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« Ending a Relationship With Someone With BPD - Contact or No Contact? - Nons | Main | The False Self and The Spiral of Loss in Borderline Personality Disorder »

June 26, 2008

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Klara

I see what you are saying about trying to get people to accept responsibility for their actions and the, often unforseen, repercussions, but I am always held back by the overwhelming feelings of guilt when my daughter as a result then self harms or similar.

Rational or not I then hold myself accountable for her self harm. ie "if I hadn't done THIS then she wouldn't have done THAT." And of course, even if I don't then there is never any shortage of other people who will convey that message to me, however covertly.

This is my daughter and of course all the old protective maternal instincts come into play.

How do you suggest I prepare myself for the guiult feelings that will wash over me when I proceed against her for continuing false allegations and slander ? I have not previously taken action but I do think that she has mistaken kindness for weakness and this time her behaviour was so outrageous that I can't not take some action.

A.J. Mahari

I think that the first thing that can really help you is to work on accepting that what your daughter chooses to do (though she may not be aware of that how she acts - including self-harm are really a matter of choice) IS her responsibility whether she acknowledges or understands that responsibility or not.

You can release yourself from the feelings of guilt by radically accepting that you do not have control over what your daughter does or does not do. You can't "make" your daughter self-harm anymore than you can stop her from self-harming.

Often those with BPD do mistake kindness for weakness. Remind yourself that you are setting boundaries (and taking action) because it is the sane and responsible thing to do. It is the only gift that you can give your daughter now - though she won't see it as a gift. Limits and boundaries and showing her the consequences of her actions and choices is all that a responsible and loving mother can do in response to borderline pathology.

Preparing yourself for guilt feelings is volunteering to remain trapped in your daughter's "control". Prepare yourself to disengage your daughter's pathology by refusing to accept responsibility for her behaviour anymore.

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