Ever have negative, invasive, repetitive, unwanted thoughts that can strike you at any moment? Those overwhelming feelings of guilt? They can come out of nowhere and hit you like a ton of bricks. I struggle daily with anxiety and depression, whether I have a reason or not, I feel guilty all the time. I feel guilt so strongly that I can sometimes feel paralyzed. Most times the opposite happens and I end up exploding with anger and upset, where I have a difficult time controlling my emotions.
Well, I have just recently realized that I am in a toxic relationship that does nothing but feed my guilt. You know, those “inner voices” telling you that you’re doing everything wrong? Well, he is an actual voice for nagging and scratching through the surface of my mind. He is constantly telling me what I could be doing better, or things I should do instead, the types of criticism one would receive from a narcissist. When he speaks, I challenge him, to no avail because he is always right. I have determined that his opinions of me are not what shapes and defines who I am, or who I am meant to be. It’s time I stand up for myself and stop letting him tell me that my behavior and my emotions are wrong. How can my emotions be wrong when they are solely mine to have?
It’s time that I start to say, “I disagree.”
**You tell me I shouldn’t eat Pop-Tarts while pregnant.
You have no idea what my body wants and can keep down. I am craving a lot of sugar which also calmed me down.
Should I stress and starve instead?
**You tell me I should have breastfed longer.
You don’t know what it’s like to have a human suck on your nipples until they bleed. You don’t know what a good and bad latch is. You don’t know what it’s like to feel defeated after trying so hard to help your body produce enough milk, and fail over and over again.
Should I torture myself?
**You tell me that my depression is a choice.
I don’t think that my feelings of hopelessness, rejection, and failure are a choice. I don’t think that my lack of sleep, lack of energy, and my occasional suicidal thoughts are a choice. Depression is not a choice, it is an illness.
Should I beat myself up more believing I could just “snap out of it?”
**You tell me I shouldn’t cry in front of our son.
Do you know my feelings on this matter? Have you even asked? I believe that my son should grow up seeing that human emotion is raw, and it is real, not to mention okay to have. I suppose you think I should preform robotic rituals, which suppress my humanity.
Should I hide my laughter too?
**You tell me I don’t clean enough.
I feel that my house is small, picked up, and being lived in. Yes, it’s not perfect and it’s messy, but I work long hours, do all the cleaning, shopping, and cooking. Besides, most of the time my cleaning revolves around picking up after you.
Should I sacrifice the little time I have left to spend with my son, so that I might be cleaning to your standards?
**You tell me I should lose weight.
After being pregnant for 41 weeks, I feel that you should appreciate my body, and how it provided you with a healthy son. You should help boost my confidence in the beauty I have, not highlight what’s wrong with my body.
Should I point out that there are plenty of men and women that find my size to be beautiful and sexy?
**You tell me I don’t need to be told I look pretty.
You don’t seem to realize that my anxiety makes me believe the worst possible things about myself. I struggle daily to see any beauty in myself.
Should I go through life believing you find me attractive, whilst you drive me to madness with you sideways critiques?
**You tell me I’m too dressed up when I put on any makeup.
It’s hardly ever that I “dress up.” All I want to do is look nice, while improving my self-esteem. I don’t ever think I overdo it, and even if I do over do it…
Should I hide and not make any appearances at all?
**You tell me I need more “professional help.”
I’m already on medication and have therapy sessions once a week. I have done years of reflecting on myself with consciousness workshops and retreats. What does “more” professional help look like?
Should I go to a psych ward?
**You tell me I don’t do enough for you.
My whole day revolves around making you and our son happy. I let you sleep in as long as possible almost every morning. I make/buy dinner almost every night. I massage you every time you ask. I try to be intimate with you whenever you are in the mood. I buy you gifts and take you out. I don’t ignore you when you speak.
Should I sacrifice more?
**You tell me everything that you believe is wrong with our son is my fault.
Our son is perfect to me. You claimed that his hair is too “white and thin,” or that he walks funny and so do I,” and that he’s emotional because of me. No. Our son’s hair is beautiful, his walk is fine, and he’s emotional because he’s a toddler, and is building his nervous system.
Should I blame myself for all our son’s “imperfections?”
**You tell me I don’t realize the impact that I have when I have an anxiety attack.
I am fully aware of my impact. What you don’t realize is, in my attacks, I reach a level where I lack control. This can leave me feeling anxious, worried, fearful, and reactive when I know I shouldn’t be. I only act that way because I care and I am passionate.
Should I be apathetic?
**You tell me “you’re on your phone too much” as you turn around and play your video games for hours.
**You tell me “You can handle it,” when I ask for help to bring in the groceries. You claim you want a “strong, independent woman.”
**You act indifferent when I ask you how the dinner I just spent seventy minutes preparing for you was. You simply reply, “Whatever.”
**You tell me our son “will pick a woman with my exact problems because, he couldn’t fix them with me.”
**You tell me “you spend too much money” when I ask if we can plan a date, while you turn right around and go out with your friends or purchase some personal cannabis.
**You say statements like “I’m sorry. I don’t live with your depression,” when I express that I feel like I’ll never be good enough.
**You tell me “You’re going to make our son feel suicidal,” because you somehow think those thoughts are hereditary.
**You tell me “that’s just not who I am” when I ask why you don’t say nicer things to me.
You tell me these things after ten years, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
**You claim you tell me these things because you love me.
I have had some paranoid thoughts during and through my anxiety. I believe my anxiety, at times, to be totally justified. I don’t believe you love me. I don’t think you would be that insensitive, manipulative, controlling, and unsupportive to someone you love.
**You tell me I’m an incompetent mother…
I’m not perfect, but I give 100% to my family, myself, and my child. I shouldn’t blame myself because, you can’t see how hard I work. Being emotional is not wrong. Having anxiety and depression as a mother is not wrong. If anything, my struggles teach me to be more compassionate about the big emotions that my child will sometimes experience. I will be able to recognize it, get him the help he’ll need, and nurture him through it. To me, that makes me more than a competent mother. It makes me a strong mother. A powerful mother. A lovable mother. A relatable mother. A great mother. So with this knowledge, should I stay and keep disagreeing or move on and break free of the weighted guilt?
You tell me I’m an incompetent mother.