My Mother Has BPD

What a relief! To hear someone finally say that I hadn’t been crazy my entire life for thinking my mother had some type of mental illness. Yesterday, I was finally validated and assured that it wasn’t me — it was my mother.

BPD, Borderline Personality Disorder, is a mental disorder characterized by unstable moods, behavior, and relationships.

For as long as I can remember, my mother has always been inconsistent with her behavior. She was very physically abusive when I was a child as well mentally and emotionally. Although the physical abuse has subsided I still have many triggers and emotional upsets It doesn’t help that I still live with her (yikes!)

I moved back in at the age of 26 last year and have been living there a full year. I’m trying to get my life on track financially so that I can move on and do bigger and better things. My dad lives with us as well – he’s a God send. If it weren’t for my dad, I swear I’d be in an insane asylum. He’s my rock. Unfortunately, he’s also the target for many of my mother’s demands and mood swings. That’s a whole other ball of wax.

I’m hoping that by attending therapy regularly, learning more about BDP and interacting with a support group will help my feelings of deep inadequacy and emotional instability be replaced by feelings of empowerment.

Do you anyone living with BPD? If so, how do you cope?

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Slice of Wisdom

If you don’t let it out you’ll carry the pain for a lifetime.

Click to view the video and notice the difference between a 27-year old male releasing the pain vs. his mother who has carried the rage her whole life.

Would you choose to start the healing today? Or convince yourself that later is a better time or that the pain will eventually subside?

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When No One Gets You

Ever have those moments when you’re thinking out loud to a friend or family member and they start shaking their head? Like, hello?! I was not finished explaining my thought process. You get kind of sensitive. You think, “how can what I’m saying be wrong already?”

I used to be so afraid to express what I was feeling to anyone. I didn’t want to be told that what I had spent grueling hours thinking and overanalyzing was wrong! I mean I had invested time and energy into these full reports that I was finally verbalizing. But the lightbulb when off the other day as I was talking to a friend.

I was telling her that in the future I could see myself marrying a man and not a woman. She told me not be so quick to choose (seeing as how I’ve dated both). But I’ve already overanalyzed it and no matter how hard I try the thought of marrying a woman does not feel comfortable nor is something that I have ever really seen as a future for myself. I may have said it in the past but I’ve evolved. And said it from the old me, the one who thought love was something completely different — I thought it was just infatuation and physical and then the emotional would follow. I’ve learned, in the past several months, that it should be flip-flopped. The one who so desperately wanted to connect with my female because my own relationship with my mother was so severed. Yeah, that was a tough one to learn. <Add in childhood memories trauma and yeah, it’s super complicated.>

And then I started thinking that regardless of her opinion, I know my thoughts better than anyone else and don’t need anyones blessing to be me and act upon what I think feels right. No one will ever understand my inner workings and I will never understand anyone else’s.

This particular friend had gone through a very difficult health issue in the last few years. A very life-or-death scenario which I know was very eye-opening and life-changing for her. Now, however many stories she shares with me or feelings that she expresses — I will never know what that experience felt like and so it’s only my job to love and be there for her. It isn’t my job to judge her or tell her she’s on the wrong path. As author Caroline Myss has stated, “you’re never on the wrong path, you’re just not managing it well.”

With that being said, I wanted to share two things I reflected on today. Let me know if there’s anything interesting that you thought of today. Would love to hear!!! Doesn’t matter what it is.

  1. Your truth is just that — YOUR truth. Don’t be discouraged from your growth process just because someone doesn’t get it. It’s for you to get, not anyone else. As long as you’re not harming yourself or anyone else — you’re golden!
  2. Everyone can do anything. However, they can only do it to the best of their ability.

She Didn’t Drown and Because of Her I Won’t Either

When you make it a point to really forgive someone you can start to see them in a whole new light. Recently, I got a glimpse of my mother in a way that really made me sympathize for her — something that I rarely felt in my life towards my mother (or at least willing to admit).

A few days ago we were at the neighborhood swimming pool and I brought an inner tube that was given to me last year for my 25th birthday. My mother can’t swim and so she wanted to borrow it to see what it was like.

She puts the float on and places it around her belly. Then she starts to circle the edge of the pool by grabbing on to the sides and slowly scooting herself all the way around the perimeter. I tell her that she can let go and that nothing will happen.

