I am currently working on a book about my life as a child having had a mother with borderline personality disorder: what it was like, how it affects my adult life to this day and my continuing journey through therapy to overcome it. Here is an excerpt:
“Growing up, my relationship with my brothers mirrored exactly the relationship my mother had with me:
I’m glad that you are here so that I am not so alone and hey, we have fun together sometimes. But being responsible for you is very overwhelming and I will do whatever I have to to keep your needs from causing me too much inconvenience. I don’t want to hit you or yell at you but I feel I have no other choice: I didn’t sign up for this.
The difference being, I was an innocent, vulnerable child who my mother turned into a frustrated, overwhelmed, 8 year old co-parent whose stress level would later be diagnosed by a doctor as the cause of what was almost an early death. I didn’t have a choice. She did. And she chose to sleep around with multiple, delinquent, incapable black men, milk the government for free money and hide us away from her family like a dirty little secret.
The feelings of shame and abandonment her behavior induced was so real at times it felt like the fourth illegitimate child.
I remember the three of us sitting on the couch, dark skin covered in cracking calamine lotion and chicken pox, unable to move. It was the most sick I’d ever felt, before my illness hit two years later.
And it was just the three of us together, watching her walk out with a guilty shrug of a smile on her face as she locked the door, off to visit her alcoholic boyfriend. I had begged her to stay earlier, a nuisance in her ear as she giddily packed a bag and rearranged her hair in the mirror multiple times. She had argued back heartlessly.
You have fevers and skin rashes, you just have to wait it out, there’s nothing more I can do anyway!
I remember just our eyes locking, looking around at each other, the only body parts that didn’t hurt to move as the smell of her cheap perfume began to fade from the silent living room. The horror of just how alone the three of us really were began to set in with her joyful slamming of the door.
Not just in this house, alone in life.
Pepto pink streaked tears.
We were so embarrassed for each other.”
My brothers were both pretty special kids and I miss the laughs we had together. The guilt I have over my abuse of them is in my mind every day. I wish we had had an opportunity to truly get to know each other as siblings, not with me forced into the role of a mini version of my mother. We’ve been estranged for years now. I don’t know how much time will have to pass before we do not trigger each other. Lots, I’m assuming.