My very elderly grandfather (on my birth father's side) recently died. I didn't get to know my grandfather due to many extenuating circumstances. I would have liked our relationship to be different, but these are the cards that were dealt, and I accept the circumstances surrounding my past. Certainly I am responsible for me and for my life; however, when I was brought into the world, I had no decision with the choices that were made which laid the foundation for my future.
Back when I was a newborn, my mother cheated on my birth father with her high school sweetheart (who became her 2nd of 3 husbands; the man whom I call 'Dad'), divorced my birth father, changed my birth certificate with adoption, and literally cut my birth father / family out of my baby album. My paternal grandparents were told they would never see me again and were given the opportunity to say their final 'goodbye' to me. Thereafter, my paternal grandparents didn't try maintain a relationship with me, but rather accepted what my BPD mother demanded and walked away.
Then my mother cheated on my Dad with his best friend (late 1970's / early 1980's), and a tumultuous divorce followed (You Dropped a Bomb on Me). When I was 13 years old I had visitation with my mother, and out of the blue, she says to me, "I know how to get a hold of your birth father. Would you like to speak to him?" I was taken back by the revelation but curious. I remember entertaining the notion, and we did speak to him for a short phone call. Little did I know, my mother used this information -- that I was in touch with my birth father-- to hurt my Dad during the divorce proceedings. She passive-aggressively leaked the information, making sure he found out. And I didn't find out until recently how much that hurt my Dad.
When I was an older teenager, she again pushed the idea of communicating with my birth father. I feel like she was trying to 'right her wrong' (taking his baby from him and and abruptly leaving him the way she did) by getting me back in touch and trying to hurt my Dad even more. But I was very hesitant about bringing my birth father and his family into my life. My life had already been very confusing and tumultuous with my parents divorcing and remarrying into ready-made families within 2-years. I was still getting used to having divorced parents living in separate locations, step brothers and sisters, as well as new stepparents. I felt pull in many different directions, and the adjustments were tough.
During a long road-trip, I got a terrible case of food poisoning. I was very ill on the drive home as well, but my mother insisted that we drive by where my birth father lives. In the dark of the night, I met him and his family (including my paternal grandparents) at a McDonald's. Remember how much I have used the word 'bizarre' in my blog posts? Well this meeting epitomizes bizarre. I didn't have much to say, and I was like an animal on display at the zoo. After eating some burgers, we got back in the car and were on our way again. I didn't see any of them again for almost 10 years.
However, when my mother and I had an estrangement when I went off to college (she claimed that I didn't love her because I came into town and didn't call her: Out of the Nest), she proceeded to call my birth father and his family and tell them all kinds of crazy things about me. She told them outright lies, very awful things. Why in the world would a loving, caring, and supportive mother do this type of thing to her child!? The answer is: campaigns of denigration are a hallmark of BPD. The intent is to destroy my reputation and thereby destroying my relationships with family and friends, and others. The campaign employs lies, exaggerations, fictions, partial truths, and other reality distortion techniques. Again, I think that my mother was trying to 'right her wrong' (keeping me away from them when I was a baby / child) by making me out to be this horrible person they never would have wanted to be around anyway. Also 'demonizing' me helped her to accept the estrangement as well and to displace accountability for her actions.
Through independent efforts, I met my grandparents a handful of times through the decades (a couple in my 20's and a couple in my 30's), but we never had a connection. The attempts were one sided as I traveled 500 miles round trip from time-to-time to visit. Although we didn't form a connection, I wish things were different. I accept how things are and how the cards are dealt including the outcome of my BPD mother's pathology.
Looking back at my life, my mother created my path by meddling in my life, taking away my birth father, having me adopted, removing all evidence of my birth father (creating the deception), trying to push my Dad and me apart by bringing my birth father back into the picture, and continually trying to discredit my Dad and my relationship to the present day. Each move she made, she affected my life by trying to alienate me. She seemed to try to position herself as the only family member in my life, to create a dependence on her, and to attempt to guarantee loyalty so that she isn't rejected or abandoned.
With the passing of my last grandparent, I have been thinking of the impact my mother's BPD has had on my life from the time I was born. Ultimately, however, she failed to keep herself honorable in my life as she has lost credibility, trust, and love through her ruthlessness, conditions, and bizarre nature of her moves. She did manage to affect my relationship with my Dad-- and of course affect my relationship with my birth father by removing him from my life as an infant. And how, even now after almost 10-years of estrangement, she is still dangerous and destructive.
Bottom line, I am very thankful that my mother was eliminated from my life LONG before my child entered this world. My wish is that my child never have to endure the destruction, wrath, confusion, manipulation, and hurt that a BPD can cause, namely from her BPD grandmother. And I also pray that my grandfather rests in peace. Although I never got to truly know him, my heart is heavy with the news of his passing.