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#457225 - 12/22/13 09:27 AM A Day With My Family *Triggers*
concerned_husky Offline

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 664
A Day With My Family

Well, this is the third time I'm posting this, after already having deleted it twice. I'm sure I will delete it again. This is the most vulnerable I've allowed myself to be ever since I've joined MS. The only reason I'm keeping it up here is because I know some of you genuinely care about me, and it is to you I'm reaching out, albeit only briefly. I need you. I'm risking having it read by those I don't want it read by, but, perhaps more importantly, I feel those who (can) support me far outnumber those who don't (or can't). So here it is.


This isn't really a poem I think; it's more of a chronicle of sorts. Anyway, it's based on one of the many journal entries I have from the time when I was still living with my family not too long ago. My parents will be flying in on the 23rd; we will then spend Christmas together. Then I will fly back to theirs to join my grandmother, and we will spend my birthday and New Years together. This is a glimpse of the kind of interactions I will be expecting. I hope it'll be a worst-case scenario.


The morning starts out like any other
I wake up
It’s already bright
It’s hot
I look out the window – from a high-rising apartment building, onto the surrounding ghetto

I hear in the background the voices of my mother and father
They’re awake before me, as usual
My mother is complaining
About the maid
Nothing new
How long she takes to clean
How long she takes to cut the vegetables
How lazy she is
How dirty she is
How she takes shortcuts in vacuuming and mopping
How she doesn’t say, “Yes, Madam”
How she has a bad attitude
My dad responds every time
“Yes, that’s right, that’s right!”
“Yes, what an idiot she is!”
“Yes, we should fire her!”

By this time, I’m wandering around in my room
It’s the biggest in our apartment, with a king-sized bed
I have a huge desk, a rolling chair, and a reclining chair…every you could ask for

My grandmother walks in for a “talk”
She says I should talk with my parents
“Tell them your plans and make them agree and understand”
I know it’s because, she doesn’t want to take responsibility
I want to go back to London
Where all my friends are
Where I have my favorite coffee shops and restaurants
Where we play soccer every weekend
Where a loving host family awaits me
Out come the rhetorical questions…
“Do you really have the confidence to do everything on your own?”
Then the attacks…
“You should listen to other people’s opinions”
“You can’t keep doing whatever you want to do”
“You’re like this because you have no experience in life”
Then the burden, the damning confirmation that I’m her emotional crutch, her reason for going on
“I’m going to put my money on you one more time…”
With that, she leaves my room
I had mostly been silent, uttering one or two word responses
By now, I’ve realized, it’s no use expressing myself
Indeed, it’s no use having feelings, or thoughts, or dreams, or hopes of my own
Nobody cares

I spend some time on my own before my father goes to work
Anger starts to boil within
I remember the “talks” I had with my mother yesterday
I would be playing the piano
I remember the constant criticisms…
“Your wrists are so rigid”
“You missed a note”
“You’re not following the marked dynamics”
“Mozart seems easy but he’s really not”
Then she comes over and kisses me on the cheeks
And then proceeds to say triumphantly, like a little girl who conquered her crush
“I kissed you! Haa…haa…”
I despairingly lean over the piano and let out a long sigh
“Are you stressed?” she asks, rubbing my back
Then comes tea time…
Out come the fancy tea cups…
The boring, monotonous monologues from my mother…
Going on endlessly about her life, her students, the parents of her students…
Then the lectures…
I should take this lesson, I should take that exam…
Do I…exist…?

My father walks into my room, breaking my train of thoughts…
He asks what I was thinking about…
I tell him I’m stressed about my mother
He answers
“Well, she tells you everything so that you’ll have a more regulated, stable routine in life”

