So I was discussing yesterday’s post with a friend after I wrote it, as I was crying and feeling sort of crazy and second-guessing myself a lot- which tends to happen after one of those conversations with my mom. My friend really nailed it:
Me: *shares the post*
Her: hmmm. she’s got a history of hostile not-getting-it, to say the very least, in conversations with you, so maybe having this kind of conversation with her itself is a trigger, besides what happens in the conversation?
EVERY TIME it turns into a “this bothered me” conversation
I can literally not do anything right
because something is always bothering them when I leave
though, this was also true when I lived there, too
I guess it’s just more pronounced now
Her: like the whole premise of those conversations with her is you having to justify your life and your priorities and your feelings and your lived experience and the choices you make based on all of that, to her, over and over and over again, and her sort of momsplaining your situation to you despite that you know better
Her: you’re a social worker. and you’re a person who believes in bipolar disorder. and you’re THE front-row seat for what’s going on in your head and she’s out in the parking lot of the theatre being told what’s going on onstage and being all, “no way that’s actually happening like that” and “it would be better if you did X differently and Y a bit stronger and Z more.”
I always feel so crazy after those conversations
because I guess I expect mom to be right because she’s my mom
and so I’m second-guessing myself and beating myself up for not meeting her expectations
but I rarely remember that I NEVER REALLY DID BEFORE
mom’s been in denial about me for most of my life
she lets her prejudice and her issues with my dad, get in the way
and she admitted that today
Me: oh, I forgot the best part
at some point in the conversation, I suggested maybe mom go to a NAMI group for families
and she turned it into how I need to go to support groups
which I’ve historically not really been able to find
so we get off the phone and she’s texting me links to support groups in the area.
Her: I wonder . . . I haven’t done as much research into PSTD as I should, but it seems like there should be a concept like it for something that doesn’t cause panic attacks per se, but still triggers you or makes you anxious when something more subtle than the usual precipitating events reminds you of being not listened to, or powerless, or denied agency.
Me: Well, that’s pretty much what my PTSD is
It’s a pretty strong trigger for my anxiety in general
Her: I wasn’t sure, if that sort of thing qualified as PSTD or not . . .
Me: Whenever I start writing posts about mom, now I’m second-guessing myself because I can hear her talking about how I paint her as this horrible person and I make myself out to be a victim
I’m legitimately terrified of her reading it and getting angry
so… pretty sure that’s definitely PTSD.
“Momsplaining” is the best new word. I think that’s what really gets me, in the end: I don’t feel like I’m believed about my experiences, or that they are being taken as seriously as they should. And sure, sometimes things look out of proportion for me due to my illness, but I am the world’s leading expert on me, so I’d like to at least be believed. It hurts SO BADLY and it is very triggering to not be treated as if I know what I’m doing and I know what I’m thinking, and to know that mom deliberately avoids thinking about my illness or doing any research because it makes her think of my dad. Like I’ve said before, if I had any other illness, I know my mom would know everything there is to know about it and she’d be in my corner, cheering me through all of it. So of course I got the one illness that she doesn’t want to touch with a 39 1/2 foot pole.