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27 August, 2007

The Things I Never Saw

So, as part of my trying to work my way through that godawful shock from last week, I tracked down my copy of Christine Ann Lawson's Understanding the Borderline Mother. I will probably write about this on and off for rather a while.

I read this book several years ago, and it was this fascinating thing, and now I'm rereading it familiar with the basic material and getting hit with things in context. And the first thing that snagged me was:

    When desperation drives behavior such as lying or stealing, they feel innocent of wrongdoing and do not feel guilt or remorse. Apologies are rare, therefore, and borderlines may be confused about why others expect them to feel remorse.

(Understanding the Borderline Mother, page 10.)

I cannot remember her ever apologising, ever expressing regret, ever even seeming sad about the necessity of something she had done that had had negative consequences (intended or otherwise).

I'm twenty-nine years old.

Last night was the first time I ever really noticed that I lived in a world in which Mother Does Not Do Apology. It was so far down in the axiom, so far down in what was normal, what was expected, what was the way the world worked, that I had this specific exception in my expectations for how people interacted with each other.

Normality is such a fluid thing, so defined by what is seen -- by what can be seen. And I couldn't have seen that without the outside perspective of reading the book, knowing some of this stuff and being able to say, "You know, that piece ... it fits there."

What can I see?

What can't I see?

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