Monday, January 19, 2015

It's been awhile..

So its been awhile since I've written anything.  I didn't look back on the last post but I believe I was at the point of explaining why I had decided to start all of this.

As many of you know my brother Matt died last year. It was due to an overdose/mixture of several different drugs.  I was not close with Matt for several reasons but none the less it was a difficult time.  
One of the biggest reasons that Matt and I were not close was because of how he handled my father's death.  He used it as an excuse to act like a jackass, in and out of rehabs, stealing from my mom, doing drugs in front of my little brother, when he was 12, and basically being a terrible example for my brother Andrew.  And through it all my mother just made excuse after excuse for him and enabled him along the way.  My mother coddled  Matt, made him dependent on her, not that he tried to change it.

I could go into lots of detail but I'll give one example that should paint a pretty clear picture. My mother would take my brother to all of his doctor's appointments , which sounds harmless but she wouldn't just take him to his appointments, she would go in with him to see his doctor.  I was told of one doctor that asked why she was in there.  She would say she was his patient advocate and that she needed to be there because he had a bad short term memory, as if a pen and paper weren't available.  So you see my brother's death was partially my mothers fault.  She created a situation where Matt had no responsibility, no desire or ability to handle real life.  Mommy took care of everything and allowed him to continue to do whatever he wanted.  Unfortunately she couldn't clean up his last mess.

However the larger point is that Matt, enabled by my mother, set a terrible example for my youngest brother Andrew.  After Matt died Andrew got wrapped up in harder drugs and wound up needing to go to rehab.  Fortunately I have a friend who works in the addiction treatment industry and he was able to arrange a virtually free stint at a rehab.  It was a great rehab in California but my mother derailed the whole thing because it was out in California.  She didn't want him to go to California but this was a great opportunity, it was a high quality rehab.  So I told her if she messed it up that I was done with her, she wouldn't see my kids,etc.  She said oh well.

I just don't understand someone that would do that.  Again her interests or feelings were put above the well being of a child.  She would rather risk him dying then him go get help and see that she is a large part of the problem.  So that's what led me to write all the things I wrote.  I got tired of dealing with it, with her, and with my brother because I was always wrong in their eyes, especially when I tried to help.    Fortunately Andrew did end up going to rehab, through tireless efforts by my friend, but of course my mother convinced my Aunt to buy him a plane ticket home, after only 15 days of rehab.  With Matt I didn't really try to help him, with Andrew I did, but all my efforts and trying got me nowhere so I wrote them off.  I hope he turns out OK, I hope it all works out for them but for me...I'm done.  I need to protect my children from the crap that they bring.  Its all drama all the time and I don't need it.

So there you have it.  The conclusion to this, I think.  Perhaps I wrote this to justify my actions, perhaps I wrote to help people, perhaps I wrote it so people would understand me a little better, I'm not really sure.  I think it is probably a combination of all of those.   So thanks for reading.  I don't think I will post to this blog anymore but I may start another one, not sure.

Later.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Therapy? Isnt that for the weak?

Before we get to the real stuff....  This blog has been viewed exactly 200 times.  That is crazy to me.  Thanks for reading and thanks for any feedback you have provided.

So I began therapy in 2001, shortly after my dad died.  I did so because I was so mad at the world that I told a Master Chief to mind his business and not concern his self with me or my problems.  So yeah I got written up for that and I really didnt care.  So after a bit of a tongue lashing by my Chief I knew that I had to find some help to deal with what I was going through.  I dont remember how I got counseling but it was through the Navy.  So it wasnt an actual Psycho Therapist, more like a counselor.  She was very nice, gave me a book to read, told me that what I was going through was normal.  She made me see that there were people that could help me with my issues.  Because they went beyond my father's death.  I only went to a few sessions but it made me realize that it could be helpful.

The next time that I went was in 2002 after I got out of the Navy and moved to Towson.  My ex did not come with me, my choice, but then got pregnant a few months later.  Obviously it wasnt mine.  So while I didnt want a future with her, it still hurt.   I went to a female therapist again and to be honest she was not very good.  For some reason she thought she needed to toughen me up.  I went to her for about 2 years on and off until I moved into my current house.  In 2005 I found my current therapist and have seen him ever since.

