How much responsibility am I supposed to be taking?

Freida

Sponsor
Am I responsible enough for my triggers that I should not be asking for outside assistance? Is that rude?
Nope. Being responsible for your triggers means you understand what they are, so that you can make a plan for handling your response, Instead of trigger = emotion= trashing the room you learn that
trigger = emotion = you doing something that helps you feel better, like taking a deep breath or going for a walk or telling yourself it will be ok
When my mother or aunt does something that is a trigger for me, and I ask them to stop. Is that on them,
Yes.
If I'm afraid of dogs and my hubby chases me around the yard with a rottweiler is that on me or on him?

Let's say I've told him dogs scare me - and his response is to not only disregard my fear as meaningless but then do something to make my fear worse. What does that say about him? What kind of person intentionally causes pain in someone else? Does it make me weak or make him an asshat?

Should I have just toughed it out and not told him I'm afraid of dogs? Well -- just having to ask that question tells me what our relationship is like. I know that he cares so little for me that I can't tell him when something makes me afraid because he wont care and he might even do something to make it worse.

So then the question becomes -- why would I keep him in my life? Or if he had to be in my life what other options could I take to keep my sanity? My first instinct? Every time he brings a dog into the room I leave it. Because I don't have to let him keep triggering me. I can choose to walk away.

That's managing my trigger - not his response. He can be part of the problem but I can find a better solution - even if that means leaving the room.

I think I missed a childhood lesson or something somewhere.
Oh hun -- you not only missed the good lessons but the ones you did learn were wrong. :hug: :(
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
When my mother or aunt does something that is a trigger for me, and I ask them to stop. Is that on them, if they choose to keep doing it, or is that on me because I should not have asked?

In most relationships, people may not "always" know what is trigger for us so of course you have the right, and you are mature enough to ask or tell them what your trigger is and as you stated, of course you can tell them rightfully what to do about it - specifically to stop. These are all good and normal way of relating when the relationship is not abusive or lopsided in some majorly ways.

Now what happens?

You made clear hopefully what the trigger is and you asked them to stop and they ignored you and kept doing it. This now gets very complicated cause it is easy for me to say well then I would leave the relationship or walk out, or avoid the person (these are mine when I am cornered in unsafe environment) but you are not me. You have different set of temperament and life experience and many other things in your disposal. So I do not know the dynamic of your relationship with your mother and aunts (but honestly it sound not safe or health at least---and I am sorry if my observation online is judgy or wrong) so what can you do to keep your sanity, boundary, selfhood, and space if you are unable to avoid these people?

If you are interdependent of each other, in other words, you are unable to leave and so they are, then I really recommend you find a therapist that is on your side, who knows the details of the situation and can guide you to find that inner strength we are all born with and that makes us survive in horrific situations.

It is a hard learning and something most of us who have been abused as children did not learn as children and/or as Freida notes above me maybe even we were taught the wrong things, but we are adults now and our brains are clever and you know as you posted here...there is something wrong about this. The thing is they are not in your head, they do not own you, you can clearly see they "must" have their own issues and blinders if they are treating you this way, you can find compassion for them and more importantly compassion for you to be in this situation.

Honestly, for you to stay and find solution in this situation says a lot about your resiliency. Most people would not even voice and would have internalize it and god knows what else. I am not saying you may feel that way sometimes but at least you are actively seeking some relief, solution, and challenging your peripheral visions.

Good luck.
 

littleoc

Sponsor
Okay. So... for a simple example, if my mother likes to loudly cuss, and that frightens me. It's a normal thing for some people to cuss. It is true that my friends who have asked their parents to be more respectful of their triggers got their parents to at least cuss less or do it quietly. But when I confronted my mother, she accused me of trying to censor her. Now she is back at it and tells me I can get over it if she cusses.

It is normal to cuss, and to cuss loudly. She does stop doing it around her grandson, but I am not her grandson. My other friends were successfully able to get their parents to stop, but that doesn't mean I can compare my mother to them.

And, most importantly, I need to respect the choices other people make. So my reaction here should be to work on cussing as a trigger and to just keep leaving every conversation that frightens me forever.

I mean, that does seem silly to me on one level, but on another it doesn't. I'm not going to go around in public and have a little PSA telling people not to cuss around me. That's ridiculous. I have to learn to suck this up.

But it does hurt, that I can't trust my mom to respect my triggers. I don't feel like she cares about me if it interferes with her daily life to do so. She enforces her boundaries while also not having any, it feels like, and I'm not sure who's in the wrong.

I apologize again, I think I'll get it soon.
 

littleoc

Sponsor
Better example?

