A few days ago I wrote a long piece about parts of my life and how things in my past affect me currently, I never got around to posting that piece because I still haven’t entirely got my head around this new way of editing that WordPress has set up recently. It seems that if I were to cut and paste my blog entries into WordPress admin, it will not allow me to change the font size or colour, well not easily for me and I have tried to get my head around it and I can’t. So being that all my posts are done via Microsoft word first and foremost, I have to tell you that all of my posts henceforth will be in white font and the same size.
I shall say it all again anew, because upon reflection, there were a lot of vital points I missed out in the first draft. All my posts on this blog are first draft, except for this one.
Due to growing up in such a controlling atmosphere and in relative isolation, I was never given permission to develop both independence and individuality. I didn’t manage to move away from my mother until I was twenty seven years of age and I didn’t fully break physical contact with her until I was thirty and only recently stopped contacting her altogether since Easter of 2019, aged thirty six. The break was difficult, not in a sense that it was emotionally pulling for me, but in the sense that it was truly difficult to break ties with someone who was so stubbornly controlling and persistent.
I started to develop my own fashion sense around 2012 but it still isn’t fully honed and a lot about the past me, was never really me. Not the true me. I was the image of which my mother wanted me to be in looks, behaviour and likes and dislikes. Her control over me was complete. What I liked in 2012 are not things I like now, in fact, I learned that since I am not expected to like or do those things, I actually detest them or at least dislike them enough to rarely bother with. Simple things such as the type of music I liked, the type of programs I watch regularly, the food I choose to eat, just everything.
Nobody can understand how tight the control was over me. How even how I spoke and the way that I spoke were not really me at all either, they were reflections of my mother’s expectations. Growing up and even as an adult I was always terrified of doing anything outside of what my mother approved of, even if it was something as trivial as accidentally dropping a tiny piece of paper on the floor in the living room whilst going to the kitchen bin. I lived in constant terror of what would happen if she noticed, or worse, what would happen to me if I did something I didn’t notice I did, like dropping the tiniest piece of paper on the floor in the living room whilst going to the bin in the kitchen. My mother has extreme OCD about cleaning, tidying and minimalist culture that her hands are often raw and sore for how much she cleans them and she is the type of house cleaner which never wears rubber gloves when scrubbing the house top to bottom in bleach!
I lived in a very sterile environment for both, physical, mental and spiritual growth as well as personal growth in an individualistic sense. My doctors blame the way I grew up for my weakened immune system. My mother was immaculate about everything, social services often commented on how thick the air was in the house with the stench of bleach that they needed to sit by an opened window or simply try and talk to us on the doorstep or at the centre. I was not the sort of child my mother would allow to go into the garden and play in the mud, although gardening was encouraged there was a fine limit to what I could and could not do out there.
Along with this strict cleaning regime and isolation was her ideology of never immunising me for anything – I never knew until I met Paul that I am lucky to be alive as an avid gardener because I have never had a tetanus shot. I didn’t get chicken pox until I was twenty one years old, shortly after I started work as a trainee classroom assistant and I never got the nursery school child’s disease, hand foot and mouth until my own son, Henry was three years old! I got my MMR vaccine when Henry was born because the midwife was astounded I never had it and was surprised my pregnancy was as healthy as it was when there was a measles epidemic in the area.
My therapists are often surprised that I am not as mentally damaged as I should be considering everything I have gone through. I am most certainly damaged, but in their opinion I am doing surprisingly well for someone who has had the life I have. I like to think it has something to do with books. The types of books I read from the age of eighteen onwards were very helpful to me. Reading was the only thing my mother never interfered with and always encouraged, but she never had an interest in what I was reading so she never really knew what I got from the library every Friday afternoon, even though she would take me there and wait around an hour. I read sparse snippets between my never ending chores and over half the books I read and still do read to this day are self-help non-fiction books. Books about taking charge of your own mind, you own individuality, your own life and cosmic ordering and mental strength enhancement etc. I never made the decision to break away from my parents and share my life with the world until I read a book called “Toxic Parents” by Susan Forward; until I read that book I had the belief that with sheer determination and patience, I could convince my mother that I am safe in the world and that I know what I am doing and that I can be whatever I want to be and that it’s going to be OK, because I still love her and would care for her much better if she just let me have a normal life. But the book showed me that I was simply fooling myself, like all children who want their parents to love and nurture them do. It isn’t until a large chunk of the child’s life has gone does the child realise that it is fruitless living in hope that such a controlling toxic person would ever change, especially if they don’t see a reason why they should! The book suggested that I broach two things with my mother and depending on her response, I would know if there really is any hope for us. So, the book asked me to ask her the two questions I wanted to. A – Please give me permission to live the life I want and to go out without asking your permission first as I am an adult now. An B – tell her what I hope for our future relationship and some pointers to help my mother change a little so we can cooperate together. My mother’s responses to A were a resound NO and her responses to B were why should I be the one to change? You see she didn’t understand that I wasn’t changing her personality, I was only asking her to change how she treats me and to let me live a normal adult life; I was thirty years old when I broached this with her and I had a three year old child who often saw his mother in tears after every visit and phone call from her mother! Because my mother would try and talk my child into believing that mummy is stupid and foolish and fat and then she’d try to spoil him with candies and gifts.
Basically I learned from those two questions, that she would never change, our circumstances would never change, in fact it would get worse as she would come between my child and I and make an unhealthy relationship there too.
