Click HERE to Take the Free Emotional Abuse Quiz!

When You’re the Mom of a Child with Borderline Personality Disorder

When You’re the Mom of a Child with Borderline Personality Disorder

This is the second of a series of articles where I hope to tell my own story of getting away from emotional and spiritual abuse using Sara’s songs as my backdrop (check out the Spotify playlist for women healing from abuse). Through her music, Sara Bareilles held my hand and walked me all the way through.

When You’re the Mom of a Child with Borderline Personality Disorder

Someone Who Loves You From the Ground

Have you ever loved someone you can’t reach? Someone who hurts you and pushes you away, but you know they desperately need your love?

Sometimes we have to love them from the ground.

I can’t read the words of this song or hear this song without feeling a howl of grief fill every cell of my body.

Sara, why do you have to break me to pieces?

Satellite Call

This one’s for the lonely child
Broken hearted
Running wild
This was written for the one to blame
For the one who believes they are the cause of chaos in everything

You may find yourself in the dead of night
Lost somewhere out there in the great big beautiful sky
We’re all just perfect little satellites
Spinning round and round this broken earthly life

This is so you know the sound
Of someone who loves you from the ground
Tonight you’re not alone at all
This is me sending out my satellite call

This is so you’ll know the sound
Of someone who loves you
From the ground
Tonight you’re not alone at all
This is me sending out my
Satellite call

Source: LyricFind Songwriters: Sara Bareilles
Satellite Call lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Chaos in Everything

The screaming was piercing and relentless, lasting for hour after hellish hour. On an almost daily basis. For years. And years.

And more years.

Along with the screaming came hitting, kicking, biting, and scratching. I have pictures of broken walls, doors, and chairs.

Call me naive, but I was completely unaware that this kind of behavior existed in the world. It was the most jarring-to-the-senses experience I could imagine. And it never stopped.

As a child, I wasn’t allowed to cry out loud. It was “rude and rebellious,” and there were consequences if I broke that rule. I still did it – but I tried my darndest to muffle my cries in my pillow.

Not this child. There was no muffling going on here. Not that I didn’t try my mom’s parenting techniques. I did.

They didn’t work.

It wasn’t like I was a new mom. Or a bad mom. I was a pretty normal mom, and I had a bunch of other garden-variety children with varying degrees of normal kid-style cooperation.

But I couldn’t crack the code on this one.

Birth of a Beautiful Satellite

On the day of her birth I enjoyed watching a spectacular sunrise from my hospital bed, and I felt that all was right with the world. I loved babies. We had just moved into a new home the week before, and it felt like a new beginning for our marriage which had been limping along for 11 years.

She was tiny. Only six pounds, six ounces. I had been stressed during my pregnancy due to the move and all the drama of our marriage. Her low birth weight was a consequence.

She was tiny, but she was strong. Like, CRAZY strong. I took her to a photographer, hoping to get a picture of her all curled up in that newborn position against a black backdrop.

At one-week-old she arched her back and refused to hold still, her spindled arms and legs pushing against the world with a will that was unsettling. I remember thinking something was very different about this baby. She was her own person, and nothing was going to stop her from doing what she wanted to do, when she wanted to do it.

She was always a little slip of a girl. Her babyhood was uneventful. I nursed her the longest of any of my other babies – until she was about 15 months old. She was a happy baby who ate well and slept well.

When she was one-year-old, she got Scarlet fever and had a lengthy febrile seizure. I thought she had died in my arms. She was blue and lifeless. But by the time the ambulance arrived, she was pinking up and moving slightly.

I’ve always wondered if something shifted in her little body at that point in time.

Running Wild

She entered into her toddler years and gave new meaning to “The Terrible Twos.” I had been through this four times before. It was TOTALLY going to be okay. We just had to get through it.

I knew nothing about child psychology or development other than what I learned from Growing Kids God’s Way by the Ezzos. And spanking was involved. It felt normal to me because I had been raised the same way, and it “worked” for my four oldest kids.

If I had stopped at four kids, I would be an arrogant, judgmental asshole today.

But I didn’t. And I’ve eaten copious amounts of humble pie.

We were a homeschooling family, and back in the day (maybe it’s still a thing today?) homeschoolers were programmed to be terrified by the thought of the government stealing our kids and our freedoms away.

If I had known that child protective services regularly allows fathers to abuse their kids and calls it “bad parenting,” I could have spared myself all the extra stress.