Breakfast is served
Always at an arbitrary time
I don’t know when it’s ready, but when it’s served, I must go, or otherwise all hell breaks loose
To my dismay, my grandmother tells my mother all of my plans
Of going back to London
I told her to keep it between us…
My mother is enraged
“Well then if he qualifies for university then he can very well go!!!!!” she screams
“Not like we have any money!”
“It’s impossible!!! We’re still paying back debts, every month!!!”
She turns to me
“You’re like this because you have no objective in life!!!”
“There are things you can do HERE, you don’t have to go back!!!”
I feel intense anger towards my grandmother, who is sitting there silently
But then…
She’s over 80
What should I expect?
My mother storms off to her room
I hear the door slam
My grandmother and I sit silently at the table
It’s dead silent
Dead quiet
But I know, this is the eye of the storm
Surely enough, my mother comes raging back out of her room a few minutes later
Like an Amazon
She screams at me
“You always do what’s CONVENIENT, don’t you!!!”
“I wish I could say I want to leave because I hate life here!”
This time…this time
I start losing it
I stand up out of my chair and charge towards my mother
But my grandmother stands up
And restrains me, with her frail little body
Restrains me…and not her own daughter
My mother has another go
“Why don’t you just discuss with your grandmother!!! Just rely on her and not me!!!”

She storms off back to her room again
As do I
My imagination starts running wild
I see a glass on my desk, and…I want to break it
I want to smash it to pieces and…
I want to use the broken glass to stab myself
Should I jump out the window?
But it might hurt when I hit the ground, we’re pretty high up
I guess all my bones will break
Should I go into my mother’s room and beat the shit out of her?
No, she’s a woman
No man hits a woman

My mother storms into my room again
Is this round three or four?
She shouts at me, threatens me, guilt trips me
“You’ve made no progress since you’ve come back home!!!”
I blurt something about her sleeping with me
“That’s my love for you!!!” she retorts
Gradually, I feel myself breaking apart, slowly
Surely enough, I break
I look her in the eye
“DIE,” I command
“Oh no problem!!!” she screams back
“I’ll die for you…you can say anything you want, you don’t have to care about me, but just please…when I die, take care of grandmother”
At this point, I don’t know what I’m feeling
I feel rage, I feel hatred, I feel pity, I feel guilt, I feel ashamed…I feel like my balls are being squeezed into mush
She leaves, for the third time?
Storms back into her room, and slams the door
I lose it
I begin to go apeshit
I break the glass
I break the lamp
I break the music stand
I take one good look at my arm, dig my nails into it using my other hand, and I drag them down along my arm
I make sure my nails dig deep enough
I want to see blood
I want to remember my pain
The skin peels off and four lines of blood slowly emerge
It hurts
But I don’t care
I feel relief
I reposition my four fingers at the starting point of the four long lines of scratches
And I pull down again
Slowly, deliberately
My right arm, from wrist to elbow, now have four, jagged, messy, bloody lines on them

I don’t remember the next hour or so
It’s a blur
Was I just sitting?
Did I even cry?
I must’ve cried…
Did I cry?
My mother comes out of her room
Enters mine
She’s completely different
Her voice…it’s now…kind? Loving? A mother’s voice…the kind of voice a mother uses for a newborn…
“You poor thing”
“Don’t be so mean to yourself”
“You shouldn’t do this…”
“I mean, it’s the body I gave birth to”

A few hours pass
My mother had by then gone to the kitchen to do something
I don’t know what
My grandmother comes into my room to call me
“It’s tea time”
She sees the broken music stand
“Did you break this?” she asks rhetorically
I don’t answer
Tea and cakes are served
At the table, my grandmother sees my arm
“Oh my God!!!” she screams
She shakes her head
“There’s no use in doing something like this!”
She turns to my mother
“Did you see this?”
My mother nods nonchalantly, “Mmm”
She doesn’t even look; she’s looking at celebrity magazines

My father comes home a few minutes later
“Welcome home!” my mother says ever so naturally
She then proceeds to show me a page on the magazine
It’s something to do with Nepal
“Look at this, it’s Nepal,” she says, smiling
“You could go there together with your father”
While my father goes to his room to get undressed
My mother follows him
I hear her talking in the background
She’s telling him everything
Everything, except all the verbal abuse
She tells him how I broke the glass, broke the music stand…how I scratched my arm
I don’t hear my father pursuing the issue any further
He doesn’t pry for more information
He comes back to the living room
He asks me
“What happened?”
He asks to see my arm
I refuse, and hide it
Nothing else happens
He leaves

I’m back in my room
My mother comes in
“Would you like a bath or a shower today?”
I reply, “I think a shower might be better”
“Yes,” she says, “then your arm will get better sooner”
She comes over to me
“Can I touch it?”
I don’t remember if I answered or not, she touches it anyway
Then hugs me
“Don’t retreat back into your shell,” she says
“Do you understand how much I care about you?”

