It’s in our genes.

How much do you really inherit from your family?

Genetics play a big part in who we become as people. We inherit eye colour, height even money over time but what about the other things? Personality traits being the obvious.

I know I have inherited many of of my mother’s traits. We are both very emotional people often allowing these emotions to take over our way of dealing with issues logically or rationally. Our highly emotive states aren’t always to be seen negatively. We are both caring and loyal people. Sadly, that can often be taken advantage of.
I hope I haven’t inherited any personality traits from my abuser.

To think that I could ever possess any of his qualities frightens me.

My family is broken.

It will never be fully mended as sadly, too many parts have crumbled, too many pieces are missing and too much has happened to ever totally heal.

I have made my peace with that. I knew a long time ago that the family I always dreamt of wouldn’t exist for me. I had hoped that one day, I would have my own family. One that gave me security and make me happy. One without conditions and demands, insults and terror, threats and harm. I feel like that family is beginning. I have my husband and now I have my wonderful baby. I have my mother and a relationship with her I never expected to happen. Not once all those years ago could I imagine my mother and I would be close.

I’d love to have my sister in my life too.

I know I’ve spoken quite honestly about her on here but as candid as I may have been, my want to be accepted by her never faded. The darkness her and my father cast on me, their portrayal of me is untrue. I am not a bad person. I am not evil. I do not have that in me.

My heart is and always has been open.

I am not my father.

There is nothing of him in me.

I do not use my love. It is there if it is wanted. I do not bargain or control people with it. I do not give it then take it away. He did. The abuser did.

Love was a game, a business, a possibility to damage and hurt. That isn’t love.

‘Love is always bestowed as a gift – freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.’
Leo Buscaglia

The Never-Ending Story.

Nothing to do with the film but everything to do with the story of my life.

A few months ago, I made a conscious decision to stop blogging about past, to focus on the happier things occurring in my life. Blessed with the news of the pregnancy, it seemed like a new start. A chance where I could finally look to the future. My father is no longer a problem physically yet his ever-controlling presence sadly still exists.
I am yet to see a penny of my inheritance as I approach the two year anniversary of his death. To make matters worse as I am still residing with my mother, I still have to endure the daily torture of passing my old abuser’s home every day to work and back.

This is something sadly I have grown accustomed to this past year however it annoys me slightly that the new owners have already moved in and re-decorated, moving forward with their lives and I am stuck waiting, without news, on a chance to move forward with mine.

Surprisingly, that I can deal with.

The real upset is my sister.

I have always said to David, to my friends, that one day soon she would begin to etch herself back into my mother’s life and today we discover she is continuing her journey back to our mum.

It all began last year on Boxing Day when my mother received a card from her. Slowly, over the year, she has found new ways to find an avenue to return. It is never consistent. Instead, every few months she re-appears and toys with her mother’s emotions. An opportunity allowed itself in April. A chance appeared by natural where she could have easily re-entered the family ‘fold’. However, it was her choice to reject that chance when I attempted to call her and inform my only sister that I was pregnant.

She would not allow it. She just would not speak to me and the sweet, innocent news was broken to her by email. Yes, I did not hold back either. I felt at that point, it was within my right to tell her a few home truths about her. Many, many times over many many years have I listened to her tell me my faults and I have always bitten my tongue in reference to her. Mostly out of fear to awaken the beast inside. Her anger has always been terrifying (at times worse than his). However, I am a thirty two year old woman and she is forty for crying out loud. Perhaps it is time to reflect on the reasons why you are so estranged from your family? We NEVER walked away from you.

Many would ask why it bothers me that my sister is back in contact?

Let me make it clear – she is not back in contact with me. Only my mother. Cards on her birthday only. Letters only addressed to her. Did she congratulate me on my good news? No. Has she mentioned the baby when writing to our mother? No. Her intentions are very clear. She wants my mother back only. NOT me.

Well let me make my intentions clear.

I will not go through it again. I will not participate in any mind games. I refuse to be controlled. You may think your trusted strategy will bring you great success again, after all it worked so well with our father. I cannot speak for our mother. I do not know what you intend to use for your advantage this time. Will it be the tried and tested emotional tactic of using the grandchildren? Or perhaps the fact that you’ve suddenly realised you ‘need’ a mother figure in your life again? Just hurry up and make up your mind.

To be honest, if you really wanted to move forward you would not be pushing me aside. Hurt does not even cover it. You abandoned both your parents yet offered your love back to them like nothing had happened. Yet that love has never been offered to me.

