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I had a weird flashback-thing happen yesterday.


OnTheBrink
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It was in Sunday school and we were talking about smarmy teenagers and how they will sometimes dramatically say, "I didn't ask to be born!" One woman said her reaction to that remark would be, "Well, I didn't ask for you to be born, either!" 

 

I can't even really describe my reaction to that. My chest tightened, I couldn't breathe, I got "buzzy" in my head, and I got that pit feeling in my stomach. I looked over at her and she was laughing, like it was a joke. But it wasn't. It was my mother, pointing her dragon-lady nails at me and screaming, "If I could have aborted you, I would have!" I'm having trouble breathing even just typing that out. 

 

Part of me wanted to say something to that woman. But I don't even know what I could have said that would have made sense. And, really, it's not even about her. 

 

I don't know what to do about this, if anything. A friend thinks I have ptsd, but I don't know. I know soldiers suffer from that I don't feel comfortable comparing my upbringing with the hell they experience. 

 

Any thoughts?

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:grouphug:

 

Some people just don't realize how much more destructive it is for a parent to say that than for an idiot teen to say it. Words like that have power. Words like that have more power coming from a parent.

 

She shouldn't say those words, ever.

 

And your pain is a natural response. You know the power of those words.

 

:grouphug:

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:grouphug:

 

Some people just don't realize how much more destructive it is for a parent to say that than for an idiot teen to say it. Words like that have power. Words like that have more power coming from a parent.

 

She shouldn't say those words, ever.

 

And your pain is a natural response. You know the power of those words.

 

:grouphug:

I'm really sorry.  This is so true. 

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My mother once told me she was sorry she had kids and it permanently affected our relationship. I doubt she realizes it, but I really could care less about her at a certain level now. I am sure she would be sorry if she knew how it made me view her, she is not a monster, she has mental health issues. I read Heather Ross's memoir and at the end she pointed out that a lot of women my mother's age felt that being a parent was a waste of their lives. You have every right to feel hurt, and who is to say whose pain is bigger than someone else's. You are entitled to your own pain, and to your own healing. You don't have to dismiss your pain because other people have endured battle fields or slavery, or other horrible things. You have a right to feel your own emotions and a right to grow healthier as you acknowledge them and seek clearing.

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:grouphug:  Definitely a flashback, not just a "weird flashback thing."  

 

My therapist told me recently that the difference between a memory, where you can remember what happened and what you felt, but you don't feel it again, and a flashback, where you do feel it again, as if it's happening again, is that you haven't fully resolved your feelings about the trauma behind a flashback.

 

Soldiers aren't the only ones who get PTSD.  Any trauma can cause it, and you don't even have to experience it directly.  You can just be a witness.  And there's another form called "Chronic PTSD."  (The son of a friend of mine has that.)  Regular PTSD is usually one very traumatic event, and Chronic PTSD is ongoing trauma, which doesn't have to be as severe.  Instead, it is usually caused by being in a situation you feel helpless to escape.  (So, like persistent childhood verbal abuse, or being a POW.  Or, my friend's son, who witnessed her being abused by her ex-husband, but when he was too young to do anything about it.)

 

Flashbacks are no fun and no fair -- after all, you already lived that once, why do you have to do it again?  But they are a normal, natural reaction.  My therapist says part of resolving them comes in acknowledging that the pain was real and a normal reaction to the trauma, and also recognizing what about the recent event triggered the memory.  If he were your therapist, he'd be very pleased with your post, because you pretty much did that.  :thumbup:  

 

 

And I hope that woman at church was just describing the temptation to use such a response, and that she never really would do so.  It would make me wonder what might be in her background that such an answer would occur to her.  It could be that she has no clue what those words would mean, but it could also be that she knows full well, but she's flippantly acknowledging that would be the first response that occurred to her.  I know I have narrowly avoided parenting from my childhood on more than one occasion.  And occasionally, not avoided it, and had to go back in for damage control.  

 

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:grouphug:   Of course you could have PTSD and/or some unresolved issues from your childhood. 

 

You can't project your mom onto this woman.  We don't actually KNOW she would say that to her own child with venom. If she was laughing, it likely isn't something she would mean even if she said it.  I just don't think it's right to demonize someone for something said once with laughter.  Even if it's something you are completely uncomfortable with. 

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:grouphug:

 

PTSD can come from any painful experience. A good friend of ours specializes in treating it. Yes, he started working with soldiers, but he says it's incredibly common and under treated/diagnosed in psychology.

 

I think it was wise of you not to say anything to the woman at the time. There's just no way to separate your feelings out enough to be coherent or "heard" in that situation.

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Do you think that as I've had time to separate from my marriage and from my mother that now I'm starting to have these? I had a similar reaction a few months ago when my boss yelled at me (he since apologized--he'd just found out his father has terminal cancer). I'm kind of mad about it, really. Things are going really well. My job is going great. I'm going back to finish my degree and maybe even go on to a Master's after--an education my job is paying for. My debts are shrinking and I'm preparing to sell my house and buy a condo. Can't things just be good without some sort of crap rearing it's ugly head? Ugh.

 

As for the lady at church--I'm sure her response was in jest. She has 4 adult, married (or engaged) kids who are kind and well-adjusted and well-liked. It wasn't her so much as it was what she said. I don't have any problems with her personally. 

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Probably now that you have had some time to get your life together your subconscious is trying to let you deal with some things. Just because someone says something that makes you blurry, or your boss has a bad day does not take away from your accomplishments. You are taking good care of your life, everyone has painful moments and has to work around them. You deserve the good things that happen to you. You worked for them, please enjoy them without letting those things rob your inner joy. Explore them, but don't let them take the peace you are working toward. There is always going to be someone to speak carelessly. 

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I can't find any situation where it would be funny or appropriate to say what she said. Even on the days I have wanted to run away because of their attitudes. Glad you have seeked out help.

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