More threads by Bumblebean


So I have stayed on top of my PTSD for years. Triggers managed. Pandemic? Stressful, but I have learned patience & am fortunate to live alone. Bit of anxiety over friends and family, but beyond my control. Wildfires, rabid antivaxxers/antimaskers, and way too many terrible things happening everywhere. ... also beyond my control ...very difficult but not completely overwhelming.

Yup, doing OK. Until yesterday, when an unvaccinated new-ish family member (I guess she's an in-law) decided we were going to have a meal ... just us girls. (It wasn’t very pleasant outdoors, but distancing is impossible in my tiny apartment so I ensured we sat outside). She arrived with lunch ... sans mask (bit of an issue, given that I'm immune compromised) & a bit inebriated (I'm pretty sure she knows I have long standing problems when it comes to people "under the influence").

I'm not putting anything on her ... heaven knows she's got her own "stuff" ... but her idea of conversation was so triggering that by the time she left I was a mess ... the worst in 25 years. I didn't dissociate, though I almost wished I could. She is now the 2nd person in my world who wants to talk about the past. "Remember when ___" from a friend. Yes, & I am not nostalgic about "back in the day".

Anyway ....

In-law family member all over the place. I guess I could say I feel I had been interrogated by a master of that dubious art. She'd raise a topic (family history), start asking questions. I tried to navigate around the edges, but her every response was a forceful "ARE YOU SURE? (of course I'm sure ... I was there; she wasn't) WHO TOLD YOU THAT? WHEN WAS THAT? WHY DON'T YOU KNOW? HE'S A MAN, WHY WOULD YOU BELIEVE HIM (um ... what?)" She challenged everything I said, but interrupted me with more questions before I could form a response within the framework of what I consider appropriate.

A lot of her questions could be better answered by a certain family member who has miraculously emerged intact.

Before long I was just saying "I don’t know ... ask ______". She asked me about the horrific behaviour of a family member and when I said I don’t know, she refused to believe me. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON'T KNOW?"

I spend a lot of time not thinking about the past, and obviously I need to be very clear about that as soon as I get my feet back under me. I was blindsided and am still feeling very breakable. And angry. I'm angry with her for being aggressively, intrusively inappropriate, & with myself for letting her. I'm also ashamed that I let her get away with it. Some of her questions were legitimate. .. she's new to a large family generously peppered with extremely dysfunctional individuals and relationships, but she went many miles too far with the questions and challenges.

The meal was a favourite dish. I hope it reheats.

Good times ....

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Well, as difficult as all that was, it seems to me you've learned something very important:

Stay away from that person. Block her from your life. Excise her. If you know she's going to be at an event, stay at home or do something else. If you go to an event, and she turns up, avoid her and if that's not possible, leave.

Nobody needs stress like that or people like that in their lives. Your mental health does not need her anywhere in your life.


Nobody needs stress like that or people like that in their lives. Your mental health does not need her anywhere in your life.
I'm in awe of people who can cut to the chase, and so succinctly.

Circumstances being what they are (proximity etc) I don’t know if I can avoid her entirely, but I can definitely avoid giving her anything to sink her teeth into. I'm normally pretty good at politely gliding around things I need to avoid talking about and/or changing the subject. That’s a large part of part of why I was so angry with myself ... I fell straight into an "OMG" situation, with no way to climb out of it before I was too triggered to breathe.

Our paths don't cross often ... why she suddenly decided we needed some "girl time" I can't imagine (I'm a disabled Old Person and live very quietly). Other times I've seen her, she was quite pleasant. Loud (big voice) but inoffensive. But then, I had only seen her sober. Oddly enough, most of my family ... those alive today ... don't drink or use recreational drugs, but those who do know to stay clear, and don't give me any grief about it. I'm a bit surprised no one cautioned her, actually.

Anyway, I will certainly take your advice to heart and do everything I can to keep her at as much distance as possible. She may well come to decide I'm boring and volunteer to stay away. With my health issues, I don't go anywhere (I am prime candidate for nasty "breakthrough" infection), so between that and most of my family, the only time I would see her is if she comes here. No events or gatherings as Dr. Henry might phrase it. Fortunately she lives wayyyy out of town and doesn't drive, which is helpful.

It's so weird .... I can take so many things in my stride. I can even deal well with most triggers quite easily, but not this time.

Thank you!
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