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My mother and BPD... A bit of help rationalising my thoughts please.

(157 Posts)
filee777 Sat 20-Jul-13 08:36:42

So, to cut a (very) long story short, I have not been in contact with my mother for the last 5 months.

This stems from my childhood, the fact i was abused by my older brother emotionally and physically and she ignored it, leaving me alone with my two older brothers from around aged 8 for 2+ hours a day, plus leaving us for 10 days to go to vegas when i was 12 years old. My brothers are 3 and 5 years older than me.

She had plenty of money and there was plenty of opportunity that things were not right which she had just ignored.

When i got to 17 I tried to cut them all off but she stopped me and put down a deposit on a house for me to live in, which i did for the next 7 years. I loved my house because it was the first place i ever felt safe but i still felt very angry with my mum and she made me see that this was terrible of me, how could I be angry with someone who gave me so much/treated me so well.

So, with little else to go on and still believe i was the most awful, irrational person in the world, I ran with that and amended my behaviours and taught myself not to be angry with her. Despite this work our relationship has always been fraught with underlying issues and constantly revolving around money and what she gives to me and why aren't i more grateful.

Throughout life i realised a number of things, i met my husband and he changed my perception of a lot of the stuff that had happened to me, like my brother would kick me in the stomach so i was winded and hold me down screaming in my ear that this is what death felt like and i would die alone because nobody would ever love me because i was so evil/pathetic/ugly etc etc. So obviously DH has had to break through a lot of barriers and teach me that him loving me is not part of some great plot or whatever. Its been hard because its always there in my mind but we work through things.

The other major issue has been that when i have flashbacks i find it really difficult to talk to him because when i did open up to my parents my mum would tell me that i had wound my brother up and i should be better at not getting him angry so that he would leave me alone.

This is hard because he would just randomly attack me for loads of stuff like leaving a cup out of the dishwasher, or colouring in while he was watching telly and making a scratching sound on the paper... etc etc.

So all this stuff went on, at one point i picked up a knife because he said he was going to kill me and ran out of the house, he followed me and rugby tackled me and received a downward scratch on his chest, it was not deep, needed no medical attention yet my mum spoke of it like i had 'stabbed' him and beat the shit out of me and refused to listen to my point of view about it. That was when i was 12 and because i was punished so much for it and he was not, it sort of made it clear that he could do what he wanted to me and there was no self-defence or comeback towards him. So he just used to torture me for fun and there was nothing i could do about it.

Anyway, so it was suggested that i visit a child psychologist when i was 11 and i did that, they told my mum they thought i had Borderline Personality Disorder but it could not be diagnosed formally until adulthood.

I heard my dad and her speaking about it and they said it was a 'made up' condition and just shrinks wanting money and ignored it.

Moving on.

When i got older and met more and more people and learnt to open up, i realised that peoples general perception was that no matter what i had 'done to wind him up' i didnt deserve to have three of my teeth shattered or any of the other stuff he did. I mention the teeth because though not the worst thing i remember it was obvious to my mum because she paid a private dentist about 2k to veneer my four front teeth.

So back in February, we are driving in the car and she asks me for a 'balcony view' of why i dont get on with my brother (this is honestly the way she talks) and i begin to tell her. So she says that I was the difficult one, i was the one that caused her the most 'bother' and that it was my fault because i wound him up. Well i stopped speaking to her from there really because i am not up for being told that anymore.

We had a lot of email communication but it was basically her ignoring everything i said and instead just focusing on one point of an email and telling me i was awful for not moving on with my life and that i blamed her and how dare I and I had so much anger in me and it was totally irrational.

So we stopped communicating that way and agreed that she would stay in touch with my husband to get updates on the kids. This all went fine until she started sending him emails saying that she was 'praying for my happiness' and bullshit like that which made me really angry.

So i told her to stop it and husband didnt know what to do so it was hard for him.


So thats the background, now 2 weeks ago Thursday, i got an email from her saying that she had researched BPD and agreed that i had it, that she had ignored the obvious signs of personality disorder because she wanted a perfect family and it was getting in the way of that. She said that she wanted to be a part of my family life now and didnt understand why issues in the past were getting in the way of that.

I sent one back basically saying that BPD is a product of abuse in childhood and that she was not prepared to lose this 'golden boy' image of my brother in order to validate me and i was not interested in a world where i constantly had to scream to be heard, it hurts my head and its created real damage within me.

she ignored all of this and focused on the last line which was that i agreed that it was nicer for me and the kids to have her around sometimes.

So eventually, after many emails i got her to understand why it was so hard to grow up never being heard and being treated like a thug (like with the knife) and never helped to see how i could communicate with people better.

So i thought we were getting somewhere and i was putting numbers by paragraphs on a very long email detailing everything so she would actually answer it rather than avoid it, but i did say to her that it was not acceptable for her to make me feel guilty for being angry with her, that i didnt anymore and also that i do still have flashbacks and emotional issues stemming from my childhood and that she would have to work with me to deal with those things

so she sends an email (about 4 days ago now) saying 'I think we both need to go and have a think about everything'

and thats it, have heard nothing more

opened up to her, told her what i needed and what she needed to do, really allowed her an opening into my life and i feel like shes sent me an email telling me that she'll 'consider' whether its a good enough offer or not for her!

I dont know what to do now, i feel like just telling her to fuck off again but i dont know if thats a bit presumptuous .

I am happy to copy and paste a couple of the emails, or the last few or something that describes everything in detail but i wondered if anyone was up for helping me with this? Because i dont really know where else to turn right now and i could really do with some support... Thank you in advance.

Hissy Sat 20-Jul-13 08:45:34

You've never had her on your side, be there for you, or bother to understand you.

Why do you think she'd be any different now?

