Scars. We all carry them. Sometimes they are physical; we wear the scars of self-harm which label us, identify us. But other scars and wounds are deeply hidden. The emotional scars that change our behaviours, attitudes and outlooks for life. Those are the scars that rule us. Those are the scars which inadvertently destroy the relationships we have.
I didn’t realise how scarred, how damaged I had become until June last year. When I did, I realised those scars had cost me everything dear.
Intense fear of abandonment is core to BPD. It is so fierce for us that when we feel close to people, we tend to push them away. We misbehave, we completely lose control and destroy the relationships we most want and need.
My fear has now been traced back to early childhood.
Mum was a rebel, firey and free brought up in a strict environment as was often the case in those days. She married the local “bad boy” against her parent’s wishes. I am told that when he found out she was pregnant, he tried to beat me out of her. Broken and bleeding, she climbed out of a third-floor window, shimmied down a drainpipe and was picked up by police hitch-hiking barefoot to her parents.
My father didn’t want me to exist.
I am told that when I was 18 months old, he wanted to borrow me for a few hours to show to his family. This was permitted for some unknown reason.
And then he left. I’m told he sailed away for a new life on a new continent.
But he didn’t want his daughter.
Grandparents picked up the slack nurture-wise. They were terrific and played the role of parents for me.
I told myself all my life that a father was unnecessary. I didn’t have one, and I didn’t need one. As long as there were other family members around then, it didn’t matter.
A father was no more than a sperm donor.
So I never understood others who complained and felt sorry for themselves for the absence of a father when they had others around. I looked down on them as weak and silly and pathetic and overly needy.
I saw doting fathers as over the top mollycoddling, malleable fools and gooey eyed girls as needy, spoiled, foolish, manipulative, greedy attention seekers.
I never had a father-daughter relationship, so never understood it.
Mum as I have noted elsewhere, sadly suffered from several complex mental health issues which were not understood nor tended to as they should have been back in those days of horrifying institutions. So mum was never able to be a mum. Not the mum a little girl needed.
Many years later, as understanding and treatment progressed she recovered to the point that she was able to travel and experience life. She visited me here but wouldn’t stay with me and stayed with her sister. This hurt me. We caught up regularly, and she was having a wonderful time doing the things that she had missed out on all the years. Shopping, going out for lunch and coffee. Spending time with my cousins. A few hours a week with me, and my children seen only a few times. My cousin was more fun than me. She didn’t come out to be with me, she said but to have fun and spend time with others too. My aunt liked my cousin best, and she did too.
I felt that rejection keenly. All I wanted was my mum. And I wanted her to know her grandsons and love them. Not know her nieces and nephews and their offspring and take them into her heart. I wanted her to know us and love us, and she didn’t.
I was happy for her that she was better, but I was devastated that my children and I were unwanted and unworthy.
We fought. We would send angry texts to one another, and it continued after she returned to the UK. The letters we exchanged were no better. We just kept hurting each other more.
She had a heart attack as a result of some ridiculous, vain, plastic surgery operation. She was brain dead. I spoke to the hospital from the other side of the world. I was the eldest. The machines needed to be turned off. I had to give the order.
It was too late to make things up. It was too late to try.
She had gone. She couldn’t hear me although the nurse held the phone to her ear for me to try.
It was my fault.
I killed my mother.
And I have hated myself and been consumed by guilt ever since.
I didn’t realise that lack of parental love was a scar a carried.
This scar destroyed my third marriage. I needed so badly to be a part of a family. To belong. To be loved. To be valued, important, wanted, worthy. But I wasn’t.
I married the father I needed. A doting daddy with devoted daughters. Yet, I was not a daughter. I was always the outsider. The Interloper. The sometimes useful person on the fringes of their lives. My wants, my needs, my dreams were sacrificed. I practically sold my soul so that they could have what they wanted, the attention they needed and when the love, the focus, the caring and nurture that I needed, the sense of being a part of something was not forthcoming, the resentment built, the pain intensified and the loneliness became too much to bear. I was married to a man who was primarily a father because that is what I needed. But I wasn’t a daughter, and he wasn’t my father, he was a father to everyone else; a son; a provider and when all of the above were tended to, a part-time occasional husband. And all along, without knowing it, I needed more than that.
I resented this feeling of being last. Of being useful. Of receiving only the dregs of his attention when his daughters were occupied elsewhere.
I didn’t feel loved. I didn’t feel wanted. I didn’t feel a part of anything. I didn’t know then what I know now. I needed a mother; I needed a father; I needed sisters.
No wonder I always felt so out of place. It wasn’t their fault they couldn’t tend to my needs. For I didn’t even know what my needs were.
In the end it was a form of fatherly rejection and familial rejection and abandonment all over again.
The not understanding father-daughter relationship, and being so needy of family and belonging ultimately destroyed my relationship with a lovely group of people.
My abandonment issues, my push me-pull you in relationships stems from this. From the lack of parental love. It was buried deep, and I have unwittingly let it rule my life.
I have lost many that I love genuinely because of it.
It seems we do need parents after all.