... and my case, I guess is not the worst out there, but my mom is crazy. My mom has borderline personality disorder and narcissism. She pretty much emotional tortured me in between being my "best friend" while I was growing up.
Here is an essay that I am in the process of writing to try and prove that my parents’ household is an abusive one so that I can be determined independent as far as federal aid for college is concerned. I'm only 20, so I'm automatically "dependent" even though I left my parents house and went NC a year and half ago.
“I’m having trouble delving into what happened in my childhood because I’ve blocked out so many of the memories.
To start at the beginning, before I was born, my mom was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and narcissism after her personality began changing and she was having problems with her parents. She and her parents went therapy, but my mom decided that everyone else was wrong and that she was fine. This was the beginning of the BPD thinking that over the years would spin farther and farther out of control.
When someone has BPD, their line of thinking becomes skewed. They are unable to see fault in themselves, yet are constantly afraid of being seen as wrong. They also tend to focus on one person or group of people and peg them as “bad” and always wrong. This is what began to happen with my mom and her parents. She saw them as in cahoots with the therapist and saw herself as sane.
This resulted in her discontinuing her visits with the therapist and distancing herself from her parents.
By the time my little sister was born (about two years after me and ten years after my mom’s diagnosis), my mom had cut her parents out of her life completely, even though her father was now diagnosed with terminal cancer.
From this age on, I was indoctrinated with storied from my mom. Horrible stories about the world and about her parents that I would only learn were untrue years later when I sought my maternal grandmother out at age 20 and was reunited. I will explain that later.
My mom would tell me how my grandfather beat her. How my maternal grandmother enslaved her and made her wait on her hand and foot. She told me stories about how she was raped by her childhood doctor. Her story has changed over and over again as long as I can remember. Originally, he molested her. Then she began saying that he out and out raped her. Most recently, he raped her using medical instruments. In all of the versions of the story, she ran out to tell her mother who did nothing except send her back in to the perverted doctor. In her realty, whatever she is telling me at that specific time is absolutely true and has very real emotional ramifications for her, however, whether any of this really happened is up to speculation. I do not want to say that something awful like this never happened and she is making it up, but at the same time, I have seen her throw herself against a wall while she and my dad are arguing and then come running to me and show me the developing bruises and begin to hysterically tell me that my dad beat her out of anger.
These stories about her family are all false, I have discovered after research and after talking her brother and sister and my extended relatives after my reunion with them this year.
These stories begin to show what goes on in my mother’s head. In her world, all of these things that she thinks are true. Everything that SHE thinks is true. This means no one is ever allowed to disagree with her on anything.
Here is an outline of what my childhood was like living with a paranoid, delusional, Borderline mother:
Ever since I can remember I was not allowed to play in the front yard because I would be abducted. I wasn’t allowed outside without a parent until I was seventeen. What’s more is that my mother would rarely leave the house. She would not even step outside the door to enforce her delusion-induced rules. This meant that I simply didn’t go outside. I had no social contact outside of school and didn’t talk to my classmates for the duration of my elementary school years.
My restrictions in early life where manageable only because I didn’t know any differently. I was embarrassed that my friends weren’t allowed to come over to play, or that I wasn’t friends with the neighborhood kids because my house was the “weird” one with the “Do Not Disturb” sign hanging on the front door day in and day out.
As I got older, the rules because harsher. I would get in trouble for wearing clothes that my mom “told” me were off limits. She would tell me that one thing was okay to wear and the next day I would get grounded for wearing it. All the clothes were kept in my closet, and I had the difficult, if not impossible task of keeping track of which clothes were off limits when and which were okay to wear.
When I got in trouble, I would get screamed at for hours and hours. The average time of yelling was about 4 hours. I would be “in the doghouse” for a week or more after any given incident. When I was in the doghouse one wrong step meant added punishment. If I woke my mom up (who for no reason slept during the day if she slept at all) walking down the hall to exit my room when I woke up in the morning, I wouldn’t be allowed to shower for a week.
During the days, my younger sister and I were confined to the family room while my mother slept. Around middle school the incidents escalated to physical confrontations. During her yelling sprees my mother would slap me if I began to cry. She would push me and grab my arms very hard to drag me to whichever room she felt like yelling at me in. During one particularly intense occasion my mom tried to suffocate me by pushing me down onto the bed and sitting on a pillow on top of my face. My father had to pull her off of me. She claimed that I was hysterical and she was trying to calm me down.