Just say it. You wish I’d never come along don’t you?

I look at my friends and people on Facebook sharing photos of their sisters and I’m jealous. After all these years, I’m still jealous.

At least it proves one thing.

I have a heart.

143 Days to go!

I’m currently approaching week 20 of my pregnancy (the half way mark!!) and am starting to feel slightly more human than before. Thankfully, the constant appearance of nausea is fading. I find that on the weekends, especially when I get the chance to sleep in, the nausea is completely at bay. Waking for work at 6 am is a different story and the sensation of brushing my teeth cannot keep the feeling of sickness away. Quite often do I have to plan my morning schedule so that there is time left over for me to lie down for five minutes to shoo away the nausea; it seems to work. Only then can I get on with getting ready.

There are 143 days to go until my due date. Seems like a lot but really it’s a little over 4 months. I am not quite sure where the last 5 months have gone.  It’s quite exciting if not slightly nerve wracking too!

There has been a bit of a baby avalanche recently. These things always seem to happen in groups and patterns. I think it’s nice when people you know are having babies around the same time. That’s something very special you’ll always share.

I have not begun to purchase anything for baby yet. I think by the time I hit the six month mark, we should have found out about the inheritance money with the hope it’ll be arriving soon. It’ll obviously be an enormous help to us with baby on the way and ideally a chance for us to begin looking for some much needed space of our own.

Undoubtedly, I will miss my mother. As much as we disagree or dispute, I cannot deny how caring she has been this year. It feels unusual to have it – love. So open and clear, so truthful and genuine. I am not used to that. Her love is unconditional and that has been an awakening.

She is looking forward to becoming a grandma again. This baby marks her third time. Sadly, she does not see my sister’s children. One day, I hope that can be resolved. She does not deserve such punishment. Her heart breaks every moment they pop into her head. Love is not political. Nor is it competitive or conditioned.

I know she will have an abundance of love for our little one.

Next Tuesday will be our 20 week anomaly scan. I am a little nervous and apprehensive, touch wood that all is well. We will now be able to see a much clearer view of baby as our 12 week scan seemed more like a blob to me! Although everybody else is able to point out features! I just want EXACT and DEFINITE knowledge that what I think I’m seeing is genuinely what I am actually seeing!

My Asthma has been playing up a little. Doctors say that around this time it is likely to feel a little short of breath. However with Asthma, it seems harder to decipher which is which, pregnancy or Asthma.

We recently signed up for some NCT (National Childbirth Trust) classes for October. They are costly and at are held at awkward times in the evening but after many recommendations from friends and colleagues, it seemed like a sensible thing to do. The NHS offers a day version for free but these classes are tailored to offer one to one advice about baby and birth within a close and personal environment. One where you are able to meet prospective mothers in the same position as you. Not only do you feel more prepared for motherhood and baby but you get the chance to make some new friends. Something I always welcome.

My sister still hasn’t responded or congratulated me on my pregnancy news. Perhaps she is angry at my last message to her. The thing is, how long can I beat around the bush and side step ever confronting her on her behavior? I chose to do it without patronizing her and without aggression but openly and truthfully. To be honest with you, after recent events, perhaps honesty is NOT the best policy(!)

Have a good weekend guys 🙂

Dear Sister. Part 2.

Dear Sister.

Things could have been so different. Things should have been so different. There are so many unanswered questions and too long a wait to find any answers. I can never understand it, why you went back to him. I do realize how you lost your father figure but it was your decision. You made your choice as an adult, it was based on clear evidence and truth. You saw him through realistic eyes, you weren’t under his spell.

So what happened?

It was your choice to cut our mother from your life too. Do you regret that also? Will you appear on her doorstep one day wanting to reconcile and forget the past? Life is nothing but a game to you. You play with it so freely and we, the pawns get so easily cast aside. I know you will be back, perhaps not in my life but certainly in hers. You have already started. Why can you not just pick up the phone and speak to her? Every choice and action is so cryptic with you.

My father was a bad man. You knew that. He abused the three of us. Knowingly and under no pretense, you let him back into your life. You became close to the man who mentally tortured me for twelve years. You allowed him to be a grandfather to the children you won’t allow your sister to see. How can you justify your actions? What lies are you telling your children? They see their grandfather as a wonderful man but have no recollection of the aunt that once spent so much time with them. I bathed, nurtured and loved my nephew and you have used my love for him against me. It’s disgusting.

Were you brainwashed?

No.