I knew for the sake of my child I had to stop contact with her, because she was encouraging dangerous behaviour in my toddler, it shocked me because she is usually an uber cautious person regarding children, but I often wondered if she did this, to get my son out of the way, to make me lose him by showing others how incompetent I am and using her old card of mentioning my nervous breakdown when I was an adolescent and saying, she has mental health problems, she is unable to care for a child – see, this is what has happened to her son. I lulled this over for a few weeks, then my mother encouraged Henry to climb up and jump off the dining table, she tried this a couple of times and I demanded it stopped, she went home in a grump. When I was cooking dinner Henry climbed the dining table and called me, he wanted to jump into my arms like my mother was encouraging him to do when she was there in her arms – I didn’t get there in time and he smashed his head on the furniture on the way down and we rushed him to hospital for stitches!
A couple of days later I sent him to play group and the family support worker saw what happened to Henry and asked me about it, I explained and told her about my past with my mother and she told me, if I didn’t break contact with her she would feel it was her responsibility to call child welfare because my mother is endangering him. Many abusive parents do end up abusing their grandchildren if the parent is still easily coerced by them. I agreed and decided not to return her phone calls from that moment onwards. I knew if I confronted her directly she was likely to become upset and would drive 100 miles to come and see me eye to eye and wouldn’t be very diplomatic about it either. Yes it was a coward’s way, but it was the best way to handle her.
Anyway, it took seven years for her to finally get the message I am not messing around. In 2015 my brother found my blog and told her everything I had said on it, I deleted a lot of it, because I was threatened. But I learned through legal advice that being I would have reports on my mother’s behaviour from doctors and social services that my mother and brother wouldn’t have a leg to stand on in court as I would have a lot of evidence against her – not only that but there are people in my life who would vouch for how aggressive she has been with them in the past too, in fact quite a few.
Why am I sharing this right now? Because I am going through a self-designed therapy to find myself; to develop my personality, to develop independence, confidence, life skills, social skills, art skills, writing skills, I am trying to define myself. I am trying to find out who I am and what I like, I am tasting many spices of life and I am dipping into all sorts of new things in an attempt to find what is me and what isn’t me!
There is a lot to work on. My personal image, my behaviour, my reactions, my morals, my ethics, my beliefs, my sense of style and wants and needs – all these things make a person and I was never allowed to be a unique person. Not only was I supressed by a controlling mother who wanted to mould me a certain way, but I was supressed by religion too. I believe in a God, but I won’t dedicate myself to a religion nor talk about any kind of definition of them other than, they are a creator. I regard myself as a humanist, despite some superstitions I have and pagan ways I might have and despite my belief in higher beings. I know it sounds paradoxical but my life is pretty complexed. I don’t know the proper words for many things and I often know things, but don’t know their names, if you understand me?
Mentally I suppose I am still like a child, at least in a lot of ways I have a childlike innocence about me, because of my lack of social interaction over the years. But to call me naïve, foolish or even stupid, that is wrong – because I have seen more and experienced more than most people have in such a short time. Though my life has been an isolated one, it has not been without its brutal experiences both personal and observational. Another thing which surprised my therapist – the things I have gone through in this country, the things friends and family have experienced which has mentally and emotionally affected me, lots of things an average British person would not experience in normal circumstances. Such as, knowing more than one person in your family or friendship circle who has been murdered, knowing of many women who have been raped or serially raped, knowing drug abusers, knowing prostitutes and criminals, seeing an animal killed in front of me, having strangers attack you, being raped, a very late miscarriage I had to hide, surviving a bomb explosion near your home, witnessing people having mental breakdowns, flaps and suicides, witnessing people having seizures or being brutally and fatally harmed, being a victim of racial abuse, being wrongfully accused of thieving and attacked for it, being forced into a Jehovah Witness membership as a teenager by a relative, having run ins with cults and gangs but not willingly involved with them, just wrong place at wrong time, being a victim of domestic violence and held underwater and sorry to say these are just the tip of the iceberg of my life.
Every wondered why I rarely talk about my life offline? There’s your answers – it is difficult to talk about these things, but when you have grown so used to extreme violence in your life, you become so hard and numb to it all that you don’t wobble or cry about it anymore and when you tell the average Joe about it all and you don’t show an emotional response, just blankness, they presume you are lying, because you should be in tears. It’s utter rot. The more you go through, the number you get, and you learn to switch off.
Some people get frightened about this, they think it is a sign I could be a psycho. Hilarious and ironic, me the psycho, not the people in my past, but me, the victim who doesn’t cry, they’ve been made into a psycho, they might be capable of horrific things if they don’t cry. Society really has to change their perception of how they believe a victim should behave. Some people live such rotten lives so regularly that to sit back and cry is not only a waste of time and energy, but it also becomes fucking dangerous! You cry and those who made you cry will make you cry again and again, they will keep on hurting you. Some abusers hate it if you don’t cry, it sends them mad, but eventually, if you persist, they give up. I’ve learned this, but I learned it the hard way. The hit you harder and say worse things to you to get the response they want, you can’t feed their desire to break you or else they’ll never leave you alone.
I remember the times I cried in front of my mother, it made her laugh and satisfied, sometimes she would find my fear so hilarious she would try it again and again, as my fearful responses amused her. I learned when I was fifteen to stop showing fear, suck it up and zone out and concentrate on imaginary things whilst she is at her worst and although she is purple faced bellowing in mine and slapping me across the face, as long as I concentrate hard enough on my imagination, she could not get what she wanted. You can do it, you can concentrate on your imagination so intensely in brutal times, that you can literally remove yourself spiritually from that time and place, but you will come back and feel the bruises and see the exhausted bully in the corner in tears because it didn’t get what it wanted and then you will see how childlike they really are.
So, I am trying to keep them far behind me. I am trying to define myself. Who am I? I want to share my development here on my blog, but I am also afraid to do so. I feel so silly and immature explaining the depths of my self-therapy, but I also feel I need to do it too.