Proud Mama.

After my sadder post yesterday I must add a little positive in my life at the moment. Sorry, let me correct myself – not a little positive, a great big, loving positive that comes in the shape of my daughter Ivy-Wren.

My daughter has formally entered her toddler years now. She has begun walking after a hefty spell of perfected crawling and is showing great skill in it too.

“There” is officially her favourite word, overtaking Dada by a mile.

Where is Teddy Ivy-Wren?

There.

Where is the book Ivy-Wren?

There.

Where is Mama Ivy-Wren?

There.

Nothing can beat that enthusiasm from excited babies and toddlers. At least it’s not “No”, things could always be worse! Although my husband and I do find ourselves having to regularly repeat words and objects as she points to every single thing she can see.

Not only is her vocabulary growing rapidly but my little bunny is now able to pull out a square, triangle, star and circle from her shape box when requested. How has my fifteen month old grasped the names of shapes already?!

She literally impresses me every day.

These big stresses we have right now melt into oblivion when I watch my darling daughter. Thank goodness I see such innocence every day. It keeps my feet firmly on the ground and keeps my mind focussed on my job. My job to raise her, protect her and nurture her.

Thank you for everything you are and continue to be Ivy-Wren.

Love Mama xxxxx

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Sadist or Masochist?

Which one? I always knew he was a sadist. He may not have received any sexual gratification from his regular, public humiliations of me or his constant degrading behaviour but he certainly gained enormous pleasure from watching and causing me to suffer. Little things were his greatest achievements and the moments when I completely crumbled under his power gave him immense satisfaction. The pleasure he gained from my discomfort only clarified one thing – my father was a Sadist.

His love of mental torture and his ability to ambush his victim and catch them off guard was beyond me. He was an expert at luring me into a well prepared trap. His evidence would be laid out in front of him ready to use in his emotional case against me. I would let down my barriers as my father would greet me at the door. The door that had to opened, ready for him as he pulled into the driveway (if I wasn’t ready and he had to ring the doorbell I would feel his wrath for the rest of the evening) he would smile and be very pleasant. Too pleasant. Within seconds and when the door was closed, his true personality would reveal itself. Had I been expecting it all along? Why did I fall for it again? I fell for it every time.

Perhaps I was a Masochist?

Did I enjoy my suffering? I couldn’t have, I wanted so badly to leave, to be free. Many people have accused me of it in the past and still do now. Their limited understanding cannot compute why a ‘sane’ young woman would put up with such behaviour and treatment for so long. I appeared a ‘normal’ and centred character to them and in many ways I was. They weren’t the ones abusing and harming me. I did not have to shield myself around them. For that short while, I could lower my guard and feel relaxed.

I used to joke that I was indeed a Masochist. The more I fell into his emotional traps and mind games, the more I wondered if I actually wanted it. Was I used to it? Had it become my norm? That frightened me enormously. I did not want my morbid reality to become my definite future.

Did I have Self Defeating Disorder? A fairly new term to me. One that I’ve discovered only recently. Did I search for failure and choose situations that led to disappointment? Knowing that nothing made my father happy, I STILL tried everything to make him feel pride in having me as his daughter. I must’ve known deep inside me that I was bound to fail and yet, through hope, I continued to strive for his love and approval. Do I reject love as a result of his sadistic treatment? I cannot take compliments well. I do not feel I deserve them. Or is that simply a result of what he did to me?

My father clearly suffered with many personality disorders some I am yet to discover. At least now, the pieces of the puzzle can rejoin.

“I’m really proud of you”

Are five words I have never heard from my parents. 

My father never saw anything I did as an achievement. I never made him proud. He saw me as “scum” and “fungus” so how could I ever make him proud? I tried; constantly. At home with chores, making sure I was focused and met his demanding standards, sometimes I attempted to outdo them, I rarely succeeded. Even if I did, he always found something to attack. There was always room for wrong.

I would go out of my way to cook for him, often creating exciting meals for him to try. This would only led to criticism however. 

“There isn’t enough salt in here is there?” or “Is this all you’ve made?”

I just couldn’t please him.

If I landed a good job his only comment would be, “Good”. 

‘Good’ for god’s sake, that’s all I got! 

My mother, growing up, only witnessed my sister’s achievements and my lord were there hundreds of those (!) Her achievements were flaunted and put on exhibition – mine were neglected and buried. They weren’t anything in comparison to hers. 

My mother has praised me on my ability to deal with things. Although I would class myself as sensitive and in touch with my emotions, I would not call myself emotional. My sister was and is emotional, allowing her feelings (especially negative) to control her actions although in no way would she ever describe herself as this. I tend to look at situations more calmly. I always have done. It just helps to cope.

I’ll never know if my father was proud of anything I did. Perhaps it’s better that way.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

I have to be honest, I lack knowledge in this subject and would never have classed myself as suffering from it. Well, not until recently. Within the last two years, due a significant weight gain (related to stress), I have been feeling extremely low about the way I look, anxious even. Walking past a mirror or reflective surface only panics me. It instantly disgusts me.

I am regularly told “it’s all in your head” or scolded for being self-absorbed. Others compliment me, attempting to reassure my fault-finding. I’ve had people drop casual comments that I should start dieting then I might feel better. In actuality that makes me feel a thousand times worse when all I do is diet then binge and diet then binge. Any sign of stress sends me into this destructive path.

