I have no way of knowing if what I am discovering about the inside workings of my mother’s Borderline mind relates to how a much less troubled Borderline mind might operate. What follows here is a snippet of my thinking about the patterns my mother was stuck within in the projected mirroring universe of her reality that she created in her mind:
NOTE: The five individual points that might exist in the creation of any Borderline’s inner-reality-projected-into-repeated trauma drama patterns would be based on the specific early traumas that person experienced in their earliest years. My mother’s matrix patterns, as I describe briefly below, were created exactly this way based on HER earliest overwhelming traumas.
And also please note, humans have been remembering experience through repetition of word and action in story, dance and drama since our beginnings. That repeated trauma-dramas are a memory device should not be at all surprising. A Borderline’s universe like my mother made was designed like ‘do-overs’. Each repeat of a pattern contained within it an effort to CHANGE the outcome so that my mother could WIN this time, not lose as she had in her childhood.
While it is outside the purpose of this book to delve deeply into the earlier beginnings of Mother’s Borderline condition, a brief illumination about the 5 points of my mother’s overriding outer Borderline matrix pyramid is important to understanding the dynamics of how the pyramid I was trapped and hidden in and the pyramid my sister was displayed in were set in relationship to one another.
Mother’s outer Borderline universe matrix pyramid: Point 1 – being a wife and having ‘the perfect’ husband – was tied in her earliest years to both her relationship with her father (remote) and to the marriage of her parents and its dissolution between her ages of four and five, as well as to her grandfather who she was close to that died right at the time of the divorce; Point 2 – being a mother – was tied to her birth mother (neglectful, cold and critical) , her grandmother (cold and abusive) and probably in its earliest beginning to the woman who was her nanny (probably also remote if not also neglectful-abusive); Point 3 – having/making ‘baby doll children’—was tied to the fact, as written by my grandmother, that by the time children came into the life of herself and her husband Mildred’s father no longer wanted children. In Mildred’s earliest doll play memories she was lonely and wanted a sister. She repeatedly asked her mother for one and was repeatedly disappointed as she was given a baby doll each Christmas instead; Point 4 – ‘playing house’ which included her obsession with cleaning represented on this occasion by the making bed-making happiness connection – was tied I believe to Mildred’s brother destroying her doll play ‘house’ and to the break-up of her home through divorce and moving; and Point 5 – the repeating patterns the cycles of both moving and of making more baby dolls were each tied to specific patterns of words that belonged a related litany – that was tied from her earliest beginnings to the traumatic experiences of her earliest life no doubt including overheard heated and troubling adult conversations and to the resulting moves including the move when she was 19 across country from Boston to Los Angeles.
All of these patterns originated out of and hence forever after centered on radical confusing change, great loss and efforts to stabilize a reality that could be controlled. I suspect that my mother’s focused efforts to maintain through control the ‘integrity’ of this main Borderline matrix pyramid could only succeed if everything remained ‘perfect’ (which is no doubt how she perceived herself in her world as a very young child – if she could be perfect all would be perfect). Anything less than her perceived ‘perfect’ state would have had the power to – yet again – threaten and destroy her world as her world had been threatened and destroyed in her earliest years.
I believe the patterns of my mother’s adult matrixes that resulted in her being ‘stuck’ in neverending repetitions of the trauma-dramas of her earliest life were like cookie-cutter identical repeats and replications of what happened in her childhood. While I don’t understand from a scientific point of view how memory works, it seems to be that there was a powerful memory-related quality to these repeating patterns. The corresponding litanies for each of her matrix pyramids was then a kind of memory device, a mnemonic device that handled traumatic memory retention in a different way, in a way that prevented the remembered experiences from overwhelming my mother. Her NEW and inventive Borderline way of remembering allowed her to manage and control what happened (in her mind) so that there could be a different outcome in her adult life from the one she experienced in her childhood.
These altered memory devices (her matrix pyramids), as they contained duplicates of her earliest traumas (very possibly connected to actual DNA replications over time within her very cells – DNA is humanity’s ultimate ‘memory device’), could be handled differently so that my mother could ‘win’ instead of ‘lose’. Everything she ever did, and did to me, was an effort, then, to be ‘on top’ of the traumas so she wouldn’t be crushed by them instead. Her matrix patterns were not random and they were not purposeless. They were specifically created from the material her childhood provided her and were specifically designed to prevent those same traumas from ever overwhelming her again.
The matrix that was created about me and AS me was designed to fulfill the purpose of containing ANYTHING that was less than perfect and that could, therefore, destroy her Borderline universe. My sister’s matrix helped to sustain perfection. The world my mother created for me had to be kept as far away as possible from my sister in particular and eventually to increasing extent from everyone in her outer Borderline shell ‘baby doll’ matrix world itself.
This makes me wonder if the powerful forces that disallowed for resolution (cooperation) between the extremes of polar opposites came to increasingly DISTANCE points that were conceived of as opposite from one another so the ‘stability’ of Mildred’s mirroring universe could remain intact. Not only could paradox and ambiguity in no way be tolerated, neither could the extremes they each contained tolerate any proximity to one another.
As my mother worked to push these polar opposites further and further apart from one another – because obviously to her they could not ever ‘cooperate’ with one another – the patterns of behavior she used to do so became increasingly intense and determined: “If the enemies cannot get along, then the best thing to do is to forever separate them from one another.”