Rabbit Trail (No, this isn’t in the song.)

My friends, the government doesn’t want your kids. Even when you WANT them to take a couple of them off your hands for a while. They literally have no place to put them.

Spinning Round and Round This Broken Earthly Life

Anyway, in my fear of losing the kids to the evil government – and in my belief that if I could just find the right method to help my daughter, all would eventually turn around, and there could be peace on earth – I failed to get the help she needed when she was little.

I could do this on my own, by the grace of God!

But by the time she hit her early elementary years, I could not do it anymore. Homeschooling was a hopeless cause. I had to figure out something else, and that meant leaving my cult cocoon and going out into the wicked world to get outside help.

It was around this same time that I began to realize I wasn’t going to survive being in my marriage the way it was. I was hitting my head against a wall – sometimes literally – on two important fronts with two people I loved with all my heart. It wasn’t sustainable.

But even so, I doubled down. Did I have a choice? I didn’t think so.

I often wondered if dying would be better than living like this. The stress was astronomical. Deafening. It felt like I would be crushed alive under the weight of it.

And the screaming. Oh. The screaming.

I felt guilty. I must have done something wrong. Maybe I broke her.

Tonight You’re Not Alone At All

When I found out my youngest had Autism, I began to learn a bunch of new things about child development, and this was the motivation I needed to let go of my fears and get that outside help we desperately needed. (What was worse than the hell I was living in? When you get to that point, your fear shifts a bit in a different direction.)

I took her to a place that offered education and help for special needs kids, and she was evaluated for various mental health issues. After being diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ADHD, and a few other things, she began weekly treatment. After her treatment, she and I would go out for lunch and talk. Those were the little breaks in the hurricane where I could see a bit of sunshine and hold onto hope that maybe things could be better one day.

I begged God to make them better. I wanted to love her well. I wanted to reach her and connect with her heart.

I didn’t want to be scared of her anymore.

Things didn’t get better.

Unable to homeschool under those conditions, I focused on my son’s in home ABA therapy and put my kids in a small private school paid for with money I earned making and selling soap.

The relief I had during the day when she was at school was incredible. I could breathe. I could think. I could relax.

I dreaded the summers. I held my breath every hour of every summer day. By this time my husband had moved out, and I was single parenting except when he would come and get them for an overnight on the weekend. I spent hours locked in my bathroom or in a room downstairs with my heart leaping out of my chest as she banged and bashed the door, often getting in somehow to grab my body and rage in my face.

I still can’t think about that time without feeling nauseous. I was later diagnosed with C-PTSD.

My other kids were all suffering in the same way. They were getting bit, hit, kicked, and scratched as well.

It felt like a bottomless pit of dark hopelessness. I couldn’t get help from my church because they thought I was a wicked wife who had abandoned her hard working husband and left him to rot in a camper.

That was the story.

But while the stories swirled, I took our child to two different psychologists, and she was put on all kinds of different medications. I took her to weekly therapy. And after a few years of stumbling forward, I was able to get her into a day treatment center for troubled teens. She was younger than everyone else, but she seemed to thrive there.

She was there longer than most kids, but eventually she was released and put back into the small private neighborhood school.

By this time I had been divorced, excommunicated from my church, and remarried. Tom was the voice of sanity in my totally insane cult-like life. We moved into his home and began a new life.

We’re All Just Perfect Little Satellites

So many parts of our new life were healing and full of peace. Nobody was telling us we were making things up in our heads. Nobody was telling us were were rebellious worms deserving of hellfire. All those voices had been eliminated, and the silence was incredible.

I could hear the voice of Jesus again.

But I could also hear my daughter. She was getting bigger, stronger, and more violent. She was doing more dangerous activities and engaging in risky behavior that put her life in danger.

We were calling the police regularly. I knew some of them on a first name basis. She had been taken to the hospital one night which opened up the door for us to get her help through the county. Shortly after that she was arrested for bruising my arm.

One morning I will never forget. She had been terrorizing me for a couple of hours, and I was locked in my bathroom in my bathrobe sobbing (my husband was at work). I was rocking and shaking and totally out of my mind while she relentlessly screamed and banged on the door. Eventually I screamed out, “I JUST WANT TO KILL MYSELF!!!!”

I don’t know why. I guess because in that insane moment, all I wanted was relief. I just wanted to be gone from that place. I just wanted the screaming to stop. The years and years of screaming. Please, dear God. Please make it stop.

And maybe I thought if I said that, she might stop.

She did.

Silence. Relief.

I stopped crying and waited, still shaking with anxiety and fear. After a while I got up and looked in the mirror at my swollen face.

And suddenly it hit me. She called the police.

She did. They came. They knocked on the door of my bathroom and asked if I was okay. I let them in and began crying uncontrollably. I told them what happened and that I was so sorry to bother them again – and that I had no idea she would actually call the police.

I felt so stupid. What was my problem? I’m a 50-year-old woman in the fetal position over a screaming teenager? I hated myself.

They listened, they believed me, and they told me they see this a lot, actually.

I wasn’t weird or crazy.

She had a full psych work-up and was diagnosed with emerging BPD.

And so it went, until one night she begged to leave, and I told her she could. I couldn’t do it anymore, and I thought she would just go to a friend’s house. She had done that before. My brain was shutting down. The four younger kids lived their lives hiding behind locked doors. They couldn’t sleep at night because she would spend hours screaming outside our doors until after midnight.

So I told her she could leave. I even told her I wanted her to leave. And she left.

That night I made a decision.

When she came home in the morning we told her to pack her things. I decided to take her to her dad’s house to live. I let him know that unless we could get in-home therapy, she would not be able to live with me anymore.

I loved my daughter with all my heart. But I loved my other kids too. I had started to realize that all my thought, my time, my emotional energy, my creativity, my physical presence – all of it – was going to one child.

Four other younger children desperately needed me now, and I needed them.

Of course my ex husband made this mean that I had abandoned my child and was a hateful, uninvolved wretch of a woman. And at first, the two of them colluded with one another in the story they created to alleviate their own personal shame and pain.

While I got therapy.

My ex cut off mental health services through the county for our daughter.

And I had to let go.

Let.

Go.

I had to let go

of that

beautiful

satellite.

It’s been several years now since the day she moved out. She graduated with honors, got a job, and moved into her own apartment. She may always struggle with her mental health, but she is more self-aware and intentional about her own healing journey. We will never live in the same space together again, and because that boundary is in place, we have a good relationship with minor bumps here and there. I love her with all my heart and have total belief in her potential to change the world in a powerful way.

This is so you’ll know the sound
Of someone who loves you
From the ground
Tonight you’re not alone at all
This is me sending out my
Satellite call

For all the mothers who never stop loving, even when it hurts like hell.

Fly Free,

Natalie

Flying Free Sisterhood

An online coaching, education, and support community for women of faith in destructive relationships.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Comments

  • Avatar
    Kim Weiler
    December 22, 2022

    I’m not sure exactly how I came upon your post…while I am in Flying Free…this post showed up somewhere beyond my Inbox….I am out of state….visiting Family for the holidays….

    Thank You! for your vulnerability….your honesty….I have no idea how you did this with nine children…..I had One child with severe ADAD….and learning issues….a second son, and an Ex…..that seemed very Narcissistic to me….I left eventually….I wish I had been more attentive to my second son as sometimes it’s the kids who seem to be great…..that have so many underlying needs you didn’t see…

  • Avatar
    Anonymous
    December 20, 2022

    I think you might be one of the first people to acknowledge you can have C-PTSD from raising a difficult child. All those years of trying so hard and failing harder, and my ex-husband blamed me for my adopted son’s behaviour. I still struggle to stop hearing his voice of blame in my head. And yes, fear of “the system” stopped me from getting help sooner. My son was eventually diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, NPD traits, and I now think RAD was part of the equation.
    I removed him from my home when he was 16 to protect my younger daughters and myself. We had already escaped my abusive pedophile ex-husband and no one could even begin to heal or function with my son and his behaviour in the home. I haven’t seen him in 3 years now. The only thing I’ve heard from him in 3 years have been threats and insults from new phone numbers he’d get when I blocked the old ones. Healing our relationship isn’t a possibility right now. No one had any reserves left, we need to find healing apart from each other. The peace after he left was startling, and only then did I begin to realize the toll it took to live in constant stress and fear for so many years. (What a relief it was to not have to lock my bedroom door at night, to not have to lock up my purse, laptop, keys, etc, and to no longer have to make sure he was never alone with my daughters, or to wonder what he would destroy next in a fit of rage.) I wanted to contact him and take him out for lunch on his 18th birthday, but every time I thought about it I felt sick to my stomach and tensed up all over at the thought of seeing him, so I listened to my body and didn’t.
    Your story resonates so much. Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share it so we don’t feel crazy. (For adoptive/foster parents, I recommend reading “Dancing With A Porcupine,” by Jennie Owen’s. I bawled all the through it, I finally felt seen.)

