Sometimes I need a filter between my brain and my mouth.
This is not the way to get one.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The night? It's dark.

This does have swearing in it...sorry...

How do you handle the ghosts of your past? Do you manage to forget the icky bits of life and move on happily, or do they come to haunt you when you least expect it?

I'm haunted. And it always seems to creep up on me and pin me to the ground. I can't breathe, escape or even yell. And I would give a lot to make it stop.

It's like a shard of ice in my heart - it hurts and burns and I want to tear it out. Just when I think it's melted, it finds a way to build itself back up again.

Last night was an evening of epic crapness.

The Toddler had decided that the terrible two's would make an appearance...I had to use the naughty spot earlier in the day, which is very unusual for us.

She decided to smack my father's hand for telling her no, she couldn't have the nuts he was eating. To be fair, he had checked with my Mum first, and she told him no, that's she's still a bit too little.

(and yeah, I would have done a mothering-fail and would have let her have them...)

My father was shocked that she lashed out. Fair enough, she's not done that before with him. I'm familiar with it somewhat, as the experimenting with boundaries becomes a daily occurence.

The Toddler knew she'd done wrong - she went and put herself in time out. Oh my darling - you want so much to be reckless but you punish yourself before anyone has a chance to have your Mummy's concience.

I arrived at my parents house a few hours after this event...but you could cut the air with a knife.

My father has an amazing gift for holding grudges. Yes, even with his 21 month old grand-daughter. My mum quietly explained what had happened while we stayed outside with the Toddler and blew bubbles and kept her happy in the garden.

I ask Mum if he yelled at her. I hate yelling. If anyone yells at me I immediately retreat and will do whatever I have to in oder to get away. I have a flight response - there's no fight involved.

She said no, he didn't yell.

We eventually went inside and proceeded to get ready for dinner. The Toddler was served her food and she started to eat happily.

From this point the evening took a nose dive. And crashed and burnt a hole in the tiled floor.

The Toddler decided she was finished...fine, I let her out of her high chair and asked her to play while we finished eating. She decided to sook that I wasn't coming to play right away, and went to sook at my Mum on the other side of the table.

I wasn't worried, my Mum wasn't worried. My father decided to take this as terrible behaviour. We distracted the Toddler by asking her to find her doctors bag and if she could hear Mummy's heartbeat.

The Toddler walked past my father's line of sight to the television from the dining table, and when she found her doctors bag she held it up and screeched out an indecipherable exclamation - I took it to mean 'yeah - found it!'.

My father's deciphering skills took another line of understanding - and his response was 'don't bother screaming, I'm not looking at you, I wouldn't waste my time.'

And with that one comment my entire childhood come flooding back. The hurtful comments, the painful memories of special times that were made not so special, the behaviour, the attitude. And at that moment I wanted to scoop up the Toddler and run for the car.

I wanted to run away. I wanted to punch him. I wanted to scream at him who the hell did he think he was, talking my MY child that way, and that I don't care what he thinks that he needs to keep his mouth shut. I wanted to scream at him everything that I've always wanted to - tell him the truth about how he made me feel so insginificant, unimportant, UNLOVED and such a disappointment in his life. How much he hurt me, and how much it still hurts.

I stopped eating because I wanted to vomit - those memories always make me physically sick.

I walked away from the dinner table and sat to play with the Toddler. I had to fight so hard not to cry - but the tears were burning at the back of my eyes and I thought my face was going to erupt into flames it felt so hot.

My father finishes dinner and sits on the couch. The Toddler goes over to him and looks...she hits his knee. The response? 'I don't know why you want to hit me, but you need to get away from me because I don't like you and I don't want to see you.'

I sat for a while and then decided to leave. I went to the Toddler's bedroom and collected her stuff. I went to the kitchen to collect everything, and to clean up my plate. My appetite was gone for the forseeable future.

My Mum came over and tried to help me stay calm. She was and always will be the peacemaker. She was the only one I ever felt loved and protected by as a child - and I'll never be able to tell her how much that means and how much I love her.

I called the Guru to find out where he was. It was almost 7pm and he still wasn't here. And suddenly I felt a rage towards him like a cyclone - I wanted to scream at him to get his arse over here and sort this shit out. That as per usual I am home on my own, trying to cope and he's just not here. I wanted to tell him he could get fucked, and if he thought I was going to have another baby he could also get fucked.

Call him - he's been at HIS parents. And I can imagine it would be something to do with the stupid online game they play. At that point I could have reached through the phone and given him a black eye.

I start to get upset - I can't stop the tears. I try to explain that the Toddler has been a bit naughty today and tell him what she's been doing. And then the words fall out of my mouth before I have a chance to stop them 'She's going to grow up hating me, not you, because you're not here to help me teach her the right thing. I'm always the bad guy - you're always at bloody work.'

I start to sob - and then I hear my father's outburst to my Mum 'what the hell's the matter with HER!?'

I finish on the phone as quick as I can - I can feel my father staring at me and I can't look at him. I'm afraid I might say what I'm thinking and I can't imagine what the consequences of that might be.

