What the UFO happened? About a week ago I read an email from my mother. I knew she had written and I have been putting off reading it for a few days. Eventually I decided to read it because I felt not reading it was driving me crazy. It looked okay enough from the preview. It was a short mail. From what I remember now it did not contain anything abusive. Mother knows she is on very thin ice with me and almost does not dare doing anything at all, afraid to mess things up further. It was mostly organisational stuff related to an insurance of mine.
Since I read the mail things have been going south fast. Not sleeping well, depressed, abusive voices in my head on a loop tape. I think many of us know the drill. But I do not know what triggered me that much. So I want to try catharsis through writing. Given I am one very messed up person I do not know myself or my feelings well. My best friend has a similar problem and she once described aptly how this feels:
You go through your days feeling somewhat uncomfortable. A few days in you eventually realise it might be headache. Another few days later you are standing in front of your mirror. Puzzled. Is that an axe splitting my head?? When did that happen?
So there you have it I need to start with the very basics. Many emotions I never really dared to feel. Many things I need to read about before I allow myself to entertain the notion that I might be that way too. So I will try and catalogue what I feel. There are these nice needs and feelings lists from the Center for Nonviolent Communication. This will be my starting point because I have no idea where else to start. So NVC feelings list. Lets list the ones that I feel concerning the email.
that is the end of the positive feelings on the list that i agree with
- all the feelings on the afraid column hold true for me with foreboding, suspicious and mistrustful being less strong while petrified and worried might be the strongest of the lot
- all elements in the disconnected column except bored with alienated and numb being the most prominent
- all elements of the disquiet column, alarm being slightly weaker than most and most seem to be very strong
- all elements in the embarrassed column
- all elements in the fatigue column
- definitely lonely, hurt and miserable with the other elements in the pain column playing the part of sidekicks
- all elements in the sad column
- all elements in the tense column
- all elements in the vulnerable column, except leery. or maybe leery, i have no idea what leery means
What a list. It may have been shorter to mention the negative ones which I do not feel, anger related feelings and jealousy related feelings. What’s plainly obvious is of course emotional sensibility. I have read once that it’s linked to the feeling of more than one emotion simultaneously being more common. Actually … those are my emotions about a three lines email. Unimaginable that people really on average feel much less simultaneously, but only one emotion? Can someone please tell me whoever wrote this is emotionally retarded? Please??
Anyhow what isn’t on the list because I did not know how to classify it is that mother does want to help me. Only that is a negative feeling for me. I always feel like a failure when accepting mothers help. She never has verbalised any of these opinions but somehow when I am accepting help from other people I feel much less broken. So being offered help from my mother is already about me not functioning the way she and by extent some ominous society would want me to function like.
Compassion and sympathy are negative in my book too in this case. As I have stated before mother takes medication which has rapid mood changes as a side effect. A little akin to bipolar or borderline style. Since mother does act out on her emotions compassion and sympathy reflect my need to be very very VERY observant of her and understand her inner workings at any given moment very well. I do not even know if compassion and sympathy are the right words to describe it.
I also have no idea why people who have their needs met feel alert. It’s the one thing describing my reaction to anything my mother does best. And this alertness is based on a fear for my emotional survival. I do not get how emotions work at all apparently. Then again talking about my emotions has always been a mess. I simply to not have the words. I can read lists such as this and name things I feel but it feels wrong. Like I am only scratching the surface of what is going on. Like something different is going on altogether and I do not have any names or concepts. I just don’t understand. It’s beyond the descriptions of any language I know how I feel about this disconnect from myself and while searching to pick up the pieces and place it all together finding only more disconnection. I have always been in dire need of a mentor to help me sort through this. Alas the student apparently is not ready because no teacher has appeared to this day.
So this has been the relatively straight forward part. Cataloguing what is there. Now moving to the why in hopes of finding out what is affecting me so much because – frankly I am autistic, every social interaction has a healthy dose of all these feelings for me. If you never know the nonverbal cues you never know half of what is going on. It’s only realistic to expect to mess up and piss people off on a regular basis. This is what autism is about. This fear, disconnect, loneliness, sadness, embarassment and tension is my normal. This is the way i operate day in day out. This will not change in any significant way any day soon and I am very used to it.
I know how to pick friends who make me feel less of the toxic cocktail. But at the end of the day what I have written down to some extent is the baseline of how I am. I can control who I am friends with, but things get oh so funny when you are trying to find a doctor, a boss, colleagues, store clerks, party guests and so forth in the same vein. The hard truth is I fail at many thing many people deem important. While I have no need to please them I’d love to just be left in peace. Agree to disagree and all that. Not realistic to expect that. Even if you surround yourself with well educated people.
So why. Lets cross the bullet point off one by one. I have already covered the first three. Next would be fear. The words in the mail themselves do not evoke fear. However this is my mother, she can go from contently discussing the funny habits of the cat to blaming me for her perceived financial ruin to apologising for being such a bad mother multiple times within a day. Any message of hers is tied to this and I do not know how to disconnect it or if I even should do that given that this is an ongoing issue. Upon receiving such a message there are only paths she will disapprove. The poor undeserving victim of her daughters ignorance or the poor undeserving victim of her daughters wrath. Everything I say and do and everything I do not do is interpreted in the worst possible light and she will find a way to make it look bad. Not all messages end up in such manipulation but I can never tell what will happen. Regardless what happens, it is my fault. That for one is somewhat predictable.
Any feelings relating to frustration, irritation and aversion are related to the background of this message, Its not about the words written there. It’s about the twists and turns communication with my mother always go through. I am also frustrated because I have asked mother for space and she breaches the boundaries I have set. She feels it important sure but I do not get to have a say and I feel the way she acknowledges it is self righteous and minimising.
Then again I AM my mothers daughter and I may well carry the burden of having inherited the abusive world view. Mother has complained before that she feels she can’t do anything right. An accusation that may well be true for I am very caught up in the toxic loop she has set up. I always expect and see the worst that way just to be safe. Which of course poisons our relationship. I would not know how to spot if she had truly changed even if it was possible.
As we are on the subject which is a favourite past time of all abused people: blaming oneself- I have another one which I can not just brush away. I AM also more sensitive. I am a big fan of the markhams intense world theory. It explains a lot that holds true for me personally. Such as my exorbitantly hard time letting things go, my intense fear response to everything and my struggle to relearn things that I have previously learnt as a fear response. It should be quite obvious how all of this colours my relationship with my mother in desperate and destructive hues. Her medication induced instability, which other children might be able to buffer, terrorise me. Which in turn terrorises her.
The confusion I feel… other than the already mentioned pervasive inability to understand the world around me in general and my mothers unpredictability in particular I can’t think of an explanation.
My disconnection to my mother are well and truly linked to the fact that I have over many years been unwittingly trained by my mother to not trust her and not rely on her with anything important.
And here my friends I am too exhausted to continue for now. I will certainly revisit this post later to complete it.