I haven’t been writing or reading of late. It feels like life is trying to change gear, but I’m currently parked in neutral.
Within the last few weeks, I’ve started the Metallization Based Therapy programme (MBT). I have one group session each week as well as a one-2-one.
I suppose the beginning of therapy is about recounting and explaining our life experiences, while laying the foundations for unravelling the pain. I imagine the proceeding weeks will be more about connecting with the feelings and that’s the most difficult part of all.
I’ve started therapy three times over the last 15 years, but have never got past the generalisation. The first thing to raise its ugly head is always the painful and very confusing memories from childhood. It seems there is a conflict of opinion between my parents and me.
Both my parents are snobs. They believe they are better and above everyone else. They would constantly proclaim,
“We are the best parents”
“You are from the best home”
“You don’t know how lucky you are”
Tragically, my own reality was something very different. The conflict of opinion can feel like I’m living in a parallel universe; their version – v – the reality.
My Therapist is called Paul. The moment we met, I knew he was the Therapist for me and over the first three sessions he is certainly living up to my expectations. This is what I told him during session number 3.
I am just realising that my mother’s behaviour was very different to when my Dad was around. He was also a bully and sometimes violent, but it didn’t seem to affect me as much as the memories of an abusive mother.
Mum would always have a short fuse. As children we learned very quickly to sit and play quietly. This is something my sister mastered, I was always the rebel.
“You would break the patience of a Saint”, She would say while justifying her actions.
The bursts of violence would see her slipper make contact with whatever part of our body she could reach. I would often run and dodge the violence, but my sister cowered in the corner and usually came off the worst. It has taken over 40 years to realise that these outbursts never happened when Dad was at home.
When my sister started school, I was two years old. Just the age when Mum said my behaviour changed.
“You were a fabulous baby until you reached two and then there was nothing but problems”
All these years, I have tried to fathom what it was that apparently changed my behaviour. Now I realise it was all about Mum being left to care for, and entertain, a toddler, something she only wanted on her terms.
“You fucking wee bastard, I wish I’d never had you”
Countless times she would scream this in my face whenever I had the courage to step outside those terms. I can still see the red anger in her face, the venom spitting from her lips.
My “mischief” usually started while she was asleep in bed. As soon as my sister left for school, Mum would see it as her entitlement to go back to bed for a rest and woe betide me if there was any noise or if I got up to anything I shouldn’t. For a small toddler, those boundaries are difficult to recognise, let alone understand, and trouble would often ensue.
Her words would cut through me like a knife and they reaffirmed my belief that I was unwanted. I often heard my parents during full blown arguments, often about my behaviour. I could often hear her say, “He was a mistake”.
I remember one day she was standing at the window watching for Dad. I was about six years old and sitting on the couch playing quietly.
“Mum, was I a mistake?”
She thought long and hard, those seconds felt like hours.
“Well, you weren’t a mistake, but you weren’t planned either”
The anger I harbour is tremendous. Oddly it’s not about the violence or the abusive words, but more about the conflict of opinion. I’m guessing that healing means feeling the emotion that I felt back and giving myself permission to own it. Those things really did happen and they contributed to ruining my life.
They say we need to forgive before we can heal and move on