I go between feeling a huge sense of relief to huge pangs of guilt and sadness. I’ve talked this over with numerous professionals and friends. The professionals, one who is an expert of children of borderline personality parents, told me that nothing can be done to “cure” a borderline parent. In my research, too, I found this to be true. I asked this specialist what most people end up doing.
“Unfortunately,” he said, “They do need to cut their parents out of their lives.”
How awful for me to think, “Do you mean unfortunately or fortunately?”
I hate to say this, but I wish my parents were alcoholics. (Really, I wish no one was an alcoholic.) But at least people would understand. “Oh, I get why you would cut them out of your lives.”
But saying, “My mother has borderline personality disorder,” — well, let’s just say most people don’t understand and I don’t want to explain what that entails.
The problem with having borderline personality disorder is that you can’t recognize that you have it, which is why borderline personalities generally don’t get help. And it’s left up to the child (me, now an adult) to make the decision to kill the relationship and salvage the next 30 years of my life — trying to move on from the first awful 30 years.
What scares me is that this personality disorder can be passed down generations. Although I tell my daughter I love her all the time, there is so much to be learned about parenting and where you can go wrong. Because I grew up with a lack of love, to say the least, I find myself treating my young daughter the exact opposite of how my parents treated me. I’m always going off about how wonderful she is, how proud she should be of herself, telling her that no matter what I’ll always love her. And I know precisely why.
I would tell my mother something wonderful about my career and she wouldn’t say anything, just move onto the weather. She would just kind of frown whenever she saw me. I made her angry, no matter what I did, or didn’t do, even as an adult. Strangely, too, she only asks after my daughter and not my son. Ever. She has never asked about my husband either.
As I’ve told the therapist, “She just doesn’t want me to be happy.” After a decade of thinking about how miserable my parents made me, which affected all aspects of my life, I finally came to the conclusion that they are never going to change, and there can’t be a middle ground. I needed them out of my life if I was ever going to be truly happy.
I think about karma too because I am a mother. I don’t think any mother wants to be disowned. How would I feel if my children one day disowned me? Well, no child wants to disown parents either. And though I’ve now told my parents that I no longer have parents, and they have told me I’m out of the will (typical borderline personality) I feel an emptiness in my gut. The guilt flits in and out. But I am no longer anxious about life.
Overall I am a happier person since I have disowned them. I feel relief mostly, like I’ve gotten out of jail for a crime I didn’t commit.
Many adults are just not strong enough to cut ties. It took me more than a decade to do it. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Many people, I’m sure, won’t understand how I could be so cold. Can’t I just forget and forgive or try to find a way to be civil?
No. I can’t. I’ve tried everything.
This is a very sad time for me, and yet, I am no longer drowning. I feel that I’m in calm waters and, for the first time in my life, everything will be okay.
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