Does anyone else get triggered by your birthday? I don’t think I have blogged about this topic because I don’t want to reveal when my birthday is, and I typically only think about this topic near my birthday. However, a conversation with a friend over the weekend reminded me how difficult my birthday is for me every year, so I thought I would write about it today.
My birthday falls during a challenging time of the year for me. For those of you who have read my blog for a full year, you know that (sadly) covers a large portion of the year. Because my birthday happens to fall near another time of year that is triggering for me, it is difficult for me to determine how much of the triggering comes directly from my birthday itself and how much is the cumulative effect from other triggers.
Regardless, my birthday is always a difficult day for me. I would prefer to stay curled up in my bed under the covers and sleep through the day. I feel “off” the entire day. I feel like I am being put in a spotlight that I don’t want shining on me. In my head, I appreciate that I have a lot of people in my offline life who care about me and want to celebrate with me. In my heart, I just wish I could hide and not hear “happy birthday” all day. I put on my “game face” and do my best acting on my birthday, pretending that I am OK when I just want to disappear.
I am not sure why I react that way. Perhaps it is because a birthday ties into the connection with your mother, a connection I don’t want to think about. Perhaps I suffered ritual abuse on my birthday – certainly a possibility.
Despite all of my parents’ failings, they always celebrated my birthday. I got a birthday cake each year along with presents. I have no conscious memories of my parents (or anyone else) being cruel to me on my birthday. I cannot explain why I loathe it so much, only that I do.
My aversion to my birthday does not tie into aging. I am actually happy to grow a year older. Each year that I age, feel less like a potential victim. The older I get, the less “attractive” I am to predators. So, my issues are not tied into fears of getting older or of being one year closer to the grave.
I don’t know why my birthday bothers me so much, only that it does.
Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt