BPD and Abandonment

Some mornings, I wake up “scared to death.” I experienced this same fear when I was 20 years old and engaged to be married. For months, there was wedding planning and excitement. One week before the wedding, I woke up crying my eyes out (like I had done for a month or more). I felt almost “repulsed” by my fiance. I felt “stuck.” I talked with my trusted aunt, more like a mother to me, and she told me to do what I felt I had to do. I broke my engagement one week before the wedding (and it was to be a big wedding).

I went on to be engaged two more times, each time feeling “stuck” and waking up the following mornings “scared to death.” I broke the engagements both times and along the way lost many friends. I understand now that I was looking for a father/protector figure, but once I found that person, I became uninterested- even repulsed by the person. Then, the relationship would be off and on for months- enamored- repulsed, enamored-repulsed and on and on until finally I or the guy would make a permanent break in the relationship. Having learned the skills of DBT, I see where this was clearly an extreme example of all or none thinking.

I always wanted a close relationship with my father but at the same time, I felt squeamish around him. He would look away if I walked by in a bathing suit and never allowed me to wear a two-piece bathing suit. There are still many unresolved feelings/emotions with my father, and I am still working to gain insight into how my relationship with him has affected my relationships with men. I’m still trying to “put the pieces together.”

Many years later, I did marry and was in this chaotic marriage for 15 years. I was reliving my childhood in this marriage. For one full year, I prayed and I begged my husband to communicate with me. When I realized I was losing myself, I finally let go, took a giant leap of faith, filed for divorce (something I thought I would *never* do), and again, lost many friends.

Feeling confident maybe for the first time in my life, I then purchased a home of my own and became self-employed. I enjoyed many years of happiness. Several years later, I began to feel the depression pressing me down again, and I *knew* I had to sever ties (except for an occasional visit and phone call) with my parents. I lost my “blood” family due to this decision and have found that “blood isn’t always thicker than water.” I felt ashamed and abandoned for years, and my life went through a giant upheaval.

I read a quote recently: “you can not heal in the same environment that made you sick.” This so applies to me. Even though I have lost much (family and many friends), I am gaining self-confidence and self-compassion which allows me to share this compassion with others. I am *finally* learning to set appropriate boundaries in my relationships. My primary focus of compassion is on the many animals who are abandoned and mistreated every year. I pour my heart and soul into advocating for these animals who are unable to speak for themselves. I’m certain that my passion is due to my having felt abandoned for so many years as well as the unconditional love that animals give.

I still wake up “scared to death” some days (although they are less frequent). I tremble as tears fall down my face. I am facing the fears head-on. Some days, I feel alone yet I am finding myself for the first time in a long time. I am realizing that I haven’t abandoned myself, and that is life changing. I no longer feel helpless or self-pity. I never knew Ruth, and I am getting to know her now. She is an amazing soul with a lot of compassion and determination to keep facing life and whatever comes her way.

I am finally finding a life worth living, and for the first time in 16+ years, I have a strong desire to have a life partner; still, I know that it isn’t time for this yet. I still have healing to do. Facing these fears is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is also the most rewarding!! Joining DBT Path (emotionallysensitive.com) and sticking with it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. AND, I WILL keep pressing forward.

Life is to be celebrated- not feared!!

Ruth, Texas USA

16 replies
  1. Carly
    Carly says:

    Ruth, your story came to me at a wonderful time in my life as I am trying to heal and understand the lack of consistency surrounding my childhood and how it is now playing into my marriage and family dynamics.. it’s a rough road and I understand. Your passion for helping animals is inspiring and so smart! What a great way to get positive reinforcement and love. I’m going to save this article and think about this often. Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Ruth McMillan
      Ruth McMillan says:

      Thank you, Carly. I am just now seeing your reply!! I’m happy to know that my experiences in life have helped you! I wish for you nothing but the best !!

      Reply
    • Ruth McMillan
      Ruth McMillan says:

      Hi Carly….I am just now seeing your reply to my blog post; still, I would like to let you know that I appreciate the words you sent to me. Yes, navigating our childhood can certainly be difficult. I do hope that you are making headway in your healing and that your healing will benefit your marriage and family dynamics. It’s a lot of hard work, but the payoff can be great so I encourage you to keep working toward a better understanding of your situation. Best wishes, Carly!!

