The question of why I did not develop a personality disorder even though I was severely abused from the moment of my birth and for the next 18 years of my life by my psychotic Borderline Personality Disorder mother is an important one – and sadly one that I will never actually be able to answer definitively or accurately. I will never know why I was spared from suffering from my mother’s devastating disease. I can only speculate in answering this question.
In trying to respond to this important question I again return to my mother’s own words as they appeared in two of the stories that existed at Mother’s death as she wrote them in her 10th year of life. In this first story what matters in regard to what I believe was her pre-Borderline child condition it is most important to notice how this story ends in words that in my opinion directly reflect the break that already existed in Mother’s Theory of Mind development by the time she wrote them.
This break was never healed. I do not believe that it COULD have been healed. This break existed within the physiological patterning of Mother’s brain. True, had she ever been diagnosed and ‘treated’ it might have been possible that my mother could have been ‘trained’ – like a trained monkey – to APPEAR to be different, and therefore ‘better’ than she was. Yet her genetically based disease, triggered by the patterns of neglect, trauma, betrayal and abuse that she had suffered during the first decade of her life had created within her a disease for which I do not believe there is a cure.
Please read this story carefully. Consider the layers apparent in its telling (my notes are written in the [brackets]):
[Mischievous Bear story written by my mother, Mildred when she was 9 years old]
Jane and Charles were sitting on the porch wondering what to do outside little snowflakes were playing tag about.
Jane looked up. Their was her mother she said come and get cleaned up. For we are going to call on Uncle Robert. The two children jumped up quickly for they know that he would tell them a story. They jumped into the car and drove up the snowy road the trees wer covered with snowflakes they stopped at a farm rover came to meet them he barked a welcoming. Uncle Robert got up from the chair where he was reading and met them at once. Jane and Charles [she had Jimmy written in and crossed it out to put in Charles] asked if he would tell them a story he said yes they sat around the fireplace and Uncle Robert began.
Uncle Robert Tells a Story
He started long long ago a bear had three cubs their names were blackie curly and last of all mischievous this he was named because he was always up to some prank this time his mother was going away he told the three little cubs to stay in their cave blackie and curly did but Mischievous did not Blackie and Curly warned him. But this cub was like some children thought he know it all nothing can hurt me he said boldly he trotted down the path not knowing the danger ahead of him.
He looked around not knowing where he was going or thinking about it. He was following a trickling [actually written trickting] brook it was singing him a melody [actually written moldy] of bells.
The cub was so concerned on the music and tree and things around him that he did not [three letter word scratched out here] hear footsteps behind him a hunter was creaping along in the bushes on the other side.
Now let us see what is in the cave of mother bear blackie cub was badly frightened for he knew the dangers ahead of his little brother. Curly meanwhile was having a feast of berrys. Little footsteps entered the cave mother bear was home she looked around yes their was Curly and Blackie but Mischievous [she actually abbreviated this to Mis.] was no where to be seen. Oh mother bear cried where is my mischievous [again abbreviated to mis.] little cub curly cried I told him to stay. Blackie who was [misspelled crying here and scratched it out] crying hard said I told and told him but he said nothing would happen to him no time to cry there’s only time to hunt said mummy bear so out they all went to hunt for Mischievous [again, mis.].
Mischievous [mis.] did not know that they were hunting for him all he thought about was where the little running brook stopped and of how many berries he could [spelled correctly after written wrongly and crossed out] eat the hunter was thinking about how he could catch little Mischievous [Mis.] without harming him, for he wanted [written wan’t] to catch Mischievous [Mis.] and put him in the zoo [spelled zo] for he know he would get a [crossed out and rewritten] lot of money for him.
Oh mother and Blackie and Curly saw the hunter and all three jumped right infront of him for they all three saw Mischievous [Mis.] and that is why they all jumped right infront of the hunter oh he was so startled he jumped higher and quicker than Mother Bear Curly and Blackie had the hunter took head to heals and ran as fast as he had [word correction, crossed out and rewritten] jumped.
Now said Mother Bear, Mischievous [Mis.] come with me and ended Uncle Robert. I don’t think you would like to hear what happened in the cave that night but I will tell you I heard some little bear yells and I know that Mischievous [Mis.] name was changed to sonny bear and don’t you know why? I will tell you because he was always behaving his mother and being sunshiny to people.
[two duplicate sentences are written at the top of this next page that do not seem to be connected to the story: A little boy came – is underlined, and again: a little boy came, both sentences are surrounded with a pencil line circle]
Oh tell us another cried Charles and Jane Oh no we will have to go home now and that night Jane and Charles dreamt about bears and cubs Charles dreamt [that is written twice and crossed out before being written a third time] that they were being good and Jane dreamt that they were being bad.
This story I present next here was actually the last story that appeared in the child’s composition book in which I found these stories as they had been preserved for over 70 years. I believe this story reflects what happened to Mother as a result of her having been faced with what experts on the consequences of severe infant-child maltreatment call ‘the unsolvable paradox’.
Mother expresses her inner 10-year-old reality in the last words of this story. She had been left from birth in a toxic and hostile world in which her attempts to form a working Theory of Mind (as it is built into a child’s brain) failed. She had been presented with a question for which there WAS NO ANSWER. That fact broke my mother’s mind and is, I believe, directly tied to the terrible Borderline Personality Disorder disease she was to spend the rest of her life suffering from:
[This story has no title, but I believe shows the break that happened deep within my mother’s child mind. This story was written right after her 10th birthday – the story begins right here…..]
