Brick Wall

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Borderline Personality Disorder is something I don’t know a lot about, but have been trying to educate myself on the last few months. From what I have learned it is a terrible form of mental illness, and I have so much sympathy for the many people who live with it. But I also see the devastation it can have on those whose loved ones suffer from it when it goes unacknowledged and untreated. My boyfriend’s seventeen-year-old daughter wrote this slam poem for her creative writing class about what it’s like living with someone who has BPD. I thought it was really good and asked her if I could post it. Luckily for me, and everyone reading this, she said yes. Here is Brick Wall by Kelsey Gibbons.

To build a brick wall, a foundation is needed.
The foundation laid out, the wall built brick by brick.
Emotional walls are similar.
Mine was founded and built because of her.

“Can I help you with the dishes?” my best friend asks. ‘Do I have to do the dishes now?’ I complain. “Why can’t you be more like Safaa?”

Clink — The first brick

Violin at school, I can’t practice. “This is why no one in our house has musical talent”

Clink — Another brick

My photography teacher wants two of my pieces in the art show!’ Proud of myself, a rarity. Maybe I’m good at photography? The monotonous response: “How many does everyone else get?” ‘Two

Clink Clink — A few bricks

Hiding in my room. Facing away from the door. Hide my shame. Blood trickles from self-inflicted wounds. She barges in. Seeing and crying. Apologizing. Promises to treat me better flow. She doesn’t.

Clink Clink — Two bricks

Heavy dresser blocks the door. Fingers against scalp, pulling at roots. Pain a distraction. She forces her way in, ignores my state. “Spoiled. Bad example. Problem child. Bully. Weak.”

Clink — Another brick

I buy my own kitten – Damian. My pride and joy, my child and my pet. Tiny body curled next to me, all warmth and purr. ‘I’ll come by and take care of him’ Banned from going. “He keeps peeing in my plants.” Kitten sold, no goodbye, no explanation.

Clink Clink — Multiple bricks

I try to leave the heartless manipulation of a mother. Silent screams, anguished mind. Tears mix with rain. Legs move involuntarily without drive, without destination. Obedient and mindless like she wants me to be. Sobs cut through the night. Fickle love I wished was true crumbles.

Clink Clink Clink — Many bricks

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Why can’t we hang out with Tacy on Sunday?’ “Check email.” Demeaning intro. Father is the victim. She is the bully. I’m siding with him? “Good for you, Kelsey”. People should earn what they want? “Don’t care or hate your own mother, I still love you and hope that you choose the right things.”

Clink Clink Clink Clink — Countless bricks

She lets a lie slide. I pry for truth. A text to dad follows confession. She finds out. “Let me decide to communicate when can get to it, at your dad house I never hear anything, at my house your dad know everything.” ‘You do ask. You never answer emails’ “Things are between Mark and I, you need to stay out of it, understand?”

Clink — Another brick

Stressed and depressed. She notices that I am not myself and asks. Her fault. Tell her? I’m afraid of how she’ll react. Will she scream insults? Deny? Or will she listen and understand? Scream or deny, she will be angry. Listen, she won’t change. I tell her. She listens, promises to not do it anymore. She does.

Clink — Another brick

I root out another lie. She turns on me. A blizzard of accusatory words. Every possible flaw exploited. I can’t do this anymore. Unbuckled seat belt. Car door opens. She stops. Door alarm goes off. Sitting in stunned silence. Adrenaline of near death surges. We stop. My chance for peace gone.

Clink Clink Clink — Thousands of bricks

It scared her that I tried to jump? You care about me? Hope inflates like a balloon. Pop! Needle of insults deflates my balloon. “Spoiled. Bad example. Siblings will treat people horribly. Respect me. ‘A normal family listens’ I don’t have to listen. I’m the mother, you’re the child.”

Clink Clink Clink Clink — An endless waterfall

Clean up your mess, Khai’ He angers, mumbling. Throws a napkin. She chastises me for ‘provoking’ him. ‘He hits or throws something at me every day’ “Is it true?” A quiet yes. He asks if he can go to a friend’s house. Why would she let you? “Just clean your room first.” I can’t say anything. She’s the mother and I am not the favorite.

Clink Clink Clink — More bricks

For almost 18 years, I accepted the things she told me. Now, I am unable to feel emotion like a normal person. Extremely low self-esteem. Uncomfortable with affection. I worry about my future family. Who would want to marry me? Will I be like my mom? Will I have kids who trust me like a best friend? Will I be unconsciously abusive?
For almost 18 years, I grew up with a mostly absent father who wasn’t there enough to give me the comfort that I needed. To give me the affection that every child needs. “I love you” my friends tell me. Well that makes one of us. My sister hugs me, I tickle her to get out. My friends hold my hand, I slip it out. “I really care for you” my friends tell me. Can’t say I feel the same.

For almost 18 years, I went through her abuse, the divorce, and my mental health issues without comfort. Without a hand to hold when I was afraid. Without a soothing voice to tell me that I am worth something. Without arms that wrap me in a warm hug while I shake with sobs that never come. Without someone to lower the gun that I’ve raised to my temple on multiple occasions.

But now, my brick wall has been built. It has curled around me and swaddled me like a newborn baby on cold nights. It has protected me from her, it has protected me from the storms that rage. My brick wall is the comfort I have lacked all of my life.

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