life family change survival

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Part Two

My brother’s school plays and Christmas perfomances, were attended by me and my first boyfriend.  I don’t think it even crossed mother’s damaged mind to consider attending.   A 17 year old attending in place of her mother.  It was me and my boyfriend that would take him out for the day to the seaside or take him to the zoo.  I was eight years older than my brother, and I felt more like his mother than his sister.  That has continued throughout our lives.  It has been me he has turned to when he has needed support or advice.  I have always been happy to be there for him, as he has for me as he grew into a young man.

At some point I was finally told that my father had left to begin a new life with another woman, far away.  Apparently he had met her during a work contract in Asia.   The idea of being with her, with no children, just the two of them was what he chose.   He was to tell me many years later that his GP told him if he stayed he would become mentally unwell, and that was what spurned him on.  He had got to a point in life where he was unable to cope with various stresses and problems in his life.  So leaving to start again with someone with no baggage or ties must have seemed a very attractive option.    I had thought him dead all those years when I had not been told anything of his disappearance.  Now I wonder why I did not ask my mother what happened to him.  I became a very frightened child, very withdrawn, shy, lonely, zero self-confidence.  I did not ask anything, just did what I was told.

A timid mouse.  That it what I see when I look back from the time my father left until probably I was in my late teens.  I was made to sleep with a knife under my bed by my mother.  She was neurotic and a very anxious person.   Ironically the knife she made me keep under my mattress was brought back from one of my father’s trips abroad.  I think it was some kind of dagger, encased in wood,very ornate. Extremely sharp.  I am surprised I never thought of using it on myself at the time.  No, the only tricks I tried on myself were the cutting off of my lower lashes and binge eating.  Later on, came more serious attempts to harm myself and end the pain and loss I felt. My heart had been broken for the first time when my father left.  It has never been mended. It’s too late.

I must be a good parent to my children.  I must not leave.  Disappear.  Vanish.   I must not put my own needs before my children’s;  like he did.   But alas I fear it is too late.  My selfish actions.   They have been told what I did. They did not need to know.  It didn’t involve them.  It was not about them.  Now I have broken their hearts.  My already broken heart is now shattered.  A piece of glass smashed to smithereenes.  No amount of glue will ever make things better.  At times I feel I cannot go on, knowing what they now know about me.  I am no better than my own father. I am his daughter, through and through, and I have done even worse than him.  The selfish monster is now me.


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Now I am older, I understand (I think) why I cut off my lower eye-lashes.   I was 10/11 years old and I now believe that I was so traumatised and in need of help that is why I did it.  Father had vanished and I wasn’t properly told why or where he had gone.  For many years I thought he was dead.  Mother did not cope well and lashed out at me and my younger sibling, both physically and also there was emotional neglect. I became like a mother to my sibling and my mother treated me more like a friend at times, and not in a good way.

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Where has she gone?

“Goodnight Mummy Lovey”.  That was what I would say to her at bedtime.  I loved her so much.  She loved me too I thought.  If she had loved me, how could she just stop?   That is what she did though.  Mummy Lovey turned into “Mummy, please love me”.  Which turned into “Mummy, how could you”?  Followed by “Where has Mummy gone”?  In her place was a cold, distant, and sometimes cruel, woman. Not just to me but also my younger sibling.

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Well it didn’t have to change.  It was his choice to make the change.  That change affected so many more people than just him. His selfishness caused devastation.  Was it selfish though?   I thought so for many years.  Now I am not sure.  Now I can see where he was coming from.  Save your self by leaving, or stay and make yourself unhappy and the others plod along none the wiser, but happier than they would have been if you had left.  The effect it had on her?  That fateful day was to cause an emotional decline. Actually it was more of a standstill.  Ceased.  Cut-off.  Gone. For a long, long, time.