I am finding my sessions getting harder and harder. We’re getting close to the place I do not want to go. I am angry and hurt by my parents, and by 2sis, for the way they’ve brought me up and treated me, landing me with all these emotional issues that I need to untangle before I can be free.
I have shied away from wanting to try and explain this to them on the basis that whenever I’ve tried to explain something less important, I usually end up not getting what I want or even being listened to with what feels like a huge emotional toll that I have to pay with absolutely no net benefit as a result.
The trouble is now we’ve got to the point where my mother and 2sis don’t talk to me (2sis hasn’t done for years) and while my father talks to me he wants to know facts about what has been happening to myself and the boys, rather than how we feel. We spend a lot of time talking about politics and suchlike in order to avoid talking about anything closer.
So if I did want to try and explain to them how difficult I find them, I’d have to re-engage with them in a way I’ve very much given up on.
The question was, can I accept my parents for what they are and move on in my life or do I want to try talking to them. What I realised in today’s session is that the question is wrong. It should be, can I move on from my parents without explaining how I feel to them. In other words, do I need to confront them, and really try and explain how I feel about them even if it all goes over their head, before I can genuinely move on.
Do I need to speak? Do I need them to listen? Do I need to be heard? Do I need them to acknowledge?
I know I don’t want to really try to explain how I feel about my parents and childhood to them, but that is not the point. Can I do anything but explain? Can I move on without explaining?
I also realised in my session that by avoiding the subject with my parents I am essentially continuing to do what they brought me up to do that I have been trying to fight against: keep quiet, don’t make a fuss, join in with our way of doing things because it’s best, don’t complain, don’t cry, chin up etc.. Therefore by not wanting to rub their noses in the mess they’ve made I’m helping to protect their way of life without pointing out the damage that it’s done.
I don’t know whether I can confront them and I still don’t know whether I am capable of trying. But I am beginning to question whether my absolute refusal to confront them is really in my long term interest.
I also am lucky that I still have a choice, I have several friends who cannot confront or resolve similar issues with their parents because they’re dead or lost to Alzheimer’s or similar and the conversation just simply cannot be had. They have to learn to accept without being able to discuss it on any level with their parents. If I miss the opportunity while it’s there, will I regret it when it’s not?
My inability to cry at my sessions is also part of this mentality, that crying is an unwelcome bother to my parents, that it means there is an unwelcome problem they have to deal with which distracts from their life. I don’t cry in front of anyone because I don’t expect them to care or to be willing to set aside the time to offer comfort.
I remember once as an adult reminding my mother of the time when I was unwell, 6 or 7 years old and she sat with me for an hour while I was trying to settle down instead of being downstairs with her dinner guests. I reminded my mother of this because I appreciated her taking the time to be with me. Her response? “I must have been mad.”
I don’t want these memories to cut through me when I remember them. I want to be able to forget them or just look on them as a distant sad memory that is past, that is ago, that is over.
I did make one decision after this session though. I was talking about it with BFF2 and saying that I’d hoped to be able to write more during the holidays with the pressure off work but I hadn’t really managed to this week. I said that I found it difficult to prioritise and that I felt I wanted to clear my work out the way first. Having challenged him recently to try and be more spontaneous and unplanned, he challenged me back to take the time and write first thing in the morning and make myself the priority that I have been unable to do.
So I will. Well, try, that is. I’m sitting writing this while 2son is having his session at CAMHS and will try writing first thing in the morning before doing anything else (other than making morning tea of course!)