Thursday, April 12, 2012

a new reality

I have written on here a few...ok...maybe many times that I do NOT have a relationship with my Mom.  I always thought it was me.

My whole life I thought I was a bad person.  I really thought it was me.  I did something to piss her off.  I did something that made her do what she did.  And I never knew what it was.

I have said over and over again that she was a crazy bitch.  And I love her.  She is my Mom.  Mom's should be loved...because they love us.  Altho...I was not loved and it must be my fault.

I never knew anything else.

I was raised in chaos.

My Mom was married 4 times.  Once to my natural father who wanted nothing to do with me.  Twice to the same man, a man who did terrible things to me.  And finally to a man who was pretty pathetic.  I thought finally...she met a man who was nice.  I didn't have to live with him as I was an adult but she was happy.  So, good.

But, he was weird.  I wanted to love him...because who doesn't want to be loved???  I needed to be loved!  I had never had a real relationship with a father-type of guy so....this is what they do.  I never called him Dad....because I had a Dad.  And I didn't think that was a good word or title because to me that was a person that just walked away.  So, I called him Pops.

He was inappropriate....a lot of the time.  But, what did I know???  He was overly touchy...some people are.  He was a lot of things.  I am not here to bad mouth him or my Mom.  But, I got to the point when I finally saw him for who he was and her for who she was.  I really had no words for what they were...just that I could not be around THEM anymore.

And neither could my children.

It was long...and ugly.  And in the end...I lost everyone that knew me.

It was not OK...just the way it was.

I went thru therapy.  It helped a lot.  I got strong.  I was OK with my decisions.

But, in the past couple of months...I saw that I needed more.  So, I looked for a new therapist so that I could get a new perspective, a new angle.....a fresh set of eyes.

After telling my story, and hearing the aftermath from others point of view....I was told what I was raised with.

More than likely....my Mom has Borderline Personality Disorder.  And looking back and listening to the stories I have heard from her about her Mom, her grandmother and so on...wow....this is crazy!  It's a genetic or at least a learned behavior

It's not me!  I am so very sad that it's her....I love my Mom.  But, reading the profiles of a borderline personality....hello!  Yep!  This is what I was raised with.

So, this is what I found.

The Hysterical Mother: When Borderline Personality Disorder Hits Close to Home


Personality disorders are a small, troubling subset of mental illness. While some disorders affect only one or two aspects of a person's thinking, a personality disorder is what it sounds like - it infects every part of your personality, affecting your relationships with other people and even how you view yourself. The most common personality disorder is Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD. Some Borderlines are called narcissists. Some are called addicts. Most are called "that crazy bitch." All of them may be true at times, but mostly, Borderlines are just lonely, detached, hurt, and confused. BPD originally got its name from its wide range of symptoms - it seemed to border on many different illnesses. Sometimes a Borderline will act like she has multiple personalities. He will be warm and loving one minute, then hateful and cold the next. She will have episodes where she appears to feel no emotion at all, like a psychopath, and may engage in self-destructive behaviors to try and bring herself back to reality, like a depressive. Also like a depressive, he might threaten or attempt suicide more than once. Like a schizophrenic, she may become paranoid. Like a narcissist, he seems to focus on his own feelings at the exclusion of everyone else's.
All of this stems from a common source: an unstable image of self and others. Real connections are difficult or impossible to make. Peoples' emotions, especially their own, are a mystery to Borderlines.
It's bad enough to suffer from these symptoms alone. How could a Borderline woman raise a child?
Unfortunately, they often do. Lacking the important connection they should have made to their mothers when they were infants, they seek to repair that connection somehow by having children of their own. But they never learned how to make that connection. Somehow, whether physically or emotionally, they will make themselves unavailable to their children. Thus, the cycle continues.
As a child, it's frightening to be raised by a depressed mother. It's doubly frightening to be raised by a detached mother. But even worse is when your mother changes from day to day, or minute to minute - you can never be sure how she will react. You learn to keep secrets from her. This angers her, because she can sense she does not have your trust; Borderlines tend to have an uncanny way of reading people, though they often cannot interpret what they are reading correctly. If something you do interferes with her plan for the day, she will lash out in furious anger. Sometimes you don't have to do anything at all to incur her wrath. She'll punish you for something, then, hours later, express disbelief that she would do such a thing. She remembers it, of course, but it's a distant memory. As if it were a dream. For her, it almost is.
You're a child and you don't understand all this yet. All you know is that sometimes she seems to hate you. Sometimes she says horrible, cruel things. Sometimes she calls you useless and lazy and tells you that you are going to Hell. Sometimes she even hits you. She will never say "I'm sorry." Afterwards, she doesn't even seem to remember it.
As you grow up, you will begin to understand her flaws. Though this doesn't take away the pain or make her easier to live with, it gives you to freedom to stop being afraid. Whether you are a teenager or an adult coping with a Borderline mother, there are ways to make life easier.
1. Remember that she is not responsible for her disorder, but she is responsible for her actions.
Self-control is very hard for Borderlines, who have somewhat of a fractured personality. But, like all of us, they make choices about how to behave. They may be in the grip of depression, an addiction, or a dissociative episode, but there are moments of clarity in which they can choose to get help. Recognize that she is not willfully hurting you, but do not absolve her from all blame. She owes you many apologies, and you should not feel guilty for being angry and hurt because of her behavior.
2. Remember that this is not your fault.
She was this way long before you were born. Though she probably blames you for many of her problems, this is simply not true.
3. Remember that you do not want to be like her.
Chances are, she deprived you of the same connection that she didn't have, so keep an eye on your own behavior. If you find yourself mimicking her when you interact with other people, get help right away. See a psychologist who specializes in BPD. Even if you don't act that way, her disorder left some imprint on you. Engage in professional talk therapy with someone you can trust.
4. Don't be afraid to treat her in a way appropriate to how she is acting.
If she's throwing a temper tantrum, tell her firmly to stop and just walk away, leaving her to stew - as you would with a small child. It's not fair that you have to parent your own mother, and it won't solve any long-term problems, but it will make things easier to deal with in the moment. She will probably calm down once she realizes that you're not going to engage in the drama.
5. Remember that it's not your job to fix her.
No matter how healthy you become, you cannot cure someone else. She will probably always see you as "the child." It's typical for her to react to advice with suspicion and anger, but she'll take particular offense to advice from you. If your relationship becomes too poisonous to bear, treat her like an addict: tell her you are cutting off the relationship until she commits herself to psychological health. Don't feel guilty about this; you are helping her get well.

So, today....I feel better.  It was NOT her fault.  It was NOT my fault.  She has a problem.

Can you even imagine the load this took off my shoulders???

So, Mom I know we can not have a relationship but know that I love you.

1 comment:

sarah said...

What a heartwarming post ! I had said this before and will say this again. The heart of every post is being real. Thanks for sharing your story. It was very brave and honest which made it more inspiring.