Spoiled/Spoilt (256)

I hate this word, and I hate how it frequently gets used by the parents of children that are ‘misbehaving’ or being ‘demanding’.

Because when you’re the parent of a child that’s throwing a tantrum over not getting what they want, or being generally difficult and obnoxious, and you’re getting angry and shouting at them and shaming them and telling them they’re a spoilt brat, how do you think they got that way? A four year old that has learnt to get exactly what they want and refuses anything other than that, hasn’t become that way by him/herself. Children aren’t born spoilt, they don’t come out of the womb that way, it isn’t a part of their DNA, it is something that they have learnt through a lack of proper parenting. And so the anger and cruelty that you hear coming out of parents’ mouths whilst shaming their child for being a way that they have learnt to be under their own parenting, makes me crazy and so mad. Because it’s not a childs fault if they have gotten what they want so far in life, because they are the child, and it’s not their responsibility to set the boundaries for what they can and cannot have, and what oversteps the mark into ‘being spoiled’

…….

Short sidetrack to google and find out what the difference between spoilt and spoiled is….nothing. Apparently Americans (here’s looking at you pocketcanadian) use spoilt, but we brits use both. Who knew? Not me.

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The other thing is what does being spoiled actually mean? I guess I googled it because I was thinking about how over here I think we use the word spoilt more in terms of what someone would call a ‘spoilt brat’… someone who is demanding, and refuses to not get exactly what they want when they want. Someone not used to hearing no, and refusing to accept no as a reasonable response. A phrase generally used for kids…so yeah, just ugh to that. It bugs me.

Spoiling somebody isn’t necessarily a bad thing though is it? Saying you want to spoil somebody for their birthday, or because they’ve had a rough go and could use some love and support. Which just makes me think its such a stupid word to use, because doing something like doesn’t make somebody ‘harmed in character because of being treated too leniently or indulgently’, which is the definition google is giving me. I just think it is a dumb fucking phrase.

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And finally, the personal bit….My mum in particular likes to tell me and other people about how I’m spoiled. So no shit I hate this word. And yet I have never been one to act in a spoiled way, I’m just not like that. When we were kids we didn’t just get pocket money, I used to work in my parents business, or earn money doing jobs like cutting the grass. We didn’t go without anything that we needed nor plenty of things that we wanted, not because of acting in a spoiled way, but because they were freely given. Private schools were paid for (whether you wanted to go to the local comprehensive with your friends like I did or not), Expensive gifts were given, whether you asked for them or wanted them or liked them or not. And you never said no to them, that was extremely rude and ungrateful. And that’s the thing…it’s a catch 22 with her. Because it doesn’t matter if you don’t want it, or how much you tell her not to, if she decides shes going to give you it (because she’s a narcissist and it makes her look good), you’re getting it. And I’m actually very grateful, and have always been grateful for everything I’ve had from them. I just don’t like the implication that because you are freely given things you never asked for, you’re spoilt.

Finally, (I promise I’m nearly done and will shut up soon), things in our house were given to make everything ‘okay’. I think there was a genuine and very kind and loving desire from my parents that we would never go without anything, but things were also given to placate and guilt you into forgiving and forgetting other things. You weren’t allowed to still be upset if you were given a gift, in fact you would have to show just how grateful you were. For example every single week my dad would bring back gifts for my mum and me from the airport on his flight home. For my mum it was for his own guilt over the women he was sleeping with whilst he was away, or simply to get a peaceful weekend, like the gifts for me were. But as it happened, I was happiest when I was just given a bar of milka chocolate (yum), when I didn’t have to express how grateful I was all the time, and when I could just spend time with my dad guilt free, eating chocolate.

Affirmation (159)

People who have grown up in abusive families tend to have missed out on these growing up, I think. Maybe they totally clung to them whenever they received positive affirmations from people, or maybe they dismissed them, refused to let them in, shrugged them off as not truthful, they are only saying that because they don’t really understand, they don’t understand all the reasons you’re actually just terrible. Some people do both; I did. Both clung to any slight positive affirmation thrown my way, and refused to truly let it in. Voices inside my head citing off every single reason that the person was wrong to say what they did, backed up with the data of every single time everybody else said something bad to you, or wasn’t there.

