The degree of tragedy in this story is staggering, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to relate to a person who suffers from a personality disorder. Although the experience is also quite confusing, especially if one isn’t trained to understand what is happening. From one moment to the next they seem to change, they may well not but they certainly seem to. Occasionally one sees them have a moment of clarity, which is also confusing. It quickly becomes very difficult to discern what of what they say is true, what is driven by a Narcissistic need for approval and what is simply untrue because they are responding pathologically. One feels like one is being washed and tumbled about in the ocean waves, having been thrown overboard, during a storm, in trying to make sense of what is taking place.
As I mentioned in an earlier post it was incredibly difficult to understand the family unit. One daughter who literally spends six hours a day binge eating and then purging, who is unable to maintain friendships, who was unable to even maintain the less personal relationships in the work environment. The emotional anguish involved with the feeling that “Everybody goes away” that she was “Built for purpose, some people are built for love and she was built for purpose”, that she is genuinely not a likable person, that no person could ever love her, which to me is tragedy in and of itself. That said, her feeling of being unacceptable seems to exacerbate the issue. I’ll remind you that Bulimia is a life threatening mental illness, and that in effect she is very slowly committing suicide. at some point in the future, if she continues the probability exists that she will cause organ failure and death. The other daughter morbidly obese to the point of being a severe health risk, but who also cuts herself. Two different forms of self harm in the same family. Her mother continues to lament that “she feels like a bad mother”, and by all accounts, parenting which leads to both children suffering from severe mental conditions may not be considered a success at parenting, yet she still clings to denial and will not take responsibility for her actions. Nor would she do anything to help with the problems her daughters face. She does however maintain their paperwork and run errands. Again, something I could not understand in their family dynamic. Her mother was also glad to write contracts so that her own ill behaviour could be justified. Her mother seemed intent on perpetuating the damage.
Today I happened on a video, which lacks empirical data or proof for it’s statements, but, having witnessed first hand some of the things that she was going through a very large amount of what is shown in this video does ring true, does resonate. Something else I should mention is that, given just how difficult it is to be around somebody with a mental illness, the way they treat one as though one were inferior, as though one doesn’t matter. It is difficult to openly like a person with a personality disorder, I would go so far as to say it is easy to dislike them. Also the stigma attached to mental illness does far more damage than I think most are aware of. It isn’t necessarily easy for anyone to understand that the person who may be treating one very poorly isn’t deliberately being cruel, especially in the moment.
It isn’t simple to understand that what is happening is a tragedy, that while they are engaging in physically, emotionally, economic or even sexual abuse, they are not as in control of their own emotions and actions as they would be if they were not mentally ill. It’s easy to dislike them, to stigmatize what is happening to them so that it’s not essential to understand the reality, which is very difficult to understand, in order to make some sense of what is happening, to come to some terms with what is happening. It may well be no less than an act of self preservation. But what is needed is recognition of them as worthwhile, as no less human than any other, that how they feel, whether it is based in reality or not, is at very least equally important. In daily interaction, most people do not recognize them as equal, which contributes a great deal to the breakdown of their relationships and in turn perpetuates or makes worse the problem they already have.
Please watch the Video