You fell into that relationship very happily. You welcomed him back didn’t you. Did everything just fall into place as though he had never gone? You made him very happy. The prodigal daughter had returned. Not a moment went by where he didn’t mention you. How pleased you made him. Seemingly, it was a match made in heaven. The two of you were destined to become close, like father like daughter eh? It takes one to know one and all that. Perhaps there is some truth in that.

I can’t move forward from it until you say why.

You told me to speak to someone the day I opened up to you. The day you phoned asking for money for his funeral flowers from the girl he emotionally abused. You told me to get help, to offload onto to someone more professional. Even then, you couldn’t step up as an older sister. Even then, you remained selfish, high up on your pedestal. All you had to do was listen and you couldn’t do that.

How many times have I had to listen to you? The anger, the hate, the endless tirades at life. You were a very difficult person and from recent events I have no proof to justify a change in yourself.

How can you be so polite over email yet when it comes to the simple request that you answer your phone to talk to me about something important, you immediately assume I am playing games with you?

Apparently, in your eyes, it was wrong of me to expect my sister to want to hear my good news. Most people tell their family they are pregnant face to face, at very least over the phone. However, with you, it was always going to be a problem. Everything that could be so simple becomes a problem. What makes you so special that you can vet your phone calls? Are you a celebrity? No.

There was nothing “alarming” about my email to you as you so strangely put it.

So why did you proceed to harass our mother? There was no implication in my letter to you that it had anything to do with her! Funnily enough sister, I do not play those kinds of games with people. We are not all like you. To add insult to injury, your irrational conclusions were nothing to do with me! Not once did you ask if I was okay! It’s equally ludicrous and laughable.

I just wanted to tell my only sister that I was pregnant.

I feel we have come to a dead end.

I cannot fight a losing battle anymore. I am tired. Ultimately, you have won. Yet, the war you are winning is sad. It’s sad for you. My love never stopped but yours ended a long time ago.

I know that now.

Where Did it All Go Wrong? Dear Sister, Part 1.

Dear Sister,

Where did it all go wrong? I cannot remember most of my early childhood nor can I find any early memories of the two of us. Photographs show a forgotten love. I cannot say that we were ever close. I cannot even say that I have ever felt a natural bond with you. How sad, for both of us. Perhaps our parents were to blame. Any time I wanted to talk to you, communicate with you, I was stopped. They intervened.

“Don’t upset your sister,” they would say.

What could a seven year old have ever said to upset you? I was a child who did not understand depression. No one sat me down and explained it. I was just left to second guess every action and every word I spoke. That is cruel. In the past, when I mentioned it to the two of them, both have become defensive. Both have denied any wrong doing and I berate them for that. As a parent to be and a parent yourself. surely one is able to admit that they are not perfect. There are and will be times we will fail. It is what makes us human.

My only childhood memory of you that stands out is a sweet moment of sibling protection.

I have made it clear in this blog that there was a time where my mother was not the person she is now. Looking back, she was a very frightening woman. In a flash of rage and disappointment (for reasons I cannot remember) our mother launched at me one day. It was not the first time she had been violent. Smacking happens all around the world and I understand that in certain circumstances it may be necessary but I cannot advocate slapping a five year old child on any part of their body. At that age, a time out should be used or at very least your words. I remember running from her and finding you on the sofa. I jumped on you in tears, scared to the bone, calling your name. She was storming towards us as I huddled and cuddled myself into you. She was on one mission only, for me to learn my lesson. Her flat palm took a large swing and her aim for my bare thigh was on target. With force she let go. I screamed anticipating the pain but before I knew it, you had shielded the beast with a cushion. There was no pain. My tears were staining your shirt, I closed my eyes knowing that she would not be happy. She yelled at you but you just yelled back. She wouldn’t fight you. She never has. You won. I won. You saved me.

I never felt that love again.

What went wrong? At what point did you stop loving me? I never stopped. I looked up to my older sister but I was an embarrassment to you. You only sought my mother’s approval and when you achieved it, I was of little point. As a teenager you distanced yourself. Academics and grades were more important and the small glimpses of fun you did enjoy were not shared with me. Yes, as an older sister, I do understand that having a nagging eight year old wanting your constant attention would be off-putting but I wasn’t a stranger off the street, I was your only sister!

I was no doubt confused the time you requested I stay with you for a weekend at University. To me, it made no sense but my happiness that my sister finally wanted to spend time with me was too much to question your reasons. I cannot remember that weekend. For a while, I thought I had imagined it. Only recently did my mother confirm it really took place.

