Tuesday, May 27, 2008

That Old Time Validation

I watched a DVD on Friday ( big surprise for those that know me) that was made for the express purpose of educating the public about BPD and what the sufferer goes thru. I’m all for educating the public about what BPD is and isn’t. I love it that more treatments are becoming available; that someday, somehow this awful disorder will be treatable like diabetes.

What bothers me the most about these videos and the big name books, like Stop Walking on Eggshells or the DBT workbook, is how the non, in my case a child of a Borderline parent, is expected to validate their Borderline parents verbal abuse. We’re told in books that we need to validate what a person with BPD is feeling. They grew up lacking that validation and they need it, the experts say. Find something to validate, anything, that lets them know they are being heard. Validate validate validate! Say it like you mean it, dammit.

Sure, I’ll get right on that. Listen more to mom, lock away all the hurts she has inflicted on me. Must….validate……mom’s rages…………..check……must….lose myself……CHECK!

How’s this? “Oh mom I can see you are having a really hard time right now. It must be so frustrating to have a dtr that would do anything for you and yet I never get it right. I’m really proud of you for letting me know how you feel.” What the hell kind of treatment is that? Somehow the worse my mom treats me, the better she gets? Huh? People pay $$$ for this?

I won’t validate my mother when she is telling me what a bastard my father is (he isn’t, btw). I won’t validate her feelings as she verbally rips me to shreds. I won’t validate a person makes me stand at attention while she screams in my face. I won’t validate that. Why is it that I am expected to make nice about that?

What the hell kind of sense does it make to validate abuse? It makes no sense whatsoever for professionals to encourage a child (adult or minor) to validate that crap. That isn’t treatment, it’s promoting child abuse. For some reason it has become accepted that the children of Borderlines are no more than collateral damage. We’ve become expendable. It isn’t enough that we are taught from birth how we aren’t really a separate person from our parent but just tangible extensions of their emotions. No, the professionals themselves have now given us that added reinforcement of feeling less than human.

Why are the children of Borderline parents expected to be both their parent’s child and therapist? It’s not like we get bonus pay or extra TV privileges for doing both. We do learn how to delegate and how to become crackerjack hostage negotiators but last time I looked hostage negotiators aren’t in big demand. Especially is you are under 10. The HR people tend to get a little weird about someone under 18. Child labor laws and all that.

People who can delegate are in demand tho!. After a lifetime of managing a borderline parent I can delegate/manage so well that I have few friends yet a lot of human projects, if you catch my drift. Friends? Who needs friends! I’m my mothers bestest friend!

Say that on a playground when you’re 8 or 9 (or pay a kid to do it for you-I’ve found $20 works) and then watch what happens. Yep, you’re now the recess entertainment. Live action and all, baby. Just remember to duck.

So I say screw you to the people who tell me to validate my mother. In no way shape or form will I say it’s OK for her to verbally bash me. It’s not OK that I and other kids are taught to put our parents abusive needs before our own. Validation isn’t treatment, not at all. It might work in a therapeutic setting, sure, but otherwise it’s misguided at best and dangerous at worst to encourage people to abuse. How about we go back to the drawing board and get the priorities straight for once?

Children first and foremost. Treatments that take the responsibility out of a child’s hands and put it where it belongs-in the hands of the person with BPD.

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