I’ve been having a lot of emotions swirling around. Mostly anger and sadness. I go through these periods often. The anger seems to be related to feeling invalid and is directed at people who have done things to make me feel invalidated.

A friend has her elderly mother living with her and lives nearby. My friend went out of town and asked me to check up on her mom, bring her groceries, etc. I was happy to do so. On Sunday her mother gave me a list of groceries and asked me to come by at noon. I didn’t leave enough time to get distracted in the grocery store. So when I arrived at my friend’s house it was 12:50. This was after I arrived and forgot her paper and had to drive back up the hill to get it.

I brought my friend’s mom her groceries and paper. I apologized for being late. My friends’ mom said, “Oh, that’s OK. She (my friend) told me that you are ALWAYS late.”

“How nice”, I said, with a fake smile.

The interaction flustered me and I could feel the anger rising inside of me. As I drove away I was thinking about how the interaction felt familiar. I was in a situation doing something kind or compassionate for someone, and instead of meeting me with kindness, I was met with criticism. Criticism about something I feel ashamed of.

Time has never been my friend. I’m always trying to cheat it in one way or another. I misjudge time frequently. I don’t allow enough time to get ready to go somewhere, and then I am late. Or I am supposed to be somewhere at a specific time and I get distracted by something which also makes me late. Sometimes when I make a point of it, I can be on time. Other times I can try my hardest and still fail.

What bothered me most about my friend’s mom’s comment was that my friend felt compelled to say that to her mother. I realize that there was probably no animosity in it but it doesn’t matter. I often find myself on the receiving end of these types of comments from my friend. What I have realized about her is that she needs to put down people around her for some reason, perhaps so that she can feel better about herself.

This friend attended my son’s birth and I really wish she hadn’t. She stayed with us for two weeks and during that time on many occasions made me feel bad about myself. I had severe postpartum depression and anxiety and I didn’t need that. To this day, 15 years later, she still brings up incidents from that time and criticizes me for it. Most of the time it is for things related to my OCD symptoms. She loves to repeat the story of how I was standing in front of the grocery freezer unable to make a simple choice of what item to buy due to anxiety.

My friend filmed the birth and shortly after she and my partner wanted to watch it. I asked them to wait until I was ready to watch it. Giving birth was traumatic for me and I wasn’t ready to relive it. One day I walked out into the living room when they thought I was asleep. There the two of them were, sitting and watching the birth video. They scrambled to stop the video from playing. They obviously had no regard for my feelings. To me, this is the definition of betrayal.

In the last 15 years I have changed tremendously. I barely resemble the person I once was. But to her I will ALWAYS be who I once was.

I realized after the “always late” comment that the resulting feeling is the same thing I used to feel with my now estranged siblings. It is like receiving a psychological gut punch. It’s always done under the guise of “kidding” so that If I react in any way I will just be told I am being too sensitive. No matter what I say or do with these people, I am always the one who is in the wrong, even when I am attempting to do something kind.

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12 thoughts on “The Psychological Gut Punch

  1. What others think of you is none of your business. They will think and do as they please no matter how hard you try to please them. So, just worry about pleasing you! As for being late and the time issues? Remember, you are dealing with chronic illness. I used to be a timely person before becoming ill. I find that time no longer has the same substance as it once did. I lose time and I lose track of time due to my illness. To be somewhere at an appointed time is nearly impossible for me because not only do I not know ahead of time if I will be well enough, it now takes me much longer to prepare to leave my home. You must be much easier on yourself and concern yourself more with self care than the care of others. I found that people can’t get past the past. This is true with my past as I am a much different person now yet there are still a few who cannot see that. I become enraged when people do it to my son. He had severe behavioral problems as a child but is a totally different person now. People cannot seem to grasp that the man that is before them now is not the little boy of the past. I must consistently remind myself that it is their issue and not mine nor my son’s. Maybe the thing to consider is what quality of friend this person truly is.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you. You’re right, the illness has an effect on everything I do. And being ill for so long has left me feeling vulnerable and even more sensitive than I was before. I also struggle with the way people (medical providers, school system) view my son who does not behave in a way that they deem “normal”. The friend I am speaking of does things like this frequently and I do question the quality of the friendship as a result. Then I second guess myself by thinking I am being overly critical and that no one is perfect. What I really need are new friends. It just seems difficult to find them. Thanks again for taking the time to read and to comment.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Do not second guess yourself. It is not being overly critical nor overly sensitive when you realize a relationship no longer serves you. You must always do what is the highest and best good for yourself. This will then lead to it being the highest and best good for all.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As you pointed out, chronic illness and just life in general can change you……..and I have found that my chronic illnesses have brought out the good, the bad and the ugly of those around me. One of the hardest and most beneficial thing I have done is removing toxic people out of my life…..that last thing I need while struggling to get through each day are people who are less than kind. I am so very sorry a friend is making you feel like than a lovely person that you are!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Um I am infuriated reading they watched YOUR birth video without your permission. There is invalidating and their is straight up hurtful behavior and this person needs some boundaries right this minute. She is hurting you purposefully and has no respect. I am just mortified you had to walk in on someone watching that video after it traumatized you to begin with. I feel awful for you

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi
    I was reading this posted and feeling like i just wanted to give you a hug, this so called friend has no right to keep bring up the past. She must not have any understanding of what you are going through. With my own depression and anxiety i have realised people who don’t suffer will never understand how hard life is for those of us who do suffer from mental illness. Even simple every day tasks are sometimes such and effort. I to struggle sometimes with time and it’s not on purpose, it’s not brain doesn’t work like it use to especially with the medication i’m on.
    Your friend’s mother is a rude women instead of criticising you she should be thankful you took the time to help her. May be inform your so called friend how her mother was ungrateful and in future tell your friend your too busy to help and you aren’t receiving the appreciation for helping.
    it’s important to have supportive people in your life and not those who are toxic for you. I’ve always gone out of my way to help friends only to not have the same in return and now i just stop talking to those who i feel are toxic in my life i have enough issues i don’t need to listen to more negative crap.
    take care and all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You are way too hard on yourself. That was my initial feeling as I read your lovely, candid piece. I have come to the conclusion based on experience that some people lapse into a lazy confirmation bias, albeit unconsciously, because it is just easy to keep an individual pinned down to a type, and quite honestly I find it tiresome. Secondly, and I know this takes time and effort because I speak from experience but work with the intention to move into a space of compassion for your friend because it sounds like she is doing a lot of projecting …projecting her own `stuff` onto you because she is incapable of holding it herself. Over the past five or six years I have stepped back from a number of decades-long friendships because they were simply not healthy and I came to the realisation of this truth as I did more and more work on myself, retrieving the lost pieces. Tellingly, I have never mourned those lost friendships. The regaining of my wholeness shifted and stabilised my personal boundaries considerably. It also healed my relationship with the subtle energy of Time so that it became my supportive friend and resource rather than an enemy I was constantly buffeting up against.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and meaningful comment. I’ve been thinking about the issue with this friend lately and I finally realized that most of her actions are coming from a place of serious unhappiness. She is truly unhappy in her life but uses gratitude and business activity to shield herself from the truth because it is so daunting for her. Realizing this has helped open the door to compassion for her. Thank you, again, I love comments like this.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Distraction. Diversion. Distraction. Diversion. Any state or activity to run from the truth because it is so confronting for most of us to face. And it takes a truck load of courage too, to dig down beneath the facade.

    Liked by 1 person

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