Posted on September 11, 2013 by MJ
As promised, here is the other side of the coin regarding “Make-Believe Children”–the no-good child. Yesterday, I wrote a rather lengthy post describing the all-good child, and I found it to be a rather educational and somewhat emotional post to write. I think, however, that it’s healthy to be informed about these dynamics within families where a borderline mother, stepmother, grandmother, or father is present because we as children often leave the home with habits and tendencies ingrained, and we don’t understand ourselves. We often don’t like ourselves either. I have heard myself and other people with borderline mothers confess, “I feel like I’m on the outside looking in. I feel like no one understands me. I want to be included. I feel like everyone is a part of some joke, and everyone is laughing. Everyone gets it, but I don’t. I want to enter in, too! Why can’t I just let go? Why can’t I enjoy life like my friends do? What the fuck is wrong with me?” Truthfully, I don’t think we are innately flawed. Nothing is really wrong with us. That is the first truth to embrace. We just need to learn new habits in the way of thinking about others and about ourselves. For the all-good child, there is no such thing as letting go or having a good time because your sole role in life is to meet every single need and expectation, known and unknown, of your borderline parent. You exist for no other reason. You only exist for her. Once you figure this out, it’s easier to live with them, but once you figure this out–and realize that this is utterly wrong–you will fight to get away from her…or die trying.
What is life like for the no-good child? I can speak about this, too. I don’t know how something so tragic happened, but after my parents divorced my father married a 19 year-old girl who was also a borderline. My father was 30 at the time. My father had pedophilic tendencies so this isn’t a huge surprise. My new stepmother had already been married and divorced when they met.
When I met my stepmother, I was six years-old, and I had great hope. I remember this. I was in Kindergarten, and I really wanted to like her. I had an immense need to please all the adults in my life particularly my father. She was nice to me for a little while, but my father poisoned the well a bit as did my mother. My mother called their house frequently and harassed my stepmother. My father lied about paying the child support, and she was caught in the middle. I became the representation of my mother to them both as I was an extension of my mother and a representation of my father’s former life with her. When I try to put the pieces together as to what caused my stepmother to hate me as much as she did, I can only guess that it’s because I was a reminder of that previous life. She wanted all reminders of that life to vanish. If I could be banished from her life, then she might have peace. Lawson explains in her book Understanding The Borderline Mother that many things can cause a mother (or stepmother in this case) to project hatred onto her child. Sometimes it’s a reminder of the hated parts of herself or even that which she hates. Some borderline mothers who have been raped will choose their sons as the no-good children because of their utter fear and hatred of all males since they associate men with violence. They cannot separate the gender from the horrible event that happened to them. I think my stepmother could not separate my mother and her treatment of herself and my father from me, her daughter. I became the target–the no-good child. Lawson states, “Chronic psychological degradation of a child, or an adult, can have deadly consequences.” (Lawson 167)
Characteristics of the No-Good Child
Develops borderline personality disorder: “The negative projections of the borderline mother grounded the no-good child’s self-concept in self-hatred. Children who are perceived as evil by their mother have two choices: 1) to believe that they are evil, or 2) to die trying to be good. The mother’s perception is immutable: no-good children can never win no matter how hard they try. Without intervention, no-good children inevitably develop BPD….The borderline mother will vehemently deny her role in the child’s behavior. She honestly does not see it.” (Lawson 169) To me, this is heartbreaking. It’s very hard to read. I can only speak about my own experiences. I did not develop BPD, and I do look back and wonder about it. I think it’s because I believed that I was loved. I was utterly convinced that my mother loved me, and I believed that my grandparents loved me, too. That is what will tip the scales for victims of abuse and maintain resiliency–the belief that one is loved. It just takes one person to believe in you. Just one. isn’t that a miracle? I think that’s why I stayed in the purgatory of codependency and never descended into Borderland. Although my mother could rage, she never did the things that my father and stepmother did.
