Trying Not to Lean too Hard

Overcoming

Confident
Having had a mother with BPD, experiencing sexual abuse, rape, and psych abuse has been so challenging. I don't know how to trust in relationships. Being an adult and feeling unmet nurturing needs has been too. I long for the tenderness of a mom. Understanding. Being known and accepted for who I am. An older female figure has entered my life and our friendship flourished over the past couple years. I hold this whole world inside of me though, as I imagine hearing motherly things/responses from her and being hugged. We've hugged a couple times, briefly and awkwardly.

I feel accepted and have been a little more vulnerable then usual, but not too crazy. (INFJ here). I cling quietly to moments of kindness or displays of thoughtfulness. All this to say, I withhold when I'm really hurting for fear of rejection or no response. Instead, I reach out through a random text and then die a little inside (okay a lot) when the text goes unanswered for days. I feel like a burden, but even small connection, like sharing what we're making for dinner, makes me feel wanted/cared about. I don't think I want too much. I'm not looking to be cared for. But I certainly don't want to be ghosted for days if I am really in the pooper mentally. I also realize she is a person with her own life, concerns, and needs. Should I tell her what that communication means to me? That I feel accepted and it means a lot? Would I be being creepy? How often do you text your friends? What the f is normal?
 

Deanna

MyPTSD Pro
@Deanna What if I scare her away or deter her? I do like her. I want to cry thinking about it. It's hard to feel so tied up and unable to communicate for fear of rejection.
She won't reject you. Just be real easy in your actions. For me, I kind of get 'ticked-off' when a guy waits too long to make a move. When you wait too long then you go in the friend zone. That's just me though.
 

Overcoming

Confident
She won't reject you. Just be real easy in your actions. For me, I kind of get 'ticked-off' when a guy waits too long to make a move. When you wait too long then you go in the friend zone. That's just me though.
I do want to clarify that I see her as a mother figure not a gf, but it seems that similar rules apply.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
Are you in therapy? It sounds to me that
a) you are aware of your own limitation of relating to others appropriately or emotionally so that is a plus.
b) you are also aware of transferring a lost love of a mother to this woman and probably she may or is preventing or distancing cause no one wants that in real life (most people want to be wanted and understand as themselves not as means to something from the past of other people).
c) I wonder if you could entertain seeing things from her perspective (not so much emphatic level though that may help too) but more logical sense and understand she has as much rights as you do texting and not texting and accept that sincerely at self level not so much relational level. i.e. I text her. She does not text. both are right actions for two different people.

I also wonder if you behave similar to other people especially those with romantic possibilities and have challenges in connecting with them. I think IMHO, your self parts are strong and logical even emotional but your relational aspect of others is distorted to the point of making others to withdrew or move away consciously or unconsciously. It is like you are a soft blanket which is fine of its own but if you threw yourself on others not considering they do not want to be wet, then that causes issues. Perhaps this is a bad metaphor but can you accept you are different how you relate and this woman deserves same difference in how she relates to you and others and you focus more on accepting that rather than wanting, wishing, trying desperately to change her.
 

Elsewhere

Learning
I can understand where you’re coming from. I think it’s natural for those of us who missed out on decent parenting to continue to crave what we never got, even well into adulthood. I found myself urging to cling to certain elders in my life, but always having to stop and acknowledge to myself that I wasn’t their child, and that I couldn’t really expect much. In the worse of these cases, I was friends with the daughter of the woman in question, and the daughter seemed to take her mom for granted, whereas I was aching for a mother of my own, and would have been over the moon if I’d have gotten the same attention and concern her mother seemed to shower on her.

I always felt like an orphan. It was hard, and still is, to some degree. You‘re not alone.

I wonder if there are any programs that match older adults (perhaps who never never had kids) with younger adults who would like to have a parental figure in their lives—as a mutually sought/beneficial sort of thing. I know there’s an adopt-a-grandparent thing out there (but that’s for kids). I did a quick search and nothing caught my eye, but it might be worth investigating further.
 

Overcoming

Confident
Are you in therapy? It sounds to me that
a) you are aware of your own limitation of relating to others appropriately or emotionally so that is a plus.
b) you are also aware of transferring a lost love of a mother to this woman and probably she may or is preventing or distancing cause no one wants that in real life (most people want to be wanted and understand as themselves not as means to something from the past of other people).
c) I wonder if you could entertain seeing things from her perspective (not so much emphatic level though that may help too) but more logical sense and understand she has as much rights as you do texting and not texting and accept that sincerely at self level not so much relational level. i.e. I text her. She does not text. both are right actions for two different people.

I also wonder if you behave similar to other people especially those with romantic possibilities and have challenges in connecting with them. I think IMHO, your self parts are strong and logical even emotional but your relational aspect of others is distorted to the point of making others to withdrew or move away consciously or unconsciously. It is like you are a soft blanket which is fine of its own but if you threw yourself on others not considering they do not want to be wet, then that causes issues. Perhaps this is a bad metaphor but can you accept you are different how you relate and this woman deserves same difference in how she relates to you and others and you focus more on accepting that rather than wanting, wishing, trying desperately to change her.
I am in therapy. It's not about changing her. I want to process this myself and be healthier. Odds are, I'm not "over-texting" or anything, but I am hyper aware and fearful that my gage on that is off. I respect her right to how she interacts, responds, or doesn't respond to texts and keep in mind that she is a whole person with her own life. The question for me is, how safe is it for me to be vulnerable and let her know that I am thankful for her friendship and it has been healing for me? I don't want to freak her out, but at the same time, I also wonder if I'm overthinking or if in some ways she feels similarly. I definitely don't just take and it's a mutual give and take relationship. Often I undervalue myself though and feel like I don't have as much to offer.

