Wednesday, 27 December 2006

enough

Blast *. That SO didn't work.

I love my parents - I really do. They are, when on form, loving, supportive, wonderful. But when they're not ... sometimes the idea of visiting my Ma gives me the blue yips and I just can't do it.

So instead of driving to Somerset today, I had a panic attack. Blasty blasty blast blast. And then I read all of Neverwhere. And now I am on my third glass of FABULOUS apricot wine.

However, in the interim, I have rung Ma and had a chat with her; and she was very sane - pretty mackerel, really.

This is so hard. (Apart from this being a quite drunken ramble which I may delete when I've thought about it tomorrow). Most of the issues I have about not coping with stress come from Ma. She hates Christmas. So I hate Christmas. It's genetic.

When we were growing up, we lived on the farm, next door to my Grandmother - Ma's mother. She hated Pa, with a vengeance. She used to come in to the house when Ma and Pa were out and go through their correspondence. She used to ask us all about their relationship. How Pa was treating us. I used to hide upstairs when I heard her coming across in front of the house - she used to wear an old-lady net scarf and my grandfather's wellington boots; and they were three sizes too big for her, so they shlusshed-shlussed-shlussed across the gravel.

The telephone was a party line - and when we were speaking on the phone, she would pick it up and listen in. You could hear her breathing, breathy, flem-filled, as you were talking.

At Christmas, she and my Great Uncle would have their dinner plated up, in their own side of the house; and we would have ours in our side, a Chinese Wall between the two.

It was horrible. Horrible.

I hated it.

I hate going back. It's like the nursery (it's a seven acre horticultural nursery/smallholding) is preserved in aspic. All the bad feeling, all the stress, all the emotions; they're still there. Pa is 89 next week. When he officially retired , nearly twenty five years ago, he wanted to sell up and go somewhere smaller. Ma won't leave. She's 71 next year. She's constantly tired, because not only is she Pa's primary carer (with attendance allowance), she's also running a business. She's constantly angry at life, for not dealing her a hand of eternal youth.

And yet I love going back. The way the hills look in the morning. The smell of the fields. The view down the valley as you clean your teeth in front of the open window in the morning. The greenhouses full of chrysanthemums (which was my first word, apparently) and tomatoes and the places where the old greenhouses have been taken down and are now planted with pick your own raspberries.

I am torn. If I go back, they suck me in to their world of irrationality - the hiding from the real world, the not doing anything sensibly, the tying things up with binder-twine - metaphorically, emotionally, physically - rather than dealing with them properly.

I miss Pa. He doesn't speak much on the phone. Ma is too impatient with him most of the time to help him. He's sane. He's normal.

He's old. I am going to lose him soon. And in a way, I've already lost him; because I can't BEAR to go down and see him, for the fear of being sucked back in to the madness that is my mother's and my sister's life.

And today - Ma was so nice. So understanding. So supportive when I said I'd had a panic attack about going away from home. I can't tell her why I can't come down. It would hurt her so badly. And when she's there for me, she's there. She once drove for five hours, at ten minutes notice, to bail me out of an abusive relationship and then stayed with me for three days in my new digs while I cried.

But when she's not there and I am expecting her to be - it's like a blow to the solar plexus. Like the time I told her I'd been date raped and she said "I expect he couldn't help it". I can't rely on her. She has her own things to deal with and she doesn't always have time to help me with my things.

As an adult, I understand that.

As a child, it hurts so much. Are we ever, really, wholly, an adult?

Am I selfish? Or am I just doing what I need to do to retain my own sanity? How much do you have to give before it's enough?


*NOTE: No 'bollocks'! :).

15 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Dearest Ally, that hurt to read, because it was so articulate, rational and passionate. And, for the same reasons, it is absolutely wonderfully written. Poor Pa, poor Ma, poor you.

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  3. I don't think that we ever really grow into adults as such. A part of the child will always remain inside of us. Our childhood forms part of what we now are, our parents also gave to us something that now makes us what we are.
    It is very difficult dealing with people as they don't always do what you expect them to do and you can often be dissapointed by what they do. But, as we can't totally shut ourselves away from society ( although some days that is a nice thought ) we have to use a bit of adult logic and bite our tongues, grit our teeth and soldier on.
    It doesn't always work and it doesn't always make the pain of dissapointment go away but what else can we do?

