Sometimes people have a that one "aha" moment, that big slap in the face, the dramatic, sudden realization that things aren't and have never been what they've seemed.  For me, it was a series of little "ah" moments and tiny, sporadic slaps in the face that added up to be a million red flags, and I am fucking livid right now. 

This was my first "real" job. This was supposed to be that job that I got in an oddly serendipitous fashion while I was working my just-for-money front-desk job at my school, and what better time for this opportunity to appear happen while I was an emotional fucking wreck from the shitstorm of my situation at home. This was it, this was my time to get out.

I was so blinded by emotion and the drive to get out of my home situation that I chose to ignore what was right in front of me. On my first day, one of my bosses made the immediate judgement call that I was this stiff, introverted, quiet girl and told me to "work on my first impressions". That sucked a whole fuckload to hear, but I let that slide.

And then I had my suspicions that perhaps one of them exuded a lot of the same traits that my mom did, but I then I gave her the benefit of the doubt and thought, hey, maybe I'm just being overly sensitive and projecting my gut feeling because my emotions were heightened by someone else at the time.

Eventually, I watched 8 different people quit working there in the short 7-month duration I've worked there, all for similar reasons, but I thought, "Hey, whatever, I've gotten pretty good at setting boundaries between my bosses and my personal life, which they have very little respect for", and this still wasn't enough to convince myself that I should leave. I convinced myself to stay because I was finally exercising a right that I didn't have at home, and goddamn that felt good.

Also, they kept telling me about what a good job I do! And how they need me! And how I've helped the company so much with my creative innovation!

But here's the thing: It's very easy to look like you are a pro at something in a room full of people who aren't the least bit interested in hearing about how you do it.

It's not to say that I don't think that I do a good job with the stuff I do, but I know I'm not the best person for this job. There are a million people I know who are a million more times qualified for this marketing job, and I know that because I'M NOT A FUCKING MARKETER. The difference between me, who does a good job, and people who do an amazing job is that they're actually driven to do this, not taken on a sharp turn from personal training to social media/marketing. 

Oh, and let me tell you, when I found out that I was turned down for the original personal training job because I was fucking ASSUMED to only be a "you know, like, a girl who's like, only into cardio" after educating myself on the importance of balance in personal training since my junior year of high school and taking the jump to further my education on the human body in higher education, I fucking lost it.

 I am going into my LAST year of learning about the importance of exercise and all it's components, and you think that I took interest in this for the past 4 years only to choose to ignore that completely and ONLY do cardio?

And why did you assume this? When the fuck did I say that? I don't even like cardio, and you assume my passion lies in art? What the fuck? This is where things started getting shaky as hell. But they shouldn't have been. They should have been more than shaky, projecting yourself onto someone and them making assumptions about their interests is fucking bullshit.

I should have left right then and there, but I felt like there were still lessons to be learned. On the side, I curated new, specific responsibilities for myself that I actually felt like doing. So why not stay for a little longer, the money can't hurt anyway, right?

It didn't matter if I get sporadically trapped in rooms while my bosses have couple fights and are yelling and screaming at each other over who's going to pick up food, or if they were the type of people to still say "retarded" as an insult, or constantly had communication issues with every single person who worked for them. I didn't have to like them. I was given room to do me, and that was worth it for me up until right now.

It's a Sunday, and I spent it working for 7 hours from 10a-5pm, only to get an angry call at fucking 10pm with, "Surprise! We're taking away your creative common's copy rights! None of the photos that you took are yours!" and I did some research and responded with copyright laws and double checked the employee handbook that I hadn't forfeited my photo copyrights, and I haven't. So I was upfront and asserted that it is unproductive for them to tell me these things after it is created. And I get 1) A rude response telling me to read the fucking handbook when I just did, 2) A sudden shift in focus, aka "Wait it's not your fault! There's no problem, we were just upset that someone else posted a photo and didn't tag us!". Then why the FUCK were you mad at me?

