Part two: “Please don’t judge me”
If you thought the first part was no big deal maybe this part will seem more fitting to the theme. I first wrote it for myself, thinking I would never actually publish it on the internet. After my husband read it, he said it was “bold” and he wanted me to post it. Deep breath. Here goes…
Something that I’ve felt heavily ever since I moved to NYC is the constant “sizing up” and comparing that most people do here. In general, I try to let it slide off my back and remind myself that I’m doing what’s right for me and it doesn’t matter what other people think.
Where I fall short is with my mother-in-law. It’s so hard to write about this topic because it’s impossible for most people to understand how intense and terrifying relating to her can be. To people who don’t know her, she is giving, smart and friendly. Anyone who has spent a substantial amount of time around her soon finds out that this is only part of the picture.
My husband believes his mother has Borderline Personality Disorder. This disorder is characterized by an intense fear of abandonment which can be provoked at the smallest perception of impending departure. I have no idea what is going on inside her mind or how she really feels, but after reading Stop Walking on Eggshells I see that her outward behaviors exemplify the disorder.
Ironically, people with BPD drive those around them away because of how they respond to the fear of abandonment. My mother-in-law has intense rages where she is likely to damage property and physically injure herself or others around her. The complexity of this disorder has severely effected my relationships with her, my father-in-law, sister-in-law and even my husband.
How it relates to this blog is that I know she reads it at least some of the time. I also know that anything she knows about me is likely to be used as a weapon when she is in one of her rages. Generally, I know that these rages have little to do with me personally, and I again try to let them roll off my back.
But I have a husband who I love dearly and want to have a happy life with. Not only does anything she learns about me become a potential weapon to use against me, but also a potential wedge to try and divide me and my husband. I also have a son who I want to protect. I don’t want him growing up thinking this is how people treat each other and I certainly don’t want him to be in the way of any physical altercations.
To try to protect myself and my family, I leave a lot of details out on this blog. Anything related to money is especially dangerous territory, because in my mother-in-law’s view we don’t work hard enough, save enough money or make wise decisions about how we spend our money. She has no qualms with letting us or anyone know about these opinions, and it’s quite uncomfortable to have your friends finding out about the cost of your wedding via one of your mother-in-law’s Facebook tirades. This is the reason behind why I mentioned not wanting to share my food budget in part one of this post.
I wanted to share this because I think a lot of people suffer silently through mental illness and abuses of people close to them in their lives. I hope you know that you aren’t alone, and you can get support by being open and honest with other caring people in your life or even by joining an online discussion board.