I think an important part of this project–for me–is not to publish retractions, but to document changes in perspective as time goes on. As I begun this, I imagined each post to be a stand alone examination of myself at any given moment; an analysis of how my history shaped me and my relationships and my understandings of them.
It has turned into a cathartic outlet–the catharsis borne from intellectualizing trauma triggers so that when I see red, I reason my way into forcing it to make sense.
This is not to say that what I’ve written is false–but that it is not an accurate portrait of my mother in all her nuances and motivations. It is how she is perceived by me, a person who is very frequently triggered by her–and I say this confidently–unintentional button-pushing.
Like my relationship with my brother, my mother and I often fall into cycles of triggering each other. It’s only recently that I’ve come to understand what trauma triggers look like with our family. And they look like what I’ve written. But that does not mean my analysis is entirely sound. What I perceive as malice is determined by my body and mind which find negative judgements of my being highly accessible.
I also do not want to be overly generous or euphemistic–my mother has said things so biting in front of several friends on separate occasions that has caused them to express concern.
Yes, my mother says things I find to be unhealthy for both of us. But she has never withheld money in any serious way, locked me up, kicked me out on the street. If she truly had a grand master plan to control me, she would be tugging at the many strings she has at her disposal, but she does not. In her own way, she thinks she is doing what is best, and I perceive it as her trying to manipulate me. But even if she is trying to manipulate me, she is not doing a very committed job. She has avenues that she explicitly chooses not to go down. I have returned her money to her, refused to eat, refused to use any resources that have a calculable cost in a deluded attempt to gain some sort of control over my life, and she has never asked that of me or held it over me–quite the opposite, they are such spectacular and troubling forms of resistance that it has led to compromises, and so we have to ask, who is manipulating whom? Is it right for me to retaliate with my own warped impositions of control? (Rhetorical–moral evaluations have no place on this blog).
How do we stop? How do we both stop seeing red? Time, perhaps. That’s what my therapist said.
Being family members with so much baggage and unspoken tension amplifies the most trivial things. It’s an oxymoron, but the trivial is important. But we have such a short time on this earth, I want to make an earnest effort to ensure it doesn’t drive us. I have already lost my uncle. I have a friend going through a terrible loss right now.
When I spoke up about having a traumatizing high school experience, on top of a traumatizing childhood, I talked about how so much of what I did up until that point was dictated by the insecure 15 year-old who hated herself so deeply. So much of what I examine in this blog goes back even further than that–to the traumatized eight year-old, the traumatized three year-old. I don’t want to humor my traumatized inner-child’s desire for justice she’ll never get or understand if it stands in the way of me being with and there for the people who are here now. I respect that child, I feel for that child, I am compassionate towards that child, but I can’t let her be in the forefront anymore. She needs to take a seat because I can manage for her. It will work out better for us all and everyone we love.