No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
I’ve been living with an inferiority complex for over three decades. I have been consciously aware of this since I was about 12.
To remedy it, I have tried to be more and do more, and basically just be perfect.
All. The. Time.
I’ve always thought it was me, that I was my toughest critic.
That I was just born so serious and so anxious and so un-fun-loving.
Then I told my therapist this story. Which made her sit up a little straighter, scribble notes down, and ask more questions about my relationship with my parents.
We all have broken bits and pieces from our childhood. But what happens when you find out your own childhood was toxic, laced with mental illness, damaging you in so many ways?
I am 36 years old, a wife and a mother to three, and I am still terrified of my parents.
And now I finally know the truth.
Borderline Personality Disorder.
My mother has “high-functioning, invisible” Borderline Personality Disorder. And my dad, well, he’s all shades of co-dependent and enabling.
I’ve spent a lifetime walking on eggshells around them, trying to keep them happy, trying to keep the unpredictable fits of rage at bay. But nothing was ever good enough.
It’s no wonder I have issues with anxiety.
While they will likely never seek help, and will continue to blame those closest to them for all that is wrong (both real and imagined), I am determined to heal from my lifetime of shame, guilt and chaos.
Suddenly, my world makes so much more sense. It doesn’t excuse anything that has happened. I will never be able to have my parents in my life – I will protect my children from that toxic world to no end. But, being able to label their dysfunction (because I’ve suspected it since I was 18) has been incredibly validating for me.
I can finally step back and say, “I am not the horrible person they think I am, I am OK.“
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I am forever grateful for Aidan Donnelly Rowley’s post. While my life experiences may be completely different than her own – reading her words opened up a door in my soul that I had bolted shut so many years ago. Her post, her words, sharing her own personal journey, helped me take my first steps of healing.
Thank you, Aidan, so very much.
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