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I'm in over my head

So I really don’t like the holiday season because I have to go to my family and there is always some tension there. My mom and I have a little bit of a complicated relationship… don’t get me wrong, I love her very much, but whenever I go home there is something about the place that just raises all the tensions and anxiety and… I don’t feel welcome… like at all! I really love my mom, but she has the tendency to collect stuff and then store it in the rooms that are not being used… My bedroom is one of those places and it just raises my anxiety SO MUCH… Like whenever I want to stay, I have to tell them in advance so that the bed will be free and I will be able to sleep there… and even then… every time I sleep there they “didn’t expect me staying there” and “we should probably move some stuff from your bedroom so you can enter your room/sleep in your bed”… it just doesn’t make me feel like I’m welcome. And when I don’t come or I don’t stay the night, I just get told that I don’t love them… which is so unfair because I love them so much! like I would do anything for them. but I just can’t handle the rising anxiety anymore… I can’t be in that house without accidentally knocking something over… and then get yelled at because I knocked it over… and that I should be more careful… and everything is broken there… like there’s a faucet leaking, but it’s been leaking for at least 5 years… it’s dirty… The bed I sleep on has last been made (maybe) 6 months ago, because “you don’t sleep there… so it’s not dirty”… and there are fucking rats in the house… so I can’t even fall asleep without being scared that I wake up with a rat next to my face… but apparently I don’t love them if I don’t handle that… I’m scared of bringing it up because I might get yelled at… and I’m scared of accidentally saying something about it when I’m there… I don’t want to get yelled at and I don’t want to hurt her feelings… I also don’t want her to think that she’s a bad mother, because she’s the sweetest person on the planet, it’s only when stuff gets hard that she is this way… I just think she’s in over her head and doesn’t know how to get back, but at the same time doesn’t want any help from “strangers” because she’s ashamed… which I totally get, but this also isn’t the way… my anxiety rises when I’m there… I’m scared of what people, who are invited to birthdays, say about her… because she will fire back… and maybe that will be after they’re gone…
Meanwhile school isn’t going well because I just keep forgetting stuff and I’m just not good at working at a schedule… and it would be better if I could just go home and work from there… but there is no room, no privacy… whatsoever. If I go there to work… I guarantee that my mom will be asking me about my “opinion” on some kind of confrontation that she had… “opinion” because what she actually wants is for me to agree with her… and I’m just so done… I can’t deal with it anymore… school is going to shit… I can’t focus… I can’t get my shit in order… I can’t see what I need to do… and a few days ago I had my horn exam and I played the WORST of all time… like never played as bad as that day… and for me: Music is a way of communicating… it gives me the means to express my deepest thoughts and feelings out in the open… but it felt like a struggle the entire time… It’s like you want to tell a story and you know how the story goes, but the moment you tell it… the words disappear… and you can’t say anything anymore… and it just feels like I’m losing a part of how to function almost… it just sucks so much… meanwhile because I had to go to my parents so much in the past month (10 days) my anxiety went through the roof and I just had no time to get it down enough before the next visit… so I snapped 2 times this past month and hurt myself… last time was this past week… and on the one hand I think that it’s awful… on the other it’s not enough… and I just can’t cope… at all… lately…
Dammit I was doing okay till a month and a half ago and now I don’t know how to get back…

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Hey @nyntje, I love you.

We already talked a bit but I’d like to reply more properly here as you mentioned different things in your message. Thank you for sharing friend, from the bottom of my heart.

All the things you described about the place your parents are living in and the fact that it makes you anxious is absolutely understandable. I would be anxious too if I’d sleep there and if I had this feeling of not being welcomed. You love your parents, that’s obvious. So maybe there would be a kind of alternative to find between going there and seeing them?

As long as it raises your anxiety to this point, it is not healthy for you to go there for the moment. That’s okay, we all have our boundaries and, again, it’s totally understandable. But I think it would be worth a try to see them outside of their home and occasionally. Respecting your own limits doesn’t question the love you have for them and it doesn’t make you selfish at all. It’s quite the opposite.

Also I can’t help but thinking that the way your mom has to make you feel guilty for unsignificant things or even doubt the fact that you love her is certainly toxic to you. My mom is also like this. She needs to be validated all the time and actually be shown that she is loved, no matter what. But even though we can do our best to show it to them, there is this limit in every relationship when the reaction of someone is out of our control and is their responsability. If I say to my mom: “I love you sincerely” and she starts to question it then whether : 1/ I am not clear enough about my intentions and feelings to her or 2/ she struggles with self-doubt and seeks reassurance. I can’t presume how is your relationship with your mom. But I can’t help but thinking that you probably showed her already that you love her during many years and now it’s important to realize that it might be her problem.

