This little ole blog is new and so I forgot about it’s existence the last two days as I worked. My days at work are so busy that I tend to not stop. Going from class to class and yard duty and then coming home to do the nighttime routine…it doesn’t leave any idle time.
Today is a day off though, I long for these days. A day to myself with the space to watch what I have missed and to sit in silence. Silence is a double edged sword though…it allows my mind to wander and usually it goes walking into dark spaces it really shouldn’t! The only time silence is golden is when I am swimming and the movement and repetive nature of the strokes allows my mind to ponder but it doesn’t go to the darkness. If it does and I experience self doubt then I also lose the rhythm…that’s a pretty important thing to keep a hold on when it keeps you breathing! So that shit is usually shut down pretty damn quick!
I found on monday though after I swam that I was too tired to do anything at home afterwards. So today I told myself that that isn’t going to happen! I told myself that the housework had to get done today before going to the pool.
I got up this morning and I was still in the frame of mind that this was going to get done.
I took the kids to school and walked back still in a pretty good place.
I came in the door and realised this was different to most days when I wasn’t walking into a cloud of brain fog and despair. Most days when I walk into the house alone it is like walking into a cloud…it envelops me in exhaustion and sadness that comes from nowhere and is hard to escape. There are ways to ignore it, distraction mainly the good thing…things like playing games on the phone or watching a movie or tv show are distraction enough for my mind to not start the relentless dialogue of negative thoughts as I sit or stand in a haze of negatives that are hard to escape. Imagine the cloud staying all around you as you walk…imagine that it clouds your views. Looking at the washing machine or the laundry and the pile of washing and seeing despair, seeing a situation that you cannot control nor fix. So you walk away and look elsewhere. Floor that needs vacuuming, kitchen that needs sorting and dishes needing to be unstacked from the dishwasher, beds that need making or floors that need mopping. Wherever you look you see it through the same cloudy vision, with the same negative dialogue. “You are shit at this! You can’t keep up with anything! Look at this mess! WHat;s the point? It’s all going to be the same anyway even if you do clean it because you are so shit at keeping up with it!”
A drop in the ocean to the dialogue that plays. Or the silence that is the feeling of hopelessness that sits alone and says to me, “just walk away” . So I drown myself in things that make me FEEL. I so long to feel in these times and so I go to things that help me to feel. Things like a tv series where I have grown attached to the characters and long for their comfort. Or the success of getting to the next level of a game…
I know that housework will give me the feeling of success once it is done…and believe me I hate living in a house that isn’t clean and sorted. But the demons that I am fighting do not just come from depression.
All of my married life, and the three years before I was married, I was in a manipulative relationship with an emotionally and mentally abusive man. I didn’t recognise this fully until after I had kicked him out. After a friend helped me see that it wasn’t all me…and put a name to the daily abuse that I suffered at the hands of a self centered bastard that cared only about himself.
The main thing that he continued to hold over me all of those years as the main source of my uselessness, was my inability to keep the house clean. He grew up in a family with a mother who was obsessive compulsive about cleaning and was and still is a SAHM. She would clean each and every day…all day each and every day. Her whole entire life was cleaning the house and cooking and she was very good at it. It was this standard that he held me to and to which I could never ever meet!
The negative words that I hear in that cloud and through the goggles of looking at the work that needs to be done, are the same words I would physically hear every day. One, Two then Three children and working part time…..I still was expected to ensure that everything at all times was clean, everything at all times was organised and in order and when it didn’t happen I would receive abuse. “What did you do all day?”, “This place is disgusting!”, “We can’t ever have people over when it is like this!” , “You are useless!”, “Don’t you know how to clean properly?” , “What is wrong with you?!”, “I don’t like this food!”, “Can’t you manage to pick up the toys they drop?”, “Haven’t you done the washing/ ironing? Do you know how fucking embarrasing it is to go to work in wrinkled clothing?” , “What do you expect me to do after being at work all day? You expect me to do it all?” , “NO, I can’t bath the kids and put them to bed I am busy!”……If it wasn’t words it was looks…I think the looks are the things that hurt and continue to haunt me the most. Looks of disgust and disgrace, looks of hate. The sighs of misery and anger as he was forced to get up and do things and then the screaming and breaking things as he did them. I could never get far enough away in the house to not hear the crashing down of dishes into the dishrack the very few times that he did dishes. The cursing and complaining about the ‘fucking house’ and the ‘ disgusting dump we live in’ and how ‘ he has to do everything if anything is to get done!” . Bullet after bullet hitting me from afar and the expectation that anything done at all was deserved a parade of honour!
Each and every day I would be filled with fear that no matter what else was achieved that day, the babies first steps or the first word, the cooking of a roast or the folding all done…there would be something else that was picked up on as a negative and sure enough…there always was. Nothing I did was ever good enough.
