I’ve done a bit more reading of Surviving a Borderline Parent by Kimberlee Roth and Freda B. Friedman , PH.D., LCSW. My last two readings were very interesting. The first of the two seemed like smooth sailing when I began. But I started to feel irritated and a little angry. I tried reading a few more minutes but couldn’t shake those feelings, so I stopped. I was starting down a path I didn’t want to go on. I snapped at my husband as I left room, and went to collect myself in the bathroom (no tears though). It’s been several days since I picked up the book again, which was early this morning – 1:30 a.m. – I couldn’t sleep and the book has been staring me in the face every day, saying “Pick me up. Try again.” So I did. Here are some excerpts from the reading that ended in anger and irritation:
The Symptoms of BPD
It was the second symptom that jumped out at me. Patterns of relationships that are intense and unstable; repeated tendencies to shift between extremes of loving and hating another person. This sounds exactly like my mother, but it sadly sounds a little like me in years past. Could this realization be what brought on the anger?
“They tend to see others as entirely good or entirely bad, as hero or villain, as ally or enemy, rather than see a person as generally good despite a few flaws. Sometimes they’ll split siblings, believing one is the perfect child while another is nothing but trouble.”
That last part: “Sometimes they’ll split siblings, believing one is the perfect child while another is nothing but trouble.” Sooo what I had to deal with growing up. There were three of us sisters and an on-again, off-again boyfriend who she put through hell. He had a drug problem, I even think my mother did drugs occasionally with him, but I still felt kinda sorry for the guy. She was so mean to him, hurling the most hateful words about his sons, his manhood…and us sisters were witness to it all. We were also witness to her hatefulness to one of us at a time. She would deprive one of us (mostly me) of attention and affection while doting on the other two sisters in front of the “bad” child. It was a merry-go-round that I didn’t want to get on, and I was on guard all the time because I knew my turn was coming up.
Another symptom: Frequent mood swings and intense emotional reactions, irritability or anxiety of changing duration-anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Sooo my mother, to this day, and sadly, a little like me in years past. I have improved drastically over the years as I’ve gone down the counseling and medication journey. When I think of my self at different points in my life, I am embarrassed. The only thing I ever saw were my mother’s freakouts, so I naturally just freaked out. Do you see how I’m justifying my actions? I just realized I’m doing this. Yes, I have problems but I’m working on them, and have been for several years. She’s on the same freakout rollercoaster she’s been on since I was a child. This I know because one of my sisters still communicates with her and has come to me frustrated, angry, sometimes crying, because of her bullshit she pulls.This section goes on:
“Often, the person doesn’t remember-or claims not to remember-what was said or done during his previous feeling state or mood.”
An example in the book from a BPD survivor is accounted:
“He [parent] only railed for a few minutes, but he said some of the most hurtful things ever. To this day, whenever something special happens, I hesitate to enjoy it-I’m always wondering when it’ll come crashing down.”
My own example:
My mother threw an absolute fit a few days before my college graduation. She hadn’t talked to me at all about coming to my graduation, when should would come, if she would come, while my boyfriend at the time and some of my family made plans far in advance at were staying at the house we shared together. There was no room at the Inn by the time she decided to “get excited” about the most important day of my life and my biggest accomplishment yet. “You don’t even have room for your mother?” she says. No, I don’t. But there are tons of hotels she can stay in like other sane people are doing. Then it started.
- I’m a hypocrite and going to hell
- I used my grandmother’s death to gain sympathy from people
- My sister (one of them) isn’t coming because she’s a “manager” (she put emphasis on that) and can’t get off of work
- I never know from one hour to the next what I’m in for.
- I learn to notice the most subtle of cues so I have some warning as to what’s coming.
- I don’t trust what you tell me, because days, hours, minutes later it could-and likely will-change.
- It’s better not to get excited or feel good about circumstances or accomplishments because my happiness may trigger a violent reaction.
- It’s just easier not to bask in the glow of good things, because it may be quickly followed by humiliation.
And there you go, people. The story of my life growing up. I’m reading this book and writing about it because I’m writing and living a new story now. A story with happiness, love, acceptance and self-awareness. I may be on chapter 1 in my life story, I’m really not sure. I just know this: my story will be of healing. And healing has definitely begun.