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How do I deal with family members who mock me for my emotions?

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grassisgreener

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Trigger warning: self harm, suicide

Hey everyone, this is my first time posting here and I've decided to today because this is the second time I've lashed out at my family after three months in quarantine. My family members are all relatively chill; so chill to the point where we kind of poke fun at each other when we get upset. I used to cause the most trouble as a teenager so they make fun of me the most. Whenever I even roll my eyes at something someone says, they make a big deal about it as a way of poking fun and I'm usually okay with it.

Since I began university, I feel my anxiety has significantly increased, and I actually have two exams to write next week. Because of this, I've mentioned to my family I need some time, I need to study, and I've explained all morning now that I can not join them outside to hang out because I need to study; the only thing that satisfies my anxiety is completing the thing I'm anxious about so I had to study.

I went to take a bath as a break and I asked my sister if she wanted to do a face mask with me. She came to me and asked if I wanted to go out with the family for a boat ride and at this point, I was feeling a bit like I was being unheard so that did hurt my feelings a bit but I kept it in (as I usually do), until I finally explained I truly can not go because I need to study. This came out more abruptly because at this point I felt very anxious that she was not listening to me, and when I did so, she put her hands up as a mocking "I surrender motion" and I felt extremely offended and upset that, again, I was being made fun of for having emotions.

I usually let it slide but this moment really affected how I felt so as she walked out I slammed the door on her and listened to her stomp away; in my mind, I think this was my "big mood" mind, she didn't care about how I felt and she was even being mad at me for being so anxious for my upcoming exams.

I was hurt and called her a mean name before I went to take a bath. She is the closest family member to me and I felt hurt that I called her a mean name but I also felt hurt no one listens to me seriously. There's only so much of smiling after they make a joke or remaining silent when they make fun of things I do that I can take before I lash out again. The bath is a trigger for me because at my worst moments I have attempted to drown myself before snapping out of it. I had thoughts of self harm racing through my mind and I even took a cold shower to try to relieve the feeling of self harming again because I know I'd regret it.

I don't know what to do. I came out of the bath and everyone had gone out on the boat.. like it didn't matter to them that I was upset as well.

Maybe I'm being overdramatic. but honestly I'm not really sure. My mind still isn't cleared from how I felt about this situation (it just happened) and I think I just need someone to talk to right now..
 
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bpd2020

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Hello. Welcome to the forum. It is hard to have feelings mocked so I do understand why you do not feel heard. It seems to be like your family are not really used to dealing with emotions and they react to them by making a joke to lighten the mood. I am sorry as I know that is hurtful to you. Would it be possible to sit them down and explain how you are feeling? They may really not know what is going on with you.
 
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grassisgreener

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Canada
Hello. Welcome to the forum. It is hard to have feelings mocked so I do understand why you do not feel heard. It seems to be like your family are not really used to dealing with emotions and they react to them by making a joke to lighten the mood. I am sorry as I know that is hurtful to you. Would it be possible to sit them down and explain how you are feeling? They may really not know what is going on with you.
That could very well be the case. We were all raised in an abusive household, I just seemed to be hit the hardest in terms of dealing with it. Ideally sitting down to talk would be the most logical way to deal with it and I could sort it out but I also extremely struggle with communication. I've told them about my mental health issues and how I'm seeing a psychiatrist previously, but I'm not too sure if I'm ready to talk to them about my feelings in these situations like right now. I've never been comfortable with talking about how I feel.
 
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bpd2020

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I am so sorry you were raised in an abusive household. It is often the way that not everybody is effected in the same way. I can understand you feeling uncomfortable with telling your family how you feel. Would it be easier to write it down and hand it to them? If not then maybe your psychiatrist will be able to advice you as they know you and your situation.
 
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grassisgreener

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Canada
I am so sorry you were raised in an abusive household. It is often the way that not everybody is effected in the same way. I can understand you feeling uncomfortable with telling your family how you feel. Would it be easier to write it down and hand it to them? If not then maybe your psychiatrist will be able to advice you as they know you and your situation.
It's okay, we've sort of just moved past it over time. I may try writing it down to my sister later tonight. I'm still a little hurt right now and feel reluctant to try anything. I try not to bother my psychiatrist too much about little issues, but if I can't bring myself to write the letter I may try scheduling another appointment with her. Thank you for your suggestions, you are very kind and I really appreciate it :)
 
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bpd2020

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Your psychiatrist is the very person you can talk to about these things. They are not little at all. It caused you hurt and then to remember times you felt suicidal. That is something that really would benefit from being discussed in therapy. Please never think your pain is not important. If it hurts then it is important.

