Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Parental Alienation II/Rebuttal to Anonymous

I have obviously hit a nerve with my blog entry about Parental Alienation and my mother with BPD. I received the below comment today and would like to respond. For the full comment plz read the entry entitled "The Words for the Day Are......Parental Alienation." Here are some highlights:

What's unnerving about reading this is that it reminds me of a friend who was eventually Dx'd with Borderline Personality Disorder herself, but before that point, she'd often described her own mother and upbringing in similar terms (e.g. "Mommy Hitler") to what the author describes here. Please consider that if she had it, you may have it too, so get yourself evaluated if you haven't already.

How much of what my friend -- and perhaps this article's author -- "remember" of their mothers' abusive behavior may actually be their own BPD-influenced exaggeration of the fact, perhaps amplifying behaviour that was already warped in actuality by the mother's own BPD to begin with? The circle gets ever more vicious when BPD runs in the family...

July 9, 2008 6:39 PM

Yep, the circle gets very vicious when BPD runs in the family. The circle stays round when people like the above poster sink to the lowest common denominator and rather than engaging in meaningful conversation or debate they would rather dismiss a persons pain because of a bad experience in their own life. Sorry, honey but I’m not your friend. To paint everyone with the BPD paintbrush because of your own issues is perilously close to black and white thinking-a hall mark of BPD.

Do I have issues? You bet. Do I have BPD? No, I don’t. Take my word or not, I don’t care. Mayo Clinic says I’m cool and they don’t screw around. This blog didn’t get any attention until I wrote about PA. Now it’s getting comments left and right. People don’t like hearing about PA. It goes against every more our society teaches us; that parents don’t abuse; parents always put their children’s interests above their own, etc. Who wants to believe that a parent would willfully and willingly ruin the relationship their child has with the other parent? It’s better to shoot the messenger, right?

When you add BPD and PA together you have a powder keg. Some people try to defuse the powder keg by getting involved in awareness efforts for PA and BPD. Others like to sit back and point fingers, call names, and generally muddy the waters because of their own insecurities and/or issues. Hey, the worlds big enough for both of us.

I have to ask the poster a few questions tho-why go straight to flinging accusations? What’s with the insinuations? Ask any me any question you want but I have to say your comments read like a school girl whose crush didn’t give her a Valentine. You got burned and can’t get a resolution so you come here to stir up trouble.

And what the hell is with this “anonymous” crap? I don’t use my real name, true but come on-anonymous? Are you that high on your horse that you can’t think of a handle?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

.........but I was a beautiful baby!!!!

A few years ago I asked my mom if she & my dad had actually wanted me or was I an accident. It was an honest question, I feel. She made it clear from the time I was a kid that I was not at all the dtr she had expected to get. You know those long return lines all the stores have after Christmas? If that had existed for me she would have waited for however long it took. Take a number to return your infant of disappoint and we’ll call you as soon as we can………. After all, I wasn’t a robot, I told her “no” which is still my favorite word, and I was fat and insecure. I definitely was not the trophy dtr she wanted.

I asked her this in an e mail-“Was I wanted?” and she writes back that yes, of course she and dad wanted and planned me. Ok, that’s great. I feel better. Thanks, mom, for doing one decent thing for me.

But no…..the e mail continued on about how when I was born all the nurses showed me off to the other moms and told them how beautiful I was. Evidently they also told people to go see the Jones baby in Room 101; you’ll never see a more beautiful little girl. On and on she went, about how beautiful I was. She said nothing else about me. It was all about how beautiful I was and how the nurses showed me off.

My mother values beauty almost as much as she values money. It’s as if she really did think that if she presented 3 beautifully dressed, good looking kids it would mean she was beautiful and good looking. If her children were deemed OK and accepted by society it meant she was OK, right? Right?! It’s sad if you think about it. My mom was so miserable about herself and felt so out of control that she manipulated her children into being representations of what she wanted to be.

