My health deteriorated significantly whilst living with my father. I was in his words, “always ill”. He had no sympathy for me. I had ‘brought it on myself’. It was my fault I was ill. He made comments on the way I lived my life and nothing met his high standards. If I had a cold and cough during winter, I had not protected myself sufficiently from the cold. If it was during summer, then I was not ventilating my room properly or taking enough exercise.
I began disguising sickness.
The insults that followed if he found out that I was ill was far too much to take when feeling run down. It only added to the stress and made it a thousand times worse. Since a young child, I have suffered with Asthma. It is generally mild but can be worsened from stress and illness. My father rejoiced if my Asthma played up. It was another point to criticise, another way to hurt and destroy me further. He also developed Asthma as he got older and would critique me on how to use my inhalers, something I had been doing my entire life. If I coughed in front of him, the response would be,
“What’s wrong with you?”
Hardly a question I wanted to answer.
However, when my father was ill, he expected to be waited on hand and foot. He made constant demands and required endless reassurance and sympathy. I did not want to be his mother. He never offered any parental love or care to me.
I can feel a cold coming on now, I’ve been ill for the past couple of days and although I no longer have those watchful eyes on me, waiting to attack me and criticise me, I am still wary of admitting illness. I still feel I have to hide it, camouflage it and act as if I am fine. I am just too scared to be accused of exaggerating or pretending.