My stepmother believed that I was possessed by a demon. That was her worldview. She would convince my father that I had a lying demon inside my body, and she would convince him that I needed to be rid of it. This began when I was 7 years-old. First, they tried beating it out, but I would not break. Then, they would put me in very hot baths to “boil” it out. They would then attempt to beat it out afterwards. Then, I would be subjected to cross-examinations and forms of mental torture. My father was ex-Special Forces. He was skilled at torture and the like so he seemed to enjoy the long cross-examinations that went on late into the night. I would fall asleep and fall off the chair, and someone would slap me until I would wake up. This sort of behavior is termed “folie à deux” or perhaps “folie à imposée”. Essentially, it’s a situation wherein psychosis or delusion is shared by two people, or, in the case of folie à imposée, one person’s delusion is imposed upon another who may not have participated in it without the other person. While my father was a sadist, he was generally passive. I don’t think that he would have been as abusive as he was without the instigation of my stepmother. She was the one who made the demands and instructed him to act. There are many families with borderline mothers and very passive fathers. The fathers either do nothing and bury their heads in the sand or, worse, follow the instruction of their borderline wives; hence, a folie à deux situation arises. It’s very important that adult children who are trying to recover from these situations know that they did not endure this abusive dynamic because they are intrinsically evil. Folie à deux is a tragic dynamic, and it is never the fault of the children. It might feel like it, but it’s not. Know this. Is it any wonder though that a child brought up in something like this might go on to develop BPD later on?
Suffers from pain agnosia: “No-good children may develop pain agnosia, the lack of pain response. Seventy-five percent of abused children in one study showed self-destructive tendencies such as trichotillomania, falling, nail biting, head banging, eating indigestible substances, swallowing hard objects, and ingesting pills and medicines. Children who were transferred to nonabusive environments, however, terminated these behaviors and a normal pain response returned. The no-good child, therefore, appears to be indifferent to punishment, increasing the mother’s rage. Pain agnosia occurs as the result of the release of a brain opioid, metencephalin, that induces euphoria and provides an anesthetizing effect.” (Lawson 169) I was a nail-biter, and I picked my lips until they bled. I have no memories of not doing this. When I am deeply stressed I will begin to do this. It’s odd. When I was recently in the hospital, I spent my entire time in the hospital picking away at my bottom lip. I would bite it until it bled. I have no idea why I did it. I think it might be a response to pain and stress. It’s a weird way to calm myself. I don’t do it often, but I’ve always done this. Whenever I had to visit my father as a child, I bit my nails, picked my lips, and chewed the inside of my mouth until there were holes and large ulcers formed. I have scars inside my cheeks now from doing this.
Feels doomed: “No-good children feel marked, doomed for life, like a blight on the face of the earth. Their pervasive sense of hopelessness is conveyed in their artwork, their writing, and their behavior…They see no good in themselves, in the world, or in their future. They feel certain that they will ruin good things, good people, and good times. They see no hope.” (Lawson 170) My stepmother actually told me things like this, but I didn’t really believe her. I focused intently on growing up and leaving everyone behind. That is what I did at all times. As soon as they began whipping me or screaming at me, I left my body. I simply went somewhere else. I dissociated. I eventually said to myself, “I will leave you all one day.”
