“I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
I poisoned myself into stress, anxiety and fear for years while living with Mom. Family conflicts always stressed me into sickness. I had headaches, stomach pains, panic attacks and nightmares
When I noticed Mom and my brother fighting, I knew something was terribly wrong. The venom spat back and forth about one trying to poison or hurt the other was too much for me to handle. My brother moved away to live with our grandparents in Michigan while I stayed with Mom in New York. Mom became paranoid about the conversations I had with my grandparents and brother. I stopped answering my grandma’s phone calls every Sunday. I dreaded the phone calls because I dreaded the way Mom would react to my grandma calling me. Sometimes she pretended to be completely OK with me talking with my grandparents and brother, but if I was on the phone with them for “too long,” she would tell me it was time to hang up the phone.
Doesn’t make sense, right? What mother gets angry and jealous about the relationship her kids have with the rest of their family? The question plagued me for years, and it still does.
When I entered my junior year of high school, Mom decided it would be a perfect opportunity for me to stay home to work over the summer instead of visiting my family in Michigan. I saw this for the ploy it was. She meant to prevent me from seeing family out of pure jealousy of the closeness I had with them.
If that’s not enough to drive me sick with anxiety, on the Christmas of my senior year in high school, Mom threw a fit about our Michigan family members sending us a box full of Christmas presents. She was angry that they sent us stuff because they didn’t tell us to send them anything. She screamed at the top of her lungs in the shrill way she always did and said, “I hope they rot in Hell!” I began to cry from the horrible venomous words Mom spat.
Of course, she automatically thought I was also upset for the same reason she was. I told her she was upsetting me, and I hope she didn’t get rid of the gifts my family sent me. She said she would never do that, and I could keep them if I wanted to.
Looking back on all these instances, I can’t agree with the above quote. When you’re a kid living with an emotionally volatile mother and her emotionally unavailable lover, and have no one to turn to to talk about these feelings, I had no choice but to poison myself with anxiety.
Where do you stand on Steve Marboli’s quote? Feel free to respond in the comments.