    • Natalie Hoffman
      Natalie Hoffman
      → Anonymous
      December 20, 2022

      I’m so sorry. It’s absolutely heartbreaking, and you’re right. It’s not something anyone talks about. So much shame and pain attached to the whole thing. Thank you for the book recommendation. Just the title alone says it all. I just bought it and can’t wait to dig in.

    • Avatar
      Venice Liston
      → Anonymous
      December 22, 2022

      God Bless you for sharing i have had the same experience with my son he is now 41 he has not changed much we had to do a restraining order a few years back it is now not in effect . My story is too long but i can so relate and we did try to help him all his life with very little success .. He is now alone in a motel this is how he lives his life everyday now him and his dog ..and he trying to become transgender.

      • Avatar
        Nikki
        → Venice Liston
        December 25, 2022

        Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am almost 50. Living with a narcissist. Who refuses to leave. I have 8 children. My oldest 29 and my youngest 6. I just started your book , and as hard as it was getting through the fist chapter…I did it. With feelings of uneasiness and even sick to my stomach. Finally!!! I realize what I am living. I felt so lost and alone, confused , guilty and constantly wondering what I am doing wrong
        But now even after the first chapter, i realize i am emotionallyabused. Never once did i consider myself a victum .I will finish that book.
        In all of this I have a 17 year old daughter, just recently diagnosed with BPD. And a 6 year old with ADHD and ODD as well as sensory issues. The screaming.. how to stop the screaming??!!!
        Reading this resinated in me. I am not alone. Specially being afraid of the system.
        I feel as if you know exactly who I am. And I am grateful to God that by reading one article sent to me by a friend, in just 2 days.. i found you and your book and articles. I’m finally starting to feel that their is a way to begin to maybe find myself again. After almost 30 years of being with this loud angry man.I feel their is hope.
        So thank you for sharing and doing what you do.

  • Avatar
    Judi
    December 20, 2022

    Oh Natalie….I’m so sorry. While I’ve been thru something similar, it wasn’t near as extreme as your situation. When my oldest son was 8, we started to REALLY clash. He was so strong willed and defiant. He’d manipulate and fight with his siblings. I felt so alone in my parenting, as he didn’t behave this way with his dad. As long as he got what he wanted, he was tolerable. When I left his dad, things got WAY worse. I almost called the police on him a few times, but knew I’d lose him forever if I did. He was 15 when I gave in, and said he didn’t have to come stay with me anymore. He got his license and his dad gave him free reigns. He’s now 18, an alcoholic, and hardly speaks to me. Of all the heartbreak I’ve been through in my life, he is the one that can hurt me the most. He lives recklessly and I fear for him every day. I blame myself for not knowing how to raise this child. I took him to counseling after the divorce, but he just manipulated the counselor. (She even admitted he probably was!) I understand this pain all too well. My other kids tell me it’s not my fault, but I’m his Mom!! If only I did things differently with him… He is a very sensitive soul, with a rock-hard attitude. And I love him with everything I am.

    • Natalie Hoffman
      Natalie Hoffman
      → Judi
      December 20, 2022

      I’m so sorry. The story isn’t over. God is the God of all the little satellites too. He is bigger than all of this, and He sees and loves both you and your son. We can hang on to that. ❤️

      • Avatar
        Elizabeth
        → Natalie Hoffman
        December 20, 2022

        I married a borderline personality disorder, ADD, OCD, ADHD man before anyone knew what any of that was, and for 44 years tried my best to deal with it. In sickness and in health right? God released me from this life in Egypt. God loves me too!

  • Avatar
    Mary Hart-Johnson
    August 31, 2021

    Natalie! You are sooooo strong. I cannot believe you went through this and survived. This would kill an army of men. God has really anointed you with incredible strength. I know you don’t feel it but you are sooooo amazingly strong. Thank you for everything you do. You are a true heroine as someone else said for such a time as this. And it keeps sticking in my mind about that fever she had too. This sounds like brain trauma almost. Like those football players who have violent tendencies after too many concussions. Who knows but wow. Thank you for your amazing courage lady.

