What started with a PTSD trigger ended up with some serious reflection and questions about to what extent I have raised sexist kids.
I took advantage of this experience for my column over at Sweatpants & Coffee, appropriately called That’s What She Said. My youngest’s question, “So, you’re saying that your presentation was more important than my concert?” started a post traumatic stress disorder “you’re not good enough” event. The conversation ended with me questioning how they could possibly think that they could say something like that to me when they never have said anything like that to their father.
Enjoy this excerpt from the article, When You Realize Your Kids are Sexist, at Sweatpants & Coffee
“So, you’re saying that your presentation was more important than my concert?” asked my 12-year-old son at the dinner table one evening.
My breath stopped. Everything slowed down, from the beat of my heart to my son slurping a spaghetti noodle. My vision tightened down to a small tunnel and sounds blurred.
It was just your typical Post Traumatic Stress Disorder trigger, along with some good old-fashioned woman-rage.
The You’re Not Good Enough Trigger
One of my big PTSD triggers is the belief that I’m not good enough. Anything I am and will be and try and do will simply never be good enough.
I understand where it comes from logically. Logic does not take the trigger away. Especially when your youngest child asks, “So your presentation was more important than my concert?”
I missed his concert due to a calendar conflict, like so many that have come before. Years ago, my husband and I decided that our boys have two parents, and we were going to take advantage of that. We work together, filling in for each other. He has missed recitals and games and concerts, as have I, but never both of us at the same time. We have also had many conversations with the children as these calendar conflicts have come up over the years.
And yes, I had another conversation about it that night, reminding our youngest of our past agreements and behavior and that his dad taped the concert so that we could watch it together the next day.
The next day, his words echoed around the inside of my skull – “So your presentation was more important than my concert?” Along with the leftovers of the trigger – the immediate anger, the hurt, the “you’re not good enough and you’ll never be.”
A Funny and Poignant Grief Book
For twenty years, I thought that I had been marching through the stages of grief in a straight line. I had been following the formula, crossing each processed grief experience off my list.
Except that I was totally deluded. And I didn’t discover that until Jim, my beloved father-in-law, died. I found myself drying off from my shower the morning after his death, really hoping he couldn’t see me naked. Or, if he could, that he was averting his eyes.
From that moment, my path through grief resembled a roller coaster, spiraling and twisting and turning, circling back around. Echoes of past trauma, including childhood abuse and cheating death, would no longer be ignored. I somehow needed to get from the beginning to the end of this grief adventure, and I don’t have a good sense of direction.
But what is always present during a journey through grief, regardless of the path chosen?
Caskets From Costco is a funny grief book that demonstrates the certainty of hope and healing in an uncertain and painful world.