Friday, 10 October 2008

Part #20

OK. So, sort of a confession in that I didn't go to see my counsellor on Monday as originally arranged. But I did reschedule and went this morning, which I feel was better for me: have a ten day break as opposed to a seven day one.

At 5am, I woke up in a bit of a panic about it. My stomach went into knots, the sweat started pouring out of me and I fretted for a while, thinking up excuses as to how to postpone again. But I eventually fell back to sleep for a short while before the alarm and resolved to go, come what may.

I drove there very sedately - normally, I drive like a frenzied madman, rushing to get to places and snarling at anyone on a bike who is in my way. But this morning, I wound the car window down, took it 10mph below the speed limit and marvelled at the fantastic colours in the autumnal trees. It really has suddenly become spectacular around here - no doubt it is due to the torrential rains and then the beautiful, warm, early autumn sunshine we have been lucky enough to have for a whole three days! The reds, oranges and yellows are quite breath-taking and the early morning, dewy smells just make me want to bottle them for future use.

I felt hollowed out this morning; flat as a pancake; sick to my stomach and so very, very sad inside. Ian had spoken to me at length last night about things bothering him and I listened intently, without interruption or judgement, so he felt he could speak without fear of recrimination, condemnation or an argument. I am glad he feels able to talk to me still. If the lines of communication between us break down, then we are in serious trouble, but luckily, we both insist upon talking to each other and make a big point of this.

I wasn't sure if I would be up to talking for an hour. I am in utter agony today with my legs, hips and pelvis. Climbing any steps or stairs is an effort; my heart is banging out of my rib-cage; and I feel weary. I anticipated that all I would do was sob, I felt so rotten.

I surprised myself! I shed nary a tear, and even had a few laughs with Sue at certain points. As last week, she was kindness itself. Attentive, empathetic, understanding and personable. I do like her, very much. And she'd had the decency to read this blog as I suggested, so she could get a bit of background to me without my having to repeat myself. I was really pleased about that. Many people say they will read stuff you have written, but don't bother. But she had taken the time and for that I was very grateful.

We spoke about the time since our last meeting. Ian and I had a very good weekend, but Monday and Tuesday were nightmares - quite literally, as on Monday night, I sleep-walked twice, spat invective at him, and had no idea what he was on about next day. It knocked him for six and we had a very edgy 24 hours together.

We spoke at length about my relationship with my parents and my concomitant guilt about everything. I was always made to feel guilty about everything if it didn't conform to my parents' high standards. My guilt, I sort of discovered today, from my own exploration of events with Ian later, is deeply manifested in the way my mother spoke to me. I was constantly being told, if it wasn't for me, she would have left with my brother and been a happier woman: gone to secretarial college; met a new man; made a life for herself...but I was in the way, eight years younger than Paul.

She and my father rowed explosively. On a regular basis, I had no idea what atmosphere I would be returning home to: animosity; acrimoniousness; silence; maybe easiness? As Sue described it, it was 'chaotic'. Whenever they had rowed, my mother would confide in me and tell me, in great detail about what they had argued over. Some things she told me should never be divulged to a small child or even a teenager. I grew to despise my father - but then, I was terrified of him and his violent temper anyway, so any excuse to hate him further sat well with me. But it was one-sided. I only ever heard her point of view.

She told me about something which he'd said once, which I have never forgotten and which has always made me feel very queasy and uncomfortable. I'm not certain what age I was, but I was still 'innocent'. My father had brought some fresh fish home from the kitchens at his work, taken a seat on the bench in the garden upon his return from work, put the bagged fish under the bench, and promptly forgotten about it. A few days later, having sat in the summer temperatures, that fish was starting to stink. The pair of them sat on the bench one evening and my father remarked on the fishy stench. He then turned to my mother and told her to close her legs as he didn't like the fishy smell.

At a young age, I had a vague idea what was going on with this comment and it sat very, very uncomfortably with me. I didn't want to hear my mother being subjected to such an obnoxious statement and I didn't want to know that my father had said it. I should never have been told it: full stop. I always have to ask myself, though, was it really said, because my mother is a past master with lies.

She lied to me dreadfully when I split up with my ex-partner (let's call him 'Richard'). Told me he had rung her and said he couldn't abide me; I was driving him around the bend; I needed to be put away - words to that effect. Indeed, I discovered 12 months ago that it was she who had called him and ranted without him able to get a word in edge-wise and told him to keep away from me. And she led me to believe that he hated my guts. I was shocked when he told me the truth some time later...And I was even more shocked that she admitted it about three weeks ago in our last (ever) telephone call, with such calculation, chill and utter lack of remorse or apology.

Sue and I went on to discuss the control issues I have. The controlling influence my parents have had on me, making me apologise for every single 'mistake' - I will apologise to anybody for everything. I feel guilt for everything. Even today, she quoted an eminent American psychologist to me and I asked if his name was 'with a K'. She replied, 'No, a C'. 'Oops, sorry,' I blurted instantly. 'Why are you apologising?'...and I felt so stupid. I could feel my ears burning with shame that I had done it again. Apologised when I didn't really have to.