You are most welcome. :)
 
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Nukelavee

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Based upon what you wrote - I'm going with you are being over-sensitive/dramatic. I didn't read anything in those interactions that were abusive, they simply weren't following your script.

You didn't say you have BPD, but you did post in the BPD section, so...

If you have BPD, or emotional insecurity/intensity issues, the issue isn't always with the other person. Much of the time, it's us (I have BPD). We react more strongly to things, we look for secret hidden cruelties, and they aren't there at all. We over-react.

Bluntly, part of our problem, often the biggest problem, is us. We have to understand that some reactions are irrational, they don't belong where they erupt.

Times like this, we need to step back, and coldly review things, without our predisposition towards hurt feelings, and determine if somebody really was cruel, or if we have twisted it.

You were upset because they wanted to include you in stuff when you needed alone time. And now, you are upset because they went off and left you alone. That's messed up, and unfair, on your part. IT's your exam, why should they forgo a boat ride because you feel you can't?

Consider that point - does your reaction actually make sense, is it fair?
 
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grassisgreener

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Based upon what you wrote - I'm going with you are being over-sensitive/dramatic. I didn't read anything in those interactions that were abusive, they simply weren't following your script.

You didn't say you have BPD, but you did post in the BPD section, so...

If you have BPD, or emotional insecurity/intensity issues, the issue isn't always with the other person. Much of the time, it's us (I have BPD). We react more strongly to things, we look for secret hidden cruelties, and they aren't there at all. We over-react.

Bluntly, part of our problem, often the biggest problem, is us. We have to understand that some reactions are irrational, they don't belong where they erupt.

Times like this, we need to step back, and coldly review things, without our predisposition towards hurt feelings, and determine if somebody really was cruel, or if we have twisted it.

You were upset because they wanted to include you in stuff when you needed alone time. And now, you are upset because they went off and left you alone. That's messed up, and unfair, on your part. IT's your exam, why should they forgo a boat ride because you feel you can't?

Consider that point - does your reaction actually make sense, is it fair?
I know it isn't their fault. I need to learn to communicate with them and tell them I don't appreciate when they make fun of me for being upset. I've made it clear all morning I needed my own time and I was upset my sister got upset at me for not wanting to go. She stormed off and it made me feel as though my feelings were invalid to my family.

I didn't want them to forgo a boat ride, I wanted her to understand I was feeling anxiety for my upcoming exams and I felt they weren't respecting my voice when I've respectfully told them I've needed time all morning. I have a sibling group chat and the whole time I told them I was studying, they sent messages saying I was being over dramatic and that I just didn't want to spend time with them and I did not respond to those, because I know they were just joking. This happens on a daily basis. I'm the person they tease in the family, but knowing that I have a tendency to overreact due to my bpd I hold it in to avoid big fights.

But I also do have anxiety. And this is something I've been trying to deal for a while. When she came up to ask me to go with them on the boat ride, I responded that I did not want to because I was anxious. She kept pressing me on it and got upset at me and that was when I snapped; this triggered what I refer to as my "big mood," which happens because of my bpd and, growing up in this home where my father physically abused my mother in front of me and my older brother, I have had many suicidal thoughts within the bathroom it happened in. This triggered my desire to self harm. Everything from my childhood flooded back tome.

When my big mood was triggered, I took a bath, and I took a cold shower to try to not think about thoughts of self harm, and was flooded with emotion. I know I am over-sensitive and I know I am dramatic.. but I don't appreciate you telling me I am messed up and unfair. I just wanted to talk to someone about this.. I was upset no one asked if I was okay before they left with her. I know this is an overdramatic, I absolutely do. It's just that what happened made me feel as though her getting upset is more valid than me being upset. And they side with her. They've always sided with each other.

I know I have bpd and that makes me oversensitive and dramatic..

I just wanted someone to talk to, as I don't have anyone else to talk to about my big moods. I found this page, and thought it was a good place to ask. I'm sorry.
 
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Nukelavee

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I know I have bpd and that makes me oversensitive and dramatic..
And you are doing it again, with me.
but I don't appreciate you telling me I am messed up and unfair.
I didn't say that - I said you reacting badly to them not respecting your need to study, and then being upset because they went off to leave you to study, is messed up and unfair. It's not really you, it's your disorder making your react irrationally.

Let me be clear - I'm not giving you hell over it, I'm not saying you are a horrible person. I'm saying that, as a person with BPD, you WILL totally misread people's intent, you WILL over-react, you will see abuse and slights where there aren't any.

For you, and me (note - I'm not singling you out, I'm right in this with you), our emotions are on a hair trigger, and we have a bias that leads us to see hurt and abuse where it doesn't actually exist.

