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Finding peace. Saturday May 10, 2014

Six months ago I was lucky enough to be given six weeks counselling on the NHS; lucky because this therapist explained and laid to rest the mystery of why I was treated the way I was as a child by my mother.

It transpires she has a condition called 'Borderline Personality Disorder'. As to my father's behaviour, she drew a blank.

As an example, when I was young my brother was always called darling - I was Penny!

There were times when I was suddenly ignored, not spoken to or smiled at for days on end.

Cruel things were said to me completely out of context, interfering with my seemingly innocent day to day life, leading to confusion and guilt as to "what had I done now"!

Low self esteem led to me becoming a victim and being bullied at school.

Later, unnecessary phone calls with messages from my mother, passed on via my father - Christmas was disappointing. The plates weren't hot on Christmas Day. Where was the trifle? The presents weren't up to much and the grandchildren didn't thank them enough, or give them presents that matched what had been given to them.

After years of putting up with feelings of guilt and misery, a complete nervous breakdown and two courses of anti-depressants I am coming in to the light.

I have said NO MORE!!

Reading up on Borderline Personality Disorder, allowing only those that love & respect me into my life, loving myself and nurturing the young Penny too, has, at last, after 55 years brought peace!

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Sat, May 10th 2014 @ 7:20am

Thanks for that Penny and well done you for your strength - it's difficult to change ways of relating to parents when you are attempting change and they want to retain the status quo. I never did achieve it with my mother, she was expertly passive aggressive, iron fist in velvet glove.

As I've got older I've realised that some people are radiators and some are drains. Some are warm and welcoming and I want to be around them. Others are cold, create nasty negativity and drain my energy. I try to be aware of this nowadays and avoid the drains.

BPD people can be so difficult to be around, especially a parent and it's not easy to identify. So best wishes to you for a happier future, free from self blame.

Diana Sat, May 10th 2014 @ 8:34am

What a beautiful and succint comment anon - couldn't put it better, tho'
I believe that most of us are " drainers " when REALLY put to task.
Love the term " radiators "; ' warmth ' being what we all need !

Bunnykins Sat, May 10th 2014 @ 8:34am

Thank you Penny, I found that interesting and helpful. I have spent my time as a mother trying to be as different from my own Mother as I possibly could.

Anonymous Sat, May 10th 2014 @ 9:01am

Well done Penny. So many of us clearly had childhoods that confound those that believe all mothers give out unconditional love. I had never 'diagnosed' my female parent.I realised well out of the way is safest for me - nursery school and then boarding school as a volunteer not conscript! Recently my father was unwell and died. Attempts at being supportive resulted in more pushing away by her. You are so right - changing others is impossible. Enjoy your own wisdom :)

Jill Dobbie Sat, May 10th 2014 @ 9:18am

Hi Penny, I'm glad you have come to to a place in your life where you have found peace with yourself.
I am still on my own journey to find personal peace and acceptance. But one day I'll get there.
best wishes to you and for your future. xx

Anonymous Sat, May 10th 2014 @ 9:33am

Penny's experiences sound so similar to my own - I think that my mother had a borderline personality disorder too (undiagonosed) and my father was depressed.
I have always said that I was used and abused and that was when I was not ignored. And to some extent I understand their behaviour came out of trauma - although that does not excuse the constant emotional abuse.

I think that I have been depressed since childhood and also recognise the victim aspect of my personality - and am having another go at changing all that - through therapy at 67 (not the first time!). I also want only to spend time with people who appreciate me - and seek warmth all the time. Please God I finally find peace in my life.

Anonymous Sat, May 10th 2014 @ 11:08am

Thank you so much for your piece today, Penny.

I'm similar to Anonymous above - I have recently realised that most of the people in my life are NOT radiators! They are interesting people, often lovely in their own ways - and icecubes! It has been a huge shock, having believed that I had a good and supportive friendship circle for many years.

I think maybe it's about having enough radiators in one's life?

And working out which drains / icecubes are painful to be with? Those people I want to slowly drop from my life. Small doses of drains who bring other things to you - maybe laughter, or advice or something else useful - that's OK.

And yes, there is the challenge to be oneself a radiator!!!