Honestly give up. She doesn't deserve you, and neither does your brother.

Your 'role' in their lives was to be the scapegoat, the punchbag.

She watched it all happen and did nothing.

What would it take for you to watch one of your DC take that kind of beating? And furthermore blame you???

You can't win with these 'people' don't even try.

FWiw, you don't sound as if you have any 'disorder', justified PTSD perhaps!

She sounds the one with the PD, narcissism, or BPD herself.

Fact of the matter is, for whatever reason she is woefully neglectful and abusive, your life will improve immeasurably without her in it.

Stop the emails, cut her off and focus on healing all the harm that hideous pair did.

You are worth so much more, and she knew it, which is probably why she sis it in the first place.

Don't interact with this women any further. She may have birthed you but as a mother she totally failed i her duty to make sure you grew up nurtured and protected.
As you have evidence in the form of dental records (how did your mother explain that one to the dentist?) Then I would even, if I were you, contemplate getting my mother and brother prosecuted for historical abuse.
She sounds awful and truely you owe her nothing.

Toxic parents never apologise nor accept any responsibility for their actions. Your mother protected her abusive son. She may also be personality disordered, have you considered that she may have some form of personality disorder?.

I doubt very much that you actually have BPD at all (would you accept any such "diagnosis" anyway from someone as inherently unstable as your mother is?. Also she is in no way at all qualified to state such a thing of you. You were and remain the scapegoat within this family for all their inherent ills.

Do not under any circumstances therefore get her to work with you to resolve things. This will not work, you've seen this happen already. If you have counselling you need to have this on your own and without any input whatsoever from your mother.

I would cease any further e-mail communication with her and block all e-mails from her as of now. Any further communiques on your part just give this damaged person an in to further get at you. Cut them all out of your life, you do not need them.

I would also suggest you look at the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these pages and look at the resources at the start of that thread.

filee777 Sat 20-Jul-13 08:55:47

She has continuously said that she didn't think anything was wrong with the relationship between me and my brother because her brother was abusive. She didn't end up with the same feelings of worthlessness as I did though and i have tried to explain why to her a number of times.

Firstly she was the third child of 5, so had two younger sisters who looked up to her and thought she was great, she had a mother would could not control all her kids and could not afford help, mum could afford help and had less kids.

Also that my Uncle has some violent traits but he is not a psychopath like my brother, he is not very intelligent and though he would lash out in aggression he would not engineer situations designed to cause feelings of desperation and worthlessness. My brother got hold of the idea that i was scared of the dark so used to make me sit on the sofa and watch horror films (like he would threaten me if i tried to leave) and then lock me under the stairs where it was dark and tell me i was going to die or that it was haunted. He was a real nasty shit.

My parents just didnt give a toss about it, not interested in his behaviour towards me or anything like that.

The problem is she is my mum and shes not nasty to have around, she is nice with the children and i do miss her from time to time, getting less and less as the months go by though.

Its just now shes left me in limbo, telling me she will 'think about' whether or not its worthwhile having a relationship with me and thats actually not as painful as it should be i suppose but its still leaving me hanging.

I feel like she exerting power over me and i dont like it.

filee777 Sat 20-Jul-13 08:58:46

Wow a pretty unanimous vote so far.

Thanks for talking to me guys if i keep going on please don't think i am ignoring you or not taking your thoughts on board, i will definitely check out the 'stately homes' thread

My condition affects me in different ways, i find it hard to have friendships because when people disappoint me it hurts me SO much and i end up being more hurt than happy, i have ended up a bit of a hermit really.

AngelinaCongleton Sat 20-Jul-13 09:01:19

I am shocked and sorry to read what you went through with your brother. At the very least she could acknowledge your feelings and apologise for not seeing the situation from your point of view. Protect yourself from her. Either by setting really strong boundaries or cutting them off for a bit. Are you getting counselling? I had some to make sense of my childhood and the residual issues and its been so helpful.

Take the power back. I think at the moment you are still hoping that she will see things the way they should be seen but she won' t, the events that happened are never going to be seen by her without her distorted filter.
Trying to get resolution from this women is just going to keep on hurting you. Really let go of her.

AngelinaCongleton Sat 20-Jul-13 09:03:52

Oh that is sad. Work with a counsellor to get a plan of how to deal with her (if you still want her in your life). You can find a way to manage her, not her managing you. Good luck.

If she is too toxic or difficult for you to deal with, she is also too toxic for your children to have any contact with. I would cease all contact as of now, you do not need them or their tacit approval any more. You seemed mired in FOG as well (fear, obligation, guilt) which is a common damaging legacy left by such damaged people themselves. Your mother is bloody nasty to have around, actually she does not have to be around you to affect you.

Why have you seemingly accepted a diagnosis of BPD, you could well have been lied to at 11 years of age. I would look at your medical records now.

filee777 Sat 20-Jul-13 09:07:37

My parents received a letter explaining the BPD which i found at 14 having heard them talking about the 'made up condition' 2 years earlier.

I haven't taken her word for it, she never ever mentioned it, i found the letter and remembered, though i did no research on it for around 10 more years, because as far as i was concerned it was a 'made up condition'

How words can affect you hey.

You've tried really hard to maintain a relationship with your mum, and she's proved again and again that she'll never be sort of mother you're looking for. Time to draw a line under everything and cut her out, I think. It's not callous of you, it's totally and utterly justified. Your children won't suffer for not having her in their lives either, I guarantee it.

If she is too toxic or difficult for you to deal with, she is also too toxic for your children to have any contact with. I would cease all contact as of now, you do not need them or their tacit approval any more. You seemed mired in FOG as well (fear, obligation, guilt) which is a common damaging legacy left by such damaged people themselves. Your mother is bloody nasty to have around, actually she does not have to be around you to affect you.