And that was it. I am done ignoring it. This is word-for-word the type of crazy-making bullshit my mom tries to pull on me. She gets angry out of no where, I am confused and feel violated, I make my point as clear as possible, and then I'm suddenly told it's not a problem and that I'm overreacting. And then later on pads it by saying I'm suddenly amazing etc etc. I am much, much smarter than to buy into this stupid fucking shithole of a game. This hits too close to home, and I owe it to myself to get out right now.

My fears around leaving are whether I'll be able to support myself in the way that I want to soon enough, or if I'm able to get a job that's any better than this. But hey, why have I been treating this like it's my end game? Just because it was the first opportunity to arise that seemed viable? I can remember several instances when a few of my friends stopped me from talking about what I'm doing at work to ask if this is what I wanted to do, and I appreciate it a lot because it really got me thinking about why the fuck I'm still here. I keep telling them it's money, and yeah, it is, but I would rather go back to my front-desk job and sit for 3 hours at a time than be in a room of my two married bosses scream-arguing with each other for 30 seconds more.

I don't regret working here, though. I learned a lot for myself and learned a lot about dealing with people, but I think the personal benefits I am able to get from here are reaching their maximum potential. 

This entire push and pull of wanting to leave due to the overly dramatic shit that happens and simultaneously having so many things to feel comfortable and good about (i.e. I'm doing a good job in their eyes/I am financially comfortable) is an all too familiar pattern that I KNOW I don't deserve. At all. 

The only difference is that I don't and have never loved anyone in this place but myself and that makes it much easier to leave. 

x by Angela See

On most days, I am strong and live in the comfort that everything I do has the intent of moving on to true independence and living my life as freely as I can, contrary to what she wants for me.

But today, I am very tired. I worked almost 12 hrs with a crappy, passive-aggressive, micromanager of a boss, I wasn't able to work out, and came home only to listen to her talk to me on the phone for an hour about how money is so important, and about her distorted ideas about what monetary "emergencies" are. 

But tomorrow is a new day and I owe it to myself to just enjoy the rest of me life.

whatever by Angela See

A couple months ago I tweeted about going through a rough patch and signaled for help, and I realize that I don't ever, ever have to come out about it, but you know what? Fuck it. This isn't a situation I chose at all, and I'm angry as shit. This audio bit was recorded on that day I had reached out to twitter for help. Long story short, my mom was angry because I didn't change into an outfit she liked, she started screaming at me and throwing things, I freaked out and left to get some space. Sounds like a weird fucking story, right?

My mom has something called Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and if you don't know what that is, it's a cluster B personality disorder where someone mentally cannot empathize with others, which ultimately leads to an unrealistic inflated sense of self. It's rarely clinically diagnosed because people with NPD cannot physically believe that anything is wrong with their character and constantly project onto other people, but it's not difficult to figure out either. There's no cure for it and it's a completely terrible disease that is unfortunately really common in our society--a lot more than a lot of people would like to believe (Donald Trump is a fun/scary example). I'm coming out with this mostly for myself, but also just in case anyone is having or has had a hard time with toxic "loved ones". If you want to read more about it, check out this link that's specific to narcissistic mothers. 

So how has her condition affected me specifically? There's a whole fucking novel's worth of ways in which she has fucked me over, especially during my childhood. Long story short, she is both emotionally and sexually abusive to me, and has been an all-around toxic person, and ever since I figured this out, I've noticed that a lot of my flaws that exhibited in some of my relationships are correlated to the covert (and sometimes very overt) abuse I've had to face.

That's probably really shocking to most of my friends who have met her. In fact, I've gotten a lot of, "But she supports your education, gives you a house to live in, food to eat, says she loves you, and doesn't hit you!! She's not abusive she's just having a hard time being a single mother! She's so nice to me!!" and as a side note, if you feel like you're in this category of people and don't want to try to understand a situation you're not directly a part of, then I implore you close this and stop reading right now because there is no point. Abuse doesn't have to be physical. And when dealing with emotional abuse from someone who raised you needs more than just a "suck it up" and move on. It's much more complex than that.

