When emotional stress becomes physical pain…

I have spent the day in my pyjamas with a migraine. I am a chronic sufferer of migraines, have been for as long as I can remember. Through therapy and reading books, like The Mind/Body Prescription by John E. Sarno MD, I have come to understand some of my migraines and fibromyalgia pain is linked to my current stresses and past traumas.

So, is this migraine a stress migraine? Well, tomorrow I am meeting my family for our Christmas get together, so highly likely. It is not like I was actively even thinking about this event, looming ahead, and yet it has been stressing me out. Last night I couldn’t sleep and tonight the same. My head hurts, I feel dizzy, nauseous and my eyesight was blurred. This physical reaction comes deep from my subconscious, from a past of trauma and a present of the same.

You might think this is an overraction or you may be thinking ‘What the hell did these people do?’.

Well, either way this is the reaction I have. These days it is more about seeing my sister, Kirsty, although it is worse as this will be alongside my mother. So lets start there, my mother is a narcissist and I am her scapegoat. She will never see or understand the impact she has had, she believes she loves me and always has, I believe that is true but her actions said otherwise. I wear a bracelet everyday to remind me I am worthy and what I do is enough – it literally says ‘worthy & enough’ – to try to counter her abuses which shaped my self-esteem. I have told her about the trauma she caused me, well some of it, and she has apologised (with her usual justifications). The big change is that I no longer let her treat me badly and she has mostly adapted her behaviour. However, I am also learning to accept she is never going to change and therefore I have to stop expecting that change.

My sister is the bigger issue at the moment. I do not have a relationship with her beyond presents and family celebrations. We are polite to each others faces but that is it. To me she is toxic, narcissistic and unkind. I have chosen to separate myself from her, but this is new. I have spent 30 odd years of my life trying to prove to her that I love her. I have done everything I could to be the ‘good big sister’, to go the extra mile and beyond. However, the hoops she set for me to jump through got higher and higher and I finally realised she was never going to believe me.

This is the sad part of narcissism; often they just want to feel loved but don’t feel it when someone shows it to them. So they pick a new thing the person can do to prove their love and when that doesn’t work another and another. I could do it no longer, Kirsty is not able to love me for who I am and see that I love her.

Last Christmas this accumulated in me saying ‘No’ when she asked me to collect her (and her boyfriend, Lighty) from London and take them to our brothers for Christmas Day. Neither drive and there were no trains, but we are also talking about a journey that is usually 25 minutes to being 2-3 hours. I did offer my sofa bed if they came down by train the night before, but she did not want to spend time at my house with me. I suggested a hotel room near my brothers, or staying at our parents. From her point of view I did not want her at Christmas as this was my way of excluding her, to her I was being unreasonable and it was not a huge request to ask of me.

This last year was then filled with disputes like this; annoyed at me for taking my brother’s family on holiday and not inviting her (I was paying and could not afford to take her too not to mention her not wanting to spend time with me). Telling me off for having to work the morning of my dads 60th Birthday party and using this to say I did not love him enough, and so many other similar moments. These are twisted and manipulated to make me seem evil, conniving and wicked.

I know there are two sides to every story and she definitely has a different point of view. Maybe this is what worries me so much, as her view of me as a person seems so awful. A person I would never want to be.

I recently found out that, on a weekend visit to my brothers, my sister had a massive argument with my sister-in-law (Tash) over me. It started out so nice, my sister asking how I was and my sister-in-law saying I was good, expanding to include I was still seeing my therapist and had a dip after out holiday but I was overall okay. Apparently my sister and her boyfriend took this as I was clinically depressed and my sister-in-law was not taking it as seriously as she should have been. Why was she not more worried about me? So Tash pointed out to my sister, she has spent time with me and supports me so knows I am okay. It was pointed out to Kirsty that if she really wanted to know how I was she should talk to me. The argument went on and at one point I was even blamed for it happening. Kirsty and Lighty went home and this should have been the end to it.

But, Kirsty then messaged my best friend, Sydney. She asked from a place of concern how I was, as Tash and Aaron had described how I was not taking care of myself and exhibiting serious depressive traits. She asked that this not be mentioned to me as she did not want to change our relationship or alter the one I have with my brother’s family, but was concerned about me.

I am sure she does, on some level, care about me and my well-being. But she is also the one who does not want to have a relationship with me. I have offered to discuss things, I have apologised and have wanted to talk. I was knocked down and Kirsty said she was not ready, I respected that. I said to her that ‘this door is always open’ and that she just needed to let me know when she is ready. Yet she complains that I have not approached her to discuss and apologise, not that she wants me to. She wants to keep me continually trying to prove my love but that is exhausting and never going to actually change anything.

I have also got to the point where I am not sure I do like who she is, or at least the last Kirsty I knew. I do not know her now and would not profess to, but the last Kirsty I knew could not forgive, be open, listen and understand. She pushed me away and keeps me at arm’s length. She is also now acting like this with Tash, our sister-in-law and our brother, both who have much less to do with her now. I find this sad for her, I feel sorry for her and what she might be missing out on.

Stress ‘a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances’ (Google Dictionary). 

So tomorrow by definition stresses me out. I do not know what will happen. Will remarks be made about my mental state? Will I have to defend myself? Will there be an argument? Will I be blamed? Or will everyone pretend we are one happy family – which is so exhausting and also not good for my mental health but it is good for peace. I can bite my tongue to some extent. I usually busy myself with the nieces and nephew or helping with preparing food but why do we subject ourselves to this? Should I avoid these situations? Should I keep trying with her, as she is my sister? Should I confront her or avoid her?

So many questions on how I should act and what I should say. I feel there are no answers, I just need to gauge the situation and go with it. I need to try to hold in the anger and smile though it all. It is just one afternoon. I think I am trying to convince myself more than any readers out there.

I will report back soon so you know how I coped with my life in this mental world.

4 thoughts on “When emotional stress becomes physical pain…

      1. ***Please*** let me know. I’m praying for you right now and I’ll keep it up!!!
        p.s. I’m so sorry about your headache and it makes perfect sense it’s striking now. :((((((((((((((

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I just re-read this post, finally. And I am so damn proud of you for sticking up for yourself & creating boundaries with your sister. Your sister Kirsty is about as toxic as they come. She has no idea that she has a serious problem. And you’re right – she will never change. Because she will never change, you must continue to do the kick-ass job you’re doing. Forgive me for sounding like a “Debbie Downer” but she will try to meddle again and create drama, and she’ll try to provoke you because that’s what stimulates her and makes her feel like she has a purpose.
    Don’t fall for it. You are so special and wonderful and you don’t deserve any more crap from her, not even the teeniest, tiniest amount! XoXoXo

    Liked by 1 person

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