You've now post two different versions of how it played out. Your second time, you've enhanced the emotional weight of the event. That's part of BPD. As we brood on things, we escalate it in our memory, in order to make the event bad enough to justify how we are feeling.

You literally changed your story from "She let the door
I went to take a bath as a break and I asked my sister if she wanted to do a face mask with me. She came to me and asked if I wanted to go out with the family for a boat ride and at this point, I was feeling a bit like I was being unheard so that did hurt my feelings a bit but I kept it in (as I usually do), until I finally explained I truly can not go because I need to study. This came out more abruptly because at this point I felt very anxious that she was not listening to me, and when I did so, she put her hands up as a mocking "I surrender motion" and I felt extremely offended and upset that, again, I was being made fun of for having emotions.

I usually let it slide but this moment really affected how I felt so as she walked out I slammed the door on her and listened to her stomp away;
to
She stormed off
Those stories conflict. That's your disorder talking, justifying your mood.

I know what you just wanted - to be told your feelings are justified, your family was terrible to you, and you deserve better.

I am not the person here who gives those replies. Because they actually hurt you long term.

Look - I've been fighting with my BPD for 30 years, likely longer than you've lived. I've made a ton of progress in my fight, but it's been hard work. I would like for you to be able to handle interactions at least as well as I do. Like, I should be the lowest spot you should aim to be at. Honestly - I want you to believe you can be a rock star at handling BPD, and that you can achieve my "calm" much younger than I did.

I want you to succeed at dealing with this, and I'd like to help. But, the only way I know to help is to be honest with you about what I see, and what I've learned about dealing with BPD.

because I know they were just joking.
If you know they are joking with you, why do you instantly swap it to them being insensitive?

I'll be honest, I wouldn't have thought or bothered to go up and see if you were in a "big mood", because, from my point of view, there was nothing that should have triggered a big mood.

Having BPD doesn't mean the rest of the world needs to be extra careful with us, and to always try to think what you felt - it means you have to be extra careful about how you react, and for you to try to consider their mental states, without bias. that's how you learn to know when a reaction is appropriate or not, that's how you learn to desensitize your triggers.

When you do that, your sister putting her hands up will be something you understand to be her trying to tone things down, being understanding that the current conflict is bad for you, and not read it as her simply mocking you.

I don't expect you to instantly or fully agree with what I've said -I would just like you to consider what I've said.

Also - for the record, this is me being super nice and caring. Me when my emotions are messed up and I'm over-reacting to perceived slights is an entirely different monster.
 
G

grassisgreener

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Joined
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Messages
5
Location
Canada
And you are doing it again, with me.

I didn't say that - I said you reacting badly to them not respecting your need to study, and then being upset because they went off to leave you to study, is messed up and unfair. It's not really you, it's your disorder making your react irrationally.

Let me be clear - I'm not giving you hell over it, I'm not saying you are a horrible person. I'm saying that, as a person with BPD, you WILL totally misread people's intent, you WILL over-react, you will see abuse and slights where there aren't any.

For you, and me (note - I'm not singling you out, I'm right in this with you), our emotions are on a hair trigger, and we have a bias that leads us to see hurt and abuse where it doesn't actually exist.

You've now post two different versions of how it played out. Your second time, you've enhanced the emotional weight of the event. That's part of BPD. As we brood on things, we escalate it in our memory, in order to make the event bad enough to justify how we are feeling.

You literally changed your story from "She let the door

to

Those stories conflict. That's your disorder talking, justifying your mood.

I know what you just wanted - to be told your feelings are justified, your family was terrible to you, and you deserve better.

I am not the person here who gives those replies. Because they actually hurt you long term.

Look - I've been fighting with my BPD for 30 years, likely longer than you've lived. I've made a ton of progress in my fight, but it's been hard work. I would like for you to be able to handle interactions at least as well as I do. Like, I should be the lowest spot you should aim to be at. Honestly - I want you to believe you can be a rock star at handling BPD, and that you can achieve my "calm" much younger than I did.

I want you to succeed at dealing with this, and I'd like to help. But, the only way I know to help is to be honest with you about what I see, and what I've learned about dealing with BPD.


If you know they are joking with you, why do you instantly swap it to them being insensitive?

I'll be honest, I wouldn't have thought or bothered to go up and see if you were in a "big mood", because, from my point of view, there was nothing that should have triggered a big mood.

Having BPD doesn't mean the rest of the world needs to be extra careful with us, and to always try to think what you felt - it means you have to be extra careful about how you react, and for you to try to consider their mental states, without bias. that's how you learn to know when a reaction is appropriate or not, that's how you learn to desensitize your triggers.