There are some really important things that he has taught me over the years.  What you feel, you can heal...is probably the most important lesson that he taught me.  Basically I had to face my past hurts in order to move on from them, in order to release the negativity that was inside.  

Another is that anger is not a real emotion, it is a masking emotion.  Usually masking a person's hurt.  Next time you are angry ask yourself why.  Because your wife made a comment that made you feel dumb or lazy or whatever.  You dont tell her, hey that hurt, instead you get pissed off.  I try very very hard to always tell her when she upsets or hurts me.  It is way better then getting angry.

The next thing is that I am able to respond to any situation in any way that I want.  I have the responsibility for my thoughts, actions, and feelings.  I control them, they do not control me.  Now with all that said...I am not perfect, I do get angry on occasion, but I do not yell, scream, or throw things anymore.  That part of me is dead and gone.   But I am not perfect, Im just much better then I was.

So if you are out there and you some issues that continue to bother you, go get help.  But dont just settle with the first therapist that you come across.  Take your time and find the right one.  If you are in the York area I would be more then happy to give you my therapists info.    With that said if any of you ever need anyone to talk to... feel free to contact me.

Take care.

MR

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Memories....part 2

     Its been a little while.  Ive been incredibly busy; work, school, kiddos, all that jazz.    So yeah, memories.

     Umm as I said I dont remember a lot of stuff from my childhood and I really dont want to dwell on it.  I simply want to convey that I dealt with some difficult shit.  Now I dont think that I had the worst childhood ever but either way it sucked.  Not sure how you would measure that anyway but...  Anywho.  I want to move a little further along and talk about memories from when I was a little older.  Ill give three and I think these three are a great snap shot of what I dealt with.  

     Number 1.  I was about 15 Id say.  I was in the kitchen one day with my mom and some friends of hers or neighbors, not sure who.  We were all talking, about what I have no idea, but apparently I said something to upset my mom and she just got up and slapped me across the face.  It hurt/stung but what really hurt was the embarrassment and humiliation of being smacked in the face in front of everyone.

      Number 2, I was 18 and playing in a band with friends, it was going well.  But more importantly, it was fun.  And I was telling my mom about it and she says well... youre never going anywhere with that band....now Im sure to her she was just trying to get me to be realistic and not chase the dream of being a rock star, whatever the hell that means.  But yeah didnt come across that way.

     Lastly, and perhaps most insightful, is when I was 19.  I had decided that I was pretty sure that I was definitely, probably, thinking about joining the Navy.  So from work one night I called my dad and said I wanted to talk to him about it.  See my father was in the Navy and his father and my mom's father and my uncle.  So there was a tradition I suppose.  Anyway I figured the right person to ask was my dad.  At that time I worked 6pm to 6am, in a wire cloth factory, great times and yes Im being sarcastic.   My Dad said come over to the house in the morning and we will talk.   I got to my parents around 7am.  I walk in the door...ehh wait.  let me back up a bit.  My Dad got kicked out of the Navy.  Never was clear why, but he was and he spent some time in the brig (prison).   Back to the story.  I walked in the door and my mom says.  "The Navy, pffft, youll end up in the brig like your father......

     So when my dad died.. I was fucking ANGRY at the world, and was generally not, being a nice person to those around me.  I decided I needed to get help.  I needed to have someone help me deal with this.  The one person that supported and loved me no matter what was gone.  I would not be where I am without him and he was gone and I was fucking angry and hurting and I had no fucking idea how to deal with it.  I knew that someone out there did know though.  So that is why I began my journey into therapy.  It was one of the best/smartest things Ive ever done.

Thats it for now.  Thank you all so much for reading.  I honestly am not doing this for sympathy so if you think that, fuck off.  Im doing it because it feels good to get it out.  To try and put it into some kind of perspective or something.  I just dont want to keep it in and maybe just maybe, it will help someone else.

Take care.

MR

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Memories...

