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Old 12-30-2018, 11:09 PM
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I'm Afraid For My Daughter


2018 has been a very bad year for my family on multiple fronts (2013-2017 weren’t so great either), but it’s my oldest daughter (18) that keeps me up at night. I don’t normally air personal problems to anyone (preferring to keep the mood light), but I feel a need to vent and do so anonymously. Even if no one reads this (it’s long and not exactly holiday-festive), just writing it gives relief.

Oldest daughter: Pam
Youngest daughter: Kim
Not their real names

[dialogue is as accurate as I recall, though obviously paraphrased]

The Good:
Pam popped out of the uterus full bore. After I cut her umbilical cord, she just kept accelerating through life.

A few months after she started kindergarten, her teacher visited me at my home and said, “your daughter’s gifted. I know all the signs, because I myself have a gifted daughter. She doesn’t solve problems the way you’re supposed to solve problems … but, she always gets the right answer. She’s too young to be tested, but I recommend that she get tested as soon as she can.”

Pam got tested a couple years later. I was called in to meet with her teacher, principal and the district superintendent. “Your daughter scored higher than anyone in our county, ever. She needs to be on the gifted-track.” She’s been on that track ever since.

Her scholastic achievements have been stellar: straight As, 1st place in science fairs, math contests and most recently, art contests.

I didn’t see the art thing coming until she made a new friend who was, by all accounts, a gifted young artist—mainly anime. Pam’s initial artwork was crude, but showed potential. She said, “Jill’s a better artist than me.” She didn't say it with any any envy, she sounded proud of her friend's talent.

Within a year Pam’s talent eclipsed that of her friend’s, significantly. She now takes classes at art school after HS classes 2 days a week and also works part time at Taco Bell. When she has time (I don’t know how she finds any time with her self-imposed schedule) she sells some of her artwork for good money. She uses a variety of media. Much of her art is disturbing.

Pam’s not all school and no play. She did well (though not stellar) on the swim team, soccer team and softball team. Neither girl stuck with piano lessons, much to my chagrin.

She’s not a nerd. She hangs around with troublemakers and gets into trouble herself on occasion. And, she drives like a maniac. She barely passed the driving part of her drivers test. The instructor said, “your daughter’s got a heavy lead foot.” She’s acquired a couple speeding tickets already. Her sister and I white-knuckled it whenever we’re in the car with her. She won’t slow down.

She’s very loving and compassionate. Loves animals. Vegan. Turned her younger sister vegan. Still trying to turn me vegan. She lectures me constantly and shows documentaries on animal cruelty and meat processing plant horrors.

She’s hyper-sensitive, but hides it with a tough exterior. She loves to debate intelligent people on any number of deep subjects. She does so passionately, not aggressively. I don’t recall the last time she lost a debate. Perhaps she never did.

She’s got a razor-sharp wit. I’m pretty sarcastic, but I can’t compete with her.

To top it off, she’s physically attractive. I’m not just speaking as a proud, delusional father—the girl could be a model. She turns heads and has no shortage of guys who want to be her boyfriend (she usually picks the bad ones, though).

Sounds almost perfect doesn’t she? Kind of like like a fairy tale story. But, it’s not.

The Bad:
Pam started cutting herself at age 11 (“it makes me feel comfortable, dad. I can’t stop”). Her psychologist reported that she’s had suicidal ideation since age 12. I was scared to wake her for school for years, crossing my fingers every time I opened her bedroom door.

She was later diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. She’s got a good psychiatrist, psychologist and case worker. She takes psychotropic medication.

She is and has always been very close to her sister and I. She and her sister fought like cats and dogs since Kim took her first steps in diapers, but they’ve always had each other’s back. Now that they don’t live together, they’re closer than ever, texting and calling each other constantly.

Pam felt the weight of too many bad influences in her life and pleaded with me to let her move, at least temporarily, in with “family” who live in a town she really likes, ~1000 miles away. I was devastated to see her go, but I gave her permission to move when she was 16. She’s built a new life for herself and new friends and now she’s pleading for Kim and I to move to her town. I would if I could. But, at least she comes back to stay with us holidays and vacations.