Why have you seemingly accepted a diagnosis of BPD, you could well have been lied to at 11 years of age. I would look at your medical records now.

filee777 Sat 20-Jul-13 09:14:28

Here is the message she sent to my husband which 'breaks the silence' so to speak.

Hi Husband
I know F has asked me not to write or contact her so I am sending this to you and will leave it to you to decide what, if anything to pass on. I don't want to do anything to upset her but I would like her to know my thoughts.  I would really appreciate it if you would read through this then let me know that you have received it and your reaction and decision re whether or not to share all, some or none of this with her.  I will be flying over soon and hope so much that we can have some contact.  Please let me know what you decide to do with this and whether or not it is going to be possible for any kind of meeting.  Thanks Husband.  I know you will only do what you think is best for  for F and the boys.

Firstly I want to say that I miss F very much. I constantly think of her and hope she is ok. I know she is busy with her job and the kids. I worry that she is sad. I hope the boys are delighting her and that she is happy with her friends and that you are happy together. My thoughts go to her many times a day.

After F 's last e mail and having listened to the song she wrote (which I thought was beautifully sung and played but of course distressing to hear the lyrics), I started to research Borderline Personality Disorder. I hadn't heard of it before but the more I read the more I recognised and remembered scenes and incidents from the past that had me nodding in recognition.

I have often had a picture in my head of F as a girl 'wrapped in barbed wire'. I have talked about this with her a few times in the past, of how when she is upset she pushes people away from her, makes herself hard to get close to at the very time she needs people most of all. It's like she creates a barrier around her that would deter all but the most determined and all too often has driven people away, scared that it hurt and reluctant to get close again.

Oh F, I have had my arms pushed through that wire since the day I was aware of it. It has hurt sometimes but mostly the hurt is seeing you alone and frightened and wanting to do anything to make it all better and knowing I have failed. Worse is knowing that my action and lack of action has made the situation harder and that however well intentioned, that I have said and done things that sent you into chaos and left you feeling alone.
The research says that mostly the condition is diagnosed in adolescence or early adulthood. Having read through the symptoms now, I think that with you there were clear signs much earlier. Even in the very early days I knew you were different. That impulsiveness they talk about.  I saw that in you at 3 years old.  Remember when you were expelled from rainbow guides? You were only 4. They had dealt with many kids but you stood apart even then. At 5, I remember my conversations with Mr S at infant school in Amesbury.  He mentioned then that he had concerns about you - do you remember you picked up a chair in class one day and frightened everyone?  You never had it easy through school - not at any stage. I thought that if I just kept focusing on the ordinary - telling you I loved you, trying to reassure you that every day was a new one and that fresh starts are always possible it would sort itself out and you would grow in confidence and be fine.
The incident in the woods with J next door and his friend when you were  6 really upset you (and me) and maybe I attached some of the future concerns to what had happened then. Perhaps that was denial but at the time I wanted anything to hold on to explain what I didn't want to admit. I wanted to believe that there was nothing really wrong and it would all sort itself out.
When you went to Boarding School I was hopeful that you would enjoy it there. The psychological assessment I agreed to when you were 10, ended in a report which I believe I still have. Everything is in storage at the moment as we are 'in transit' but when I unpack I will make sure I send you a copy if it is there as it may help. I don't remember the assessor mentioned any condition. From memory she referred to the competitive family environment. The high achiever expectations. She talked of how hard you were having to work to meet the expectations you felt we're placed on you. Her recommendation was that we move you back home and to a less stressful academic environment.
Your move to Secondary School (1) wasn't a successful one  - remember you lost your bus pass a few times and it was scary how you would panic and beat yourself up inside. I would try to tell you we could fix it but you would be so disheartened and tell me you were worthless and hopeless.  It was horrible to see you so frightened.
At Secondary School (2) there were lots of occasions when your unhappiness spilled into issues with teachers and other kids there. I think I spent as much time with Headteacher as you did. By this stage I could use puberty to rationalise the issues at home - perhaps denial again but easier for me to blame this than to believe anything else. I so wanted to believe everything was normal and would work out fine. 
I can only imagine how miserable and frightening it must have been for you. How I wanted you to go through school and through adolescence and enjoy it.  I just wanted my girl to be happy.
I better understand now that it was wrong of me to not intervene with the problems at home. I didn't see it as seriously as I should have. I didn't want to accept that there were real issues.
I remember your references to the 'rice crispy' generation - the 'all looks good on the outside' philosophy.  Well that was me, coupled with the focus on earning money and avoiding the trap of miserable poverty that I was so determined we wouldn't experience. I just kept on doing what I thought was best and kept my fingers crossed and my eyes and ears shut to anything that didn't fit the ideal.
And now we are where we are, at a place I never wanted to be with you. I understand a bit better what life has been and is like for you. I am aware of bad mistakes I made. I am so sorry that this has been your experience and that life is a greater struggle for you than it should be.  I am so sorry that I have said and done things that have made it worse. I am shocked and scared about what I have learnt.
Throughout all, I have never stopped loving you. Not since the moment I knew you were going to be mine. Please F, in all of the reality that i think we cant deny anymore, don't deny the love I have for you. It's as real and alive as you and I are. I cannot offer you a different past. I can offer you real love now and in the future. If its better for you that I stay away now then I will.  I am glad that you are receiving some help and that there is good evidence that the condition improves once its recognised and faced.
I will keep believing that we will come to a better place and I will hear from you and see you again. You let me know whenever that day comes and on whatever terms.
Until then, you will remain in my thoughts every day.
I love you
Mum

filee777 Sat 20-Jul-13 09:19:02

My response to her

Mum, I have read through your email a number of times. 