When you do that, your sister putting her hands up will be something you understand to be her trying to tone things down, being understanding that the current conflict is bad for you, and not read it as her simply mocking you.

I don't expect you to instantly or fully agree with what I've said -I would just like you to consider what I've said.

Also - for the record, this is me being super nice and caring. Me when my emotions are messed up and I'm over-reacting to perceived slights is an entirely different monster.
I'm really sorry you've had to deal with this so long. I've only noticed it for a few years, and it has caused a great deal of pain for me and the people around me.

When you say it this way, I understand what you mean and I honestly really appreciate it. I've never talked to anyone else with this disorder, let alone someone with so many years experiencing it. What you say makes a lot of sense, and I've calmed down quite a bit since this happened. I was at the peak of my reaction when I sought this forum, and I wasn't ready to think rationally yet. Hench, I did not consider the intentions of your response. However, I know I need to think things from another perspective to keep me from being so affected by these extremely, extremely minor issues.

I overthink everything until it gets out of hand. I'm embarrassed of my actions now, honestly. I'm sitting in my room hiding from my family because I'm too ashamed to show my face to them.

I'll try to keep a journal to distinguish which thoughts are my disorder speaking and which aren't. I've never been able to distinguish the two. Not before you pointed them out today.

Take care, and thank you for shedding your light on my situation. I will take this into great consideration and try to take my disorder more seriously and recognize that these thoughts are not my own whenever something else comes up. Thank you.
 
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Nukelavee

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I'll try to keep a journal to distinguish which thoughts are my disorder speaking and which aren't. I've never been able to distinguish the two. Not before you pointed them out today.
That's an amazing idea. I've found that writing out really upsetting events with people, and then reading them later, really helps make clear how "different" our thinking is when we are emotionally disordered. I've often wondered "how the heck could I have thought this way?" after reading some of my upset writing.

Looking back at my life, there are so many examples of me letting the disorder talk that I cringe sometimes.

I had a close friend who served with me on my condo board, who understood what was happening. Every time I got wound up, he'd let me know to calm down. It took a couple years, but with his help, now I tend to realize when I'm going off the rails, and can regain control. I really miss him.

Also - a big part of BPD, for many of us, is anger. And we often don't realize how angry we are ready to get. Mine is like a psycho guard dog, always wanting to bust out and bite something. so, it might be helpful to consider how much of your reactions is actual anger at being a witness to abuse, etc. the more we understand ourselves, the stronger we become.

Honestly, it's only been a few years since I gained a lot of this insight into how BPD works with me, don't feel bad for just starting to deal with this.
 
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Until

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@grassisgreener us BPDs are sensitive, we feel things deeply, we go over and over something in our minds - ruminating about something someone said that hurt us. We can quickly explode in anger.

We have a low opinion of ourselves and feel that most people don't like us really and so any slight thing they do it confirms our suspicion that we are not liked. So it's like we are waiting for them to say or do something that upsets us or makes us feel bad, then we tell ourselves that is proof they don't like us.

We feel misunderstood, like no one understands how we feel and why we have these emotions.

There is nothing worse to a BPD than being mocked for their emotions, it escalates our emotions that they are mocking.

I question myself a lot about if my feelings and reactions are normal to what someone said or if they are over the top. I can't always answer that question because to me my emotions are real to how I feel and I often feel justified in my response to what they did to cause my reaction or feelings, they are just instant. So knowing what is an over reaction and what is not to something is what I guess I need to work on.
 
EddieH

EddieH

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Thanks for the great post @Until . I just had a falling out with a BPD friend. Trying to put the pieces together what exactly I did that was so bad. I am trying to understand BPD
 
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Nukelavee

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So it's like we are waiting for them to say or do something that upsets us or makes us feel bad, then we tell ourselves that is proof they don't like us.
Exactly.

What also makes it hard is that the basic emotional response may be justified, but not the degree of response. I still get those unholy surges of emotion, but I've sorta trained myself to "pause" when I feel it. It's a work in progress.

I've said before - sometimes, I feel like I create specific disasters so I have a concrete reason to five to others why I'm upset.
 
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Girl interupted

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So knowing what is an over reaction and what is not to something is what I guess I need to work on.

Great post, very thoughtfully presented.

i don’t know if I have found some miracle ”cure” to bpd or whether I’m just going through a stable phase, but I found actively tracing back the cause of a feeling or emotion seems to A: stop the immediate anxiety because I’m forcing the refocus of my thoughts, B: stops the visceral reaction when I finally figure out the why.

It was really hard to do initially, but after about four months of actively forcing myself to do this exercise, I find I’m less triggered and less anxious. I’m actually in great spirits more often than not. And I don’t get wounded as often.
 
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