Messages to The No-Good Child
“Of all the tragic aspects of no-good children, perhaps the most heartbreaking is their continued desire to please their mother….No-good children may stay attached to their mothers and give up on themselves. Unfortunately, by doing so they give up hope of feeling loved. An x-ray of the no-good child’s self might reveal a slow-growing tumor consuming the soul. No-good children are afraid of looking at themselves, especially of looking within. They sense an internal darkness, something withered and black, foul and rotten. Whatever it is, it feels beyond their control and is too terrifying to face. Those who come to therapy, therefore, must have a great deal of courage. They must be willing to look at their withered soul and let it be nourished in the warm light of acceptance and understanding.” (Lawson 171)
I stopped trying to please my stepmother and father when I turned 16. I cut off my relationship with them. I contacted them again when I was married. I had a baby girl. I thought perhaps they would treat me differently. They didn’t. I ended it for good a decade ago. It’s hard to sit in the presence of people who used to beat you senseless because they thought you were the house of a demon and refused to apologize for it. It was also very hard for me to realize that I hated my stepmother. I felt complete ambivalence towards my father, but I truly hated my stepmother. My blood would boil sitting in her presence. I had never felt hatred before. I didn’t even hate the man who abducted me. I think that might be weird. It takes so much energy to conjure up hatred. I figured that he didn’t deserve my energy. He didn’t deserve any part of me. Not even my hatred. But her? The sound of her voice elicited a visceral response in me. I felt terror and total helplessness in her presence. I’m not the kind of person who can live with hatred in my spirit, and I sincerely hated her. I had to get away from her and my father for the well-being of my soul and mind. Perhaps for their own well-being, too. What if I snapped? How many times can a person be treated so badly? How many times could a person be denigrated and treated like….something subhuman? That’s what they did after all. What if they said something to my daughter? I didn’t trust myself to hold back. They never held back. She carried a gun in her purse for protection. Why? Well, according to her, “you never know when some black piece of trash will come try to rob you. I have a right to defend myself.” Everyone was subhuman. What if I reached for her gun? What if I needed to defend myself? What if the world needed defending from her? This is how twisted the thinking can get when you’re sitting in the presence of people who have abused you. Without the proper healing and reconciliation, it’s just not a good idea particularly if those people are completely unrepentant and perhaps not the nicest of people to begin with.
“Children of borderlines cannot become healthy, autonomous adults unless they find a way of understanding their experience. Describing early experiences with words is difficult because memories ‘are stored in the amygdala as rough, wordless blueprints for emotional life.’ Like children who are born deaf and blind, children of borderlines have no way of organizing their emotional life. They do not realize that they are different, that other children are born into a world of sound and light. The lack of consistency in their emotional world creates a sense of meaninglessness, as if life itself is nonsense. Therapy helps children of borderlines organize and express their feelings, and helps them find meaning in their own existence…Masterson’s words regarding the treatment of borderline adolescents and their mothers echo [other therapists]: ‘Therapy is arduous, time-consuming, filled with…obstacles, but it is far from impossible. When it is pursued faithfully, it more than justifies the effort, providing, as it does, a life preserver to rescue and sustain the deprived and abandoned in their struggle and eventually a beacon of light to guide them’. Feeling buried alive is normal to the borderline mother and her children. Without help, they cannot be saved.” (Lawson 173)
That is very sobering, but it’s true. Children of borderlines must seek therapy if they ever truly want to make sense of their experience and integrate their inner lives into something fully functional and whole. I’ve been at this work for the better part of a decade, and I’m still at it although the pace is slower now. There’s so much I understand now. While I look back on certain memories and feel an ache, it no longer overtakes me. I’m no longer paralyzed and stuck. I can see that I was the no-good child at my father’s house, and when I returned to my mother’s house I was the idealized and favored all-good child–most of the time.
It is important for me to explain that I fell from grace when I attempted to leave home. My mother had a raging merger fantasy around me, and every time I tried to grow up I was severely punished. It began when I hit puberty. I was maligned when I got my period. I was denigrated when I had to begin wearing a bra. Every sign of maturation she interpreted as a harbinger of abandonment. She, therefore, made certain that I was shamed thoroughly for things I could not control. I was to never forget my place; I was chattel. When I got married, she almost refused to come to the wedding. When I got pregnant with my first daughter, she slit her wrists. I was the no-good child, but I was not enthralled anymore. She was beginning to lose her glamour. The spell had lost its potency, and I was beginning to feel my own power. Perhaps I could try to assert myself. Perhaps I didn’t need her. Perhaps she couldn’t devour me. What if she isn’t all-powerful? What if the Great Beast has no teeth?
