Family Moving In!

(Image courtesy of Pexels)

Well, that was a blow! It’s Sunday afternoon. I’ve just had a very long phone call with my son, Tom. He was married about 16 years ago and had two children, but that didn’t work out, and he split up with Karen after ten miserable years together. Since then, he’s been in a relationship with a woman called Kim, but that’s not working out either (after six years). Tom and Kim had bought a big house between them as Tom has got my two youngest grandchildren, aged nine and seven. I call them my ‘little ones’ because my daughter and son-in-law have ‘my girls’ who are older. Kim has three much older girls still living at home. As a Mum, I sensed something was wrong quite some time ago. I hadn’t said anything, but Tom just called to say they’re definitely splitting up. The house will have to be sold.

Tom had a question to ask me. In fact, it was a huge ask. He said the big house would have to be sold so that he and Kim could afford to each find somewhere smaller for themselves. Until then, he can’t stay in the house with Kim as they’re not getting on well at all.

“Can the children and I come and stay with you for a few months, please?” I wasn’t expecting that! I’ve been living alone very happily for many years, and as much as I’d love to see more of them, I need and enjoy my space and privacy. I like that it gives me plenty of time to do some studying and writing. What on Earth do I say? We talked at length; “Can I think about this for a couple of days, please, Tom”? Tom was willing to do that, naturally. I love them all very dearly, but suddenly going from living alone to having the house occupied by family will be a bit of a shock, to say the least.

There’ll be a whole heap of things that will have to happen first if I agree. They’ll have to sleep in the spare room and the junk storage room. They’ll need clearing out, decorating, carpeting and new beds and furnishings to make it habitable. They haven’t been touched for decades. The garage will have to be cleared of ‘stuff’ so that Tom has some space to store furniture etc. It’s going to be chaos. I hate having decorators in because of all the mess too.

I’ve now got a couple of days to think about all this. I really don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s come like a bolt out of the blue. Tom is an adult, so I didn’t ever expect to be playing the role of Mum again. I’m not sure I can go ahead with it, but what else do I do?

CHAMELEON SKIN – TAKE 2

chameleon_2048x1152

I intended to write a post today about my son’s final court hearing regarding custody of his children which took place this week but I thought it appropriate, following on from last week’s post, to republish this poem because it explains so well how I feel so much of the time.

When I ‘depend’ on any given person, I become someone who moulds myself into whatever character I think that ‘given’ person wants me to be. In other words, I have become, unwittingly and unintentionally, a chameleon to fit whatever role I think is required. This is an instant response and not something that I have control over yet (although I’m working on it in therapy),  and it is actually totally exhausting as I automatically become an ‘actor’, albeit an unwilling one – it’s really hard work, mentally, pleasing and fitting in with everyone (people-pleasing in a way). This is a desperate attempt to ensure that the person on whom I depend likes/loves me enough that they won’t leave me because, without them, I don’t know how or who to be and feel helpless and abandoned.  I’m aware that this all sounds somewhat pathetic but, for me, it is not only a symptom of my BPD and DPD but the only way I know to survive in my world.

The biggest problem occurs if I find myself with more than one person that I know and they know me, which obviously does happen sometimes, my mind and my body (as in body language) don’t know how or who to be and I usually either end up confused, very stressed and muddled and find an excuse to leave the situation.

 

CHAMELEON SKIN

She is what she is … or is she, indeed?

She’s perplexed, befuddled, embroiled

Lost her mind along enmeshed journeys

She belongs, does she not to this world?

~~~

Is she real or a trickster, a fraud inside?

Not knowing her mind, too caught up in lies

Or perhaps, revealing her open wounds

You win some, you lose some, just look in her eyes

~~~

She’s not without fear though she’s scared of the thrill

The rollercoaster won’t come to an end

She writes her life’s story in ink, so black

You may wonder how her thoughts are penned

~~~

Innocence seen, and innocence gone

A fight in a nightmare; she holds her breath

The howls can be heard from far away

Will she ever return from the brink of death

~~~

You know her, you don’t, you think that you may

She’s a friend, a soldier, blood-kin

She lives or she dies; knowing the shadow side

Unknown, she wears her chameleon skin.

I’ve republished this poem with its image at the top of the page, not because I can’t be bothered to write a different post (as I will write about my son next), but because, as explained last week, this subject is playing very heavily on my mind at the moment and at times, I am very trapped by my own thoughts and need to write. Therefore, please forgive me for ‘rehashing’ a previous post, especially if you read it when I published it back in February 2016, but there is a specific reason (as explained) for doing so at this time.

A final thought: Is there a bit of a chameleon in each one of us if we look carefully enough at ourselves?

Edit: Taking the form of a chameleon is a very common aspect/symptom in people who have BPD or DPD.

THE THERAPIST (J.G.)

therapist and client

Having not having written regularly for some time due to family circumstances, I suddenly find myself writing again and recently this and the previous post (poem), both of which have a lot of meaning for me, are very serious topics.

As those of you who have known me for a while will be aware, I had, some years ago, an emotionally abusive and very damaging relationship with a therapist (who I am no longer with). This affected my mental health hugely and I was hospitalised for a while following this ending.