If my mother has misophonia (that disorder that makes crunching sounds intolerable) then it makes sense for me to go out of my way to play music or do other things to make her comfortable. Or is that inappropriate?

When my friend was over visiting, he decided he wanted a snack and chose chips. After a minute, my mom called out, “Play a song,” in a rude tone. Friend said this was rude. Was she supposed to be dealing with this herself, or just asking more politely? She did not explain herself to my friend.

Thank you so much for helping me, y’all
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
This sounds like obviously there is a lot of history and background that no one online on a anonymous site can sift through to help you but I will give couple notes from my perspective as an outsider.

Because this your mother, what you are calling triggers (and maybe they are triggers in the plainest sense) are relational issues since you were a child. Where are triggers coming from? Why is her cussing causing you so much grief? Why are you even with her? So many questions that only you can answer with a trusted and supportive therapist.

However, the deeper issues, cause all these other things sounded like symptoms of ways you both learned to control each other, is this quote: I highlighted the deeper issues that seem to be causing you some doubts about you and impacting the relationship with your mother. Some even sound as if you are truly harsh on yourself internally.
I mean, that does seem silly to me on one level, but on another it doesn't. I'm not going to go around in public and have a little PSA telling people not to cuss around me. That's ridiculous. I have to learn to suck this up.
But it does hurt, that I can't trust my mom to respect my triggers. I don't feel like she cares about me if it interferes with her daily life to do so. She enforces her boundaries while also not having any, it feels like, and I'm not sure who's in the wrong.

To take a look in more depth (as much as I can muster here without spilling into my own stuff), in public, you are not sucking up, you are just going about your business and choosing not to police everyone who does something that triggers you but you do not feel the same around your mother cause there are underlying issues - she is not a stranger. But you are choosing words and actions that sound like punishing you or erasing you to even describe your thoughts. You could start to describe yourself in gentler manner or even take a pride you can recognize triggers in public and choose to hold - that way your own communication inside of your head is more compassionate and does not have to sound like your mother.

You are hurt, and do not trust your mother and feel she does not care about you - these sound like no matter what she does, you feel this way which sound like there is a long history of problems in your relationship with your mother obviously!

She enforces her boundaries - are you talking about her or you? cause you added while not having any? Who is not having boundaries, you or her or both? Worth thinking about it cause boundary seems to be a huge obstacle in what you are describing.

Who is wrong and who is right may not be the most beneficial way of going about this relationship and bringing your friend into it may serve something for you - from support to many other things but it may not who is wrong or right as much as how can you make your life with your mother and the relationship work so there are not so much disharmony. The friend can speak for himself just like you take care of yourself and your triggers in public in a manner that is suitable for you.

There are a lot of complexity, depth, and history in your posting to go into it by a mere observer on the internet like me but I hope your search for meaning, understanding, and learning pays off.

All the best.
 

Freida

Sponsor
But it does hurt, that I can't trust my mom to respect my triggers.
Well of course it does! You aren't asking her to create world peace to make you happy. You are asking her to stop a behavior that is upsetting you. And she is refusing.

I think that is the main point. She knows something bothers you, blames you for feeling that way and refuses to try to help you. That kind of describes your entire childhood right there. I don't know that she will change - because this is who she is. But it is ok to feel hurt or upset or flat out pissed off that she won't attempt to do something that helps you. Because I'll tell ya it pisses me off for you.
I apologize again, I think I'll get it soon.
anddddd here comes the feather duster! No more apologizing! This is YOUR diary - you can fuss and think and be angry or sad or hurt or anything else you want. This is your space. If it takes you 100 years to figure it out -- it's still your space. :hug:
 

LuckiLee

MyPTSD Pro
First off I love your friend. Wise indeed. Along with everyone's advice and wisdom here.

I understand your love for your mom. She helped you. (occasionally) Yes she has mental and health issues and we need to take that into consideration. But, yes there's a but. For those same reasons, You don't consider your mom abusive.

You have been the Parent to your ENTIRE family your ENTIRE life. Of course you feel everyone's sh!t is on you. Still today, you're responsible for her and now 2 aunts. Their life. Their choices are not on you.

If you ask someone (that you would do absolutely anything for) to please not do abc and they continue to do abc and throw in a d. That is abusive. Mean and petty. And frankly someone we don't need in our lives day in and day out.

You and your mom's roles are reversed. You take care of her as if she were the child. I don't think you will see it until you are able to move out.

Ever since you were a BABY you did anything and everything to keep the peace. That is a huge responsibility for a young child. And you continue to do anything to keep things calm. (You might want to look into fawning.)