Now, particularly when I’m young, I need (too) many of these from people that I have let in. (Which is not very many people – only pocketcanadian and my therapist). Sometimes my shame surrounding this feels crippling…because to me asking for affirmations – that I’m not alone, that my hurt is justified, that I’m not bad, that I’m loved, or even just that I matter, my hurt matters; all of it feels needy. It feels weak.

In both mine and pc’s circumstances, our parents are acting like nothing is really wrong. It is crazy-making. Like truly *crazy* making. I’m sure there are unfortunately so many out there that know exactly what I mean, and I can’t begin to sufficiently express how insane it makes you feel when your family are carrying on as though everything is just dandy. In my case having no doubt as to the abuse actually having taken place (after all, I didn’t tell them, they merely asked me to confirm it), but nonetheless having a family dinner complete with my abuser, as though we are one happy family. Most of the time I know that they are the crazy ones, but sometimes i start to truly question my sanity…have I lost it? Did I tell them? Am I imagining all of it taking place? Or are they right, is this just not a big deal but I’m making it into one?
This is maybe the most hurtful part of it all.

And so, my point to that last paragraph, was that having somebody by your side, rooting you on, confirming that yes, that really did happen, and yes they really are doing what they’re doing, and no my love, you are not the crazy one, they are the crazy ones, the crazy is theirs, not yours…Having those affirmations, is invaluable, and without it I don’t think I would be here. It feels like when you take the stabilizers off your bike for the first time and you have somebody running alongside you as you cycle…you’re still so scared, still unsure, you still don’t feel totally safe, but you know there’s someone right with you, keeping you going, there ready for when you fall, reassuring you.

Progress (93)

366 days ago I was spending Christmas with my parents, my brother and his fiancé, and a couple family friends, at my parents house (the one where a lot of the abuse from my brother took place) . My therapist last session said something about how terrible last Christmas was for me and I did a huge double take, (was it? Fuck I don’t remember that), because it all kind of blurs in I think. You do what you can to get through it, and the immediate aftermath is normally pretty bloody bad, but then you get by and you just sort of erase the details from your memory.

In these last 365 days, progress has been, well, non-e-fucking-xistant.

Let’s see, after that terrible Christmas, my therapist and I talked a lot about all the reasons it wasn’t really safe to tell my parents, to do the one thing that was on my mind all the time. Pocketcanadian would tell me that it wasnt safe for me to tell my parents like she had, that it was different circumstances, I am younger and I’m not independent from them. So a measly 6 weeks later, like the Guinness Book of World Records holder for the biggest idiot that I am, I fucking tell them.

And you’d think, 10.5 months on, that a lot would’ve happened, progress would be made, but that’s the biggest fucking laughable joke going.

I didn’t even have to say it, my mother asked the question, because she already knew the answer… What did he do to you? I know he tried it on with you once. Yes mum, he fucking raped me and attempted it a couple of times when you walked in and basically did sweet fuck all. Everything took place under your roof where you turned a fucking blind eye and allowed your daughter to be abused. Amazing.

And their responses… They don’t want to lose him. They don’t want to risk his career. They don’t want to risk him never coming back. They want me to keep my fat gob shut, and to play their little game of happy families. I’m to attend family events, I’m to act the part of loving daughter and sister, I’m to let no one know. I have to be so grateful for my darling brother. Told that I have to open presents from him that I really really don’t want to. Told to not be selfish. Told that isn’t that lovely of him /them.

Summer birthdays were the first time I actually was made to be there all together again, I had successfully managed to avoid being there when he was up until that point. And guess how it went? Dinner parties where my mother gushed over her amazing son, and slighted me every way she could, in front of everyone. I actually couldn’t believe it.