I can understand where you’re coming from. I think it’s natural for those of us who missed out on decent parenting to continue to crave what we never got, even well into adulthood. I found myself urging to cling to certain elders in my life, but always having to stop and acknowledge to myself that I wasn’t their child, and that I couldn’t really expect much. In the worse of these cases, I was friends with the daughter of the woman in question, and the daughter seemed to take her mom for granted, whereas I was aching for a mother of my own, and would have been over the moon if I’d have gotten the same attention and concern her mother seemed to shower on her.

I always felt like an orphan. It was hard, and still is, to some degree. You‘re not alone.

I wonder if there are any programs that match older adults (perhaps who never never had kids) with younger adults who would like to have a parental figure in their lives—as a mutually sought/beneficial sort of thing. I know there’s an adopt-a-grandparent thing out there (but that’s for kids). I did a quick search and nothing caught my eye, but it might be worth investigating further.
It is funny that you say that. Throughout life I've had these figures/relationships. When I was younger, it didn't feel as odd, but if I'm honest, I did with them what I did with my mother. Seek to please all of the time. Earn kindness. Not be myself. Of those people, two were women who never had children. It gets so much stranger when you enter adulthood feeling like this. I am trying to eradicate this desire and meet it in myself. I don't want to be a burden to others.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
The question for me is, how safe is it for me to be vulnerable and let her know that I am thankful for her friendship and it has been healing for me? I don't want to freak her out, but at the same time, I also wonder if I'm overthinking or if in some ways she feels similarly. I definitely don't just take and it's a mutual give and take relationship. Often I undervalue myself though and feel like I don't have as much to offer.
IMHO, this struggle has absolutely nothing to do with her and it is something you can explore, role play, and process with your therapist because the underlying issue is feeling safe with your own feelings of others not specifically this friend. This friend issue is a symptom that is alerting you in this matter in your psychic so hopefully you have an outlet to process (obviously therapy is perfect place for it). A healthier way maybe (and obviously this is my opinion) probably come after you process your own thing so telling a friend that they are important to you and the relationship with them is so valuable and healing would not induce anxiety involving feelings of safe. I hope this makes sense. I honestly thing you are exploring but I can only give you my own feeling in reaction to you and of course my reaction being wrong can be another valid result.
 

Overcoming

Confident
IMHO, this struggle has absolutely nothing to do with her and it is something you can explore, role play, and process with your therapist because the underlying issue is feeling safe with your own feelings of others not specifically this friend. This friend issue is a symptom that is alerting you in this matter in your psychic so hopefully you have an outlet to process (obviously therapy is perfect place for it). A healthier way maybe (and obviously this is my opinion) probably come after you process your own thing so telling a friend that they are important to you and the relationship with them is so valuable and healing would not induce anxiety involving feelings of safe. I hope this makes sense. I honestly thing you are exploring but I can only give you my own feeling in reaction to you and of course my reaction being wrong can be another valid result.
@grit Thanks for hanging in for the discussion. It is actually reassuring. I have a hard time talking about these things out loud, although I do to some degree in therapy. I say, "some degree," because I always get to therapy and there are other things to address, I chicken out, or it doesn't feel as intense, because I'm sitting in a safe place.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
Completely with you here. I too struggled with a very unpredictable mum and father and I long for experienced, reasonable comments from people who have experience. I hanged out at friend’s houses a lot when a teenager as well and was trying to get crumbs of their advice to their children. I also found that generally old people seem more tolerant to behavioural shortcomings or clumsiness because they can see a broader picture. Everyone copes as they can.

Depending on the type of person, you might want to open up or not. I struggled a lot to tell my friends how much I loved them, and that always has lead to a form of distancing on their behalf. The friendship would typically escalate very fast and then stay stuck on a certain level of emotional involvement. I then convinced myself that they detested me or something, truth was that I was keeping them at an arm’s length and they progressively lost interest in the connection or simply had other things to do than waiting for me to get out of the bushes and forgot.

With you with the BPD issue, it is a very, very hard disorder to deal with. I hope both you and your mum are okay.

For your older friend, simply saying small little things that show how you value her will probably do it. I have scared a few people before by coming up with near-declarations of love, but almost of all of them responded very positively. I have more regrets for the people I never said anything.

Another thing. Some people, especially older ones, aren’t from the messaging culture and really don’t tend to answer messages unless they have a question in it. Some ways of wording things as too direct or too indirect actually make it difficult to answer anything. I suffer greatly of presenting things as if it was already resolved in some way and it leaves people confused as what to do about it or wait for you to actually be in an interaction and not something that has to do with yourself. That last part you look like you have already sorted, so all you have to do is to find the right words to express your feelings. Don’t be afraid to be affectionate in your expressions. There is nothing wrong in saying what you feel.

Even if it comes across as a bit clumsy, it’s okay. And you can have a discussion about it. The only thing I would be attentive to is to defuse the intensity as you don’t want anyone to feel responsible for your feelings.
 
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