The awkwardness of being a Borderline ACON.

awkward-1

I won’t lie.  It’s incredibly awkward being a blogger who blogs about two things that seem diametrically opposed to many people in the narcissistic abuse community:  being a victim of narcissists, and having a Cluster B disorder (BPD).   To those of you who aren’t familiar with the ACON (adult children of narcissists) blogosphere,  there are a few ACON bloggers (not too many on WordPress, fortunately) who seem to think if you have BPD then you can’t also be an abuse victim and certainly shouldn’t be blogging about it.  Because, you see, if you have BPD then you are one of the soulless abusers.  If you are any kind of “cluster B person” blogging about abuse, then of it follows that you must have an “agenda.”  What that agenda is is never specified though.

I have been accused of many things, none of which are pretty, and few of which are true. Most are crass generalizations made out of ignorance and a refusal to think outside the box or consider that not everything is all black or all white or that all people can be shoved into a box. .   Here are just a few of the things I’ve been accused of.

  1. I have an “agenda” and dishonest motives.
  2. I am not really an abuse victim.
  3. I am being paid off or otherwise compensated  other people (like Sam Vaknin) or psychiatric organizations (like the APA) to promote my “evil” views and blur the lines between Cluster B disorders and complex PTSD caused by abuse.
  4. I’m “evil.”
  5. I’m crazy.
  6. I’m confused.
  7. I only care about being “popular”
  8. As a Borderline, I have “no right” to be writing posts about narcissistic abuse.

To these accusations,  here are my responses:

  1. Um, no.  I’m not clear what “agenda” it is I’d be trying to promote. My only “agenda” is healing for myself, fun (because I love to write), and hopefully, helping a few others along the way.
  2. I guess some people never really read this blog because it’s filled with personal accounts of narcissistic abuse by both my family of origin and my ex-husband.   Oh, that’s right.  I’m just making it all up. 🙄   I couldn’t make up these accounts if I tried.  I try not to dwell too much on the abuse though, because doing that doesn’t help me and only makes me miserable.  That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, though.
  3. This really makes me scratch my head.   It almost makes me laugh how far a few people are reaching by saying this.  The only monetary compensation I get is about $30 – $40 a month from running ads on this blog.   I still live in poverty and I don’t have any kind of shady business dealings with any organization or person.  I write this blog because I want to.
  4. That’s quite a value judgment there.   You don’t even know me.   I don’t point fingers and call anyone evil unless I have real good reason to, and even then I’m hesitant because I don’t want to be a judgmental person (I can’t stand judgmental people).   I think it’s always better to use the term “evil” for actions, not people.   I guess this idea that I’m evil is because I’m zOMG “Cluster B.”  I’m not a narcissist (even if I do have a few of the traits) and I’m not antisocial and I do have empathy and an almost excessively strong conscience.   But some people have the idea that even if you’re a self-aware borderline who practices mindfulness, you’re still as bad as one of the narcs.  “Sociopath” is another thing I’ve been called but it means pretty much the same thing.
  5. Maybe there’s a bit of truth to this.  After all, I do have four mental disorders–BPD, complex PTSD,  Avoidant PD, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  I can act pretty crazy sometimes too.   But at least I’m self-aware crazy and can see myself pretty objectively and control my urges to act crazy when they get out of hand. But just because you don’t agree with me doesn’t mean I’m crazy.  I just have a different opinion than you do.  Deal with it.
  6. There’s also some truth to this.    It is VERY confusing being both an abuse victim and having a Cluster B disorder, even though the Cluster B disorder was caused by abuse!   And like it or not, I DO think BPD and complex PTSD are almost the same disorder.   Of course, this is just my opinion and no one’s paying me off or brainwashing me to “blur the lines.”
  7. No.  My primary motive in blogging is healing myself and helping people.   A secondary motive is fun.    Yes, of course I look at my stats and always get a small thrill when they’re growing, but I don’t write to be popular or famous.  Yes, I’d like to write a book someday and be able to make a living from my writing, but who wouldn’t?   Even if I never make a penny from my writings and even if no one read my blog, I’d still be doing it because it’s something I really like to do.
  8. As a Borderline, I *AM*  victim of narcissitic abuse.  (see reply #6).  ANYONE who was an abuse victim and wants to heal from the damage they endured has EVERY right to blog about it, and yes, that even includes people with self aware NPD!

