17 July 2013


Have any of you ever actually walked on eggshells? I haven't, at least not really. I've walked on gravel and dry leaves and various other surfaces in my life. Lots of Cheerios end up on the floor and walked on in this house. Walking barefoot on gravel is pretty painful, but the saying walking on eggshells isn't about pain. Technically, the saying refers to the fragility of the eggshells, that you can't walk on them without breaking them, so you must walk gingerly. Not for me, though. For me, this idiom is about noise. The act of walking on eggshells would result in a cacophony of crunching and cracking. Not really loud like an airhorn, but annoying enough to garner the attention of whomever is in close vicinity to the eggshells. For me, walking on the eggshells is the act of being as quiet as possible so that I don't wake up the monster that is my mother's borderline personality disorder (BPD).

These proverbial eggshells have littered the ground of my family's life for as long as I can remember. My father tiptoed around them for over 28 years and after he died, my path through life became littered with them.

I despise them.

I recently learned that BPD occurs in one of two ways. Either you acquire BPD because it's a coping mechanism due to childhood physical/emotional/sexual abuse or you learn BPD from your parent. I've had a very apt teacher these last 41 years.

I am currently spending most of my waking hours trying to unlearn BPD. I realize that instead of mild annoyance, I will feel all-encompassing, violent anger. You didn't know that? I must hide it well. Instead of taking something someone says to me with a grain of salt, I consider what is said to be as weighty as the universe itself and take it personally. Rather than improving myself through someone's constructive criticism, I dwell on the advice for months and beat myself up over my obvious-to-me shortcomings.

Basically, I react to everything like an irrational, awkward, immature 12-year-old.

This is also how my mother reacts to her surroundings and most of her reactions are focused on me, her only child. For years, I would wonder why Mom was in a bad mood or sad and what I had done to put her in said mood and try to fix her so that she could be happy again. I did this until about two weeks ago.

No more. See, the thing is, I haven't done anything wrong. Neither did my father or Mom's friends. The only thing happening is my mother's over-reaction to anything done or said to her. It doesn't even have to be mean. I say to you, You know, pink may not be your color. So you just get a second opinion and maybe not buy any more pink shirts. I say You know, pink may not be your color to my mother and suddenly she doesn't talk to me for a month. THAT'S BPD. And I can't talk. I've managed to incinerate a few friendships because of my own BPD. So far, my body count is low and I intend to keep it that way.

And I know what you're saying to your computer screen right now. Why is Coal Miner's Granddaughter publishing this for the entire world to see? Isn't this private? A family matter? I'm posting about this because I want the world to know that I'm not a horrible daughter. I want the world to know that I, too, am a BPD sufferer and I'm fighting it tooth and nail every day. I want others who have loved ones suffering from BPD to know that they're not alone.

I'm tired of the damned eggshells. I'm sweeping them off my path or I'm crunching the hell out of them. Either way, I'm no longer tiptoeing around them.


Molly's Mom said...

Knowledge is so powerful - and so are you! <3

Hilary Carnes said...

When you share things like this, your pain is divided. We can now share it with you and help you with your burden. Lots of love.

Bucky said...

You know what's inside those shells? Eggs. And you know what goes with eggs? BACON. BACON. BACON.

Hang in there. Hugs from The Mountain State.

Muskrat said...

You're 41? I thought you were, like, 36 or something.

Hope this improves...quickly.

hello haha narf said...

incredible...i literally said, out loud, "i had no idea" and your next sentence was "you didn't know that?"

anyhow, i want you to know that never in a million years would i have thought that you are a horrible daughter. it is no exaggeration when i say that you are one of the best and brightest people i know.

so much love to you.

Dave2 said...

I've never walked on eggshells. I did accidentally step on a taco shell that fell on my kitchen floor once though. It was super crunchy and noisy at first... but after a few months I hardly noticed it any more, as all the pieces were ground down to corn flour. There's probably a metaphor of deep meaning in there somewhere... all I know is that I should probably buy a broom for my kitchen.

Naz - Life, Unedited. said...

I lived the past two years with a sick mother. It was a very different sickness, but I felt what you feel right now. It's horrible. You are not a bad daughter. Bad daughters throw their moms in nursing homes and forget about them. My feelings only lasted two years - it was only a glimpse of what you're going through. You have people who understand and care from all over the world. I sincerely hope your situation improves. Always remember that though you can't control everything, you most definitely can control how you react to them. Muchos love-os.