I don’t know if I should write this or not. But it’s probably better to than thinking about it.
Just a lot of thoughts coming together to create a picture.
Yesterday I was telling my sister that my parents should have known I was physically sensitive. I didn’t know this until a couple weeks ago when my mother was telling someone that when I was a baby she took me to the hospital because of a rash. Which turned out to be from a cream (designed for babies). I never knew until now that she’d always had factual proof that I was sensitive.
Now I was thinking about places. How when there is a lack of air concentration I get dizzy. The problem I have is that I don’t notice the gradual onset. I don’t notice the dizziness until it’s extreme – until I’m shaky, light headed and sweaty. I’ve learned from experience that it has to do with the air concentration. I know some places that bring it on. Some shops I know must have different pairs because I get dizzy there and not in other indoor closed places.
I don’t notice anything physically until it’s extreme. The other examples I wouldn’t really write here. It’s also partly why I don’t really know what goes on in my body emotionally. I don’t experience emotions as it is, but you’d think I’d see it in my body. I’m slowly learning to, but the thing is that I don’t recognise anything.
When I saw my GP about a year ago maybe. He took my blood pressure/pulse and then he asked me if I was dizzy at all. Uh, no. I didn’t recognise any dizziness. Because I wasn’t blacking at all. My vision wasn’t blurring. I wasn’t shaky or lightheaded. There was no really visible physical clue, and if it’s not really visible, how would I know it? I’ve learned to ignore anything physical. I had to.
When I was younger my father would flick my cheek. It was his way of demonstrating love. I asked him repeatedly – almost every single time I think – not to. Because it hurt. He just did it. He was trying to show his love. But he wasn’t doing that. Reminds me actually how he always said my kisses were really light and gentle. To me they weren’t. With hindsight I can see that what to me was giving a real kiss would be really gentle to another person.
One of my sisters told me one of the reasons she found it really tough with me was because of my physical sensitivity. When she’d bump into me I’d get really upset at her hurting me. When she didn’t do anything.
Everyone always told me I was just being sensitive. That what I was saying wasn’t true. I learned to believe them. In some ways I still believe them. Although now I know logically I’m not just being sensitive.
The last time my sister – a different one – bumped into me and was surprised at how strongly I reacted, I later showed her the bruise she’d left. She hadn’t done anything wrong. I wasn’t at all upset with her. I just wanted her to see that I wasn’t overreacting. When I carry heavy bags i get Mark’s, which I’ve learned are the blood capillaries broken from carrying things too heavy. It might not be too heavy for most people. For me it is.
For some reason my friends just accept and know it. It’s a non issue with them. If we go shopping my friends will most likely take the bags even if I protest. They’ll open the bottles. It’s just a non issue. Whereas with my family it is an issue. They’ll be upset if I don’t carry more than I can (I ended up having everything drop all over the other day because I was trying to bring in what I couldn’t). They’re not being ‘wrong’. They’re just believing all that they’ve always known. That I’m ‘just being sensitive’. Like sensitivity isn’t real. Because sensitivity isn’t real, is it?
I just answered the phone and said this to a friend. She said not they should’ve known, they could’ve known. And yes, whatever else.
When I was 20 E was the first person to tell me that boundaries can exist. Should exist. That you need to listen to the other. I’m surprised I recall her email. She wrote that if her 3 year old grandchild would tell her the bath was too hot she would add cold water to it. She was explaining that she would listen. That one should listen. I’m surprised I recall it. But I guess it makes sense I do. I definitely didn’t expect her to say that she’d act on it. I’d have thought she’d say no it isn’t. Or even it just feels too hot and you’ll get used to it. Or something like that. But no. She would listen. And act on it.
She said that she would knock on her child/grandchilds door, and if they asked her not to come in she wouldn’t. It took me until I was 22 to learn that my thinking things weren’t okay was because they weren’t okay. Not because I was just being sensitive. That people should respect my boundaries.