After that, well nothing.

I felt completely apart from you. The only information I got was from my mother and she was not forthcoming with positive news. I was only to hear negative. It only created a further barrier between us.

How could the two of you ever ask or expect me to live with you instead of my father? You were not the better choice. Neither of you made me feel a part of YOUR family. I wasn’t. I was an outsider in the private, secretive world you had created. You were both so confusing, frightening. Your emotions and anger were raw and your hate for my father was so magnified. I couldn’t live with that. I loved him.

I loved you too. Both of you.

But love was used as a bargaining tool, how many times was I subjected to,

“Well, if you really loved us then……..”

Is that fair? As a parent and a sister tell me, is it?

Is this the point it went wrong for us?

If it is and you cannot forgive me then why on earth did you forgive him?! I have seen and heard of what he did to you. Yet, in his final years, you put that behind you. You forgave him for his torturous behaviour and allowed him into your life.

Explain yourself!*

 

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

*Part 2 to follow.

To My Father’s Church.

To the Church where my father worked,

You held him in such high regard, the man who ruined my life. He became a martyr to you when he died. This archetype of a human being. A Christian man with Christian ethics. The words the pastor uttered at his funeral haunt me to this day. His description of him fell short of the image and character I endured for over fifteen years. 

What a shrewd man to deceive you all.

At his funeral, after his cremation, you approached me. You, the pastor, offered your sincere condolences for my tragic loss. You had been there. You had seen my father in action. He had told you the lies he created about me and you believed them. He asked you to pray for me so that I would not be condemned to hell but prayer was not enough. He would have exorcised me if he could. To him, I was possessed, inhuman, a savage. He could not tame me. I was too wild and broke too many rules. This was a lie. I only ever tried to comply. I just could not meet his endless demands and regulations. 

You humiliated me. I did not need your prayers. I was not a bad person.

As you all wept at sight of his coffin I wept too. I wept out of happiness; out of relief. I sat, staring directly down the aisle at his coffin. I resisted the temptation to kick it over. Nothing would have pleased me more to see it lying, broken, ruined. Just as he left me.

My sister became a beacon of hope, of love and loyalty to you. She honored my father well. He did not deserve honor. He didn’t deserve the audience you all gave him at his final goodbye. He didn’t deserve the tears or the laughs, the empathy or the memories. That room should have been empty. 

My father abused me. Mentally and emotionally, for thirty years of my life. He was the epitome of a bad man.

You were naive to believe his other representation.

You were naive to think he was true to his word.

You were naive to believe he cared about people, that he cared about all of you.

He didn’t.

Believe me.

 

A Stop in the Series.

This week has been an eventful one to say the least. Going back to work and into the chaos has played a part but it’s my letter series that has caused upset. It is always difficult receiving criticism and anger from others in response to my blogs, however, as I mentioned previously, we all have a right to expression. It is a shame that I have to defend this blog so often. I never want to cause distress but for once I need to be ‘selfish’ and put my feelings first. I was in a good flow at the beginning of the week but have been put off my stride. There is much I want to tell you but it will have to wait for another time.

I have one more letter to write.

It will be to my sister.

It is a letter I have deliberately been avoiding due to recent events. I have so much to say. I’m holding back. I will write my final letter to her on Tuesday, the reason for this will be made very clear in my post tomorrow so stay tuned for that.

A spot of good news now and I would like to congratulate my husband David on being accepted for a new job. He has been unemployed for a couple of months now which has been frustrating for the both of us. This job has come at a perfect time and it feels like some much needed good news. I am very proud of my husband. He has a tendency to self-criticise and berate himself but his strength of character and determination has prevailed so well done!

See you all tomorrow xx

Dear Dad.

Dear Dad,

you are lucky I’m even using a name as you certainly don’t deserve one. The only form of letters I ever wrote to you were to apologize profusely for upsetting you. Letters that I was forced to write. This letter will be different. There will be no apologies.

I have almost said everything I could ever want to say to you. The longer your presence remains gone, the easier it’s becoming to forget you. Your spirit is not kept burning by me. I want to forget you and all the things that you did. I want to obliterate any memory I have of the pain you caused. But I can’t. You have done too much damage.

Most recently and tragically before you died.

Why did you gain so much enjoyment from secrets? I suppose they gave you power, something that you needed to survive. You liked to know secrets, share them, hide them and keep them. You used them to your advantage. Your biggest secret to date has to be your rediscovered relationship with my sister. Your staggering, cocksure attitude led you into this deceptive journey. You reveled in it. It benefited you to be seen as the perfect father. My sister would eventually make you feel like that. I never made you feel like that and had no intention of doing so.

