I have tried for over a year to establish a meaningful conversation with my children and failed miserably. So this was my second christmas without them anywhere – no cards or presents from them – no contact at all, except for a difficult phone call with my son.
Then the thunderbolt hit…..
not only was I lied to consistently and inconsistently throughout my childhood, the very same person has lied and lied to my children about me , undermined me for the whole of their lives and now they believe that the lies told about me are true and that I must be a despicable person as they have been indoctrinated to believe.
Imagine for a moment, if it is not your own experience, that you were raised by absent parents in a total of 31 homes before you reached an age when you set out alone to university in a country you barely understood, and had not much lived in.
Continue to imagine that you arrived in this country at a time that a murderer was abroad in the city you went to university in and that then he murdered your friend. Imagine being so unworldly that you joined ALL the political parties and greedily soaked up all the agendas laid before you.
Imagine, or remember, the Thatcher years and graduating to no job and no prospect of one, not only because of the economic environment, but also becase your own political education had led to radical activity.
Imagine having a breakdown, following rape and returning to your parental home in another country and getting pregnant to a soldier, shortly after being at Greenham. Imagine being taken to have an abortion and then giving birth to the most beautiful son and your parents trying repeatedly to claim ownership of him.
Then I left home again, got a job and bought a house. I raised my son alone, with little help from family or friends, except for the odd visit to criticise my housekeeping and indulge the child with material possessions and things I did not agree with.
I married a man older than my father, had his daughter, raised his grandchildren and then discovered that he had been seeing another woman all along. Imagine every relationship you ever had being abusive and controlling.
Nonetheless, I achieved professional and social success ( magistrate, school governor, respectable lesbian neighbour, community worker and local political activist) and I raised my children to think independently, I tried earnestly to suport their decisions and not judge them when they did things I did not approve of (got drunk, behaved in a racist manner, broke the law, stole, refused to go on to 6th form, joined the air cadets, failed to study or work, took up with people I did not think good for them)
When my children were 10 and 16 I took Larium to attend my sisters african wedding and became very psychotic
Imagine a psychiatric hospital where no history is taken and where you are diagnosed incorrectly and punitively treated and repeatedly sectioned whilst your children are becoming adults. Thousands of children care for mentally ill parents, mine did not. As soon as I was able I went back to work and tried to put the tatters of my life together again. Shortly after I was working my partner walked out and precipitated another spell in intensive psychiatric care. I returned to work a second time after 18 months absence, and lasted about a year.
It was too hard – so I sold up and travelled about, ending up at my sisters with a diagnosis of HIV. I never ever wanted my children to find out. Not in a million years. They believed that my mental illness was my evilness, manifest. They had been given details of a whole other childhood, in which everything I had ever done was seen as a manifestation of my dangerous craziness, rather than just surviving.
Imagine meeting a man who really loves me and having him defamed by my family after all he had, himself, gone through. Imagine being arrested when your sister crashes into your car and held in cells overnight. Imagine being threatened with death by your brother in law. Imagine leaving everything and fleeing to Scotland and being homeless for ten weeks.
Imagine speaking to your daughter and being told you are dead and that some crazy woman is harrassing her.
Imagine being told by your almost daughter in law that you are sick and thank goodness your kids have your sister and father to help them.
Then imagine trying to talk to your son and being told that he knows you lived in squats with him and led him a dangerous and unsettled life – and that your family cannot be abusive, just because he remembers you playing happy families with them for his benefit.
So I sit here, exhausted, furious and very sad. Wondering if any of this will ever end and if I will forever be estranged from those I love most
Meanwhile I contemplate the perceptions of the council’s homeless service of the crazy lady and wonder how many months it may be before my “urgent” referral to community mental health services will take, and whether ESA will ever pay me and what exactly to do about my employer and occupational health
so I thought I would blog, but is this a blog or just a flash in the pan?