That place you find yourself when you are not sure which way you can go next without encountering utter destruction
There is a very close, very loved person that I interact with. When we talk, I try to watch what I say so as not to upset this person because I NEVER know what is going to set this person off. Feelings get hurt at the most innocent of responses or passing comments I may utter… and then the return jabs pop up everywhere and are non-stop or worse the extreme intensity of negative unsafe vibes are spewed out all over the place, making me want to escape. The angry verbal engagement falls on all present. A sense of Not Good Things entwine ever word that I dare speak from any given point in an attempt to move forward in order to: Correct, Calm, Explain, Defend or Clarify.
Fight or flight is triggered regularly while in this persons company. Many times I think, I have to LEAVE ( Flight ) usually kicks in first. After a breath I think, I will try to fix this or defend myself ( fight response ). This type of circular communication pattern can occur 5-6 times a day, while the other hours are spent in separate rooms or not talking while watching tv or a movie rental. If this was not a very close relation, I would not put up with this sh*t. And I always end up thinking, ” no wonder I am so screwed up…”
There are times when I think I need to confront this person with something serious they have done, then I reflect back on days like described above when discussing nothing important or critical and how damned hard it is to constantly be trying to navigate the emotional minefield when talking with this person. How exhausted, manipulated and battered I feel when I am in their company and in the days that follow. So, the serious critical conversations rarely if ever happen.
In my head… “If I say this, then that will cause problems”. “Why does she turn everything into a personal attack?”, “if I point out that some of their behavior with me as being the exact same that they always complain happens to them, well that will cause everything to go south” and on and on it goes. My head becomes dizzy and I just want to be quiet. Other times I speak, interject or respond and an out of the blue defensive angry response is assailed upon me, and I wasn’t even trying to be confrontational, mean or…
I drive long miles to visit. My visits are not as often and I am unable to stay more than one overnight. By the next morning, I have generally experienced the Fight or Flight at least a handful of times. But, it is all I have left of a very tiny 3-person family and without them I am alone in the world quite literally.
At the root of it all, I think this person feels like a perpetual victim. Who always states (as to remind me of her ill lot in life) that her own mother loves her but never liked her even as a very young child, is one example. The incredible amount of self-perpetuating hurt, anger and defensiveness spills out everywhere and surrounding her is a huge invisible emotional minefield, one misstep and Kabooom! Her family is in constant danger, her friends seem relatively safe.
I used to think she will mellow with age, work out her issues and come to peace with her inner demons. Now in her 70’s sadly this has not been the case. For some reason, and I don’t know this for sure, I think she ruminates and is constantly reinforcing all of her negative life experiences, providing more venom for all of her tomorrows.