Friday, 10 October 2008
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...