I’m new here. I would love to just hear somebody else say, “Yup. Same here.” Because all my life I lived with what certainly seems to be a BPD mom. Every day is a good day because I am no longer under her roof and her jurisdiction. I have made my own family now, and struggle with depression which is most likely related to all that living with her. I tried some EMDR therapy but found that it was just picking at scabs that had been okay for awhile. I decided I was okay with having an “emotional funny bone,” and quit EMDR. My faith and self-talk has been the best tool for me.
So, specifically, my mom was not the worst of the worst. At the same time, I am starting to realize just how much I had gotten used to, that wasn’t normal. I had a father who didn’t really intervene when she’d go off. When he did, rarely, (he was likely trying to stay safe as well) it felt like a helicopter had airlifted me from peril. Unfortunately, to this day, he stands by her side and will bat for her because he is either brainwashed, doesn’t want to rock the boat and must pick sides, or is truly in love with his spouse (although that could NOT be the definition of love).
My mother could not apologize. She could not take criticism. When it came to discipline and power struggles, she had to “win.” In our older years, some of my worst memories are standing in the kitchen where she would grill us, singly, about something or another...it was always a fault of ours that needed discussing. It was often brought about by our teenage smart mouths or our less-than-par job done on our chores or something. I would stand there, and she would go on and on and on about my fault, my flaw, but drag all kinds of things into it. Her traumatic experiences from her childhood, her fears, her issues. Many times dinner would have to wait - the whole family would be affected - because she and one of us were taking up the kitchen. There was no point in arguing or reasoning with her in these instances, because that only fueled the fire. I remember so many times not knowing if I would ever go to school again or see the next day, because she took up every last bit of my attention and brain power. She forced me to stay present, so things tended to stay intense for me, and to this day, I am an intense kind of person. If she sensed that I was not really listening, (I think many times I actually dissociated), she would become livid and physically or verbally jerk me back into attentiveness. She literally did this once by grabbing my ears and jerking my head forward and backward, saying, “Listen!” After that, when she’d say that word, tears would automatically sting my eyes and I’d be completely present to her in that moment.
I think some bad things have happened to her. I know she was raped at age sixteen. She says, anyway. But I don’t know if BPD could come from that or if she was already predisposed to it. I’ve never understood her and every time I go to a therapist, they start asking questions about her, so much that I feel like we’re in therapy to discuss/work on HER. By the way, I don’t skip around therapists, I’ve just had several through the years going through college, moving, etc.
I’m just wondering if anyone else comes with this stuff the same way. Fears strong women in their present lives thanks to their mom, yet knows who they are and strive every day to be something they never had. I am changing history. I did not have a proper model for what I am now doing. And it’s crazy how hard it is to find a supportive group of mothers that can encourage, accept, and fortify you. So much of what I do is copycatting other’s ideas and fumbling around with my own.
Am I supposed to be understanding of my mother, forgive and forget? Well, I barely ever talk with her (text, technically, because she never calls and I don’t), and recently she overheard me boldly tell my dad that I “no longer needed a relationship with her” so she seems to have X-ed my off her list. I feel like I need to be there for her, be the one who’ll take her crap to see it through and maybe help her. But if you get too close to her, you WILL get burned. So it’s not worth it. Still. She’s a human being and I do care deep down. What’s a child of a BPD parent to do? She hangs out in the back of my mind like a little orphan child I’ve neglected. Meanwhile, I MYSELF need a loving, nurturing mother! Luckily my faith has provided that.
How are we supposed to navigate this? She’s still alive...I am her daughter. I’m not a jerk. But I’m not a doormat either. This is hard.