Undiagnosed Not quite sure what to think anymore

C

Confused one

Hi, I am new here. I don’t know if I have PTSD, another trauma-based disorder, or just poor mental health, but I just need to reach out to someone and get some thoughts out in writing because I am struggling.

I am a 20 year old university student that just moved out of the family home this past September. I have lived with my single mom all of my life, and I am not sure how to feel about her. She would be kind and caring one minute and then she would be cold, harsh, and yelling the next. During an outburst she would yell, swear, say all of what I was doing wrong with my life, and then storm away to her room and slam the door. Then she would come back to me after an hour crying, apologizing, saying that she was a terrible mother and would never do this again, and of course I would forgive her because I was young, scared, confused, and felt guilty that I had done something wrong. After she would apologize and I would forgive her, she would get all giddy and pretend like nothing happened and we were best friends (we are very close, but there is a weird dynamic going on). If I later tried to calmly and gently express to her that next time she is upset with me to calmly tell me what is wrong (I tried it twice in all of those years) she would either yell at me or deny that she had ever done anything else (basically denying that she had yelled and called me names). This pattern started when I was 8 and did not stop until I moved out... There were times where I would be confused by something she had said and politely ask her what she meant and she would yell and call me names, saying that I was stupid, and that I was a “whiny b****” when I would get tears in my eyes because I was hurt. There was one time when I was 9 that I could not figure out a question on my math homework (I have a math related learning disability) and she was helping me, and I still did not understand how to do the question after her third explanation. I went to go to the bathroom to calm down because I was getting frustrated with myself, and before I could get to the bathroom she grabbed me, dragged me to the stairs, and pushed me down them because she was frustrated that I was “too stupid to understand anything”. I was not seriously hurt, thankfully, but I was not emotionally ok after that incident for a few hours. I have talked to one therapist about these things and they said that I was being too emotional and reading too much into these things and that I should just try to look more realistically at these situations. For some background, the therapist does know my mom quite well, and he talks to her quite often. He was even her therapist at one point, which I did not know until this year. My mom had sent me to the therapist when I was struggling with other mental health stuff when I was a teenager and I didn’t think about it at the time.

Any way, I have been trying to look at my past experiences and my current feelings realistically, and from all angles, but now I am just confused and my mind feels like it is constantly fighting with itself. I am not sure if this was abuse or if it was just me reading too much into things as the therapist said. Either way, I am experiencing flashbacks frequently and dissociating a lot, which is greatly impacting my ability to do school work and study. I have gone through an initial consultation session with my university’s counselling center and am waiting for them to reach out to me to let me book my first therapy session. I have decided to stop seeing the other therapist.
 
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Teasel

MyPTSD Pro
Hi confused one, welcome to the forum. Your mom does sound kind of abusive to me. And I think abuse can be ever so confusing. I think it's great you've reached out for therapy, and good too that you've stopped seeing your mom's therapist. Better to have your own.

Hope you find the forum helpful:)
 
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Justmehere

Moderator
Welcome to the forums! Being a peer support forum, no one here can diagnose. That being said, it's clear you have been through some really horrible experiences that have impacted you.

I'm really glad you scheduled with the university to talk to a counselor there.

Early in my journey I saw a therapist who knew my abuser as a child and they said much of the same. It was too much of a conflict of interest for them to see the situation objectively. They couldn't handle accepting their friend engaged in abuse of a child. So instead they told me to not make my father mad and get over it. (Oh why didn't I think of that?!) Sigh. In my opinion, good therapists don't see the children of their friends but refer to someone who can be objective.

Trauma doesn't always lead to PTSD, and the majority of the time, people can recover from PTSD. Meeting with the school counseling clinic is a great next step. Well done on reaching out!
 

RCReal

Learning
Hi, I am new here. I don’t know if I have PTSD, another trauma-based disorder, or just poor mental health, but I just need to reach out to someone and get some thoughts out in writing because I am struggling.