So we've covered the why of BPD, basically trauma (abuse of some kind), abandonment, or lack of love/connection from your mother.  I believe that there was a lack of love/connection between my mother and her mother.  My grandmother had 5 kids, one a step son, and I wonder if she was able to give my mother what she needed in order to be a healthy happy kid.  I know my mother never graduated high school due to her being sick, but I was never clear on what that sickness was.

Now lets cover why I think that my mom has this disorder.  I have been in and out of psycho therapy for about 15 years.  The last 9 of those years has been with my current Doctor.  Dr. Lou has been invaluable to me and has helped me to be where I am now.  So of course he has heard every story, every detail of my life and due to circumstances lately, we really focused on my mom.  I told him that I would give 2 paychecks to have someone figure out what was wrong with her.  He said that I could keep my money because he was pretty sure, after everything he had heard over the last 9 years, that my mom had BPD.  So that is why I believe that my mom has this disorder.

So what did I deal with exactly. Well...I dont remember a lot from my childhood, especially the early years, but what I do remember is mostly bad memories.  There was always chaos in my house.  A lot of yelling, screaming, fighting, etc.   One of my earliest memories is when I was around 5.  My family and I lived in Gettysburg at the time and I was being bullied by my friends older brother.  So my mom, and maybe my dad, told me to stand up to him.  I did that and he punched me in the nose and gave me a bloody nose.  I freaked out, I was hurting, I was scared so I ran home and my mom yelled at me.  Its very very fuzzy but I think she actually sat on me after I laid down on the couch and yelled at me for crying.  I did what she said and I got punched for it and then I got yelled at for being upset.  My mother did not like crying or whining so I'm guessing that is why she freaked out on me.  Either way the memory is not a good one.

Another memory that I have is when I was around 10 and I left my house due to all the chaos and went to my Aunt's who lived nearby.  Well I guess my mom did not like that I left and she called down to my Aunts to tell me to come home.  I said no.  So she came down and grabbed me by the hair, pulling me to my house, all the while yelling at me.  Again this is fuzzy but my Aunt was there so she remembers, but I believe she used her classic, I brought you into this world, and I'll take you out.  So she essentially told a scared 10 year old boy that she would kill him for trying to avoid the chaos that was occurring in his house.  And like I said earlier, as a kid you blame all of it on yourself.  It was my fault for making her so mad, it was my fault that there was always arguing and fighting in our house.  It took me a very very long time to be able to say this and more importantly to feel it...it was not my fault.  I was a child and no child should be treated like that, EVER.  I simply can not fathom treating my girls in this way.  I just dont get it.  I dont understand how anyone could think what she did was ok.  How did she think it was ok?

I have a few more memories but I will save them for later.  The next one will be a few memories and then some info about what is going on with my family now.  What has caused me to start talking about my past.

Till then.  Take care of yourselves.

MR

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Symptoms/Effects

So now that we have the why, or at least what is understood, of BPD, lets focus on the signs/symptoms of this disorder.  Again lets go with official sources. From psych central;

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
  • A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
  • Identity disturbance, such as a significant and persistent unstable self-image or sense of self
  • Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)
  • Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
  • Emotional instability due to significant reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, oranxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
  • Transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms

I highlight the anger section because that is what affected me the most.  When I was growing up my mother would get angry very quickly and you would never know what would piss her off.

SO how did this affect me... well as a child you think that the world revolves around you and that anything that happens is your doing or fault.  So if my mother would be unpredictably angry I assumed that it was because of something I did or was doing.  So my self esteem was incredibly low because I thought that I was stupid, annoying, or basically unworthy of love.  I blamed myself for my mothers outbursts.  On top that I was also hit on more then one occasion.  So not only was I being mentally abused I was, on occasion, being physically abused.  And not only that...  I was also told to not be upset about it...if you dont stop crying I'll give you something to cry about.     To be clear I dont think I had the worst childhood but it wasnt the best either. 

Thats enough for now I think next time I will get more specific and give examples of what I was dealing with.  Eventually I will get to the overcoming it part but I really want to stress how devastating this was for me.  My mother, the one that is supposed to nurture, reassure, show compassion, was the exact opposite.    

