• All donations and upgrades are manually verified and approved within 24hrs.
  • Upgrades are ongoing. Learn how to save your bookmarked posts.

Avoiding family during quarantine

Thread starter #1
With the quarantine well under way and me still living with my formerly-more-abusive family members (namely my mom and brother), I've noticed that I've gone into full Avoidance Mode. My mom and I come into conflict most times we are together; she's a confrontational person, even going out of her way to be so, and has endless criticism for all to her. I mostly stay in my room upstairs, as the open-floor-themed downstairs is more her territory. I normally only go down to eat and do chores, or do whatever she asks me to. Thankfully she has work, so mostly she stays quiet doing her stuff and wants to be left alone. I've found myself tip-toeing around, opening doors and things softly, speaking quietly, and in general trying to make as little noise as possible.

However little I already come into contact with my family is not enough. Any short contact can be prolonged into longer contact, which means more confrontation, which means more hurt feelings mostly on my end because from what I can tell she doesn't feel anything except that she's so great. So I am constantly seeking ways of slimming those margins of contact down.
I consider the bathroom mostly a safe place, since as long as you're not trapped with anyone else in there you're pretty darn good. For that reason and that doing laundry is already mostly automated, I don't mind doing laundry or hanging clothes. It can be done fast, especially if the load mostly consists of shirts, and mostly away from harm.
Another of my chores is scooping dog poop outside. Since it's out in the yard and more of a weekly thing, I don't consider it a high priority to figure out. I mostly frustratedly daydream while juggling poop, and there's not a way I can think of to expedite the necessary evil.
A chore I have taken to the cutting block is dishwashing. My mom doesn't believe in dishwashers and while I hate dishwashing I am the second-best dishwasher in the house (second only to her, of course). I realized that ordinarily, with everyone home all day everyday, we use a lot of dishes. I realized that if I decrease my usage of dishes, I have a lot fewer dishes to wash in the long run and wash dishes more infrequently as well which means either less time for potential confrontation or more infrequent chances for it. Another thing is... I have bad teeth, which my mom loves to remind me about when she feels like it. With the quarantine on, there's not really a chance to go to the dentist, so I also feel anxious about my risk of getting new cavities and that sort. I realized that if I eat less, I would not only decrease the number of dishes I use, but I would also 1) spend less time filling my mouth with sugar, which means fewer opportunities to get cavities and less crap to clean off my teeth overall, and therefore 2) cut down the time I spend downstairs eating and attracting confrontation. Plus, I am mostly sedentary, so it's not like I need the calories or anything...

About food, I've been doing it very strategically. I've been making only one cup of coffee in the morning, and have slowly been decreasing the amount of sweetener to the point where, now, my coffee is more bitter than I've ever tolerated in my life, but I don't mind it at all. And now I know that my brother uses way more spoons of sweetener than he admits he does!! (Which my mom doesn't fuss about ofc, because he's her special egg.) I've found that I'm eating more healthily, because I know I'm not snacking throughout the day. Fun fact: I've gotten a taste for PB & banana slices sandwiches! The banana really livens up the peanut butter. The coffee and peanut butter work to keep me feeling not ravenously hungry, which means I don't miss eating more. I haven't noticed a decrease in positive mood or anything. I'm pretty stressed out with school being more complicated to deal with online and being on my guard in the house. I used to deal with stress by stuffing my face with candy. Now with not being able to leave the house, I can't get candy. But with my newly implemented strategies, I find that I'm not missing it. I store a lot of snacks in my room, ready to fuel me during the apocalypse or whatever, but I'm not tempted to eat them anytime soon. I even forget about them sometimes. I just go about the routine I've given myself.

I'm sorry, y'all can probably discern that I have several bushels of salt towards my family. I didn't have a question or anything, just wanted to vent and see if anyone has feedback. Rereading this, I'm tempted to rename my post "The ravings of an anxious person". lol
 
#2
Hi, @Frostheaved!

I'm sorry you feel unsafe at home. It sounds like you have a good system, but it really sucks that you need it. Are you in college or high school, by the way? (Feel free to ignore the last question if it makes you uncomfortable to answer.)