I feel for you. Sending light and love your way.

❌⭕
 

LuckiLee

MyPTSD Pro
Believe me. I don't want to be right. @littleoc, you have a heart of gold and deserve all good things.

Your relationship with your mom has been dysfunctional since, I hate to say it, day one. There is a lot of baggage that needs to be worked through on both of your parts. Together. With therapy. You can't repair the relationship by yourself.

Honestly, to me, your mom doesn't sound like a kind person and I don't think you will ever get the loving support you need and deserve.

If she isn't going to get therapy for her issues, nothing is going to change.

I hope my words aren't hurtful. I've watched you work hard on yourself. I wish your mom would do the same.

Take care of yourself. We love ya!! And I apologize if I'm out of line.
 

Freida

Sponsor
I've watched you work hard on yourself. I wish your mom would do the same.
Again --- listen to her brilliance. :laugh:

You have worked your ass off getting to where you are now and you deserve to be proud of yourself. The part that just blows me away is how you did it while still dealing with all your mom and brother's crap and now you are juggling the mess that is your aunt.

You are amazing. Simply amazing.

The downfall to that success? Expectaions that others can be amazing like that too.
That's a bar that may be way to high for your mom. She many never reach a place where she can be the person you want her to be. And that's ok. She is who she is.

Your challenge is to decide if you want to keep her in your life, even if she will never change. It doesn't neceesarily mean no contact - but it's allowing you to set the relationship based on what you want it to be even if she can never be any better than she is today. Which is a damn tough thing to do - so just stick it in the back of your brain and let it percolate..... :hug:
 

littleoc

Sponsor
Yes. I’d like to be her friend. On good days we get along great. I haven’t really given her an opportunity to be supportive in a while because she kept disappointing me. Long story short. On the other hand now when she asks how I’m doing I just lie or go mute so it doesn’t matter anyway.

I know she’s trying in some ways but really not in others. And those ways did a lot of damage. My siblings don’t agree but they didn’t go through the same shit.

Now my mom tells me about her mom in the same terms and it messes me up. Her mom was actually abusive. But, like. I can’t even consider her a mom. She is supportive of my hobbies unless it’s the house, I guess (I love to decorate or HAVE A HOUSE), so like she likes to brag that I’m her smart scientist. She trusts me enough to call for me when things go wrong. But also won’t learn and do things herself.

Feels somewhat normal. Until I remember that when I hear the word “mom” the images coming to my brain are of animals that aren’t human and I remember I was called a “partial feral child” by my first psychologist, though that feels inaccurate too because I had *a* relationship with my mom growing up. It doesn’t feel like it was her fault to me. I just wish I hadn’t been the one who had to point out it was messed up, get the law involved only for my dad to not even be arrested (I see some parents who keep kids locked away with animals get around 12 years prison?), and been the one to get my own therapists after I was thirteen. She’d yell at me for not wanting a male therapist, even though it was his advice that I get another one. She told me I shouldn’t be allowed to because only one therapist could possibly be in our city because they are rare unicorns and all the others wouldn’t agree to meet with me anyway.

I don’t know how to explain.

She ruined fun days with my ex with that kind of behavior too. I remember moving into a new dorm in undergrad and my mom had said beforehand that I’d be able to put furniture wherever I wanted because it was my space. I thought this was an odd statement because I’d moved out several times before already. I took my ex, Brandi, with me, though she was very angry about wasting the day with me; maybe it was already ruined? My mom started arguing with me about where I wanted my mini fridge. For hours. She wanted it up on my dresser. I wanted it in the floor by my bed, to use as a night table, to prevent me from scratching the dresser (she said she brought grippies to prevent this), and so I could put my decorations on the dresser, like I always do when I’m not in a hoarder house. My mom got angry and left to use the restroom, and my ex, who was a dick by the way, offered to go talk to her for me because it *pained her* that my mom wasn’t letting me decorate my own room. Brandi (ex) said it made her upset to witness that. I don’t know if it was manipulative or not. Afterward I tried to go to a restaurant and my mom made it very awkward for all three of us. Kept passive aggressively bringing up the free food I didn’t want anymore because I’d become too upset to socialize.

Years later after I broke up with my ex, I put my mini fridge on a wooden table. My mom came to visit and pointed out that it was easier having it there than on the floor.


She was also the person I called when I finally broke up with Brandi, though, but admittedly it didn’t help me.

I am not sure where I was going with this. She’s currently screaming at my cat for having feelings so I guess I need to go let him out.
 
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