    • Natalie Hoffman
      Natalie Hoffman
      → Mary Hart-Johnson
      August 31, 2021

      Thank you. ❤️

      • Avatar
        Hannah
        → Natalie Hoffman
        December 21, 2022

        My heart is breaking. What a brave mother. Thank you so much for having the courage to share your story.

  • Avatar
    Connie
    July 17, 2020

    I had a similar story with my youngest son, but happily I discovered he was allergic to dairy and it all changed. He is now 25 and fine. Who knew that could cause such rage and violence? If he accidentally ate dairy I could dump a digestive enzyme pill in his mouth and it would be over in a few minutes. Autism and digestive issues often go hand in hand. He couldn’t even talk, but he’d start screaming and kicking and then point to the enzyme pill bottle. It was awful for him, too.
    We home educated 10 children, 3 adopted from Haiti. They were also very difficult as they came to us at age 8 (the orphanage pastor said they were 3, and were small because of starvation). They had been promised that in Canada you could have what you wanted, take things in stores, and eat only Coca Cola and potato chips. So, they hated us for disciplining them and not giving them TV, candy, and Coca Cola and potato chips. They were destructive, loud, mean, and lied all the time. Not their fault, but it was awful. After 6 years they got CPS to take them. CPS tried to take all the children (youngest was 2) and our 11-year-old talked them out of it. They are now in their 40s and doing well, though one won’t talk to us still.

  • Avatar
    Shalom
    July 17, 2020

    Oh my gosh Natalie. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m in the flying free group and asked you a question about my teenage daughter and you told me a bit about your daughter. I was curious to know more. Hearing what you went through, all you tried to do to help her and love her, beating yourself up for “breaking” her – I can so relate. Thank you for allowing this look into your struggles and triumphs. Your vulnerability and honesty gives me inspiration to trust God and keep pressing on. One. Day. At. A. Time!

  • Avatar
    Anonymous
    July 17, 2020

    Natalie how have you survived…. love, prayers & gratitude for you in sharing your story and the advocate you are.
    You have literally just been an answer to my prayers from the other side of the world.
    I have an 18 yo who has just been referred to the autism centre for assessment. I was literally on the floor in the spare room crying out to God for help cause this has been a real long road and some days I just can’t do it anymore. I went to google help for parents of autistic children a couple of hrs ago just as your post appeared
    She is high functioning and my first born so I didn’t know what I was dealing with for a long time. I don’t have quite so much of the violence but the melt downs, the verbal aggression and abusive, irrational words can last for hours are constant and completely exhausting.
    Thank you for making me feel not so alone. There is so much I can relate to. The isolation, the exhaustion, not being able to think straight, the wanting to curl up and die – literally. The moments of connection that disappear again. To love someone whose behaviours towards you are difficult. The judgement, church people feel the worst – the focus on behaviour and social circles puts us on the outer. And yes I’ve often joked if I didn’t have her I may have just been one of those little judgy people too – but seriously I hope not why would we put those burdens on people who are already drowning?
    I relate to your grief over the family unit strained under the pressure. Again a grief lost on church folk who struggle to relate to brokenness in families (one of their high held idols).
    I also have another child who responds to normal garden variety discipline who I know has been lost in all this drama. My friend just challenged me this wk to spend more intentional time with him.
    I have also loved reading through everyone’s stories on here and I’m sure they’ll be many more to come. Our crazy world is full of so many broken stories, I see yours woven with the beauty and strength of Jesus and your bravery and honesty has truly touched my heart tonight.
    I love to read too so do you have any books you would recommend that have really helped you on this journey.
    Mothers often seem to be the target of the biggest meltdowns. That is a question as much as a statement to me. Also trying to figure out the difference between abuse and autistic behaviours.

    This quote will get me up again tomorrow –
    ‘But sometimes living well means just getting up everyday and doing the best you can.’
    Thank you so much I truly don’t know how you’ve survived all this. Much love to you, your beautiful daughter and all your kids.