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  4. I don't think that we ever really grow into adults as such. A part of the child will always remain inside of us. Our childhood forms part of what we now are, our parents also gave to us something that now makes us what we are.
    It is very difficult dealing with people as they don't always do what you expect them to do and you can often be dissapointed by what they do. But, as we can't totally shut ourselves away from society ( although some days that is a nice thought ) we have to use a bit of adult logic and bite our tongues, grit our teeth and soldier on.
    It doesn't always work and it doesn't always make the pain of dissapointment go away but what else can we do?

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  5. What everyone else said. I feel just the same conflict about going home to my father's house; I love being there but it's like driving back into my own past, and there are bits of that which I'd rather leave in the past. Sorry to hear yours caught up with you a bit, but it sounds like you managed a good compromise in talking on the phone.

    And no, I don't think we ever fully stop being the child we once were. I always thought that when I was older than twenty-one, the world would be a rational, ordered place for me; instead, I find it's just as chaotic, irrational and mysterious as when I was four!

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  6. What everyone else said. I feel just the same conflict about going home to my father's house; I love being there but it's like driving back into my own past, and there are bits of that which I'd rather leave in the past. Sorry to hear yours caught up with you a bit, but it sounds like you managed a good compromise in talking on the phone.

    And no, I don't think we ever fully stop being the child we once were. I always thought that when I was older than twenty-one, the world would be a rational, ordered place for me; instead, I find it's just as chaotic, irrational and mysterious as when I was four!

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  7. What everyone else said.

    I keep meaning to ask my mother if she feels like she's an adult yet. She's 77.

    Maintain your sanity. We only have one you.

    At the same time, though, do what you can to see your dad. Mine died last year, and I still kick myself for being inattentive beforehand.

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  8. What everyone else said.

    I keep meaning to ask my mother if she feels like she's an adult yet. She's 77.

    Maintain your sanity. We only have one you.

    At the same time, though, do what you can to see your dad. Mine died last year, and I still kick myself for being inattentive beforehand.

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  9. Ooh! Can I second what sanbreakity/onyxblue1 said? "We only have one you" and your readers cherish you dearly!

    Soon be next year!!

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  10. Ooh! Can I second what sanbreakity/onyxblue1 said? "We only have one you" and your readers cherish you dearly!

    Soon be next year!!

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  11. Ma's rung both yesterday and today and we've had a good chat, so I feel better. And we've arranged to go down and visit in a couple of weeks, which coincides with Dad's birthday.

    I'm glad it's not just me.

    And Steg - you didn't have to delete your first comment; it was from the heart and that's what matters x.

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  12. Ma's rung both yesterday and today and we've had a good chat, so I feel better. And we've arranged to go down and visit in a couple of weeks, which coincides with Dad's birthday.

    I'm glad it's not just me.

    And Steg - you didn't have to delete your first comment; it was from the heart and that's what matters x.

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  13. Ally - feel for you. My relationship with my mother is complex and full of false hopes. I have for much of my adult life been trying to 'fix' her, as a child would. My father died suddently when I was 14, she nearly died of breast cancer the same year, went into a deep depression from which she has never really recovered. My job...to make it better for her, or that's how it felt. Childhood never really leaves you, I guess, but eventually we have to take the conscious decision to let it go. But then it took 18 months of therapy to get me to that point!

    But I'm glad you can find the good memories too hon. Those childhood experiences sound horrid, I can only imagine what it must have been like to be little in that setting. And your parents (like my mother) sound like they have left a lot 'unresolved'. Try and bring the good stuff to mind, see your dad if you can, block (ie refuse to accept, emotionally) the irrationality or the insensitivity of your mum...?

    And have a lovely New Year :-)

    (PS Grew up in Somerset too)

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  14. Ally - feel for you. My relationship with my mother is complex and full of false hopes. I have for much of my adult life been trying to 'fix' her, as a child would. My father died suddently when I was 14, she nearly died of breast cancer the same year, went into a deep depression from which she has never really recovered. My job...to make it better for her, or that's how it felt. Childhood never really leaves you, I guess, but eventually we have to take the conscious decision to let it go. But then it took 18 months of therapy to get me to that point!

    But I'm glad you can find the good memories too hon. Those childhood experiences sound horrid, I can only imagine what it must have been like to be little in that setting. And your parents (like my mother) sound like they have left a lot 'unresolved'. Try and bring the good stuff to mind, see your dad if you can, block (ie refuse to accept, emotionally) the irrationality or the insensitivity of your mum...?

    And have a lovely New Year :-)

    (PS Grew up in Somerset too)

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