me_and_my_evil_crazy_me_in_minecraft_by_sonatathesiren-d90wfu7
“Me and My Evil Crazy Me” (Minecraft image by Sonatathesiren)

I know my opinions are sometimes controversial and won’t sit well with everyone, but unless I’m presented with a convincing argument to discard my personal beliefs and opinions, they aren’t going to change.   I ‘m a critical thinker who likes to explore all angles of an issue and then form my own opinions when I’ve gathered enough information.  I’ve always walked to the beat of my own drummer, rather than mindlessly following what other people tell me I “should” do or believe.   Being a “lone wolf” who walks to the beat of my own drummer and refuses to conform to the “popular” view is one of the biggest reasons why I was ostracized by so many people all my life–including my own family.  But you know what?  I don’t care.  This is who I am and I’m going to keep running with it.     I seriously don’t understand why people who dislike my opinions and views so much keep reading my posts anyway if it’s only going to make them angry.  No one is forcing my opinions on those people. Just hit the backspace button!  It’s easy.

I’m aware some people have a problem with this because it doesn’t fit into the almost cult-like mentality I’ve seen among certain (fortunately only a few) ACON bloggers. If you piss them off, be prepared to be mobbed. Maybe they’ll leave you alone on your own blog but make no mistake–they will be trashing you and your character on their own blogs. At the same time, there are so many more people (and bloggers) who appreciate my reluctance to put people into boxes and think in only black and white terms.  There are many beautiful shades of grey in between the extremes.  That’s one of the best takeaways of moving away from BPD black and white thinking and replacing that with critical thinking and mindfulness.  If that’s evil and crazy, then evil and crazy I guess I will be.   But I really don’t think it is.

balance

Many people have told me my more open-minded approach has been refreshing and has helped them come to terms with the abuse they had to endure and move past the rage and anger they felt coming out of their abusive relationships, or when they went No Contact. At the same time, one of my aims has become reducing the awful stigma against people suffering from BPD. It’s a delicate balance, but I don’t think it’s undoable.

Being a borderline and a trauma victim who writes about narcissistic abuse issues as well as my own (and other) cluster B disorders,  it’s sometimes a delicate balance.   But they are not mutually exclusive.   I  feel driven to write  about my disorders as they relate to my abuse and attempt to reconcile them because I need to for my own sanity and healing.

So tired of always feeling on the defensive.

Judge-Less1

Sigh.

Maybe I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started blogging publicly. Someone who used to be active here but disagreed with me about several points is calling me out on their blog again. This person is obviously still reading this blog, because if they weren’t they wouldn’t have known about my “psychopath” post the other day.

This person once again completely misunderstood what I was trying to say (which I ranted about earlier today and will not rehash again) and assumed things about me that are not true. Worse yet, this person has proven to be incredibly judgmental of me, and appears to be using me and this blog as target practice. If they hate this blog so much, why not simply ignore it? Just stop reading it! Wouldn’t that make their life–and mine–easier? But no, things just don’t work that way. People are so quick to judge someone else based on nothing. Some people just like to act like assholes.

But that isn’t really the problem. The problem is me. As a blogger, having critics and haters is inevitable. Even if I was writing about something as benign as cake decorating, someone would have a problem with it. Maybe someone is diabetic and can’t eat sugar, and my posting cake recipes that use sugar could be taken as discrimination against diabetics. If I wrote about flower arranging, someone might think it’s wrong to kill plants for ornamental purposes and attack me for it.

I write about narcissism. Narcissism by nature is a controversial topic. It’s not a pretty topic. It’s a topic that is very triggering to many people, and there are many different theories about it. It’s not an exact science either, so it can’t be backed up with “facts,” only theories. Nothing anyone ever said about narcissism is a fact. All of it is theory, conjecture, and opinion.

