I wrote a post called “The Confessions of… me” a while ago. It was a difficult post to write because when I started this blog I was scared of how people might view or react. I wrote about holidays, of how I was writing a book. It was all happy fluffy bunnies and rainbows.
One day it hit me that while I was doing this I was just trying to mask what I really was about or was thinking. I sat down and just started to write, to get out there some of the things I was. It was strange to start putting it out there and usually I would look it over an edit, changing words around, correcting spelling mistakes etc… but in that post I didn’t. It was emotionally draining, after I wrote it I just hit “Publish” If I read it back now I see a ton of grammatical mistakes but I’m not going to fix them because it’s just as it is, raw.
Now I have come to another point in my journey. Yesterday I wrote a simple post on Facebook because it suddenly hit me that this year I wouldn’t be receiving a Christmas card from my mother… I did a little jump for joy! Good!
Every year my mother would send me a Christmas card, in it would be a little note: “Dear Claire, Hope you are well. I guess you still don’t want to talk to me. Geoff is fine. I see Dad but he’s not well, don’t think he’ll make it past Christmas. Love Mum.” This was her gift to me every year since I have been here in New York. I think you’ll agree the note is very warm, heartfelt and just filled to the brim with emotion. This is a woman who has been emotionally abusive, psychically violent and manipulative throughout my life. I’ve found it comes with a mental health term too! It’s called a Narcissism and Borderline personality. Hey! who knew? It turns out there is/was a reason for the behavior over the years.
Now I know you think I’m being harsh but a couple of calls came into me recently. One was an attorney who asked if I wanted to bring criminal charges against her because apparently I could. Secondly, I was asked to be a speaker at a child abuse event called Shattering the Silence Tour in Harlem in NYC. The first call knocked me sideways a little… think about it have your own mother arrested! Secondly, do a Child Abuse event? I wasn’t sexually abused as a child so how could I be of any ‘real‘ help? It made me think though, especially when I’d had an attorney call me. It turns out there are more ways to abuse a child. There is emotional and physical abuse.
Let’s see, emotionally abused… Would that include the following?:
- Your father suffers from a brain aneurism, never to fully recover and be placed into a nursing home, then to be told every month by your mother he’s dying and not going to make another 4 weeks… Every month for 10 years?
- Your mother says that if you move to be safe from a stalker threatening you and your children’s lives that she’ll pull Grandparents Rights in court so that you can’t move, that if he kills you and the children… Well at least your graves will be nearby…
- When you do move and find safety, to then call your children every morning and evening, telling them how Grandma misses you, cries on the phone, makes your children feel guilty for not ‘being there for Grandma’ and feel the need to return back to where they left to be safe with daddy because “Your mother’s not well”
- Tells everyone she knows that you are so mentally unstable that you will kill your own children.
- Telling an ex-boyfriend’s mother you’re pregnant when your not just to “Get back at them!”
- Telling your ex-husband that you are mentally unwell as a Manic Depressive (Now more well known as Bipolar) should be put in a strait jacket and locked away. That if you get ‘Out of Control” then simply ‘Hit some sense into her.’
- Tells friends and family lies about you so that they will walk away, not wanting anything to do with you because after all ‘You are mentally unwell and a danger to society.’
- You are told: You will never amount to anything in life. You are not pretty, just very plain. You will never be a success at anything and why couldn’t you be more like her friend’s children? And the best one?… This was repeated a lot to me: ‘Whore.’ That last one is a pretty easy to understand, an all encapsulating word.
- Screaming at someone very close to you for having a miscarriage, as if it was all their fault.
Those are not all, just a few as a taster… You see Narcissists will play a game of life so that everything revolves around them. My mother played it well, Oh poor me, my daughter is deranged, poor me! In the 2 phone calls she made to me in 10 years one was during Hurricane Sandy, if I’d picked up the call it would’ve have been a coffee clutch talking point, “Oh poor me! I have a daughter going through the hurricane!” See how that works?
Physical Abuse? Lets see…
- Punching, kicking, pulling your hair, throwing objects across the room at you, like knives, forks… A hot iron. Example: You’re at an operatic event which you father is taking part in. It’s held in a small cricket pavilion filled with elderly people looking for an enjoyable afternoon. You tell your mother after 2 hours you have to leave. You try to make a fast exit because you get “The Look”. You make it to the small foyer with your children, only suddenly behind you, to get pulled down to the floor by your ponytail. She’s screams words like “Bitch!” very loudly so all the people stop talking to listen as to what is happening. Then come the punches, kicks, hair pulling and scratches. The memory is now rather vague as to who it was who pulled her off me.
- Throwing someone very close to you through the front door (Which was closed at the time) maybe I should re-phrase that one and say: Used someone very close to me as a ‘battering ram’ through the glass door so they landed in the front yard…
That’s just a couple of memories. Then there are some which I thought were normal until my husband pointed out that actually they were. To be given Green Label ale on holiday as a treat. That started when I was six. Christmas treat was being woken on Christmas Eve and given a martini and chicken sweet and sour at midnight because it would be good for me. Martinis really don’t taste that great when your kid.
In England we call soda fizzy pop and juice is mixed cordials. These too were treats because we were normally given tea and coffee. When I was 7 years old I was told that the milk and sugar wasn’t going to be in the coffee anymore because allegedly it was bad for me, since then coffee has always been black, no milk, no sugar, drink of choice. Hey, you end up staying with some things you grew up, thinking it was normal for a 7 year old to drink black coffee, right? It’s funny now because doctors tell me not to drink it, a habit that’s been with me now for 41 years… Get real!
I stayed ‘good and true’ to my mother after dad became sick, knowing what it was like being alone and scared. We did have one argument. I just wanted her to admit to the 10 year love affair she’d had. She’d always called him her ‘friend’. Please, I too have friends but don’t writhe around naked on the dining room floor with them in the middle of the day! That one was embarrassing to witness… I called every month to see if she was alright, to which I’d be told “Your dads dying”. I would hang up and cry every month, until my uncle told me to stop it, to kiss her goodbye.
I mourned my mother quietly for a week, that weekend I sat around the fire pit with friends, taking her photos I placed each one into the fire and said goodbye to her. Wishing her no harm, now or in the future. Sending her blessings and love.
She has introduced herself to my friends in the past as the ‘Wicked Witch of the North’. I know she likes to think of herself as a bitch to be reckoned with. The last few times that we spoke, two years ago she said she was going to marry Geoff because the pension she was getting just wasn’t enough money for her even though she said it would be like having to kiss a toad. Oh! don’t feel too bad for Geoff, he gets something out of it too! He moved from his mobile/park home into a brick and mortar house which she managed to get out of the divorce from dad.
Now let’s see… Back to the Christmas note. My reply would be: Dear Mum. I’m fine. I really couldn’t give a rats ass if Geoff’s okay or not and I know Dad’ll make it past Christmas cos the Nursing Home tells me so when I call there, Love Claire”
Do I forget the past now? No. Do I forgive? I say be careful because ‘Forgiveness’ can be a heavy word to carry around. Seriously! you see how many letters make up that word! Especially at Christmas time (giggles)
For the record, I am not nor have I ever been a Manic Depressive or Bipolar. My hat goes off to those who are, it must be incredibly difficult to live with and they are real heroes for coping with it.
Do you have a Narcissistic or Borderline personality parent?
Do you dread Christmas because you know there will be one family member to turn it on it’s head?