And now I’m back here again, a year later, a full circle. Thankfully no brother as he is away, but that doesn’t mean a lack of all the other stuff. Dinner table talk of how amazing he is, how wonderful his fiancé (their perfect vision of a daughter – if only they could’ve got one like her, not me). Video calls with both of them. All the lovey bullshit about how wonderful he is, what a shame he can’t be here, how missed he is. All for the audience of a family friend and grandparents. Meanwhile I’m barely at the table. I’m the waitress, that’s what I’m there for. To help cook, to carry plates, to fetch and carry and pour wine. To wash up everything from cooking a massive meal and serving a four course meal for 6 people (shit ton of washing up). And I’m not missed. I’m told what to do, not wanted to sit down with everyone else. And I sit back and do nothing (because there is no point), when my mum goes on about what a great mother she is. How she’s thinking of my other brother (who only wants anything to do with them when he needs money), how poor him, and poor her, and shes such a great mum, and when you have kids you’ll understand how mothers just want to protect their kids and have them close. Protect them? Lol!!!

I realised at some point yesterday, when my dad got angry and arseholeish with me because i hadn’t immediately gone and got something he wanted me to (because I was washing up a stack of plates resembling everest), that that was all I was there for. They had all the family they wanted when they could phone call my eldest brother and his fiance. They are their darlings, all they need in life. And I will never never never live up to them. And immediately I was so full of shame. I was being yelled at, I wasn’t good enough, yet again, and worse still, I was actually not really wanted. And that was it, I was 4 years old, crying without being able to stop the tears falling, escaping to cuddle my cat and try to find just someone that loved me and wanted me. My little one is still noisy, still sad, still ashamed for always being wrong.

Yesterday I texted pc, whilst I was so mad and losing it, and I said this: Here’s a resolution for 2019. Fucking kill myself so that I don’t have to see another year through. That’s how I feel about all of it, that’s really how I’m still feeling, how I can’t bear another year like this one.

So that’s my full circle of this past year. So much has happened, so much that a year ago I would have bet all my money on not happening… if someone had said I would tell my parents, face this stuff, I would have told you that’s incredible progress. But I guess that’s the amazing thing now about hindsight, because progress? What fucking progress? I’ve told them and *nothing* has changed. And that fills me with so much shame that I really do wish I was 10ft under.

Merry Christmas, folks.

Relief (87)

I think of the relief I feel when I’ve lost my shit, gotten angry thrown a total temper tantrum… How releasing that anger suddenly feels like relief.

I think of how people say that crying when you’re so so sad offers relief and how actually, it really fucking doesn’t. How you feel like you’re drowning in it, it’s not getting any less, how actually letting it or doesn’t seem to help… Until suddenly you feel empty and full all at the same time. How that actually doesn’t feel like relief, it just feels exhausting.

I think of how I truly truly believed that if I could just tell my parents, I’d feel relief. I’d feel freer. How that is laughable to me now (omg I was naive). I think of how I guess it did offer a small amount of relief, I no longer have to constantly ruminate over how I would tell and what would happen if I told, and that’s amazing, but also, I’ve just substituted ruminating over that for ruminating over the fact that they couldn’t have given a rats arse about it. How dumb and naive I was, how shameful it feels, why? What did I do? Is it me? What do other people think? Well anyone care? Am I being an idiot?

I think of the sweet relief of cutting, how it releases everything inside of me and just quietens it all down for a bit.

I think of the relief of telling somebody, and not being alone. I think of pc and how talking on the phone to her and laughing and joking or just being heard and loved can bring sweet relief.

I think of how I had no relief back then. Except to dissociate, to split off and to ignore it all.

Honour

I wanted to keep thinking about this one, see if anything came to mind. Nothing really came to mind to begin with in the first place. I think I started to think of funerals, and of honoring somebody’s memory. But I didn’t have much to say on that, so I googled the word, wanting the proper definition and synonyms. Dumb move… Integrity, honesty, morality, etc.

And honestly it just feels like bullshit. My parents hold my brother in high esteem. They are so proud of him… He’s in the forces and he’s so wonderful and he’s the perfect son that they can tell people about. He’ll give them grandkids, he’s engaged to a lovely woman. They think he’s amazing. He’s in the armed forces and isn’t that just so honorable, doesn’t that make him so amazing….And they know what he did to me. But that doesn’t register with them.

So I just think this words a load of crap…