Anonymous Sat, May 10th 2014 @ 1:42pm

Thanks for this, from another Penny! My mother did not have a borderline anything but in general the family behaviour was dysfunctional and I too am dealing with the results. Knowing what caused the problem does help but we still have to alter the way we are now for it no longer works for us. That can take some time and there are other options out there which are low cost as in my experience 6 weeks is too short a time to right the wrongs. In London they are trying to lengthen this and to put other nets in place so that people can still get support and continue to move on. I got some books on Amazon about reclaiming the inner child. It only costs for the postage and most of them are very useful and give a plan of action to follow as the results of one person's borderline problems surface again and again. It is an exciting and challenging experience.

Quacko Sat, May 10th 2014 @ 2:53pm

Penny- great write up. I had a very similar mother who was extremely abusive. Had a great dad who died when I was 15. I feel at times that having been depressed and having very low self esteem has made a very brutal impact on my life. Have read, been through therapy and have worked very hard on trying to not succumb to depression and negative feelings. I am a true "radiator" and the comments made by someone above me were great. One of the things about having grown up trying to endlessly sort out and please someone that is unpleasable and cruel is that you are always walking on eggshells. I married a narcissist, and it was just a repeat of living with my mother. At this point in my life, I would just like to find balance and not keep emotionally trying to caretake others- and to meet some people that were not icecubes or simply not caring. By this not caring I do not mean people are awful, but I do believe that many people are very limited in their emotional scope and are self-serving- and are not even aware of it.

Anonymous Sat, May 10th 2014 @ 2:57pm

Wow. I understand and can appreciate where you are coming from. A while ago I realised that my problems stem from my upbringing, the domestic abuse that went on, the pervading atmosphere of fear and tension, no wonder I am anxious and depressed. Relationships with my father had momentarily improved until the disclosure that myself and my sisters had been abused by our brothers. The parents reaction wasn't totally supportive but heigh ho, didn't really expect that much. Now my father has died - don't miss him at all - my mother wants to paint our family in a rosy light and can't grasp that I do not want anything further to do with my brothers. She is a definite drain and I limit my contact with her.
The wow is because I have never seen written in a better way the way I feel now at 47 eventually getting my life together and doing what I know is right for me.
Well done and good luck for a happier future.

Anonymous Sat, May 10th 2014 @ 3:11pm

Thank you for your comments on my earlier post. I see that Penny's situation has caused a lot of interest. Some of you may be interested in this book:

"The Ancestor Syndrome: Transgenerational psychotherapy and the hidden links in the family tree" by Anne Ancelin Schutzenberger. Routledge: New York.

I wish I'd read it when I was younger, it might have enlightened me about my mother earlier and before I had children.

Bon chance everyone!

Anonymous Sat, May 10th 2014 @ 5:25pm

Thank you for all of the above. I have experienced a double whammy-my mother instilled fear in me from an early age, which I believe is the root cause of my anxiety. In recent years she has become one of life's "drainers", with her constant moaning about my father. In addition, my mother-in-law has never accepted me as I had the audacity to marry her eldest son and has tried over the years to poison both my husband's and daughters'minds against me.
I have a lovely relationship with my daughters thank goodness as I was determined to do things differently, so perhaps in the long run they both did me a favour!

Richard Pickles Sat, May 10th 2014 @ 6:09pm

Hi. I can't help but notice your mother sounds like she might have narcissistic personality disorder vice BPD. They are very often confused , even by experienced mental health professionals. Read:

Ruth Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 5:54am

Well done Penny;sometimes the best things are worth waiting for but I am sorry to know you suffered so much. My mum always favoured my brother although I was the good one; he was very troubled as a child. Now, we are so very close and what brought us together? Me developing bipolar disorder as a result of my "perfect marriage" breaking down twenty years ago. I still struggle with daily life but my mum is there to help every time..........take care

avagemini Sun, May 11th 2014 @ 5:21pm

Being the last in a family of nine, three girls six boys and being the last girl One would have thought it would be all bed of roses. But no. I had to be competing for attention with my older siblings and then the grandchildren. I didn't throw tantrums but school suffered. I never finished any higher education because I was seeking for so much attention. I finally realized that I was never going to get any and moved on with my life. My mum later realized her mistake and tried to make amends before she died by then I had moved on. My only pain was that she never allowed me to be a daughter to her. but I loved her and still do.

Richard DellaFera Tue, May 13th 2014 @ 4:04pm

Oh dear! I can totally understand how you must have felt. Good thing that you were able to undergo counselling now, as you’ll get to understand why you were treated that way as a child. But of course, it can never heal all the hurt and resentment you felt while growing up. Always remember though that people will always be here to love and support you, Penny. :)

<a href="" rel="nofollow">Richard Della Fera @ RDF Attorney</a>

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