My father has told me on three occasions that he has a stake in my life. This is due to the monies he gave to me to buy this house. Both me and my brother were given the same amounts to purchase our houses. I refused my money for some time, suspecting that I might be held to ransom, but they played the guilt-card over the girls, saying that they needed a 'decent home' in which to be raised and admittedly, house prices in Cheshire, at the time, were way over the top for somebody in my position. So, I eventually accepted the money and it was proferred as a gift and I was assured that my brother would receive exactly the same amount.

I was never allowed to forget it. Every 'manly task' I asked my father to do for me was done with the smell of burning martyr. If I offended him, a piece of paper would be pulled out of his back pocket with all the work he had done and how much it would have cost me had I hired a tradesman.

I do everything for my daughters, without wanting a penny's recompense, and I would imagine that most parents are the same as me.

My brother doesn't speak to my parents any more, either, I believe. There was an uneasy reconcilation in January last year when my mother was taken into hospital with pericarditis. And it has fallen flat again. He once described living with them like 'being on Monserrat'. Before this uneasy reconciliation, he was cut out of their will. I was consulted about the exclusion and said I wanted no part of his share - I told them I thought they should attempt to make amends. They did try, and he wasn't interested, but I still insisted that those monies should not go to me or my daughters.

So, at the time, they re-wrote their wills. And put conditions onto their legacies. Rosemary, Bethan and I would have to undergo health checks and blood tests to ensure that we had no history of smoking, imbibing alcohol or taking drugs before any inheritance was released. When I heard this, I scoffed and said, Well, I'm not giving up smoking! So you might as well bequeath my share to a charity. The girls have been told, in plain English, their conditions. I have spoken to them on an aside and said, Well, you know my feelings about drugs and smoking, but what I would do, is stay as clean as possible and then order a few Magnums of champagne once the money is in your bank account! They just shrugged their shoulders. They won't ever go without and if their bitter, twisted grandparents want to control them from the grave, I don't think they are actually going to manage it as they are secure with me, Ian and, indeed, Anal.

More conditions have been imposed today. Ian took Rosemary to a counselling session which she has had to attend since her overdose. It was her last session today. But Anal has been playing up again and 'the other woman' has also attended a meeting in order to persuade the counsellor to see that Bethan is being unreasonable. 'The other woman' and Anal now think a meeting between them and Ian and me is in order. Ian snorted when told this and I did, too. So, we all sit there, four 'mature adults'; they knod their heads knowingly, agreeing with everything this weird beardie says, we dispute it as we know what these girls go through, and are then made out to be the unreasonable ones. And why the hell would I want to see her? She sports teeth which she is breaking in for a racehorse and her legs are on upside down (her ankles are fatter than her thighs - and that is how Anal once described her, prior to their tryst!). She also betrayed me immensely. So, no, I don't want to see her, nor do I want to talk with her, in any way shape or form. They are the most duplicitous pair I have ever met. They say whatever the counsellors want to hear and then do the opposite 'in real life'. 

We've just had a chat with Beth and I have heard some heart-wrenching stuff from her. She needs our support and she'll bloody get it. And the CAMH counsellor will hear it too, in a letter from me. If you have to fight badness, you have to fight it. And I'll fight for my girls until the bitter end...

More tomorrow...


Mars said...

sounds like it was as bad as exposing children to pornography....
as you realize by now, i'm not very fond of your mother.

Karen ^..^ said...

The best thing about all of this is that you now, as an adult, realize that your parents were complete and utter failures as a couple, as parents, and as human beings in general. None of it can be taken personally anymore, as they are just both so incredibly pathetic. Best thing to do is break their "imagined" hold on you, and tell them you don't want any part of thier dirty money. Tell them that thier deaths alone will be enough to make you smile. No money needed. LOL.

It sucks that they still have a hold on the girls, and Anal encourages it.

And NO, you should not be subjected to the "other woman" Total cow, she sounds like.

My ex used to do that all the time, make fun of large women, and then he ended up marrying one, and treats her way better than he ever treated me. I'm not bitter. I will always be grateful to her for relieving me of my biggest problem in life. She despises me for no good reason, but I'll always secretly thank her. :)

Anyway, I am very glad you had a good session today. She sounds brilliant, and very good at what she does. I tend to over apologize too. People would get irritated with me, but it was a compulsion I was not even really aware of. It is a difficult habit to break when you aren't even aware you are doing it.

It is almost a way to assume control of how a person will react to something you've said or done, I think. Because at one time in our lives, a very long time, every single thought, word, or deed was misconstrued, twisted, and used against us. How are we to break the compulsion to apologize and try to state our true intent?