I can't say that i am not still very angry that you preferred to label me as 'bad child' and smooth things over time and time again rather than facing the reality that your daughter had a serious mental health condition that needed treatment.  

Thats very hard for me to swallow.  

I'm glad you have researched the condition, I only wish it had been diagnosed properly many years ago when perhaps it could have made a dramatic difference to my life. 

There are a few things i have simply had to accept in the last few months 

1. The feeling of utter despondence and guilt and pain is not and has never been 'normal'  I think that perhaps it did not register to you that by 'normalising' everything i went through to the point that you did, you made that normal for me.  Brother didnt help. 

2.  That i lived ever day in abject fear of you and dad, the situations you've mentioned i remember vividly, I remember writing in a book that our teacher at school gave to us, saying it would be private and we could write our thoughts in and i wrote a swear word in mine and one of the other children saw and told a teacher and he tried to take it off me even though he had told me it was private.  I was scared of YOU and DAD and being shouted at.  I reacted to THAT FEAR and at least i now know that and can make sure that my children do not grow up afraid of me.  I felt that same fear when i got hit by a car and didnt tell you. 

I remember all these events and never once did you ask me why i did the things i did, the buck always stopped, you were happy for it to stop, with me being a 'bad kid' 

When Brother gave me cannabis when i was 11, which he had ample opportunity to do because you were away so much, this was after you had left me, at 11 alone with Big Brother and Brother for 2 weeks i believe, when you went to Vegas with dad on a jolly.  Anyway, he gave me cannabis and for 3 weeks i had something to hold him back from me 'dont hit me Brother or i will tell mum and dad that you gave me cannabis'  So he tells you that I was blackmailing him, but not once did you ask me what about.  Nope, not interested.  Your smooth talking son was far far easier to speak to than your mentally disturb daughter so the buck stopped with me.  Again. 

I have been that scapegoat, that 'bad kid' for so long, That fear that you raised me on backfired big-time in my adolescence and i hope you can see that. 

I never self-harmed because there was no point, i had someone pulling my hair, breaking my stuff, taking every CD that i liked and snapping it, telling me i was rubbish every time he got the chance.  

But mum, if you could know how many times you came down in the morning to find me dead in the kitchen you would be so shocked.  I never had the strength to kill myself but i tried many, many times.  I am speaking about House 1 here, before i was even 14. 

I was so hurt by your words last time you came though they have catalysed massive change in my life.  I work very hard to support the family now and i have no friends.  I never ever want another friend as long as i live, they just hurt me, disappointment and distress me. 

Above anything mum, i wish that we could have got me some help earlier so that maybe i could have a friend. 

I have stopped getting help from the NHS, they insisted that i go on these 'group therapy' sessions and the anxiety was too much, instead i have been given valium to take when i need it and it does help me, it does stop me from thinking about everything so much that i just stop and curl up.  I have also learnt to say when i am anxious, scared or upset.  Thats taken a long while. 

Generally, though you will probably hate to hear it, i have been an awful lot more balanced, collected and sure of myself these last few months than i ever have. 

I can tell people now 'i have borderline personality disorder'  i can get help for it, i can read similar stories to mine and i can finally not be that 'bad kid' you had me down as and actually be something else. 

I am compassionate and kind, in my working life i have people who love me visiting them and who i help emotionally and physically every day. 

I am not 'bad' it is not necessary for me to see every day as a 'fresh start' because my behaviours do not need constant excusing. 

I dont know if you got the chance to look up emotional sibling abuse?  The affect it has on people?  

I know that you will never agree that your son has issues, but i hope that you can understand what I have overcome and how your denial of there 'ever being a problem' has been a complete rejection of who i am and who i have become. 

I still dont know how to get past this, i know that i can't get over it but i also know that it makes both of us very unhappy to not have each other in our lives.  I know that you miss the children and i know that their lives are not benefited by you not being here. 

J turns 3 on Monday, we are going to Weymouth for three days camping, we've managed to save a few pounds a month from our wages and bought him a small gift and just hoping to make his week really special.  

E has been crawling since he was 7 months old, he is very nearly walking now to be honest and has a huge amount of teeth, he is one of the most gorgeous curly haired, loving little boys in the world, though absolutely crazy at the same time. 

A big part of me thinks that I deserve for you to give me the voice you never did, that you need to let me talk about the things that happened and why i did the things i did, so that i dont feel like i have constantly been misunderstood and used as a 'get out of madness free card' 

I should have been able to talk to you mum, I should have been able to tell you why things happen, not just been shouted at when they did.  I should have felt like you (and dad) were my comfort blanket and that when things went wrong i could hide in you and tell you why... 

even serial killers get to tell someone why, even they have a counsellor or a mentor who they can talk to about why they did stuff.  Someone cares enough to ask and i never ever had that.  

Maybe if you'd been around a bit more i would have had but you just werent there mum, it was me and those boys all the time in that house.  If Brother told me i was shit and hurt me, if he put his hands round my throat or put a pillow over my face or broke my stuff nobody cared

when i used to go out at 15 and take drugs nobody cared

But now you care and i do understand that you actually do care... but its hard for me to understand why now and not then.  Why am i hearing this now?  You had so much power then...  

I seriously just dont know what to do. 

I got that message before a very important interview and it just invaded my thoughts. It was so hard. 

