Written on the plane, posted from the hotel.
I’m on a plain on my way to Austria for a EU meeting couple of days. Getting some space is exactly what I need at the moment.
I feel the need to write down my feelings now, though I’ll only be able to post this from the hotel later this evening.
Yesterday I recontacted my therapist in Italy who had offered in the past to talk if I ever felt the need via Skype. I really need to work through what has happened with my parents as I have not felt this distressed in years. My mother came talking to me last night saying that not soothing Oliver when he wakes up at night (no matter the reason) may scar him for like. Talk about being dramatic. This morning on the way to the airport (they left today to go back home and I was leaving at the same time for the meeting in Austria) my father said that they don’t think we are bad parents (thanks) but what he said two nights ago was limited to that instance and our behaviour in that situation (as if I asked his opinion). He also said that he pretends I never said that Oliver started acting up at night in connection to their arrival that he refuses to believe I really think there’s a connection. I am stating the facts. It may just be that they are upsetting me and Oliver picks up the vibes, I’m not saying they are upsetting him direclty. At least last night Oliver slept through, while I barely had a couple of hours. Anxiety does this to me.
The thing is, I am not at all concerned about our parenting skills, I do believe what we are doing is correct, far from being abusive and, as I mentioned before, it works for us. I am reliving the feelings I had when I was living at home. My parents seem to think they were the perfect parents. Well, that’s not what I would remember. Strangely, I was sure I was over all these thoughts but obviously they were just silently waiting to come back up again if given the chance.
I am sure I was happy most of the time, but somehow at the moment I can only muster the negative feelings I had back then. I remember clearly when I was in primary school that some of my friends had parents splitting up and being upset about it. I could not see what the big deal was. I really thought I would have been happier if my parents split up. Imagine that. I couldn’t see how my mother could/would put up with my father‘s attitude.
Since I was very small, I never really remember going to my parents if I had a nightmare. In fact, I remember thinking they could have been the monsters in my dream and so I was safer in my own bed. My first memory of my father shouting at me seems to be somewhere between the age of four or five. He had asked me to go and get something for him and I answered “you go!” (I suppose I didn’t see why he couldn’t do it himself). Of course I didn’t know any better at the time, but I do remember my mother calming down my father as he was shaking me, telling him I didn’t mean it and that I wouldn’t say that again. I remember it like it was yesterday. Then I remember my mother making fun of my first crush on a guy, you know the kind, primary school sweetheart that makes your heart skip a beat if he talks to you during the break. I know now that was a child thing, nothing important, but it was important to me at the time and could have done with a bit of sympathy rather than being laughed at. Needless to say, I never said anything anymore about my feelings for other boys till about I was 17 and started going out with a guy a bit more officially. I would not go to my parents to discuss personal things, like ever.
Then there was the sport thing. My father is mad about sports and believes they are an excellent way of socialising and keeping fit. I agree completely. Since we were very young we did all sorts of things. I so happened to be quite good at artistic gymnastic and got to competition levels. At one point training was very demanding (5 days a week and then competitions at weekends) but my dad was so proud and would bring me everywhere. At about 12 years old or so, I started becoming scared of the various things I had to do for the higher levels. Every time I had to go training I had a knot in my stomach. Which was every day. I started thinking of quitting and couldn’t muster the courage to tell my family. My dad would bring me to every training session and this one time I remember falling from the balance beam and hurting my leg, started crying that I didn’t want to do it anymore and dad got so angry he slapped me in front of everyone. How on earth was this normal I have no idea. Still I kept going till I finally told my mother I wanted to quit. She had no problem at all, never been the sporty type, but I had to tell dad. When I eventually did I think he didn’t speak to me for a day or so (or so it felt to me).
The thing is, my sister seems to have had a totally different experience with the same parents. Maybe it’s me taking things the wrong way at times, re-elaborating over and over, still I don’t want to be that kind of parent. I mentioned in my previous posts a few other incidents, but also my parents (father) seemed to believe that it was ok to interfere with my life at every level. And I mean, it’s not like he would tell me his opinion and let it be, no, he would say it over and over, getting louder and louder, with the excuse that he says what he thinks and is entitled to do so. But I wasn’t. I always perceived him as very confrontational and aggressive in his way of talking. Maybe he can’t help it, but his voice is loud to start with, so it takes very little for him to start shouting. I hate shouting. It freezes my blood if someone shouts at me.
To be continued.