So yes, some days I struggle with self worth. I grew up thinking that any time I stepped out of the house I had to have my hair and make up done to mom’s version of perfection. Shirt tucked in and accessorized with a belt, match the shoes to the belt, etc. She was so angry when I started to rebel. I laughed. I was an adult and if I wanted to sleep another 30 mins and not do my make up and put my hair in a pony so frakking what? WHO CARES? For a long time I went in the complete opposite direction of how I was raised. No make up, T shirts and jeans, etc. I had to get that distance in order to find what I liked, what I preferred, how I wanted to present myself to the world.

I like bright colors and look damn good in them. I hate brown lipstick. I get my eyebrows waxed and am very picky about who does them & how. I won’t let anyone new near them in order to save a few bucks. I have 4 pairs of black boots and no heels. My earrings are sometimes big and dangly, at times a little slutty but all in good taste.

I refuse to buy coordinating pieces just because the mannequin looks good in them. I don’t care what the trend is, I wear what I look good in. I like low cut tops (so does my husband!). I look like a 21 year old college student who is nowhere near 30, not the 60 year old real estate agent she tried to dress me as.

I may have been a beautiful baby then but I’m a beautiful babe now!

Monday, July 7, 2008

My Dad, My Hero

I could always see when mom was going off the rails. Most kids can even before the other parent notices. Mom’s eyes would become vacant and stare back at me. There was no depth there, everything was reflected back. Anything set her off. After this stage came the sleeping stage. I have never figured out why my dad let mom stay in bed for weeks at a time and think that he could make it better.

HELLO! Your wife and kids mother hasn’t left the bedroom in days. She isn’t getting better! Your middle dtr skips school to stay home and take care of her toddler sister. But hey, your wife is just depressed. It will pass. Be quiet for mom and let her rest.

Oh daddy…..I know you tried to do the right thing.

I love my dad a lot, as previous posts show. When I ask he can’t tell me why he didn’t act sooner. My dad isn’t responsible for my mother’s actions, I know. I have forgiven my dad for not knowing what to do because you know what? He was hurt, too. From my own experience the spouse of someone with a pd goes through hell along with their ill spouse. Some describe it as being a frog in a pot. Slowly the temp is turned up until it’s too late and you’re about to be cooked. That can mean different things for different people.

It meant divorce for my parents, thank you God! Almost 30 years of madness is quite enough. Those 30 years took a lot out of my dad. He trusted the docs to give him sound advice about how to support his wife and my mother. The advice they gave him was to be more supportive, help out more, etc. No one paid attention to the toll it was taking on my dad. I don’t understand how these professionals can honestly think a marriage is so one sided. My mom complained, and I saw this with my own eyes on more than one occasion in family T, and the therapist jumped to attention. How could we as a family help mom? What are some better ways to show mom we respect her? Oh please, that woman didn’t want respect she wanted blind, total, robotic obedience. What could we do to show her that we love her? No thought was given as to what part mom had to play in any situation..

I would ride home from those sessions wondering how the hell mom snowed these people. I mean seriously look at the odds. My mother had 100% odds that she would never have to take responsibility for her actions. Too bad she wasn’t a horse, eh?

In the midst of that was my dad. Trying so hard to be everything to everyone almost wore him out. My dad, the guy who took off halfway across the US as a 20something. He built silos, did welding, etc. My dad, who has dyslexia, yet got his pilots license after hard work. This is the guy who worked almost 100 hours a week when I was kid. He hated his job. He did it for us. He believed and believes in the Midwest credo-work hard, always give 100% and you can’t go wrong. My dad gave up so much for me and my siblings.

Sometimes when I see the little he is left with, I see red. I want to give him those 30 years back. My dad was ripped off by the mental health professionals he trusted so much. He was ripped off my a system that teaches its students how to not face the consequences of their actions. I don’t care about $$$ or things like that, if I had 3 wishes one of them would be to send dad back in time with the knowledge to stay away from his ex wife. I’d stay and watch for a while, trying to see the man I only hear about once in a while. I’d watch him to see if he always had tired eyes. Was his forehead always that lined? What did he do for fun?