Most of the confrontations happened during the day while my dad was at work. My mother would then call him at work to tell him what happened according to her. If I ever tried to tell my dad what happened, he would say that that was not what my mother said and that I was lying. On numerous occasions my sister and I cried out to him for help and he did nothing. Or said that he would “talk to mom”. I showed him my bruises time after time and he pretended not to see them.
The constantly changing rules and the fact that I was expected to do everything for my mom, please her in every way possible, or be punished severely were wearing me down completely. Every weekend, I washed all of the bathrooms in the house, vacuumed every room, cleaned the kitchen and swept the floors, dusted, and made my mom her meals. All of this was expected to be done only when my mother was awake, which sometimes was not until 4 in the afternoon. I was also expected to do all of this while practicing my art for at least 2 hours a day and while maintaining a heavy course load of AP and honors classes and extracurriculars every day of the week.
My mom is emotionally manipulative to the extreme and I could no longer handle the tightrope of constant emotional abuse, being screamed at for putting a dish away the wrong way one moment and being praised for making a good sandwich the next. I couldn’t handle shaking out of fear when I was walking home from school. I never knew if I would be accused to doing “wrong” when I got home from school. I prayed that my mom was asleep when I got home. My worst fear was her being awake and slowly opening the door before I ever turned the knob because she was waiting for me so that she could yank me inside and scream at me.
After years of living in the edge, never knowing whether the eggshells I walked on around my Mom would break, I broke instead. When I was in 11th grade, I suffered a psychotic break. I came back from winter break to find that one of my mentors and friends’ teacher had suffered a heart attack on New Years and had died in his home.
I began feeling more anxious than usual. I regularly had difficulty breathing and felt like the walls were collapsing in on me. I thought I heard voices in my head and I couldn’t stop washing my hands over and over and over until they bled. I would spend hours washing the dishes. I’d cry and go into hysterics if I saw someone eat something “dirty” off the floor. I’d get stuck in doorways because I couldn’t walk the “right” way and couldn’t take tests because I spent the entire time erasing my mistakes over and over. Finally, I convinced my parents to take me to a therapist and I was diagnosed with an acute case of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
That nightmare ruled the rest of my high school life. While I had many friends, I often stole away during lunch to walk the perimeter of the school and be alone with my thoughts because these thoughts (“You’re going to get in trouble!” “You’re going to get in trouble!”) were so loud that I couldn’t even hear my friends laughing at the lunch table. That mantra, “You’re going to get in trouble!” was stuck in my head because my mother systematically broke me down. I was constantly terrified of being hurt, screamed at, or demeaned.
A beautiful thing happened halfway through my senior year of high school. A way out emerged. It came in the form of an early decision acceptance to
My first semester was amazing. I was happier than I had ever been. I literally floated around doing many of the things that I was never allowed to do: I rode a bike for the first time, I left my towel on the floor, I walked around outside by myself, I went to sleep without being terrified of being shaken awake in the middle of the night to be creamed at for putting a dish away in the kitchen the “wrong way” according to my mom. I also fell in love with a wonderful, protecting young man.
Being away from home loosened the OCD’s grip on me. I was no longer afraid to go to sleep, but I was still plaqued by my everyday anxieties and compulsions. My mom wasn’t in the same house to terrify me, but she regularly called in the middle of the night demanding crazy things. The following is a letter that my now fiancé wrote regarding some of the incidents that occurred while I was at school:
“While M****** was away at school, her mother demanded that every Wednesday she e-mails a list of every single thing she had spent money on the past week. It had to be formatted precisely, double-spaced with bold fourteen-point font, so that it would not be too difficult for her mother to read. Each expense on the list had to include a date, check number, and complete list of every item purchased. Any failure to abide exactly by these rules, such as sending the list a day late because of schoolwork or missing a certain item, ultimately resulted in her mother calling her at about three or four in the morning and yelling and screaming at her for about forty-five minutes. Sitting with M****** during several of these ranting phone calls, I overheard much of what her mother said. It went far beyond a motherly scolding; Mrs. G******* commonly attacked M****** as "incompetent" and "selfish." Her mother always made her feel so horribly guilty with her furious tirades that M****** was in tears and inconsolable for hours afterwards . . . and for what, being a day late sending an email? During these phone calls, Mrs. G******* always ended up screaming about how irresponsible M****** was and how she was so self-involved because she didn't check in with her parents enough. However, at the same time, her parents would constantly tell her, as one example, that she could only call on Sunday because her father was out of town and her mother would be very stressed out. These rules for calling would frequently change, often without M****** being notified. If she was audacious enough to protest that she needed to be given freedom to be independent, she would immediately be struck down with the assertion that she had never proven herself capable of handling independence (it was irrelevant, however, that she had never been given the chance to prove herself). The emotional manipulation in these phone calls was astounding to me. One thing that I have noticed about M****** is that she is always extremely anxious about doing something wrong or something being her fault. All I can say is that if she was constantly attacked in this fashion at home for equally menial mistakes, I am not in the least bit surprised that she has this complex.”
