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Difficult Subject

WARNING: What follows is possibly more than you would ever care to know about my life story (although it is only a fraction of what has shaped who I am today). It might be a little depressing and it might make you feel a little uncomfortable (I always feel a little uncomfortable when reading stories like this, anyway). I don't share this story with many people, as it was a source of anguish for me. Now that it is over and behind me, I'm just trying to shake it off. But I can't ignore that it happened, and there's still more shaking to do, so I'm sorry for the really poor presentation of my thoughts. I didn't think about how I was writing, I just typed the significant events in chronological order. To delve deeper into my emotional state (which I believe is usually the real reason of these stories) would add so much length that I might as well write a book (or at least a sizable short story). Thanks to all the brave souls who continue forth and read to the very end. Double thanks to those who give a comment.

 

I have been able to open up about some pretty tough issues here on EP. This one is still a little raw for me, so I might have to save the full story for another day. I was just browsing through another experience page- one called  "i hate my father" or something like that. Someone wrote a story about their father having borderline personality disorder. Now, I survived through my years with my BPD dad and have since been moving, slowly but surely, to a place of forgiveness and understanding. He has made great strides to improve himself, and as long as I keep a healthy distance, I can heal. I didn't want to join that group, because I don't want to hate my father. But the story about the BPD dad actually made me start to cry. This is when I realized that I'm not completely over it yet.

I guess I never really believed he had BPD.

 

Well, okay maybe I'll try to give the whole story here. But I'm stopping and finishing later if I need to.

Backstory with my dad:

by the time I'm three years old, my parents have divorced. twice. (when I'm "old enough," I am told stories about drugs and my dad going out and cheating on my mom while she is pregnant, my dad wasn't present for the births of either me or my sister, dad drained my mom of all of her money and left her broke financially and broken emotionally etc etc grandparents had to step in and pick up the pieces blah blah)

by the time I am 13, I have only seen my father a combined total of 30 weekends, 9 holidays and four summer months. He has now been divorced two more times, for a total of four divorces- and he's on wife number 4. he has lived in three states, none within reasonable driving distance to me. I now worship the ground he walks on and think he's just the coolest person ever. Until I go to stay with him, that is. I don't realize that the way he has always treated my sister, any stepsiblings i may have at the moment, and myself was wrong (emotional abuse and stuff). All I know is I hate being there and I want to go home. Of course, the second I am at home, I am counting down the days until I can go visit daddy again (dumb kid).

i learn for the first time about my dad's drug use. i am trying really hard to be okay with it. the man can do no wrong, right? nonetheless, it is uncomfortable to be around him and his friends, all getting drunk and getting high and acting really weird. very awkward. especially my dad. i've probably seen him like this a million times, but now i am finally starting to piece it together that this is how a person who is drunk and/or high behaves. Until now I have never so much as sniffed alcohol and wouldn't know the first thing about drugs (many years later i am told that, throughout his life, my dad has been on every illegal drug imaginable).

I stop being so excited to visit daddy. he picks up on this and his tirades get much worse. dad goes to jail for dealing or somethin. whatever, i don't care. so i don't get to visit him this year. not like he ever calls or writes. i barely notice.

i am 15 years old. dad has now left wife 4. and i really liked this one.

what? he's moving back to town??

don't like the sound of that. he comes in for christmas and just never leaves. lives with his mom for about a year. claims he moved back to town to be close to his kids. i don't get a single phone call or visit in the whole year. not one.

wife #2 sues him for child support. my mom would never sue him for child support. "how is he supposed to pay us what he owes us if he's sitting in jail?" she would say. the only time my mom or wife #2 ever got a check was if the current wife wrote it for him, anyway. my mom bails him out.

he stays on our couch and just never leaves.  aside from losing my "home away from home," that other home has now invaded and taken control of my true home. i basically feel homeless for the next few years. dad is dictator and a tyrant. emotionally abusive and all that BPD stuff. still with the drugs and now he's got my once very straight-laced mom doing all of that too. it feels like an especially scary episode of the twilight zone.

during this time, i'm trying to graduate high school in one piece, and barely succeeding. went from A/B average in honors classes to almost not graduating at all. i think my gpa ended up something like 9 points lower than it was when my dad first moved in.

the very day i turn 18- he goes on a tirade (because i was microwaving a bowl of mushroom soup- i kid you not) and now that it is legal throws me out. i take my cold bowl of soup and my best friend's mom drives over to pick me up. next day, he's already changed the locks on the door.

i stay with my friend for a little while. we've been best friends since elementary school, but through all of this something changes and i end up losing my best friend on top of everything. i think the time i spent staying at her house was the last straw.