I have my own opinions and theories. Sometimes people agree with them and sometimes they don’t. Whenever you have a theory about something, people might misunderstand it or they might disagree with you. When I decided to blog about narcissism, I didn’t realize how emotionally strong I had to be. I didn’t think about the fact there would be those who would judge me based on an opinion, or project bad intentions onto me because they didn’t understand something I was trying to say.

defensiveness-judy-nelson1

All my life I’ve tried too hard to people-please, due to the way I was raised. I wasn’t allowed to have my own thoughts and feelings or to speak up for myself. So when I’m unfairly attacked, I feel very hurt and go on the defensive. In a real life situation, when I’m attacked, I’m likely to clam up and say nothing (but I seethe inside). Online, I feel more comfortable speaking up for myself, but I try not to make waves or be confrontational. But why not? Why do I feel like I have to make peace with everyone? Why do I feel like everyone has to like me? That’s unrealistic and childish. Some people just cannot be pleased. Some people are not going to like you, and it’s pointless trying to get them to. Blogging means you are going to have haters and critics. It means some people will judge you unfairly and make unkind remarks. It takes a bold person to write a blog about dark and controversial subject matter and an even bolder one to not allow negative remarks or blog posts by others to ruin their day.

Being an HSP I take everything to heart. I let destructive criticism bother me too much. My skin is too thin and I brood when someone says something unkind about me or something I wrote. I hate being misunderstood and I hate being judged. Being judged unfairly is very triggering for me. But it happens. It will continue to happen, because that’s what happens when you have a public blog. I need to stop feeling like I’m on the defensive all the time and like I have to apologize for my existence. I am not a bad or stupid person just because someone else says (or implies) I am.

So from now on, as hard as it is for me to do this, I am going to stop reading destructive criticism on other sites. I know it’s out there but I’m just not going to look at it. Because when I do look at it, it inhibits me and turns me back into a fearful child terrified of my mother’s wagging disapproving finger. I know I have far more friends and supporters than enemies and detractors. Unfortunately I focus too much on the detractors. There isn’t much I can do about them. If they have decided to hate, they are going to find something to hate no matter what. So I need to simply ignore them because they don’t matter, and focus on my supporters instead.

It’s just a matter of seeing the glass a three-quarters full instead of one quarter empty. Focusing on and ruminating about the few haters I have is just stupid. Going to their sites to look when I know there are unkind remarks there is just going out of my way to be hurt and that’s incredibly stupid. Why is it so hard to resist doing it though?

I am not defending psychopaths.

Someone has accused me of defending psychopaths because of the question I posted the other day wondering if there might be any “good” psychopaths. In case there’s any question, I think I need to explain a couple of things because I don’t believe that at all.

1. It was simply a random thought that popped into my head. I do not, and never have, thought of ANY psychopaths as good people, and I have never known one.

2. It was a question, not a statement or even an opinion. I just wanted to know what other people thought.

I have strange thoughts at times. Sometimes they even border on crazy. You can take that or leave it. I don’t mind constructive criticism (in fact I welcome it), but I dislike being pigeonholed and blanket judgments being made about me based on one random post. I never once said or even implied that psychopathy is a good thing. I don’t think it is.
Some people really misunderstand my motives. I guess I shouldn’t let that get to me but it does. People are too quick to judge.

Why do I feel so guilty?

guilt2

For my daughter’s 21st birthday she was informed a trust fund was being set up in her name by her grandfather (my father) but she would not be able to access it until she showed more maturity and interest in attending college. My daughter, feeling it was unfair that her brother got to access his right away (because he has made better choices and had “proven” himself) found a way to access the money anyway. Apparently there was some loophole she found out about (I have no idea how) where she could override the stipulations put on the fund. It wasn’t illegal what she did, but was probably unethical.

While I understood her feeling like she was being treated unfairly, at the same time I understood my father’s concerns and agreed with him she wasn’t mature enough to handle such a large sum of cash and it would have been better to wait until she was older.

We were right. She wasn’t ready to handle it. Within less than two months, almost all the money was gone and she can’t even really say what happened to it. My father’s wife (my “evil stepmother”) is impossible to deal with–cold, condescending and intimidating (although she does take good care of my dad). She is a narcissist who scares both me and my children to the point we are all hesitant to call my father. She acts as a kind of gatekeeper and talking to him means going through her first, so none of us ever call him, although we’d like to. She also intercepts any mail or email that is sent to him. Nothing gets to him unless it goes through her first.

Anyway, after Molly accessed the funds, my stepmother was so livid that she wrote me a letter letting me know she would never speak to my daughter again. I think her rage was not only due to my daughter’s dishonesty (anger which I can understand), but also because, as a narcissist, she hated knowing she’d been “outsmarted” by an upstart kid. My stepmother has always taken great pride in thinking she knows more than everyone else.

