"Borderline Personality Disorder."Sigh... The Queen , The Waif, The Lion the Witch, the Wardrobe, the Kitchen Sink and other stuff that I really just don’t have to know to make my life better ?
I've read about it before, but sometimes , as with many things like this you sudden come across new insight, earlier this week for instance I was blind-sided by some passages from Christine Anne Lawsons' book,
"Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship."
I expect it is very good , it has great reviews, and the outlines of the personality types are superb ...and I was just about to throw myself into reading the whole thing, notebook and post-its in hand, when I deeply surprised myself by deciding not to.
I don’t care about her (my mother) any more.
I don’t want to have new words to describe her.
I don’t really need to understand her motivations or how to handle them.
I am handling them just fine.
I am in fact an expert on the subject of my mother - more so than any psychologist could write about in a book designed for a mass audience.
I would just be using my time and emotional energy to develop a more extensive glossary, or to pick out the "bits that fit," and a lot of time reading and looking at bits that don’t fit.
If I went through the book I can picture myself doing the following:
- Underlining the odd passage that resonates with me.
- Reading through other peoples experiences as they have been recounted to the author, that are not like mine.
- Finding new and effective labeling and responses to situations that I no longer have to face.
- Looking in detail at the personality types and thinking - 'oh a bit of this and a bit of that..But actually - barely that at all.'
It would be like picking through ingredients for recipes that I'm never going to make.
I guess a good analogy would be like picking through recipes for chocolate cake on the Internet. I would spend time comparing and the minute variations in ingredients, method and equipment. Trying to come up with the ultimate recipe! When experience has taught me that I'm allergic to chocolate cake, and there’s really no getting past that. Its not good for me - I need to "Step away from the chocolate cake" if I want to be healthy.
When it comes to my mother I am much, much more expert than I want to be.
I have already had to spend far too much of my life thinking about her, and how and why she will react the way she does. Why, for instance, she is so unfair, self serving, selfish, inconsiderate and demanding.
Simple terms, not psychological conditions. There is no need to describe her as an undiagnosed narcissist, or assert to myself, or anybody else, that she suffers from a range of conditions consistent with another mental condition.
I have tried to control and moderate her behaviour with many, many more variations of my own behavior than any set of self help books can suggest, both consciously and unconsciously, all of them exactly relevant to the exact situation I was in at the time.
I know how to set boundaries.
I can turn a slow and weary eye on friends and colleagues and NOT tell them why their casual handling of a relationship conflict wont work, because I also know that the depth of understanding required to get from there to here is horrible, hard to acquire and probably so irrelevant to them that they would resent giving up the time and head space to understand it. If I like them, why traumatise them by pointing out the dark self serving underbelly of some relationships which has crept into their life, and may well creep out again without rippling the surface?
I know too much, not too little.
I do not, in fact, need any more self help books to help me "handle" or "label" this sort of thing at all.
My understanding of the thing that damaged me won't improve my future (providing I don’t spend my energy resenting it). So I can't see where another self help book would take me, except back around the merry go round to see if all the views of the past were the same seen through yet another, different, lens.
I chose instead to read a lightly comic book, which made me smile and had a satisfactorily happy ending.This is a better form of self help for what I need right now.