then i go to my grandparents. i feel like i can try to open up for the first time since the world turned upside down (somewhere along the line my emotions had frozen up). i tell my grandma that my dad hit me a few times. she says "what did you do to deserve it?" they don't understand why i am acting different, why i've "changed" (i'm depressed and stressed out- it's my senior year of high school and on top of all else i've got the fate of my future to worry about). they begin making accusations, convinced that i'm on drugs. what a slap in the face!

i can't talk to them anymore and never look at my grandparents the same since then. every person i had complete faith and trust in has now vanished for me. my dad- the man i thought he was had been an illusion all along anyway. my mom- she sided with him everytime he would go all crazy on us (what is up with that?) and she let him kick me out of my home. my grandparents, who helped my mom raise me and who i was very close with. my best friend, who i shared every every everything with and loved to the ends of the earth. now she was hanging out with new friends and making snide remarks about me when i wasn't around (according to these same "new friends." i didnt need them to tell me though, we drifted apart and i knew it).

so i graduate and spend the summer with my grandma. i get my first job and, having missed all of those shining opportunities for full ride scholarships and an escape as far away as possible to an out-of-state university, i enroll in community college. i never show up to class and drop out before the semester is over. i stop showing up at my job too.

over this year, my mom has to sell the house (i don't even know what my dad did with all her money) and "we" move to a rental. they have a room picked out for me but i never move in. a month later, my mom leaves my dad (finally!) and moves intoa government-subsidized apartment (all she can afford on temp work- my dad had convinced her at one time to quit her well-insured nice paying job at the hospital so she could work full-time at his hot chocolate stand- which she paid for in the first place). my dad tried to kill himself, gets committed and FINALLY gets disgnosed with BPD. he goes through a year of rehab at a homeless shelter, re-discovers jesus and now teaches sunday school and owns his own art studio/ screenprinter business where he specializes in jesus t-shirts and paintings.

i moved back in with my mom after she left my dad. eventually, when my mom had proven to my grandparents that she was no longer under my dad's "spell" or whatever, they bought a nice big house and let my mom rent it for the cost of property taxes and utlities. we all breathe a cautious sigh of relief. my dad and mom are "back together" but dad's not allowed to live here. so that means i have to see him every weekend instead when he comes over to watch movies on our couch with my mom. i graduate from the community college at the end of this semester.

things are healing, but i can't help but imagine what life might have been like if he'd just stayed gone.

 

i don't even know how long this story has gotten. i just kind of started typing. i'm sure it's awful to read, and i apologize to anyone who has struggled through it. it doesn't really do justice to my point of view through all of this and, for its length, is quite skimpy on details. but here it is in a nutshell. whatever it is.

NaomiZero NaomiZero 26-30, F 27 Responses Apr 15, 2009

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Sounds like my life except you had some advantages that I did not and I had some advantages you did not. My father was narcissistic, but gone for a decade, until I was 13. I visited him in Mexico where he introduced me to the Cuba Libre. My mother had married another narcissist. Neither of these men had any use for me. My mother resented me as a burden (that hurt), but nothing her husbands did ever surprised me. I just expected the worst, so I was never taken by surprise. But her! I am reading all of her letters to her mother and father now (from 1937 to her mother's death in 1979). The middle years marked by so-called childhood. What I never realized, but do now, is that my mother was borderline. She never really supported herself either financially or emotionally. At first she idealized me -- my artistic abilities, my musical abilities, my talent for ballet -- all of these were falsely attributed to me and I failed again and again. Besides that, I was funny looking. By the time I was ten she was thinking that none of the mothers in her bloodline had truly loved their daughters and that was why she could not love me. Then she married the second narcissist and I basically was palmed off on my grandparents, met my father again, friends were asked to take me on. I've brought up a girl and a boy myself and actually I was very little trouble. Depressed, morose, closed off, secretive, cautious to a fault and living to the future, but I got good grades, had good attendance, read all the time. No friends because I was in a different school in a different city every year of my life from the time of the second marriage. I brought myself up to the best of my ability. When I was nine, my father got in touch. I wrote him a letter, and he accused me of timing it in order to get a Christmas gift (that would have been a first). I got married when I was 20, and my mother told me that I was materialistic and did it for the wedding gifts. Yet she condemned my father for his remark when I was nine, yet here she was repeating it (to my grandmother) about wedding gifts. She'd almost died when I was 17 and was in an ICU for six weeks and more and my stepfather never told me (this anecdote usually convinces people that there was more than average teen age angst going down here). I didn't even tell her about that, but she learned about it from their friend for whom I had babysat. He was stunned to hear I was that much out of the family and honestly, even I was surprised at the extremity of my stepfather's hatred. My mother and stepfather divorced when I was 22 and divorced myself, living in another town. (My ex got the wedding gifts). Now I think my mother timed the divorce so that no one would expect her to take me on as her child again. Stepfather begged her to take him back on any conditions and she rejected him -- in none of the letters did either of them mention me although who would do the dishes after they reconciled did. Yet, he'd cut her child out of her life and he knew her well enough to know that this was not worth a mention. I was an only child. Later, my mother would say to me "It's surprises me how much you love your children. But they were so beautiful, and I always thought I would have other children." No ****. She said that. A couple of years later, my daughter asked me what about me made her the most proud, and she just looked blank for a minute, then said "everything." Meaning nothing. If someone asked me what about my daughter makes me proud, I could go on longer than this particular diatribe. Now my mother has dementia and I am crucified with guilt because I want to rescue her. I always wanted to rescue her, and it almost killed me when I was just a kid choosing silence and psychic homelessness so her second marriage could be happy. We shared a home for 27 months (three school years) once she married for the second time and the marriage occurred when I was 12. And it was always the scapegoat for the unhappiness of her marriage even though they lived together for six years after I had disappeared from their lives. We lived in the same town for four of those years and she and I never even went out for coffee. We seldom called each other on the telephone -- if she called me, it was from a phone booth near their house because he didn't want her to be in touch. I could go on. This is borderline/narcissist marriage and it's consequence to a stepchild.

Please reply with authenticity, support, and respect

You were a child whom didn't receive the love you should have. You were hoping your dad would improve, yet never did. He never will untill he stops using stupid drugs and gets help. He has to be the one to make the decision.

When one doesn't receive the love and care from a parent they tend to turn elsewhere. The unfortunate is you can lead yourself to more heartache. I notice certain behaviors in my dad that almost reflect in my current husband....and wondered what was up? It took me a while to realize they both probably have some passive aggresive issues from their own childhood abuse.

You are the person YOU WANT TO BE.....You don't need approval from someone whom is destorted. Have you spoke to others whom have the same issue with their parents? Sometimes it helps to gain support from those whom have gone through the same issues.

GOOD LUCK

Hi Naomi, thanks for sharing!

*tears* and *hugs*

"so i graduate and ... escape as far away as possible to an out-of-state ... community college"
Daughter also did this 1 day after graduation

You're story made my night in the sense that I can relate a lot as a child of a borderline parent. You actually opened up my eyes to the fact that its not my fault and even inspired me to further continue writing my book. God bless you you sweet soul!

If there is any possible way you could email me or anything, I'd greatly appreciate it! I liked your story and I like that you have enough courage to tell it. I am 28 years old and have BPD, I also have a 4 year old daughter and I'm TERRIFIED of doing the same things to her that you went through!! Any advice helps!!!

I just found this site tonight, ty. I am the Borderline Parent. My daughter is 12 right now and my son 16 who lives with his father(for other reasons in my past). I truly love my daughter. we are very open and honest with one another. I was diagnosed in 2005 when i was hospitalized for an attempted suicide. i am in DBT therapy now, but still have very rough days. She does not understand my mood swings but she tries to be there for me and I her. I really cannot relate to most of these stories, but I do worry about her greatly as she gets older because she is so much like me. I am very sorry to hear about some of the things you have had to bear through your life no child should have to go through things like that, and my daughter has been through alot for her age. I am on my 3rd marriage(finally happily married-to my best friend). but i also have had tremulous relationships, feelings of emptiness and despair. i wonder all the time if i am doing things right by her. I am not very self absorbed or abusive (i don't think anyways)like many BPD parents, most of my anguish is inward dealing with my own demons. But she has seen some things from me that she should not have seen or had to deal with at her age. I pray every day that she is brave and wise and does better than i have as she gets older. I don't want her to end up like me. Thank you again for opening your heart and sharing your story with us. I think i may show her this site and let her know that she is not the only child dealing with a parent with BPD, and hopefully will not feel alone in the world like i did for so long before therapy.<br />
Sincerely CK BPD mother.

you are like me, you feel shame and guilt for indulging in your own entitled self pity. you feel guilty about telling the world your story, it's allowed and you aren't alone. don't feel shame. unfortunately we can not choose our parents... they are just people ,,,like the person on the street...it's a shame this awful condition wrecks all of our lives at one stage or another...then there's dealing with the growing up with it all. you do sound like you are a survivor....and you'd best remember that. YOU ARE A SURVIOR and life is worth living..even if they make it hard for you to want that piece of the world for yourself. keep going...we don't need the details...we all know.xxxxx

NZ - i have a borderline mother and stepmother but several points in your story still really hit home with me as both of them were and are incredibly emotionally abusive. you are incredibly strong and know that none of what happened was your fault. you were a kid. they were the adults. you deserve much better than that.

