THE LESBIAN BORDERLINE
For the Love of Mother
BY SHARI SCHREIBER, M.A.
This article is for survivors of a relationship that's had toxic consequences for them. It is not intended for anyone with BPD traits! If you suspect you have borderline personality features, what follows could feel injurious to you! Please leave this site immediately and seek alternative web content that may be more congruent with your personal views and needs.
I've never met a lesbian who didn't have significant issues with her mother. This isn't to suggest they don't exist--I just haven't encountered one during the course of my personal or professional life.
One of the most destructive relationship problems that exists in the dynamic between a Borderline and her mother is enmeshment (the inability to sense where the mother's feelings, needs and opinions end--and the child's begin). Crippling enmeshment difficulties keep the Self from maturing, evolving and finding a viable/healthy sense of autonomy in relation to a mother who has borderline personality features. In short, this child is brainwashed to see life solely from the mother's (warped) perspective from infancy onward, and her own sense of reality is dangerously distorted and precariously balanced.
An enmeshed child is unable to forge a sense of separateness, and believe she can continue to exist past the mother's death. Varying levels of anxiety are held concerning this matter, throughout her life. Think of this fused bond as being akin to conjoined twins. The mother is heavily reliant on her child for sustenance, in terms of attention, care and mirroring, and a daughter always complies for fear of emotional repercussions, or somehow contributing to the increased infirmity or imminent demise of her mother. This guilt which is a controlling factor for the daughter is stifling on so many levels, it has to intrude on her personal and professional choices.
The Borderline Waif mother makes certain her daughter knows that she can't survive without her, and that she's the guardian of Mom's pleasure and pain. These early dynamics set a young kid up for very specific relational patterns in adulthood, which can propel her into the arms of needy/clingy Borderlines. On a subconscious level, her valiant efforts to rescue/repair a partner and fortify self-worth despite the other's abandoning or abusive behaviors, replicate her girlhood blueprint for attachment. It's hard to struggle free from this insidious hook, and many never escape dreaded feelings of obligation, until the offending parent is dead and buried. For many, even this does not guarantee relief or release from guilt.
A significant part of this reflex is a carry-over from childhood demands to be a 'perfect little girl' in order to get any warmth or nourishing attention, or avoid severe penalty for displeasing Mother. Borderlines typically despise and distrust other females (even their daughters), due to painful, unresolved attachment issues emanating from their earliest relational experiences with Mom, starting in infancy. These dynamics tend repeat generation to generation, indefinitely.
Love's been inextricably entwined with anguish since infancy for the Borderline. Powerful needs for self-reliance are spawned by attachment difficulties with the mother, due to inadequate bonding in the first year of life, and most crucially in the first few days and weeks. Symbiotic deficits during this phase of development are rife with a lack of emotional attunement and missed opportunities for gratification, due to the mother's incapacity to intuitively respond to her baby's cries and interpret their meaning as to her infant's immediate needs. This lack of attunement usually derails trust in others and Self for a lifetime, and causes one to couple with lovers who are prone to echoing these painful early/primal frustrations and sense memories in them.
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