Pam’s on top of the world 98% of the time. It’s the other 2% where things go to hell.

She attempted suicide twice over the past 18 months and nearly succeeded the second time. Her psychologist said it wasn’t a plea for help or a drama show—she really wanted to end her life. She spent weeks each time in a psychiatric hospital. When the depression lifted, she drove the doctors crazy debating with them. “Your daughter’s exceptionally bright and she loves to argue with us”, said one doc. “Yeah, tell me about it”, said I. He replied, “She even tells us how best to treat her and she’s pretty spot on. She’s almost convinced me to stop eating meat, too.”

Pam calls her sister and I often, sometimes at 3am, and we talk for hours. She called as soon as she got phone privileges from the hospital after her second attempt. She didn’t wallow in self pity (which would be expected). She simply said, “I’m sorry, dad.” The haunting way she said it broke my heart. And, then, “Sometimes, I just don’t want to be alive.”

I told her, “you have nothing to be sorry for. You’ve got a disorder that can be successfully treated and controlled. You’ve just got to learn ways to ride out the dark moments.”

She called again after she was discharged and I asked her what triggers her suicidal thoughts.
She said, “it’s because, I’m not perfect.”
“Nobody’s perfect. Strive for happiness, not perfection. Perfection isn’t obtainable, by anyone. You can be happy, though and that's what life should be about”
“I won’t be happy unless I’m perfect. If I see an artist more talented than me, I get depressed. If I see anyone do anything better than me, I get depressed. I can’t help it.”

No one in Pam’s life put undue pressure on her to succeed. She has always exceeded all of our expectations. Her drive for perfection is internal; it’s innate; it’s unrealistic, but she can’t shake it.

A few months ago, she admitted herself into the hospital because she felt suicidal once again. At least that’s a glimmer of hope and progress. To me it means she recognized pending depression and took steps to prevent it before hitting rock bottom and acting on the compulsion. When she’s not depressed, she loves life and she lives it large.

I flew Kim out to be with her sister last week for the holidays. We talk daily and they are both in very high spirits!
Kim: “I’m having a great time, dad. But, Pam’s driving me crazy and she still drives too fast.”
Pam: “I’ve got too many cats (3), I’m giving one to Kim to take home, OK?”
Me: “Nooo!”

Hearing my daughters laugh and joke around is my Christmas present. I’m happy when they're happy. I wish it could always be that way, but I’ll always be scared when I get a call from an unknown number from Pam’s area code.

BPD is a horrible thing to be afflicted with. I'd do anything to rid my daughter of it.
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Old 12-30-2018, 11:12 PM
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Even though I have no children, I was a troubled kid myself, although in different ways. It's very painful to see your children go through something and you can't solve it.

Hugs to you. Vent all you want.
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Old 12-30-2018, 11:14 PM
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My god, I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. I'm even sorrier that Pam is in hell, even a fraction of the time. But it's brutal to watch your child hurt and not be able to fix it.
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Old 12-30-2018, 11:34 PM
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Mental illness is difficult on all as I'm learning late in the game with my soon to be ex wife of 25 years. My sympathies to your daughter(s) and you.

I'm not understanding moving in with a "family" a thousand miles away and how that is helpful? Don't feel like you need to share but it doesn't compute for me.
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Old 12-30-2018, 11:46 PM
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That's terrible; I've know all sorts of legitimately crazy people, but BPD is something else entirely. I believe what underlies it is an inability to form bonds with anyone - if that's the case I can't even imagine the suffering. I'm not an expert so I could be 100% wrong.
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Old 12-31-2018, 12:10 AM
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So sorry. I have a young daughter ( nearing 20) who has pressured herself for years. She's not diagnosed but I see signs she struggles sometimes to be her perfect self. It's a deep rabbit hole. I wish you and your girls luck and hopefulness for the new year. You didn't mention her Mother. I noticed.
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Old 12-31-2018, 12:25 AM
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My son wrestles with similar issues. I am so sorry that your daughter is going through this. It sounds like you are doing all you can. Do you know if she is following her treatment plan? My son has increased issues when he skips medication, for example.

