2013 A review: July – September.

JULY

Summer had truly hit us in London by July. Scorching temperatures reigned over the city and finally the harsh winter had been beaten.

At the start of the month, I began recalling a series of events, linked to the exact date one year ago, that looked back on the journey towards the end of the abuse once and for all. It was a painful task. Remembering is one thing but looking back in detail, searching through old text messages and diary entries was hard. It transported me back to a terrible, stressful and bitter summer. The summer after my wedding. The summer my father, the abuser, died.

It was the month that my husband and I were told that our landlord wanted to sell the property we were renting. It came as a surprise as there had not been much of a warning. It was the last thing we needed. We were very settled where we were living. It was in an ideal location for both of us to get to work, there were plenty of shops and amenities around too. It was not ideal to move. I couldn’t bear the thought of moving into some dingy, poky apartment in a rush because we hadn’t enough time to search for somewhere decent. We made a decision. It would be a difficult one, a tiring and patience testing one but ultimately we were thankful she was willing to have us. My mother was our port of call. She agreed the sensible choice would be to live with her until my father’s inheritance was finalised and we could look for a new place.

July would be a very revealing month for me. Although I already knew my sister had begun a “secret” relationship with the abuser, I was not aware of how close they had become. After everything my sister had once accused him of, after all that she had witnessed him do to our mother (not to mention the misery of a life I led with him), I had not expected her to welcome him with open arms into her family unit. A unit she has been fiercely protective of for so many years. A family that she has banned me and any mother from seeing. Apparently, we are bad news, the cause of her depression and misery, the evil ones. Not our father. Not the man who abused me for fifteen years but the two people who spent most of their lives trying to escape his frightening hold. In her eyes, we were the enemy. I found out at the start of July that my father had planned a holiday with my sister, her husband and children. He could not go in the end due to his worsening health. I was flabbergasted. Horrified. The man that my sister could not bear to be in the same room as was now holidaying with her?? It blew my mind.

At work, I finished with a bang, holding our annual school talent show. It was a great success and the kids did me proud.

AUGUST

I continued to recall back to the events of last year on WordPress. I received several comments, mostly from friends who had no idea I was struggling so badly that summer. Even though the majority of them knew about my relationship with the abuser, most never questioned it. They never delved any further. It must have come as a shock to them to read the full truth.

I was well into my summer holidays at this point. The weather was unbelievable in London during August, we were very lucky to have so much sunshine. I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked to. I spent most of the holiday packing up our flat and surprising myself at how much rubbish we had accumulated over the past two years of living there. It was an endless and tiring job as my husband was at work for most of August. Even on moving day, when David’s parents had come to help, were we still putting items into bags and shipping them off to my mums’.

The end of the month would be very significant. On the 21st I celebrated the anniversary of my father’s death. I did not lay any flowers or sit down and pray. I did not shed a tear or think back to the “good times”. There were no good times. He was not worth my tears and I could not lay any flowers for I do not know what happened to his ashes. My sister only told me recently after a year of me badgering her, that after the funeral she had “picked them up”. So basically she gave me no more information than I had already assumed. I intend on letting her keep playing her childish game on her own.

As I prepared to go back to work, I was invited to a school reunion. Seeing my old primary school classmates after twenty years was incredibly uplifting. It was a wonderful experience and sent me back to a time of happiness. These people made me happy. It was lovely to be in their company again.

SEPTEMBER

Back to work!

I also began making some changes in my life. Some positive changes. I attended a course at City Lit on Assertiveness. It proved to be quite challenging. I enjoyed analysing myself and looking into types of behaviour. The course opened my mind as we explored passiveness, aggression, manipulation and assertiveness. It was very interesting to hold that magnifying glass up to myself and look more carefully at the person I had become. I am now trying to embody more assertiveness. My mother is the only person finding that difficult. For so long she was used to a passive daughter. A daughter who could not say “no” and agreed to almost everything in search for an “easy” life. Well no more. I have never had an easy life! It is time to get what I want and make a stand.

The Collins English Dictionary says – 

assertive 

Definitions

adjective – 

confident and direct in claiming one’s rights or putting forward one’s views

Am I manipulative?

I would not class myself as manipulative since finding out what this kind of behaviour is. I would however, class some people I know as owning this behaviour. After discovering its meaning, I have been looking out for it this last week and have been surprised to see it in the people around me. Often, you do not know when you are doing it. I cannot admit that I am never manipulative.

Examples of manipulative behaviour are:

  • Guilt tripping – If you really cared about me then you would….
  • Using ailments as an excuse to do something – my back has been hurting all week/I just feel too tired to….
  • Use of emotional bribery – I’d be forever grateful if you could…..

Of course, in certain circumstances, it would be wrong not to have sympathy for these reasons but it is all dependant on how often they use this as an excuse. You may begin to identify that there are specific people in your life that manipulate you constantly.

Mu husband probably sees this behaviour from me. For example whilst walking past some shoes I may like, the occasional “If you want to make me happy…….” might trickle out of my mouth but usually in jest. Sarcasm can be manipulative too. What do they say, “50% of sarcasm is truth”? We trick people into believing it’s a joke, but of course there must be some truth behind it. We wouldn’t say it otherwise.

Children are the key grouping that fall into manipulative behaviour using their position as someone you love and care about to get what they want. Just because they are children doesn’t give them free reign to behave inappropriately. This is when clear boundaries should be set so they understand what is appropriate and effective behaviour.

Adults can be manipulative too.

My father was and I believe my mother has been too. The latter may not be realising when she is.

My father regularly used manipulation to get what he wanted. He played on everything possible: his age, his ethnicity, his culture, his position in society, his job, his illnesses, my lack of empathy. All these things manifested into me feeling extreme resentment towards him.

Love comes when manipulation stops; when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you. When you dare to reveal yourself fully. When you dare to be vulnerable.
Joyce Brothers

Tracking behaviours.

Yesterday was the first part of a two day course I am taking called “Assertiveness”. We have been exploring the path of certain behaviours and how each plays a part in everyone, however certain people display particular ones more clearly. Over the next few posts I intend to blog about tracking behaviours and recognising when they appear in others as well as myself. As a result of this, I am hoping to develop a more assertive persona. 

The four types of behaviour are:

PASSIVE, AGGRESSIVE, MANIPULATIVE AND ASSERTIVE.

After yesterday I have realised at times I have fallen into most of these types. How I have behaved has altered with certain people. Of course, aggression is more likely to come out with family and loved ones as emotions feel more raw and close. However the one behaviour that stands out in me is PASSIVE. I sit back and let others do the talking, scared that what I may say is wrong. I will be exploring this further as I de-construct my behaviours in the following blogs.