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I’ve been having nightmares. Ones I haven’t had for five years or more. I dream of ex2 suddenly being back in my home; of having to pack around him, of moving the children out, of sitting in a new totally empty and blank flat with children and boxes. I dream that I have to get him out all over again. I have to somehow pack without him noticing, in secret and run out of the door before he wakes up and catches me leaving with the boys. How I walk out the old door with furniture and boxes is down to dream magic. Shades of Bluebeard.

The scenario is always slightly different; there are half a dozen different flats, all fairly dingy. There’s that feeling of total panic that I have four small children and I have to unpack, create a home, cook dinner and put them in beds that I haven’t found yet. That feeling of loneliness and panic is still much better than the terror that he’s come back, that he’s wormed his way somehow into my home and I’ve got to find a way of getting away from him, a task I thought I had completed.

It took me a year to get ex2 out of the house in real life and that was a nightmare. A real living nightmare. I first dreamed these dreams in that year and the months that followed. I thought I was rid of them. So why have they come back?

Well it pains me to say it, but 2son has me trapped in much the same way. He’s my son so I can’t throw him out and I don’t want to. But whatever is going on in his head hangs over the rest of us, casting a black pallor onto everyone’s thoughts. I’m helpless. I can encourage him to do stuff, any sort of stuff, but he decides. He decides when he’s going to co-operate, whether with me or with his younger brothers. He decides whether he’s going to join us at mealtimes or not. He wants to have his way, to not let me dictate. If I do dictate, he’ll either accept it or throw a strop but he’ll decide. There is no progress either so I have no sense that life is moving forward for him, however slowly.

I feel that life is on hold while we all wait for 2son to decide what he’s going to do. I feel that we have to manoeuvre our life round him, to accommodate his way of life.

In many ways this is what I had to do with ex2. With ex1 I had to work round his alcoholism and the way he wanted to live our life. My father dictated how our household ran and we had to do what he said to make life easier for us all (how much easier would rebellion have been in the long term!). These three have dictated my life in a miserable way and my son, unwittingly is following in their footsteps.

This is why I’m having nightmares. It’s all perfectly logical.

We’re going to have another team meeting for 2son, with the GP this time and see what plan B is, plan A requiring his co-operation. In the meantime, I feel stuck in a nightmare I could never have dreamed up and this time I cannot wake myself up.

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