Again, my sympathies. It is horrible to be powerless while your children struggle with such pain.

Last edited by Sunny Daze; 12-31-2018 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 12-31-2018, 12:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by China Guy View Post
I'm not understanding moving in with a "family" a thousand miles away and how that is helpful? Don't feel like you need to share but it doesn't compute for me.
No problem. I didn’t elaborate because it’s a little complicated. But, I’m wide awake, so let me explain:

I put “family” in quotes because it’s not biological family, but family none-the-less. The girls had a live-in nanny when they were young. The nanny (let’s call her Sue) is the daughter of a family friend from another state. Sue moved in with us when she was a young teenager and lived with us for ~6 years. She is a wonderful girl and was particularly close to Pam. She was like Pam’s big sister.

Sue moved back to her hometown, got married and has kids of her own. Pam became over-stressed by friends who took advantage of her, a boyfriend who deceived her and a mother with whom she has a very toxic relationship. She felt she needed to leave town and the person she wanted to live near was her “big sister.” It’s not that she wanted to be 1000 miles away, it’s just that Sue lives that far away. She moved in with Sue’s parents. Now she lives on her own (with 2 roommates and 3 cats).
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Old 12-31-2018, 12:53 AM
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<snip> You didn't mention her Mother. I noticed.
Their mother abandoned the family when the girls were young. She had nothing to do with the girls for years when they wanted a mother. In recent years she’s butted back into their lives when they don’t want a mother.
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Old 12-31-2018, 12:58 AM
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Do you get a discount at Taco Bell?
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Old 12-31-2018, 01:01 AM
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Wow. I can't imagine having to deal with a situation this complex.
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Old 12-31-2018, 01:05 AM
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Do you get a discount at Taco Bell?
Not in this state. But, they let Pam make veggie tacos for herself. They don't sound too good to me, but she loves them.
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Old 12-31-2018, 01:14 AM
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I appreciate everyone's concern and I’m sorry for those of you facing similar situations.
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Old 12-31-2018, 04:36 AM
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“I won’t be happy unless I’m perfect. If I see an artist more talented than me, I get depressed. If I see anyone do anything better than me, I get depressed. I can’t help it.”
Is Pam doing Dialectical Behavior Therapy? My understanding is that this can be really helpful for BPD. It's a type of Cognitive Behavior Therapy. If I understand correctly, it would address that "I can't help it" statement.
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Old 12-31-2018, 05:33 AM
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Your daughters sound like amazing young women. It looks like you are doing your absolute best for them, too. Sorry you are all going through this. Mental illness is a bitch. I agree with you that maybe progress is being made, it's a long hard battle.

I re-watched A Beautiful Mind last night. Assuming the film bears some relation to reality (and I believe it does), John Nash was able to overcome his demons/delusions through rational thought and determination (and professional help, and a loving family/friends). I believe Pam can do the same. The very best of luck to all of you.
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Old 12-31-2018, 06:48 AM
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I'm so sorry. It's a terrible thing to watch your child struggle and be unable to wish it all away.

Wishing you all the best.
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Old 12-31-2018, 07:07 AM
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I don't have anything to offer immediately, but just an anecdote that might give you hope.

My roommate in college suffered from BPD. To be honest, she still suffers from it, as it's a life-long thing. There were some tremendously rocky years, self-harm, suicide attempts, hospitalizations... all the stuff you're either going through or fear. But she did get her doctorate-level degree, she has a successful career, is much more stable emotionally and mentally than she used to be (no suicide/self-harm for a couple decades that I know about), financially well set - in fact, she's now taking care of her mother and sibling, she's the "normal" and successful one in the family now.

She doesn't have romantic relationships. But she is at peace with that. She does have friendships (obviously - we still get in touch every few years) but she isn't really close to anyone that I know about.

She is actually a lot like your daughter - tremendously intelligent, attractive... but convinced she is somehow rotting inside.

Bottom line - it IS possible to have a good life even with BPD. It is possible to gain some control over this. The fact your daughter accepts she has this diagnosis means she's made more progress than most with the disorder. There is hope. I don't want to sugar-coat anything, there is still a long, painful road ahead but there is hope.
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Old 12-31-2018, 07:41 AM
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Broomstick’s post reminds me of a college friend too, who struggled for years seeking help before she got an accurate diagnosis followed by effective treatment — BPD, yes, but also together with cPTSD. Apparently an uncommon combination, but her treatment has her stabilized.

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She is actually a lot like your daughter - tremendously intelligent, attractive... but convinced she is somehow rotting inside.
This describes that college friend too. She went on to get a Ph.D. and become a university professor at a large, nationally-recognizable major university. She was high functioning, highly intelligent and talented (musically gifted too), but convinced she was worthless inside.

I never dated her but we were good friends in college and we remain friends to this day. We talk pretty regularly — I check in a few times each month. She is married to a good guy who understands the deal.

Tibby, I do feel your pain. May your daughter get the help she needs.
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Old 12-31-2018, 07:47 AM
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My mother's sister combines BPD, bipolar and PTSD. Unlike your daughter, she had Parents From Hell, which accounts for much of the PTSD (you haven't sexually assaulted your daughters, have you? OK, good. And you're not paranoid either? OK, OK, that's definitely nice).

One thing I wish I'd known a couple of years back is that one of the key traits of BPD appears to be the inability to think a deal is good if it's offered by someone else; both my aunt and her daughter are incapable of understanding that it's possible to win without cheating, or for a deal or a piece of advice to actually be good as offered. My aunt doesn't even believe recipes as given (yes, making a cheese omelette really needs only those ingredients... what? well, because if it's got more ingredients it's not a cheese omelette!) That may be behind your daughter's insistence in telling her doctors what to do: if she's like my aunt, when they say "you've got a cold, take this and make sure to drink lots of fluids" she goes into distrust mode and starts picking the information apart to search for the nonexistent trap, whereas if it's her who says "I've got a cold: give me a scrip for this and I'm going to make sure I drink lots of fluids" that's OK and everything is right with the world.
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Last edited by Nava; 12-31-2018 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:27 AM
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Another vote for DBT. My daughter has been working on it (she self harms). It has been a big help. I am so sorry this is happening to you daughter.
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:35 AM
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I have nothing constructive to offer. I just wanted to offer my well-wishes. My daughter suffers from depression and anxiety, so I empathize.
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:52 AM
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So this is just an armchair diagnosis, but has your daughter ever been abused?

The self harming, perfectionism, suicidal tendencies, wanting to move, etc all make me wonder if she was abused and that started her down this bad path.

Have you had an open conversation with her about it to see if that has happened to her? There can also be overlap between complex Ptsd and borderline personality disorder.

Also she may be an empath, which is someone who feels others suffering very strongly. There are books she can read to learn to deal with the stresses of having that personality type.
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 12-31-2018 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 12-31-2018, 09:39 AM
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I’m confident Pam was never physically abused by anyone. She’s always been open and honest with me. She would have told me, or at least her caregivers if she was. And, except for the self-abuse cuts on her arms and legs, there were never any signs of physical abuse.

She was mentally abused by her mother. How much that affected her, I don’t know. I don’t believe it resulted in full-blown PTSD, but it was the biggest factor in her wanting to get out of Dodge.

Pam’s always had a saucy tongue, but I only heard her say the “c” word once in her life, and it shocked me. When she was in the hospital the second time I told her that her mother was planning to fly out and see her. She said, “I don’t want that c*** anywhere near me.” She couldn’t stop the visit, but she arranged for a nurse to be in the room and limited the visit to 5 minutes.

She does show signs of being an empath. Good call.
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Old 12-31-2018, 09:44 AM
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I’m confident Pam was never physically abused by anyone. She’s always been open and honest with me. She would have told me, or at least her caregivers if she was. And, except for the self-abuse cuts on her arms and legs, there were never any signs of physical abuse.

