The Person Living In My Head

For as long as I can remember, I have always looked for aspects of myself that I should hate. These aspects are including physical and internal/emotional aspects. However, because I have been conditioned by my parents to criticize every detail about myself, I am just now learning how to validate these emotions.

Almost everyday of my life, I have changed my outfit multiple times a day. This was mostly because I had so much anxiety about what was appropriate to wear for certain occasions and what people would think of me. I have always found something about myself to be dissatisfying, in regards to the way I physically appear. This was an aspect my own mother made fun of me for. She knew the difficulties I had with my self-esteem and used it as a means to make me feel even worse about myself. She intentionally encouraged me to wear more revealing clothing. Along with this, she continuously tried to discourage me over the idea that I didn’t have a boyfriend. This recurring toxic shame caused a feeling of being unworthy of anyone’s attention, including my parents.

Furthermore, I also very clearly remember holding a smile back that showed my teeth when I was younger. My teeth were extremely crooked and I had always been self-conscious of it until I got braces in 5th grade. My piano teacher, at the time, had even asked me to smile for recital pictures. He also asked my mom about why I wouldn’t smile and in response, she would essentially tease me over it. I was self-conscious because of her.

As I continue to validate my feelings, I realize more and more about my self-critic. This critic in my head is always the voice of my mother. Until I recently removed her from my life, she deliberately tried to make me unhappy. For example, every year for Christmas/my birthday, she would give me something she knew I would hate. One time, she had gone to the beach and had come back with gifts for everyone. My gift from her was a razor with shaving cream because, at the time, I was in 5th grade and had expressed that I wanted to start shaving my legs. All of my other siblings received an actual gift and I received a necessity as a “gift.”

Recently, I’ve found it even more difficult to fall asleep. I’ve always had issues sleeping because of insomnia, but recently it’s because I am genuinely afraid of falling asleep. Typically, when I do fall asleep, I will have a nightmare with someone from my past who happens to make me uncomfortable. Most of the time this person being my mother. Although, she has been in my nightmares for years, my past few nightmares have included eye contact with her.

Due to the fact that I am still living at home and I am surrounded by past/current negative energy, it is particularly difficult to receive any kind of mental recovery. The past couple of weeks have revealed to me how serious depression is. I used to invalidate those feelings of emptiness and hopelessness. I’m finally learning to validate the feelings of my inner critic and my inner child. As a way to help cope with this, I like to place myself back into the mind of my younger self. I give myself feedback like, “You weren’t safe before, but now I will keep you safe,” or “you’re not alone.” Although, it has been particularly difficult recently, I know I can learn to protect and love myself more than what my parents have ever been capable of.

Flashbacks: Remembering the Pain and Overcoming It

I am creating this post for two reasons, one being the idea that I am able to create a detailed image of what exactly happened during my childhood. The second reasoning, being the idea that I am still working through these memories and it is important that I understand how certain situations made me feel. The more I think about my childhood, the more dramatic & insane it looks to me. I want to make it clear that I am not creating this as a bashing against any family members, but simply as an outlet for myself.

As I continue working through C-PTSD and the flashbacks that come with it, there is a specific memory that keeps sticking out to me. It is certainly not the most violent and dramatic, but, this memory is one that includes my mom following me around the house while yelling hostile and hurtful words. This specific conflict arose over summer, when I began defending myself and siblings more often and confidently. My mother and I were already having several issues and I had communicated with her that I wasn’t going to stay silent about them but that I also needed space. Seeing as she is incapable of civil, intellectual conversation, she never understood these needs. What I write below is every detail that I have been able to pick out from the situation fully from my perception…

I remember earlier in the day I had communicated with my mother about something in regards to the well-being of my siblings, & she used this as a means to verbally abuse me. I went to work shortly after our argument and my mother texted me a long message, expressing how I needed to start being a better influence and that my negativity was affecting everyone in the house. At the time, I was working at Wyndridge Farm and when I received this text, I had to drop what I was doing then go to the bathroom so I could pull myself together. I cannot begin to explain how suffocating it is to have the urge to cry because of your own mother, while also being at work.

During the shift, I texted my best friend Sara and told her that I would be staying with her that night. I drove home from work in tears and I was only focused on going to my house, packing a few days worth of clothes and then leaving. However, this is not what happened. When I got home, my mom immediately followed me up the stairs and badgered me with questions, as to why I was so ‘unhappy,’ why I was so ‘cruel,’ why I wasn’t a better ‘influence,’ why I wasn’t more ‘put together,’ and why I wasn’t being more ‘helpful.’ Keep in mind, I was already practically parenting her kids at this point. As I continued moving to my room, I told my mom that I just needed space and that I wasn’t ready to talk.

Furthermore, it was at this point in the scenario in which she followed me into my room and continued to scream at me for starting so much drama and being so unhappy living there. I began hyperventilating and in between breaths, telling her to give me space. She stayed in front of me continuing to yell at me. I collapsed and my entire body was numb/tingling, while I kept my face in my hands. She told me I needed to get myself together and then left my room. I finished gathering my clothes and went over to Sara’s in a very distressed state of mind.

This situation is only an example of the kind of treatment I endured from my mother. There were many cases in which she was physically violent. Looking into her unremorseful face is what made this so damaging. My mother is the reason for the majority of my mental issues today and though I feel I have moved through a lot of it, I still have much more to work through. There are memories still to go through that cause me distress to think of. However, I find relief in sharing my experience and validating it. For the longest times, my emotions and personality type were seen as irrelevant and invalid.

When these flashbacks occur, I cannot predict how it will make me feel or for how long but it is typically unpleasant. It is mentally exhausting at times, seeing as I have no control over when it happens but I know that this is the single most important part of my healing process: remembering the pain & overcoming it.