My only complaint with the WordPress blog theme format I have chosen is that it makes a very poor attempt at making comments made to any of the nearly 1000 posts on Stop the Storm very difficult to find unless a reader happens to catch them as links to incoming comments/replies listed along the right side of the Home page as they come in. If there are multiple comments/replies coming in on one day the links to them vanish off the bottom of the list very quickly. The only way readers can access them is if they happen to pursue a particular Google search of terms that lands them on the posts where the comments are listed.
This blog was never designed JUST for discussion about abusive Borderline Personality Disorder parents. Because my mother DID fit this category the weight of much of the information on Stop the Storm is accumulating about exactly this topic. But this blog is about stopping the transmission of intergenerational (intragenerational) trauma — no matter what the trauma stems from specifically and no matter how it has been transmitted. BPD is only one of the possible ‘side effects’ of trauma.
In some important ways I believe Cinderella’s comments provide an important bridge between nonBorderline child abuse and Borderline child abuse. The writings I am highlighting here shed some light on how these two ‘streams of trauma’ can appear within a trauma-related discussion.
Therefore on occasion I have to copy important comments/replies into a new post to make them perhaps a little more accessible to readers as time marches forward — and the new links disappear off the side of the blog!
Today I want to highlight new comment/reply on this post:
Comment by Cinderella:
Have you studied the “structures” that mind control victims have installed to control them? They are very similar to what you are describing and are an integral part of the dissociation process……
This is sort of a jumping off point if you haven’t studied this before.
Not saying your mother was a victim of MKULTRA, but the mechanisms are similar in my opinion.
Well, I bet this all leads in a dark direction!
Thanks, and I forwarded this to my daughter. I cannot examine external thought while I work on this stage of the book writing.
I began my deep investigative research into what was ‘wrong’ with me about 8 years ago now, and started with my long-standing history of reading memoirs of people who had been POWs and/or captives during the communist takeover of China.
When I went back to those readings and followed the thread of my own thoughts I found that Mother used every single mind control tool the ‘professionals’ did.
I came to the conclusion that the ‘playing board’ of the human mind has parameters and patterns of functioning that are common to us all. There would be, therefore, only so many effective ways to manipulate those patterns of functioning.
That my mother instinctively knew all those ways and used them on me didn’t/doesn’t surprise me.
I have to go backwards in my book-writing (I realized yesterday) and put into the text something along these lines because in my linear examination of my childhood I now know where ‘this’ belongs and where ‘this’ started (as far as I know!).
Shortly after an abuse ‘incident’ was added to Mother’s litany when I was 7 that was another ‘proof’ that I didn’t want to grow up and that I wanted to remain a ‘baby’ — Mother began this completely bizarre and extremely effective mind-control technique.
Especially during the months of time our family was dragging ourselves on foot up (and then down in the morning) the horrible mountain road to our homestead, thus contributing to my great exhaustion after a long day at school in between, there were times when my sleep was profoundly deep. If Mother came to ‘examine’ me while I was sleeping (she examined me with her Evil Eye every opportunity she could for 18 years), and found me sleeping on my back with both of my arms raised up beside my head, she would grab my hair and drag me off my bed from this sound sleep as she beat me for ‘sleeping like a baby – (you want to be a baby, etc. which was actually a refrain invented for Mother’s abuse litany when I was 20 months old). She would be fully launched into her pattern of abuse litany recital that brought her verbal abuse rhythm into the pounding of her blows.
As I say, there is something profoundly ‘different’ about the mind of a severe Borderline abusive parent! I won’t read anything anyone has written about anything until my own life story narrative is coherent and complete!
That also includes, by the way, the new book I reserved before print and bought that is still in its box:
The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology) [Hardcover]
by Stephen W. Porges
I will get to it when I can — but not now — yet I thank you greatly for the link!!
I also want to highlight something from today on this post: +#1 SYMPTOM OF BPD = CANNOT PARENT CORRECTLY
Cinderella’s comment that begins “I don’t know that my mother was BPD. She was never diagnosed, never saw a therapist. I don’t know what she was like with my siblings….not really...” can be found there along with my reply:
“Bad enough that I can’t tell the stories to people because they blanch and tune out. They can’t take it and telling them traumatizes them which is unfair.”