It’s incredibly sad that this malignant, heartless woman has managed to separate me and my children from my father (and their grandfather) through her intimidating, condescending words of judgment and disapproval. But that’s what narcissists do–they divide and conquer. Unfortunately this sort of thing is nothing new in my family: my entire family is splintered and fractured like a broken platter, with factions of relatives not speaking to or intensely disliking other relatives due to the rampant narcissism that runs like a cancer throughout the bloodline.

A few of us, such as my son, yearn for unity and healing in the family. My son, very touchingly, recently expressed to me his wish to initiate a huge family reunion one day when he can afford to do that. I didn’t want to tell him this would probably never work, since even if everyone attended (which everyone would not), the drama would be as thick as tar. He is so naive sometimes! But he has also made contact with some distant cousins that even I barely know through social media and is now good Facebook friends with one of them. I commend and admire him for this.

This morning I received an email from my father, which I’ll paraphrase. First of all he thanked me for my Thanksgiving wishes (I didn’t dare call him because I’d have to deal with his wife, so I just sent him an email). Next, he told me I would be receiving a check in the mail soon (I have no idea for how much). That made me wonder if he is about to pass on (no one in the family informs me of such things). After all, he is in his 80s and suffers from worsening Parkinson’s disease and is almost completely physically disabled. He also has had heart issues. His wife is his full time caretaker and narcissist or not, he would be in a nursing home without her. Although his mind appears to be intact, he sometimes has trouble translating his thoughts into coherent words, and he physically he is completely dependent on her.

Frankly, I was gobsmacked I would be getting anything at all. Although I believe he does love me in his own way, I was under the impression I was being totally cut out of any will (due mostly to his wife’s influence and her ability to turn others against me, the same way my real mother does).

But the next part of his email made me feel like I’d been punched in the stomach. In it, he said my daughter (his granddaughter) is a slimey, sneaky liar and will never change. He said his wife wants nothing to do with her (which I already knew but makes me wonder if he feels the same). While I already knew how my stepmother felt about my daughter, seeing the child I love described this way hurt me A LOT. I can understand their anger toward her, (and I myself have often wondered if she is a narcissist herself but I don’t think so) but seeing these words in print was not only horrible but also, inexplicably, made me feel overcome with guilt and shame. Sure, I wasn’t a perfect parent (and sometimes a pretty lousy one), but I tried my best. Her father is an MN and I believe he really did a number on her mentally. But I still feel guilty as if her behavior is MY FAULT. I feel a shame so deep I didn’t even answer his email — I simply didn’t know what to say.

Since my divorce, I’ve been in terrible financial straits. I work extremely hard and hate living like this, but due to my Aspergers, PTSD, and pervasive self esteem issues that keep me from being able to “pull myself up by my bootstraps,” I constantly struggle to just keep the bills paid, never mind having any disposable income to do the sorts of things that normal, middle class people do. So the news I will be receiving money that might relieve some of these problems should make me happy. *

But it doesn’t. It’s not because I don’t think I “deserve” an inheritance or gift, but because of how ashamed these two make me feel as a human being: ashamed for having a daughter who has “wronged” them and keeps getting in trouble and never seems to learn from her mistakes (although I think that is changing), as well as for other mistakes I have made that were unacceptable to them (such as allowing my MN ex-husband to move back in with me for 7 years, until I finally gained the courage to kick the malignant jackass to the curb last year). They are extremely judgmental people and judge me and my daughter harshly for our poor choices, but I have not gotten much credit for anything I’ve ever done right.

It’s very complicated and I can’t even talk about my feelings in a coherent way. I feel like I’m in some kind of emotional labyrinth I can never escape. It’s all so confusing. I feel so guilty right now and I don’t even know why. I long to call or write my father and ask him about his health (because I do love him and care very much) but am terrified of my stepmother’s interception and harsh judgment and how profoundly he’s been influenced by her. He may pass away soon, but I’m afraid I might not even be informed when that happens. Somehow, I feel like I’ve been bought off…maybe I am wrong. I can only hope.

But on the bright side, at least I can reassure myself that feeling this much guilt and shame means I have a conscience and am not a narc. Because sometimes I think I inherited the family disorder too.

guilt

I really need to stop caring so much what my FOO thinks of me. It really doesn’t matter, does it? I just need to approve of myself.

* This really didn’t belong in this article because of its focus, but I want to use the money (or some of it) to take classes in web design, CSS, SEO and how to blog professionally. I would love to be able to quit my day job to be able to write full time.

Followup: The email I wrote back to my father.