This post is in response to comments posted on a special new blog, Daughters of Borderline Mothers, dedicated to “Sharing our common experiences of having a borderline mother.” The site is hosted by a woman who had such a mother, and offers fellow surviving daughters of mentally ill Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) mothers a place to share and care about the kinds of traumas that being raised by a BPD mother creates. Today’s comment to post — My Mother The Wall speaks to my heart especially because I see mirrored in those words my own experience with my BPD abusive mother – to a point.
This POINT mentioned in this comment gave me a wake up call this morning as for the first time in my life (I am 60) I realize how fortunate I am that not ONE of my five siblings believed Mother’s Borderline brainwashing. In fact, they tell me that they ALWAYS knew our mother was NUTS. For my part, I have been left looking for the patterns of brainwashing I received from birth that DID NOT allow me to know Mother was NUTS!
It has never before truly sunk into my consciousness that in some cases the siblings of a ‘chosen for special torture’ child of a BPD mother ever COULD, let alone WOULD side with the abuser. Because I’ve never even contemplated such a situation before, I know that only those who grew up in families where this particular constellation of hellish symptoms can ever be able to investigate FROM THE INSIDE what conditions surrounding the BPD and the hell she created in her home could cause this to happen.
I – personally – am at a loss to understand because I have been BLESSED with siblings who NEVER believed our abusive BPD mother!
As children none of my siblings understood why I didn’t run away. Some have also told me that they never understood why I didn’t cry and sob while I was being beaten, or say I was sorry or bed for mercy. As children they believed if I had done these things Mother would have WHAT? STOPPED?
As I closely examine my own experience with Mother I see that the integrity of MY SELF and my ONLY true opportunity to express myself as a unique human being separate from Mother was to NEVER give into her. That was part of how I survived her and came out the other end alive and intact as a person.
Intuitively and instinctively I preserved myself even though I could not EXPRESS myself in anything but the most small and inconspicuous ways by inwardly holding fast to REALITY as I knew it. I won the small battles, beating by beating, assault by assault, by never admitting to something psychotic Mother said I did when I knew I had not done it.
Mother’s brainwashing (as a part of her BPD psychosis) originate while she birthed breech me. She understood as we both struggled for our lives that the devil had sent ME to kill her while I was being born. Because we both survived the birthing, she then believed that I was NOT human, that I was the devil’s child, that I had been sent as a curse-upon-her-life, and that I therefore had the power to take my siblings to the devil – if she didn’t prevent that from happening.
By the time I was 17 and a senior in high school I BELIEVED I was that devil’s child. That’s a time way ahead of where I am in my book writing, so nothing more to say about this right now……
There was never a time during the rest of Mother’s life (she died in 2002) when she did not believe this. I was NEVER a human being to her.
A miracle I have missed until this morning is that my siblings DID NOT believe her – they knew she was nuts and that what Mother did to me was wrong and that I did not deserve what she did to me. I cannot IMAGINE what it would be like if my siblings had believed Mother – such as the siblings of the woman who wrote the comment today at the blog post at the link above.
Long after I was gone from home, as Mother’s life long ‘friend’ (mother was incapable of having true friends, but this woman stuck with Mother until her death) told me last year in an interview, one time she went to see Mother and asked her why she had 666 written on her hands and forehead. Mother told her it was so when the devil came looking for her to take her he would see that mark and understand that she already belonged to him – so he would leave her alone.
I am coming to understand as I write for the book of my childhood that early in her childhood someone told Mother that she was so bad, so evil, the devil was going to come for her. I strongly suspect this was used as a threat by someone who sexually abused her.
Very little was right about Mother’s earliest years of life. It all combined to effect physical changes in her development that gave her a different kind of brain.
Mother used all the considerable power at her command to force me to be her replacement/stand-in for her own ‘projected/split off’ bad, evil child self.
In her illness Mother tricked the devil into believing I was she. As long as I NEVER showed any signs of being a person in my own right, and as long as she could completely control me and ‘keep me in my place – in her place’ in hell, she was ‘freed’ to live what I call her outer Borderline life – which was totally NUTS!
Everyone but me lived in her outer Borderline ‘ring’. I and I alone lived in her inner core hell-prison as her replacement
This left my siblings on the OUTSIDE of my hell-world as witnesses to what Mother did to keep me from ever being born as a self or from escaping. My siblings reaped the benefits (HA!) of having a different crazy mother than I had! Mother only functioned AT ALL in her outer Borderline world because she maintained her capture and torture of me.
As I read the comment to My Mother The Wall today I began to wonder if these two very clear and defined dual-Borderline realities Mother created didn’t have the benefit of making crystal clear to my siblings how completely NUTS Mother was! I, as I lived as Mother’s replacement-evil-bad-child-in-hell (being devil bait!) in the inside Borderline core world, could never see what they saw from the outside.
I do believe that Mother had a Borderline world inside a Borderline world – and VERY clearly so. What Mother did to me was completely different from how she mothered my siblings.
So, I wonder this morning, in cases where one child of a Borderline is singled out from siblings to be the chosen target of peculiar insane abuse – and there is no clear Borderline (!!) between an inner core Borderline universe of hell and an outer Borderline world that operates only if there is a captive kept as a replacement-in-hell in the inner core world, is there a ‘spill-over’ of brainwashing contamination that DID NOT HAPPEN in my mother’s case – in my case – in my siblings’ case?
Mother contained the worst of her contaminating brainwashing in her inner core world JUST FOR ME. There was a very clear and terrible BORDERLINE between me and my siblings. This meant, also, as a very strange benefit I am only seeing at this moment, of protecting my siblings from BELIEVING Mother.
I was the only one who believed her – because I was SUPPOSED to believe her. Mother’s LIFE (as her body dictated and as she unconsciously knew it) depended on the devil being completely fooled!
Mother could only trick the devil into believing I was she if the myth was fundamentally believed BY HER and BY ME. It was verbally affirmed in her home that I was the devil’s child. Mother took great efforts to isolate me from contact with my siblings so I wouldn’t take them to the devil. I was unequivocally Mother’s own bad-evil self. But my siblings did NOT BELIEVE her!
So, from my own point of view in cases where siblings DO believe the brainwashing terrible myths of a Borderline mother — the environment in which the horrors of abuse beyond belief happened WAS MISSING the kind of extremely clear inner-Borderline-core LINES that separated the innermost hell of the Borderline (like the one Mother made me live my 18 year childhood inside) from the outer PRETEND nicey nicey fake yet ‘better’ – Borderline reality everyone else in my family lived in but me.
In other words, Mother’s severe Borderline disturbed insane mine CLEARED UP MUDDY WATERS as she defined these two worlds she created in her life.
It was VERY clear who was in which world. I on the inside in hell, my siblings on the outside STILL in crazyville but NOT abused or hated like I was.
Mother, in her version of BPD madness, CLEARED THE MUDDY WATERS by creating two entirely separate Borderline universes.
As a consequence, she DID NOT manage to contaminate the thinking of my siblings. They were able throughout their childhood to CLEARLY see that Borderline line Mother created between me and them. That, of course, would NEVER have been Mother’s intention.
Mother continued throughout her lifetime, well into the adulthood of all of her offspring, to spout her garbage to my siblings about me. Nobody EVER believed her but me, though it took many years for ALL of us to truly comprehend in our adulthoods how irreparable and terribly damaged Mother was.
After reading the comment I refer to today I also have wiped away from me any tiny tidbit of misgivings I might have been holding onto about my disowning Mother in 1988 – and never speaking to her again.
It is only by mixed-contamination of having been formed from birth in the universe of ANY kind a Borderline parent creates that we offspring might guess there is EVER a way to have anything like a ‘normal’ or ‘repaired’ relationship with ‘our Borderline’.
There is NO way that can every happen. I believe BPD is a physiological disease of the body that changes the brain and nervous system for a lifetime for its hosts. I also believe that the soul of my mother was freed from her diseased body when she died, It is entirely up to God, of course, to comprehend the truth about my parents. I pray for blessings and forgiveness for them both of my parents (Dad died in 2001) every day.
I do not believe Mother had a choice. My hope for my own efforts in healing is that I can understand with some truthful clarity the way my mother’s severe BPD disease operated at the same time it destroyed her life – and created 18 years of terrible suffering for me as her daughter.
My siblings did NOT escape Mother without harm. But that is THEIR story – and because my universe at Mother’s Borderline core of hell was so different from the outer Borderline world my siblings lived in, they cannot tell my story, either.
We each can benefit, I believe, by finding our OWN story and from separating it from ANYONE else’s. I am so grateful for this clarity today about how fortunate I am that my five siblings DID NOT SIDE with our mother. May we ALL find our own way to peace!
NOTE: To be even more clearly accurate I will also say that Mother did create a subsidiary psychotic universe inside her outer Borderline universe in which she protected her all-good God’s child self — onto one of her other children. This Borderline universe stood in complete opposition to the inner core Borderline universe she created by projecting her all-bad devil’s child self — onto me.