I am the adult-child of two borderline parents. How can one get closure when the borderline parent(s) don't get help or ever change? In my experience, nobody said or waved good-bye but the loss had already taken place, oh so long ago. The pain needed to be addressed. Addressing the pain was the bridge from toxic emotional enmeshment to my past and the emotional freedom of both the "here and now" and my future.
By the time I was healthy enough and ready to let my parents go – to go no contact with my parents to save myself – and to wave and say good-bye to my past – toxic emotional carnage was everywhere. Nobody said good-bye. Nobody even waved. The sum total of all of my compounding losses just continued to mount.
Even after I first went no contact, it would be years later that I truly would, in my own way, in my own process, in the absence of my borderline parents – how fitting really – say good-bye in what was a quiet, personal, grief-filled process of letting go.
- The Puzzle and Mystery of Hope on the Other Side of BPD
- Inside The Borderline Mind
- The Shame of Abandonment In BPD
- Breaking Free of The Borderline Maze – Recovery For Nons
- Facing the Facts of BPD – On The Other Side For Nons
- Overcoming Denial About BPD and Love
My father passed away eleven years ago tomorrow, September 14, 1997. I had not seen or talked to him for 7 years prior to his death – no one said good-bye. I did not find out he has died until my borderline mother in her round about and punishing way told me on Mother's Day of 1998, some 8 months later. I talk about this in my video first two-part video on the subject of me being the adult child of a borderline father and a borderline mother Adult-Child of Borderline Parents and No Contact and Part 2 Adult-Child of Borderline Parents and No Contact
My mother is 83 and I have just recently again had to make the choice to go back to no contact after sporadic contact here and there over the last eight years. So there is an element of this saying good-bye that is an on-going experience of sorts.
What a painful process it has been. In some ways, in moments, here and there, it is a grief that will in much smaller ways always be with me. It has become a part of who I am. It is a part of my life story. That's okay. It's okay because I have learned that to truly know joy, one must know sorrow. The important thing about this grief and loss is that it doesn't control my life anymore.
I am no longer, nor have I been for years now, a victim of my past. It doesn't matter to me anymore why what happened did happen and why what "should" have happened didn't. I have just let it go. Radically accepted it. My past was what it was and is what it is. I have no further interest or desire in blaming my borderline mother or my borderline father for anything. It is just complexly enough – simply over.
I no longer live in the past with it. I have waved good-bye to it. And with and from within that good-bye, I have found emotional freedom. An emotional freedom that anyone in any unchosen relationship with someone with active and/or untreated Borderline Personality Disorder deserves.
Closure, for the adult child of a borderline mother or a borderline father, unless they get into successful treatment, is rarely possible in a mutual and/or reciprocal way with that parent. That leaves the ball of closure squarely in the court of the adult child alone. The good news is you can serve up an ace with that ball and you can find closure on your own even in the absence of any cooperation or joint-effort with your borderline parent.
I have done two more videos now available on YouTube about this experience in my life. These videos are basically, more or less, related or could be considered one two-part video. However they do not have the same names. Part one is entitled Philosophy of an adult child of borderline parent part 1 and what is essentially part two I ended up entitling Nobody Said Good-bye – Letting go to find emotional freedom
Just an ironic aside, due to my father's business, when I was a child we moved many many times. And each and every time we moved and I lost friends and precious and hard-fought for relationships were ruptured time and time again they would never let me say good-bye. We always just had to go. Nobody said good-bye and I was not able to say good-bye. And, as a child, when relatives died, people I loved and cared about in spite of their flaws (yes others in my family had BPD too) I was not allowed to go to their funerals. They existed while they drew breath and the moment they died, my parents insisted they not be talked about again. Typical borderline "out-of-sight-out-of-mind". Utter betrayal of people who mattered.
Nobody said good-bye. In typical borderline fashion, my parents inability to deal with loss meant that I wasn't going to learn anything healthy about it – not until I was 30 years old. They didn't allow me to say to good-bye to others or to them, either.
I wish I knew why some things in life unfold the way they do. But what I have come to learn that there is so much that is way more important than asking and searching for the elusive answer to the question "why" and its lack of closure. That is just a trap. Asking why keeps you stuck in toxic enmeshed emotional suffering. There is emotional freedom to be found in radically accepting that what has unfolded in your life with your borderline mother or borderline father has purpose and meaning.
Why, just really isnt that important – it really isn't.
You will, if you haven't already, discover that sacred purpose and meaning in your own life when you actively engage the process of letting go of the why's and through engaging your grief – grief of what has already been lost – start to take your own life back and say and wave good-bye to your past and all its toxic emotional trappings.
Even when you feel the pain of your grief – grief for the losses of the past with your borderline parent – even when it hurts, awareness to the power of now is something that can set you free. Mindfulness, awareness to the power of now and a radical acceptance of all that has been lost is the process of your own personal awakening to enlightenment. An enlightenment that is one of the most incredible teachers and blessed gifts I've ever had the experience of. It is an on-going journey of rich and life-affirming experience. It is a loving and nurturing experience.
The only thing that hurts more than letting go and finding your own way to say and/or wave good-bye to the past that you suffered in with a borderline mother or a borderline father is letting one more day go by where you deny yourself the emotional freedom that you so deserve.
© A.J. Mahari, September 13, 2008 – All rights reserved.
I am in the process of writing a memoir. My story of my life with Borderline Personality Disorder, and as the child of two parents with Borderline Personality Disorder, and more importantly, my recovery from it all. You can check for news – coming very soon – and excerpts about my memoir (which will include some audio and video) at ajmahari.ca
A.J. Mahari is a Life Coach who, among other things, specializes in working with family members, adult-children of those with BPD and ex, soon to be ex or relationship partners of those with BPD. A.J. has 5 years experience as a life coach and has worked with hundreds of clients from all over the world.