I’m home alone this weekend, first time since Easter I think. I sat and read this afternoon for the best part of 4 hours. 4 hours!! I don’t think that’s happened since pre kids. It was glorious. I was reading a book that really had my attention, I wanted to finish it, so I did.
But here’s the thing. Not so long ago, an entire weekend to myself would have been a form of torture. Back before we had the kids, I used to dread being here alone, absolutely dread it. I wasn’t scared, but I couldn’t stand to be in my own company. Hubby used to do a lot of adventure racing and endurance sports, which meant he had to give considerable time to training. I cannot tell you how much I resented that. In my head, when I think back on it, he was gone for full days at a time training for various events. His memory differs somewhat – he knew I hated to be alone, so he used to try and get his training out of the way early in the day to get back to me. It was a massive bone of contention for us, for a long time.
Since I got the bpd diagnosis, and more so of late, I’ve been thinking back over various stages of my life, about how I was at different times, how I reacted to particular events. And, no more than college, I can see much more clearly just how much it interfered with my life. Attachment, and fear of abandonment are two huge features of bpd. As far as I was concerned, every time Hubby took off for an extended training session, he was abandoning me. How dare he!!! What was I supposed to do while he was gone? It got worse after D came along. I simply could not understand why Hubby felt the need to train so much (I should add, he wasn’t training nearly as much as I ‘remember’). Why didn’t he stay here with me? Why did he think it was ok to leave me alone with a baby? I knew on some level how much he needed that space, exercise has always been his escape, but I was so resentful of it. Rather than encouraging him in what really were quite spectacular endeavours (including this one) I made him feel guilty, over and over again, for daring to leave me for a couple of hours. I can see it now. I can see so clearly how difficult I made it for him, and I’m so sorry for that. But at the time? Not so much.
What prompted me think about this tonight is how very different things are now. Two weeks ago, Hubby took off for the weekend, and me and the kids stayed here. He badly needed a couple of nights away and the chance to blow off some steam, and we were happy to just hang out here. This weekend, I’m here alone, and likewise, it’s wonderful, although in a whole different way. 6 years ago? If he had gone away for a weekend, I would either have called my parents in for backup, or decamped to Kildare. There is no way I would have stayed here alone with the kids. And before them, if he wasn’t here, I had to have every minute of the weekend planned. There could be no empty space.
It’s such a phenomenal relief to be free of all that – the resentment, the fear, the anger. I can’t deny shades of it are still there, but it’s nowhere near as severe, and I’m getting better at recognising it. Would I meet the diagnostic criteria for bpd if I were assessed now? I don’t know, possibly not. I plan on keeping it that way.