    • Natalie Hoffman
      Natalie Hoffman
      → Anonymous
      July 17, 2020

      I’m sorry you can relate to this post. I do love to read – and I can’t think of any one book that “did it” for me. Just a lot of great books that have helped me with the brain aspect of things, C-PTSD, unraveling spiritual abuse, understanding the Bible and what it’s REALLY all about (not a weapon), God’s love, healing, parenting, and so on. I share a lot of resources and do teaching within the private group I run. https://joinflyingfree.com

  • Avatar
    Debbie
    July 17, 2020

    Thank you for sharing . I was married to an abusive pastor for 32 years. I thought I had to stay. We had 6 kids. The last was a boy we adopted. He was 5 when I left 8 years ago. Even at 5 he was raging, destroying the house, getting suspended from school. I tried every therapy I could find for him. Finally at 11 I couldn’t take it anymore
    and did not feel safe in my own home.
    He went to live with my narcissistic, sex addicted, abusive ex. I have peace in my life for the first time in 40 years and it is amazing but I’m still struggling to reconnect with God and to feel I have any worth. I have a hard time connecting with anyone, yet I desperately want to. I feel like I’m different from others and they don’t understand, so I just stay silent and alone.

    • Natalie Hoffman
      Natalie Hoffman
      → Debbie
      July 17, 2020

      I’m so sorry, Debbie. You may find connection and hope by joining the Flying Free Sisterhood program. It’s closed now – but it will be opening up again at the end of September. You can learn more and get on the waiting list here: https://joinflyingfree.com

  • Avatar
    alice
    July 17, 2020

    Thank you for sharing your story. I oddly feel a sense of relief. My son is 7. He’s been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder, ADHD, and Intermittent Explosive Disorder (which I’d never even heard of before). He’s in psychiatric therapy and on two kinds of meds. He frequently terrorizes his two older sisters and me, and I watch his struggle and confusion as he shuttles back and forth between his dad’s house and mine. It feels so hopeless, and the future looks terrifying. You’re helping me see that it can be survivable, that somehow there is a way forward.

    • Natalie Hoffman
      Natalie Hoffman
      → alice
      July 17, 2020

      I’m so sorry to hear this. I have several friends who had adopted children, and some of those adopted children had RAD. It presents in the same way. Heartbreaking.

      • Avatar
        alice
        → Natalie Hoffman
        July 17, 2020

        Yes, he is adopted also, which complicates everything further with abuse, divorce, etc.

  • Avatar
    VENICE LISTON
    July 17, 2020

    Oh Natalie can i relate to this , my story is similar to yours except it was my son when he was only about 2 yrs old i started taking him to psychologist , priests , ministers , teachers .. by the time he was in kindergarten when i went to enroll him for 1 st grade in the Long Beach school system 30 some years ago they said sorry Mrs. Liston we dont have a class for him he was tested ( they didn’t tell me that ) and it was found that he is borderline retarded but not all the way retarded so we have no classes for him . I had to home-school and it was the worst time in my life except i had a wonderful 4 year old daughter at the time and a infant . I homeschooling him till i found a private christian school low and behold the next year they said something similar that they didn’t have a class for him .. he was disruptive all the time rebellious didn’t listen any discipline really didn’t work . One thing he did very well is lie and exaggerate to get his way . He was able to manipulate my mother since she was already against me since i left the catholic church and became a non denominational christian. My son would exaggerate stories. My mother called CPS on us twice with my son and then my sister got involved ( My sister was a meth addict ) ( i ended with custody of her kids ) Anyways CPS was called on me and my husband 3 times it was a horrible and scary time i feared they would take my other children by that time i had 3 younger ones . The torment i felt at that time was horrible the depression was horrible too . It was God that got me through it all .. we called the police on him twice for his violent behavior one day he was yelling at my face , i had grabbed his shirt and said i am not afraid of you anymore he was 17 6 ft tall at that point im 5’7 .. he grabbed my arm and twisted it i called the police they took him to a half way house where he was kicked out.. he cam home for another year more torment finally when he was 18 we found a christian organization that would take him he went there but ended up running away from there as well we told him he could no longer come home .. Once he left the peace i felt was wonderful then a pastors wife told me one day , she said Venice in order for you to receive Gods forgiveness you must forgive yourself . It hit me hard that day because i took all the blame for my sons behavior see i had him as a young teen newly married to abusive man i ended up leaving him became a christian then remarried. Finally my son left for good I have only seen him maybe 3 different times he actually lived in a trailer on our property that only lasted about 2 weeks we still could not handle him .. He is now 40 lives in motels he is gay trying to become transgender has no jobs or rather keeps losing jobs is on unemployment and other government assistant programs he is on many antidepressants so many that many doctors refuse him meds . He is HIV positive and has been for a long time spreading the disease to whom ever will sleep with him he doesn’t care really .. He has told so many lies to my mother and her side of the family that i have been black listed in the family the only ones that believe me is some of my cousins who have come to my home and seen my other children . In any case the amount of stress i use to feel was horrible I remember one time falling to the ground in a horse stall praying in tongues praying that God would somehow help me my son was there he was about 16 he walked by and said mom your crazy here i was on the ground just crying to God for help i did not know what to do with him talking never helped well it seemed like it did for a second then he would be back to his weird back ward thinking .. In any case he was later diagnosed with ADD ADHD and sever Bi polar disorder , and i believe he has attachment disorder as well as his first year of life i lived with my mother and she would not allow me to hold him much ( or i would be kicked out ) I was 19 yrs old at the time and just scared . I then was working and going to cosmetology school so he was baby sat for about his first yr and a half when finally one day i felt God say to just quit everything and take care of him and i did by that time he was almost 2 that is when i met my now husband. I have to say my now husband did help me a lot with him but i think it did some damage to our relationship he took on my son when it wasn’t even his son . And took on a load of problems . My heart still aches for him but i know there is nothing i can do .. The latest thing that happen with him is he tried to extort money from us he said if we didn’t give him money he would ruin us well he had been giving him money now and then when he would go homeless but we were tired of it. So we said no so he went on Youtube and tried to defame us and talk horrible and make accusations about our business and us .. He also sent us horrible messages that one day he would kill us . We kept and recorded the messages and went to court for a restraining order it was granted the order will be released this Sept it has been 3 yrs .. So i dont know what will happen then . But i do have faith in God for his protection and i do still love my son and know he is mentally ill .. I do have my own thoughts on why but i have written to much already .. Thank you for listening , i have to say im closer to God now more then ever and i put my trust in him and i stll do care and love my son ..