I have read other bloggers talk about BDD but would never admit that I too suffer from many of the symptoms. I am scared that friends, family and acquaintances will judge me; that they will think I am attention seeking or fishing for compliments. It’s not that I need to hear I’m beautiful, I just cannot stand the way I look. When I see myself in the mirror I feel sick. I see a stranger staring back at me.

In the explanation for BDD on the NHS website, they say that sufferers regularly find fault in their bodies especially the facial area. I hate my face. I hate it. I think it’s vile. I hate my unsymmetrical face. I hate my twisted nose, my teeth, my double chin. I feel disgusting every day. That’s not to say that I love everything else about myself – I don’t.

I love fashion. I try to make it work but the confident days are ruined when I accidentally see my reflection in a shop window. What seemed like a good choice in the morning becomes a bad decision; one that I berate myself for making for the rest of the day. A decision that leaves me feeling self conscious and extremely aware of how awful I look.

I do not dare say this out loud and am currently too frightened to seek professional help. I feel as though I may be laughed at. After all, people see me as I want them to see me: confident and self-assured.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Friday 20th July 2012 – The visit.

My father-in law had kindly offered to drive me, David and my mother down to the hospital to see my Dad. My mother came for several reasons. She predominately came to support me. I was highly emotional and fragile; she knew I needed her. As soon as my Dad told me the severity of his condition, I called my mum. She had to know. Her hate for him ran deeper than any ocean but I knew she would regret it for the rest of her life if she did not go and see him one last time.

Being back in the same hospital that my father was admitted to when he tore the ligament in his thigh, was unbearable. I felt stifled as soon as I entered the doors. I wanted to run back into the blazing sun and let it burn my face. Anything felt better than the way I felt as we walked sombrely to his cubicle. My mother and father-in law waited in a quiet area. My husband held me tightly; he knew my fear. My stomach was in knots as we approached his bed. He was sitting upright; his shallow breathing prompted my own chest to tighten. I knew what I was supposed to do so I did it.

He hugged David too.

It was a shock to see him like that. He was a shadow of the man he was three weeks ago. The powerful, frightening image of him was fading. The sad smell of sickness enveloped me as I sat down in the hospital chair. My father began chatting to us and although I could hear his voice, I was not listening. I looked around at other the other patients The room was bare and lonely, only beds and the odd T.V to keep one company, nurses drifted in and out with medication and comfort for the ill. I knew I could not stay there for very long, I felt suffocated, exposed and vulnerable. The sound of muted coughing and painful wheezing choked me. I wished for the exit and the breeze on my face. I felt hot and nauseous but what could I do, I had to face my fears.

I soon discovered that my sister was on her way. If she arrived before I left, it would be our first meeting in over three years. It only added to my suffocation. I did not want to feel imprisoned.

“Ma’s here,” I whispered.

“Why is she here?” he seemed surprised.

“She wanted to see you, speak to her Daddy”.

“Maybe another time, I’m not ready.”

“There won’t be another time. She won’t shout, she just wants to say goodbye”.

“Fine,”

He agreed.

I thought it would take more convincing.

I left to get her. She too was amazed he allowed it.

They were both mature, incredibly mature. It would be the only time in my whole life that I would see them respect each other. They spoke in English at first and then in their native language Bengali. It was emotional for my mother; I could feel her breaking as I held her close. The conversation was short and as we walked away I could not have been more proud of my parents for that one moment in time.

Faultless: Can’t say “No”.

Whether it’s a simple request or something more important: I just cannot say “No”. It has improved over the last couple of years but I haven’t completely dispelled this weakness.

Whilst living with my father there was no point in trying to say No. If I even showed the slightest sign of refusal, it would cause either a huge argument or lead him to condemn me with his endless series of insults. To say No would be pointless. To say Yes would strangely give me some control even though I was complying with his demands. Of course, there were many commands from him I could not agree to. He would tell me to cancel important plans or dates to help him with something. I always knew that not only was this his way of having power over me but he wanted to ruin my day. He wanted to throw that spanner in the works and disrupt everything. He would pick his moments shrewdly, waiting to give me my orders with incredible precision, waiting to lead me into a panic and confusion about how to rearrange my plans. After a while, it became essential that I refuted him. I was losing every ability to live, I needed something to hang onto and somewhere, in the depths of my soul, I was going to find the power to say No.

I saw a counsellor in 2010 after many years of wanting to speak to someone. One of the things she immediately recognised was my inability to say No. She was one of the first people to call me on it. We set some basic steps to change this terrible habit and if not in the rest of my life at first, at least with my controlling father.

Putting boundaries ahead of him for our relationship wasn’t easy. He would not accept them at first and even though I rarely backed down, he was adamant my counsellor was full of shit. She was “poisoning” my mind just like my mother’s done. It probably didn’t help that she was a woman, he hated them. Yet, through the struggle, I continued to lay down my new rules and regain some of my lost control.

At work and life, I still lack the confidence to say No. I do not want to seem awkward or difficult. People tell me this is my fault. I know it is. I take on too much to the point of despair, wanting to please people and make them proud. I want to be seen as reliable and trust-worthy, dependable and loyal.

All the things my father told me I never was.

Perhaps one day I’ll get there and realise:

There is nothing wrong in saying “No”.