sometimes i feel like i do everything for the people around me. my family, my friends, work, where i volunteer. i get asked to run this errand, pick this up at the store for me, put this away, write this memo, chair this event, etc. it feels like an endless laundry list of expectations and chores. i feel like i can’t say no.
last night was no exception. i worked a long day at the office. while i don’t do work that is physically taxing it is emotionally exhausting. my brain is fried after a long day. i left the office later than i should and i knew i was going to be stuck in horrendous traffic. no sooner do i start on my route my mom calls. no hello. no how was your day.
mom – on your way home can you stop and get a loaf of bread for dinner?
me – no
mom – well just go into Albertson’s after you pick up B
me – mom, it’s gonna take me an hour to get home. I’m not stopping.
seriously? no, how was your day? i didn’t even get to say that i’m exhausted or i have to get home to take my bra off. nothing. i already feel guilty about not running the errand, but did my mom have to hang up on me? the rest of the car ride had me going over the conversation again and again. what could i have said differently? how can i be firm in what i want or what i need? but i haven’t been firm in vocalizing my needs – ever!
i think this internal struggle and dialogue and the feelings of guilt are part of my bipolar disorder. i am a people pleaser. i am always working off of my emotion. if someone doesn’t behave or act the way i feel they should i loose my shit. i explode. i rant. i rave. it’s an emotional build up with me and one unfair expectation and additional request tips me over the emotional edge and i take off like a bullet firing from a gun aimed at the person who just asked me to do something for them, again!
i think this back and forth is worse with my parents, especially with my mother. she has the expectation that i should always do what she asks even though i feel like i don’t have a choice and she never says please. most request are innocuous enough. set the table, put away the laundry, let the dogs out. however, keep in mind i am a 39 year old woman with a child myself. i can’t imagine making such demands on B and having the expectation that she’ll do whatever i want, just because I’m her mother. i think this situation would be difficult for anyone. but i think i lash out rather than letting my feelings be known in a productive manner.
when i got home my mother was silent. (yes, i live with my parents. me and B and fiancé live with mom and dad. most days it’s great. some days it’s nuts. more on that another time…) there was no apology when i arrived. no, are you doing ok? she ignored it, so did i. we went about our normal routine. i decompressed and took care of B. mom was making dinner (it was her turn). all appeared to be normal. B was cranky at dinner and didn’t want to eat. she just wanted a binky. i knew what she wanted and i was parenting her. no binky at the table. dinner first, then binky. everytime B moved or i said something to her my mom had something to say.
B wants her bottle.
she wants her binky.
she doesn’t like the fruit.
B wants a napkin.
i knew all of these things to be true. i am sitting next to B, attending to her needs. I am giving her things when she needs them, trying to calm and comfort her when she cries. i was doing everything except giving B the binky.
when B was done eating i took her out of the high chair and put her on my lap. quickly she starts crying wanting her sippy cup. before i even get a chance to react my mom jumps – “she wants her sippy cup!”
this is when the bipolar me comes out – i erupt. all of the negative emotions and feelings over the last few hours explodes. i have no control.
why am i telling you this? because i think it’s important for me to talk about my triggers. i think it’s good for me to gain some perspective on experiences and how i behave and not to sugar coat them. i want to learn from the times i explore so it happens less and ultimately not at all. i don’t want B to be a trigger or for me to trigger her. so yeah, i using this tale as an opportunity to look through the looking glass…
so i still think my mom is wrong. she can be self-centered and demanding. but she’s loving and caring and would do anything for me. so i need to chill. i need to look honestly on my triggers and start talking about things before i explode. i should have said something to her when i got home, but i didn’t and that was my fault. even though i take my meds and I’ve been through CBT i am still fallible and make mistakes. i’m still snappy. my tongue is sharp, usually with those i love the most. i hope that won’t always be true. i need to grow…