She was mentally abused by her mother. How much that affected her, I don’t know. I don’t believe it resulted in full-blown PTSD, but it was the biggest factor in her wanting to get out of Dodge.
The biggest scars left by mental abuse are mental ones. Self-harm is an expression of an inner wound.
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Old 12-31-2018, 10:02 AM
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As an artist with mental illness myself, I can understand thinking you're not good enough. It's a feeling I got often while studying music at McGill, feeling that everyone was better than me.
Is your daughter still into making art? If so, maybe it'd be a boost to her confidence if she could exhibit some of it.

Though I do realize that the art issue isn't the main issue here. I'm glad your daughter has a psychologist, though I know that people can still have problems and feel suicidal if they are getting professional help.

I'm so glad you and your other daughter are so supportive. Wishing the best for all of you.

Last edited by EmilyG; 12-31-2018 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 12-31-2018, 10:21 AM
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<snip>Is your daughter still into making art? If so, maybe it'd be a boost to her confidence if she could exhibit some of it.
Yes, she’s still into art and plans a career in it. She does exhibit her work and has sold a few pieces.

She went through a short phase (thankfully) where she wanted to become a tattoo artist. For her 16th birthday, all she wanted was a tattoo. I wasn’t happy about that, but I relented. She designed the tattoo and had it placed on her right forearm—it’s a head-shot of our cat, Tibby. She loves cats. The following year she designed a Picasso-inspired piece for her left forearm. She loves Picasso.
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Old 12-31-2018, 10:37 AM
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I have no observations, just best wishes.
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Old 12-31-2018, 12:47 PM
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Is Pam doing Dialectical Behavior Therapy? My understanding is that this can be really helpful for BPD. It's a type of Cognitive Behavior Therapy. If I understand correctly, it would address that "I can't help it" statement.
I just asked her and she said she is doing DPT. She likes it and says it helps. However, she's not too happy with her new therapist. Said she's inexperienced. Pam's teaching her how to do DPT properly.
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Old 12-31-2018, 01:32 PM
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As with others, I can only offer my best wishes. This is a trial I don't know that I could have handled as well as you are.
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Old 12-31-2018, 01:43 PM
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I’m confident Pam was never physically abused by anyone. She’s always been open and honest with me. She would have told me, or at least her caregivers if she was. And, except for the self-abuse cuts on her arms and legs, there were never any signs of physical abuse.

She was mentally abused by her mother. How much that affected her, I don’t know. I don’t believe it resulted in full-blown PTSD, but it was the biggest factor in her wanting to get out of Dodge.

Pam’s always had a saucy tongue, but I only heard her say the “c” word once in her life, and it shocked me. When she was in the hospital the second time I told her that her mother was planning to fly out and see her. She said, “I don’t want that c*** anywhere near me.” She couldn’t stop the visit, but she arranged for a nurse to be in the room and limited the visit to 5 minutes.

She does show signs of being an empath. Good call.
Physical abuse is just one form of abuse. There is also sexual Abuse, verbal abuse, neglect, etc. Self harm is usually tied into abuse when young. The fact that she started so young makes me think she had a hard life. I know she is honest with you, but if she ever comes forward and says she was raped at age 8 or so, or that the psychological abuse was worse than you realized, make sure you support her and don't do something that makes her feel like you can't handle it. The fact that her saying cunt shocks you may mean she knows there is even darker stuff she doesn't feel comfortable telling you about her life.

She has been verbally abused at minimum. If I were you I'd make sure that you fully respect your daughters desire to have no contact with her mother. Let her know you realize she feels that way for a reason and you respect her wishes to feel safe and cared for by healthy, supportive people who will back her up when she sets boundaries against cruel and toxic people.

Does she have eating disorders?
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 12-31-2018 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 12-31-2018, 02:27 PM
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I'm sorry to hear about what your family is working through.

The second half of your story matches very closely with my own oldest daughter's life--cutting and many other things culminating in suicide attempts and subsequent time in various psychiatric facilities (we jokingly refer to it as "back when you were in jail"). That was "the year without a summer".
She eventually was diagnosed with BPD.

