“Goober-Sweet Lies”; A twisted take on compassion.

“Does my butt look big in these jeans”? We’ve all thought about what to say in this situation, but did we think about the consequences of our little lie? Honesty is imperative to the health and wellbeing of a PTSD sufferer. Even the tiniest of lies can disrupt our perception of the world around us. I say; if my butt looks big, please tell me exactly that. You don’t have to express this fact with astonishment on your face at the size of my butt or sarcasm in your voice, simple honesty will suffice. Telling me that my butt looks to be the size of Texas is a no-no, but that maybe I could wear a longer blouse with those jeans, perfectly honest and compassionate.

As I begin to write this morning, I’m overwhelmed with the urge to light up a cigarette. The cup of coffee I’m sipping isn’t helping matters and any smoker/coffee drinker knows this trend. One without the other defies logic.

What do cigarettes have to do with big butts? Heh! The connection is in the lie. Excuse me while I step outside to have a smoke. I can’t think about anything else now and I’ll explain when I return.

So, here’s my brief explanation of the situation (mumbles “why is brevity so hard for me”). I’ve enjoyed the privilege of smoking on the porch of my parents’ home and in my room at night for a year and a half. In actuality, my room is the porch, remodeled in 2011 when my grandmother came to live here before she died. Dad never installed ducts when he remodeled, which leaves me with two choices in heating my room. One is to open the two doors that lead into the living room and the other is to use a space heater. My privacy fundamentally doesn’t exist. I’ve tried to maintain some semblance of privacy by keeping my doors closed, and freezing in the winter, but Dad is ceaseless in suggesting “you know your room would be warmer if you left your doors open”. No kidding, right? They have no idea what privacy means to me, and why would they? I’ve not clearly told them because I’m afraid of their reaction; for good reason, I might add.

Before the recent household disturbance, Mom was endlessly pecking on the door and Dad just went in my room whenever he wanted to. Of course, he’d come find me after he’d moved my things about and say “I did such and such in your room” as if that makes it Ok to invade my privacy. When I asked if I could smoke on the closed porch the first winter, they both said it was fine. I had to seal some gaping cracks with caulk, plastic bags, and rolled blankets and it generally worked well if no one stood in the doorway yapping while a cigarette burned; Mom. I also ran my fan backwards in the window to draw out the smoke making for a decent ventilated smoking area.

I kept asking my mother if she could smell the smoke, worried that I was imposing on my non-smoking parents. Mom maintained that she could smell nothing at all for a year and a half. She also went on to say that Dad’s mention of the smell here and there was just in his head because he knows I’m smoking. I never personally heard him complain until now. I wish I had proof of these statements, but I don’t.

I stood up for myself when Mom attacked me several months ago and have since lost my smoking privileges. Smell like retribution to anyone? After claiming to not smell a thing, now my mother insists that she can smell smoke as if I’m standing outside her bedroom door blowing it through the cracks. I’m seriously confused with this and I have to question what else she’s been lying about.

That was pretty brief for once. I’m happy with myself that the previous didn’t go on for pages.

I asked my mother today why she had lied to me about the smoke for so long. Her reaction was epic. She put up her finger to indicate that I should wait while she finished her conversation with Dad down the stairway and then called him up from the basement before she continued. She says “Honey, Meli wants to know why I lied to her”. I felt ashamed of my mother in that moment.

You cannot deny that she was rallying support in her fight against me by calling in my father to help her defense, which was another lie. She adamantly denied saying any such thing about Dad smelling so-called phantom smoke and looked me right in the face while doing it. I was stunned to say the least. Here’s my mother, whom I trusted, lying through her teeth to save her own ass regarding her lies to me in the past. Confusing? Exactly my point. It really goes to show that once you start lying about anything, you just can’t stop without incriminating yourself. And that is one thing my mother is not willing to do.

Within a scale of lies, saying you didn’t smell smoke when you did indeed smell it, wouldn’t be considered malicious or detrimental. It’s not unlike the big butt lie. Unless you’re willing to turn around and attempt to destroy a person with that lie, then it becomes unacceptable. All this time I thought I was Ok smoking on my little porch, which I call the War Cave (I play World of Warcraft). In the meantime, my mother has been brooding it seems, or maybe she’s just using this much cherished privilege of mine to exact her own justice for standing up for myself against her. I really can’t be sure because Mom is consistently using the reply “I don’t have to answer that”.

Whatever the case may be; what I knew to be true has been shattered and my parents are now adding to the situation with accusations and insults. I posed two questions after I was told to stop smoking in my room; if I was smoking in there is how Dad put it; before the first insult was thrown. I asked, “In my bedroom”? And then, “Even late at night”? I’ve already made mention of the need for clarity and how it truly is a requirement. If you read my blog concerning sarcasm, you found reference to ambiguity as well. Neither of which bodes well in my mind.

Asking those two questions returned the following insult “Meli, don’t argue with me like a 15 year old. Just do what we say”.

WHAT? Seriously, I thought what is happening right now? Can we say oxymoron (see how good I am at using sarcasm)? He used a statement worthy of parenting a 15 year old to accuse me of acting like a 15 year old. Folks, I’m forty-four years old. Fifteen is far behind me. Would it have been so hard to answer the two simple questions I posed without the insult? Yes and yes was all he needed to say, but he just couldn’t help himself.

I brought this insult to light, essentially halting the conversation to address it. Why? Why would you say that? I’m hearing myself ask that question of my parents more and more as this situation escalates. He didn’t have an intelligent answer and only offered “that’s how I see you acting right now” with an ‘Oh well’ look on his face. Much like the response “It’s the mental picture I have in my head, honey” from my mother not too long ago. Well, thank you Dad, now it’s clear why you chose to insult me for asking two simple questions.

I’m angry about this right now, I apologize for the tones, but I feel it necessary to leave them in the blog. Anger in the recipient is the consequence of these poorly chosen statements. The little lies are no exception. I’m extremely angry with my mother for fooling me into thinking I was safe to smoke on the porch. Many readers will be mumbling “She’s over thinking this” at this point and they’d be right… if I didn’t have PTSD and my parents weren’t still berating me.

That’s what we do, think things through in excess, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. With support and educated carers, this certainty that’s achieved through clarity and analysis can go a long way to feeling safe. Isn’t that the key component to recovery? Safety after trauma? I’m well aware that there are those who suffer that are capable of erupting should you tell them their butt looks big in those jeans. But it’s my opinion that those cases of PTSD are out of control and ill managed. I’ve spent hours upon hours trying to figure out my own brain, the emphasis is on me and how I can control my disorder and make a safe environment for myself. But no matter how commendable that sounds, success is impossible without the acceptance and education of those around me.

My mother’s lies set me up for the following. Dad is under the impression that I took advantage of my privilege to smoke on the porch by continuing to do so through the next summer. Neither one of them said a word to stop me, nor did they inform me that my privilege was void in summer. Furthermore, Mom actually encouraged me by saying Dad was crazy, there’s no smell, all summer long. My father is still unaware that Mom and I had a little secret to help me continue smoking in my bedroom. I ran the bathroom exhaust fan, something Dad would not have approved of. But Mom kept our secret in hush tones, literally. This is an historic pattern of hers where she has failed to consult with her husband regarding my brother and I. Mom is famous for “We can’t let your father find out” on big issues such as us smoking weed and her spending money.

Her lies allowed for a false security, which caused me to dig my own grave in respects to losing my smoking privileges. I would not have been accused of taking advantage of my privilege recently, nor acting like a teenager, had my mother not lied to me. You can’t convince me that she’s unaware of this effect. Every part of my soul believes that she knows damn well what she’s done, and yet she’s perfectly comfortable lying to my face about it and adding to my pain. And I’m the problem here?

The real effect is the destruction of trust I had in my mother. It’s completely gone now. If she had been honest about smelling the smoke and her emotions regarding those stupid dishes, she wouldn’t be faced with the embarrassment of admitting to those lies now. I wouldn’t have smoked on the porch, but in bad weather, and washed my own dishes much sooner. And Mom and I would still be best friends had she been able to reveal that honesty instead of lashing out when her emotions boiled over. I still don’t know what set her off, she’s never said. It’s likely that she doesn’t even know. In my experience with PTSD, I’ve not needed a specific event to have a break down, merely keep things to myself and I’ll blow eventually when it’s least expected; just like Mom did this spring.

The previous issue of washing our own dishes is also the result of my mother’s lies. She insisted that nothing was wrong each time I noticed a look of frustration on her face and asked if she was Ok. Why can’t some people just tell the damned truth?

In regards to PTSD, total honesty is imperative to building trust. There is no little lie when it comes to rebuilding trust after trauma. Was my mom trying to protect my feelings somehow by lying about the smell of smoke? I don’t understand that. Emotional trust is maybe even more important, in my opinion, where PTSD is involved. We have so much trouble believing in ourselves that the opinions of those around us become top notch priority. Who is it safe to talk to about symptoms? Can I tell this person what happened to me without judgment? Will this person hurt me too? All questions that I can say, with certainty, have crossed the minds of every single person living with PTSD and more times than anyone without the disorder.

I’m asking everyone who reads this to please tell the truth, our sense of security depends on it. I know it may be hard to find the words, but it’s better for us if you make that effort. And you won’t have to maintain or deny those lies in the future. It’s a win/win situation because in the end, after our excessive analysis of everything in our world, you will come under scrutiny for all those little lies and the trust you thought you shared will be shattered.

I simply can’t recover from the damage my mother has caused to our trust over the last 3 months. It’s been lies after insults after sarcasm after downright abuse. Our relationship is gone for good and all she needed to do was speak honestly, which is a whole lot more productive and healthy than Dad’s advice of just let it pass. How do you ignore something that destroys trust? Please think about that. I can move ahead of it and maybe even forget the exact words that hurt so much, but I’ll never be able to ignore the feeling that I’m just not safe in my mother’s company. She will hurt me again if I let my guard down and allow her to think she’s been forgiven and all is well. I can’t risk that.

Meli

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Published in: on May 26, 2014 at 6:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

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