She gives it a try and suddenly races back to the edge of the pool saying, “I feel like I’m going to drown and that I can’t breathe.”

I’ve known my mother can’t swim my whole life but I never really paid much attention to how much it affected her.

Her fear came from a childhood memory of when she lived on a large farm in rural Colombia. My aunt, who was slightly older, dumped my two-year-old mother into a large tank of water. My mother started thrashing around and screaming for help and finally my aunt came to her aid and saved her. Why my aunt did this, I may never know — I suspect sibling rivalry.

Since then, my mother has never learned to swim and has always had a fear of going into the pool’s deep end. The experience on the farm was traumatizing she said.

So what does a good mother do? A mother that doesn’t want her child to experience the same? She puts her in swimming lessons as early as possible.

It was this recent pool day that I truly felt the love that I doubted for so long. That anything my mother was never privy to she had granted to me. She put me in swimming lessons, she bought me singing lessons, she let me travel and always gave me my freedom. Things that she had always hoped and wished for herself.

Not everyone shows love the same way and it’s important that we accept people for who they are, especially family. My mother has always shown me love but because it wasn’t the way I wanted it, I wasn’t open to receiving it.

Now, at 26, I’m embracing any chance I get to witness that love and remember how much she sacrificed for me.

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My Mami

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The Heaviest Kitchen Table Talk

So as I’m on this track of becoming more aware of my thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions and addressing them, I decided to have ‘the talk‘ with my mother.

The talk that’s always needed to happen but I never quite felt like it was the right time. The talk that would bring mother and daughter to confront issues that have been resting right below the surface for a long time.

For years I tried to convince myself that I would never need to address it — that I would somehow manage to move on and be okay. Finally on July 19, 2014 I decided to have the talk. I confronted my mother about the lack of emotional, physical and mental instability I faced as a child.

There were many things that I faced in my childhood that always made me feel sudden urges of rage, anxiety, panic, insecurity, unworthiness, inadequacy, and so on and so forth.

My mother experienced the same things in her childhood and because she had not healed it prior to having children  I was the lucky recipient of the same treatment.

Now, I won’t go into detail of everything that I experienced as a child but I will let you know that throughout my life I experienced flashbacks and strong feelings of anxiety at the hands of mental, emotional and physical abuse. Things that made it difficult to be in relationships because I was searching for something that the other person couldn’t give me — my mother’s acknowledgment of what had happened and the truth.

Now at 26 years of age, I stood in her kitchen and began to speak as clearly as possible as the tears started to stream.

I won’t go into the full dialogue of what was said but I’ll let you know the points that were discussed on both my end and her end.

My Grievances

  • I never felt safe as a child
  • I didn’t feel that my words or feelings were ever validated
  • I didn’t feel comforted (false sense of comfort)
  • I was confused as to what love meant
  • I accepted that chaos and instability would always be part of loving relationships
  • I had estranged relationships with women because the foundation of what a woman thought of me (my mother) was completely distorted
  • I didn’t like the idea of bringing my (future) children around my mother
  • I didn’t feel like I could have a relationship with my mother because she used very little tact when it came to expressing herself (often hurting people’s feelings)

What I Wanted

  • A relationship with my mother
  • Being able to trust her with my feelings
  • Communicating effectively as mother and daughter
  • Acknowledgement of what had happened

My Mother’s Response

  • She completely understood where I was coming from
  • She did I try to apologize years before but I was not able to receive the message because I had not developed my thoughts about the issue
  • She asked for my forgiveness and I could tell that the part about not bringing children around really hurt her (I reassured her that I would)
  • She promised to reflect on the way she says things to make sure she doesn’t her mine or anyone else’s feelings (her first inclination was to threaten me that she was going to just not say anything anymore)

A lot of tears were shed but not as many as I had cried over the years and it felt like a spiritual cleanse. A huge weight had been lifted from my chest and I could tell off of hers as well.

UPDATE

It’s a work in progress but each day is an opportunity to strengthen the bond. I can’t say that magically everything is better but at least the pounding thought in my head about my mother and the talk could finally stop.

We find small things to chit chat about and I know that given time we’ll be in a much better place because anything is better than never having said a word.

Me & Mom

Me & Mom