She has been working through a DBT program for the past couple of years and I believe it has made a positive impact in her life.
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Old 12-31-2018, 07:54 PM
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Do you get a discount at Taco Bell?
Wait....what??
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Old 12-31-2018, 11:25 PM
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I have struggled with sometime similar. It’s complex PTSD, and it comes from childhood abuse.
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Physical abuse is just one form of abuse. There is also sexual Abuse, verbal abuse, neglect, etc. Self harm is usually tied into abuse when young. The fact that she started so young makes me think she had a hard life. I know she is honest with you, but if she ever comes forward and says she was raped at age 8 or so, or that the psychological abuse was worse than you realized, make sure you support her and don't do something that makes her feel like you can't handle it.
I recommend a book called The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk M.D. He also has a number of videos on YouTube.

The book explains what happens in the brain, and why the brain reacts to badly to triggers. Childhood trauma causes real changes within the brain and people simply react differently.

The abuse in our family was horrific, but I know people who also developed symptoms from less abuse or simply emotional neglect. van der Kolf says that people with complex PTSD (from childhood abuse) have been misdiagnosed as a whole range of disorders, including BPD.

I'm not a therapist, and even a real one would not think of making a diagnosis based on a thread like this, but the reason I recommend that book is that it gives such a good explanation as to what is happening. It seems to me that even if Pam doesn't have C-PTSD, the book can give some insight to some similar symptoms.

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I re-watched A Beautiful Mind last night. Assuming the film bears some relation to reality (and I believe it does), John Nash was able to overcome his demons/delusions through rational thought and determination (and professional help, and a loving family/friends). I believe Pam can do the same. The very best of luck to all of you.
With emotional disorders such as PTSD and BDT, rational thought alone isn't enough. It does take some specialized therapy for the emotional component.

I tried normal therapy for years and years before I found a specialist who could help. Normal therapy works well with normal problems, and probably works better with irrational delusions better than it does with severe emotional disorders.

It does take an enormous amount of work.
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Old 01-01-2019, 05:15 AM
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I have struggled with sometime similar. It’s complex PTSD, and it comes from childhood abuse.
For clarity, I’m discussing my disorder here.
  #35  
Old 01-01-2019, 07:42 PM
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Knock it off with these jerkish one liners. They are inappropriate for this kind of thread.
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Do you get a discount at Taco Bell?
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Old 01-01-2019, 08:19 PM
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From all of the things I've listened to on the subject BPD is often related to abandonment issues and such trauma. It sounds like her mom leaving her has caused this need to control. Perfectionism and cutting are both often about control. They are pain that can be controlled and that can be quite soothing, an outlet for feeling out of control when one is abandoned, or when one then copes by turning that inward and becoming a perfectionist.

I'm sorry that you're going through this, but even more that she is. I was a very tortured perfectionist for many years due to my life growing up in a cult. I learned to let it go and to reach for happiness instead of perfection. Even if I would have attained perfection in some area of life I would have just turned to the next thing because it was never about the perfection but more the control and the escape of it all. Now I didn't get to the point of BPD, though I was suicidal at a point and had ideations since I was a kid. My life is immensely better now. I kept working on myself and was determined to be happy. I hope she finds more happiness herself.
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Old 01-01-2019, 08:28 PM
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Thanks, Soapy, that was much needed.
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Old 01-01-2019, 09:14 PM
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Bpd is rough. My adopted daughter has it. As is typical, heavily charismatic and manipulative. She uses self-harm and other harm as manipulation tactics. Small events throw her into spirals. Once, we wouldn't go to the movies, so she jumped out a second story window. We didn't get her KFC, so she took a knife, slashed our mattress and buried it in a note on my pillow that dared me to go to sleep that night. We have two younger children, so rented her an apartment after she turned 18 so she wouldn't be a threat to them, we didn't let her move back in, so she checked herself into a psych facility and reported to CPS that we were molesting her and the other kids in an effort to get them taken away. Constant barrage of threats and multiple suicide attempts, some faked and some real. Holes in walls, broken windows, burning things she thought were valuable to us, lots of fun. She plays games to get others on her side and attempts to separate anyone in a relationship with us away. Incredibly jealous and possessive.

