I honestly cannot, cannot do this any longer.
For those who have followed this blog in the long term will know then historically I have had issues with both of my parents – not teen angst “I hate my life and my parents and everyone else” stuff, but more, discovering the ability to question, analyse, and pick apart our interactions to identify the cause of my own issues.
Things seem to have reached a peak, and I honestly cannot see a way forward whilst maintaining my mental health.
Let me go back to a few weeks ago, and the events with my Dad’s friend. I am still feeling very hurt from this situation (I blogged about it here). Shortly afterwards, we had another debacle I now refer to as #printergate (It’s the gift that keeps on giving). A long story short, my Dad had some ink cartridges which we wanted to sell on ebay. They were originally bought through the company (that my mum owns jointly with me, as 50% partners, since September 2017 – prior to that she was the sole owner and founder 25 years ago).
I said I had two other cartridges in the office that could be sold, and he asked me if I would photograph them and put the advert on ebay for him. I agreed, and said we should go 50/50 – and he agreed.
Fast forward to the end of the auction, and it actually ended at around £80 – so £40 each. He asked if I could post them, and I said, “Look, I’m really busy – but Claire (my sister) would be able to help” (as she runs her own company which involves posting packages from home – so a courier comes to her house almost daily and she has all the relevant packaging materials.
A few days later, I asked my Dad for the £40 and he told me he had never agreed to share the profits and that I didn’t deserve it anyway, given I refused to “put any effort it” and post them. I was furious, not because of the money, but because of the principle of the thing. I would not go back on my word – and yet again he was making assumptions about me (I didn’t want to post them because I’m lazy, rather than any other reason.
So, I said to him, fine – but please don’t ask me to help you again, if you can’t keep to your word – and he responded, of course, “well don’t bother asking me for help either”. OK Dad – whatever. A few weeks later, he asked me to buy some new ink cartridges for him, from the company. I refused. Again, I explained, it wasn’t about the money, it was the principle. As expected, he was furious. (It’s not even like he can’t afford his own ink cartridges!).
So this was about two/three weeks ago and things have been prickly (to say the least) ever since. On Saturday night it was our works christmas party – a posh do at a local hotel with a local band. All of the people employed by our “family” company were there, with their partners, plus myself and my husband, and my mum and dad.
I sat on the opposite side of the (large, round) table to mum and dad as I wanted to avoid him, and we barely spoke all night, although I heard snippets on him talking to a husband about the situation between me and him, and when he left the husband in question (drunkenly) approached me and told me “life is too short”. Again, whatever.
So, fast forward again to Sunday, the following day. Before this latest falling out, it was normal for me to go to their house on a Sunday, particularly if my husband was working a long shift, to have a roast dinner. I didn’t particularly want to go over there given the atmosphere between us, but I needed to drop off Christmas presents for my sisters kids, and my kids had asked if they could see Nanny and Gramfi.
I had been there for a while, and although my Dad and I weren’t speaking to each other, the children seemed to be having a good time. I then decided as the children were occupied, it would be a good time to update the company website, so attempted to log on to the desktop PC in the lounge (which is my Dad’s computer, but everyone uses it). The password wouldn’t work.
I asked if the password had been changed, to which he replied “You’re not using it. I had to buy my own ink, so you aren’t printing anything off”. I told him I didn’t want to print anything off – just browse the internet. He said, “Well, you haven’t even said sorry yet for the printer ink. I’ve bankrolled this company for twenty years, and you are begrudging me a few ink cartridges!”. Yet again, I got dragged into the debacle of explaining it was the principle of what had happened. I had no problem buying ink cartridges. All I wanted was an apology for how he had behaved after the Ebay sale.
He responded by yet again taking it to something he knows will hurt me. “What, me apologise?? What about you? I was told last night that you never apologise for anything!”
I asked him what I needed to apologise to the staff for.
“You tell me”.
It was at this point I started getting upset. It seems to be a trigger point for me when he attacks my integrity and my professionalism. I could feel I was starting to cry, so I said, “Fine, don’t worry about the computer” as I was walking away, trying to find my shoes, and remove myself from the situation.
At this point he is shouting after me, mocking me. “Oh there she goes again…. turning on the waterworks…. manipulating everyone….. throwing her dolls out of the pram again and storming off home”.
I didn’t want my children to see how upset I was, so I got my shoes on and went outside the front door to sit on the front step. I’m not really a “panic attack” type of person, but I was genuinely struggling to catch my breath. The pain was so strong, the fact that one of the two people who should believe in me and always be in my corner, could be so cruel as to make my cry and then mock me for it.
My mum came out shortly and tried to get me to come back inside. I genuinely wanted to just get away from the situation, however my children were still inside. (Thankfully oblivious to what was going on). I explained to her how I was feeling. That I was so hurt by the fact that Dad continually makes these hurtful comments to me. That he tells me I don’t deserve the things I have. or that I didn’t earn them. That I feel like he hates me. That whatever I say to him, he has a negative response to it. I asked her why he is doing it and she didn’t have a response.
She said, perhaps you need to apologise to each other? I asked, what do I need to apologise for? She couldn’t think of anything.
She left me in the dining room and I sat there for a few minutes just crying to myself. My brother came in and started talking to me about it. He told me he had experienced the same things with Dad that I had. I pondered on the fact that Dad did not have any empathy (or didn’t seem to have). That he could not see or acknowledge the effects of his actions on anyone else but himself.