      Reply
  2. Nan M.
    Nan M. says:

    Wow! Life can be long, but, we end up having several lives during this human life. I think yours are getting better and better. Remember you are not your past. You’re dad sounds a little phobic.
    Don’t take on his issues, he can keep them!!!!
    I married three times and Divorced two times. We do things in the vastness of our lack/needs. I don’t believe I’ve ever read or heard that ladies who grow up with some issues and without proper nurturing are cursed or bad or going to some imagined hell. You lived your hell.
    Please let it go and love your wonderful self. ♥️♥️♥️

    Reply
    • Ruth McMillan
      Ruth McMillan says:

      Thank you so much, Nan! I am just now seeing your reply to my post! I am letting go a little more every day and life is good! I appreciate your kind words!

      Reply
  3. Sarah Brownell
    Sarah Brownell says:

    Bravo, RUTH ! I have been waiting for this. Great piece! Gives off rays of hope. I, too, wake up scared every day…but I never put words to it until I read yours. The most dreaded part of every 24 hours is waking up. I am immediately in hypervigilance, heart racing….in the last few weeks I have had to return to bed and read or watch a video to get myself calmed down enough to get up and try out the day! So you’ve already impacted one fan/friend with your thoughtful writing. I think they should keep being written !
    HIP HIP for Ruth, with love, Sarah

    Reply
    • Ruth McMillan
      Ruth McMillan says:

      Hey Sarah…..I am just now seeing your responses to my blog post! I don’t know how I finally stumbled upon them! I am thankful for you and the progress you have made and ARE making! Miss seeing you. Hope to see you in class again soon! Hugs to you!

      Reply
  4. Sarah Brownell
    Sarah Brownell says:

    This is my second try to leave a comment – it will not be as good as the first one that appears to have vanished……Your essay was wonderful Ruth, and ‘m so proud f you ! I have been waiting weeks to get word that this was out! Because of our mutual fan/friendship, it was so interesting to read something longer than a paragraph or two. And you made me realize, or put words to, something that we also have in common : I wake up scared every morning. I have known this for 20 years, and much more so in the last two years, but I never made a phrase for it…..you made it for me. Thank you for allowing the reader into your deepest heart and give many people hope. HURRAY for Ruth !!!

    Reply
    • Ruth McMillan
      Ruth McMillan says:

      Blaga….I am so sorry I hadn’t seen your response to my post until now. I’m happy to know that my words touched you. I wish you the best in your recovery!! Blessings to you!!

      Reply
    • Ruth McMillan
      Ruth McMillan says:

      Hi Maurli….Thank you for reading my post and for your kind words. Recovery does require courage and determination . Some days are harder than others, but I AM determined. I wish you all the best in your recovery journey!!

      Reply
    • Ruth McMillan
      Ruth McMillan says:

      Hi Maurli….I am just now seeing your post! Thank you so much! I’m glad you found my story inspiring! Lots of hard work! Glad that I am on this journey with you!!

      Reply
  5. Ruth McMillan
    Ruth McMillan says:

    Hi Maurli….I replied to your post again without realizing I had already responded. The comment was waiting to be approved!! I do wish you all the best in your recovery!!

    Reply
  6. Janet
    Janet says:

    Ruth, I am so very proud of you. I know you are working very hard to get your life back. I think of it as one day at a time. I had quite a bit of things from my childhood and sometimes when I see a movie or something it reminds me of what happened. I then just let it go but it may take a few days. It helps to talk about things when you feel certain ways. I’ve been fortunate to have been able to change many things in my life. As a teen and a child I had no idea who I was and hated myself. I thank God I was able to get help and have been able to learn about myself and love myself and others. Thanks for sharing your story. Love you.

    Reply
    • Ruth McMillan
      Ruth McMillan says:

      Hi Janet….I want to let you know what a wonderful friend you have been these past many years, and your friendship continues to be a blessing to me. I’m proud of you for working through your childhood issues and becoming the strong woman you are today. Healing definitely happens one day at a time! And, I keep pressing forward. With God’s and my friend’s support, I am learning to love myself and others! I love you!!

      Reply

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