I share about thriving. I share about my progress. When I hit another PTSD flare up, I feel guilty writing about how great things can become. Unfortunately, setbacks, triggers, and times of struggling happen again and again. I learned this past few months that hitting a rough patch doesn’t mean I’m not progressing. I got caught up in my mother’s drama and I felt hurt that she needles me with words of how I hurt her, how I’m being unreasonable, how I’m making her feel unwanted. I was doubting myself. Emotionally beating myself up. Then my counseling training kicked in. I carefully worked out “Who’s problem is this?” I thought through “Am I setting healthy boundaries?” To those that are close to me it looked like I was worrying about the same old stuff. Triggers are the same old stuff. This time I DID things differently. I took weeks drafting a letter where I clearly defined my boundaries, evaluated that her feelings are not my responsibility, recognized that her feelings were the same before I was born, wrote out how she set herself up to fail then blamed me. I have the letter completed, edited, and decided to wait to decide if I wanted to send it. I had several criteria:
- Would it change anything?
- Would the reader believe me?
- What are the consequences?
The first one was a simple NO it would not change anything if I sent the letter. I have years of experience showing me over and over again that my mother has zero interest in actually improving our relationship. Second, she is so far down the river de-Nile I think that for her it is the river of no return. Third, there could be a back lash of taking my words twisting them around and presenting them to others as proof of how ‘mean’ I am to her. I think this is the thing that has puzzled me the most over the years. I did tell my dad what my mother did to hurt me, either I was punished for lying or told “that is just the way she is, you have to love her.” It is no small wonder that the one of the awesome things my counselor taught me, I do not have to love my abuser. I can do good to those that despitefully use me. I can turn her over to God but I do not have to let her wipe her feet all over me. I didn’t send the letter. However, writing the letter clarified the problem, showed myself the efforts I went through to make things better, verified that the boundaries I set are reasonable and without malice. The purpose of my boundaries are to protect myself and help me feel safe. Nothing in my boundaries is about punishing her. That accusation is a ploy on her part to manipulate me. This morning I finally feel at peace with the letter on my computer. My thoughts are turning to other activities rather than worrying about my relationship with my mother. She chose unhealthy, I don’t need to choose it with her. I took back my power.