I figured I talked about my BPD story so much yet I didn’t really go deep into how it all began. That is why I want to share all about my childhood, adolescence and my crazy, crazy twenties.
Shall we begin?
I was born in a small coastal city called Koper, in Slovenia, to an unemployed mother and a young police officer. I loved where I lived and my fascination with languages began there, in a bilingual city that used to belong to Italy.
Although I was free to explore the wilderness of nature and swim in the sea, my childhood was far from carefree. My parents were a bomb that was just exploding over and over again, causing me to develop symptoms that will stay with me until my thirties.
One of the first memories I have of my family is of my mother beating my father and him crying, begging her to stop hitting him. She was violent and angry, every day, all the time.
My father, being abused and all, spent most of his time working and playing sports with his friends. Being at home was just not an option he entertained often, even if he had kids that relied on him.
He paid the bills and provided financially for us, but he was absent emotionally and physically. My mother, on the other hand, was always there with us and we were always there with her. Even when that meant late nights at the bar, carrying her home when she was drunk, and helping her vandalise neighbours’ flower garden.
She was an alcoholic. A woman who consumed beer before brushing her teeth, and breathed wine like it was air. I have never seen a person drink so much alcohol before, and I grew up around alcoholics.
Although my mother could be great, generous and kind, she had a dark side. A side that came out every time she was drunk (which was every day).
When she was drunk, she beat me so hard that things broke on my back. She locked me outside in my underwear, so I slept on the bench in a park. She cut my hair when I misbehaved.
If I just looked at her the wrong way, I was beaten with a wooden spoon that left marks and bruises on my young body. I was so afraid of her that usually I just laid down on the floor, covered my head and waited until it was over.
I feared her. In my eyes, she was the scariest monster I ever saw. All my friends thought she was fun but I knew her dark side, so I always played by her rules to avoid punishment.
Her lover used her addiction to get closer to me.
He was a paedophile. A groomer.
He was a photographer and a wealthy older man, who bought me gifts and took me to spas and on trips. As a little girl, I just saw a nice man who wanted to take care of someone who was abused, but as an adult, I know what he was doing.
I have many photos of myself that he took, and many of them are of me naked on the beach. When he went swimming at the pool, he would undress in front of me and tell me to not be afraid to look at him. He showed me Playboy and talked to me about sex.
I was 8 when it began.
My father didn’t know, of course, because in his eyes this man was just a neighbour, although I am sure he know my mother was cheating on him.
This mix of having a violent mother and a paedophile around me at all times created someone who was afraid of abandonment and being close to people. I knew that if I didn’t play their game, they would leave me or abuse me, so I started pretending.
I pretended I had magical powers and that I could change my world if I just believed enough. My imagination was running wild and I dreamt of becoming famous so that all my problems would go away.
So I sang in a choir, danced in various dancing schools and attended singing competitions. Life was a stage and I wanted to perform because the more I performed the less I had to deal with reality. Dissociation was just a part of me now, and I was spending more and more time in my head. In my happy place.
When I was 11, my father got custody of all three of us (I have two younger sisters), and we moved to the countryside on the other side of Slovenia.
Starting a new school while having a widely different accent from everyone and wearing high heels and dresses, was a recipe for bullying.
I was locked in bathrooms and had water splashed at me. My so-called friends told me that I was ugly and unattractive. Just for speaking with a boy, I was threatened to get beaten up after school.
It was hell. I felt humiliated every day and it led to me developing depression. Not to mention, suicidality was at an all-time high at this point.
You see, there is something I haven’t mentioned yet.
I’ve been suicidal since the age of 8 when the abuse from my mother really hit its peak. That is when I began praying to god to kill me, and the funniest thing is that I grew up in an atheist household so god was just something I saw in telenovelas.
Still, I prayed and prayed and prayed. But nothing ever happened – nothing was worse and nothing was better. It just stayed the same.
Once I went to high school, things started to improve for a while. I had friends and a boy that I liked was inviting me to go to get coffee with him so I was skipping the first hour, and I wore makeup and did my hair.
I truly and honestly felt like I was on the right track.