I dont know what to do. 

filee777 Sat 20-Jul-13 09:20:56

And then she just started ignoring my points so i told her i didnt think she was ready for it and she refused to acknowledge that, after much too-ing and fro-ing i got her to give me a straight answer to something and so i gave it mostly to her straight. I will share the last email and her response to it... but i hope from these you can see why its hard to just say 'bye bye mother'

after the last email i send her a reply and she said she needed to go away and think, that was 4 days ago and i've been hanging on ever since.

filee777 Sat 20-Jul-13 09:33:02

Hi Fi
I have gone through and added my notes amongst your
points in the e mail below.  Some I have answered below your point and some I have answered collectively after a number of points.  I have also answered some things at the end.
I think I have told you everything I can and have been honest.
I don't know if it will help.
I hope so.
Love Mum
 
----------
 

 

Now read this. 

 

1. When I picked up that knife it was because i thought i was going to die.  Brother would frequently kick me in the stomach so i was winded (or punch me however he felt at the time i suppose) and he would hold me, winded to the floor and scream in my ear that this is how death felt like, that the pain i felt was how i would feel when i died and that i would die alone and cold because i deserve no better.  

 

2. At the time of the knife, this was a weekly occurrence.  Contrary to your popular belief, me 'winding him up' was not really the issue, he would do it because i was colouring in in the lounge too loud, or because i was eating too loud, or any one of a host of things.  When i ran, i had no idea he has been cut, to be honest i am still unsure whether i did cut him or whether he did it to himself later.  It was on the lawn in the front garden, outside House 1.  I screamed and he tried to push his hands over my mouth, i licked his hands (god i didnt even bite him how pathetic was I) and i ran into the woods and i hid in a little bush that i always hid in. It was my safe place, that and the conker tree in the garden. 

 

3.  I phoned Childline and told them that we had had a fight and i had picked up a knife, i did not tell them i had cut Brother because i did not know.  They urged me to return home, it was 19.30.  I came home.  You pulled me into the dining room and you battered me, you slapped me and screamed at me and shouted at me and told me off, in the end dad had to pull you off me.  You sent me to my room, it was one of many occasions where i was sent to my room without anyone bothering to come and see me for the rest of the night.  As usual I lay there until i began to hear you and dad having sex in the next room and then i started my nightly routine of pacing the house.  I picked up a large black carving knife from the kitchen and i stood there, just praying for the strength to take my own life.  

 
 
4.  Looking back on the above situation, what do you think you added to the relationship between me and Brother that day?  What do you think you taught us?  You taught me that if i ever defended myself, you would batter me, make me feel awful about my existence and leave me frightened and alone in the dark whilst you carried on with your life.  You told Ian that if i defended myself you would punish me.  You didnt once ask me why, you didn't once suggest to me that it was in self defence.  You never bothered to clarify anything.  You need to talk about that.  You need to tell me why. 

 

5.  Following that incident was the worst few years of my life, had i not felt powerless before i certainly did then.

 -------------

Points 1 – 5

What I remember:

It was early evening.

Feeling very afraid that there had been an incident that could so easily have ended up with someone dead. 

I remember looking at the deep scratch (rather than cut) that he had down his sternum and realising had it been either side or lower that it would  have caused serious injury. I was shocked at the intensity of rage that must have been present and how out of control it seemed.
 
I think I remember you told me that you called childline

 

What I don't remember.

I don't remember how what had happened was told to me, whether he showed me, you told me or your Dad was already there and dealing with it. 

I don't remember hitting you but if you say I did then I won’t deny it.

 

There were from my memory very few occasions when I actually hit you.   I do remember the time I put my hands around your throat at House 2 when we were having a screaming match and you were threatening to leave.  I think you were 15 and I think I said something like I would kill you rather than see you walk out and destroy your life. 

 

What I find real difficulty to hear is that you were sent upstairs to your room and no one spoke to you.  Both your dad and I started our married life with the 'don't let the sun go down on an argument' principle and I know we both took that really seriously. It was the advice that your Dad's dad gave in his speech at our wedding. We were always really upset to be out of sorts with you kids.  Again, you say it was routine that you were sent to your room and I am not going to tell you that is not so but I am surprised that that is your memory. It wasn’t how we meant to bring you up and it is horrible to be left feeling frightened and alone and feeling no one cares enough to talk about it.  I do remember that both your Dad and I kept saying the same thing to both you and Ian.  Yes, we did tell you not to wind him up - I know how hard it is for you to hear that - I am not saying it is right I am just recalling that we said this over and over and we coupled that with 'and if he does or says something that is wrong then you walk away from him and you tell us about it when we get home and we will deal with it. 

Our advice to Brother was – ‘if something she is doing is winding you up, walk away, go out do whatever and tell us about it later and if we think she has deliberately tried to annoy you we will deal with it. What you must not do is hit her.  Even if we hear that she has deliberately wound you up, if you hit her then you will be the one at fault.  It doesn't matter what she does Brother, you are not to hit her.’

 
You were both clearly scared by what had happened.  I wanted to scare both of you and make sure you never did anything so dangerous again. My picture was that you picked up the knife because you thought Brother was going to hit you and that a really bad accident was narrowly avoided. I don't believe I blamed you more than him or him more than you, I was just so sick of the bickering that seemed to be constant with you two and so scared by what happened that day.  Your dad and I were working hard, we didn't think we were bad people or bad role models and yes, we did believe our kids should have been able at the age you were then to 'behave' and 'be trusted' when we were not there.  I know I worked some late evenings at the bank through the week but your dad was always home by 5. There were only a few times that he went away in those years we were at House1.  I remember he was very angry a number of times at not being selected to go to Vegas when the Squadron went. So, the routine picture was that you were in the house together from the end of school to 5 o clock.  I didn't feel that I was neglecting you.  I didn't think I was leaving you alone too much and too long.  I thought it was an inevitable sacrifice we were making as a family and didn't imagine that it ran with such risk.

