Sunday, March 8, 2009

Anatomy of An Unchosen's Vent, Part 1 of 7

Before I start this entry, I'd like to give the defintion of a vent, taken from an online dictionary:
v. vent·ed, vent·ing, vents
1. To express (one's thoughts or feelings, for example), especially forcefully.
2. To release or discharge (steam, for example) through an opening.
3. To provide with a vent.
1. To vent one's feelings or opinions.
2. To be released or discharged through an opening.

Children of Borderline parents are not allowed to express any emotion the parent deems unacceptable. Expressing anger or embarassment about a parents behavior is strictly verboten. Attemtpting to talk to the non-parent is often a fruitless endeavor. The non-parent is often so consumed by the Borderline parent that little is left in the way of parenting.
Effective communication, getting along with others, etc. are all skills children learn through a parents example. When you are parented by a Borderline, you learn-
* Might makes right
* Whoever yells the loudest wins
* It's more important to "win" than to resolve a conflict
* Hurting, insulting, or generally cutting a person down is OK
* No other point of view is to be accepted over one's own. All other points of
view are to be ridiculed
Vents from an Unchosen are usually the result of our feeling stifled, ignored, etc by our Borderline parent. In contrast, and in my own experience, my Borderline Mother's vents always stemmed from 2 things-1)her huge sense of entitlement (she'd "vent" that people weren't listening when in fact they were listening just not giving her whatever it was she wanted), or 2)she'd use it as a tool when she felt someone had abandoned her (usually a friend who got wise to mom's ways). Honestly, I have never seen my mom "vent" for any other reason.
When you are exposed to and taught the above behavior, it's no wonder Unchosens tend to engage in what I call "epic vents." I will give the definition of an epic vent in a later post but for a quick defintion an epic vent is when you keep going...and going...and going, not realizing your friend on the other line of the phone has fallen asleep!
So, if these vents aren't helpful in the grand scheme of things why do Unchosens do them? First, it's what we know. That is not an excuse for poor behavior, it is a reason. And yes, I know the reason still doesn't make it right. Secondly, by the time we have had enough and have started to vent, we typically have lost all control over our emotions.

We wind up behaving like the parent who hurt us.

A HUGE difference exists between an Unchosen's vent and a vent from someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder. Unchosen's feel remorse and regret for the people they hurt. Borderlines are remorseful and regretful only that someone caught on to them and stopped the con. Unchosen's don't feel justified in hurting someone, whereas the Borderline operates almost solely within the "get them before they get me" mentality.
For a lost of us, myself included, the feelings of embarassment are the catalyst for deciding to change. Eventually we realize, with a sickening clarity, that our behavior matches that of our sick parent. We start to lose friends, jobs, and spouses. It's an awful feeling to realize that you are hurting others in the same way your parent so annihilated you.
Learning how to undo the Borderline parent's influence is difficult but can be done. What I and other unchosen must learn is to communicate as we live and as things happen, not to store things up until the pressure is too great. This just starts the whole circle again.
The 1st step is realizing what our venting style is. I will post more on the styles of venting on Friday the 13th. It should be interesting!

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