I'm completely aware that I am living pretty comfortably and I'm privileged to be where I'm at today. Don't get me wrong, I'm so goddamned thankful, but that doesn't make the bullshit I have to face less important. I've always known something was really off about her, but growing up, I was stuck to the idea that family was meant to love you unconditionally no matter what. I thought the yelling and screaming, calling me names, the adult tantrums that she threw when I was a young kid was a part of love. So I accepted the yelling, berating, the inappropriate comments, and the immediate turnaround in her personality once there was a 3rd party involved.

It wasn't until about a year ago that I realized that there was something sincerely wrong with her, and I can attribute my exposure to a bunch of different sciences that are both social and biological which helped me figure this out (+ the internet lmao). I eventually found out about NPD and almost 95% of everything I read hit home so hard, oh my god, and no, this wasn't one of those "I googled symptoms and was told it was cancer/pregnancy/life-threatening illness" situations. Everything from PubMed sources to anecdotal stories from other people who put up with people with NPD were all stories and descriptions I could have written myself. 

My first reaction, for the first few months at least, included freaking the fuck out and having this constant, lingering anxiety around knowing someone who I thought had loved me actually just uses me for validation--Oh, which by the way, is the function of NPD. People with this disorder have a terribly distorted view of "love" where love, to someone with NPD, is a one way street. So I'm expected to jump bridges for her and she's only going to do "supportive mother things" (e.g. send me to a good school, feed me, etc.) because it looks good to other people and would look really bad if she didn't.

Some of those bridges I had to jump for her include having to emotionally support her and myself when my dad (who was chill af) passed away. I also apparently have to do everything the way she wants me to do it (i.e. talk the way she wants me to, dress the way she wants me to, clean dishes the way she wants me to) because when I don't, she gets batshit angry and tells me that I don't love her. Ugh. For so many years, I tried so hard to prove that I loved her, because I felt like I really did, but basically nothing I did was ever good enough for her because everything I did had to be on her terms and by her standards (which is a pretty common mindset for a lot of Asian parents, but still, totally don't agree with it).

I don't do that anymore. I don't try to show her that I love her anymore because I don't love her. And wow!! So shocking!! I know!! To choose to not love your mother!! But she's your mOM you're supposed to love her!! Yeah. Not after years of being treated like shit and discouraged from everything I want to do and be in life. That's not what a mother should be imo. And the fact that she does have a condition is really tricky. I've decided that I care for her as a human being but can't love her as my mother. It's not completely her fault that she's like this, but at the same time I have full conviction about whether I want to allow this bullshit in my life or not, but goddamn if there weren't days where I wished she'd turn around and actually, sincerely showed that she cared for me. 

My point is, it's been a rough year of dealing with this heightened level of abuse, learning to let go of my desire to have a parent who loves me, learning to be more independent at an unexpectedly faster rate, and realizing that I myself might have had a distorted sense of self-love and relationships because of the environment I grew up in. But after all the researching, mourning, hours of therapy, and reaching out to the right people, I am finally starting to feel like myself again, and I have a way better grasp on the person I believe myself to be vs. the failure of a person my mom wants me to be. I feel like I'm learning to genuinely love myself and in turn, learning how to love others properly and slowly weeding out some of the toxic behavior that I might have picked up from growing up with my mom.

The situation at home is not any better, and based on patterns I already see and evidence from journals and other case studies, it will only get worse. My mom lives to control the person I am because taking "care" of me, controlling what I do/say/wear, using me as someone to project her emotions on, making me cry when she wants me to makes her feel powerful. And now that I'm gaining control of who I am myself, setting boundaries, and not buying into her crazy-making bullshit like in that phone call, she is continuously losing it. It's fucking scary, but I'm getting a better handle of myself.

All that's left to do is to keep trucking on, keep living my own life, and concentrating on all the good things I've got going around me. Thanks for reading this through. 

- Angela