It was a terrifying incident for everyone.  I accept that I failed to deal with it in a way that avoided you feeling you were defeated and had nowhere to run and no one who cared for what you were going through.  I understand that you blame me for not looking deeper into what had happened and why.  Again, I can only tell you what was in my head and heart then as I remember it.  To me, it was something that got out of hand by 2 kids who were constantly at each other.  It was stupid, reckless behaviour that could have ended tragically.  I was furious with you both.  I had no concept of one of you thinking you had won and one lost.  I do understand now that my fury at you, which was definitely real, must have made you think from that point on that you couldn't use that approach again, and that if you were attacked you would just have to take it because I had turned on you for defending yourself and almost hurting your brother.

 

R e the noisy sex and you walking the house in despair.... I am so shocked to hear you refer to this.  Your dad and I like I guess many parents are sensitive about waking the kids/frightening the kids.  I know that there were a number of times (not that many) when for some reason you would all be out of the house and we joked about how we could 'make some noise' for a change.  My memory is we never ever felt we were careless and again, I am surprised to hear your view that this was a regular event.  I know how horrible it is to have to listen to someone else being noisy having sex in the house (you may remember you and I had a fight about it once when you were going out with a guy when we lived at House 2 and he was there with you one afternoon and it was VERY noisy and the windows were open).  I remember us shouting at each other about that.  You didn't mention you had had to suffer the same from me but maybe you were thinking it.  Your Dad and I never intended to frighten you F and I am very sorry that you have these memories.

 ----------------

 Lets go back a bit. 

 

6.  It is before boarding school, all i have ever heard is 'you wound him up' and justification for the constant and psychotic abuse i felt at my brothers hands, i was unable to communicate with or play with my peers, i was wracked with guilt, heavy handed and clumsey i could not do right for doing wrong, i took to following the dinner lady around at lunchtime because i was unable to play with people.  I was completely encompassed by the reality of feeling worthless. 

 

7. I went to boarding school, enamoured by the books i loved so much and thought that i could be 'different' there, that it could be this 'fresh start' i was always told was coming.  It was different there, i was treated like a human being and a couple of times was made to feel i was not worthless. 

 

8. I came home, unable to contend with the guilt and fear of being away from home, you have to understand mum that you blamed me for everything that happened, if he hit me it was 'my fault' i got in trouble at school and it was 'my fault' i was completely aware that the things that happened were because of me. It was totally because of me. 

 

9. Brother noticed a new found sense of self within me and he sought to break it, he did anything he could to break that.  I was 12, you had decided that putting on your clickity heels and being perfect and running off to the bank was far more important than coming home every night and he decided to break me.  And he did. 
--------
 
6,7 8 and 9
 
I wasn't trying to be perfect F, I was trying to make our lives good ones.  I can hear how much you resented me.  I am sorry that you had such a bad experience.  My job at the bank meant I started at 9.30.  Worked til the bank closed at 4 then went out 3 evenings a week to see customers - usually seeing them at 6.30.  I would generally come home to have tea with you all then go out again.  It did mean I didn't get home until 9.30 often so I wasn't there when you went to bed but I was there.  I accept that I wasn't around like most other mums were.  I did not equate the problems you were experiencing to being down to Brother.  My view was that yes, you didn't get on but I didn't see abnormality.  You can tell me I should have done but I can only tell you that I didn't. 

 

We so hoped that you would be happier when you went to Boarding school.  I have told you my thoughts on the conversations I had with the staff there and the outcome of the assessment as I remember it.  Brother being the issue wasn’t raised. Your dad and I as well as the teachers at the school were concerned about you and just wanted to the best thing for you.  When they suggested you come home and you said you wanted to we brought you home.

   

 ---------------

10.  The knife, after months?  A year? of taking it and thinking i was going to die, i reacted and I was punished by you. What do you think that did in my brain?  What do you think that did in Brothers brain? 

 

11.  Years of pain and abuse, couldnt tell you, if i did i was punished 'you wound him up, go to your room' it didnt matter then what he did because i wouldnt say anything and he used to just hurt me for fun.  I know why, its because i was dramatic, emotional and hurt, he was smooth and clear, because i was depressive and he was psychotic.  Psychotics are clear and concise, if you speak to Ian Brady (massive jump i know) he will tell you that he did the things he did because he was interested to see what would happen, he has clear reasons for his actions.  He is convinced. 

 

I was not convinced, i was evil, scum, i was to blame, it was my fault for 'winding him up' it was my fault when you got angry, it was my fault when the school was involved. 

 

12.  Brother hits me on the top of the head at 13 for leaving a cup out of the dishwasher, dad walks through the door as i am spitting bits of my teeth out.  He punishes Brother, waits for you to get home.  You come in and again, turn it around on me 'oh how can you kick out your brother, how could you do this to him, its in your court F, if he is out on the streets then its your fault.'  Wracked with guilt and with nothing else to go on but the words of my mother i let him stay.  The abuse continues. 

 ------------

I do remember how horrified I was when Brother hit you and broke your teeth.  I knew that he had left us with no outlet this time.  I had so wanted things to have improved between you and Brother.  I wanted to see a reconciliation rather than a breakdown. I did appeal to both of you to please put this hostility aside as it was destroying our family.  I admit that I was still seeing both of you as contributing to the problem.  You with your words and him with his fists. It was devastating to have to admit that we had two children who couldn't be left together, who seemed to hate each other and who (my selfish thoughts again) wouldn't try even though we begged them to get along together. To have to admit that we couldn't live together was horrible.  I felt really defeated and yes, let down.  I wasn't prepared to have you left in danger though and I knew that neither you nor Brother could give me any reassurance that this or something like it wouldn't happen again, we  had no choice but to have Brother move out.  I know I begged both of you to think about how it could be avoided.  I know you feel I was trying to make you feel guilty, it wasn't about that. It was about trying not to lose something that was so important to me.  I wanted us to be proper family and here we were admitting we couldn't be.  I know you hate me referring to the issues I had with my brothers before I left home but I can tell you that I saw in Brother the blind rage that had so often resulted in me (or others) being hurt by My brother especially and the fear and defeat that followed.  I believed that Brother was powerless to avoid wanting to hurt you when the rage took him and that it was inevitable that he would, without you even trying or being anything different than your normal self, enrage him to the point of blind violence.  I recognised this.  I knew it well. 

