Understanding my “Why?”

So, about that panic attack the other day….

Yes, I’d just had a ton of success, and yes, maybe I’m afraid of it…but something else may have triggered it too.

I had just gotten finished with a good counseling session, where I wondered aloud, “Why did I get involved with the Quiverful/Patriarchy movement, after working so hard to get out of my crazy Narcissistic/Borderline parents’ control?”

My counselor replied, “Maybe, since your mother was so abusive, you were trying to swing in the complete opposite direction, so you could land somewhere in the middle.”  Maybe.  That kind of made sense.

So, I got home, and went to the BPDfamily.com boards, where I spent so much of my time healing from my parents’ mind-control.  I read through about four years of old posts of mine, where I described what it was like to grow up with TWO parents who were crazy mentally ill.  [My mother has Borderline Personality Disorder, and my dad is a certifiable Narcissist.]

At first, I was smiling.  I couldn’t help it–I was feeling proud.  I thought, “I can’t believe I actually survived all this trauma, and still wanted to be the best mother I could be.”  I mean, the stereotype is that women who are abused go on to abuse their own kids.  I didn’t.  I was so thankful.

However, guess what I saw over and over again, while going over my own freaking writings?  My parents used almost exactly the same twisting of language, the same emotional methods of control, and even the same worship of “family,” that the QF/P movement uses.  They just phrased it mostly in secular terms.

Even worse, as a kid of a BPD/NPD, I used the SAME coping techniques in QF/P that I used with them: never speak badly of them, smile all the time, obey authority, keep everything perfect, be a model daughter[mother/wife] and adapt to exactly what they want you to be.

It was, as my husband’s grandfather used to say, “Out of the frying pan, into the skillet.”

I’m not the first person to make this connection.  The writers of the blog, Overcoming Botkin Syndrome , about recovering from one of the most extreme examples of Christian Patriarchy, also saw the common traits in parents with Personality Disorders, and the leaders of the QF/P movement.

Dang.

There’s so much more to process here, so much more information to mine, and so many examples that I want to give….but the point is that I lept from one prison into another, most likely because it was familiar.  Maybe, in a sick twisted way, even comforting.  It gave me the illusion of control over my life.

I wonder now about the chicken and the egg–which came first in the Patriarchy movement: The Personality Disorder, or the Twisted Scripture?  With the Doug Phillips scandal, I can’t help but wonder, did these assholes actually have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and twist scripture in a way to get all the narcissistic supply they wanted?

Gosh, I feel like I have so much writing to do, so many definitions to explain, and so much I want to share, in order to make all of these connections plain to readers who didn’t go through this.  But at least now, I understand the why of what I went through.  I feel so much more comfortable leaving the Patriarchy’s teachings behind, realizing that the leaders used the same method of Bible exegesis that my parents did: “Whatever I Want it to Mean.”

My first panic attack in a year…

I got my first major magazine article published.

I queried three more major magazines.

I got a “yes” on one query within a day.

I started re-reading old journals to mine for ideas for other articles.

I got several “good jobs” from my employer.

I sent an invoice.

I made a tiny mistake at work.

And I had a panic attack.

A raging, roaring panic attack that had me sobbing, shaking, wondering if I was crazy, feeling like I should be fired without any pay, and like I wanted to crawl into a hole and sleep for a week.  I truly considered the magazine piece, as well as the courage to submit queries, a huge success.   Christine Anne Lawson, author of “Understanding the Borderline Mother,” argues that any type of success can trigger a panic attack in the child of a borderline mother.  Usually the mother follow up any success of the child’s with sabotage,  a rage-fest, a guilt-trip, or devaluing.  I’ve experienced every one of those.

I also can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that anything I accomplished was just because of my mother or father.  Once, I sang a song I wrote for my [Narcissistic] father’s family, and as soon as I was done, he pointed to himself with both hands and said, “See what I can do?”

Yep, you can be a jerk.  Very, very effectively.

However, this morning I was able to wake up, have a cup of coffee, sit in the sunshine, and realize that I’d made it through the panic.  The fact that I’d had an enormously painful response to the success did not make it any less true–the success had happened.  I had accomplished something good.  I could accomplish something good today.  If nothing else, the panic attack showed me that the pain was temporary, but the by-line was forever.

I got another article accepted today. :-}