Both of you say the other got in touch first. Who knows who was telling the truth. Either way it doesn’t matter. You both got what you wanted.

You always talked about her when I lived at home. You regularly compared me to her. I know I rarely met your expectations but they were impossible to meet. If you knew the real person my sister was then you would see for yourself she would never have met them either. However, she like you, is very good at tricking others to believe what she wants them to. Perhaps that’s a skill she inherited from her father.

I wonder what you did to convince her you’d changed. She was wary at first after all. You must have been very cunning to change her perception of you so swiftly. You clearly did a grand job and were a great actor. I applaud your performance.

I especially congratulate you on your ability to continue to burn bridges within this family. You were certain and adamant that no course would be taken on your part to help to reconcile the gap between your two daughters. You reiterated this on your death bed to me as you lay in the hospital. It was my duty as the younger sister to reach out the olive branch and build our broken relationship. You defended your other daughter and her childish actions until the end. Your pathetic need for her adoration amounted to destroying any last shred of kindness I had for you. Love had disappeared a long time ago.

I guess it was your way of sticking your middle finger up at me. A nice little reminder that you were in charge eh? You were the puppet master, holding up and strings as we danced around you, bending to your every need. Yet, the day I found out about your terminal illness, I immediately cut those strings you controlled me with for so long. I deliberately only visited you three times that month. I even wish it was less than that. Each time was dreadful. Not seeing you like that – deteriorating away but just being there, watching you, hearing you moan and complain that I wasn’t visiting enough when my sister and her family were going out of their way to care for you and make you feel better. I did not want you to feel better. I wanted it to be over. Hell, they even left their holiday early to be by your bedside, grapes and newspaper too! You were a very lucky man.

David mentioned something the other day.

Thinking back, he was the last person to speak to you before you slipped out of consciousness. He remembered what you said,

“I’d rather have had my brains blown out by a burglar than be dying slowly of Cancer!”

“Well I’m sure that would have been much nicer for your daughters (!)” David replied.

You really were a selfish, insensitive man. There are many people who suffer for years with Cancer. You were sick for less than a month! You drifted out of consciousness and slowly slipped away. There was no pain. Do you know how lucky you were?! We all hope for a painless death as we leave this world and there you were making a mockery of the thousands of people who suffer horrific deaths beyond their control.

There never was any good in you was there?

Some people are born bad.

You were one of them.

Dear Brother in-law.

Dear brother in-law,

We met when I was thirteen. It was during a very turbulent time. You came into my sister’s life and became a welcome, permanent fixture. My mother loved you instantly. You were a bit of a charmer weren’t you? They both fell for your innocent demeanour. You were so generous. Flaunting and showering extravagant gifts on my sister. Even chasing her for an entire year to prove your love. It was all very romantic. Almost too good to be true. Your gracious and caring attitude towards our mother did not go unnoticed. You went out of your way to help her (something you often reminded her of later on).

Yet, your care and thoughts did not extend further than my mother and sister.

You made no effort to get to know me. I was not under your priorities. Perhaps my sister made it clear that I was of no importance to her therefore of no importance to you. Unsurprisingly, you made no effort with our father either but perhaps, in his case, I’ll let that slide.

Years went by and your relationship with my sister grew stronger. My mother even held you in the highest regard. In many ways you had surpassed me. She never looked at me the way she looked at the two of you. She had accepted you as her “son” and you were at one point, more a part of her family than I was. This was something you and my sister clearly found enjoyment in.

During the divorce, when you and my sister had been together for a few years, you became my mother’s hero, protecting and supporting them consistently. Did you see it from my side? Never. Did you have any empathy? None. You just wanted to remain on that sweet little pedestal they placed you on. The pressure you put on me, the lectures you gave, where was it your place to tutor me on my decisions? If you had built up a relationship with me or made an effort to treat me like a sister, perhaps I would have been more willing to listen to you. However, it was like I was being reprimanded by a nosy stranger.

After the divorce our relationship did not get any easier. You only listened to her; my sister. All her hate, all her anger was allowed. You never challenged her. That is not love as much as you may think it is. Love is not possessive; it does not own. Love is letting someone express themselves to a point, where no one gets hurt especially not the ones you care so deeply for. Your allowance of my sister’s behaviour was your own demise.