It is all of these little things (seemingly little, but not really so little) that add up to so many big huge things. The guilt is the worst. The absolute worst. Being told that you are not wanted. Being told you are a burden. The psychological torture your parents casually lobbed your way should be enough to have put them away for life. But so many people are walking around free for crimes more monstrous than what others are incarcerated for.

My hat is off to you, Annie, for fighting this very difficult battle. Please know you are not alone. Every single one of us is on your side, pulling for you to get better, recover from this, mind and body. we love you, kiddo.

Annie T AKA Agnes Mildew said...

Mars: That's quite a perceptive statement. It did have connotations of filth. Being privy to such a sexual statement was very unsettling.

Karen: I pretty damned sure that my name isn't mentioned in any wills any more! But as I have said to Ian, I wouldn't want it, anyway.

No, I shan't be attending any meetings with 'her'. What's the point? What good will it do? It's supposed to facilitate better communication but a) she isn't the girls' parent (she's not married to Anal and only sees him 4 nights/month!) and b) why do I need to communicate with her? Anal just puts the phone down whenever he hears anything he doesn't like. He'll say whatever the counsellor wants him to say. Rubbish!

Breaking that guilt is going to take a while. 38 years of conditioning doesn't happen overnight unfortunately, but I'm happy to work at it!

Thanks for your support x

may_be said...

Great to hear the session went well. You can get through this Annie, and your determination is impressive!

The importance of keeping those communication channels open cannot be understated. Most of my bf and I's problems erupt when we haven't been speaking about how we are feeling. It can be hard to listen to the other person say how they truly feel, but I always remind myself how strong our relationship is that we can do that. You'll both get there together, just keep talking :)

And your mother sounds like a witch. I have read your posts concerning your mother in disbelief that anyone can exist who can be so devoid of understand and so manipulative. Strength to overcome that also.

MelissaS said...

i wish my boyfriend could understand my eating issues. or even what eating issues are.

i'm struggling today, and he just doesn't understand. he gets mad at me when i'm feeling dysfunctional.

my past haunts me.

Bob J said...

I hope you will excuse my fasination, but it simply amazes me to hear about the manipulative ways by which your mother attempts to navigate life. It's absolutely remarkable that she should approach situations the way she does. But people (all of us) develop our "style" of dealing with things for good reasons I believe. So there must be a good explanation for why she would turn over and over again to methods that are so transparently offensive and manipulative.

Perhaps her relationship with your father is simply a reiteration of previous relational experiences she had ? Experiences where she was forced to use any method, no matter how crude,and no matter what the fallout, to gouge out even the slightest sense of control over her life. Maybe she was raised in a family where those kinds of controling techniques were the only dynamic that existed. Where love and care was weakness and counted for little, and only opened one up to further abuse, exploitation and manipulation. I may be totally wrong about this,as you have mentioned little about her own childhood, but it's very difficult to imagine that she developed this style on her own.

While it's hard not to feel sorry for her (look at the life of losses and personal rejection she has suffered, and continues to suffer as a result of her style)it in no way erases or eases the toxic effects she has had on you and on others.

You are right to both define it, as well as to physically distance yourself from it as you attempt to repair the very real damage it's done.

Shit is shit, but unlike some shit this is just ain't the sort we can just scrape off our shoes overnight.

Linda and her Twaddle said...

How interesting that your father keeps notes on what he has done for you. My father did the same with all of us. Notes with all the dollar amounts he spent - right down to buying dinner! He always had to use that information as an emotional tool. No wonder, it is not as though his fathering techniques helped form any genuine attachment.

I really need to say (and not for the first time), that your parents are decidedly unpleasant.

Annie T AKA Agnes Mildew said...

May: Yes, the communication is very important between couples. Neither of us have always been good at this and sometimes it can be easier to keep things bottled up, but it never works out for the best. The more I write about my mother, the more I feel ashamed of her and sickened by her.

Melissa: Thanks for your visit and you should now have an email from me.

Bob: I think her own childhood contained a lot of violence and very little affection. Her father was aggressive, her brother (who was actually very kind to her) battled him a lot and her mother (who I remember) was not a warm person. However, it is not impossible to try to be a different parent. She has criticised my parenting incessantly - and I know it is because it is poles apart from her own. And I am relieved about that! And you're right, shit does happen and sometimes I feel like I am moaning for the hell of it...but it does help me see things more clearly and get some objectivity at times.

Linda: I recall saying on HME ages ago that your father and my mother should get together and keep some psychiatrists in business. I uphold that still!

What I still cannot fathom is that although neither of their children want to have anything to do with them, their grand-daughters avoid them like the plague and my mum has fallen out in lumps with most of her family, she still believes herself to be 'Untouchable'...most normal people would be doing a bit of soul-searching by now, wouldn't they?

thewishfulwriter said...

I'm so glad to hear you and Ian have such a commitment to talking through what hurts you both. That's the biggest key to a successful relationship, particularly when you have something like an ED sharing your union. I know it was a tough time for both of you and it's good to hear you all came out on the other side :)