Thanks for reading.

MR



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Where Do I Go From Here?

Having things to say is typically not a problem that I am faced with.  As most of you know I am a tad opinionated and seldom hold back from expressing myself.  However now that I have started this I am finding it difficult to figure out what to say next.  Its not that I dont have things to say, I do, Im just not sure what to say next, what to focus on.  I think I am worried about it being entertaining, perhaps thats not the right word, but I want to ensure that it captures your attention and keeps it.  Not for my ego, although to be honest that is a part of it, but to make sure that you take in the whole story and not just pieces, or a piece.

So with that all said I think I am going to try just writing whatever comes into my head.  Right now that means that I want to explain a bit more about BPD,  or more precisely how you get it.  But rather then me giving a Rhodes interpreted version, lets look at what the mayo clinic says about it;

As with other mental disorders, the causes of borderline personality disorder aren't fully understood. Experts agree, though, that the disorder results from a combination of factors. Factors that seem likely to play a role include:


  • Genetics. Some studies of twins and families suggest that personality disorders may be inherited or strongly associated with other mental disorders among family members.
  • Environmental factors. Many people with borderline personality disorder have a history of childhood abuse, neglect and separation from caregivers or loved ones.
  • Brain abnormalities. Some research has shown changes in certain areas of the brain involved in emotion regulation, impulsivity and aggression. In addition, certain brain chemicals that help regulate mood, such as serotonin, may not function properly.
So like most things in life it is complicated and hard to point at one exact cause.  Which may explain why my Aunts and Uncles do not, to my knowledge, have BPD.  So while there probably were some environmental factors, my mothers siblings did not wind up like her.  My guess is that there were things that occurred during her childhood that she could not handle but my Aunts and Uncles could.  Its a pretty foggy thing for me to look at because I was not there and accurate childhood accounts are tough to come by.  This is for a few reasons, perhaps the trauma was blocked out, and perhaps they just cant remember that far back.  Either way I believe that events in her childhood had to be at least partly responsible for her condition.  I have been told stories about my mom literally running down the street after my grandmother's car if she left without her.  This is not normal and suggests a sever fear of abandonment.  A trait she still posses to this day.    

Well that's enough for this one.  It was longer that I planned and I apologize.  I hope I did not lose you anywhere a long the way.  If you are still reading I thank you.   Next time I think I will focus more on some of the things I was put through, what I encountered while being raised with a mother who has BPD.  Again, thank you for reading.

MR

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Beginning?

     So where do I begin?  I suppose I should explain why I am writing.  I think I finally feel, due to certain circumstances, that it is time to get some of this stuff out into the world.  Why, what purpose would it serve?  Good question.  I dont think it is for me to simply bash my mother or her actions, although that certainly will occur, rather I think it is for me to better understand it all, to frame it in a way that make sense, to me at least.

So wait what are you talking about here.   Well, I believe, after years of therapy that my mother has Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD (so I dont have to keep spelling that one).  What is BPD? Well its kind of like bipolar or manic depression except that instead of going from really really happy to really really sad you go from really really calm to thermonuclear lose your mind fucking angry.  Sometimes for no reason other then someone disagreed with you about what restaurant to eat at or how cold it is outside.   So essentially if you live around these people you have to walk on egg shells because you never know what will set them off.

So there you have it.   The beginning is that my mother has BPD, in my humble opinion, and it affected me in a very profound and very negative way.  So how did she get it, how did it affect me exactly, what am I doing about it now, how do I know she has this, and a myriad of other questions that I feel I need to address.  However now is not that time.  I want to do this in bite size chunks, little bite size chunks, in the hopes that I dont get bored or boring with this.  My intention, besides helping me, is to give you some insight into me and hopefully help someone that has gone through similar experiences.  So stay tuned.  If nothing else, it will be interesting.

Until then, always remember that you are able to respond to any situation in any way that you chose.  Just because someone or something typically makes you angry doesnt meant that you have to respond the way you normally do.  You are responsible for your feelings as well as your actions.  So take charge of your feelings and try to make them positive, for your sake and your loved ones.

Take care.

MR