“When I was a kid I remember crying in the mirror and feeling so badly that my parents had to have the ugliest kid in the entire world.”
I expressed to my anxiety therapist.
“What happened to trigger that? At the age of 4 or 5 a child doesn’t just come up with these feelings from nowhere… something must have happened.”
“Nothing happened. I’m just ugly.”
It would be YEARS of therapy before unlocking this can of worms.
Years of wondering if I was raped or abused as a child and just blacked out the entire thing.
Years of silencing that fear with my proclamation of ugliness.
‘At least if you understand that you are ugly you aren’t ugly and in denial…’
Confidence has never been my strong suit.
It wasn’t until my anxiety therapist gave me a list of books to look into that my life started making sense for once.
While she never said it directly, all of the books had a common theme.
Borderline personality disorder.
The second I looked up the definition, I felt my mom’s picture should have been pasted right next to it.
It was her exactly.
My mom has borderline personality disorder.
Borderline personality disorder is characterized by the following behaviors:
- Intense, highly changeable moods
- A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones- often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
- Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors (spending sprees, substance abuse, binge eating)
- Extreme emotional swings
- Lack of restraint
In my case, “a pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones- often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)”, my brother is the idealized and I am the devalued.
With this newfound knowledge about my mom, it has been an emotional rollercoaster the past few months.
Growing up in a home with a parent who has borderline personality disorder is an extremely traumatic thing to go through.
The fact that I never even understood this piece of myself for the first 26 years of my life completely blows my mind.
There is no denying that all of it makes sense.
Anger, sadness, frustration.
Every emotion showing its colors in myself at this new revelation.
‘Is therapy making me crazier?’
Instead of my mom just removing herself from my life all together, I grew up in an “I love you, go away” environment.
There was a constant push and pull.
Actions that were justified by clothing me in shame and guilt.
Our father, whom I got along with best, was away from home making the money.
The way I internalized my moms behavior as a child was processing it as a personal flaw.
The almost comical “obsession” (idealization) she had for my brother was a stark contrast to the way she treated me.
“Maybe if I was prettier my mom would love me too…”
The constant push and pull from a person in trust is enough to destroy someone entirely.
My feelings were never heard or validated.
I was always wrong, she was always right.
My attempts at having a voice were converted into backlash.
Growing up in the care of a parent who had borderline personality disorder distorted my self worth at a very young age.
The devalued child feels unworthy of love- even from themselves.
You get used to always being the one at fault.
To this day I overuse the word “sorry”.
I am sorry.
Sorry for any way that I may be bothering you with my presence.
It’s been hammered into my head that I’m a nuisance.
My mom loves me and I know that.
I don’t believe that she ever intended to hurt me.
Yet there is still a part of me that hates her.
A part that wants to give a voice to the child who didn’t have one.
A part that wants to say, “F you” and never talk to her again to pay her back for that broken little girl looking in the mirror.
Except I’m not going to go out like that.
Yes, this understanding has been quite the rollercoaster… but it’s one that I’m glad to be riding.
Without understanding myself I would never have the means to fix anything.
I can’t change my mom.
And I will probably never get an apology from her.
But that’s okay.
THERAPY TAKES WORK!
It’s going to get worse before it gets better.
But it’s the only way to obtain justice for myself, for the little girl in the mirror.
I know that someday all of this hard work will pay off.
I will love my mom forever and while I can’t guarantee it’s the end of the outbursts, I can agree to forgive her.
Holding firm in my boundaries while staying true to my values.
I’m choosing to live my life in love instead of hate.
I’m choosing to accept the things I cannot change and changing the things that I can.
Dear little girl in the mirror,
You are beautiful.
Have empathy for your mother even in the times that it’s hard.
You don’t HAVE to do so, but CHOOSE to do so.
Forgive your mom.
Live your life in love.
Learn to love yourself the way God loves you.
Your moms behavior has everything to do with her and nothing to do with you.
Remember that her outbursts are professions of her pain rather than expressions of her feelings towards you.
Don’t forget to be there for yourself.
You are worthy.
Check out my blog Project Identity for more. ❤️