I don’t feel down today, but I don’t feel jazzed either. I’m still stuck in the muck of shame that splattered all around me after Thursday’s melee with my husband, and the subsequent suicidal ideations. (Wandering into the black banner landscape of the Borderline Borderlands is an emotionally exhausting venture.)
I broke a promise — to Mitch, to Bug, and to my family — to never consider suicide a viable option again; and I am entirely busted up over not being able to keep it.
Mitch has been incredibly supportive in the aftermath of the Witch Bitch’s outburst. He says he’s proud of me for clawing my way out of the darkness, and assures me (as he always does) that these frightening episodes are a manifestation of my disease, and not the “real” me. But I have doubts about that.
Created, Not Born
I’m not a psychiatrist; and as such, I don’t have a solid grasp on the origins of Borderline Personality Disorder. It is my belief, however, that Borderlines are created. I do not think that I was born batshit crazy. I may have been predisposed to depression and alcoholism; but I firmly maintain that my personality disorder is a product of childhood sexual abuse.
Ten-years-old is too young to process the complexities of sexual relations. A ten-year-old body is not equipped to handle being penetrated by adult hands, foreign objects, and eventually a grown man’s penis. A ten-year-old soul is too tender and naïve to understand that the monstrous threats made by a grown-up (especially one whom they trust) are really just the empty wailings of a broken, cowardly man (or in other cases, woman).
I know that I changed after my step-grandfather warped my definition of love and security. The biggest of those changes was that I went from being an honest, carefree little girl to a distrustful, guarded, compulsive lil’ liar.
The Only Thing That Will Never Abandon Me is My Shame
Some victims of childhood sexual abuse grow quiet and attempt to master invisibility. Others become boisterous and demand constant attention and instant emotional gratification. I landed firmly on the “others” team.
At the time, I couldn’t fathom why I did the things I did. I was ashamed of my lying (my parents had taught us the value and importance of transparency); and still, felt powerless to stop it. Now, after decades of therapy and introspection, I understand that I created stories to explain the big emotions that a little child is not yet prepared to feel.
I would get scared for no reason at all. I was angry all the time, and thought “I have no reason to be.” I was always sad. But on the outside? On the outside I wore a mask of confidence, was a master at showmanship and a notorious class clown. I projected all of the emotions that I wished I could feel, but didn’t.
And So It Continues
As a teenager, I kept up appearances outside of my home and reserved all of my budding fury for my family. Was this unfair? Yes. And though I’m sure it didn’t feel this way to my folks and/or to my brothers (nor to my husband, now), it was because I felt safe with them that I could be angry with them. I knew that no matter how horrible I was, they (hopefully) wouldn’t let me go. (Especially my mother who, regrettably, bore the brunt of my rage.)
I had a heightened sense of adolescent sexuality, and inexplicably (to me, anyway) sought sexual validation from boys that had an innate cruelty to them. If I did accidentally land a good one, I inevitably fucked it up and pushed him away — because I knew deep down that I was too “dirty” to deserve that kind of love.
There is a part of me that believes that still.
Even after decades with Mitch (who is truly a good man), I fear that he will one day pause and really reflect on all I’ve been through (because he knows more about my past than anyone else on Earth). That he will turn to me with a look of disgust on his face, realizing that I am nothing more than a source of anguish and pain, storm out the door without a word, and never return.
And those are the dreadful feelings that proceed suicidal ideations. Every argument triggers that deeply embedded fear that I am not worthy of love. Not deserving of anything good in this life… so why live?
The Witch Bitch is an incredible mimic. She picks up on this despair, and speaks in my step-grandfather’s (or any other number of abuser’s) voice — whispering all of the nasty, hurtful things he ever said to the little girl within; and that little girl is terrified of that voice. She would rather die than ever face it again.
And that, for me, is the crux of my Borderline Personality Disorder. I am a personality in flux — a confident, self-assured, humorous woman under the white banner, and a scared, defeated little girl under the black.
I know this fluidity is not my fault; and that often, it is out of my control… but it feels like my fault, and my life has become dedicated to the task of controlling it. And when I can’t? When I can’t, I am left covered in residual shame.
Music Interlude: Sasha Sloan “Normal”
The masks are sometimes more “real” than I am…