Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It's My Fault (1984 - 1985)

During the remainder of my time living at my mother's house, I was constantly accused of things I didn't do: a coffee stain on the 2nd floor wall near my mother's bedroom, liquor bottles watered down, having a party at the house, partying in a hotel room rather than stuck in a traffic jam at Six Flags...

These accusations were particularly ridiculous:
  1. First of all, I didn't drink coffee (my mother did) and I resided on the 1st floor (she resided on the 2nd floor). So, with the facts in hand, who would be more capable of spilling the coffee when rounding the corner to the master bedroom? The coffee drinker going to her bedroom, or the non-coffee drinker that rarely went back to the master bedroom and resided on a different level of the house.
  2. Second, when I was accused of watering down a liquor bottle one weekend, I wasn't even home that weekend. My brother was, but he wasn't questioned.
  3. Third, I never had a party in my mother's house-- the neighbors could be asked, my friends could be asked, but she didn't do either.
  4. Fourth, I went to see a concert at Six Flags and when the concert let out, a huge traffic jam accumulated in the parking lot. Taking my dimes, I called my mother every 15 minutes to let her know the status of the jam. I also asked her to call Six Flags to get updates regarding the bottleneck. When I arrived home late, I was drilled, being asked how was my stay at the hotel. I asked if she had called Six Flags to confirm the traffic jam, and she said she hadn't called. I also asked if I was partying in a hotel room, why would I take the time to call her every 15 minutes from a payphone.
With each incident, I was punished-- typically placed on restriction (either not allowed to leave the house or having an earlier curfew).

Just as much as I was accused of things I didn't do (and got punished for them), I had a hard time "doing right". I went out with my friend and his grandparents one night. We ended up at his grandparents house, and upon time to leave due to my curfew, we couldn't find his keys. I ended up 5 minutes late home, and although I pleaded with her to call the grandparents to confirm the search for the keys, my mother wouldn't call. She would rather believe I was disobedient.

My mother was terribly and embarrassingly flirty with my male friends and dates. She would strut with her tight jeans and high heels around them, making her eyes really big and batting her eye lashes. She would laugh this completely fake laugh and talk about topics inappropriate with a teenager. She acted inappropriately around my girlfriends as well, using vulgar language, engaging in talk of the opposite sex and alcohol, and acting like one of their 'friends'. “The borderline mother’s need for attention is so out of control and pathetic that it is frightening. Others are embarrassed for her. The Queen’s behavior elicits embarrassment about her need for recognition, attention, and control” p 255 Lawson.

As far as supporting me, she rarely, if ever, attended my sports events. I didn't feel as if she cared about my endeavors. When I was late at school practicing, I would call to get a ride home, but the phone was busy (this was in the day before call waiting). So, I would either have to make an 'emergency break-through' through the operator or wait for her to get off of the phone. If I used an 'emergency break-through', I would get in trouble for worrying her (between the time of the operator contact and the call back). However, if I waited for her to get off the phone, many times hours at a time, I would get in trouble for being late home or inconveniencing her to come get me (I had to walk several miles many times to get home after practicing my sport for hours after school). Her lack of support extended to getting me to my job as well. Many times I needed a ride to get to my job, but she wouldn't take me. I would have to arrange for other co-workers or friends to take me.

Relying on myself was typical. I was allotted a $7.00 a week allowance, which I was to use for all of my clothes, health & beauty products, sports equipment, and so forth. I wasn't able to purchase shoes for my sport, so my step-father would sneak some home for me. When my mother found out he had provided them for me, she would insist that I thank him profusely (which I did without her ranting to me about it). Honestly, I felt like a burden most of the time.

My mother went back to school, and during this time, she had no time for me. My brother ended up moving in with my mother at this time as well, and he felt the distance as well. We would write her songs to serenade her but she would get mad at us, saying we made her feel guilty.

She thrived (and still thrives) on drama and being on a crusade. When she went back to school, she instigated a group to get the dean of the college fired. She spent countless hours on this mission, and succeeded, but our family life greatly suffered. Also, when my brother moved in, my parents had to head back to court again. My mother turned in to that vicious beast again, going after my Dad's throat. She started the phone taping recording again and drilling my brother & me about my Dad. See subsequent blog post: Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome.

Another observation I made of that time that still holds true to this day is the cycle of friendships that she had. She would never (and still doesn't) keep friends for very long. She will have a group for a period of time then she ditches them, only to have a new group. After a period time, that group is replaced with another. “Although she can be socially engaging, the borderline can quickly turn on those she needs, leaving friends and family members perplexed. Discarded friends frequently ask themselves, ‘What did I do to deserve this?’” p 56 Lawson.

I couldn't stand how fake she was around people other than my brother, Dad, and me. From the time of my first awareness of people's actions, as a small child, I consciously disliked how she could be so emotionally void, glum, and mean to my brother and me-- then with the ring of the doorbell, (((( poof )))) there was a different mother. She smiled, was witty, and gave out compliments. All the sudden my brother and I weren't invisible anymore.