It is really stressful to have to change an entire routine like this to start with. But then having to stay at home with a family that is not only not supportive but also actively causes distress is even tougher. I completely understand this feeling, as do many, many other people here.

Would wearing earbuds downstairs when you have to do dishes do any good for you?

You say your family is less abusive now than they were. Have they been working on their behavior?

Vent away, you've got to do it somewhere! Has this last month been okay for you? Any changes?
 
Thread starter #3
Hello @littleoc - thank you for your comment.

Are you in college or high school, by the way? (Feel free to ignore the last question if it makes you uncomfortable to answer.)
I am on the home stretch of college. Looking forward to being done, but realizing that life without school is uncharted territory.

Would wearing earbuds downstairs when you have to do dishes do any good for you?
That would be nice, but anything to do with listening to music is a big grey area. An old ruling is that listening to music isn't allowed, and my mom used to be big on enforcing it. I'm not sure if it applies anymore, but just to be safe, I don't listen to music downstairs unless she's not at home.
I don't really do anything major downstairs unless she's not at home... I feel like I'll be yelled at for making noise or something.

You say your family is less abusive now than they were. Have they been working on their behavior?
Yeah, they used to hit/assault me, call me derogatory names like retard or stupid. Nowadays only I call myself stupid, and I prefer it that way. Occasionally my mom says something dumb like "I've always thought you were smart." I would laugh, but that would be inappropriate. A cesspool of lies, my family is. I lie a lot too, I keep secrets, so it's not like I'm blameless or anything.

Has this last month been okay for you? Any changes?
I feel more detached emotionally than I've felt in a long time. I don't feel like I feel anything much, and so I have put myself in situations where I do feel something (sometimes regrettably, like when I attracted my mom's anger). I realized that I may have shunted all my memories into the recesses of my brain. I haven't told my therapist yet - there was never a good time for bringing up stuff like that. I don't see her again (online) until the end of May. Until then I'm supposed to be mindful of when I'm distressed and keep a casual journal of my thoughts/feelings. I've realized I kinda suck at identifying thoughts. I think of most of my thoughts as observations, that I then interpret... the latter of which I guess are thoughts.
I did notice that I've been expressing anger more, and I said so to my therapist. I've done some inconsequential but regrettable things while angry. I express irritation, then I get yelled at. Sigh.
My dad started living with us temporarily, and he goes back to his city of work on the 15th. I feel like he takes away some of my mom's focus of anger, and for that I'm glad. I'm not wary of him in the same way I was when I was younger. He is more like an absent father. I rub my saltiness on him whenever I get to. I am not transparent with him.
Both my parents lack in the parenting category, and I will never have fleshed-out parents. This is all I get.
Besides that, it's alright. I'm very unmotivated and very behind on class work, but it's fine. I haven't had suicidal thoughts since quarantine started. It's not like I'm dying or anything. Nothing really has changed other that the stuff inside my brain.
Which I don't understand. I don't understand what's going on with me, I don't understand why my suicidal thoughts went away, I don't understand my stagnance. I suppose I'll just have to live with it.
 
#4
I am on the home stretch of college. Looking forward to being done, but realizing that life without school is uncharted territory.
Sudden transitions, then. That’s a lot of stress to deal with, on top of everything else. :hug:

The anger makes sense, as does the not feeling anything. You’re under a lot of stress, and it sounds like you’re depressed, too. This is how you’re coping.

Is there anything you could do for self care to help lesson the impact?

Reaching out here is good. :hug:
 
Thread starter #5
Is there anything you could do for self care to help lesson the impact?
I have been.. busy. Doing a lot of getting angry, but also finding a lot of value in playing games. I'm trying to encourage myself to do more art too. During the semester before quarantine I had a successful return to reading, an endeavour that I have not had the heart to continue even though the library allows books to be kept out until fall. On the other hand I started watching some anime again.

Today school summer semester starts. Day after tomorrow I have an appointment with my therapist, at last. I don't know what she's going to think or say of me. I'm one of the most immature adults I know, if I can even be called an adult. Maybe that isn't true, but who knows what's true.

At any rate, whether I'm actually well or not, I think I'm doing well. I've come to like hiding away... or rather, I'm scared of people, so I'd rather hide away. I'm even scared of seeing people I know. 😂
 
Top Bottom