And it’s those questions that begin to free us and allow us to step into the light after so many years of living in their shadow.
What if I’m not evil? What if I’m not stupid? What if I’m not a blight upon all humanity? What if I’m not possessed by demons? What if…
….I am good?
…you are good?
Category: abuse in families, Borderline Personality Disorder, co-dependency, emotional abuse, mental health, Mothers, Rage, therapyTags: adult children of borderline parents, borderline mothers, Borderline Personality Disorder, characteristic of no-good children, folie a deux, messages to no-good children, no-good child of borderline mothers
Great post, I can relate to so much of this, being the no-good son of my borderline mother. What you parents and step-mother did to you was absolutely horrifying, but I can relate there as well. I also felt for a long time that I was locked out of my life, unable to experience anything because of what she did to me, though that’s breaking away now. I too had someone who loved me, at least for awhile in my childhood, and so I didn’t end up borderline like my brother did. Our mother would vacillate between which of us was ‘worse’ according to her view, sometimes I would be held against her and told that I was special, we were alike, and then the next minute I would be ridiculed, laughed at, called incompetent trash. But most often I was indiscriminately lumped with my brother for the fact that we would never be our sister, the all-good child who when she sacrificed herself in servitude on our mother’s altar was resurrected as a god in her mind. But she floated the possibility that maybe I could be “as good as” my sister one day if I tried really hard, and did things like attend the college she graduated from and do other things to give up my own identity and experience. The depths of the borderline insanity are just so immeasurable, a black hole.
Thanks so much for sharing your story and this book. It’s helped me explore my own past a lot.
Thank you for your comment and for sharing your experiences. I just feel so much for you. I’ve read some of your blog, and I feel a deep ache over what you post. I relate to it, and I have this strange urge, of course, to want to make it better. There is no rescuing. I know that. I just do not like that others suffer like this. Does this make sense? I’m sorry about your brother. I am very relieved and glad to hear that you are progressing in your process. I relate to what you wrote about being held closely and praised or told that you were alike. My mother used to make me sleep with her while she stroked me. I HATED it!!!! She would hold me close like a teddy bear. I find it interesting that the storyline might differ, but the actions are similar. The modus operandi is just eerily similar, isn’t it? It oddly comforting–the common experience. None of us are alone in that. I’ve had this book for a few years, and I thought I would educate myself just a bit further. I had no idea I would be remember as much as I have. Do care for yourself!!! Shalom…
My mother who has Borderline Personality disorder met my dad in college in New York City. How ever my dad’s mother, or my grandma Sophie, hated my mother. She said that my mother was crazy and she was totally convinced that if my dad married her he would have a really bad life. My grandma Sophie did every thing to prevent my mom and dad from getting married. However. my mom perceived this as bullying and she became devastated.
After my two sisters and I were born, my mother assigned us the roles in the family that still hold up today. My older sister is the neutral ignored child. She grew up as a whiney crybaby who was openly jealous of my younger sister, the all good child, and secretly jealous of me, the no good child. I was labeled as the evil demon from he’ll and I functioned as platform for my mom to blame all of her problems on. The abuse I received included: My mother convincing myself and others that I was severely retarded dispute the fact that I got a 180 on the I.Q. test. She even collected government money for me being so significantly retarded and currently she is running scared because I am in college and she is feeling the pressure of being punished for committing Freud. There for I am not allowed to succeed at anything, even things I am really good at. Deep down in my mom’s psyche, my successes are preserved as an opportunity for me to abandon her. And her deepest fear is that I will abandon her once I have the means for total independence, so she must take all opportunities away from me. She does this by lyeing her ass off just to scare people who could other wise help me. For example, one summer I came home from college to find out that my mom had told everybody and I mean everybody that I had been brain washed into a satanic cult and I was in a gang on drugs. When nothing like this had ever occured. My younger sister was the beautiful bipolar princess. She was favored because she was the closest to being my mom’s Bobsy Twin. My mom obsessed about the Bobsy twins because having a daughter who is a clone of the mother is an epic fantasy for a mother with Borderline Personality Disorder.