Oh no but I wanted to ask but Priscillia said it would be alright if we didn’t but I find out differently now for their is just fire fire on all sides of us and she added sobbing we don’t know where our mother is. but I do answered the man it’s about time I told about myself Beth iam your Uncle Charlie that lives in Minniappolias. remember now didn’t your mother say that I was coming about four weeks ago. why is it you Uncle Charlie are you going to take us back home are you are you going to take us home. Yes! iam going to take you home answered Uncle Charlie. He was kind of puzzled himself as he looked around all ways trying to see if there was any way to get home but he was a brave man and did not show his troubles his head turned to the right Then in back of him where the fire was creeping swiftly on them. He looked in front of him then he turned to the left and saw a small path which led to safety. He quickly picked Priscilla up and placed her on the opposite shoulder from which Beth was. A small cheek was resting on a large one of Uncle Charlie’s and two small blue eyes were closed tightly dreaming of her beloved mummy one who she dearly loved. Beth was sound asleep. Down the path they walked down [the street is crossed out here] until ahead of them was a street a street wheir you did not half to look in front of you in back on the left hand side for fire of was Uncle Charlie glad to see this but he did not know the way from their back to Mrs. Hunter [some words crossed out here] home Mrs. Hunter [written very darkly through the crossed through name, Montgomery] was Beths mother’s name Priscillias mothers name was Mrs. Bliss. Again, Uncle Robert [sic] was puzzled now he did not know the way to get home he heard a funny sound he knew it came from somewhere around him he looked up in the tree no nothing their this [where that is crossed out] place that place everywhere he looked.
He just noticed that their was something inside his coat oh what could it be he then heard a little bark that proved the situation but he would have to get the animal out he tapped Beth a gentle tap on the shoulder up came Beth she jumped as though a stone had hit her she landed in a big puddle of mud oh dear what shall I do she cried oh I am so wet Uncle Charlie so very wet what shall I do. here take my coat and wrap it around you it will at least keep you warm out jumped the puppy joyfully oh so happy to be out.
bow wow wow barked the dog. Oh it’s my puppy Spot. Oh Spoty called Beth the dog jumped upon Beth again almost knocking her down into the mud again Youll lead us home right away wont you Spoty Bow wow answered Spoty. The dog at once began to run up the road then down the street Beth Pris. and Uncle Charlie not uttering a word to anyone none of them speaking to each other all having as much as they could do to keep up with Spoty, ahead of them now was a long steap hill to climb so again Uncle Charlie lifted to heavy again in the same possion that they had been before so they then started to climb the steep hill they would be running up if they knew it was the end of their journey as soon as they got to the top for the dog had been very faithful and lead them home.
They were almost to the top when they looked around to see that the dog was not to be seen anywhere at all but Uncle Charlie said it would be best for them to finish going up the hill and then they might know where they were they looked around when they got to the top of the hill but could not see Mrs. Hunter [written over an erased Montgomery] house or Mrs. Blisses house but to their surprise it seemed to be their own hill wheir their own houses used to stand.
Beth said I know how to tell if this is our own hill and she quickly ran over to where they thought that their houses should stand and looked around and she then quickly knew that this was the right hill for there were the most glorious bluebells
she quickly then ran over to her Uncle Charlie shouting this is our hill it is it is the hill that we used to live on [looks like us] but where is my mummy wheirs my mummy I ask you wheirs my mummy I ask you wheirs my mummy and wheirs your houses joined in Uncle Charlie up their [cannot read this word, looks like eais] Priscillia. wheir asked Uncle Charlie and Beth in a chorus [spelled chourus]
[The next sentence as she wrote seems to make no sense!] Charles up their pir happy our house isn’t their but the anders – [maybe address? What is she saying here?] — of it is a peculiar plan [looking at the original written page there is no break in the writing to indicate any kind of a shift in her flow of thought. Perhaps “it is a peculiar plan” belongs at the start of this next sentence?]
Uncle Charlie, Beth and Priscilla have hunted, knocked at doors, and everything you could imagine until now, until now that the sun is setting and the stars are beginning to peek from behind the dark blue sky down.
The next task is to find a place to sleep, said Uncle Charlie. Priscilla, asked Uncle Charlie, have you any relatives that the fire hasn’t tackled and got the best of? Why, I have an Aunt and Uncle in Maine, and a Grandma and Grandpa in New Hampshire, and some cousins in Wyoming, answered Priscilla.
That’s quite near here, just about a mile away from this redland. Oh, Uncle, why do you call Melrose that? asked Beth. Well, you see, this morning Melrose was as red as a ripe apple, answered Uncle Charlie, smacked his lips as he mentioned his favorite fruit. He was just about as hungry as Beth and Priscilla for none of them had had any lunch that day. Wasn’t it very red this morning? Continued Uncle Charlie. Wasn’t it, wasn’t it very red with blazes.
Well, that is a very good name for them. As he was talking he was following Priscilla’s careful steps toward Wyoming [a street in Boston where Mother grew up].
Up hills they went, around corners, down dusty streets where children were crying and shoemakers closing up their shops until finally ahead of them was sign with huge printed words WYOMING on it.
They all rejoiced when they saw those blessed words WYOMING but now the question was what street what street this was a question that none could answer [bold type is mine]