I take a break later on in the evening
I’m on the balcony on my own
I’m having a cigar
It’s my only retreat
It’s my only moment of peace in a seeming hell
A smoke on my own, by then, had assumed so much meaning in my life

I go back inside
I go back into my room
My grandmother and father are buried in their books as usual
The atmosphere is stale, dead
My mother comes in a few minutes later
It’s another lecture
“You have to take care of yourself more”
“You’re too sensitive”
“Don’t panic or rush, everything will be fine”
“Stay here, and do everything you can that you can’t do in London. Then, when you go back to London, you can think and reflect about what you’ve achieved here”
“Don’t hurt yourself”

She looks at my arm one more time
Her face shows an expression of sympathy and pity
“This is an injury to my heart,” she says


It had been a good year or so since I looked at my journal. I thought it would be the most logical thing to do, in terms of preparing my mind for my upcoming “stay” with my parents. This particular entry had something eerie about it, though. There was a big gap in one of the pages. As I was drinking coffee and reading this entry (with great difficulty), I saw this gap. I never leave gaps in my journals. In the gap were some obscure brown marks. I can get pretty clumsy when I’m immersed in something and drinking coffee at the same time, so I thought I might’ve spilled a bit unknowingly. Then, it hit me. I had to close my journal for a few seconds to regroup. I opened it again to the page. I remembered – I left the gap, because I had stamped my bloody arm on the page to remind myself in the future of what had happened. Those brown marks – they weren't coffee stains; they were bloodmarks.

"What gives light must endure burning." - Viktor E. Frankl

#457227 - 12/22/13 10:34 AM Re: A Day With My Family *Triggers* [Re: concerned_husky]
bey Offline

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 257
Loc: canada
Snakes in the grass beneath our feet, rain in the clouds above
Some moments last forever, but some flare out with love, love, love

#457232 - 12/22/13 11:28 AM Re: A Day With My Family *Triggers* [Re: concerned_husky]
peroperic2009 Offline

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3669
Loc: South-East Europe
Hey husky,
this was more than intense to read. Somehow I've found good and positive that you recalled how you left bloody sing in your journal.

With people in denial there is no other way but to isolate self into realm out of their reach, they'll never see us nor get our message no matter how hardly we would try so why bothering.
It is so painful to be around people who should be close to us and who are completely ignoring us at same time.
I've been locked into similar relationship and even if I would fight heavily back it didn't bring me anything, I was just playing the game that was expected from me. Well not any more, from this year on I deiced to bury myself in complete silence whenever they will try to talk about "plans" and "future". Let's move curtains and show the ugly picture in full where no one cares expect for own importance and selfish needs, in such place my isolation would be just mirror of their ignorance. Maybe some of them would raise some question, that would be huge step for people that are sleeping trough their lives but anyway I don't care (my mirror is working perfectly)...

I hope you'll have better Christmas this time. You achieved so much lately and I'm sure you'll show your strength and wisdom. So high above them...

My story

#457234 - 12/22/13 01:14 PM Re: A Day With My Family *Triggers* [Re: concerned_husky]
SayItRight Offline

Registered: 10/06/13
Posts: 87
What a maelstrom of painful and sharply conflicting messages, explicit and implied, you constantly received. It seems it was all designed solely to provoke you - and then your every response, including enduring it - is subject to further withering, direct, and personal criticism and further provocation.

Who you are and continue to be in spite of all that is a huge testimony to you, and it is clear you did not derive who you are from that environment. You have and demonstrate so much character, and an genuine goodness and strength, all of which you created, fought for, and developed on your own.

It tears my heart out to read this, honestly, nevermind to know that this is only one day out of so, so many. I hope at some point I can attempt a proper response.