 
--------
 13.  Fast forward to age 17, I've been finding out more and more about life with my freedom since school, i've been finding out that people can love each other without adgenda but still i believe that it is my fault i am not capable of that.  You appear and tell me that i am horrid for being nasty to you, look how nice you are, look at the things you give me, look how much my life in improved with you in it.  I am irrational for the guilt and anger that i have felt and still feel, how could I?  How dare i have this anger towards you, it is my problem.  I work with it. 

 
-----
I am not sure what you mean be saying ‘I appear’? I am not sure if what you are referring to is an  incident that led me to tell you these things or perhaps you are you telling me this is all you remember me saying when you were that age? You were horrid sometimes – like most teenagers are, like I know I was.  I didn't expect you to be perfect. We did have fights.  But we had a lot more than fights F, we had good times too.  Yes I have no doubt I asked you why you were being horrible at the times that I felt you were.  It did feel that you were hard to please.  I didn't know that you had so many past hurts between us.  I really felt we could be close and were close, especially at times and I hated it when you would behave unpredictably and accuse me of not loving you or caring for you.  It didn't make sense to me. It did and does hurt to have you paint me as such a cold uncaring person when I felt I was being a good mum. Again, I didn't know what was driving your anger. I was still fumbling along with you doing what I thought was right. 

 
---------
I spend years feeling guilty and putting it behind me, i am the problem its me, i have done this to myself, how could I not like and love you my mum, how could i not want all these pretty things and times and why am i so angry, why am i me.  Why? 

 

14.  I meet Husband, he tries to get into my head, make me able to love him, i tell him he cant that its a trick and a game, that i am poison and he must get away from me or i will hurt him.  I start to trust him and believe him, i begin to have flashbacks to things i had forgotten, flashbacks that i still get now at nearly 30... pieces of a puzzle.   He asks me 'why why why wont you talk to me' 'why are you shaking, whats going on' i have to tell him somehow tell him what i am back to, that when i shake like that i am back there, curled up on the floor in agony with someone screaming in my ear and ITS MY FAULT.  That i am there because i am evil and i know as i say it that he will say 'my god you make people hurt you because you are so evil'  and he says 'no matter what you did you didnt deserve that.   'I did'  i say, 'you dont understand, i wound him up' 

 

15 Husband helps me open up, i meet more people who have been attacked by Ian, not to the extent but this helps, i speak to people and end up talking about my experiences, i have DS1 and realise that he could never do anything to 'deserve' abuse like that, so why did I?  I talk to various people who all agree that no matter what a child does, they could not deserve that. 

 

16. I begin to realise how fucked it all was, I can say that i did not deserve it, i did not ask for it' 

 

17 we drive to Bexhill and you tell me that i wound him up, that i was the hard one to live with.  Our relationship ends. 

 

 

 

18 It cannot be like it was when i was 19 anymore mum, i am not guilty or sorry that i have anger towards you, it is not irrational anger it is very real and clear anger, it is anger anyone would feel. 

 

You cannot guilt trip me into having a relationship with you.  I am no longer guilty. You brow-beat me into a situation when i was 19 where i felt responsible for my anger 'the ball is in your court F' your favourite words hey?  

 

Nope, i am angry and i am not guilty and that does you no favours because its all you have to go on.  Remember 'parenting is all about guilt'  not anymore. 

 

I have had to lie facing away from Husband and tell him things that have happened to me because i have been so sure that he will just hate me for them and he has just looked up and said 'that wasn't your fault, you didnt create that!'  But thats what I have always believed because of you and dad. 

 

I live in a bubble now, unable to understand why someone like me has landed a life like this, why i am allowed such love.  I feel like its a bubble that could pop at any moment because i was always taught that all i was worthy of was pain. 

 

I want you to answer each and every number of this email with your thoughts about it.  I want to know your views and your thoughts about every morsel of it.  I've numbered it so you dont get lost. 

 

Is there a way out of this?  I dont know... I want there to be and so do you, the rest of them; Family I will never ever speak to again for as long as i live, i am not interested but i find that hard to say to you.  Maybe i need to though.  I think only by going through this will we know. 

--------

14 - 18 

I accept your anger F.

I accept that you have had a miserable, unfair experience growing up that has and still is hurting you.

I accept that you had a brother who caused you terror and that the way your Dad and I dealt with it sent you into a lonely frightened world that you still struggle to escape even though you are surrounded by love and joy.

I understand far better from your honesty in your last e mails the reality of the world that was yours. I understand that you have to ask the questions why - why did I (your mother) do that - why didn't I do that - why and how could someone supposedly clever etc and caring really get it so wrong.  I hope that my own honesty can give you something that helps but I'm afraid there are no other answers F.  I made mistakes.  I was immature, selfish, blind stupid maybe lazy,  maybe unrealistic and irresponsible in overlooking and accepting and condoning even some things that shouldn't have been.