I don’t know why I’m ever shocked by what children of BPD parents tell me, but I am. I am just so sorry for what you’ve been through! I am, however, very happy that you are in college. You are doing what it takes to get away and get out. There are many Axis II disorders that I can wrap my brain around, but BPD is still one that mystifies me. I can read about, study it, and attempt to profile my own mother until I know her every move and countermove. I will still ultimately never have a true sense of understanding as I might with something like an anxiety disorder or a phobia or even suicide. I think I even understand Narcissistic Personality Disorder. But, what you describe is just awful, and yet I completely relate to it! My father and his wife eventually had a child together when I turned 15, and, boy, was that baby ever treated like royalty. She was the Golden Child, and I was EVIL! When I was in the hospital for treatment for a seizure disorder, my father hunted me down solely for the purpose of trying to tell the entire staff that I was a pathological liar which was not true. So, yes, I relate. The character denigration that you endured is so hurtful. I hope that you have access to therapy so that someone can advocate for you TO YOU. This is a profound experience and the way into the light. Peace to you, Jessie….
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Your blogs are starting to freak me out! Every time I read one, it’s like I’m reading my own writing.
My mom is a borderline. I didn’t find that out until I saw a therapist at the age of 27. I said something and the therapists eyes lit up and she said “Have you ever heard of Borderline Personality Disorder?” After reading the DSM-5 together and going over the criteria, I finally had answers. It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders.
I’ve read tons of books and blogs, each one makes me feel a little less alone and a little less lost.
I was excited when I found one that used ‘fairy tales’ to describe their behaviors, because I could relate to so many of those stories. Snow White, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel…
I didn’t just have a borderline mother. I, like you, had the quintessential ‘evil step-mother.’
My dad seems to have a type and his horrible taste in women has made my life a living nightmare.
The sad part about fairy tales, is the ‘fairy’ part. Somewhere along the way these stories got distorted. Magic and make-believe got added into them and became the focal point. It’s hard to distinguish what’s real and what’s fantasy when you read or watch the watered down Disney interpretations. People somewhere along the way forgot that the villains in these stories actually exist in real life.
When I read the Grimes versions as an adult, I was blown away. They’re so raw, so real and so relatable.
It begs the question, why did our fore bearers feel the need to pass these tales of warning down? Why is the evil step-mother and the weak minded, spell bound father such a reoccurring character? What are they trying warn us about? What are we supposed to look out for?
I think in a nutshell it boils down to this:
Manipulative/narcissistic women often seek men who are affluent and vulnerable. If the man has children, they perceive the man’s children as a threat to their financial gains and the prosperity of their own children and they will do what is necessary to rid themselves of that inconvenience.
You wouldn’t think that a father could let that happen to their children, but if it wasn’t a problem, we wouldn’t have fairy tales warning us about it now would we…
I’ve begun to wrap my head around the borderline mother and the narcissistic step mother. I’m still struggling with my passive father. He’s a total mystery to me. The folie a deux makes perfect sense. What you said about your father not being an abusive person until he was influenced by your step mother… I can painfully relate to. Before my dad met my step mother, he and I always got along. My mother made his life miserable, but he never took it out on me. He wasn’t a good father, he only spent time with me when my mother forced him to take me, but he was always decent to me, until he remarried. After that, I was a liar, I was a trouble maker, I was trying to sabotage his marriage. He and my step mother just kept pushing me farther and farther away until one day my step mom finally found her ace in the hole. The perfect reason to get rid of me once and for all and it was my own stupidity and ignorance that gave it to her.
My mom was going around town telling everyone that my step mother was having an incestuous relationship with her own father. I was horrified when my mom told me what she had been doing and I didn’t care if it was true or not I knew it was wrong and I wanted to put a stop to it, so like an idiot I told my step mom what my mom was saying about her.