In the meantime, I wanted to let you know that I appreciate your posting this, for many reasons, not the least of which is your struggling through posting it, so as to give me and others the privilege of knowing you even better.

Edited by SayItRight (12/22/13 01:27 PM)
Edit Reason: typos

#457236 - 12/22/13 02:44 PM Re: A Day With My Family *Triggers* [Re: concerned_husky]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3707
Loc: somewhere in Africa
sorry, Husky.

that was difficult to read - but allows us to understand you better. it shows strength on your part to be able to share it. please take care on your family visit and guard yourself from the kind of manipulation you know will take place. this might be a good time to dissociate! remember that people who really care about you will be here whenever you need to come here.

"That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. . . What will your verse be?" Robin Williams as John Keating in "Dead Poets Society"

#457245 - 12/22/13 08:03 PM Re: A Day With My Family *Triggers* [Re: concerned_husky]
Shyshark Offline

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 572
Loc: Canada
((( concerned_husky )))

I don't know what to say.

I have just erased a long version of what a different life we had.
It was inappropriate because I couldn't find a way to explain without injecting humour in it in order
to set the scene to illustrate the point I want to make.

This is no laughing matter.

Humour saved me ... allowed me to survive until I was able to escape and begin my own life.
It has remained a steadfast, soothing and most beloved companion to this day.
It's the only thing my Father gave me ... and as much as I have major issues with him ... I am eternally grateful for his gift.

... and once again I have failed and erased another long passage.

I can't describe my childhood without making people laugh ......
so ...

You got too much attention ... of all the wrong kind.
I was invisible ... seen only in my role as 'L'enfant terrible" ... otherwise I wasn't present for them.

Each damages in their own way ... but the results are the same.
What we had/have to say was/is of no importance.
They only ever hear themselves ...
They don't want you to speak because they are terrified of what you have to say ... and you're terrified to say it.
What's the point of listening to what I have to say ... I didn't exist.

We weren't/aren't heard.
Experience is a brutal teacher.

#457246 - 12/22/13 08:07 PM Re: A Day With My Family *Triggers* [Re: concerned_husky]
Shyshark Offline

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 572
Loc: Canada
I hear you.
Experience is a brutal teacher.

#457257 - 12/23/13 01:28 AM Re: A Day With My Family *Triggers* [Re: concerned_husky]
Cthulhu Offline

Registered: 06/13/13
Posts: 146
Loc: Cascadia

Like others have said this was hard to read. I feel lightheaded and dizzy. Your pain and experience, like shyshark has said is heard. it is felt too, by us. I'm just so sorry man, really. I'll probably reply in greater depth later. This is a very honest and hard hitting thing you posted. I am not surprised you deleted it twice.

I'd also like to reinforce and restate what SIR said:
Who you are and continue to be in spite of all that is a huge testimony to you

You are not the sum of these experiences or of your family's treatment of you. The fact you are so wise and compassionate now is something you deserve to be proud of. You have and are overcoming so much.

It is now the morning of the 23rd in Vienna, I see. I wish I could have added my voice to those supporting you earlier. You deserve support and please continue to reach out to us. I am sure I can speak for many other here when I say WE feel honoured to be able to help you in whatever way we can.

With hope,


Edited by Cthulhu (12/23/13 01:30 AM)
“what matters most is how well you walk through the fire”
-Charles Bukowski

some context

#457261 - 12/23/13 06:20 AM Re: A Day With My Family *Triggers* [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 664

Edited by concerned_husky (12/23/13 07:51 AM)

"What gives light must endure burning." - Viktor E. Frankl

#457269 - 12/23/13 11:05 AM Re: A Day With My Family *Triggers* [Re: concerned_husky]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 2026

Thank you for sharing. It is best you separate yourself from them--you do not need to be triggered. You have endured much and are trying to move forward in life. People do not realize how their actions can trigger past events--from words to actions to taunting to ignoring. But until they realize how destructive their actions are, they should be avoided. Some people cannot look beyond their small myopic minds.

Take care of yourself and you should be proud you have recognized and accepted what triggers you. I have learned in therapy and support how important it is to identify triggers and how to avoid or manage the triggers.

Good luck and keep moving forward.


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