So. I have had an epiphany. (OK I must stop here to brag that, apparently, I spelled epiphany right on the first try. Go me!). About Grad school, or possibly about my advisor.
See, my advisor and I butt heads a lot. She is a very confrontational, controlling person, and I won't stand for any bullshit. It is very stressful.
But I realized...it doesn't have to be stressful. I care too much what she thinks of me, and it distresses me that she doesn't respect my professional opinion. But I realized...she doesn't trust ANYbody's professional opinions, even those people who have years and years more experience than her. Why should she respect me scientifically when she can't respect her scientific superiors? No, that would be illogical.
When I started in this lab, she pushed for a much closer relationship than I was used to, and I think that was to my detriment. She said she sees her students as her kids. That she wants to protect us from failure. This has fucked with my head bigtime. I allowed myself to think that this was true. It's not. It was a device she used to try to get me to open up to her, and a device she uses to justify her paternalistic behavior towards her employees. In all fairness, I think SHE thinks it's true, but it isn't. Or, to put it another way, if she treats her actual daughter the same way she treats her employees, than she's a pretty shitty parent. But if I can sever this "close" relationship and move towards a professional one, like I had with bosses before here, than I can protect and distance my emotions from her constant negativity. I will never have her approval, nor should I desire it. She is not, and should not be, a parental figure for me. Her approval or respect don't matter. As long as I can finish my thesis and get a decent recommendation letter out of her once I go job hunting, nothing else matters in the meantime. I will no longer let her manipulations, her misreadings of my personality, and her berating my not being perfect bother me. Screw that noise.
And you know what? I've been living with this new attitude for the past week, and I feel great. For the first time in 3 years I feel the knots in my stomach loosening.