My step mother lost it, understandably. She called my dad who was out of town and told him what I had said. She told him that the only reason I told her was to hurt her and this was proof that I was out to get her. My dad called my mom and my mom confessed to it. She didn’t deny saying it at all and yet my dad still took my step mother’s side. By the way, I was 13 years old when this all went down. They cut me out completely and I’ve tried several times to talk to my dad. I’m 30 now and I spoke to him a year ago and one of the first things he said to me was “You made up those lies about (step moms name) and her dad. We can’t trust anything you say. You should have known what would happen when you said what you said.”
My dad chooses to live in an alternate reality. I made a mistake telling my step mom what I told her and I have to live with that, but I also know that she was looking for a reason and if it hadn’t been that, it would have been something else. I was damned either way.
Why my father is attracted to manipulative/narcissistic women…I’ll probably never know.
My father was abusive prior to his meeting and marrying my stepmother. He did not engage, however, in the sort of prolonged psychological warfare and unusual physical abuse that he seemed to learn to enjoy until after he remarried. The abuser/enabler dynamic is very common when there is a very strong sadistic personality present. And, my stepmother had a strong sadistic streak. My hypothesis is that when a personality disorder is present that is also co-morbid with sadism, then a passive partner is required in a “successful” coupling. Otherwise, the sadism cannot be satisfied. There needs to be a partner who is, at the very least, codependent and willing to be compliant. This is an oversimplification. It is a very complex dynamic, and, outside of a psychological framework, there is no adequate way to understand it in a way that will bring real comfort particularly if you have been victimized by it. Intellectually, one can grasp the machinations of it and even organize it in order to reprocess some of the trauma. But, in terms of real healing, knowing a possible etiology offers little comfort. At least for me. At the same time, it has played a pretty big role in my process of “figuring it out” which goes a long way in understanding what has happened. That really does matter.
Thank you for your response. I’m so sorry you had to endure that much pain.
My apologies, I misunderstood the part about your fathers abusive tendencies.
What you say about this being a very complex dynamic makes a lot of sense.
I, myself try not to psycho-analyze too much, because it is extremely complicated and from a healing stand-point, doesn’t really offer much solace.
In my eyes, my father was a triple edged sword. Not only did he hurt me by introducing an abusive narcissist into my life, he hurt me by not wanting to be a father. Then he went in for the K.O. punch and robbed me of a relationship with my grandparents, who were the only stable loving family members I had growing up. I believe they are the reason I’m not borderline/narcissistic myself and why I’m still here. His parents were so wonderful and loving. I’ve never met better people in all my life. He could not have asked for better parents and it just pains me so much that he didn’t want the same thing for me.
They say time heals all wounds… I just don’t think this applies.
Oh gosh, no need to apologize. No offense was taken in any way. I was simply clarifying. When I wrote this blog post a few years ago, i was also fearful of writing about my father in any detail. He was sexually abusive when I was very young. The sexual abuse stopped when he remarried, and the other aspects of his abuse began. In other words, his abuse evolved (he also couldn’t find much time alone with me). So, within the parameters of his new marriage, he was able to explore his own personal pathology and need to dominate and exploit. My father is a sociopath, but that’s for another discussion.
You know, I am very careful when I attempt to speak to others who grew up under the influence and parenting of narcissists and borderlines particularly when it comes to speculating about what the state of mind of their abusers were. So many people in my life over the years have said things like, “I’m sure your mother/father wanted the best for you….” or the like, and that clearly wasn’t true. And I have come to understand that the biggest difference between myself and my parents is that they didn’t think of me at all. They only saw themselves and were motivated to meet their own needs. Personality disorders are defined by needs-driven behaviors, compulsions, and obsessions, etc.