Hey, off tangent thought. I’m okay with touch from my friends. I’m not okay with touch from some people. It used to be an issue, that I wasn’t okay with touch. I think it’s that, I’m not okay with people who don’t respect my boundaries touching me.
More than I was hurt by the lack of boundaries, I was hurt by being told it was my issue. I always knew that what my mother did or said wasn’t healthy – she’s changed a lot so I feel bad writing this. My father telling me every time I went to him that I was just being sensitive or some variation of that, taught me not to trust myself. Taught me that I’m just being sensitive. That’s also why it took me until I was 22 to know that I’m allowed to have boundaries. That it’s not okay for someone to get upset with me when I’ve asked them not to enter. That it’s not okay to look for things in your adult child’s bag, no matter if what you want is innocent. You can’t go somewhere without asking. I never looked at my mother as a barometer. For anything and everything was always ‘not’. Whatever I said either wasn’t so or was me just being sensitive.
My mother isn’t a bad person. She was brought up by survivors and is learning only now to change the patterns she was raised with. It was easier for her to live in denial of what was going on (how do you face your special needs daughter saying she’s going to kill herself and it’s the families fault? How do you deal with your child killing herself albeit not knowing the risks of what they’re doing because they’re 14? How do you deal with the sibling rivalry that developed into so much more? Etc). She’s learning and been changing the past 5 years.
I looked at my father as the barometer. Because however much denial he lived in, he was definitely in a healthier place. I see now that it’s a dynamic and both my parents are imperfectly perfect. As a kid I always knew that I could approach my father, not my mother. Except that I couldn’t approach him. For instead of helping me deal with anything I asked him advice about he said I’m just being sensitive and it’s my issue. Which I believed. Because it’s my father who was talking. My father who I always idealised.
One of my sisters say it isn’t fair how we all put my mother in the wrong and my father in the right when really they’re both human. I’m not sure that she is right, because, however much I don’t trust my instincts and intuition today, I trust my child knowledge. The younger E knew that my father could be approached. The younger E who hadn’t yet learned that expressing herself is wrong and whatever she says is anyways untrue, knew that her father held the answers. Not because she looked at her father as big and strong but because she knew that her father was healthier.
Whatever. I’m not sure if I should post this. At least it’s not all just in my head. And I’m not feeling as resentful and upset as I started off before putting it down.
The why and wherefore make no difference. Yes it helps to understand why I don’t trust myself (I’ve known it for a long time now). Yes, it helps to know why I struggle with boundaries. The why doesn’t change what is today. Resentment only hurts me. Writing about it helps because I’m expressing it so it’s no longer in my head.
And the reality of today is the reality of today. I don’t trust myself. I’m learning to. I don’t trust my knowledge or my intuition. I’m learning to. Surprisingly others trust my intuition about them, believe I know way more than I do ‘because they know me’. They trust the knowledge I don’t believe is true. I don’t know what I feel pretty much ever. Though the further away it is from me, the more I can feel it. And the more I tune in and allow myself to experience whatever is going on, the more I am experiencing it. The more present I am staying with myself. (Which is how I’m aware that I’m so much on edge. Either I never was on edge, or I just didn’t live with myself). I’m not always present. I’m more and more present both in the world and with myself. I’m not aware of the physical messages my body sends me. I am aware. I’m tuning in and noticing things I wouldn’t have in the past. Like a knee twinge so stop holding myself the way I am. When in the past I wouldn’t have.
The why may give context for myself. The why doesn’t take away my responsibility today. That my reality today is my reality to deal with. The only person holding onto resentment hurts is myself. And, mostly, this is something I can let go of, and for the most part (taking specifically about this) have. Understanding my context helps me understand theirs. Doesn’t take away others responsibilities, but the responsibility isn’t mine.
This is more than long enough. And wasn’t actually what I planned on writing.
This really is 3 different posts. But because I’m writing it for me, (posting because I want a record of it, for now anyways I do) and this isn’t really the topic of my blog, so keeping it as is.