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.