So last thursday I had my second session with my new “private counsellor”. During the first one, she was talking about my BPD and she happened to say “we” when describing one of the symptoms. I did hear it, but chose not to question her on it at that point.
During this appointment however, she kept repeating the “we” when talking about BPD so I asked her outright and she confirmed it – she also has BPD. I can’t quite decide if it pure sods law or pure luck (or both) that out of all the therapists I could have chosen, I chose one with the same condition as me and hopefully the ability to totally empathise with where I am coming from!
In fact, that ability came to light very quickly because she called me out on something that has never been pointed out to me before, and I have reflected upon it, and am so glad she did.
We were discussing my poor relationship with my husband, and the fact that when things get tough, my immediate response is “FINE! That’s it! I’m done! I can’t do this any more!” – so much so that it isn’t even a real threat any more – for the most part my husband takes it with a pinch of salt because I have said it so many times.
I have always thought of it as just an immature aspect to my personality, but she linked it to my BPD and the “black/white – love you/hate you” aspect of the disorder. I honestly never made that link, but it makes so much sense, and it is becoming clear to me by noticing and linking smaller details like this that despite me not showing the dramatic symptoms of BPD that I used to (suicide attempts, self harm, risk taking behaviours) I am still very much affected by the personality aspects of the disorder.
This moves me on to my next point, and it briefly touches on my previous comments on parenting. I recently shared a video on my personal facebook and the parenting method of “time outs”, and a brief explanation of why I don’t use them (nothing against people who do – each to their own and all that). The questions from friends that followed pushed me to write down words about why I feel the way I do about discipline and punishment (or the lack of the latter in my childrens lives).
This was the video, if you were interested in watching: https://www.facebook.com/NowLetMeExplain/
My response to one of the questions (asking how I would react if my kid was nasty to another one) was as follows:
“It’s more about changing your entire mindset rather than how to deal with individual incidents… what I mean by that is I choose to believe the absolute best about my kids, in that I know they are good, kind individuals, and any deviation from that (like you described) must be caused by an issue under the surface they are having, rather than they are deliberately being nasty/naughty/bad/horrible/manipulative. I appreciate lots of people may say this is a “rose tinted” view of my kids but if I don’t believe the best of them, who will?
That said, in the situation you describe, so mean or nasty to another child, I would set a limit and stick to it, ie “we need to be kind to each other, look ‘x child’ looks upset, how can we make her feel better?’ (Remember she is 3 with a 3 year old brain) and model kindness but asking other child ‘are you OK?’. If she continues removing her from the situation because there is obviously something going on and she can’t control herself. I would then in private talk it through with her to try and work out what was wrong.
The crucial difference is if going down the punishment route, the response would be ‘you were mean to x child, now you need to go to time out/naughty step/smacking /lose priveledges ‘…. none of which allow you to work out what’s actually bothering your own child, and effectively leaves a 3 year old to deal with huge emotions on their own….
I hope that makes sense….”
The reason for me talking about this is I want to share something with you that happened today, with my Dad, and how I felt about it.
Whenever I am around my Dad, he makes comments, perhaps that are in jest, that I find hurtful. Today for example, we were discussing the business (my mum started a business 27 years ago and built it from scratch. I joined her 8 years and transformed it from a back room type business to effectively a high street presence, she made me a partner in the business September 2017 however no money changed hands for this partnership) and we were discussing her plans for retirement. I asked her if she still planned to take a wage from the business after retirement, and my Dad immediately called me greedy.
Now, there is no point arguing with him over this point, or trying to even defend myself. I know I am not greedy, but clearly, in stark contrast to my above facebook comment, he always chooses to think the worst of me, or at least it certainly feels that way.
And let me tell you: It f*cking hurts.
Other examples of comments he has made to me over the past few months include “You never do anything for anyone unless you get something out of it” (I don’t believe this is true in the slightest, I am always trying to help people with no benefit to myself, this blog for example!) or even when I briefly mentioned the blog he accused me of only giving my brother emotional support (he is going through his own issues at the moment) so that I could use him a case study on my blog! I would never do that, and it truly hurts my soul that he doesn’t think the best of me, which would give me an opportunity to aspire to the great person he believes I am. Instead, I contantly feel belittled and hurt by him.
In the back of my mind I have this deep guilt about thinking these thoughts and even writing them down and sharing them with you, due to his ongoing illness (prostate and bone cancer). He is going for a biopsy tomorrow because they think it may have spread to his bone marrow, and they want to confirm that. The thought of losing him breaks my heart, but it doesn’t change the fact I have spent my whole life wishing he would treat me one way when he actually treats me another.
Hence, I suppose, I am the polar opposite with my own children because I would hate for them to have feelings like these about me.