I also don’t want her to think that she’s a bad mother, because she’s the sweetest person on the planet, it’s only when stuff gets hard that she is this way… I just think she’s in over her head and doesn’t know how to get back, but at the same time doesn’t want any help from “strangers” because she’s ashamed…

It sounds that you have a great understanding of how your mother behaves and reacts generally. And it sounds that having a honest conversation with her could be needed. I know it’s hard, especially if you never had this kind of conversation. But telling her how you feel about all of this, the fact that you want her to be okay too and you could try to find solutions together, seem to be needed. But again, even though you love her you also have boundaries (moving ones, of course) to respect. Holding this kind of responsability can be stressful and you might live for yourself first, so you can grow and regain some strengths.

Until now it seems that you really tried your best to make your parents comfortable and respect their own wishes. But it is at your expanse. What about you? This anxiety you feel when you visit them even impact your own life, the things you do at school, how you feel. It can’t be like this anymore. It has to be changed. This energy it is taking from you, you need it for yourself. Again, it is not selfish friend. Being okay, respecting your own limits is not selfish.

Sending much love to you. :heart:

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Thank you for your response friend,

I know I should probably talk with them, but I’m honestly terrified of what the response might be… scared of hurting their feelings…
The other day my mom actually said that no one ever tells her “I love you”, and I felt really hurt before I told her that when we talk to each other at the end of the conversation I always tell her that I love her. I wish she would seek help for the things that she is clearly struggling with, but every time I steer the conversation to something like that… the door closes. No more conversation about that, but I hate seeing her like this.
I don’t know if this is the reason I can’t play anymore… but that just hurts so much… not being able to express myself in music. It’s like there is this disconnect between me and my instrument, but also between me and my voice. It feels like my voice isn’t mine anymore… like it can’t express the stuff I want to express anymore… like something’s been cut off

Thanks so much for your response @Micro, I hope I have the courage to do it…

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@nyntje

Thank you for your reply. It helps to understand a bit more the situation/relation you have with her.

It’s so hard when you see someone hurting but you feel powerless… And you already know that there are limits you can’t ignore. You can show her that you’re here if she needs, that you love her - as long as it’s not at your own expanse. But you can’t force her to be helped if she’s not willing to accept this. And there is this moment in your communication when it’s not your responsability anymore, otherwise you’ll burn yourself with all of this. It is not your burden. You can show love and support, but she also has to accept it and take it, to be vulnerable temporarily. It’s not easy. And I hope you mom will change her mind one day or another. Because it’s obvious you love each other. She’s also lucky to have you by her side. And I know how much it hurts when you’re in this kind of situation.

My mom is like this too, for certainly different reasons. But I’ve seen a bunch of closed doors while I tried to talk about something unpleasant to her. Whether she tries to escape physically or she becomes really mean/aggressive. With years, I’ve learned not to take this personally as it was her own mechanisms of protection and I objectively didn’t say or do anything wrong or disrespectful. In fact, from the moment I took some distance with her it became more easier to talk together, even about the fact that she was physically and mentally abusive with my sister and I. The first discussion she denied it. Then an other time there were many silences and she was soooo bad-tempered. But as I kept being open and honest about this she started to talk more and the tone of her voice changed.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this kind of thing can change but it takes a lot of time because it’s about hurtful situations, as for your mom. And nothing of this would have been possible if I didn’t take some distance and take care of myself first. Because I became strong enough to handle her reactions and distinguish it from who I am, from my own life. It wasn’t about me, about being an unloving daughter or anything hateful she said to me. 'Cause despite everything I’ve always been willing to help her. So as long as your mom is not willing to hear this, I can’t help but saying it again: what’s in your power know is to take care of yourself and protect yourself as you need it. And again it’s not selfish. :heart: If you don’t feel womfortable to talk with her for the moment then that’s okay. Trust your feelings and your intuition. It’s a great indicatoor when you’re not sure of what to do…

Also about music, I don’t know if it’s related either but your emotional state remains important when you have a creative activity. It’s okay if there are times when you don’t know how to express how you feel, when it becomes a bit automatic or seems to be really messy. We can all experience this whether it’s through writing, singing, drawing, crafting, anything. And even in the darkests seasons, it is still something that comes from you in the present moment. But I understand that it can be disturbing. Maybe try to let aside your “thinking side” and try to let your voice and feelings go just as it is. There’s nothing right or wrong and it doesn’t has to be perfect. Also maybe exploring music in a different way/from a different aspect could help, like letting yourself inspire by others without playing for a moment; trying to play in a different place than where you’re used to do it; trying to do it at a different moment of your day or week…

You’ll find this little sparkle again. Because that’s what you love. :heart:

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I am so sorry. You do not deserve to be going through this. Don’t blame yourself. You are strong enough to be here now and you will continue to be strong enough to survive. You WILL find peace. Please don’t hurt yourself. It is never the answer. We are always here to listen and I’m sure there are people in your life who would love to help if you let them in. Please don’t keep this to yourself. Seek help. Physical help. Please.

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