Control pattern: I believe most other people are incapable of taking care of themselves.
I would never have stated this explicitly, and I don’t think I ever thought this, at least not that I was aware of. But when so much of one’s life is spent in cleaning up after other people, is there any more-likely conclusion for one to draw? No matter how clearly a problem was not my fault during my childhood and much of my marriage, it was always still somehow “my fault”. Of course I came to act as though I believed others were incapable of caring for themselves: that assumption — that they required me to take care of all of their problems — was the foundation of so much of my intimate relationships. How could I have thought otherwise of my parents or my husband?
In the context of Borderline Peronality Disorder, this may be characterised as being “clingy” or of having unstable relationships.
I can remember one time, when I was a teenage, my parents rented me out to one of their church friends. I can’t remember what the friends needed me for, and I have no idea why my parents consented to letting me out of their sight (and thus their immediate control), but the weekend involved travel out of state and visiting one of the friends’ families.
The trip was over and they were taking me back home. When we were almost there, we had to stop; a tree had fallen across the road. They weren’t sure what to do; this was the boondocks and was well before the era of cellphones. But then we noticed that the car stuck in the road in front of us was my father’s. So we all hopped out and, while they chatted happily with my father, I climbed into the back seat of his car.
Where I found my sister looking anxious. Before our father got into the car, she had just enough time to whisper that we were in big trouble.
It was months, maybe a couple of years, before I found out what had happened. That’s another story for another time. The point is that I was “in big trouble” for something that had not involved me. I hadn’t even been in the same state! But somehow it was my fault, what other people had done and said, and I had to bear the responsibility.
So, yeah, I developed the habit of viewing people as incapable. I’m hoping that, with time, intelligence, and determination, I can learn to view people as just people. We each have our strengths and our weaknesses, and other peoples’ lives are neither my fault, my responsibility, nor my shame.