When I was little, my mother spent a lot of time on the phone, smoking and doodling. As a teenager, she spent a lot of time involved with drama and crusades. She would go out drinking with friends and come home crocked, barely able to walk up the stairs. She didn't present a good role model to my brother and me, and I can tell you that I never wanted to be like her. She dropped out of college, cheated on both of her previous husbands, was divorced two times, treated her children as if they are burdens (actually made a statement to my brother and me that if she had a chance to do it all again that she would never have children), and was very emotionally void & fake.

The fact that I never wanted to be like her from a very, very early age perplexed me, as I couldn't put my finger on it for YEARS as to why I felt that way when I was so young. Well, when a mother doesn't show you emotion & love, when a mother doesn't grant you security & safety, and when a mother doesn't express support, liking this mother is tough. Add to the mix the fact that she was fake (could turn off and on a persona) and placed her needs over ours (except we were well fed, well dressed, and had toys).

I remember asking for reassurance from my paternal grandparents that I would never be like her. I remember my grandmother reassuring me that I am my own person. I remember thinking how much I want to be ME and how I can't stand it when someone says, "You're just like your mother". Through all of my struggles living at my mother's house, my goal was to make it until I was 18 years old, and then, as an adult, I would leave and go off to college. I struggled to believe in myself, trust my judgment, like myself, and stay true to my path. And I did...


  1. Those "statements" my borderline mother makes always break me down to the ground. Just last night she lashed out and said "If you can 't live with yourself just take a rope and hang yourself. That way I'm rid of you." As you can see, I don't have a mother.

  2. I don't know you but somehow I'm proud of you. You're smart and you made it out and see if for what it truly is- bullshit. I had my own poof moment when I got pregnant with my son. It was the biggest slap in the face to have my angel savior of a mother vanish and have the true picture become clear. Its overwhelming how unjust she was, probably because I didn't realize anything was wrong for 25 yrs, haha. Anyway, thanks for writing this, its been cathartic. can't wait to read more!

    1. thank you so much for the feedback and for reaching out.

  3. "Yes!" to all in your Post and to the commenters. No, we don't have mothers. Everyone *else* seems to think so and of course, we're just "ungrateful little bitches/bastards" when we walk away and close that door firmly-and forever.
    My "mother" gave birth and as far as she was concerned, her job was over. Similar to a pizza delivery, the transaction is completed and now, let's sit down and have a meal-on our delicious little ones: They're so sweet, innocent and believing.
    Yeesch. I've essentially considered my "mother" post-partum, period the end, for as long as I knew what the term meant.

    1. To continue on your thought, "No, we don't have mothers. Everyone *else* seems to think so ..." Because, everyone seems to think we have 'mothers', when said 'mother' is sick or in the hospital as mine has been, they think all of the past is irrelevant and I should rush to her bedside. Simply because a person has become ill or entered the hospital doesn't not in any way, shape, or form erase the past, change anything that's happened, or alter feelings surrounding the relationship. Sure she's 'mother' by title- but not by anything else. We have been estranged for 10-years... we don't participate in each other's day-to-day life. So why should we participate in each other's illness life? Doesn't make logical sense. Further, if the damage has been done to the degree that participation in day-to-day life has halted, wouldn't going to her bed-side be very fake, unauthentic, and irrelevant? I couldn't even fathom. Anyway, you are correct that they gave birth and then continued on with their selfish lives-- my mother said to me when I was a child that she wished she had never had children. That always rang loudly in my head.

  4. Oh mine said the same thing-OUCH!!! Frankly, I wished she hadn't had kids either, but she/they did and here we are.
    Yk, we're born hard-wired to bond with out primary caretakers/moms-that's just science. When that Bond fails, our Default Setting is always something along the lines of, "What's wrong with *me*? How come dealing with my mother is like trying to navigate endless fields of land mines with no map? (How come I keep getting blown up?!)"
    I remember trying to talk to my friends as a teen-ager and they'd say, "Oh I know what you mean! My mother (blaa-blaa-NORMAL-blaa!)" One day I was reading about astrological signs (I was a *very desperate* kid at this time) for some sort of answer. Her sign indicated she was "prone to moodiness.."
    Which was kind of like saying Hurricane Katrina was a "rain shower."

    1. People that don't have BPD / NPD mothers like us don't understand. I would attempt to explain what my mother was like but the details are so convoluted, confusing, and detailed that unless you got the whole story (which would take much too long to communicate), the effectiveness in translation was lost. I have some friends who were witness to the toxicity and psychosis-- and that is so comforting. But ones that came from a *normal* upbringing couldn't even fathom the craziness, manipulations, control, abuse, and confusion going on with my mother.

  5. I can relate to some of these, as my mom was schizophrenic. She wasn't so bad when I was small..just episodes here and there but she grew really bad in my teen years that I wd sleep with a pillow over my head in case she decides to whack me while sleeping. My poor dad must have really loved her as he stuck by her side til he died. He more than compensated for me, bringing me up, so I could be somewhat normal. I have a very deep insecurity because of this, but know too that this is not my mom's fault. Just an illness that took away her real person.