A Mother's Warning

Written by Michele Dupuis

Hi Kathi.... ......My name is Michele, and I too, have been diagnosed as borderline personality. What makes matters worse for me, is that I suffer from, "post traumatic stress", as well. From the age of 16, I have been seeking treatment, (Iam now33), only to be finally diagnosed in the spring of 1991.

I read with interest, the article on your web page, by Margaret Mahler. Her mention of "stereotypes and stigmas", I found quite profound, and alas, quite applicable in my case.

You see, growing up, I was the eldest of three girls. My father was a bad, "ugly" alcoholic, and my mother had always looked to me for support, protection and consoling, from the time I was 3 yrs of age and up.

When it would get bad, inside our small bungalow, during one of his drunken rages, many a time, I would leave my bed, rushing out amidst their physical altercations, pushing my father away from my mother, screaming and crying at him, acting as a decoy, to protect my mother. Each time, I was driven to do this, as a small child, I came to the conclusion, "I was on a one way trip out there", and would quite possibly be killed, unable to return to my bed.

I fit the criteria for this disorder in many respects, since my mother was very, dogmatic and tyrannical. Especially towards me. I never came up to her standards, like both of my sisters did. Yet her expectations of me, always were, out of my reach, since anything I did, no matter how efficiently, especially for my age, was never good enough.

My mother, to this day, is devoid of empathy, especially towards me. Only her own feelings, contribute to her behavior, and reasoning.

She held the baited carrot, in front of me, all the time growing up, as well as, into my adult years. When I got married at l8, and pregnant, a few months later, she was in my life, everyday administering her "Saddam-like" rules.

When my son was born, a year or so later, my depression nose-dived, and I was in hospital for 2 months. Due to her intervention, my son stayed with her, while I was an in-patient. When I got better, and came out, it was her emphatic insistence, that I was still not "fit" or "sane" enough, to be a good mother.

I held no integrity of my own, to refute her claims. I knew, I loved my son, more than life itself, and I only wanted what was BEST for him. It was due to this, I let her take my son, into her home. At this point she was divorced, and lived alone with my sister.

I went to her house every day to see my son. Each time I was there, she would be hostile towards me, humiliating me, by every little thing I might mention, and literally, made me feel very unwelcome. But I persisted to go there, if only to sustain a constant contact with my son. As he got older, when I was with him, I heard many lies and mistruths, about me, that my mother had fed him as "propaganda", that undermined me, and escalated her.

I endured all of this, until my son turned 11. It was at that time, she had met a man, and become engaged. I credit him, for convincing her to let my son go, back to my arms.

It has been two years, since my mother and I have spoken, mainly due to the fact, that my son has confided in me, over the years he's been with me, that his grandmother had treated him, almost as badly as me, as a kid. Between the physical beatings, and emotional abuse, she tortured him with, I have a vile contempt towards her. Not only did she steal my childhood away from me, and part of my son's, but she took something more.

She eradicated, the very sense of "who I am", and any legitimacy I could possibly find in the world. Due to this, I am afraid I qualify, to the reference in the article, dealing with, convolution and stigma.

My own subjective judgments, regarding myself as a person, are based on the reactions, of those around me. All of my identity, and self portrait of who I am, is based on the projection, of the "status quo".

I sincerely hope, that if any of your visitors to your website, have a mother such as mine, they will take extra precautions, if they happen across circumstances, like that of my own. Regretfully, I see now, nothing can replace all the years I missed in my child's life.

I thank-you Kathi, for this opportunity to share my thoughts, and experience, regarding this disorder. Yours very truly.....
Michele Dupuis mdupuis@osicom.net 

Dear Michele,

Thank you for visiting the site Toddlertime and writing to me. I have read your letter several times almost at a loss in what to say from your traumatic experience. You mention that you hope other mothers would see the light a little sooner before their mothers take advantage of them. Would you mind if I posted you letter on the site? It might bring attention to others in the same situation. I would like to make you a part of the ToddlerTime family sweetie. Reading your letter Michele, you have a very good mind and should be able to accomplish anything you set your mind too. Yet, with all the baggage your parents put on you it's amazing that you survived it all. I can see how indeed you have PTSD. One doctor said the same about me once. I am so sorry that you were robbed of your childhood. That has got to be one of the most awful things to live with, or without I should say. I am happy that your son is with you again and with his understanding you do have validation. How are you dealing with your anger Michele? Are you seeing a therapist now? You have support anytime you need it here sweetie.

Btw, on the directory page, there is an online mail list for supporting abused survivors.



Hi Kathi:

A note back to you, just to let you know, you have my flattered "OKAY", to go ahead and post my letter at your site. I feel that, if by alerting susceptible people, to the potential devastation at risk, to both mother, + (son or daughter) ....a similar situation, such as mine, could be avoided.

My motivation concerning this, is that, if I had known in advance, the warning signs, and what was at risk,......well, things would have turned out a lot differently. As well, I would have saved myself, and my son, a lot of agony.

It's been almost 2 years, since I have had any contact with my mother. Not entirely due to my anger, and resentment towards her, but more so, by the influence she still evokes inside me.

My entire time growing up under her command, left me broken, humiliated, and ashamed of even existing. She made it very obvious, that she was ashamed of me,,,,,that I didn't come close, to her expectations, like my sisters did. She was, and still is, (I assume), very narcissistic, and emphatically dogmatic. Until I can feel that my own judgments, and feelings are legitimate, her earlier conditioning, will prevail. leaving me vulnerable, AGAIN, to her manipulation.

In answer to your question, "Am I still in therapy?", yes I am. It has been a very long road, since I was only correctly diagnosed in March of '91, after being in therapy for nearly ten years, prior to that. Once I finally began ostracizing my mother from my life, anger management has been relatively easy for me. Yet, I have to wonder to myself, if it isn't rearing itself in other forms.....hmmm. Anyway, this is how it stands for now.

Again, words cannot convey, how much I appreciate the opportunity, to join your site. There is such a stigma attached to disorders such as this, we seem to be pummeled into the shadows. Myself, I have always kept a tight lid on everything concerning this problem, although, because of it, I'm sure, I appear to people dealing with me, as inconsistent, forgetful, and unreliable at times.

I must confess, on reading your letter, I began to cry. It took me completely by surprise. Your empathy and understanding was clearly evident. I am so used to dismissing and minimizing, the pain associated with my past, that in reading your words, I definitely felt some kind of shift inside. Thank-you, for all your help, in guiding me to this pathway of understanding. I'm sure it will hold a great deal of insight for me.
My heartfelt thanks.....

Michele Dupuis