Is There Anybody Out There? VI
This is tough. My mother hates me. To be fair, she's ill. Through experience, lot's of reading and therapy I have discovered she suffers from borderline personality disorder. Albeit undiagnosed by a doctor. But those with BPD are rarely diagnosed by a doctor because they are incapable of recognizing they have a problem and unwilling to seek help if they do. To give you an idea of what BPD looks like, it is believed that Joan Crawford and Mary Todd Lincoln suffered this disorder. I'd like to add that there are individuals who have been able to recognize their problem with BPD and seek help, as well as work toward health. My intention is absolutely not to vilify, stigmatize or disrespect in any way, anyone with any type of mental illness. In fact my intention, that by writing about my own personal experience with mental illness is to absolutely do the opposite. I'm writing about my issues in order to understand myself better and also to give anyone who happens to read my work, the opportunity to take a peak inside mental illness. Also if my experiences were to help anyone who is suffering it is so worth eviscerating myself.
It is not easy to be the black sheep in a family. That which I have always been. Especially if your sibling is 'The Golden Child'. I never, ever blamed my brother for his divine status within my family. I did blame my parents, mostly my mother because she was the propagator of his mythology. Liam is my younger brother. Younger by quite a bit. When he entered into our lives, my six year old self was overjoyed. Finally an ally in this mess. I made it my mission to protect him from our difficult family dynamics. Despite the fact that I was so young I knew things in our house were very wrong. Having a baby to love was so great. I received his unconditional love in return. Having that kind of love in my life was lifesaving. I had three people who unselfishly loved me, did not use me as an emotional pawn, did not hurt me and bottom line: saved my life. My grandmother, my grandfather and my brother. Far into our adult lives I have done anything I could to protect and love Liam.
The virulent hatred directed toward me by my mother did not reach it's apex until upon constant urging from my therapist and a realization within myself regarding the toxicity of our relationship, I began to gently set up boundaries between her and myself. That was when the shit really hit the fan. Anyone who understands a borderline personality would understand that trying to do that with my mother would create a crisis for her. However my own crisis as an adult became more important than what her reaction would be. By boundaries I am not talking about anything drastic. I started by trying to explain to her that my life is full and busy and she cannot call me 12 times a day, expecting to talk on the phone for hours. I asked her in as gentle a manner as possible not to discipline my children. I asked her not to include me in her familial shit-stirring and negative outlook towards everything, using the most well chosen and positive words I could muster. All of this was done over a six month period of time. I put some time between each request so she had time to digest my needs within our relationship. It did not go well.