As a mother, I think of my children and what will benefit them consistently. The personality disordered psyche does not. Other people become a means to meet the needs of the personality disorder. In borderline personality, others are simply viewed as amorphous entities which are extensions of the personality, and whatever is necessary in terms of immediate need is applied to that amorphous entity. Me or you? We are not viewed as separate. So, your father was never thinking about wanting something good for you. He wasn’t even capable of a thought like that. My mother….my father…completely incapable. He likely wasn’t trying to deprive you of wonderful parenting–the sort he received. That is a type of thought process he can’t even have because that required a theory of mind he doesn’t even possess.
It took me a few years of functioning under this paradigm shift–both of them only do what meets their needs. If it meets his needs to abuse me, then he’ll do it. If it meets her needs to be kind to me and buy me gifts, then she’ll do it. If it meets her needs to launch into a distortion campaign and ruin me socially? Then, she’ll do it. If it meets his needs to kill animals in front of me, then he’ll do it. It is and was never about me. It is and will only ever be about what meets their needs in that moment. After that became clear, the abuse became far less personal. It wasn’t about deliberate deprivation or even my worth. It was far less painful in theory at that point. It became about finding the lies I had internalized, getting them out, and replacing them with truth. But first, I had to understand that fundamentally, it had never, ever been about me because, due to their pathologies, they never saw me as a person to begin with. They never saw or see ANYONE as individual people. Only a means to meet a need. No matter who they meet, this will always apply. And, I have watched this apply in every encounter. I don’t know if this will help you, but it was a turning point for me. It helped me get un-stuck.
I know this post is old, but I am reading through blogs at this moment regarding the subject to validate my current miserable state.
I could relate to these posts and Lawson’s writing so much.
I grew up an only child, and I only ever had my mother. My father left her when she was six months pregnant after she bought me a rocking chair of what was left of her income which apparantly had made my father furious as he wanted a new pair of Nikes (I don’t like the brand because of how it reminds me of my father walking away to this day).
My dad is basically an entitled kid of wealth. His grandmother was a niece to the Moët family, as in that rich champagne brand that merged with other companies to create the LVMH who’s CEO is about to dethrone Elon Musk as the richest on earth, and his grandfather is descended from a gentry rank of nobility but they lost their titles generations ago. So whilst they’re not millionaires, they’re wealthy and definitely have a superiority complex going on. His mother tried to use me as a pawn in their family fued before I was even born, which is why my mom told the hospital my father was unknown as she wanted them to have as little legal power over me as possible. This, is one of the reasons why I think I never developped BPD. Because no matter how much she hated me in the moments I was the no-good child, I knew she had cared about me enough to keep me safe from them.
My father married his wife years ago. I never met her, but that’s because she doesn’t wants me to be part of their lives. My father’s mother told me so herself. My father hides behind his wife’s wishes, and blames my mother when I know this wasn’t the case and he simply just didn’t wanted to put the effort into raising me. I have a half brother by now, who doesn’t knows I exist. I was told by my father’s mother his youngest sister will tell my brother of my existence by the time he’s like 15. Because like a coward, my father cannot tell his own son he kept such a massive secret from him for years. I do not interfere, because other then not knowing where they live, I do not wish for my father to point his finger at me and blame me for exposing his secret. Even though I’d wish to meet my younger brother and my heart hurts every day knowing I’m missing all kinds of milestones as his big sister.
His wife’s refusal to meet me and forbidding contact with me in their home, only made me happier my father is officially listed as unknown then ever. Because otherwise, this woman would officially be my stepmother, and I’d rather die then call her mom. Who on earth even thinks they have the right to forbid a child of talking with her father? Oh yeah, wicked stepparents do.
With my own mother, as an only child, I was always the all-good and no-good. My mom has seldomly been in a relationship and she’d usually lose interest within a few months, so it’s always been just the two of us.