I still carry a lot of anger about this although I have tried to deal with it in my current counselling. I wrote this poem which I feel, is certainly ‘telling’ of what was happening during those years with her and why I am finding it hard to deal with my anger and find forgiveness as I, perhaps, as I should for my own benefit. 

I lie amongst the shadows

The new born of the old

Such innocence destroyed

Yet, none of this foretold

~~~

The tales we spun together

Which she led me to believe

Magnified reality

Their purpose to deceive

~~~

The I Ching books and Angel Cards

Were poetry in motion

* William Blake’s descriptions

Assured of my devotion

~~~

My identity was stolen

Soon a puppet on a string

I learned to tell more stories

And I wrote of everything

~~~

She pulled me to her bosom

She offered me affection

A love I thought forever

Then came the cruel rejection

~~~

I wonder where she came from

As she led me down the lane

Leaving me abruptly

In excruciating pain

  • The reference to William Blake refers to the fact that his book, ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’ was the poetry book that JG gave me as the first of many gifts

It has taken me a great deal of courage to write this and I know much can be read into this poem so if you have any comments or views, I will happy to reply to them. Thank you for taking the time to read this, Ellie.

OWNER OCCUPIED

Fickle by nature
it creeps insidiously into all of our lives
through each minute crack and every tiny crevice
no mossy cornerstone unturned

It skulks stealthily into each vein
along never-ending scarlet arteries
distributing its venom
spat throughout our mortal souls

Echoing silence scorches our delicate ears
as it roars and it growls its way
through conversation pieces
ripping up pages in its wake

Wreaking havoc in previously civilized existences
any signs of peace being washed into vast oceans
Relationships smashed against the rocks
Pointless reception yet still we listen.

MY MUM AND LADDERS!!

Image

My mum never ceases to amaze me!

Having written about my offspring who are so cruel and negative, I have to say that I think my mum has got to be the human being I love most in all this world, (running in equal place, I think, with my sister J). Over the years she has gone out of her way to help me, give me guidance and wisdom too. She’s the first one I pick up the phone to if I’m upset or especially happy. She can read me like a book, and me, her too. She has got me out of financial trouble, propped me up through failing and broken relationships and picked up the pieces when I’ve laid shattered to smithereens at basement level. She puts up with my crazy Borderline Personality Disorder, all my disabilities, my waxing and waning anorexia and every flaw I have (of which there are many!).

We weren’t always this close…as a child, she was quite cruel and unkind to me at times. She suffered a mental health problem which rendered her a less capable mum than she could have been. but she is a million miles away from all that now. I guess we’ve both ‘mellowed’, like a good red wine. We talk on the phone every day though we can rarely see each other as we live in different parts of the country and neither of us can get to the other on our own.

I have so much admiration for her – she packs more into a day than I could pack into a very large suitcase, and she’s 84 so ‘getting on a bit’, not that she lets that affect her one bit although she’s not so sprightly on her pins as she used to be. She does her own shopping, thorough housework (puts me to shame!), gardening and even still lugs the old lawnmower up from the basement steps to mow her lawn.

Her mind is as sharp as a pin – she does The Times crossword everyday and finishes it and can even do the cryptic one which has always defeated me! She remembers all the documentaries she’s ever seen; refuses point blank to watch ‘soaps’ (but then I agree on that one).

She lives alone, having divorced my evil and very cruel father who sexually abused and raped me all through my childhood. He has now passed on (thank the Lord). I forgave briefly before he died, as a Christian because I believe that is what is right (for me, anyway). Mum’s humble abode is a somewhat ramshackle, ancient house which she keeps spotless.

You may be asking yourself, “Well, what has all this got to do with ladders?”  Well, she has a habit of not thinking about the risks when she’s climbing ladders which is quite an odd but frequent task for her. The living room ceiling is 10 ft high and has a light fitting with five bulbs in it which are forever blowing. She thinks nothing of climbing a ladder which reaches this ceiling at regular intervals, whether it be to change a bulb, hang a curtain (or dangle from the chandeliers!). well, perhaps not the latter but I wouldn’t put it past her! She’s the same in her garden, pruning high bushes or cutting hedges and in the kitchen, searching for lost items in the top cupboards, then forgetting what she went up there for! I think we’ve all done that to some degree. when I try to tactfully tell that it is a tad dangerous at her age, she carries on regardless!

So, I worry about her all the time.. I’ve tried to talk her into wearing an alert alarm on a pendant like mine or as a wrist strap for my peace of mind if nothing else. But no, she steadfastly and stubbornly refuses. I dread the days when I get no reply on the phone. The worst case scenario plays over and over in my mind and then when i finally reach her she nonchalantly says “Oh, I was in the top room/basement/garden” and there’s me having ‘kittens’!

So all things considered i.e. a hearing aid in each ear, strong glasses, severe cataracts, a stick for walking as her legs have never been the same since she got hypothermia while up a ladder in the freezing cold, pruning the Pyracantha bush which is 8 ft high! She has so much grit and determination! (I wondered where I got that from!!).

I can’t imagine surviving my life without her, and I know it is inevitable eventually and I know my world will fall apart; I will have lost my best friend and the greatest Mum ever!