I’m feeling frustrated with myself. In particular, my difficulty setting boundaries is frustrating me. Also the fact that everything is triggering me right now, even things that wouldn’t ordinarily trigger me.
I think the trigger for all of this was a visit from ICM today. She sprung a surprise “health and safety” inspection on me. It sounds innocuous when I write it, but for me it’s not.
Since I got away from my family, having my own space has been critical for my sanity. When I was growing up, I was allowed privacy only when my parents decided I did. My father would come into my bedroom any time he wanted to molest and rape me. My mother was, in some ways, worse than him. She never sexually abused me, but she regularly invaded my privacy under the banner of “for your own good.” She searched my room, read my journals, monitored my emails. If I asked for privacy, even as a teenager, she decided that meant I was hiding something and used it as an excuse to invade my privacy even more. She would frequently take my bedroom and bathroom doors off the hinges, leaving me without any place to use the bathroom, shower, or change clothes without being on display.
So when I got away, having a space that was mine was a novelty. It became the first outpost of safety for me. No one could come into my space uninvited, so I was safe. It was like I could finally breathe for the first time in my life.
Any time my space is invaded, it feels like abuse. Technically I consented to ICM’s inspection, but it was because I felt like I couldn’t say no. I have my parents’ compliance training to thank for that, I think. I felt like I couldn’t say no to ICM, so I let her in, the same way I let my father into my room sometimes. In both cases, it felt like there was someone in power who was going to do what they wanted regardless of how I felt about it, so it was better to be compliant so you wouldn’t get punished.
The inspection was really demeaning, too. I mean, for starters, I’m almost 28 years old. I’ve been living on my own in the world for most of the past 10 years, and no one’s ever suggested I was incapable of that (besides my family, and they don’t count). But that felt like the entire implication of this inspection. If my appliances didn’t work, I’d get my landlady or her partner to come fix it. My kitchen may be cluttered since we have very little cabinet space, but it’s clean, so keep your bitchy comments about “define clean” to yourself. Yes, my toilet is clean; I take responsibility for that since I spend so much quality time with it. Yes, my door works just fine–don’t let it hit ya where the good lord split ya. I had to tell her that no, she could not just walk into my roommates’ bedroom because they don’t know who she is or what she’s doing here, and one or both of them might not be wearing pants.
I did tell her that she couldn’t go in my bedroom, which I guess is something. But what I wanted to tell her was that she couldn’t come in my house because it’s my house and it’s rude as fuck to just announce that you’re coming to inspect someone else’s house. I mean, Christ, under state law, landlords are required to give advance notice of rental inspections, so why is it okay for her to just say that she’s doing an inspection today? She never asked if it was okay. If she had asked, I probably wouldn’t have been so triggered by it.
But she didn’t ask. Neither did my mother or my father. And that’s not okay.
And now I’m in PTSD-land. It feels like everything’s a trigger, and I’m very on edge. It frustrates me because I want my ability to identify and understand the trigger to make it stop being a trigger. It frustrates me that it doesn’t always work like that. It frustrates me that I can’t logic my way through this.