Help! Dealing with BPD parent while
April 16, 2012 7:53 PM Subscribe
Help! My BPD father is unhappy that my chronically ill sister and I are recuperating back at the family home, so he acts out and does crazy stuff like taking apart our bed and packing it away while I'm at the doctor's office. He claims it's for our own good. How to deal with this crazy situation?
posted by tachikoma_robot to human relations (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My sister and I are both exceptionally weak and have lost a lot of weight unintentionally (BMI 17.8 and 17.3, our doctors suspect Celiac or Chron's respectively) We both are visibly emaciated and malnourished. We moved back home since I became unable to work, but our father considers us a burden, says we're "not getting better fast enough" (it's been 4 months) and wants us and our stuff out. Our mother feels the opposite which is why we are still home. Complication- there aren't any other friends or relatives who could take us in, nor are we healthy enough yet to move out, since we struggle to take care of ourselves.
I'm sorry if there's too much detail, processing how messed up this situation is hard. Additionally, he refuses to treat us respectfully, tells us we have "lost our rights as adults" by moving back home even with the obvious circumstances. We are both 26, will be 27 next month, so being treated like teenagers is additionally a problem.
As to our likely BPD father, our childhood was pretty much exactly like the book Walking on Eggshells -- always being prey to his random and savage turns of mood, in addition to always carrying the strange burden of having to make life comfortable for him even as we struggled in school and life. He is concerned solely about how things affect him. His demands always center around how "inconsiderate" and "rude" we are of his needs, like when we leave a few dishes in the sink. (We already cook and shop for our own restricted diets and usually clean up after ourselves too - no easy feat when sick) When I was at the ER, being prodded and poked with all sorts of tests, all he could say was how inconvenient and tiring it was for him and my mom. He really poured on the charm and acted caring in front of the nurses, but it naturally vanished shortly after I got home. I get the feeling that he doesn't really care about us in general.
The current and latest argument centers around how "disorganized" we are. I was getting ready for my doctor's appointment early morning today when I found out my health insurance card was missing. It turns out my mom had last used it to pick up my prescription, and accidentally threw it away. We didn't know, and woke up my mom to ask her where she had put my card, which woke up my dad too.
He was so upset at how "disorganized" we must be to wake him up so early, that he disassembled our heavy futon bed and placed all the pieces in the garage while I was at the doctor's office and unable to protest or stop him. He claims this will "give us more room to be organized" and that we shouldn't be sharing a room anyway. He claims that we're "dragging each other's health down" and we "need to be separated" which makes no sense since my slightly healthier sister has been taking care of me, and that it's an especially soft and supporting bed for her back pain and is easy on my aching body. We can't put it back together ourselves. (And he would probably take it apart at our next appointments anyway, so there's no point in trying.) The real reason is probably more that he tries to control everyone around him, to suit himself.
How do you talk to someone like this? When I point out how sick we are, he claims to be just as ill and that he manages fine (not true, he's in good health) When we point out our symptoms he tells us that we deserve to be sick because we clearly "don't want to be well enough". Or he just outright dismisses that we even have any sort of illness. When we ask if he cares about us, he claims he is doing these things for our own good(!) Questioning these things falls on deaf ears. Nothing seems to get through to him. Often he likes to say that we are both just lazy, lying in bed all day and that we should "push ourselves harder", like he does. Even when that is the opposite of what our doctors have advised.
I tried to use the advice on talking to BPD persons in another thread- trying not to get upset at all the deliberate insults and talk about it in a calm manner, but then he just yells over me to drown out anything I say -- pushing his delusional version of reality, where he is actually doing us a huge favor and helping us "get on with our lives" by taking apart our bed!
My mother took pity on us and dug some older beds out of storage for us, but they are very uncomfortable for us and we can't really sleep on them. I tried to convince her how this was clearly not helping us like my dad claims, but she just got upset and is unwilling to take sides and says she will buy us new mattresses.
This is one of a continuing string of "helpful" things my father has done to us, whenever he gets some idea into his head, he does it without even telling us first. Obviously this goes way beyond mattresses, but I thought I'd focus on a specific incident. I know this is hardly the last of it. Writing it down, it just seem so... bizarre. But I'm at a loss about what we can do when we have our hands full just taking care of ourselves.