I go hide in the toilet for a bit. To catch my breath - try and stop the burning, stinging tears from falling. But I can't.

The best way to avoid my father right now is just to run the Toddler's bath and call her in to me. I do it and I pop her in the bath - hoping that it will be a sufficient distraction to help me pull it together.

Shortly after my Mum comes in. And it all comes flooding out...

 - The Toddler is naughty because I'm a terrible Mum to her.
 - I'm turning the Toddler into me - an only child that no one wants to be around.
 - Because she's turning into me, that's why my father hates her. He's going to hate her the way he hates me.
 - I can't bring myself to discipline the way my father thinks it should be done...every time my voice gets a little bit louder all I can think is of how much it hurt to have my father yell at me and I cave in. When I put her on the naughty spot I have to try not to cry - because I'm afraid she will grow to fear me like I fear my father.
 - I am repeating history, I am making a mess of the Toddler's life because I am a failure.
 - Why am I such a disappointment? What did I do wrong? Why was I such a horrible child? Why am I still so horrid and disappointing?

It all gets muffled by sobbing at this point - and by now the Guru makes his entrance to the bathroom.

He gets the run down...and that's when the Toddler's bath is finished up, she's dried and dressed and all our stuff is ready to go. We're going home. He wants to murder my father.

We get home and the 3 of us cuddle on the couch.

I hate everything about last night. I hate that just when it seems my father has turned a corner, that his temper is maturing with age and he's becoming more understanding, that he does or says something to remind me that deep down maybe he'll never change.

The man who stood over me with my math book and told me I was stupid and an idiot is never far away. The man who lost it at the dinner table because 'I eat like a pig and I sound like one too'.
The man who I feel like has looked at me like I am the biggest failure of his life. The man who broke a wooden spoon on me because I had an accident when I was little.
Who couldn't go to my primary school graduation because he was too drunk and couldn't pick himself up off the loungeroom floor. I remember him looking at me, glassy eyed and slurring his words to the tune of something like he was sorry. But as soon as he thought I couldn't hear him told my Mum who cared, it's not like it was important.

And when I think of it all I feel so angry, so cheated, so sad and hurt and confused. And I want to lock it all away - deep away where no sunlight can touch it and where I can forget it.

And suddenly, one word is all it takes for me to be back there, and I don't know where I'll ever find the lock and key to keep it away forever.

But to my baby girl - I love you so much. I'm sorry I am doing such a terrible job at being your Mummy. But always know that being your Mummy is what keeps me going and makes me so happy. I am trying to find a way to show you what's right and wrong, without making you fear me, hate me or look back on your childhood and have horrible memories.

I don't want to repeat history - and you will never be a disappointment to me or your Daddy, we will love you completely for who you are and whomever you will be in this life.

So while the night might be dark, remember to look up baby girl and, you'll see the stars.


  1. Oh man Kel :(

    I'm not going to say anything about your dad except don't waste your time. You're better than him. E won't end up in the same situation cause your father taught you better.

    You're an amazing person. And as for E being naughty. I hate to break it to you but every kid has naughty tendencies. Anyone who says their kid didn't is lying. We call it naughty, but to them it's testing boundaries, discovery and all sorts of developmental mumbo, jumbo.

    So many hugs. But seriously, call yourself a terrible mum one more time I'll come and berate you quite seriously.

    As for hubs, talk to him. It might help clear your mind. I know you're a compulsive bottler.
    Hugshugshugs. You know where I am if you want to talk. I'll always listen.

  2. This is an incredibly moving post. You are NOT a terrible mother, not even close. Look at how you've protected her and nurtured her. Honestly? Maybe you need a break from your Dad, being with him obviously brings up too many bad memories and too much pain and right now you should focus on yourself and your family. Thinking of you.

  3. Oh sweetheart, you know how I know you're not anything like your Dad? Because you give a damn about how your child feels. You still remember how it felt to be yelled at and ignored and belittled, which means you will NEVER let yourself be that uncaring. Yes, we all slip up at times. But it's what comes AFTER the slip that counts - are you gonna 'soldier on' and pretend like it was on purpose, or are you gonna let your child see that you make mistakes, and you apologise for them?

    I agree with Kamarine, you're gonna get such a big telling off if you keep calling yourself a bad mum! Professor and I are looking into fostering and believe me, we've seen bad parents - you're not even in the same solar system hun, you're nowhere near a bad parent *hug*

  4. Oh dear girl my heart ached for you reading this post. I wish I could say something helpful or useful. But you are not your father and he doesn't define or shape who you are as a parent. Clearly he has his own demons, please don't let them be yours. Lots and lots of hugs xxxx

  5. Oh sweetie I am so sorry. I wish things were different for you. I wish I could take away all the pain from your past.

    You are nothing like your father. You love and cherish your little Angel more than anything. She knows she is loved. You are an amazing mum.

    All I can hope is that one day, I can be as awesome a mum as you are. xox

    And as for the darkness in the night, we will all be your night light. If you need us, we are always here.


Thanks for the comment - it helps validate the fact that I'm not just talking to myself.

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