Stuck

Why we can't (or won't) move on from bad jobs, bad relationships, and bad habits, and how we can all move ahead.

The Lost Last Parent

We're never quite ready to have no parents at all. Read More

Parentification

Having been an avid reader of yours for years, which is a very mere thing in terms of sweeping personal statements through a public text-box doorway, I can base this presumptuous statement only on what you've shared with readers about your mother: It seems as though she parentified you from a very young age, making you responsible for her emotional well-being.

That was wrong. It should have been the other way around.

No wonder you're Stuck (?) feeling as if you're never quite "good enough," whatever that precisely means. I suppose it depends on one's personal criteria -- or one's internalized abuser, if one chooses.

It wasn't as if anything that you could have said to her, or done for her, would have been "right" anyway. Borderlines live in a different world from those with whom they interact. Her final, grumpy "lucid" statement may have been the closest thing to affection that she was capable of displaying, as she knew deep down that you were, at least, used to it.

As the parent who had made the decision to be a parent, she was responsible for your emotional well-being, rather than vice-versa. She failed. It's okay to acknowledge that. It obviously didn't make her evil; just sick. But you, her safe emotional dumping ground, were always unjustly left with the psychological fallout. Her sickness, your symptoms. Talk about supernatural.

She left you with a gift, due to all of the verbal abuse you put up with: In actuality, you don't owe her a damn thing.

thank you!

Whoah, that is very on-point. The fact that Borderlines don't know they're Borderlines, don't know there is any such thing as Borderlines, and believe their way of thinking and acting is the image of normalcy (as my friend D and I used to say) makes relationships with them even more replete with fun-house mirrors. Thanks for the clarity.

Re: thank you!

Fun-house mirrors...what a startlingly acute metaphor.
No sweat, and thank you for reading it.

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Anneli Rufus is the author of many books, including Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto and Stuck: Why We Can't (or Won't) Move On.

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