Thank you, ND.<br />
<br />
I re-read this just now and it's the worst job of writing I've ever done. I'm surprised anyone could even understand what I was saying.

I knew you'd come a long way,Naomi.<br />
Until now I didn't realize just how far.<br />
(((HUGS)))

Ah Whendolynn. Everything about what you've said here is perfect. You're right about the things I know and I hope you're right about the things that sound good. Thanks.

Yeah. Things could be way worse. Thanks eh

You're a trooper! Thanks for sharing your experience. You deserve the best. I hope you've found some happiness to counteract the misery. Good Luck!!

i've got lots of hug-intentions for you tooo

Hey, this must have been hard. I'm sure you'll always be wondering what it would have been like if he didn't come back, but . . we're all wondering. I know that finding out I existed stopped my dad from actually, following his dreams. I found that out a couple years ago when I took an interest in his life before me, for the first time. I thought he resented my existence then. I'm not sure. I think he wanted me to be a boy for sure, anyway. He had a name picked out. The point is we all have our what ifs. My what if is what if I was not born, or if my mum hadn't gone to see my dad to tell him. Would he have been happier? Cause he always seems miserable. Okay, this is nearly turning into my own story. I'll stop. I really have too many other issues just now to be vomiting up my father issue bile at this stage.<br />
<br />
I'm actually proud of you for coming through this trouble with your dad and all. People don't get it, but I envy them their struggle. Everything great comes out of a struggle, don't it? And who remembers the easy stuff. Nah. <br />
<br />
And Naomi? - hug intention.

your hug-intention is nearly just as good as the real thing, andrew. i don't know if i am any stronger than you but i thank you for saying so. i feel for you- being in that situation must be terrible. i'm very, very glad you have good reason to push through it. your presence is felt much more than you realize.

Miss NZ, I wish I could give you a hug, A real one. About 18 months I learned the term BPD for the first time, watching a Korean film, did some reading up, and I felt all the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I realized that this was my mother. I don't know what to say to you, NZ. I think I grew up okay and fairly well adjusted because of my incredibly supportive grandmother, and the love of my father. You are stronger than I am, you will be okay. Please never doubt yourself. Now, at 41, I am (reluctantly) the parent to my unstable mother... sometimes I just want to scream and drive over a cliff, but I won't leave my nephew the stunt toddler without an adovcate, that's what stops me.<br />
<br />
Much love,<br />
Andrew

there's good philosophy in that actually

honestly all that stuff before he moved in with us didnt really effect me much. i mean, when i really thought my dad was awesome, i was the happiest kid you could ever meet. and even after i realized he was only human, i was still basically happy and definitely could be called well-adjusted. i think i had a good childhood. it was when he moved in and i really saw the nasty horrible terrible parts of him and had to be subjected to all that stuff he said and did to me that i kinda had some trouble. so i guess im really lucky that i have that somewhat secure foundation from when i was a kid. i would be a completely different person today if my parents had never divorced in the first place

I'm glad to read that through all that trouble, the ending is at least a little warming.

i cant thank you enough for this comment. you've really touched me (once again) <br />
and thank you for being max. i believe i do need it :)<br />
<br />
there's more i want to say, but can't think of how

thank you so much! i hope you're right. i do sometimes feel overwhelmed by things but i hope that in the end this all has made me stronger and not just . . kinda broken. haha<br />
thanks so so much for the encouragement :)

life's been really tough for you and you've obviously developed a lot of courage and perseverence in spite of it all. huge congrats on your graduation - that's an accomplishment to be proud of! hang in there.....you seem like someone who can overcome any more difficulties life hands you. you're an amazing person.

I know what you mean about holding your guard up. It protects me but it also keeps me from being as close to people as I'd like. It's hell.

yeah, i do feel tougher than before, but the downside to being tough is having trouble letting down my guard around people. i used to be completely and unquestionably trusting with everyone. these days my trust is a little harder to earn.

Thanks for sharing that and hopefully discussing it will make it easier to move on. I personally think that mental illness is a huge factor in the abuse and neglect cases that are so rampant. If everyone went to therapy at the age of 17 maybe it would be better. :D