    • Natalie Hoffman
      Natalie Hoffman
      → VENICE LISTON
      July 17, 2020

      I’m so sorry. I see you. ❤️❤️❤️

  • Avatar
    Kelly
    July 17, 2020

    My heart hurts knowing you live with this as a mother. My ex has been diagnosed with ODD, ADHD, BPD and is bipolar. And is also 6 ft and 400 lbs. I am very familiar with the screaming and violence. I wished so many times I could lock myself in a bathroom, but there was no door he wouldn’t come through. I’ve also wished for death. I can’t believe I lived so long not recognizing it as extremely abnormal. Thank you so much for sharing. I needed that validation.

    • Natalie Hoffman
      Natalie Hoffman
      → Kelly
      July 17, 2020

      I can’t imagine the terror of going through this with a spouse. I hope you are in a safe place now?

      • Avatar
        Kelly
        → Natalie Hoffman
        July 17, 2020

        Terror is the correct word. But yes, thank goodness I somehow convinced him to leave back in February. Changed the locks, installed alarms, have neighbors and parents on call…. I almost feel safe.

  • Avatar
    Chris
    July 17, 2020

    Thank you for sharing, Natalie. Our stories are different but have the same truth…
    Also, I know that her Creator adores her and has her in the palm of His hand. Just as He has all of us.
    That has been my mantra for the last couple of years. Jesus loves us. We are safe. We are held. No matter what.“

    For my sons

  • Avatar
    Judi
    July 17, 2020

    Natalie….THANK YOU. For sharing this part of your story, for letting me know it’s ok to let go. I’ve got a 15 year old son that has always been my “strong willed” one. Since he turned 8, he and I have butt heads. His behavior has a large part in why I left my ex. I saw him behaving just like his dad. I’ve had him in counseling (he knew how to play the game), I’ve fought him on every level. He will be 16 next week, and is 6′ 5″, 220 lbs. I had to tell him back in March that he couldn’t come stay with me for a while, as I was just exhausted from the constant fighting, disobedience, blatant disregard for my instructions. I’ve since seen him twice. I know I’m seen as abandoning him, that I’m the problem, etc. But my 2 younger boys have much more peace when they are with me now. My 13 year old fears him, and my 6 year old wants to be just like him (which scares the hell out of me). I know that I had to say enough, and your words gave me the reassurance I needed today. Thank you.

    • Natalie Hoffman
      Natalie Hoffman
      → Judi
      July 17, 2020

      That’s a big boy!! I’m so sorry for this heartache you are experiencing. Your love for him will look different. But it is still real and powerful. (((Hugs)))

  • Avatar
    Debra
    July 17, 2020

    You are a walking miracle Natalie. What a heartbreaking story. I know God will continue to build your strength. You were put here for such a time as this. Thank you for using your experience and your strength to help your sisters.