YEar after year after year of this daily and that is all that I became! The only place that I was free of it was at work. They liked me there and I did a good job. I was commended for my work and the students that I worked with smiled when they saw me and they told me they liked me. The only people at home who gave that same reaction to me was my children. But when I looked at them I saw failure also. I was told how horrible of a mother I was all the time too. I was told of my shortcomings and failings as though they were all there was of me that existed as a mother.
I was a strong woman I thought, I was a good mother I thought, but I was always told the opposite! I love my children more than anything in the world and I have always done everything for them. I have always had their best interests at heart and I have faught over and over again for their rights and for what they need. Especially having two children with special needs and the other with food intolerances. It hasn’t ever been easy, but I did it all alone. All doctors appointments, all the nappies, feeding, cleaning, care, love, playgroups, swimming lessons….even taking them places on the weekends alone because he was busy or would be so abusive and horrible if ‘forced’ to come along that it ruined the outting if he did come. I did it all alone….and yet, every time I would look at my children it would be through a wall of doubt! “You are a shit mother”, “You are useless at everything, including bringing up these children!”, “Look at the clothes you put on them!” , “You can’t even put away their toys after they are finished with them!” , “Why can’t you get them to sleep? They never sleep and it must be your fault!”, “What is wrong with you? how do you think I feel when you come home and they are crying and screaming and fighting and this is what I get to see as soon as you get home? HOw happy do you think that makes me to have my family home? Why can’t you make them happy so you walk in the house happy each day?! what’s wrong with you?!!” (that was after the children had been in childcare for 12 hours while I was at work and not coped (autistic) or had food they shouldn’t have (food intolerances) and were tired and very hungry and were facing waiting another half hour for me to cook them dinner…but their dad had been home 2 hours and done nothing but rest and be on the computer that entire time) .
Any time the children did anything that wasn’t perfect….I was blamed for it. That somehow everything that they did was my fault.
I loved my husband so very much. I think that when we got together I was thrust into a mothering type role with him, that he needed me so much and that felt so good. I wasn’t stupid and I wasn’t needy in particular but he knew all the right things to say. He would tell me how amazing and wonderful I was. He would talk me up to everyone and I was the best thing in the world. I didn’t know to be alarmed that he wanted to be with me all the time. I didn’t know to be alarmed that he would be at my work when I worked night shift and there til I finished work ‘to make sure I got home ok’ but he wouldn’t follow me home…just be there.
When I had the children though that is when it started to go to shit..well that is when I began to notice. He wasn’t the centre of my attention and suddenly I wasn’t wonderful anymore. Looking back and the research that I have done since and I was stuck in a classic abusive cycle for over a decade. Daily abuse.
I walked in this morning and I put on some washing, and hung some out. I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher and then I sat to watch ‘The Walking Dead’, which I have been waiting to watch for days now but get no time at all when the kids are home (something I’ll explain another time) . Determined as I sat that the cloud wasn’t here today. Feeling good about what I had done so far today and what I would achieve after my rest and me time.
Then the show finished and I couldn’t see through the fog…..so I watched something else I’d recorded. Then I turned off the tv and sat in silence and despair. The cloud is thick right now!
I raced through and grabbed the computer and have since sat and written this and still the cloud surrounds me. When I stop typing I want to vacuum the rug and clean the kitchen bench, unloading the dishwasher and loading it again. I want to hang out that load of washing and then vacuum the house. I want to clean the bathrooms. I WANT to have things pretty and clean. But…I am not sure if I will get any of it done. Because the minute I pick up the vacuum cleaner the cloud becomes very thick and the dialogue becomes louder the more I do. His words…although not physically said to me in over two years still boom through…in my vocals…in my pitch…about my downfalls and uselessness.
It is slowly getting better. I have realised now that nothing catastrophic will happen if it doesn’t get done. I have realised that I don’t have to live with the feeling of fear of being physically hurt at the end of the day if the house isn’t clean (and I mean the physiological feeling of hurt when verbally and emotionally abused not being physically hit…although it hurts just as much!) . It took a very long time for that realisation to take affect. To realise that those who love me don’t care and that I can give love and care without the house having to be clean….
But I still struggle and fight the thoughts and feelings that I will never ever be good enough to have a clean house, that even if I have one it will never last and that I don’t deserve it to be…because I am not a smart enough, good enough person to live nicely.
I still struggle with a cloud surrounding me….the most simplest of jobs are just so very very hard to achieve most days.
Sometimes music is strong enough to get me through and sometimes I can convince myself that I am good at it, that I can do it….that I CAN DO IT…and I do.
I am hoping, once I finish typing these words that that is the outcome. Because I so want to achieve something today that I can see and sit back and be proud of.
Until next time..