A blog I love, Scary Mommy, is having a Scary Mommy writing contest and it intrigued me. I’m always looking for ideas on what to write about and truth be told, I needed inspiration for another post. I’ve known about the topic for 3 days now but have struggled with whether to participate or not. Because, you see, I’ve spent my entire stint at motherhood avoiding just that – The Scary Mommy.
I was raised by a Scary Mommy. And I’m terrified of becoming her. My mother has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This disorder has been pooh-poohed by some in the psychiatry field. But take it from one who has lived it – it exists. I recently read a book about BPD and it lists signs that your loved one may have it. I cried when I finished. It described my mother to a tee. I no longer felt crazy anymore.
You see one thing BPD’s are really good at is hiding it from others. Some people would comment how wonderful my mother was and I’d have to keep my face from revealing my confusion. I’ve learned to smile and nod. Others, who were subjected to her whims, would wonder if I’m as rude, as careless with people’s feelings, too. Childhood friends would talk about us as the ideal family and my sister and I thought they were nuts. They had no idea what went on behind closed doors.
The Scary Mommy I know pulls you by your hair. Tells you you’re worthless. Criticizes your clothes, your friends, your figure, the books you read. They favor one child over the other making you feel guilty when you’re on top, eager to step over your siblings in order to please her when you’re in the doghouse.
Scary Mommys blame everyone else for their problems. Leaving you to pick up the pieces. Make things better. You become the fixer. You learn the term ‘co-dependant’ at too young an age.
Scary Mommys sometimes drink too much, punch holes in walls, break window panes, take medications. Sleep for days.
Scary Mommys wallow in dark, negative places. Or relish tragedy and drama. They turn other people’s pain into their own. They have few friends. The friends they do have rarely last. One day they’re ‘the sweet lady who lives next door’, the next day they’re ‘the spinster.’
I don’t want to be that mommy. I want laughter to spill over in all situations. I don’t want my children to test the waters every morning when they wake up to see what mood I’m in. I want my children to be children while they’re children. I don’t want miniature adults running around fixing, care taking, re-building.
I’m so scared of becoming a scary mommy I’m constantly doubting myself. I check in with my “barometers” (husband, therapist, sister, friends) constantly to make sure I’m making good choices. When I stumble and glimpse hints of a scary mommy in the mirror I panic. I go overboard. I spoil. Become permissive. Defend my child when I shouldn’t.
But I am a scary mommy. No matter how hard I try not to be. We all do it. It can’t be avoided. No matter how idyllic our childhood was. But in my reality I feel I’m Scary Mommy more often than most.
I struggle to make peace with my scary side. Forgive myself. Learn from it. Move on.
But it is so hard. So very, very hard.
And I struggle. And I try. I try hard every day to leave scary mommy in the shadows where she belongs.
And most days I never see her.