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She's been estranged with other members of family, and begged me for 3 years to move her from her place in Florida and bring her to live with/ or nearby us on the West coast. The agreement was that she would be here for awhile then we'd find her her own place. Our house is just too small to accommodate all of her many needs and desires, plus have any privacy of our own. So we brought her to our home for a time so she could acclimate and have taken care of all of her needs, asking nothing of or from her, except to be happy. We've also made sure her finances are all in order which she was in the dark about, have taken her to the doctors and have done all we can to make her feel wanted, accepted and comfortable, She's 87, healthy except for high BP, but emotionally and mentally can be irrational and challenging and cognitively has beginning problems with maybe dementia. She's depressed, restless and easily overwhelmed by anything such as a change in schedule, having to go to an appt, and so on. Sometimes she gets angry about having to stay alone when we leave for work, or when we're not constantly interacting with her. Frustrated, she said she wanted to find a place of her own, so that's what we did - found her a place at an independent living. It took a few weeks, and toward the end nearing her move in, she changed her mind. (BTW, in Florida she lived in an independant living home which she detested). She then asked if we'd buy a bigger house where we could all live together and said she'd give a financial gift toward the purchase. I asked her to give the independent living a chance and be among peers and make connections, to help deal with her loneliness and depression and being in a new place, told her it would take time. At the same time we went about looking for a house that would fit all of our needs. The agreement was that she would contribute a certain amount and we'd finance the rest. We are in that phase now but she's made the process an awful up and down one - to the point that we've had to stop it 2 times. Her constant indecision and changing her mind and up and down moods, including being angry, sulking, etc., combined with her distrust is taking its toll.


I do not want to pursue the larger house idea anymore and feel sad and tired and used. The process has been exhausting. She can appear very normal and at times loving, looks younger than her years and manages to be convincing when she's talking to others in general conversation. I feel like all of this is taking a toll on both my husband and I. I'm sorry this is so long and I'm leaving out a lot of details, but had no other place to go with this. I feel manipulated by her and perhaps should have known better than to help her as much as I have...other people walked away from her, but I felt bad after my uncle died and she was all alone. Keeping in mind some good memories I had of her as a child, I made a decision to help her. Not sure what to do.

Do not buy a new house. Like said, her contribution will be looked at as a gift by Medicaid. Make an excuse that you found out its just not feasible. You have done what you can for her. I think eventually she will need long term care. Your responsibility to this woman is that she is safe and cared for. You have done enough. You have her out of your house, leave it that way. You cannot give up ur jobs for her and she "will" need more help than u can give.
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My extremely patient and saintly father was friends with a woman with BPD for many years before she passed away suddenly a few months ago. My impression was that while other people could hurt her (by losing their temper after not setting proper boundaries, reacting with the same anger she had, etc.), nothing other people could do could really make her happy.

Looking back, I'm glad I was always able to keep my temper in my interactions with her, remaining polite and respectful. I did this mainly by limiting contact with her during her visits to my father in our home and keeping my boundaries secure. I would always be emotionally exhausted after her visits and this was just with an unrelated, fairly functional person visiting and calling a few times a week!

Learning about BPD (websites like the Psychology Today website have tons of articles about the disorder) also helped me have compassion for her as a person suffering from a disorder and were helpful.

BUT the idea of sharing a living space with such a person or in any way becoming responsible for his or her happiness is completely unsupportable. Get this poor lady out of your home.
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GIAGIA Jun 11, 2019
Snoopylove, your father really does sound like he's a saint! You as well! Did his friend know she was a Borderline? My aunt has never had any kind of mental health work up and would refuse to do so if it came down to it. The good news is that today, meeting with her new doctor for a blood pressure follow up issue, resulted in him prescribing an additional low dose med to help with anxiety and depression - so he really took it seriously when I told him about her symptoms and I hope it has a positive effect on her mood states.
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Do not buy a house to accommodate her. A bigger house translates into bigger everything, bigger electric bills, bigger insurance costs, bigger taxes, bigger cleaning, etc.

If she ever needs Medicaid her gift to you could result in a penalty period for her.

You gave it a good shot, it didn't work. This was the original agreement before she moved, so no guilt. She is now cared for, safe, fed and that is all you can do for her. Happiness, contentment, joy, those things and the like are all up to her.

Visit and love her and then you can go home to the peace our homes should offer us.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Lymie61 Jun 11, 2019
Great advice but she needs to be living somewhere else before OP (original poster) can just visit. It's my understanding anyway that aunt is still living with poster and her husband in their current home.
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Borderline personality disorder is difficult even for clinicians to diagnose. One classic hallmark is that they always take a bit of the truth and distort it. The other is that they always leave you feeling very enraged
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GIAGIA Jun 11, 2019
Thank you Salutem, yes, that is exactly right. I am going to be taking her to the doctors today for a follow up appt as her BP is high and has been rising. Her social worker that use to visit with her weekly when she lived in Florida said not to mention the Borderline PD because doctors aren't readily open or understanding about anything they themselves don't know how to treat. BPD has a reputation of being 'untreatable' and with an elderly person maybe it's a moot point. Thank you once again for taking the time to respond.
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As is the situation for many people, it is your decision whether you keep your aunt living in your house. It is not her decision. It is often not a good idea to go for the ‘bigger house’ option, for both caring and financial reasons, and it’s good that you now say no to that. Give her a time limit to leave your house, and two options that you think would suit her – including the one that will happen if she doesn’t make a choice.

It is clear that what she wants is in fact the ‘normal’ one – ‘I live here with you, you stay home to keep me company and look after me. It’s up to you to make me happy.’ You shouldn’t agree to this, and nothing else is likely to suit her. You have to push the point, so don’t feel guilty about it.
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GIAGIA Jun 11, 2019
Hi Margeret,
Thank you for your insightful response. I'm coming to the conclusion that no matter where she is or what the environment is, even at it's most optimum -- it won't make a difference. Being involved and responsive, loved and cared for doesn't translate or change a thing in her world. It's never what she wants, and then, it's always something different she think she wants. She's now, living at another independent living and we've made efforts to find the "larger house" but it's clear, that will not make a difference and the mental up and down nature of her emotional states in the finality of things has already begun to take a toll on the relationship. As long as she is safe and well cared for in where she is now, I think that's what is going to have to be the only end goal.
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