I am feeling so angry and frustrated and am struggling to articulate how I feel, but I will try my best. It is quickly becoming clear to me how problems develop in children who feel they are unable to communicate, how they easily become angry, act out or implode.
Last week, I dropped some post off to my old school and while I was there I bumped into my old headmaster. I went into his office and we spent a good 45 minutes catching up and reminiscing about the time I spent at the school, and how much we knew about other people from my class, and what they were doing. He told me that this year he was retiring at the end of term, and that the summer ball was going to be really good, a really big one, and that all the old pupils were attending. I told him it would be a really great idea and I would love to come and catch up with everyone.
When I got back to the office, I printed off a ticket request form, filled it out requesting two tickets (one for me and one for James) at £70 each (it is a black tie ball) and put it in my tray, not thinking any more of it.
In the meantime, I had spoken to James about it and he had said he would love to come, and it would be a really good night.
Also, I had had a conversation with my mum about the fact that I don’t have any money at the moment, and I had gone through my budget to see where I was going wrong.
Anyway, back to this morning. I arrived at my parents’ house like I normally do each morning, to drop Hogan off before I go to work. My dad told me I had to stop telling my mum I didn’t have any money, if I was going to be spending £140 on ball tickets, and anyway, I was only going to show off my boyfriend.
Now, this is wrong on two counts.
1) I am only spending £70 as James is paying for his own ticket
2) I am going to see all my old school friends, not to show off James
I told him both of these things but he wouldn’t listen, so I walked away from the situation. As I drove to work I became angrier and angrier about the fact that my mum had gone through my tray (remember I work for her), found the booking form, read it, told my Dad and then he had decided to have a go at me about it.
By the time I got to work I was in such a bad mood that one of the other girls noticed (I am normally chirpy and happy go lucky at work, no matter how I am feeling on that day). As much as I tried to bite my tongue, I decided to confront my mother about it, and perhaps I came over a little too confrontational.
I put the booking form on her desk, and asked her why she had felt it was her place to find it, read it, and report back to Dad, who then had a go at me about it. I asked her why she had not discussed it with me, and why she felt it appropriate to look at my private things.
She told me if it was private, I shouldn’t have it in the office, and that she didn’t feel she needed to speak to me about it. She added as an afterthought that my Dad should not have spoken to me about it.
I didn’t feel that DEARMAN was appropriate as I didn’t know what I WANTED out of the situation, so I tried to stick to FAST (be Fair, no Apologies, Stick to Values, be Truthful) as much as I could, but unfortunately my emotion mind was taking over.
She then told me the only reason I was going was because I wanted to show off my boyfriend. I told her that was not the reason; the reason was that I wanted to see all my old school friends. Here, we met a stale mate. She was telling me I was thinking one thing, I was telling her I was thinking another. I can clearly see here an example of an invalidating environment which I may have been privy to as a child, which may have contributed to the development of my BPD. As a functioning adult, I know what I am thinking is what I am thinking (does that make sense?), but as a child, I would not have had the strength of mind to disagree with what my mother was telling me, and hence I would have begun to question and eventually disbelieve my own thoughts.
Being in a situation where she was TELLING me what MY intentions were was very frustrating, and I found it very difficult to deal with. How can she know what I am thinking? No-one knows that apart from me. Previously I can see that this would have been a trigger point for me for self-destructive behaviours and dissociation as it causes conflicting thoughts and emotions which I cannot deal with.
The other thing I struggle with is her constantly telling me I don’t have enough money for things. If I mention I am going somewhere, or buying something, her immediate response is “Can you afford it?” She doesn’t even just do it in private; she will do it in front of people, which is even more embarrassing for me. I understand that she pays my wages but I wish she could see that she is crossing a line by patronising me in this way.
When the conversation became difficult for her, she moved the booking form which I had placed on her desk, and started typing, effectively indicating to me that the conversation was over. I was not willing to accept this. It was bloody rude and I was not going to accept it. I put the form back on her desk and informed her that the conversation was not over. I observed that I was becoming confrontational but I really felt like I wanted her to understand my point. It is almost like there is a brick wall around her brain. I wanted her to understand that it is not appropriate for her to find something of mine that is private, and relay it back to my father without discussing it with me. This motion of her moving the sheet/me moving it back happened several times before I realised that I wasn’t getting anywhere, and decided to cut my losses and give up.
What do I do now? Make sure I leave absolutely nothing personal within her reach? It wasn’t even something particularly personal, but imagine if it was. I remember when I was 9, I asked her if I could have a bra. The next time we were at the stables, surrounded by my friends, she announced “Guess what, Shelley asked me if she could have a bra, how hilarious is that!” I lived with the shame of that for quite some time, and I can remember clearly thinking that I would never talk to her again about anything personal – a thought that stayed with me for a very long time, and still means I find it VERY difficult to open up to her in any way, shape or form.