First the bad, now the good. The last two years she has been on an upward spiral. She is doing well in college, not perfect, but able to recognize more her tendency to lash out and manipulate. She is learning to 'use her power for good' rather than to hurt others. She is being increasingly able to realize that our love is not a zero sum game and that not every action we take is done purely as a measure of our love for her. She is increasingly independent and honestly, things have been quite good for a bit. BPD isn't 'curable,' but it is manageable, and right now she's managing.

Last edited by senoy; 01-01-2019 at 09:16 PM.
  #39  
Old 01-01-2019, 10:01 PM
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I just asked her and she said she is doing DPT. She likes it and says it helps. However, she's not too happy with her new therapist. Said she's inexperienced. Pam's teaching her how to do DPT properly.
Can she get a new therapist?

Seriously. It's never the responsibility of the patient the teach the therapist.

I spent far too long with therapists who didn't know what they were doing. If I could go back in time, that's really the first thing I would want to do.
  #40  
Old 01-01-2019, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TokyoBayer View Post
Can she get a new therapist?

Seriously. It's never the responsibility of the patient the teach the therapist.

I spent far too long with therapists who didn't know what they were doing. If I could go back in time, that's really the first thing I would want to do.
I think she may have been kidding when she said she was teaching her. But, she did say she was inexperienced. And I did tell her to switch if she doesn't connect with her. Pam's no shrinking violet, if she doesn't like something, she'll fight to get what she wants. I'd do it for her, but she's 18 now and likes to fight her own battles. She knows I respect her decisions.
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  #41  
Old 01-02-2019, 05:45 AM
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While I don't think something that could have come off of a bumper sticker will be the ultimate resolution in something as profound as your daughter's issues, you might try a quote from Leonardo da Vinci, the ultimate renaissance man:
Art is never completed, only abandoned.
If a guy with his chops is never satisfied, I think deep down inside, no one is, not even your Pam. As an artist this may resonate with her.

Either that or encourage her to become an engineer of some sort. After all, their motto is, Perfect is the enemy of good enough.
  #42  
Old 01-02-2019, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by TokyoBayer View Post
Can she get a new therapist?

Seriously. It's never the responsibility of the patient the teach the therapist.

I spent far too long with therapists who didn't know what they were doing. If I could go back in time, that's really the first thing I would want to do.
I don't know what DPT is but I definitely agree on the bolded bit!

The encouraging thing about your situation, for what it's worth, is that your daughter saw an issue and took action, time and time again (like admitting herself). That's a huge, huge, huge sign that she wants to feel better. That said: it's tough, and scary, and did I mention it's tough? Thank heaven she has that friend who made a safe place for her to go to.

There are some similarities here. Our tale:

My daughter has some issues similar to your daughter, in that she's scary bright, likes art, and has mental health issues (including somewhat recent suicidal ideation).

What she does NOT have is the drive to take advantage of opportunities, to learn, etc. She's 22.

She was becoming a blight on the whole household. She blew off community college 2 years in a row. She blew off art classes several semesters in a row. She barely held down a 4-hour-a-week job. Asking her to do the dishes - which were mostly her responsibility as everyone else in the house had jobs - was a pretty good way to cause a breakdown. When my husband and I each had surgery within 10 days, and genuinely NEEDED help, it was like she was being martyred if we asked her to fetch something for us. She was blowing up so badly we were close to throwing her out of the house (she was just about to turn 21 then).

She was on meds and had been for years - an SSRI, an older antidepressant to help her sleep, and something for ADHD. They helped a bit at first but were clearly no longer working - and the doctors were not making any real effort to ask the right questions to figure out whether they were working. She fought efforts to help her (like when she went to see a new doctor).

Luckily for us, she was diagnosed with seizures. Yes, "luckily" - because the seizure medication made a massive difference in her mood as well. We're wondering if she has a milder form of bipolar as this seizure med is now a first line treatment for bipolar.

So this was all going on right around her 21st birthday. A friend suggested we look into therapeutic residential programs. We found several, all 500+ miles away. One was reluctant to take her because of the recent suicidal thoughts - but when we did a visit, she'd been on the seizure meds for several months, and they were willing to take her because of the improvement. We were fortunate to have the means to keep her there - though as we told her right up front: the funds are limited and it's your college money.

There was an instant reduction in the stress levels at home. We weren't seeing much of an improvement in HER behavior by by September or so, but since then she's changed her meds a bit more, and now she's making plans. She'll move to a step-down program hopefully within the month (slightly cheaper, slightly less oversight). She opted not to come home for either Thanksgiving or Christmas - we visited her after Christmas. We did not argue this decision, as she made the holidays a misery last year.

I do worry, what if she has an emergency or something and we're 500 miles away (no good way to get there by air; train or driving are each 12 hours). And I miss her.... but I do not miss the drama.
  #43  
Old 01-02-2019, 03:45 PM
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Forgive me for jumping in here but since this discussion is all about women, do the behaviors change with their monthly cycles?
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Old 01-02-2019, 04:21 PM
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Not all mental illness is triggered by abuse and its horrifying to me to plant that from a description on the internet into the mind of a parent.....moreover, the assumption that it is can short circuit therapy, tear apart families, and provide an "excuse" for behavior even when the "abuse" was "you never bought me a puppy." Been there, done that, have the t-shirt - my baby sister's alcoholism had a therapist looking for repressed memories - and a sister happy to grab at that....it was a horrible few years while what she now admits were completely fabricated accusations of sexual abuse were hurled in the direction of uncles, and the sisterly teasing and fights we had became incidents of locking her in closets for days at a time and force feeding her worms (which never happened either).

I'm so sorry you are going through this. My oldest has been challenged with addiction, and my youngest with depression and anxiety - including suicidal ideation. Its horrifying to go through yourself (I have depression and anxiety myself), its worse to watch your loved children go through it.
  #45  
Old 01-02-2019, 04:42 PM
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One challenge for bright kids is that there was a period of time when they were young where they always felt like they were the smartest ones. Probably up until 6th grade or so, a bright kid may have never really met another kid who was smarter than them. So they may have had the intrinsic expectation that they would always be the smartest or best at anything. Then when the other kids catch up, they feel like it's a huge failure that they're no longer the best. That may help explain why she feels so bad when she finds that someone else is better at her at something. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how to help her work past that kind of thinking. The world is a big place and there will always be people who are better at something than she is.
  #46  
Old 01-02-2019, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
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Forgive me for jumping in here but since this discussion is all about women, do the behaviors change with their monthly cycles?
What in the HELL is wrong with you?
  #47  
Old 01-02-2019, 06:07 PM
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Forgive me for jumping in here but since this discussion is all about women, do the behaviors change with their monthly cycles?
"Women and their crazy hormones, haha!" in 2019? Really?
  #48  
Old 01-02-2019, 06:09 PM
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"Women and their crazy hormones, haha!" in 2019? Really?
Haha! Know what's funny, I only saw your comment in the thread preview and I correctly guessed exactly who you are replying to.
  #49  
Old 01-02-2019, 06:20 PM
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Forgive me for jumping in here but since this discussion is all about women, do the behaviors change with their monthly cycles?
On a serious note, yes, they can.

Some birth control pills can cause incredible mood changes, as can anabolic steroids in (mostly) men. Women may not go as far as "roid rage", but they can still go off on strange things if they're on the wrong BCP. Yaz is the modern one I've heard is the absolute worst for this kind of thing.

I have a FBF who has said that the psychiatric side effects of Yaz were a coffin nail in a faltering marriage, although looking back this far, they were incompatible anyway; however, this didn't help.
  #50  
Old 01-02-2019, 06:25 PM
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I’m not sure if this is trolling or just ignorance, but let’s not go here. The degree of mental illness being discussed is not a hormonal issue.

Quote:
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Forgive me for jumping in here but since this discussion is all about women, do the behaviors change with their monthly cycles?

Last edited by IvoryTowerDenizen; 01-02-2019 at 06:26 PM.
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