I didn't believe them when they called you a hurricane thunderclap in Public

  • Jan. 16, 2019, 1:53 p.m.
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  • Public

CW: PTSD sorta, vomit, suicidal ideations, weight loss, alcohol

(Man those content warnings make this sound a LOT more fucked up than it is. I’M FINE, FOLKS. MOST OF THOSE TOPICS WERE JUST BRIEFLY MENTIONED.)

I don’t know if it’s my massive paranoia or what, but I legit think Chocolate dislikes me now and I don’t know what the EXACT reason is, since there are two probable ones, and another that I may have entirely made up, or maybe just compounded on the other two and finally broke the fuckin’ camel?

I have to deal with this NOW or at least in the next week because I can’t handle the stress of constantly trying to interpret her behavior.

This is like… honestly the closest thing I have to what the kids these days refer to as a “trigger.” Everything else that causes me anxiety or discomfort is nowhere near the level of an actual PTSD situation.

Well, except vomit. And that’s just an immediate, fairly extreme anxiety response that immediately dissipates after the threat of being exposed to vomit goes away. so maybe BECAUSE that reaction is so strong, it fits more into the “trigger” category UGH I DON’T ACTUALLY KNOW THE RIGHT WORD FOR ANY OF MY BRAIN PROBLEMS.

The years I spent living with my stepmom, I was constantly CONSTANTLY trying to figure out what was going on in her head. I knew asking wouldn’t get me a straight answer. Are you upset? No. Are you annoyed? No. Did I do something wrong? No.

But I knew I’d done something wrong, and I knew I’d likely interpret her signals wrong and somehow make it worse by trying to fix it. And I’d be put through days of her refusing to make eye contact when she addressed me, but still, STILL claim nothing is wrong. As though basic social signals don’t exist and I couldn’t OBVIOUSLY TELL that she was unhappy with me.

Or maybe she was just in pain, since she had chronic pain, but then why would it only be when interacting with me? And why wouldn’t she just TELL me she was in pain? (I’ve asked her that one and she says she’s always in pain so she doesn’t feel the need to mention it. Which almost checks out but like, you’re not always acting like you hate me…?)

Then finally, FINALLY I’d get a laugh out of her and things would be better and I’d think maybe I could repair the damage I’d somehow done, and then something else would set her off a day or two later–sometimes a week, if I was INCREDIBLY lucky, or my dad had done something particularly heinous and we bonded over our mutual irritation–and then the cycle would begin again.

Then at some random time after I’d done something ELSE upsetting, she’d mention the thing that I’d done wrong weeks/months previous and I’d be like DUDE I ASKED YOU IF SOMETHING WAS WRONG AND YOU WOULD NOT TELL ME. YOU WOULD NOT.

And her argument was either that, essentially, I’d picked the wrong adjective (I wasn’t UPSET, I was HURT), OR she’d give a lengthy (and honestly, reasonable-sounding) explanation as to why it was her right to not tell me, and it was wrong of me to ask her more than once. (Preferably at all, since she hates being asked if something’s wrong, but more than once is basically a crime.)

I just. On the rare occasions I broke down and explained how much I tortured myself just trying to do what she wanted, I wound up convinced it was entirely my fault, and I’d feel like garbage for whatever thing I’d done wrong, AND for trying to fix it, AND for feeling nervous around her when clearly she was communicating her needs perfectly and I was just too self-centered or stupid to understand.

And she was so REASONABLE about it. No raised voice, no insults. Just a quiet explanation as to how she was right and I was wrong, filled with logic that I could probably debunk at 29 but not at 19, and I walked away feeling like I was meant to have learned a lesson.

I know I should be over this by now. I wasn’t abused, OBVIOUSLY. She didn’t DO anything to me. She just… existed in a way that caused me stress and made me feel bad. But for some reason it was the most awful experience of my life, and after 3 years (was it 2? Maybe 2 and a half?), I was a 98-pound rubber band ball where all the rubber bands were wrapped around it just ONE MORE TIME than they should have been. And when she somehow 100% convinced me that if I didn’t move to Florida with them and help raise her kids, the whole family would fall apart, I was just about ready to punch my clock.

