Adult Children of Borderline & Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Experiential group

PLEASE NOTE: There will be an online version of this group starting in March, with initial introductory meetings in February. See below for further details

“Sally” is an ordinary woman…on the surface.

She presents herself well, and if you didn’t know better, you’d think she was confident and capable.  Underneath, though, she’s filled with self-doubt. She bites her tongue to keep from showing others what she feels…because she knows they’d just ridicule her, or make it about them instead. She’s wary of the first sign of distress in someone else, because it just might end up in them exploding in a fit of rage. She’s terrified of conflict, because she’ll just end up being attacked, being wrong.

The worst thing is, though, that she doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t even know that it’s ok to answer that question, or live in accordance with her own needs and values.

Sally is a woman walking on eggshells!

Impact of being raised by someone with Borderline or Narcissistic PD

Having a parent with Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD, or with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD, isn’t always easy to identify. Particularly if you’re the child of one. You long ago learned to agree completely, in order to maintain the peace, because those with the illness and no willingness to change (why should they, it’s everyone else’s fault!) experience disagreement as rejection. In their world, the other is all-good, or all-bad. Anyone in their lives can tell you, they’re never quite sure when the switch gets flipped, and suddenly the exciting flow of attention and admiration gets cut off, leaving you cold and alone, prey to the hostility that follows.

If you’re someone raised by a parent or other caregiver with BPD or NPD, you might well be convinced that they are right. As you look around, you feel how foreign you are from others who aren’t constantly second-guessing themselves, who are at ease with being less-than-perfect, and comfortable in relationships where they can let themselves be themselves. Your shame might even convince you not to talk about it because of course no one will understand.

Except for others raised by those with BPD/NPD.

What this group is like

Imagine getting together in a group, debunking the lies you learned about your selves and the world. Sharing the risk of removing the mask you’ve built, and instead recognizing that not only are those around you more wonderful as their authentic selves…so are you. Stepping out of the old “normal” into a new one, where mistakes are made, and repaired; distress seen with compassion and given comfort; conflict is practiced with ever-increasing confidence, no longer about attack and defend but about emerging understanding, honesty and mutual care.

This is what “imperfect” looks like!

I began this group in 2018, not knowing if it would be truly helpful. Three groups–“generations,” I call them–have trusted me to lead them through a process I developed after years of working with individual clients struggling just as my composite “Sally”. We’ve addressed the issues of how securely (or not) we connect to others, our boundaries (or lack thereof), and our capacity to get and stay connected to ourselves while reaching out for others. We address perfectionism and sibling and other close relationships, and how (or if) to forgive our parents. Somatically based, people are encouraged to get and stay in their bodies, supporting a healthier nervous system. Each group is structured, with an exercise to go with each topic, and some room at the end for processing. Each module is 6 months of 2 hours one time per month, and the fee is a sliding scale of $40-60 per group. I must meet with potential members prior to admission to the group, and hold free initial discussions 3 times a year to see if the group would serve your needs. The group, once set at a maximum of 7 members, becomes closed after the first session, and therefore requires a commitment.

“It turned out to be one of the most healing acts of self care I had ever experienced!..to be surrounded by a rainbow of people so different than you and talk about such strikingly similar experiences. It was nourishing, eye opening and therapeutic.” -RQ, father with NPD

“Though I thought I knew a lot about the borderline environment, there were many aspects of my experience that I did not relate to (my upbringing) until I saw in our group all the heads nodding in understanding or the outbursts of shared laughter as identification with whatever was being discussed. It was most eye-opening to see the kind of things that we all shared–that was very personally reassuring, especially given that a key component of the borderline upbringing is the crazy-making aspects that make you doubt your own perceptions.” –SB, mother with BPD

If you can’t make it, but recognize that you’re experiencing the impact such a parent can have, I urge you to reach out. Sadly, it’s estimated that 2% of the population, many of whom are raising children, suffer from this illness…and without help and support, the damage perpetuates. Let’s make it end here!