This, to me, is the opposite of creation even though my mother’s Borderline matrix pyramid world was creative as a solution to overwhelming conflicts within my mother. Her entire universe and the disease (resulting from overwhelming early trauma) that created it was a death trap of destruction. No relationship could ever be formed between opposites – leading not only to the viral escalation of the brutal abuse I suffered, but also to the increasingly lengthy and strange patterns of when, where and how my mother confined, concealed and isolated me.
The damage done to a Borderline’s offspring like in my family’s case happens as the children are not allowed to grow up forming their own reactions of their own self to the real-time real world they were born into. We were forever captured in the repeated trauma-dramas that were our mother’s memories of her own childhood (as she tried to change the outcome) – that had NOTHING to do with her children.
It might simply be a part of human constitution that we would in essence ‘practice’ to perfection using repetition that is deeply tied to the motor regions of our brain. Like practicing to ride a bike, dance a pattern of steps or play an instrument, humans learn new things by repeating and repeating until we finally get things RIGHT. If this is true, then the body-brain changes that happened to my mother to create her Borderline condition were actually based on this natural pattern – gone BONKERS!
But what my mother was trying to learn through the patterns she was remembering and trying to change was not trivial: Her reality was centered on life and death itself. It was centered on avoiding obliteration and annihilation. Her Borderline matrix reality had been created to solve what some call the ‘impossible paradox’: How to remain alive in the face of trauma that is certain to kill you no matter what you do to stop it.
Strange thought, but maybe in essence this is why I did not turn out like my mother did. Somehow my mother took on the trauma drama of her childhood THAT DID NOT BELONG TO HER. It belonged to the adults in her life. As she somehow internalized that trauma itself this action changed her – into a Borderline. I never took my mother’s trauma on as my own. As I write my way through my story I hope to find out why (and how) not.
My suspicion is that what I will discover is that unlike my mother in her childhood, I NEVER BOUGHT AS REAL what she said about me. True, my thinking by the time I was 18 was profoundly influenced by what she said and did because I had no alternative point of view except for ONE, and that one was the most important: Every memory I have retained includes at its CENTER an awareness I ALWAYS held inside of myself that what I KNEW was the truth. What I KNEW was my reality. This knowledge and this reality was very tiny in terms of its influence on my thinking for many years. But when the time comes – even as it has come now as I write my own TRUE story – what I know of my own reality is there and I can access it.
Somehow in her childhood my mother did not retain this inner sense of her own reality. She bought as REAL the lies the adults in her life told her about herself. My mother therefore DID NOT HAVE an inner spark of her own truth, of her own perception, of her own reality to turn to. She therefore could not untangle her own story from the story of the adults in her childhood as I have always been in the process of doing myself.
I did not perpetually repeat the memories that belonged to my mother. Even though how she abused me directly influenced the memories I do have about my childhood, my mother did not influence the inner reality of each memory she forced me to keep through her litany repetitions. I can go back to each of these memories and remember my OWN self in the experience. I think my mother lost her connection to her own self and I did not.
I did not take my mother’s version of her memories of me as my own. I did not believe her. Although I could never avoid what my mother did to me, could not escape her, could not defend myself against her in any physical way (not even verbally), I defended my SELF in my own memory. I remembered what I knew, and that is what saved me from the time I was born.
This is the way the brain is supposed to develop. Autobiographical memory as it is tied to what’s called autonoetic consciousness is the ability to remember the semantics, or the detailed facts of what happens with a ‘remembering self’ – the one doing the remembering. Very early in her life my mother missed the stage of remembering herself at the center of her life.
When this happened she did become a Borderline. When the orientation of self-at-the-center of experience as the one who is HAVING the experience at the same time they are remembering their self having the experience is lost, there is nothing left but a mirroring universe in which the Borderlines between the details of experience and the one experiencing these experiences has been forever lost.
If this is true then Borderline Personality Disorder may well be a REMEMBERING disorder. It is a disorder, yes, of the formation of a strong and stable self. But the loss of this self happens when the self-at-the-center remembering ability is lost. At that point there is no self separate from experience. ‘Self’ remembering then changes into repeating patterns of the traumas that disintegrated the self-at-the-center-of-remembering in the first place.
I would then have to rename what experts might say was her complete mental projection of her own bad girl-evil-child-devil etc. onto me. True, I was never a separate self to my mother. But what I was to her was an active part of her repeating trauma remembering process. She had no ability to REMEMBER me as a separate person in my own right. Therefore everything she ‘knew’ about me was always – from the moment I was born — contaminated by her own faulty remembering process.
So complete was the damage in my mother’s remembering processes that what she saw when she saw me at any moment in time was instantly distorted as ongoing perception changed into faulty memory in-the-moment. It would be easy for me to call the experiences I had with my mother as her ‘hallucinations’ but I think the process was different. The distortion happened right as current information entered her brain at the same time it was sucked through her faulty memory ‘circuits’. What she knew about me ran through a ‘remembering filter’ that changed her experience of me. What she ‘saw’ WAS what she remembered as she was remembering it – wrongly.
(As she (erroneously) SAW me when I just turned 4 trying to murder my 2-year-old sister by drowning her in the toilet that in turn ended in a terrible abuse ‘incident’ happened because as she processed memory of me in real-time, ‘seeing’ me was instantly ‘remembered’ through the filter of her trauma-drama remembering processes. So in this instance for example, I did not believe my mother that I was murdering my sister. I knew the truth, and the truth was that I was not doing this. I remembered my own truth. This is something my mother did not develop the ability to do in her own early years. This means when a Borderline appears to operate in a different reality that matches nobody else’s, this happens because their memory processes are operating differently from normal. They can ONLY remember ongoing experience through the filter of early trauma that overwhelmed their ‘self’.))