So I tell you this-if you think the only casualties of BPD are the children you are dead wrong. The spouse of a personality disordered individual shoulders a heavy burden. It’s a burden they hide and hide well but it’s there. It’s time the mental health community started sharing part of this burden rather than creating a heavier load.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Words for Today are.......Parental Alienation

Had my parents divorced when I was a kid I honestly couldn’t you tell who I would have preferred to live with. More than likely some “educated” judge well versed in domestic violence propaganda, oops I mean literature, would have awarded mom custody. I hate to say it but I wouldn’t have fought it.

My dad was, is and always will be the only parent I have. I know that now. I have one parent and one prison camp director that raised me. As much as I loved my dad, as a child I wanted the prison director to love me, too. Mom made it clear that she had no time for any of her children if we dared to refuse or refute her nasty comments about her husband, her children’s father. Mom was subtle with her parent alienation. She didn’t come right out and say she thought dad was an idiot. I have now learned as an adult that my mom encouraged my dad to take a job with evening hours. It was a promotion and she told dad that he deserved it so he should take it. She then turned around to lament to her children how awful it was that our dad refused to get day hours so he could spend more time with us. She would say that dad “just didn’t think about his kids.” She also hated any attention dad paid to his dtrs. A hug or a compliment from dad was termed “sick. According to her, normal fathers don’t hug their dtrs and this was a message she pounded home daily. She taught me that hugs from my father were bad and shameful so I started to refuse them.

The way my mother used to talk about my father upset me quite a bit. I know now that what she was engaging in is called Parental Alienation. What I and my sibs went thru is nothing compared to what other kids go thru, I know. However, it’s unsettling nonetheless. I see so many kids living with a Borderline parent that engages in Parental Alienation. These kids are caught in a dangerous spot. They must side with their alienating parent or face utter annihilation. To show any love or affection to the other parent means punishment.

Unfortunately, as kids we don’t have the words to tell the other parent “I’m doing what I have to do in order to survive.” Eventually we get to the point where we repeat the lies from the alienating parent. We are worn down. As we repeat the lies we begin to believe them. Reality is dictated by a child’s parent, and when that reality is a custodial parent telling us what an SOB the other parent is we start to believe it. Honestly, I know it’s hard for other dads to hear but we have no choice. As I stated above, we do what we have to do so we can survive.

I was secure in the love my daddy had for me. I knew that my dad would never leave me. My mother, however, made it known that her love for me was conditional. Sad to say, I sided with mom time and again, and most often in matters I had no business knowing. I felt I had to show my allegiance to my mother in order to keep the peace which lead to what I thought was her love for me. I was a dog begging for emotional scraps. In the same way you train a dog with treats, an alienating parent trains their child with the most potent of “treats”-praise, affection, and some insane charade that they tell us is love. As a kid, and even as an adult for the short time she declared all out war on dad, I just wanted her acceptance. I wanted peace. I wanted her to shut the hell up. The easiest way was to nod and play along. At that point in time fighting back risked too much for me. I didn’t want to lose whatever scraps mom threw my way.

Even today I see the affects of mom’s distortion campaign. I try to take over whatever it is dad is doing because he doesn’t know how to do anything (according to mom). I dismiss any thought or emotion he has-“your father just can’t communicate” said mom. “He’s cold and uncaring.”

Well, actually he isn’t. I’ve worked very hard on the above bad habits. Dad and I are now closer than ever and he now has no fear in telling me to shut the hell up or to quit taking over whatever it is I am taking over. He says these things with love and with firmness. He says them as a dad. Dad kept quiet for so long; afraid of what would happen should he point out the obvious-that his kids were being brainwashed by a seriously mentally ill mother. My dad deserves a medal. I don’t know how he kept going all these years, taking the undeserved crap his kids dished out. He never gave up on us; he was always there, no matter what. Mom walked out when her kids refused to continue being her robots.

I don’t know how he withstood it for so long or how he knew when the time was right to point out the flaws in the logic I parroted from my mother. I can’t fathom how he lasted so long being married to someone who tried to turn his kids against him. What I do know is that I will always and forever take my dad’s real, quiet, constant unconditional love over my mother’s grandiose, self absorbed version of love.