I am a 20 year old university student that just moved out of the family home this past September. I have lived with my single mom all of my life, and I am not sure how to feel about her. She would be kind and caring one minute and then she would be cold, harsh, and yelling the next. During an outburst she would yell, swear, say all of what I was doing wrong with my life, and then storm away to her room and slam the door. Then she would come back to me after an hour crying, apologizing, saying that she was a terrible mother and would never do this again, and of course I would forgive her because I was young, scared, confused, and felt guilty that I had done something wrong. After she would apologize and I would forgive her, she would get all giddy and pretend like nothing happened and we were best friends (we are very close, but there is a weird dynamic going on). If I later tried to calmly and gently express to her that next time she is upset with me to calmly tell me what is wrong (I tried it twice in all of those years) she would either yell at me or deny that she had ever done anything else (basically denying that she had yelled and called me names). This pattern started when I was 8 and did not stop until I moved out... There were times where I would be confused by something she had said and politely ask her what she meant and she would yell and call me names, saying that I was stupid, and that I was a “whiny b****” when I would get tears in my eyes because I was hurt. There was one time when I was 9 that I could not figure out a question on my math homework (I have a math related learning disability) and she was helping me, and I still did not understand how to do the question after her third explanation. I went to go to the bathroom to calm down because I was getting frustrated with myself, and before I could get to the bathroom she grabbed me, dragged me to the stairs, and pushed me down them because she was frustrated that I was “too stupid to understand anything”. I was not seriously hurt, thankfully, but I was not emotionally ok after that incident for a few hours. I have talked to one therapist about these things and they said that I was being too emotional and reading too much into these things and that I should just try to look more realistically at these situations. For some background, the therapist does know my mom quite well, and he talks to her quite often. He was even her therapist at one point, which I did not know until this year. My mom had sent me to the therapist when I was struggling with other mental health stuff when I was a teenager and I didn’t think about it at the time.

Any way, I have been trying to look at my past experiences and my current feelings realistically, and from all angles, but now I am just confused and my mind feels like it is constantly fighting with itself. I am not sure if this was abuse or if it was just me reading too much into things as the therapist said. Either way, I am experiencing flashbacks frequently and dissociating a lot, which is greatly impacting my ability to do school work and study. I have gone through an initial consultation session with my university’s counselling center and am waiting for them to reach out to me to let me book my first therapy session. I have decided to stop seeing the other therapist.
A few things
1. trauma is in the eye of the beholder- if you feel uncomfortable and unsettled with the things you experienced then that is real - to you- and that is what matters, regardless of the intent of the persons words or actions. Period. (I would say what you are describing is not a bratty kid, but a neglectful parent- who maybe thought tough love was the answer but clearly got it wrong... ) Whether you have the technical definition of Post Traumatic Stress is almost irrelevant... what matters is what you are feeling and experiencing... the label doesn't matter.

2. If a therapist told you it's all in your head, and you are reading too much into things... find a new therapist - specifically one that is "trauma informed" and is not bias to the stories they have already heard from your mothers perspective! Awesome job reaching out to the resources at your university... talk with them about being trauma informed because much of what you are experiencing isn't just "college stresses."

Something else to think about is that when a child is neglected or abused they don't stop loving the parent, they stop loving themselves.... if you are struggling with forgiveness or don't know how to feel about your relationship with your mother... my best advise is to limit your relationship with her- be respectful but find another source for emotional support - until you have worked on rebuilding your own self love. I wish that someone would have told me that when I was your age- I spent almost 20 years of my adult life working towards other peoples dreams trying to make my mother proud and get her approval... and when I finally gave up and worked on me and making my self happy and loving myself... everything changed... the tables turned and she was seeking my approval... which actually opened the door and gave me the courage to talk to her about how her actions and words had effected me.

I think that you are on the right track asking for help and being open to trying new things. It sounds to me like you are a pretty bight kid, acknowledging that something isn't right and seeking help are huge steps that many people never take - so be proud of yourself - it shows courage and maturity! keep the momentum going! you've got this!
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Hi @confused one, welcome to the site. Sorry for what you've been through. My dad was an abusive and violent alcoholic. When a primary care giver abuses us its it's soul destroying on so many levels. Getting your own therapist is a really smart move. You need a safe place and someone who can listen to you. Best wishes to you. S3 😊.
 

NoWhereKnowWhere

MyPTSD Pro
some background, the therapist does know my mom quite well, and he talks to her quite often. He was even her therapist at one point
that is a massive conflict of interest.

I am not sure if this was abuse
I would say so. Emotional and physical. Gaslighting and manipulation, then getting her own therapist to tow the company line. *Major eyebrow raise*
have decided to stop seeing the other therapist.
That’s definitely for the best. Great step reaching out to the university for counselling and support.
 
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