There have been so many instances in my life where others have said or done things that, for an unaffected person, are perfectly normal and not at all hurtful. But for me, it is like reliving my trauma all over again. This is an even greater problem for someone who has dealt with MDSA, because most of society is under the presumption that mothers don’t hurt their children, so there would be no reason to act any differently. As you know, this is not my reality.
Telling me I look like my mother.
This comment hurts more than I can explain. In my warped mind, when people say I look my mother, I start to believe that I am my mother. It makes me sick, disgusted, and hateful of myself. I strive to be everything completely opposite of her, from how she dresses to what she believes in. When someone comes along and says the above, I rage inside. Can’t they see that I’m not her? Are my attempts at being everything she’s not failing? Am I doomed to be just like her? Even though I have expressed my disbelief and discomfort with these comments in the past, the same people have continued to make them. It doesn’t make it any easier when my mother purposely steals my clothes and cuts and dyes her hair to look like mine. It’s a never-ending battle to form my own identity. Please don’t make it harder for me.
Thinking it’s okay to have my mother in the room.
I can’t tell you how many doctors appointments I’ve had in which the doctor examined me with my mother still in the room. I understand it happening when I was a child, but it also happened in my adolescence when the doctor wanted to do a minor pelvic exam. It wasn’t even brought up if I ever wanted her in the room. And then there’s the hospital visits. I’ve been hospitalized upwards of a dozen times over the course of the last ten or so years for pneumonia. I was an adult. Yet there were several instances in which the nurse changed me while my mother was in the room, watching every minute of it.
Several years ago when I was admitted for cardiac and respiratory distress. I was on oxygen and unable to speak. I had on nothing but an ER gown, and once I got admitted to the cardiac unit, the nurse said I needed to be changed. My mother sat in the chair next to my bed, watching. The nurse removed my gown and went to put a new gown on and realized it was ripped. So she left me there, naked, to go get another gown. I tried to cover myself up with my arms. My mother continued to sit, staring right at me.
Sharing things about me with my mother.
This was a regular issue with me because my mother and I worked for the same company. Management and coworkers regularly felt the need to share things about me, small and large, with my mother. When I expressed my feelings about it to those who were doing it, I was brushed off and told, “but she’s your mother!” Trust me people, I was painfully aware of that fact. That doesn’t change the reality that I am an adult, and should be treated like one. The people who were reporting things back to my mother were just aiding in her overall ability to control me. It hurt.
I also had issues with my friends answering questions about me that my mother would ask them. For instance, when I would stay and work some extra hours at my job, my mother would text my coworkers and friends and ask them where I was and what I was doing. And they answered her! What?! I’m an adult. In my 20s. Why are you reporting back to her? Once again, people were aiding my mother in her control over me. Even when she wasn’t there, I always felt like she was watching…because she was.
Making assumptions about my childhood.
I still don’t understand this. People loved to make assumptions, and share those assumptions, about my childhood. As recently as a few months ago, a coworker had a toy dinosaur figure that I was playing with. Another coworker stared at me and gave me a look, and I said “Don’t judge! I missed out on most of my childhood.” Boy, do I wish I just shut my mouth. One of the managers, who was there this whole time, chimed in: “Oh please, you had a great childhood, your mother loved you and took you shopping for toys.” My heart sank. I could feel my eyes starting to water and I had to walk away before I said something I would regret. I was so angry. A great childhood? A mother that loved me? WHERE WAS I? If I had a great childhood, then I would hate to see what a bad one was. Never assume you know anything about anyone’s life unless they have told you themselves.
I could probably go on, but I’ve given you the basics…the shit I had encountered almost every day in my old life. Now that I am away, I am in a place where no one knows me, and more importantly, no one knows my mother. Now I can start fresh.