It was a lot, for me. And I know most people can handle a whole lot more trauma than just some maybe-unintentional emotional manipulation without wanting to die, but HEY-O, GUESS THAT’S JUST MY BRAIN, Y’ALL. IT’S A BIG OL’ BABY THAT CRIES ANY TIME IT’S NOT GETTING POSITIVE ATTENTION.

So here we are, nearly a decade later, and I’m spending like 3 hours a night fighting with this voice in my head that’s reminding me of every single thing I’ve ever done wrong in an attempt to pinpoint the source of a problem that may not actually exist, and then frantically brainstorming solutions that would probably never work, and every other thought gets drowned out until I’m a 115-pound rubber band ball and the rubber bands are wrapped around it just one more time than they should be and god DAMN if I’m not angry I didn’t drop down to 98 like I did back then because WANTING PEOPLE TO LIKE ME AIN’T MY ONLY NEUROSIS, FOLKS.

I’m just struggling right now but I’ll be fine.

At least not drinking is easy. LOL. I mean okay fine it’s been like 4 days and I’ve had no social plans but fuck you. HAHA.

I’ve created some hard lines around when I DO go out to drink, and I’m trying to figure out how soon I should test them out.

When I set clear boundaries, I’m always perfectly fucking fine! I just rarely make them CLEAR to myself. I’m always like “feel it out and stop when you feel drunk” AS THOUGH MY DRUNK BRAIN HAS LITERALLY EVER BEEN ABLE TO SELF-ASSESS.

Nope. Eat first or you’re not drinking. Set a drink limit, a time-between-drinks limit, and have a full-ass glass of water between each drink.

Plus with the latter, I’ll have to pee so often I won’t even have time to drink!

Sorry this is long and complain-y BYE

Last updated January 16, 2019

Fawkes Gal January 16, 2019

Hoo, boy. Do I relate to this.

girl in recession January 16, 2019

I think what your stepmom did was horrendous, and that mental & emotional abuse is NO LESS THAN physical in my opinion. I'm glad you could break free of that relationship and live on your own.

Beatrix Plotter January 16, 2019

Your stepmom's behaviour was legit abusive. I put up with the same from my mother growing. Living on eggshells, never sure if I was going to say or do something to set her off. Eff that shit.

summertime sadness. January 16, 2019

Doesn't have to be physical to be abuse. Her behavior was abusive.

CountingStars January 16, 2019

Talk to her. Even if she's pissed or never wants to talk to you again (sounds unlikely) at least then you KNOW, instead of existing in the purgatory you've built for yourself.

rhizome January 16, 2019

my step mom was exactly like this, except she would air her grievances to my dad, and i would only find out when he told me. she's a terrible person and i'm still angry about it. also, constantly scared that people are mad at me when they're not.

sarahbaby. January 16, 2019

This is textbook abuse. Emotional abuse is harder to identify and also has the worst impact on a person long term. Go easy on yourself, you had a childhood from hell! Your formative years were largely unsafe and this is when you were....formed. So you can’t “get over” any of it since it’s part of your makeup!! Processing and healing are usually a life’s work. It’s not surprising that this thing with Chocolate is throwing you for a loop 💛

Firebabe January 17, 2019

Man, that's a tough one. I always struggle with the label of "emotional abuse," because sometimes the abuser doesn't seem to be doing anything intentionally, it's just...how they are. That's how their thoughts run. I've come across people who are STRAIGHT UP emotional manipulators, who deliberately act and say things in such a way as to get what they want by triggering another person. But I've also met people who just...are how they are. They're not intentionally trying to get you to do a specific thing, or feel a specific way. All of that is just fallout from how they interact / communicate.

Not that being one of the other makes it any less bearable for the person who's caught at the other end. I'd love to be able to give advice to help out, but I don't think there's anything I could say that would be anymore insightful than the stuff you can think up on your own. So feel free to find your comfort food of choice, and indulge. :D

Fernweh January 29, 2019

I don't think you need to downplay the stress and misery of that situation with your mom at all. I think your response to it is very, VERY justified. Behavior like hers can royally fuck a brain up, as it did yours. Because it makes you question your basic sense of reality, your fundamental perception of others, you know? That's a heavy thing to go through and it makes sense that the effects would be so long-lasting. I'm sorry, friend. hug

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