So this post is going to require some back story, which I’m not all that thrilled about providing but I kind of feel like I need to write this or I might explode.
Back about….8 years ago, I started going to therapy. I thought I needed help but I wasn’t sure I was “depressed”…something wasn’t right though. My first few sessions consisted of me sitting there sobbing pretty much incoherently. At the time, the therapist wanted to medicate me but I said no. I really don’t know why. I am not against it at all, but I just didn’t feel like my problems were such that could be helped by medication. When I ended my therapy sessions, she said “You were right, you didn’t need to be medicated, you just needed to understand what was going on with you.”
After those first few sessions, I settled down and did a lot more talking and a lot less crying. The therapist got to the root of my problems: Adoptees, even those adopted really young (even at birth), feel a sense of abandonment even at that young age. So right from the get go, it is common for adoptees to have abandonment issues and issues around trust (like “I don’t trust you not to leave/abandon me”). It’s true. I have non-existant trust levels. On top of that, I suffer from PTSD. Yeah…Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The term we hear given for veterans returning from war after experiencing all of that violence. I couldn’t really grasp that concept because well…I was just me, you know? I hadn’t been through war or bloody battles or seen innocent people killed.
Turns out other experiences can cause it also. In my case what was happening was that I blocked out a lot of my childhood. Then something would “trigger” a memory and I would have a little panic attack. For example: When I was in 8th grade, I had a “boyfriend”. Our relationship consisted of phone calls every night, notes written at school, and the occasional kiss. My mother was enraged by this “relationship”. She chaperoned a music event, and my “boyfriend” and I were standing in a group of about 5 other kids, comparing scores we had gotten. My mother walked up behind me, grabbed a chunk of hair on the back of my head and dragged me backwards away from the group. The looks on the faces on those other kids were of complete HORROR. I blocked it out. Until I was about 25 years old, and I got a hair brush stuck on the back of my head (those round kind? They get stuck in my hair ALL the time). But this one was in the back…and I REMEMBERED. I remembered the feeling of her grabbing my hair and dragging me and the looks on the faces of everyone else. And I had a complete meltdown, in my bathroom, at 6:30 in the morning while trying to get ready for work. It was when I related this event to the therapist that she had her A-HA! moment and asked me for more examples like that, thereby figuring out the PTSD.
Flash forward to last night. The Postman’s mother called to tell us something – something very inconsequential. She didn’t like my response – which she didn’t even let me finish…and then didn’t even let me explain. After making a nasty comment, she hung up on me. Which triggered all the times my mother has hung up on me because something I said – no matter how innocent – set her off. I went into meltdown mode. I was shaking and crying and furious. I told the Postman what happened – and he, who is far different from I in these matters, just shook it off. “Just her being crazy” he said. He’s used to it and deals with his mother way differently than I deal with mine. It’s not that simple for me. So I left. I didn’t leave HIM – I explained that I couldn’t be here right now because I wasn’t mad at him but I knew that what I was experiencing would be directed at him. So I went for a drive. That lasted 4 hours. Not the brightest move with gas costing what it does, but whatever.
So here I sit this morning wondering what the hell to do. When I got home last night and talked with P-Man, I explained that with my mother it was easy. I just backed off for as long as I needed to when stuff like this happens with her – which it still does sometimes. Seriously, I’ve gone months – maybe even years – without talking to my mother.
But now? Here? His mother lives next door. We pretty much share a back yard. There’s no escaping her. What the hell do I do? Because right now? I can’t even stand the thought of having to wave at her if we happen to be outside at the same time.
I know you readers are probably thinking I should just talk to her…tell her this. Um. NO. I rarely talk to ANYONE about this (yeah…I know…I just typed it out for the internets. It’s different and y’all know it). That might have actually contributed to the downfall of my marriage…he just knew too f***ing much. P-Man didn’t know about the PTSD until last night. Surprise! He knows, abstractly, about my mother but he doesn’t know nitty-gritty details.
So talking to her about my past is out. 1) I don’t want to make “excuses” for myself…things are what they are and I react how I do. 2) And drama? I can’t stand it. It sounds dramatic enough written out here. Please. So to give her that fodder to share with everyone she gossips to (which is one of her pasttimes)? No thanks. 3) Give her that kind of ammunition against me? Again, NO.
But you know what? I can function JUST FINE when other people around me are functioning at a nearly normal capacity. You know…when people are being courteous, respectful, NICE. A rude cashier at the grocery store might piss me off more than it would a person not in my situation, but I don’t go into meltdown over it. No, it’s just when people who are SUPPOSED to be considered “close” to me that I get sent into my spiral.
P-Man just says “I wish I could rub off on you” because she treats him like crap, too…except he seems to be able to shrug it off. Dude, it doesn’t work that way. I would LOVE to have this kind of stuff not affect me, but it does. He also suggested joining the 420 club…you know, to mellow me out when this shit happens. But what if one of my kids needs a kidney or something? I couldn’t give them my own pot encrusted kidney. So yeah…recreational drugs? Not an option.
So there you have it. Suggestions?
Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself putting it back together. ~Author Unknown