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Happy birthday to me

It’s my birthday today. The day I’ve been dreading. I’m 50 years old today. I haven’t been dreading being 50, age is but a number. No, I’ve been dreading my birthday. Granted I have never been one for birthdays – I hate being the centre of attention despite what my step-father says.

When it’s your birthday you are suppose to revel in the spotlight, everyone expects you to behave in a certain way. You’re supposed to smile and be happy all day but I just don’t feel like it, I haven’t even got up yet. I will have to in a minute – I can stay in bed all day. But then I will have to put on my birthday face, be all excited about gifts and cards my nearest and dearest have bought for me. Except this year it’s different. This year there will be no birthday wish from my mother, not since she disowned me. My sin, wanting to be well.

It is now nearly thirteen weeks since I last heard from her and far more weeks since I saw her. The last text message she sent me was to say that all the disgusting abusive text messages my stepfather, her third husband, had sent were sent to me with her full knowledge and blessing. It was also to explain in graphic detail things my abuser, her second husband, had done to her. These things she could tell me, she said, because she was never going to see me again. I can only assume it was to make me feel that her life had been much worse than mine therefore justifying her renewed hatred of me and nullifying any pain I was feeling. After all, the abuse I had suffered was my fault – her words.

As I am writing this I have now reached the evening of my birthday. The day has been quite pleasant, more pleasant than I thought it would be. My husband, children and my stepson have made it their aim to make me feel special. The cards they purchased had lovely handwritten messages of love in them – cards have always meant far more to me than gifts. Words from the heart mean the world. To have them in my life I am blessed.

My pain has been terrible today though. Not even my strongest pain killers have worked. This normally happens when I am really stressed or depressed so taking into account the day, I don’t think that should come as a big surprise to me. It took me a good few hours and a very hot bath to make it down the stairs to see everyone.

I heard nothing from my mother today. I do find it amazing that despite all that my elder brother has put her through and trust me when I say it is a lot, his birthday has never been forgotten. My crime has been to try and get well and finally put my past behind me. She obviously meant it when she said she could no longer have me in her life.

Depressed and fed up

I’m in a foul mood and I don’t know why. The slightest thing makes me snap – I feel like a grenade waiting to go off. I couldn’t even face going to therapy yesterday. Admittedly I am in a lot of pain at the moment so that gave me the excuse I needed. I’ll have to pay for the session anyway, lack of notice but even that didn’t stop me. I just want to go to bed and wake up in about ten years, maybe even longer. I haven’t even got the energy to cry.

For example I took my daughter horse riding and cane back to find my husband painting the bedroom doors upstairs – we are currently mid decorate of the hall, landing and stairs. Now most women would love a husband that just gets on with the decorating but he didn’t think how daughter was doing to get in to have a shower. That put me in a crabby mood. Now I just feel pissed off and ungrateful.

It’s my 50th birthday in four days and as the day approaches I just feel more and more fed up. I mean what a year, I’ve managed simultaneously to lose my parents and my ‘best’ friend. Granted my mum disowned me because I started therapy and she can’t cope with it. As for my ‘best’ friend, I have absolutely no idea as she just stopped all contact with me without explanation. So it must be me right? I am the deciding factor in both cases so surely it’s my fault.

I had such high hopes for this year but it’s even more crappier than the last one. My husband has planned a special day for me but I really can’t be bothered. I don’t see any reason to celebrate being here.

I hate everything about me, my new hair cut, (should have left it the colour it was, appointment made to change it back); my weight, (bulimia in full on mode at the moment as it has been since my mum disowned me 12 weeks ago yesterday); my body, (fed up with being in constant pain all the time despite all the meds I take), basically I hate ME.

Self pitying moan over.

If only we could buy happiness

‘Happiness can’t be bought’.  That is what the Dalai Lama said.  ‘Mental peace cannot be injected by any doctor’.  I read that in ‘The Little Book of Wisdom’, by his holiness the Dalai Lama.  It would be wonderful though wouldn’t it if we could go into a shop and purchase happiness or place an online order for some.  But then again that would then make it only available for those who had monetary resources available to buy some.  The rest of society would be poor and miserable,

Happiness comes in many forms.  For me it is when my life is on an even keel, no short sharp shocks or nasty surprises.   Or when those closest to me are happy, that brings me pleasure.  Finding happiness is one of the many reasons I am slogging through EMDR therapy and it is a slog.  There are many days after my weekly session that I wonder what the hell I am doing, why I am putting myself through it.  After all I have lost so much with my decision to do it but I have gained so much for myself.