Is it love if someone tells you to choose your family or them? Is it love if someone threatens to cheat on you? Tell me this. Did you respect yourself? The wild rages she flew into were accepted. The violent screams and swears were just a natural expectation of her. If you had just said “Stop”. Perhaps she would have. If someone of authority had just said “stop”. Then maybe she would have realised how staggering and inconceivable her behaviour truly was. Were you frightened of her? There is no shame in it. She scared me.

Do you know what you did?

You turned her into a monster. Another being entirely. Gone was her compassion, her willingness to empathise. You made her a martyr, a queen. She ruled over us. Her and the depression.

I have seen it. I know what it is. I know others who have suffered by the hand of it, some who have taken their lives because of it and without a doubt they would be horrified by the way she uses it as a weapon. The endless threats, the terrifying fury was very hard to deal with. Any time I tried, I was belittled for my lack of understanding. The two of you had no idea of my horror at home. Maybe you did, you just did not want to face it. After all, as she had said before, “it was my choice to live with my father”.  Yet, we all had to be there for her and her problems.

The last ten years have got to be the worst when it comes to you and me. You should be like a brother to me. Instead, we are total strangers. I feel you know nothing about me yet the finest details of your life were flung on me throughout my adolescence. I know everything about you. Isn’t that funny.

You had what you wanted when you got married. You even cast aside my mother. All of her love was worthless now. The two of you deserve each other. Never have I met such ugly people. You especially are something else. What kind of father keeps their children from their grandmother? What the hell did she ever do to you? It’s bad enough that you have kept their Aunt away from her niece and nephew but their grandmother? She did not meet your expectations did she? Your demanding, shallow, ruthless expectations. Who can?! At some point in your history with this family, everybody had faulted you. You of course, have never faulted anyone!

You are protecting your wife aren’t you?

From what? The big bad wolf? Hold on, I thought that was my father? You and my sister once despised him. You could not wait to dance on his grave. Yet in the years before his death, he became a saint to you. It is madness. Pure madness.

This is a man that hurt your mother in-law. He physically hurt her. This “thoughtful” man insulted your wife, he even called her a “bitch”! Did you forgive him for that? For the abuse and pain he caused? It seems like it. Forget me. You do not care for me but what he did to the two of them was unforgivable.

Do you feel proud of yourself?

Don’t.

You have contributed tremendously in the destruction of my family. Of the people that matter and for that I will never forgive you.

Dear Teachers.

Dear Teachers,

In the five years I spent at your school, I can honestly say that I am not entirely sure how I came out of it so sane. I was sent to you after my prodigal sister. I am aware (by my parents) that I did not do exceptionally well in my entrance test and certainly not as well as my sister, who came in on a scholarship. However, my grades (or lack of them) did not matter to you. I was my sister’s sister. I had to be good…………right?

But I wasn’t.

I was me. Not her. Yet that was never celebrated.

The first two years of high school, I slipped under the radar. I did okay, I went by unnoticed as did my grades. I excelled in the subjects I thought I would: Drama, Art, Music and English. The complete opposite to her. I was not an academic to you all. I was never part of any social dramas nor did I take any leadership roles, it was easy to forget about me.

I remember when you did notice.

When my grades slipped too far, I became your target. Suddenly, the girl you’d forgotten became the most memorable of all. Especially when you remember who my sister was – your star student. The morning you took me for a walk around the school and down to the hall where the plaques hung showing your most prized pupils of past. Where my sister’s name shone and burned into me. The place where you pointed out what I should be achieving and that I “had a lot to live up to”.

What you didn’t question was why.

Why was this sweet, lively girl’s grades dropping?

Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that my childhood was falling apart. That my home-life was like a war zone. The year was 1996, I was fourteen years old, my mother had just applied for divorce and you decided to put me on report.

You close-minded, arrogant idiots.

The reputation of your school and the notoriety of your name was much more important that a young girl struggling to make sense of her family disintegrating before her eyes. You humiliated me by dragging in my parents to discuss my “future”. Who were you to predict that? While my mother already held me in low regard, you only fuelled her perception of me. I had further disappointed her and as you placed my sister on that righteous pedestal, her place in my mother’s eyes grew stronger. You played a very clear part in the destruction of our relationship and for that I will never forgive you.

There were no positives made. No redeeming features. Humiliation and bullying was your forte. I was lost and no one was reaching out to guide me. No one.

Perhaps, if you had spent more time concerned about the welfare of your students and their emotional well being, I would have better memories of you all.

Sadly, I don’t.