By the beginning of the second semester, I was becoming noticeable more anxious. The obsessions and compulsions were coming back worse than they had been at home. I couldn’t walk to class because I had a panic attack every time I tried to leave a room. Doorways were my worst enemy. Everything was crashing down on me again. I fell into a deep depression and spent the semester in bed.
All because I was terrified to return home for the summer.
With my heart pounding, and my thoughts dancing with OCD, I did return. That only lasted one day.
“On the day that M****** went home for the summer, her family was supposed to be attending a formal awards ceremony for her sister's theatre production, a stressful occasion for someone who never sets foot out the door. Of course, it fell on M******, who often had to pick up the slack for her incompetent mother throughout her life, to make sure everyone was dressed and ready to go the ceremony. As a result, she was running late and rushing to get dressed. Her father mistakenly left the iron on, and M****** burnt her finger when she went to use it. Her father, rather than apologizing for leaving the iron on and making sure his daughter was okay, yelled and screamed at M****** for crying about her finger. She called me several times throughout the day in tears because of everything that was going on. Then, while M****** was getting dressed, her mother decided that she wasn't putting her bra on properly, so she proceeded to scream at her and try to undress her in front of her father. I should also mention that from the moment M****** arrived home from school, her parents had berated her for being "fat." M****** weighs about 130 pounds; the last time I checked, that is not even close to fat. I don't think she hardly stopped crying at all for that whole day “
That evening, I decided to leave- for good.
My boyfriend’s family took me in and I got a job waitressing near their home. It was my first job, so it was a different experience, but I excelled. Jack’s was a little hole-in-wall- restaurant that not many people knew about. I put my artistic skills to work and make posters, flyers, spread the word by making phone calls throughout the community, helping to organize a jazz night with a local band, and set up a “high school special” for to encourage kids from the high school across the street to grab burgers at jack’s after their football games. In two months, the restaurant’s profits had tripled and I was promoted by one of the owners to assistant manager.
All of this while dealing with intense guilt over leaving my family and dodging my mother (and now father’s) manipulative emails and attempts to sabotage my existence. My parents cut me off from my father’s health insurance. I was falling deeper and deeper into debt trying to pay for therapy and the hundreds of dollars worth of OCD medications that I had to buy each month.
I was also dealing the overwhelming, yet wonderful process of become re-acquainted with my extended family. My parents cut both side of our extended family out of our lives when I was young. Now that I was out of the house, I was beginning to talk to them and tell them things that my mom had told me. It was then when I began getting responses that confirmed my suspicion that my mom was delusional and all of the stories she told be were untrue. This experience is one that I am still coming to grips with. I learn more about my parents, and my mom in particular, that stirs up a lot of anger. That is calmed however, by the fact that I now have a chance to know how wonderful my family really is. My mom painted these people to be horrible, when in fact they are not, and she is ill.
One evening, I was closing up with the one of the owners and his assistant chef who was about my age. Throughout the night, the two of them were saying things that made me uncomfortable. Some of their comments turned lewd. I didn’t leave for fear of losing my job. The situation escalated into the two men ganging up on me, dragging me behind the building, and sexually assaulting me.
The stress of trying to heal my emotional wounds from being a victim of child abuse and now a survivor of attempted rape weighed heavily on me and I was close to breaking again. My goal of being self-sufficient and going back to school kept me going.
Despite my debt and despite the wounds that I was dealing with, I’m slowly pulling through. I’m now working in
I have a goal of becoming a psychologist. I want to help those in situations like mine and be the beacon of hope for those who suffer from debilitating disorders like OCD, or try, as much as I can to help people like my mother so that their children have the chance to grow up without being trapped in the web of terror and abuse that results from that disorder.