All I know is that none of the hurt you are feeling or felt was the intention.  I married a man I loved.  I had 3 beautiful, longed for children,  you not least.  I worked hard to give them advantages in life that I thought would help them avoid some of the negatives I had experienced.  I was overwhelmed sometimes by how difficult it was to achieve harmony. It is a huge sadness for me that our family, the family I had such a 'perfect' vision for,  has not been the close knit, loving unit that I dreamt of.  It is a bigger sadness for me that you are left with all the hurt and injustice you are feeling. I hate that it spoils what you have earned and deserve.  Peace about yourself.  Freedom from all the questions about your role and others roles in things that happened in the past.  You are not evil or bad or at fault.  You had a shit time growing up and you dealt with it the best you could.  You've found the strength to look it full in the face and to stop hiding behind politeness or duty or guilt and to challenge me, the person you genuinely and properly looked to to protect you from the horrors you actually experienced and you've 'called me out' on what must seem like total hypocrisy when you hear me tell me I love you and when I even have the nerve to challenge you for not being as nice or appreciative as you should be because haven't I been such a wonderful friend and supporter.  I get that this has reached the point where that really sticks in your throat.

 

 

I don't know if you will ever be able to think of me without disdain.  I am not going to ask for anything from you.  As much as I absolutely hate it, I have to accept that, whatever my intentions, the reality is that my daughter's experience is that she had a dreadful childhood and feels that I neglected and abused her and failed to provide her with even the very basic fundamentals of motherhood and that even now, I bring nothing but hypocrisy and cause you more pain.  I am glad that you are trying to deal with this.  I am glad that you are standing your ground and fighting for you and reaffirming your right to be respected. I am glad that you have a good man and two beautiful children to hug to love and be loved by.

 

I am sorry for all that has happened.  I am sorry for you and I am sorry for me too and for the entire family, immediate and distant. This wasn't how it should have been.
 
I hope we can agree to keep a relationship in the future and to get to a place where there is no new hurt and the old hurt doesn't steal the joys of tomorrow.  I hope that you will be able to get past this and to reach a point where you can say 'I felt for a long time that I was to blame for some terrible things that I endured when I was a child and beyond, I know now that I wasn't to blame, that the problem was not me'.  I hope you will enjoy your life and not be haunted or held back by the past and that you will have loving relationships and be happy.
 
Love
Mum

filee777 Sat 20-Jul-13 09:34:14

Thats about all of it. I really dont think its as cut and dry as her not caring... I am finding it really hard to just shut her out (i hope you can see why) but at the same time i cannot believe shes just left me hanging for days.

Your mother's email, with it's unnecessarily flowery language, is merely an attempt to rewrite history IMO. She's painting a picture of herself as a caring mother, when her actions at the time were quite the opposite.

Why is she so keen to diagnose you with BPD, do you think? To perpetuate the myth that you were the difficult child, and she is blameless?

But honestly, you are torturing yourself here. I really think you need some counselling to help you unpick all these feelings, and ultimately help you to feel able to cut this toxic woman out of your life.

filee777 Sat 20-Jul-13 09:38:14

I seriously would LOVE counselling but i dont want group counselling. I will get counselling as part of my degree, there is a free service at the college and due to the nature of the course we are supposed to go to at least a couple of sessions though i think i will do a course of them if i can.

Your mother like all toxic parents try is rewriting history to suit her.

BACP as well do not charge the earth re counselling. I would look at their website.

Counsellors though are like shoes, you need to find someone who fits. The first counsellor you see may not actually be the right one.

ChasedByBees Sat 20-Jul-13 10:04:59

How dare she try and define you as being the bad one? Even in that last email it's a list of occasions which she thinks backs up her idea that there is something wrong with you. I really think there isn't. I doubt you have BPD, as someone said, PTSD maybe.

She will always try and pigeonhole you while you're in contact as it means she doesn't have to take the blame for what happened. This was her fault. Not yours.

ImperialBlether Sat 20-Jul-13 10:15:35

I can very much identify with this, OP.

What's your relationship with your dad like? He went to Vegas too, didn't he? What was his reaction when you were hurt by your brother?

What is your older brother doing now? Does he live independently? Do you ever speak to him?

And what about your other brother? Do you have any kind of relationship with him?

JaceyBee Sat 20-Jul-13 11:45:02

I know you say you don't want group therapy but DBT groups have a very good evidence base for people with BPD, maybe just try it once and see? They won't make you do anything you're not comfortable with, I run them myself smile

filee777 Sat 20-Jul-13 13:15:55

The last emails is two emails really, a list of numbered comments I wanted her to answer and her answers to them, she starts the conversation and we are separated by --

I don't speak to anybody else in the family, haven't spoken to the abusive brother for many many years and the older brother I really worked at having a relationship with around the birth of my son but despite being my elders guardian and working very nearby, he would never phone or call, ignored j's birthdays and so on, refused to let me have a relationship with his daughter and would treat me like a lower being to him. Around Christmas I called him and he spent the whole conversation talking about my other brother and how well they were getting on now and it really upset me.

Then mum decided to bring his daughter here to meet my boys but it made me uncomfortable because I knew I would not be allowed a relationship with her and neither would the boys so I thought it was unwise, I also didn't want her to talk about my other brother who she was seeing lots of.
My mum got really angry about that and felt I was being irrational and unreasonable. I haven't spoken to my older brother since, though it has always been quite sketchy.

My dad I've tried a number of times with but he is just a bit of a worm, my husband can't respect him, he uses me to flirt with mum and nothing changed when I had a wobble...

I don't want anything to do with him, he did agree that brother was awful to me but he can be strangely controlling and a bit violent. Avoid

I think only mum has given me any nice times and reasons to want a relationship with her and I was trying to explain that really she needs to validate my memories and talk through things with me to be a part of my life

I explained that DH deals with this stuff all the time and its not fair that she just saunters around like nothing's wrong and tells me I am irrational and unfair for speaking to her about anything.

But now she's said 'we both need to go away and think' and not spoken to me for 4 days which makes me feel very rejected to be honest, like I'm not worth the effort of her being an active part of it all.

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