Cognitive Dissonance, Eggshells, and Guilt

I don’t talk about Mom a lot online. Last year, I posted that we were no longer in contact and I’ve reached out to a few mutual friends to help me keep an eye on her simply because she’s no spring chicken. But, other than that, unless you’re a close friend who I talk to on a regular basis, I’ve been radio-silent.

I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

I’ve spent the last 13 months reading books about borderline personality disorder, subscribing to Facebook and Reddit groups that allow for safe spaces to post about borderline parents, and going to therapy. Well, scratch that. Therapy only lasted six months because my therapist started talking about reconciliation and Christian resource books and talking to my mother again and I tried to put the kibosh on that but she kept saying those words and so I canceled my next appointment and never went back. Yes, I ghosted my therapist. I figured it was for the best. And I’ve been too lazy, and frankly a little scared, to look for another one.

Reconciliation is a no-go for me as there is nothing to reconcile. Living with someone who has borderline personality disorder is about setting boundaries and keeping those boundaries in place. Except, like a toddler, the person with BPD will constantly push those boundaries and you, the loved one, will spend your life walking on eggshells. As reddit user u/NothingIsEverEnough succinctly stated, One book says “stop walking on eggshells”, I immediately called bullshit on it. The book teaches you how to walk on eggshells with lesser damage, but you will walk on eggshells as long as you’re in the relationship.

I’ve walked on eggshells for over four decades and I’m done, ya’ll.

So, instead of therapy, I call Toni, talk to Jodi over our property line, text Stefanie, and drink more coffee.

Yes, Heather, you made the right decision. Toni tells me.
Your mom pinned something on Pinterest, so she’s still alive. Jodi informs me.
I got your back. Just let me know who I need to cut. Stefanie says.
You are amazing and you are so smart and beautiful and talented. Everything you do and say is brilliant and I love you. Coffee will whisper to me.

I know that coffee is lying but three outta four ain’t bad.

I have a notebook that I bought last year that I use as a silent therapist. In it are neatly written pages of memories of my mother’s lies and mental illness. It’s probably not healthy to have it, but whenever I think, Maybe I’m being too harsh. I just need to call her and apologize and not leave her by herself, I just pick up that notebook and re-read it and remember why I have established this No Contact  boundary and why that needs to remain the status quo. I also read it to remind myself that I have borderline personality tendencies and that I need to fight that and not react as a person with BPD would react. Any time I find myself overthinking a situation, misreading a social cue, or worse, splitting, I pick up that notebook to stop it.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky nailed it when he said, “I swear to you gentlemen, that to be overly conscious is a sickness, a real, thorough sickness.”

My goal is to, someday, burn that book and the memories written in it. But not today. Today, I need it.

I guess, through all this rambling, what I’m trying to say is that I’m going to have blog posts that seem to start in the middle of a discussion, that tell a story halfway through. And those are the posts where I’m working through my relationship with my mother, myself, and our shared mental illness. If you don’t want to read those, I totally get it. If you read and have nothing to add, that’s fine. If you read and decide that you have words of wisdom to share with me, by all means do so. I just need a safe space, outside of my notebook to share my life with my mother. I hope you all understand.


  1. Barbara · March 26, 2019

    Sending love, Heather. (And listen to your coffee: You ARE amazing….). Barbara


  2. mrstracipiper · March 26, 2019

    I just adore you. I read this and sit here mourning the loss of my mother. But not in the traditional way. I showed her as best as i could how much i loved her. Then i think is it love or just the biblical belief that you should honor your parents. I know i did the best i could with her,how crazy does that sound coming from a child about a parent. So i am really not mouring her death as much as i am mourning the loss of the relationship we never had. The one i fought and tried for my whole life but was always one sided.


    • Heather S. Dobson · March 26, 2019

      I love you, hon. When my Aunt Allegra died last year, I mourned her death as well as my mother’s condition. I said goodbye to my mother when I said goodbye to Aunt Allegra. So, I totally get what you’re saying. Someday, when Mom is truly gone, I’ll be like you. I’ll mourn what could have been and what wasn’t.


  3. sodapoplv · March 26, 2019

    I absolutely adore you and I think coffee is NOT lying. You’re an amazing woman.


  4. Marea · March 26, 2019

    Coffee never lies. 💜

    You deserve however much time and space it takes to heal and recover in whatever means are safe and sound for you. And if that means you don’t have a miraculous “reconciliation” with your mom, OFW.

    I have no doubt that I will never be able to have a relationship with my father for similar reasons. And I’m okay with that, too.

    Take care of yourself. Love yourself. And know that I am always here for you, too.


    • Heather S. Dobson · March 26, 2019

      OK, well maybe coffee only lies when it tells us we can get the whole house cleaned in 20 minutes. BWHAHAHA!!

      I totally understand about your dad and I feel like he and Mom have more in common than either of them would want to admit. I love you bunches and I’m always here for you, too.


  5. Mike · March 26, 2019

    I so hear you.


  6. LeSombre · March 26, 2019

    I so hear you. ❤


  7. Megan · March 26, 2019

    I’m here. I hear you. I see you. ❤️


  8. Suzanne · March 26, 2019

    Can we talk tea instead of coffee? I’m a much bigger fan of tea. 🙂
    But seriously–BPD is a mess. My MIL has it, and regularly makes our lives crazy. Boundaries are the only thing that work! Also curious what subs you found on reddit (other than the obv JustNoMIL)…


    • Heather S. Dobson · March 27, 2019

      We can TOTALLY talk tea! The two subs that have helped me are r/BPDlovedones and r/raisedbyborderlines. Good luck, hon!


      • Suzanne · March 27, 2019

        Thanks for the suggestions! I’m going to check them out when I have a few minutes free to do some lurking.


  9. Melissa Oltman · March 26, 2019

    I have no wisdom to add but I offer you my love and support and unwavering loyalty. Team Heather all the way. Um, could you send your coffee to me once a week?


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