Recovering From Conversations With My Mother

One of the hardest things I do regularly is talk to my mother. She is very critical. I don't make enough money, my hair doesn't look right, my lipstick is the wrong color, I need to lose weight, I need to be more social, I need to go to the gym more--the list goes on and on. There are always a quite a few things I am not doing right that I need to improve. If it is not one thing, it is another. Things are constantly being added to this list of complaints. Some of them are minor, but the negative energy and disapproval wears on me nonetheless.

These conversations full of unsolicited advice are very demotivating. They make we want to quit everything and give up. My hopeless and suicidal thoughts ramp up the more I talk to my mother. I have told her that I try very hard to stay positive and that these conversations bring me down. I tell her that I need support, not criticism. Yet these unpleasant topics come up again and again. The negative emotions that come up affect me for hours and days.

My parents are getting old. I feel like I should spend some time with them, but it is very hard. Lately, I have been limiting the time I spend with them. I do not enjoy the time I spend with my parents. I see it as a duty. Most of the time it is depressing, lonely, and painful.

I have taken to giving myself pep talks after I talk to my mother. I tell myself that I don't really want to give up everything and die. That is just a reaction I have when I am repeatedly criticized and insulted. I think of all that I have to live for. I think of how far I have come. I tell myself that I have a very good job. I do not make a lot of money, but I have good benefits and I have been getting raises.

It makes sense to keep my job even though it is not good enough for my mother. My job is flexible and I need a lot of time off to go to various health-related appointments. That is a benefit that is hard for people to understand if they do not have to live with a chronic illness. My primary illness is Bipolar I, but side effects and other health conditions have come up over the years, and other medications and treatments have been added. Taking care of my health has become a juggling act that not every employer would support.

When dealing with my parents, there is no joy, but I think of the importance of compassion. My upbringing was far from happy and stable, but without my parents, I would not be alive. You do not get to choose your family, and this is the family I got. Maybe the purpose was to make me stronger.

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