I’m borderline. I’ve known for years, lived with it, sort of accepted it. The condition was at its worse in my teenage and early twenties. It got better but never went altogether. I learnt to manage it on my own, the hard way. I think it was a lot harder on my people than myself.
If you’re reading this, you probably already know what borderline personality disorder is. Maybe you can recognise yourself there: neither psychotic, nor neurotic, you drift between mild states of both. If you suffer from this extremely common condition (about 6% of women) your emotions often seem too strong and your reaction to them can tip the crazy scale. Although you are of the hyper-sensitive kind, you may sometimes be unable to relate to others. Your feeling may at times completely shut down. You struggle to manage your own impulsions. Depression is a state you’re familiar with and you may have experienced panic attacks. You’re not comfortable with abandonment and as a result are afraid to form meaningful relationships. You may at some point in your life have engaged in risky behaviour or self-harm. You’ve probably never been afraid of death, which sounds rather like a nice restful concept. Low self-esteem is no stranger to you and you probably mostly wonder who you really are. Your world looks unfamiliar at times, as if you were not quite part of it.
Even though borderline people only experience mild states of either neurosis or psychosis, the disorder is actually one of the most dangerous, with a attempted suicide rate 50 to 400 times higher than the general population.
What you may not know (I didn’t either until recently) is that it can be treated. I’ll talk about my own attempt in future posts.
BPD is probably caused by genetic factors but will only be realised under certain unfortunate conditions. A traumatic separation and not being allowed to express one’s emotions as a child generally does it.
For me, it all started the day my mother came to pick me up early from kindergarten. My two elder sisters and baby brothers were already in the car. I was told we were going on holidays. Straight away I asked the wrong question: “Where’s dad?”
After that, I remember being afraid, as we fled from parents to friends. No explanations given. My anxious tears upset my mother, who was struggling with guilty feelings over separating a father from his children. She shouldn’t have: he was a violent, perverse, narcissistic bastard. Anyway, from that day on she started to project all her guilt on me. I was branded ‘daddy’s little girl’. Understand this: I was ‘his girl’ and he was a horrible person. What did that make me? Feeling sad was a no-no because it upset mommy. She was afraid of my feelings. My sisters hated me.
Mom was neurotic. Dad was a psychopath. I was repressed by one and torn away from the other. There you have both biological and environmental factors. But none of this matters now.
My only concern over the last eight years has been this and only this: how can I function as a borderline mom? How to make sure that my condition never, ever hurts my child?
People who don’t know me (that’s nearly everyone) think that I’m an expert mom. Kind of Wonder Woman got pregnant. It’s all a front to hide the immense struggle and fear inside. The main one: that I poison my child with my own illness.
Until I get rid of this thing, I have no choice but to seem perfect.
Can you relate? Please share your experience in the comments section. I’d love to hear from other Borderline Moms –and don’t worry, we don’t have to become friends 😉