  • Avatar
    Karyn Bosch
    July 17, 2020

    Dear sweet Natalie. The fact that you could operate a successful healing ministry for abused women at the same time as you were going through this just shows what a remarkable woman you are. I love everything about your vulnerability. You are a phenomenal mom. You do the work it takes to grow and get up again and again when you get knocked down . You show us women, who are also facing hard things, that we can also rise again and do the things and get strong and find hope and help and healing and love. You are a light in this dark and crazy world and I thank God for you!

    • Natalie Hoffman
      Natalie Hoffman
      → Karyn Bosch
      July 17, 2020

      Thank you, Karyn. Do you remember that morning when she had called the police? I think I had a coaching call that day, and I was a basket case. Kind of like last night, LOL. I just really want people to understand what I didn’t get for too many years: that this is life. It’s messy and painful. And we don’t have to hide from it. We don’t have to pretend it’s not. That’s totally exhausting. Hiding behind a facade isn’t love. Showing up is love. And I decided I wanted to love. Even if nobody loved me. Even if I failed at it most of the time. I’ll spend the rest of my life figuring out what that means, but while I’m figuring it out, I’m determined to show up.

      I realize that some people might even think it’s unloving for me to write about this. I’m exposing one of my children. I know what those voices say. I’ve been listening to them my whole life. I can predict what they will say before they even open their mouth. But guess what? I’m going to keep showing up. I’m gonna keep relentlessly showing up. And I’m gonna teach my kids to do the same thing. The daughter I write about in this post is actually one of the strongest people I’ve ever known. And she loves to help people. I want her to show up in her life. She will always struggle in her relationships. But she is the kind of person who will keep struggling forward. And I’m proud of her for that. Also, I know that her Creator adores her and has her in the palm of His hand. Just as He has all of us.

      That has been my mantra for the last couple of years. Jesus loves us. We are safe. We are held. No matter what.

      • Avatar
        Karyn Bosch
        → Natalie Hoffman
        July 17, 2020

        Yes I do remember that call!! You showing up even when you are hurting is one of the things I love most about you. You are doing exactly what you are called to do. Yes. We are all loved and safe in the middle of the crazy. Thank you for coming along side of us and showing us how to do life scared. To just keep falling forward. To not be ashamed if we fall back a time or two. To keep on keeping on. And of course some people will try to shame you! Not everyone sees through the same lenses. And that’s ok too. You have shown us that as well . We have to be ok living in our own skin … none else’s. Be blessed Natalie, as you have blessed us!!

      • Avatar
        Evelyn Slot
        → Natalie Hoffman
        June 11, 2023

        Oh Natalie! I love what your mantra! Jesus is ridiculously crazy about us. So much love. And I’m determined to do what you said – keep showing up. It’s messy!!! I have said I’d rather die than go through what I’m going through – I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 months later. Adopted son with BPD and ODD and RAD, etc. and a baby with RAD, ODD, and possible autism with H who won’t deal with any of it but blamed me for son’s actions and attitude. Exhausting! Lots of hiding in the closet crying and sobbing. Hitting my head on the wall. Until Dec. 2020 when I said, NO MORE. NO MORE. No more. I’ve been relying on God since then and joined FF doing CBT and IFS, journaling, courses. All of it.

        Thank you. Thank you for just being YOU. For being authentic.

  • Avatar
    Charlotte Cuthbert
    July 17, 2020

    Thank you so much for sharing ur story. All I can say thank god for giving u strength and hope and most of all lv. Through ur struggles u still lved well. Please pray for me and my chrldren thank you charlotte❤️♥️

    • Natalie Hoffman
      Natalie Hoffman
      → Charlotte Cuthbert
      July 17, 2020

      I’m so sorry. Praying for you and your children right now.

  • Avatar
    Anna
    July 17, 2020

    Oh, Natalie. This is heartbreaking. I’m going through something similar with my 11-year-old. Violence and horrible outbursts. After the latest time she attacked me with a metal chair I have shut off from her completely and am parenting her only technically. I can’t have the kind of emotional connection with her as I have with my other kids. She is in counseling but something tells me this is a personality disorder she is going to struggle with all her life. I wish I could love her, but I feel so drained.

    • Natalie Hoffman
      Natalie Hoffman
      → Anna
      July 17, 2020

      I’m so sorry, Anna. Praying for you and your daughter right now.