I got told things like, ‘if it weren’t for you, they would have found my dead body drifting in a pool by now.’ As my mother was a party girl, who tried changing her life around when she got pregnant. It’s one of the ways her risk taking and impulsive symptoms shine through, and she still has a lust for parties but because she’s in her fifties now she doesn’t goes to clubs (that’s also one of the seldom things she seems aware about what is age inappropriate). She told me I was her guardian angel and that her pregnancy was what saved her.
She also told me things like, ‘I’d kill myself if you die before I do.’ Because I’ve been struggling with suicidal thoughts for almost my entire life and also have a chronic illness that nearly killed me several times, me dying on her has been a thought that plagued her throughout my entire life, and only further justifies to her why she is suffocating me. Because I need to be kept ‘safe’.
When I was young, I used to be overjoyed with it, because I saw it as a sign of her love for me.
She told me all kinds of such stories when I was all-good, with her pretty much prepping me up as her salvation. Like how she believed that stars were the souls of unborn children, and that I had picked her and was born on this planet with some kind of destiny, a grande mission (my mother actually believes in aliens and has some very weird theories about the galaxy).
However, I’m human. I’m not perfect, children are even less competent, and I have HF autism on top of it (was diagnosed at the age of 5 because my mom could see signs something was different about me, other then the fact I already had developped suicidal thoughts at such a tender age). My autism being inconvenient for my mother is actually one of the most common reasons to her switching into me being the no-good. If I had a meltdown in public, my mom would just drag me around like a ragdoll, extremely pissed and if I’m having one and there’s some distance between us she’ll start making hand gestures demanding me to come over in the manner to how someone might call their dog over.
I struggled with self-hatred for having autism for years as a result. If I had difficulties with something, she’d put me down as ‘the retard’ and made me feel like a burden. She’d compare me to her sister’s children (none of them have autism), and wave their accomplishments in my face like me not being able to cook when I was 12 whilst my cousins could (they had a microwave and we didn’t, for crying out loud. I actually had to COOK).
This is why I felt tears welling up in my eyes at the paragraph ‘“Of all the tragic aspects of no-good children, perhaps the most heartbreaking is their continued desire to please their mother….No-good children may stay attached to their mothers and give up on themselves. Unfortunately, by doing so they give up hope of feeling loved. An x-ray of the no-good child’s self might reveal a slow-growing tumor consuming the soul. No-good children are afraid of looking at themselves, especially of looking within. They sense an internal darkness, something withered and black, foul and rotten. Whatever it is, it feels beyond their control and is too terrifying to face. Those who come to therapy, therefore, must have a great deal of courage. They must be willing to look at their withered soul and let it be nourished in the warm light of acceptance and understanding.” (Lawson 171)
I tried so hard throughout my teenage years to grow up, to try to work as much on my autism, in an attempt to show her I was trying, and in the false hope I could inspire her to go back to therapy as she hasn’t been in therapy and on meds for years. All in the delusion it would make her episodes where I was no-good go away, and that I had the power to save her as she so had proclaimed when I was little.
When I was about 6 years old, I promised her I’d buy her a house with a pool someday, and until I finally realized that I had given her everything and she’d only ever continue to treat me like trash no matter what I’d do at the age of 21, this was a vow I took seriously. I literally cared about going to college and get a high paying job so I could fullfill my promise to her. Until the moment I nursed her back to health after she was hit by a car, and I had to take care of her, pay the bills with my small income and savings and nobody ever bothered to ask me how I felt. She was sweet and warm when I was nursing her, but she went back to normal once she recovered. When I was trying to talk about how the experience had affected me, she told me, ‘What on earth did you lose? It was MY accident.’ I dropped on my knees and I couldn’t help but scream in pain, her words feeling like an actual knife plunging into my heart. It was then when I began to put my own needs first, and began considering opening up to people about what was really going on in our home.
I often like to quote the first and only good Silent Hill movie, to describe the relationship I had with my mother; “Mother is God in the eyes of a child.”
I worshipped my mother, I listened to her preachings and scoldings like they were my religion, and now I’ve lost faith.