To varying degrees I believe this is a common link for everyone who has an insecure attachment disorder due to inadequate bonding in safe and secure earliest caregiving relationships. The primary contributing causes to child abuse stem from those earliest interactions before the age of two that determine the physiological direction our body-brain takes in the beginning (hence building insecure attachment to others, self and world right into our nervous system/vagus nerve system — or not). (Google search: stop the storm vagus nerve)
One of the keys to unlocking the door of adult healing is to admit to ourselves there are things that happened to us in our early life that we either cannot remember because we – well, CANNOT remember by fact or by choice. Either physiologically the memories are outside the range of conscious retrieval or we simply cannot EMOTIONALLY afford to remember — just as so many people cannot afford to hear the stories we are able to tell.
I encounter this fine line continually as I work on my book writing about my childhood. How often I allude to trauma and abuse and then turn away immediately without crossing this line. My own line I tell myself is, “Who in their right mind would want to hear this?”
I will probably leave some readers angry at my refusal to recount graphic descriptions of abuse. Those accounts are not what I am after. I am searching for my own self as I followed my own life path anyway, in direct opposition to what Mother would have wanted. But though she profoundly impacted how I felt and what I knew as her abused child, she could not touch ME — my essential self.
Cinderella, my guess is that if your mother had been Borderline you would have known it. How she endured what she did and DID NOT end up with this illness might be a mystery — but to me it’s always a matter of being so limited, in the end, no matter how much we try to understand another person or even our own self — of not having enough of the most important information.
This has to do, most simply, with beginning to understand clearly NOT ONLY the risk factors that early trauma creates but also the RESILIENCY factors that allow life to continue on in the face of overwhelming odds.
Perhaps what can be seen with Borderline is this: When all other possible resources are used for an infant-child to cope with and survive early severe trauma are used up, then the last line of defense is that physiological development will reach for the genetic tools in a survivor’s DNA and use them — sacrificing conscious awareness and creating such an alternative brain functioning that a twisted mind that lives in an alternative reality is the end result.
Borderline Personality Disorder creates an additional level of horror for children being raised by one because of this special kind of twistedness that happens on the level of the MIND itself. Many patterns of abuse and torment done against infant-children can be the same between Borderline and non-Borderline parents, but I believe it is the bizarre and twisted MENTAL level of the abuse — as it is happening in a universe of absolute and true insane MADNESS — that can complicate the healing work for Borderline parent abuse survivors.
This just means that, as you say, the perspective needed to heal just needs to include the right information for the right ‘crimes’.
I am happy to read your words and know that there are others that comprehend the value of looking at the much bigger picture of child abuse and trauma. Doing so in no way ‘excuses’ or ‘justifies’ any abuse of any kind perpetrated against children. But humans are members of a social species and none of us live in a social vacuum. Neither do we miraculously appear on this earth to raise ourselves Scott-free of any parental influence — be it wise or wounded.
And my second reply today to Cinderella:
I would also like to thank you for the concept you introduced that I am already finding myself using in my thinking: “parental unit.”
Readers of my material, probably flowing all the way forward into the readers of the book my daughter and I are writing, question my lack of ability to begin to address my father.
I don’t foresee myself making much progress on that front. I only have so much energy for my work, and I seem to lack what it would take to apply my investigative curiosity much in his direction.
At least thinking about Mother and Father as a ‘parental unit” allows me to now think in terms of a new level of wholeness about them and about how they BOTH interacted within the social environment of my family of origin TOGETHER so that so much trauma and abuse could occur.
I also realize that exactly where I ended my book-writing work yesterday is where I jumped over and left out a very small — but probably important example of how those two interacted with one another. Today when I go back to that writing I will choose NOW to include a small reference to the small example I skipped yesterday.
My mother wrote in a letter to her mother that she took $50 out of the family budget that could NOT be afforded and bought herself a maternity wardrobe for the unplanned pregnancy of their 5th child. She wrote that her husband ‘freaked out’ (my words, will find her exact words when I go back to the letter).
I have a memory and I am not at all sure this was the exact moment in time that my memory is attached to, of my mother once buying a purple dress. My father hated purple. This man who so RARELY EVER directly expressed his own feelings including anger, took the dress away from her and threw it in the trash.
In light of the insanity and abuse in my childhood this seems like such a tiny event — and it was. But in light of your words ‘parental unit’ it enlightens me. Yet it also interests me that I am so unwilling to invest any more thought than a simple mention into what this kind of a pattern of interaction might have indicated. That was THEIR stuff and I so far can’t make myself care.