Then another guy entered the picture and things took a giant turn. Not in the way you think, though.
What happened was that I and my cousin both spoke a few words with a guy that my best friend liked, and she felt threatened, therefore, she told everyone I stole him. It was just a few words – that I don’t even remember – and yet it changed everything.
Everyone except one girl stopped talking to me at school. People were throwing things at me and shaking my seat while I was sitting on it. They told my crush I liked him and he made out with a girl in front of me just to make me upset.
Humiliation once again entered the chat.
After two years of trying my best to succeed in high school, I dropped out due to clinical depression and suicidal thoughts. It was too much for me and my body, as I felt like I was dying every time I went to school and faced my bullies.
After I dropped out, my life was pretty much just about surviving and existing. I didn’t have any real friends, my mother died, my sisters and I were fighting, and my father was emotionally abusive.
I wanted to die or disappear. Either would be fine with me.
Instead, things were just getting worse if that was even possible.
My best friend at the time (the cousin) left me after I went vegan, my relationship with my sisters was almost non-existent, I hated my body, self-harmed and my fights with my father were getting more and more brutal.
My knuckles were bloody, yes, but my heart was bleeding for the life I never had due to my mental health and circumstances.
In 2017 I fell in love with an older, married man. I wrote about him here but in short: He was manipulative and narcissistic. He took my love for him and used it against me, to hurt me and leave me after I gave him all he asked for, which was attention.
When a few months later he wrote me an email that basically said he was lying to me this whole time about various things, and that he didn’t want anything to do with me anymore, my heart shattered.
Loving someone so deeply and crazily as I loved him, this abandonment triggered a very dark response from me.
Suddenly, I felt the need to throw myself under a bus in front of his house (I obviously didn’t end up doing it), to stalk him and see what he was doing at all times, and to get my revenge for what he did to me. My dependence on him was even bigger once he was gone, and I fantasised about him begging me to come back.
He never did. Actually, he and his family moved to Scotland, far away from me and the friendship I thought we had. Never did he apologize for what he did to me, the way he treated me and for how things ended.
After months of feeling these dark emotions and having discovered my shadow self, as Jung calls it, I knew I needed to talk to someone. One phone call away was my current psychiatrist, whom I like and trust (plus, she looks like an older version of Lali).
We spoke and spoke, and I got tested and spoke even more with various individuals until the diagnoses came.
I had Borderline Personality Disorder. Or, as we call it in Europe, Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder.
It all made sense.
All the big feelings and the lack of sense of self, the abandonment issues, getting too attached too quickly, having paranoid thoughts, suicidal ideation… Now I knew.
Today, five years after getting diagnosed I am finally starting my recovery journey. I created a beautiful life for myself that works currently and even though I have many goals, my main one is to feel fulfilled and happy.
Not everyone understands my decisions but I don’t need them to. I suffered enough in my life so having a peaceful existence is a blessing.
There is a scene in Dexter where Dex and Rita talk about their future, and Rita says she has had enough adventures, and she just wants a peaceful life.
This is me; I have had enough excitement in life and now I just crave connection and calmness.
So what helps me? What gives me the fuel to keep going forward after a lifetime of heartbreak and abuse?
One of the people who really helped me was Mollie, the host of the Back From The Borderline podcast. She is an angel sent to Earth by mother nature.
The BFTB podcast is my safe haven, a place where I feel seen, heard and understood. Mollie has been where I have been and she knows how to rise out of the ashes and spread her wings to fly off to paradise. Her vulnerability and authenticity are what make her special.
Another resource that helps me is my workbooks. You know how much I love them because I have been reviewing all of them on my blog for the past 4 years.
Although I am not big on using DBT in real life, I do love the exercises in those books that I can do through writing. It helps me get all the big feelings on paper and then leave them there after I am done.
Find what works for you and create your own toolbox.
Whoah, I think I will finish my story here because I am tired and I have been writing for a while now.
I hope my story shows you that you are not alone in your mess and that a lot of us understand what you’re feeling or what you’ve been through.
If you feel called to support my work, you can do so by buying me a cup of cappuccino. It helps me greatly.