The changes in my personality might not be noticeable to others but I notice them.  It takes more to rattle me and I am calmer when rattled.   I used to bite when backed into a corner, fight or flight they call it.  But now I seem to be able to pause and take a breath, taking time to decide what to do or say.  And it does bug the ‘rattler’ because an argument is hard to carry on when it is one-sided.   Don’t get me wrong, I still get rattled but the number of times that a situation escalates is much lower than previously.

EMDR also makes you aware of situations that have deeply affected you that until that point you are completely oblivious to.  By processing this you clear space in you mind for the happy memories to come through, things that have been long forgotten.

Maybe when all this is over I will finally find the happiness and inner peace I have seeked for so long.

They know not what they do

I haven’t posted for a week.  To be honest I just haven’t felt up to it.  My physical ailments have been shockingly bad this week, must be the colder weather, a cliche but true.  The pain in my joints has been unbearable and my medications aren’t working on them.  And my right elbow keeps dislocating in my sleep and now I think a nerve has been trapped so I keep dropping things with my right hand and it throbs all the time.  As for for mental state this week – I think the least said about that the better.  Classic depressive symptoms this week folks,  extreme low mood, no enthusiasm to do anything, prolonged bouts of crying and so irritable I can’t even stand to be with myself!

As usual I had my EMDR therapy session on Wednesday.  Was a belter this week.  This week we processed my earliest memory.   My reaction to this memory came as a complete shock to me, I didn’t realise it had upset me to the extent it had.

Shortly after I was born my mother and father separated.  Now in those days the handling of children in divorce was far different than now.  I say that with experience being the mother of three children who have had to deal with the separation of their parents.  Thankfully their father and I have managed to maintain a strong degree of maturity when it comes to any issues regarding our children.  This is mostly borne out of the fact that we both come from ‘broken’ homes, divorced parents.  Back then things were very different, as you will soon learn.

I was around two years old when this memory takes place.  My elder brother, who was around four at the time and I, were in a room at the local Social Services office where amongst other things, visitation and custody arrangements were fought out.  On this particular occasion my brother and I were sat on chairs in the middle of the room.  As I remember it the room was huge, but most likely this is down to the fact we were so young and scary situations make everything far larger in the mind than they actually are.  My mother was sat one side of the room and my father was sat the other.

This brings me to my birth father.  He was the proverbial Peter Pan, never wanted to grow up and never did, well not that I know of.  Until I was four or five he was in and out of my life bringing chaos with him.  I next saw him when I was almost twenty one and he left me life again almost as quickly as he had entered it.  But that story is for a different day.  As much as he loved us and I believe that deep down he truly did, he was a crap father, but I still wonder on the odd and I mean very odd occasion what became of him.

Anyhow, I digress.  My mother was one side, my father the other and us in the middle.  In front of us on another chair sat a member of Social Services.  I cannot remember anything about them, just that they asked questions of us and we answered them.  Then we were asked the question to end all questions, “who do you want to live with, your mummy or your daddy”.  I mean what the hell?   What kind of a question is that to ask of any child, let alone two small children, neither of which were over five years old.  My mum just started crying, my father started yelling at us that she didn’t love us and that she only wanted us to annoy him.  We chose my mother.   I don’t know why.  Maybe we knew how much she loved us, maybe it was because of what my father was saying.  Maybe it was both.  Ironic then how my life turned out based on that decision.   My therapist asked me if I thought my life would have been better if we had chose my father. That’s a question we will never know the answer too.  I wouldn’t have been abused or witnessed my mother being severely beaten on a regular basis, that is a given.   But, he was after all the proverbial Peter Pan, who knows where we would have ended up.

I am now an orphan, not on paper maybe but in my day to day life I now have no contact with either of my parents.  That may be by choice but it still hurts like hell.  It is my fiftieth birthday in a couple of weeks and this will be the first year I have no contact with my mother.  I can still not fathom how she can treat me the way she has or how she can say the things she has said.  Maybe in time I will understand but I don’t think any amount of time will explain her actions to me.

When someone ‘ghosts’ you

I’ve been ghosted. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s when you text someone who you considered a friend and they don’t answer you, so you text again, wondering whether everything is okay. No answer, so you text again. Nothing. You have been ghosted, cut off, dumped, without explanation of why or what you have done.