I told my brother that I wanted to go home, that being in this situation and being constantly in the line of attack was making me feel like I wanted to harm myself.
I get the impression my Dad thinks I don’t have a heart. That whenever I show emotion it is purely for effect (not true in the slightest) or to manipulate people into feeling certain ways. If this is genuinely what he thinks about me (and I suspect it is) then he really does not know me at all. I am sensitive – probably too sensitive – and I take far too much to heart. Most of the things my Dad now says to me, hurts me in some way, whether he is joking or not.
My brother said if I wanted to go home, then that is what I should do, so I started to get my things together. My mum comes out and says to me, “Why are you going home?”
“Because I need to get away from this situation”.
“How selfish are you? There is dinner cooked for you, and now you are going to leave without eating it. Think about how your Dad is feeling!”
At this point I again broke down. I told her I needed to get away from the situation to protect myself. That I felt like I needed to harm myself. That I could not take any more. That I had reached my limit.
And you know what she said?
“If you go home now, your children won’t be getting their Christmas presents”.
I literally had no words. This is a mother, a grandmother, who can see their child is clearly in major distress (even if it is “only” mental as she would say) and she is threatening them with removing presents from her grandchildren, purely to keep her own child in the distressing situation. What kind of person does that? I simply do not understand it. One thing I do understand now though, very clearly, is how I ended up with such severe mental health issues. This is me dealing with this situation as a thirty one year old, with my own home to escape to and my own children to give me a reason to keep going. It is no wonder as a fifteen-sixteen-seventeen year old I made suicide attempt after suicide attempt. It is painful to think back on how it all unfolded, but it is no longer confusing as to how I reached that point when from the outset I had a “blessed” life.
It felt to me reminiscent of a situation where someone pushes another person so hard that they are standing on the edge of a cliff ready to jump, if only to get away from the person doing the pushing, and then that person walks right up to them and blames them for being weak, and mocks them as if it their own fault they are standing there contemplating jumping.
My Dad (and my mum to some extent) pushes and pushes and pushes, then blames me when I crumple because my mental health takes a nosedive, and my confidence, self esteem and self worth are in tatters. No matter how much work I put into myself and my mental health, it takes my parents seconds to destroy it all.
Needless to say, I stayed, but I went to lie down in my brothers bedroom to stay away from anyone. The children ate their dinner, and I could overhear the conversation my parents were having (I assume they thought I was asleep, but I was more just lying in an almost dissociated state).
My Dad was having a go at the brother and telling him that it seemed that no-one actually thought about him in all of this (again, total lack of empathy and understanding from him if he doesn’t know that his whole family thinks about him and his illness) and my mother questioning the fact of whether I was capable of running a business (I am meant to be taking over entirely when she retires in September next year (again, the ONLY reason I was in this state was down to their behaviour so I am furious that she is questioning my ability to run a business).
A little later I went home without speaking to my Dad. I know it is 2 days until Christmas (well, one now) but I just can’t put myself through this over and over again. If I let my mental health get out of control again the only ones who will suffer will be my children, myself and my husband, and the sickening thing is, if it were to happen my parents would turn round and say “Well why has that happened? It isn’t anything to do with us! All we do is support her!”
She then came into the bedroom and told me I should go and talk to my Dad. “I am now willing to put myself back in that situation.” I told her. “You need to apologise to each other”.
“What do I need to apologise for?” I asked.
She flailed around for an answer. “Well, you’ve put us through a lot of stress in your life. You haven’t exactly been the best daughter”.
ARE YOU FOR FUCKING REAL. I have to apologise, because of things I have done years in the past that are long gone and almost forgotten, just because he won’t be the big man and apologise for being a bully without being garnished with an apology first? I don’t fucking think so.
Today was our last day in work as it was Christmas Eve, before the Christmas break. About mid morning my mum approached me in the meeting room and asked me if I was going over to their house for boxing day (This Christmas we are having my husbands parents at our house, and the plan was I was going to go to my parents with the kids on boxing day as my husband is working). I said I didn’t know.
She said, “Well, if you don’t come over on boxing day, then I’ll get rid of the childrens presents (knowing full well that my 4 year old daughter is desperate for the present she has bought her, a baby Annabel).
I said “You would actually throw your grandchildren’s presents away, because I don’t want to come and spend time with someone who is behaving like a bully? Are you sick in the head?”
“Me sick in the head?” she says. “I think you need to look at yourself. You are the one who has to take tablets”.
I. have. never. been. so. fucking. offended.
How fucking dare she. How utterly fucking dare she. I started taking anti-depressants again around six months ago, maybe slightly more, and I didn’t actually tell her for quite a while. The reason being, is because I knew it wouldn’t be long before it was used as a weapon against me, and low and behold, here we have it.
Taking anti-depressants does not make me crazy. It does not make me weak. It makes me sensible that I am taking care of my mental health. But you know what? People like my mum will never fucking get it. I just wish I could start accepting that and stop being hurt by her ignorance.
And that people, is how it has been left. Christmas Day tomorrow, and I’m left wondering whether maybe the right thing to do is to back away from them completely. They do not understand me. They misjudge me. They think I am someone I am not. And over and over again I am hurt by them and their ignorance comments. It will never stop, I realise that now, because they can’t help themselves. So maybe it comes down to me to break the cycle once and for all.
Have a great Christmas everyone. Stay safe, and if you do have any input into my situation, as always, I would love to hear it.