by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
May 11, 2002 | My daughter Morgan has a borderline personality disorder. That is a fact of life -- for herself and for me. It was hard to come to grips with the fact that I could not trust her before she began to face her demons and work to conquer them, but I did learn that sad lesson. She is my daughter as well as a human being who has made an immense and intense effort to come to grips with the disorder. She deserves decent treatment. She deserves justice. I could not give up on her, and I did not. I learned to demand proof. She learned not to fear telling the truth and facing the consequences of dishonesty. She also learned not to resent being treated differently from my other children -- at least not too much.
I have always been a strong believer in truth and justice. The two go together. You cannot have one without the other. I demanded the truth from Morgan. I received documentation of her statements. Along with this I have the proof of my own eyes and ears. I have known Morgan all of her life. I have heard every lie on every possible subject. But when she called me to tell me that her then-boyfriend, political commentator John Fund, was being physically abusive to her, I did not have one shred of doubt that she was telling the truth.
The saddest part of the story is that Morgan called me not to tell me about the violence but to ask falteringly and with real bewilderment if what had happened to her was acceptable. As she described the events I had to hold my mouth to keep from retching.
Even before this call, I had already started demanding from Fund his side of the story, just as I had demanded the truth from my daughter. He consistently refused to supply it. What little he would tell me changed every time we talked.
I have known John since he was still wet behind the ears and making a reputation as a successful event promoter and manager of Star Wars conventions, long before his career as an editorialist. Here was a man who had been a success in the arenas of sci-fi events and political opinion lying as if he himself had a personality disorder. It was horrifically reminiscent of exchanges with my daughter around a decade ago: if someone won't tell you the full truth, if someone justifies their conduct by spinning conspiracies of monumental proportions (in this case, the circumstances surrounding his diddling my oldest child), then you are clearly looking at a liar.
I had never considered the problems faced by Borderliners before this. Now I understand that their fears are not idle -- especially their fears confronting a justice system that sometines seems gamed against them.
If you cannot expect justice, you are less than human. You are a black man before the Emancipation Proclamation. You are a woman before law gave her control over her own paycheck and the Supreme Court gave her control over her own body. You are invisible. You do not "feel".
But of course you do. Individuals suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder have problems beyond merely trying to cope with the frightening circumstances of the very personal hell their disability can make of their lives. They are also second-class citizens, people who may pay the same taxes for services as paid by others but who cannot count on the rendering of justice.
Individuals with borderline personalities can live in fear all of their lives. They may fear abandonment, persecution and abuse -- and often these fears are fully justified. Many suffer these social atrocities.
They are not called Borderliners because they cannot discern the line between appropriate and inappropriate behavior, for themselves and for others interacting with them -- but this is not an inaccurate characterization of the incubus that haunts their lives. They are an extreme case of common behavior exhibited by individuals who have been subjected to the debilitating and distortive effects of abuse. They often dig themselves into a pit of fear. They destroy relationships. They are written off by the people who love them -- and who they love.
It takes time for them to understand why the world is different for them.
Redemption and justice should be available to all of us. Borderliners are no different.
Women who have borderline personality disorders are ideal victims for the predatory. They do not possess the standards that empower ordinary women to see inappropriate behavior -- so they are more easily manipulated, threatened, and violated. They are less likely to seek justice not believing that justice is owed them.
This is why we need to rethink how we deal with Borderliners.
We want to live in a world where preying on anyone is disallowed by the standards and practices we each follow. We want to live in a world that is safe for children and those at risk. Borderliners are at risk every day of their lives.
Above all, we can achieve better outcomes.
Justice is possible. Yes, there must be proof. But when the weight of circumstances and evidence is presented; when the victim speaks we must listen and we must act. Change happens in achingly slow increments. It can be a painful and frightening process. Nonetheless, it is important that it happens. When the world is a safer place for everyone who tries to do the right thing then it will be a safer place for each of us as well. That is justice. That is truth. It will be a win-win outcome because making the world safer for those at risk can make it safer for us, too.
It is really all about personal accountability. Know the truth and the truth shall set you free.