This week my ‘best friend’ ghosted me. I have been dumped without any reasoning as to why. I don’t know what I did to warrant such action. I just know our friendship is over. Googling ‘ghosting’ on the internet brings up numerous articles. They all same the same thing, when someone ghosts you it is about them not you. I hope so.

What devastates me more is that it is ten years since I let a friend get that close to me. Ten years ago my best friend passed away suddenly at the age of 39. It took me ten years to reach a place where I was comfortable enough to let someone in. I though I had found someone I could trust but I was obviously wrong.

Having not heard from her for a few weeks I texted her. It has been the school holidays and I know she is always busy. I had texted her a couple of times over the vacation and she had said she would be in touch when the children were back at school.

The thing is in the past she has told me how she disposes of friends she has tired off. First she ignores texts leaving them ‘delivered’ but not read. Then she reads them so you know she has but doesn’t answer. My next step was to phone. She cut me off. Now I’m not talking dozens of texts here. I’m talking a couple. I have absolutely no idea what I did because she won’t tell me. I have racked my brains. You start to make excuses for people who ghost you, maybe they are having a hard time, going through their own stuff. But all it takes is a text saying ‘not up to contacting anyone at the moment’. What kind of a person does that to someone. Not a friend.

I’ve deleted her number. Not for her, for me. That way I won’t be tempted to contact her again. She said I was the best friend she had ever had. Obviously not.

When parenting fails you

I finally lost my mother two weeks ago today. The devastating thing is she hasn’t died. She just doesn’t want me in her life anymore. She cannot cope with the knowledge of what happened to me all those years ago and how it has affected me since.

When I started my EMDR journey I knew it would be difficult. I also knew that I may lose people along the way but I never really believed I would lose my mother as part of my life. Very early on in my therapy I told her what I was doing and not to worry if I kept our contact low key. I reminded her I loved her, always had and always would. I did this for her. I didn’t know what issues my therapy would bring up and certainly didn’t want to say things I couldn’t take back.

Sexual abuse started for me when I was six years old at the hands of my mothers second husband. It ended the day I was called a slut and thrown out of my family home two weeks after I started dating my first boyfriend. I was two months shy of nineteen. I was certainly not a slut, that boyfriend went on to become my husband, father of my three wonderful children.

The first time he abused me I told my mum. I can still remember the day vividly – it’s not one you would forget. As a mother myself I look back now and put myself in the same situation asking myself what I would do. I would take my child in my arms and tell them I believed them, that I loved them and that it wasn’t their fault. Then after exacting severe bodily harm to the perpetrator, I would take my child in my arms and hold them in my arms until they could cry no more. I would seek help for the damage caused

When you fail as a parent

I would do anything for my children. As parents we all want our children to grow up and be well,  healthy adjusted adults. One of the many comments my stepfather made to me in his messages recently was that I was going to ensure my children grew up to be as screwed up as I was. Lord I hope that isn’t true. If it is I would gladly end my life now. But you see at this precise moment in time I think he may be right.

I’m out in my car at the moment – I’ve gone for a drive. It’s 10.00pm. I’m parked up in a public car park watching everyone come and go. I wonder if everyone’s life is as **$$ed up as mind is right now. My eldest came back from University last week. I was frankly scared of him coming home. How sad is that. He has changed so much in the last year. Now I know why. He has stopped taking his medication for depression. He has suffered with depression for over 12 of his 23 years. He has been through a hell of a lot in his own right and that is without having me as a mother. He doesn’t think he can finish his final work. Frankly I couldn’t care less. He is worried about the money. I couldn’t care less about that either. He is far more important. But I have emailed his tutor to see if they can help. So that’s child one.

Then we have child two. He had a breakdown when he was 11, seven years ago. He was being bullied at school. Got that sorted or so I thought. Then during his final year at school he started self harming. Found he had made a suicide plan. Devastated. He underwent private therapy for that. He seems to be okay now. He is doing well at college, has lots of friends but I always wonder when he will dip again.

Finally we have child three. I nearly lost her to meningitis when she was six months old. She was hit with Chronic Fatigue when she was seven after a bout of Glandular Fever. Recovered but Chronic Fatigue came back with avengeance two years ago. She hasn’t been at school since. I have been home schooling and she has a tutor. Her mood seems okay but she has had her moments.

So that’s me, Mum of the Year, aren’t I. Their father says I’m a good mum, that life is responsible for what has happened to them.  If that’s the case why do I believe it’s my fault.  Lord knows I have tried, I do try so hard to not let my own experiences mar their childhood but right now it seems my stepfathers words are coming true.