Releasing The Guilt

Finally being able to a call, a thing! My God, what a relief! I’ve felt the crippling feeling of guilt, shame and misguided love my entire life. The kind of feelings that make you question whether you’re worth anything at all. And it all wouldn’t be possible without my mother.

My mother, an undiagnosed BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), has wreaked havoc in my life since as long as I can remember.

How can the person whose supposed to love you and hold you and reassure you that the outside world is cruel — not the inside — hurt you so badly and so intentionally?

When the feeling of your mother’s embrace is something that you want to badly but when it happens it feels like a thousand and one lies. A constant game of bait and switch, where her only happiness comes when she’s provoking anger and proving that everyone is inherently evil.

I write this passage tonight because I’m going through therapy and need a release. Because as I learn more about this mental illness and hear stories of the countless who have suffered at the hands of a mother with BPD — I need to acknowledge my feelings.

A symptom of a child with a BPD parent is that they learn to hide how they really feel — for fear that it may upset the parent. I can’t hold it in any longer. I have to say what’s on my heart so that it can begin to heal.

I’m not sure if I love her. I can most definitely say that I didn’t learn love from her — not the true, authentic love. If anything it’s been anger and pity all mixed into one. I’m not sure if she’s ever truly loved me at all. My therapist stated that she could hate me. She said that individuals with BPD are thieves that steal love.

My hope and wish is to constantly remind myself that I will feel better one day and to rely on my inner strength, self-worth, friendships and self-love. I’ll start with releasing the guilt of being responsible for my childhood and remember all that I’m grateful for.

  1. A great education that allows me to earn an income and not be dependent on a BPD mother.
  2. The ability to love and empathize with people even if I’ve never been in their situation.
  3. The ability to think before I speak and apologize when my actions are hurtful.
  4. The ability to sing and act and dance and draw and paint.
  5. My great friendships that have lasted me 10+ years with some really amazing people who love me no matter what.
  6. A father who has always been my greatest supporter and best hug giver and advice giver.
  7. My love of people and animals and travel and chocolate.
  8. The love of a God who gave me the strongest test because He knows I have a purpose (still trying to find it).
  9. An able body, mind and soul that can rationalize, reason and love.
  10. An eye for design and good taste.
  11. The ability to tune out the negative and focus on the positive.
  12. My persistence and ability to plan and negotiate.
  13. The love of an extraordinary girl named Michelle — a woman that makes me feel that even the worst part of me is never as bad I see it.
  14. For all 50 states making it legal to marry. Woohoo!
  15. For Broadway, Opera, Pop Music, Indie, Festivals, Concerts, 50s Music.

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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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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