Recently, I was asked to take part in a research study with the University of Warwick, by my psychiatrist who said I was a ‘perfect fit,’ for the specification they were looking for in a participant.
I was given a sheet describing what was required in terms of my time and the tasks I would be asked undertake and upon reading it, I discovered that this particular project was aimed at mothers with either Boarderline Personality Disorder, Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder or both.
I’d read up briefly about EUPD and had a suspicion for a while that perhaps this was why I suffered some of the following symptoms:
– My inability to regulate emotions
– The feeling of emptiness or not really knowing who I am
– My tendency to spiral out of control with drinking, taking too much medication or self harming (normally superficially, but to me they are one and the same)
And most of all;
– The emotional attachment I have for people I meet.
I’ve realised as I’ve gotten older that I have intense emotional feelings for what I perceive as older, strong female role models. Not in an ,’I fancy the pants off you,’ way but more as a protector or someone who would keep me safe.
When I was younger, I had quite a distant relationship from my Mum. She had an affair whilst my Dad was suffering from chronic depression and alcoholism and subsequently when they separated, we moved in with ‘the other man.’ My Dad moved 90 miles away to Windsor and had a few stints in rehab to help him with his issues.
At this point, I was in a new house, in a different town, at a different school and my brother (who is 14 years my senior) had moved out because he and this guy did NOT get on.
I didn’t want to be in the house or around him. He just wasn’t very nice and there was a lot of shit from the backlash of their relationship. At 7 or 8, I remember sitting in a tree at the top of the garden whilst his eldest daughter laid into them both and eventually hit my mum – she was only 18; I guess it must’ve been just as awful for her as it was for me.
My mum and I grew distant, because she wanted a relationship with him and I didn’t. By 8, I would leave the house most days at around 8.30am to either go to school or go to the house across the road to a friends. I often wouldn’t go home until my curfew – though I probably broke that more times than I could count! I would even opt to go the local abattoir to work with my friends mum than be at home.
I didn’t tell her things; from what had happened in my day to how I was felt about seeing my Dad pissed up and falling into a river on a boating holiday that just he and I were on. I was 10; how was I supposed to get a grown man out of the water? Fortunately, we were moored and I was able to run for help, but the initial panic was scary. I didn’t tell her my dad would take me to the pub on the weekends I was with him, or that I was smoking on and off from the age of 11.
I didn’t tell her that I hated this guy because he wasn’t in the slightest bit interested in me being a part of my mums life – in fact he actively made it clear. I don’t remember much of my childhood, because honestly, I don’t think I want to.
I felt like I had to look for that motherly bond elsewhere and to some extent I still do. My mum and I get along just fine (now she’s binned this guy) and she has been hugely supportive of my journey through Post Natal Depression, but there is just something that holds me back from telling her stuff. Occasionally when she has bad days, she apologises still for her behaviour, 20 years on.
More often than not, these intense feelings stay as intense feelings; because generally the people they are towards are not really within my friendship circle or peer group though I would desperately like them to be. But, I imagine telling them things about my past and them helping me or taking care of me. I imagine them taking me under their wing and helping me past any demons I’m facing. Generally, this doesn’t happen and i’m left with a feeling of no self worth because if I was worth taking notice of, then they would’ve done.
Reading this back, I know it sounds like attention seeking; but I literally can’t regulate it. And I wish I could, because most of the time, it just ends in disappointment.