The Online Version

For a long time, I resisted transforming this group into an online group, while we await the end of the pandemic. However, so many people have reached out to me, needing to unpack the damage of their personality-disordered parents, that I’ve determined to give this a try. There are experiential elements of the in-person group I won’t be able to replicate: a push-hands exercise here, an eye exercise there, an art exercise that will need to be revised, a boundary exercise that will need to be replaced with another. If you feel you need this kind of contact, I urge you to wait until in-person groups once again get the all-clear, which will be Autumn of 2021 at the earliest. However, if the remaining benefits of the online group, in which most of the experiences and education are intact, as well as the processing at the end of each group, feel free to contact me with your interest, and I’ll be happy to bring you into the free discussion!

Dates for next group

Next free discussions: Via Zoom. Thursday, February 4, 2021, 10-11:30 am MST, Tuesday, February 9, 2021, 5:30-7 TUESDAY FULL, Tuesday, February 23, 5:30-7

Psychoeducation and Experiential Group starting first week in March, 2021, meeting biweekly, maximum of seven: must attend one of the two discussions above previously. If there is enough interest, there will be both a morning and an evening group; if not, either one or the other depending on the needs of the majority.

Process Group: for those who have completed the first module: Either Tuesday or Wednesday evening, 6 pm, TBD (also see FaceBook Group)

15 thoughts on “Adult Children of Borderline & Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Experiential group

  1. I would love to be considered for this group please contact me. I will be beginning grad school for counseling this summer. I believe my mother fits this description.

    1. Hi, Jen! Would love to talk with you more about this group. The current group is full, but will be opening up to new members in a few months. Feel free to call me and set up a time for us to get together and explore this option further! 303-459-4776

  2. Inga
    Would like to join this group. Looks like I missed the deadline for parents with Borderline or Narcissitic Personalities. Think dad was probably Narcissitic. Not sure if mom was Borderline. Not sure which gourp would fit best.
    Leave it up to your judgement. Will see you the 30th.

  3. Interested in adult child of a narcisstist group. Hope there will be one in September, 2020. Thank you.

    1. Hello, and thank you for your interest. Unfortunately, due to Covid, all members of any group would need to be masked and at a distance of 6′ from each other for the entirety of every 2 hour group. Because the group is attachment- and experience-oriented, I’m not confident that this would work. In all likelihood, I’ll delay the group until the Denver area sees a significant drop in infection rates, and we’re not there yet. I’ll post updates as things progress.

    2. Hope, I now have an online version of the group. If you’re still interested, please use the contact page to let me know, and I’ll set you up with one of the free initial discussions.

  4. Hello Inga,
    I’m very grateful for everything I’ve read on your website. I would like to be part of this group. I live in France and would like to know if there is a possibility for joining this group online.
    Thank you very much,
    Tanya

    1. Hello, Tanya, and thank you for your interest. I’ve been getting quite a few queries on doing this group online, mainly due to CoVid, and am reconfiguring my approach as a result of this interest. I might have an online version by the end of February, and will let you know. Peace.

      1. Tanya, I now have an online version of the group. If you’re still interested, please use the contact page to let me know, and I’ll set you up with one of the free initial discussions.

    2. Tanya, I now have an online version of the group. If you’re still interested, please use the contact page to let me know, and I’ll set you up with one of the free initial discussions.

  5. Hi, I would love to discover whether I would be a good fit for your groups. A friend sent me an email last night that works with you. We are in a confidence mastermind program and she has heard several of my stories that demonstrate how deeply my 60 year expereince has been damaged by being punished and pushed down my entire childhood from bullies to aggressive, alcoholic, emotional and physical abuse, etc. Would love to chat if one of your slots is open. I can come across very confident on the outside, but I am working on decluttering the mess on the inside. Thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing from you

  6. Hi Ingra, my name is Carolina and I grew up with my grandmother. Never feeling enough and always pleasing her to feel loved and special. Until now as a young adult discovering that she has NPD. It is refreshing to hear others have gone through similar experiences as me as well. Although painful, its nice to know that your not alone and the only person that has gone through it. After being with her for a decade. I am glad to find your website.

    1. Thank you, Carolina. This is such an important topic, around a significant wounding. Simply hearing that you’re not alone, and that others have been damaged by a Narcissistic caregiver, and have been able to heal, is powerful. I’d be happy to provide you support in the way of a reading list, or, if you’re interested, in involvement in a future online group. You might also read some of the articles I’ve written specifically for those with Borderline or Narcissistic caregivers, in the articles section. Peace.

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