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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Q&A - Dear Stress, Let's Break Up

Which sucks when it's family...
Family,

Life is stressful enough, but I think outside of my own mind and random frets, my family can stress me out a lot. I'm not saying they stress me out all the time, but there are moments that just so... arghhh!

And I think the main reason they stress me out so much is that I care.

Come on, we all care about stuff - first date, job interview, concert for your favorite band/artist... - and the more important the thing in your life, the more you stress and have anxiety over it.

And if you don't, you either know the secret to zenning out about stress/anxiety and need to teach me your zen ways... or you're a mutant.

When I was little, I didn't really have a lot to fret about (though I did have one or two things which we minor and not too important then). It wasn't until after elementary school and through my junior high years that I started questioning things and having WTF thoughts about it all. Freshman year of high school was where I started becoming who I was - saying the things I was thinking/feeling, doing the things that made me happy, accepting that I could be alone and not worry about it... - those sort of things. From that point on was the cultivation of who I am today (which is still a work in progress as always).

One of the most important things that I've taught myself is to pick the battles worth giving any attention to.

  • Dude I have no idea who the frak he is cuts me off in traffic? Sure, it's annoying, but it's not worth fretting over since I'll most likely never see him again.
  • Some lady gives me a weird look at the grocery store for no reason. She doesn't know me so her judgement of me without knowing me doesn't matter.
  • A random customer on chat who is upset they can't order since the restaurant they want is closed and expects me to do something for them and takes none of the options that I offer that are available to them and rates my service as bad? I know I did the best I could, and they were most likely upset because they realized they should have ordered earlier.

My family, however, is a whole other story.

I love them lots, but they can send me into pissed off hysterics with a snap of their fingers. (Or that's what it feels like.) I have a short fuse with them, and they have a way of pushing my buttons - to which my brother has said I must only have one since I tend to explode rather quickly with them than anyone else.

Maybe.

Maybe when things start to get tense with them, all the buttons of patience merge into one giant button the size of my body and just malfunctions when they are around.

And the communication problems that arise when things get heated just set things off - making things worse.

Like my mother - I know she loves me but she keeps treating me like I'm a child. And yes, I'll always be my mother's child and all that, I get that. But it's just... I"ll be hitting 40 this year, and my mother still acts at times like I can't put my pants on by myself or I don't know how to cook for myself or do my own laundry, etc. Also her opinions on me getting a man and how I should go about that. And the randomness of me being too fat - too skinny - too fat. (I mean, she'll practically beg me to help her drink a can of soda and after telling her no and her begging some more, after I take the can and start to sip when she comments on how I really need to cut down on the sugar.)

So yeah, that's a lot of crazy to filter through.

And there's my brother who in a general sense I consider more of a middle child since I see some of my traits in him as well as our mother (though she drives him crazy at times, too). He'll press an issue to death - like when we disagree about something - and I'll say "Okay, let's agree to disagree since I don't want to fight with you," and he'll say 'okay' but then after a few seconds, he'll make another comment. This will go on for a few minutes, and I'll eventually get upset and yell, and he'll say, "Geez, why are you yelling?" (This is something he gets from our mother. When he does it, I think he thinks he's being funny. When our mom does it, she's just being aggravating.)

My mother is also a non-confrontational person which drives me nuts since when she accuses me of something, and I try to explain myself, she doesn't really listen. She doesn't understand she can't just throw something out there like fact and not expect me to defend myself... especially if it isn't true. The conversation is always done when she says it's done, and if she were anyone else, I wouldn't care, walk away, be grumbly for a few minutes, and then have let it go. But since it's my mother - my family - I want us to be on the same level of understanding and hear each other out, but whenever I press the conversation, she thinks I'm being mean or dwelling on an issue. She has this attitude of "Why are you still bringing this up?" and I'm thinking "We've only been talking about this for a few minutes."

My brother and I have gotten better at communicating with each other although he has a short fuse on some things as well. But mom? She still needs help.

I try to remove all the toxic people out of my life, and in my world, that is completely possible... except for work and family,

My mother also has the tendency to wax negative or say mean, negative things about everything. (Example: my sister-in-law found out she had cancer after giving birth to her daughter. They'd come visit, and my mother would be happy when she was around, and then as soon as she left the room looked at me and would cry "Her daughter can't grow up without a mother." And I'd ask her why she had to focus on that? And I'd tell her to be positive, but she didn't get it.

And no, my mother isn't the kind of person that is saying out loud what everyone else is thinking. She is saying the things that she is thinking, and they aren't all that together realistic or even in the realm of being a slight possibility.

I live in the Bay Area where all the cities here criss-cross around each other. I would be leaving to go to a friend's house which is in a different city but literally five minutes away, and my mother would freak out asking why I always had to drive so far, blah blah blah. Then I'd explain, and it would take her a while to understand that I was okay, and things were fine. (There was also a time a group of friends were meeting at one person's place - who happened to be a lesbian - and my mother immediately was worried since she might attack me. I remember laughing at her on the phone trying to explain to her "that's not what gay people do."

I've told her repeatedly of her behavior, and how she needs to be more positive. Negativity creates more negativity, and how can you be truly happy when you're technically poisoning yourself all the time. I want my mom to be happy, but I honestly don't think she knows how to be.

I also try to get her to be more aware of people and her surroundings, but she acts like she's fine the way she is, and I'm afraid it'll take some extreme circumstance for her to realize she needs to change.

I refuse to believe that my mother is this person I can't talk to, that I can't reach, that can't be reasonable. And there's no way I can just hang up on her during a phone call or just accept she's the way she is. I keep pushing, trying to reach her, trying to make her understand she's being disrespectful or irresponsible or whatever. I'm trying to teach her to pick her own battles, to say nice things and spread love instead of being mean and negative and perpetuating hateful vibes.

I refuse to give up on her because I love her, and I want her to be happy. But sadly feeling this way causes me stress... to the point where I think I need to take a Xanax for the duration of a family visit.

But yeah, family. xoxoxo

Later my lovelies,

Have Goodness!
Rae

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