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Counseling/Mother sending money for forgiveness


My mom has BPD,,,she doesn't know it...but we all do. I am almost 50 yrs old and still am her safe environment for her social outlet. I rarely ever rock her boat, no matter how hard she tries to make me rock it!!! She complains about life all day as long as I can remember. And I try to fix her. This last escapade has me wanting to fix me and not her. My life in general with her is crazy,,she may inform everyone the day before she is going on a six week road trip,or shave her head for no apparent reason. This time she sells the extra car my son is using to my drug addicted cousin and tells us the day of. I get mad, and pull away,state my feelings, and that I need time. She says I am depressed and started sending me $50.00 everyday in the mail! In a birthday card and my birthday is weeks away. I know she wants me to call her on her bizarre behavior so we can go back to me fixing her. Help!!! I don't know how to grow up~ Mary

Hi Mary - I can understand your conflict. I suspect your Mom does NOT have "BPD," which is a symptom of the REAL problem: inherited psychological "wounds" from her ancestors:

YouTube video on BPD:

If this is true, here are some practical options for relating to her or any "Grown Wounded Child" [GWC]:

To set and enforce reasonable boundaries with her without guilt, define your personal rights as a dignified adult:

Then use your rights to assert your boundaries with an "I"-message:

That sounds like "Mom, when you (do some specific recordable behavior, I  [describe the specific effects of the behavior on you], and I need you to [name a specific behavior from her: ___________________]."

Also choose among these communication options:

I propose that she is responsible for her life, and you have the right to put your needs ahead of hers, except in emergencies.

If these suggestions bring up questions, Mary, please ask!

- Pete


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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about mood disorders, depression, suicide, relationships, communication skills, problem solving, clear thinking, bonding disorders, trauma recovery, addiction management, grieving, shame, guilt, fear, reality distortion, and trust disorders; courtship, family functioning, "problem kids," mediation, (re)marriage, divorce, stepfamilies, stepparenting, boundaries, self-neglect, abuse, parental neglect, personality subselves, ("parts work"). I cannot answer legal or medical questions.


I maintained a private therapy practice near Chicago for 27 years, and have worked with over 1,000 men, women, couples, and families on a wide range of personal and family problems. I have been in personal recovery from growing up in an alcoholic family since 1986, and have worked with five therapists to heal my own psychological wounds. I maintained a "warm (phone) line" for callers on the topics above for 20 years, and have taught over 200 seminars and classes in midwestern universities, churches, support groups, and schools since 1981. I have practiced internal-family therapy ("parts work") with trauma-recoverers since 1991.

National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council; Compassion and Choices, and Final Exit Network

# Several hundred articles in my non-profit "Break the Cycle!" Web site at These articles are augmented by over 150 educational YouTube videos .

# six books on childhood-trauma recovery, effective communication, and stepfamily courtship, coparenting, and management.

A bachelors degree in mechanical engineering (BSME, 1959) from Stanford University, a Masters degree in clinical Social Work, (MSW, 1981), and over 500 hours of post-grad training in the topics above - including clinical hypnosis, spirituality, codependence, addicrtion-management, and guided imagery. My post-grad traning includes two 9-month internships on doing internal-family therapy at the University of Illinois.

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of grateful emails and comments from students and clients all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
Over 1,000 average Midwestern-US women, men, couples, and families. A physical disability limits me to doing telephone and Skype counseling now.

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