Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Unpacking some baggage

So I cosigned this with a promise to be better and do better.

And that means coming to terms with something I've been struggling with for years.

My mother is disabled, both physically (which is not the problem) and mentally (which I thought was the problem). And I have used some language regarding her behavior that is down right offensive to other people with mental illness.

At first I justified it with reclamation (at least I did in my own head)as "well shit, I'm prone to bouts of serious depression and anxiety, so I should be able to use terms like crazy and nutbag".

But that's just abelist justification and doesn't fly.

Then the angry inner child in me threw a temper tantrum with "but how the fuck else would you explain a person who does that to her own daughter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Then at some point I read something about George Sondini in comments somewhere. People were speculating on whether he had Asperger's syndrome. And some brilliant commenter wrote (and I'm paraphrasing cause I can't remember where it was) "Oh please, assholery is not a symptom of Aspergers".

And that's the kicker.

Mom very likely has borderline personality disorder, which makes her feel things that aren't true. (She refuses to be treated and runs away from diagnoses- but she has most if not all of the markers for it.

That explains her feelings, it does not excuse her actions. And her actions are what I have issues with. And that should be what I focus on, not her mental illness.

This has taken me months, years maybe, to separate. Just like Aspergers doesn't cause assholery, BDP is not a reason for abuse. Finally having a name for what is wrong with my mother gave me the liberty to free myself from her 6 years ago, so separating out the abelist shit felt a wee bit like backtracking on my hard won freedom. But it's not. Separating the disease from the abuse means no more excuses.

So I will no longer use terms like "off her rocker fucking crazy" or "serious nutbag" to describe her actions or the actions of those who are being douchebags. I will use the plethora of descriptive terms to describe her actions that DO NOT involve causing harm to completely unrelated people who suffer from mental illness. I will use words like malicious, vindictive, abusive, opportunistic, manipulative, hurtful, spiteful, or just plain mean. They all accurately describe things without the added bonus of bigotry.

I apologize to anyone who I have hurt with my language. I promise I will be better and do better in the future.

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