New here, hoping to find good advice

Hi All,

I’m one of several who are caring for my cousin. She has Emotionally Unstable Borderline Personality Disorder. The worst of it is, is that she uses alcohol to try to numb the mental pain, and this always results in massive blowouts. She actually stayed off the booze for a couple of years, and all was really good, but we all feel as though we are now back to square one!

She is married with a 2 year old, and Social Services are now getting involved as she has drank when in charge of the little one on her own (when her husband has been at work). The rest of us (her parents and my Mum) live almost 2 hours away, so not as easily on hand as would be preferred. My uncle and I are currently taking it in turns to either stay at her place during the week, or bringing her to stay with us (her Mum is currently so low with it all, that my Mum and I have been having her and the little one stay with us to allow my Aunt to have a break). It is absolutely exhausting for us all at the moment, especially as she is so reluctant to come and stay with us in the week, where we can share the load.

Her husband looks broken at the moment, and is also struggling not to take her outbursts personally. The rest of the family have been dealing with this a lot longer, so are now more able to deal with that side of things. Her husband absolutely adores her, but is really not coping at the minute. For obvious reasons (namely the safety of their daughter), he does not want her alone in their home while he is at work, and would prefer that she stayed with us then. My cousin feels as though nobody wants her (typical BPD rejection paranoia), and feels like a naughty child being sent back to her parents. While I sympathise with this, we have to be realistic in that she is not safe enough to be caring for a 2 year old on her own. The constant battle of wills is simply draining.

Her parents are not young enough to be dealing with this (69 & 70) any more, my Mum is 72 and, although I am only in my mid 40’s, I have significant health issues myself.

I have suggested to her that we ask her GP to give her Naltrexone injections (or something similar) to prevent her from feeling any effects from alcohol. My thinking is that, if she no longer gets the desired effect from drinking, then it will negate the need for her to buy and drink alcohol. She is not currently at the alcoholic stage, but I know people with BPD are at significant risk of addiction, and also that when this happens they are clasified as Dual Diagnosis and a lot more difficult to treat (almost impossible apparently!). She is due to start seeing a private therapist next month as the NHS waiting times are simply mad! However, I do not believe that only having therapy once per week is going to be enough, and that she needs something else - more along the lines of drop in (when she feels things are building). My search continues!

Anyone out there who is caring for someone with BPD, especially if alcohol is involved, I would love to hear from you so we can perhaps learn from each other

She’s certainly got everyone running round her!

I don’t know what to say that could help.
Ultimately I do feel that she is her husband’s responsibility and she cannot expect so many people to disrupt their lives so much long term.

You’re certainly right in that respect! There is simply no way we can all keep doing this in the long term, and we definitely wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for their 2 year old daughter. Of course, nothing we suggest to her is either viable or acceptable in her eyes - just getting her to stay here for a few days is a real challenge. It was suggested to her that they should consider relocating closer to us, saying as it is them (as a family) who require the support of extended family, but that was not taken well. She claims that she associates her home area with bad memories! However, even when we point out that both of her parents’ health (emotional and physical) is suffering from the constant to-ing & fro-ing, and also that they are certainly not getting any younger, she does not accept that a compromise is needed.

I honestly don’t know what will happen, but we can’t keep doing things as we are.

I think it’s time for Social Services to be much more proactive. THEY should be ensuring that her daughter is getting the care that she needs, The practical solution at the moment would be for her to attend day nursery, taken there and back by someone arranged by Social Services.
An alternative would be her going to a local foster mother, so that the little girl had a stable up bringing with mum and dad seeing a lot of her. I’ve known quite a few foster mums, all lovely people.
Whilst mum is in denial, she won’t agree to anything of course, it’s up to dad to man up and take a good decision for his daughter.

Maybe get rid of all the wine? Is she open to the idea of rehab or not?

How was she when she was pregnant, better? Off Alcohol?

I’m just wondering if there is an element of post natal depression in all this?

Oh, believe me - we’ve tried, but she always manages to buy more!!! Her husband even took her bank card, but she had memorised all of the details of it and used her iPhone to pay! She wouldn’t qualify for rehab on NHS (not an alcoholic - YET, she is classified as a binge drinker).

Does she have a hobby or not? This is a list of hobbies List of hobbies - Wikipedia

She was great when she was pregnant, and in the 6 months or possibly up to 9 or 10 months before she was pregnant. In fact, she’s must have been pretty much off the booze altogether for a couple of years! We did have some major problems for a couple of years or before the drinking stopped, exactly the same as now, but only without a baby to worry about. She gave birth 6 weeks prematurely, but recovered really well. Again, she was well and happy for best part of a year after giving birth. We all actually thought that the binge drinking had finally stopped, things were so good for so long!

Things have been really rocky again now for over a year. I think the little one was about 9-10 months old when we had a few episodes, but it’s been a lot more frequent and serious since little one was about 14 months (she’s now 27 months) - so just over a year!

Currently not. She’s recently said she wouldn’t mind getting started on some kind of sewing project - here’s hoping :exclamation:

You can find craft magazines in the shops. There are also craft projects online or you can borrow books at your local library.

Thanks for that suggestion, it’s just reminded me of something. I know there is an Advent calendar sewing kit she’s been wanting to do, so will get her hubby to get it for her (he is trying to reduce the amount of cash she has access to - with her consent - so she is less able to buy alcohol). I would get it for her, but as, when she is with me, I am already buying her cigs and anything she needs for the baby, I simply can’t afford to get anything extra. She also mentioned to me that she can’t concentrate on reading (which she has always loved), so I have recently downloaded 8 audiobooks for her, and I gave her those on an iDisk so she can play them on her phone.

She told me she would organise a GP appointment for this week to discuss the possibilities of getting the Naltrexone injections - which would prevent her from feeling the effects of any alcohol consumed. For me, this is going to be the real test to see if she actually wants to do something to try to take control of this. She used to blame specific things for triggering her to drink, however, she stayed overnight at my house on Wednesday night and went to get her nails done on Thursday at her favourite nail bar. Everything was calm and good humoured - no triggers of any kind she has previously described, yet when she told her husband how much money she needed for her nails, she deliberately lied saying she needed nappies and wipes (I had literally just bought these a couple of hours previously), and spent this on a bottle of wine which she consumed by going to the loo at every stop on the bus ride home with her father later that day. It demonstrated premeditation to get drunk by the time she was back home with her husband.

Needless to say, all hell broke loose not long after her father got her home. It is as if she wants to be in that state to inflict more harm on her husband, who is literally on the brink of a breakdown himself with this cycle of madness and aggression. She could not possibly have more support than she has - the whole family are putting in everything we have. For me, if she either changes her mind and refuses to arrange the GP appointment, or, if at the appointment the GP agrees the Naltroxone (or something similar) is suitable and worth a try but she decides not to have it, I am finished! I am prepared to turn my back on her completely, although I will still be there to offer emotional support for her husband and her parents, and will also offer her husband to look after the baby through the week so he knows she is safe. If I turn my back on her, it means I will no longer turn up to help in a crisis (I am one of only 4 people who can calm her down in a crisis and when drunk, and the others are working full time so not on hand as I am); I will also stop looking for solutions to help - which has already taken me considerable time and effort.

Sadly, I know that if I withdraw my support, I know others will follow, as her parents and husband are already close to doing so themselves and are only just managing to keep going. I hope it doesn’t come to this, but if it does it may be the shock she needs to sort herself out.

I’m heading back over there in an hour or so, and will be staying with her and her hubby this weekend, then she and the little one are with me until Wednesday while I visit my sister. Hopefully, it will be an uneventful week!