enlists others as allies against the person who is the target of her rage. She may seek out friends, family members (including siblings and children), and co-workers of her victim in whom to confide fabricated stories designed to discredit her enemy. She intentionally leaves out discussion of her own behavior, presenting the other person's behavior as entirely unjustified." This is EXACTLY to a 'T' what happened to me during this present estrangement with my mother. And the following is an account of one of those people who my mother recruited during her campaign.

When my brother recently got out of jail and my mother went to 'help' him (Adult Child in Crisis with Personality Disorder Parents) after not seeing or talking to him for ten years) my mother took my brother to visit one of MY old colleagues. WHAT!? Yeah. WEIRD. That's my bizarre (there's that word again!) mother.

This girl (we'll call her Bree) was one of my employees at several places I managed through the late 1980's and early / mid 1990's as she would work where-ever I managed. In the mid-1990's, she was diagnosed with the same physical disease as my mother. I ended up giving each of them each other's number so they could talk about their diagnoses, symptoms, and treatment. Apparently they kept up with each other more than I thought or knew about.

During the course of my relationship with Bree, I inadvertently discovered she had a cocaine problem but I never addressed it at work or told my mother as her cocaine usage didn't interfere with work or me personally. Additionally, I never talked to Bree about my mother and our conflicts & estrangements.

Around the time that my future husband asked me to marry him (2004), I had just graduated with a Master's Degree and was helping my mother & step-father get their house in order before taking a job. I was working there Monday through Friday, 8 hours a day, with the purpose of gutting out, organizing, and cleaning-- I received $15.00 per day for my time and effort (basically gas money there and back). I was not helping for the 'money' (obviously)-- the effort was out of love, respect, and caring.

At this time, Bree came to town. When Bree arrived in town, she wanted to get together with everyone (who is friend's with mutual friends of mine) during the day... and my mother's response was that I was working a 'normal job' and that Bree shouldn't expect me to just leave during work hours. My mother acted like a 'boss', telling me that I have a commitment to working at her house. So, plans were made to have everyone meet at night.

A bunch of the old employees that all worked together (including Bree, our mutual friends, and myself) met at a restaurant. Bree acted VERY STRANGELY and left early (like 10 minutes after the last guest arrived who drove over an hour to get there). I later found out from one of our mutual friends in attendance that Bree was acting so strangely because she was craving cocaine and wanted to leave to get some. The next day, I told my mother this story about Bree, her behavior, and the cocaine.

Long story short, my mother and I had that blow up about my wedding, and our estrangement starts (Little Women 2004). My mother then turns to Bree and tells her that I am claiming she's a drug addict. Bree, of course, doesn't fess up to the fact that she has a cocaine problem and that her fiance is a dealer... and instead supports whatever my mother says about me to save face.

My mother also tells Bree that I felt as if Bree was imposing on me when she came to town and that I was irritated with her interfering with my work and daily routine. My mother COMPLETELY twisted the entire scenario around as MY MOTHER was the one who was ticked that Bree expected me to leave working at my mother's house but then flipped the information in order to recruit Bree to her "let's hate Gretel Ella" bandwagon.

"Others may believe the BPD's allegations of mistreatment because of the intensity of emotion. Misinformation is calculated and constructed in order to destroy the victim's reputation. Those who do not know the true situation may not notice inconsistencies in the BPD's story. It is difficult to verify the truth because the intensity of the emotion dissuades others from asking details" Lawson (p, 141). I believe Bree believes the allegations because of the calculated and constructed nature of the misinformation as well as she never knew the background of my mother and my relationship dating back to my childhood. Plus, I think Bree's belief in what my mother was purporting was self-motivated as well, as Bree needed to save her own reputation.

Reciprocally, my mother feels more justified that she did no wrong to me in regard to blowing up over my wedding as Bree, my ex-colleague, backs her up with WHATEVER she says (alas, the organization of the denigration campaign mentioned earlier!). Bree also becomes an accomplice and informant for my mother. Months prior to my wedding, I find out from a mutual friend that Bree and my mother are planning on crashing my wedding. And then every so often, I hear that Bree is trying to fish for information from our mutual friend about me to give to my mother.

SO THIS is the person that my mother took my brother to see just as he left jail. WHAT THE HECK!!?!? Hmmm, that is the 'help' that my brother needed in such a pinnacle and critical time in his life? Seems very self serving and convoluted on my mother's part if you ask me.


  1. Hi- I recently found your blog after googling Borderline Mothers. I have to say reading your story is like reading the story of my life. Very weird. I am 43 years old and in the last year finally stood up to my Mother and her abuse and control. She disowned me (again) and then two of my siblings disowned me. My other brother was also disowned by my Mother 7 years ago.

    I have had a very hard time with this but feel that it probably is for the best (for me).

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that it's comforting in a way to realize there are others going thru what we are.

  2. I have found that SO MANY of us (adult children of BPD mothers) have VERY similar stories. I agree that it's "very weird"... but also very validating and comforting at the same time.

    Congratulations for standing up to your Mother and her abuse & control. You are right that it's the best for you-- the situation is a tough one as we all want a mother, but just not an abusive and controlling mother.

    Thank you for stopping by-- and lots of love and strength to you in your quest for peace and happiness in life.

  3. I am 32. I don't know if I love her or hate her. I wish she would just forget I exist. But she won't. I know I'm not crazy, she is. But I keep on coming back to the place where I feel hopeful about having a realtionship with her. Then I have to "break up" with her after 3 days. I can't interact with her everyday and she says that's "unacceptable." Why won't she leave me alone? Why!!! Even if she were to die from one of her multiple suicide attempts, she would probably find a way to manipulate God into letting her come back to haunt me.

  4. Wow. I feel all of your emotion coming out of this screen. I know exactly how you feel, and I have been right where you are standing. Knowing what you know, stay away. Life is too short for the dysfunction, toxicity, and negativity. Love yourself and stay away-- you will heal, feel brighter, and see things in a whole new perspective. Don't allow yourself to get wrapped up into her web anymore. If she can't respect your wishes to not 'interact with her everyday' then have respect for yourself and create that boundary and stick to it. She is not well. Don't allow her inability to stabilize herself to knock your life off kilter. Let me know how you are doing-- I am thinking of you! Hang in there-- things WILL get better.

  5. Where is this BPD epidemic coming from? Is it the result of viral infections and/or vaccinations? My BPD/NPD mother grew up in the days of polio, and I wonder if her mental instability is the result of polio on the brain...? And to find out that she's not the only one, by far.