Where to begin. Perhaps at the beginning at about 10:00 p.m. at Mary Immaculate Hospital located in Queens, NY. It was May 14, 1975. “Joan” arrived after a difficult and induced labor. My new wife Marg was 18.
Joan came into our lives 24 years ago. It was a difficult birth, but not extraordinary. Of course this is so easy to say because I was not the one heaving with labor pains or pushing my guts out.
Perhaps we should have known that Joan was not going to be an easy child. But she was the first and we were young and full of energy. I certainly had no clue in the early years that “Joan” would bring incredible emotional pain to our lives. I do remember having to get in our old beat up car and drive Joan around the neighborhood before she would fall asleep. But, this was in infancy. She was a colicky baby, but Marg was patient.
The years whirled by and our second daughter Alice was born in 1981. There was some natural jealousy of a 6 year old already on board toward the new arrival. Alice got chicken pox at 3 months old and I followed with a case of adult chicken pox. Alice came away easy in that most of Marg's immunity protected her from a bad chicken pox experience. Me, well it was a bad two weeks for sure. This is about me to a large extent, and unfortunately so.
No I don't have BPD. Joan has it. I suffer and Marg suffers. Anne, my six year old granddaughter suffers, Alice suffers. We suffer in different ways and spaces. We suffer the brunt of a daughter, mother, and sister who is often "out to lunch".
Joan’s world is fantasy and boredom, tattoos and cutting her own flesh (at least we know in her younger years she cut.) We cannot tell now. Joan is unable to deal with reality and lies to herself and everyone else as if her lies can change reality to make it what she wants or needs it to be. I guess it does change Joan’s reality, but not ours. We see much more objectively the terrible toll BPD exerts on Joan’s daughter Anne. It is a double hurt for Marg and I. We watch Joan throw her life away and concurrently watch her screw up her own daughter's existence.
As if this weren't enough. We threw Jessica out at 16. Bought a house for her and Anne and Anne’s father to live in. I had to throw them out of the house because they were systematically destroying it. We took Joan and Anne into our home again. The home Joan was thrown out of at 16. And on the saga goes.
I could outline 100 episodes of experiencing her BPD. What good would it do now and here? You all know what I am saying. You know of the push away I hate you and the pull toward you I love you. You know of the magical thinking and fantasy life lived by your own BPD kids. Joan lost her license for 6 months for speeding several years ago. Two of the 3 tickets were in the very same spot. Tell me BPD behavior doesn't cry out for notice.
What good does it do to tell you Jessica repeats the same behavior over and over again without taking any meaning from the bad outcomes. She has lived with two men, one Anne’s (my granddaughter) father. The other just a bum, from a white trash family. Neither has a driver's license.
Who can live with garbage all over and cat excrement? Who, in their right mind, could not bathe for more than several days or leave their teeth rot in their own heads? Who could associate with only those with no way to succeed in life. My Joan -- a beautiful blond, blue eyed child of slight build--now much heavier -- never had a job and blames everyone else for what goes wrong. She never takes responsibility for her own conduct or the very bad choices she consistently makes.
Joan makes me very unhappy and sad. I could have let her go her own way if it were not for Anne. Actually, it was Marg who said we must try to save Anne. I simply had to go along for Marg's sake. I could have put both Joan and Anne on the mental shelf to protect my own fragile emotional world.
I could have cut them both loose from my world. Oh, I would have paid a large price in guilt. I would sleep better though. I try to live one day at a time and remember not to be too angry about having to raise another child. I wouldn't mind raising Anne if Joan left us alone to do the right thing.
Counseling you wonder?. Oh sure, we have tried and tried. Joan says there is nothing wrong. She says
that she is normal. We are just uppity people who don't understand her or the downtrodden people she chooses to associate with.
At this point, the bottom line is: Anne, is my granddaughter. I cannot help Joan anymore. I cannot even kiss her goodnight when I leave for work. I can't stand being around her. I do indeed walk on eggshells and don't like that feeling when it is my house, my income and my sanity.
I searched high and low all over the internet, in support groups and through research trying to find practical suggestions on how to best grow my granddaughter up with Joan being a Borderline. I would throw Joan out again tomorrow if it were not for Anne.
I've been working in state prisons for 18 years. It's a very tough environment.
But I can tell you BPD is much, much tougher to deal with.
My wife Marg worked with small children in a daycare setting until a neuropathic
injury ruled that occupation out.
Marg handles this BPD situation much better than I do. I am the one who has sought support online.
About My BPD Daughter and Her Daughter
I guess I want Joan to be the perfect parent. Much like the idea
of a white picket fence life, a fantasy, I am falsely thinking Joan could
and should be the best parent ever.
I am angry that Joan thinks more of herself than her child. I
think the child's needs must always come first. But, then I look at how I
have lived my life thus far. I cannot say I put my children first all the
time. I know my limitations and have lived by them to a large extent.
I often escape when conflict arises. The escape, years ago, used to
be physical. Now my escape is primarily mental. I simply tune out. Why
should I expect so much from Joan?
When you become a parent, the primary focus is the child. Concretely
speaking, a parent should: