I read the book -stop walking on egg shells- which was presented to me by a friend who put 2 and 2 together about my mother before I even had a clue. My norm growing up became sudden shifts of being yelled at and told that I was lazy and selfish, etc… and my mother threatening me occasionally with her own death, which left me feeling powerless to go live with my dad even though I had a choice. The growth I have done on my own is not sufficient to compensate from the messed up coping mechanisms I learned when I was growing up alone with my BPD mother. Regardless of meditation and journal-ing I am prone to perfectionism, people pleasing to an extreme, and I am just learning now how to establish boundaries so that I am not enmeshed in other people’s lives or completely withdrawn. Since I lived with my mother alone I have had loops of everything she used to tell me I was growing up- all leading up to “no one will love me if I don’t try really really hard to maintain their love”. I often give up on who I am in order to avoid, what I now believe to be, imagined potential conflict. I have been admitting to myself that I am not selfish, I take care of myself. Admitting that I am not lazy, in fact, sometimes I work extremely hard and that has made me successful. I have begun to understand my own values, morals, beliefs, etc. I am trying to shift my modus operendi from self-doubt and “right/wrong-ness” to deciding what I am confident is important to me and standing up for that. I feel like I need a little more support, more literature, and I need to understand better how this upbringing might have affected me otherwise. I want to be the kind of person that is generous, empathetic, considerate, and kind, but I want to have intentions of genuine care rather than fear of someone else hurting me. So what resources are out there? How can I stop thinking that my behavior will affect people’s feelings and stop worrying that I am damaging people? How can I stand more solidly on my own, even though I feel like I raised myself?
As I think you might already know, one book does not equate to a diagnosis. You might not ever really know what diagnosis your mother may have unless she were to be evaluated, in person, by a mental health professional.
In your case, her diagnosis might matter less than overcoming the problems you’ve highlighted in your letter. Whether or not those problems stemmed from your mother may not be important at this point in time. What is most important is correcting the problems that are holding you back in life.
The most efficient way to do this is to go to counseling. Counselors undergo years of rigorous training to learn to treat the very problems with which you are struggling. They spend their graduate careers studying psychological problems and how to correct them. Of course, educating oneself about the nature of these problems is helpful but counseling is the most expeditious way to make these necessary corrections.
Counseling is the best advice I can offer you. In the meantime, you might try reading about borderline personality disorder. There are also many resources online for your research including Psych Central, among others. Amazon is a great place to read reviews about books. You might find the self-help books written by David Burns to be particularly helpful. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle