On Her Terms.

I can’t deny that living back home with my mother is difficult. David and I have been here for ten months now. We were not anticipating being here for so long and unfortunately now it is becoming a struggle.

I find it hard enough to live solely with my husband let alone another person. My mother has her own amazing qualities as well as some awkward and irritating faults. Most of which she will quite happily defend or deny. I am feeling pretty frustrated at the moment and I know my husband shares these feelings too. 

Not that the time here hasn’t been pleasant but at thirty two, I have grown as has David and we are in desperate need of our space. Yes, we have the option of renting again but it totally defeats our original purpose of coming here in the first place. As we wait patiently through this agonizing time for my father’s inheritance (it will soon be the 2 year mark) I can’t help but wish for it to come sooner. Not only would it be beneficial to find a property before the little one comes, we need to be able to breathe. Sadly, both my parents share similarities. I was and am unable to laugh with them on my terms. My humour differs to theirs. My Dad liked silliness or humour at other’s expense. My mother likes old fashioned humour rarely understanding modern comedy. I and David are quite dry in our humour; quintessentially British we like to think. There are therefore occasions where our humour is lost on her.

She takes offence very easily even when nothing is set to offend her. A passive attitude and defeatist demeanour aids this. Although she once told me she was an assertive person, there is nothing to support this. Once maybe, a long time ago but it has been many, many years since I have witnessed assertive behaviour from her.

One thing she always confuses is passion with anger.

I do believe you can feel passionately about something and when this happens you may explain it in a forceful way. A moment ago this happened as I showed my mother a recipe. In her usual manner, she found fault in it before anything else (Dave and I are struggling with her constant fault finding in life at the moment) and when I justified the Michelin starred restaurant’s recipe, my mother snapped and in her native language shouted,

“Don’t get angry!”

A phrase she utters every time you dare to disagree with her. Sadly, this is happening more often than not. I vent here on WordPress because it is safe. I cannot approach her with this as she walked away from our spat fuming. I refuse to argue or shout whilst carrying this little one. It is not fair on the baby nor is it fair on me. 

I could never speak freely with Him and unfortunately I can’t with her either. Life is on her terms.

I am too old for this! 

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

Boiling point.

Tensions are running high at the moment. My relationship with my husband is strained mostly due to a succession of what seems like bad luck. We have been told that our landlord wants to sell our flat. We signed the new contract in June with the hope that we would have another year before a possibility of buying. However, that will not be an option now. 

Out last resort is to move back to my mothers’ which is not ideal at all. I asked her earlier in the week if this would be okay. I was worried to put this pressure on her again (we had lived with her 3 years ago in-between moves) but I needn’t have been anxious as reassured me that her home would always be welcome to us.

The idea of moving is not what we need right now. We are both stressed out at work as the end of the school year is extremely busy for me not to mention my husband’s own large workload. 

I know what we need. We need a holiday. But where will the money come from? Living is London is extortionate. Food costs, bills, travel – god, travel is so expensive! 

The idea of moving out occasionally pops into my head. But I quickly lose the thought. I couldn’t leave London. It makes me happy. It’s my home.

I just hope we regain some order and direction in our lives before we completely explode.