Posted , 6 users are following.
I am 35 years old. I left home at 18 due to domestic violence (my brother beat and terrorised me ever since I could walk). Mum and I were always close. Mum left my dad when I was 2 and, after a brief stint of living with my grandparents, we moved into the house that she still lives in. She began a relationship with the single father who lives next door and they are still together, but they have next cohabited and remain living next door to one another. He is quite a simple chap. He was never a father figure and I don’t think mum really wanted him to be. He has health problems and has developed a sort of agoraphobia as he has aged. He does not want to go anywhere ever or do anything. I have no contact with my real father and never really have. I only have memories of him making dates to me, and breaking them at the last moment or not contacting us at all. Through all this, my mum and I were close. The boundaries were possibly blurred as I used to tell her all the teenage stuff that is usually kept well under wraps. I had various medical problems growing up (several operations on my eyes and also a severe skin disorder that required hospitalisation). Because of these, I experienced a bad dose of bullying at school as well as at home at the hands of my older brother who beat me and wielded knives on a pretty regular basis.
When I left home, it was in a panic following an attack by my brother that was witnessed by my then boyfriend. I left and never went back. I did take legal advice at the time but mum did not support moving my brother out as she felt it may cause her to resent me. She did try to help when he bullied and beat me, but missed a lot of what happened due to being at work and perhaps never realised how bad it really was as she put a lot of it down to sibling rivalry. I have a very strained relationship with my brother to this day. He has never admitted any fault and I still think he would love to give me a bit of a kicking. To be frank, I only invite him to family events for the sake of my mother. I would not have any contact with what I believe to be a truly hateful human being if it weren’t for the fact that I know she would find this upsetting.
In the years following my leaving home, I had very poor mental health. I have attempted suicide twice and was hospitalised as well as having various types of therapies and medications. The last diagnosis (of which there have been a few) was BPD thought to relate to an abusive childhood. I am better now than I think I have ever been, but my life is still a mess in many ways and I do not do well in interpersonal relationships. Granted, there has been a fair whack of what feels like awful damn luck, but it is also true that I push people away and set high expectations for them. I think in black and white and feel betrayed easily.
My mental health has also had a negative effect on my work. Ironically, I work in mental health, but my managers have failed to understand how ill I have been at times and HR have strict rules that they want followed that are always too much of a reach for me. Part of me feels like a fraud. I know that I am ill. I know what it feels like when I am REALLY very ill and cannot work, but I spend my time off second guessing myself and talking badly to myself. The result is, of course, a longer time off.
A lot of this is just background. I will try to wing my way to the crux. Bear with my scattered thoughts… I am struggling to contain my thoughts at present.
So, over the past 15 years, mum and I have remained close. There has rarely been a Sunday that we have not spent together and she has been a constant supporter through various health issues and all of the mental health fall out that I have had. She has been there for me when I have been very ill in a time when no one else was. I am grateful for this.
More recently (over the past 3 years), as I have been feeling stronger, I took mum on a holiday overseas. This is the first time she has been anywhere abroad for about 30 years. I really wanted to do something good for her and show her some of the world (I have travelled quite a lot in between episodes of poor health). It didn’t go quite as planned. She felt bewildered and scared for almost all of the time and struggled to walk the distances between things. She is coming up to retirement and, aside from the fact I wanted to give thanks and make her smile, I thought the trip might open a few doors for her and enable her to have a more active retirement given that her sort-of partner certainly wont be making the most of the time. This isn’t what happened sadly and I think she is more fearful of travel now that ever before.
For my part, my life here really sucks. I have a job I have grown to hate (mostly due to HR and changes to the NHS), I can’t afford to buy a house and so rent in a tumble down house, I live alone bar for two cats, I struggle to pay bills and every time I try dating, it fails spectacularly and I have no friends bar for mum. I feel doomed to be alone, or, more likely, living back with mum until one or other of us croaks it with the other following closely behind.
I have always had the idea that I could make a better life for myself elsewhere. I have investigated various possibilities and have points enough for Canada or Australia, but favour the idea of working on an eco farm in Europe. This sounds like a whim, but bear in mind that you are only getting part of the thinking here and also that despite my poor mental health, I have been able to accomplish a lot of things that others perhaps wouldn’t think of doing (maybe) such as hosting charity events, solo travel and a variety of other projects. The point is, I don’t lack motivation or courage (perhaps sometimes with a tinge of kamikaze). Through all the wild ventures I have made (none of which have ever actually failed despite my own self-doubt) mum has always spun a negative on it. Don’t in a horrible “don’t do that!” sort of way, but she has always said she doesn’t think it’s a good idea and then has been surprised when it works out. She says she does this for a reality check, but I suspect that actually she does it because whatever I take on seems scary to her.
Recently I told her about my idea that I would like to move abroad and she told me that she would “die without (me)”. I suggested that she could come with me and she told me that she would “not want to die abroad”. I asked mum if she wants me to be happy or be here? And she said both.
I feel so torn by this. I appreciate every second of help and live that mum has given me and certainly would not have gotten through it without her, but I feel that I am now tied and cant break away to do what makes me happen. I realise how selfish this sounds but I have not been happy and do not expect I ever will be here. I dislike every aspect of the culture and mostly feel like an alien (no disrespect). So, what do I do? She won’t come with me. I feel tied here, but know I could make better for myself everywhere. We have gotten caught in this weird co-dependent relationship that has come from a very good place, but has now consumed us both. I could not bear to hurt her. I do believe that she would die without me and then my mental health is kaput and I would probably off myself out of the guilt.
Please help. Any perspective that isn’t my own has surely got to be a good thing at this point.
0 likes, 18 replies