Integrative / Intuitive Health and Empowerment Coaching
'Mamaita's Journey uses the gifts of a clinical academic and intuitive to empower seekers to discover that 'missing something' they need to make their life MORE!
Catch your thoughts....
April 19, 2014
My Reason for being...
May 1, 2013
'Guilty of Libel...?'
June 3, 2014
The Morning After the Night Before... 'Gin and Scotch'
January 22, 2014
The day after the night before. He was gone. I remember being confused. Had he left us? Were they getting a divorce? If so, why was I here with her? I wanted to be with him…
She had made one of her ‘miraculous’ recoveries. She often did this. She would ‘binge’ drink herself into oblivion but then, when she needed to sober up, she would and it would be as though nothing had happened. You daren’t mention her drinking. You daren’t refer to her state the night before. Oh no… you wouldn’t dare.
Many an occasion over the years to come, he would ask for me to help ‘dry her out’. They would not go to a hospital. No. The secret had to stay behind closed doors. Their family doctor would do a house call, give her a ‘shot’ and in the years to come, that would be my role. To give her a ‘shot’ to sedate her. But she never went to hospital… Instead I would watch her go through the Delirium Tremens... 'The DT's'. 'The Shakes’. ’The Horrors’ ~ the delirium and uncontrollable shakes that accompany alcohol withdrawal. She would re-live the 'horrors' of her childhood. It was obvious, piecing it together, that she had been abused by her step-father, rejected by her mother. She recalled stories of being trapped in a bedroom with a fire raging beneath her, in the garage where her mother had set light to a car in an attempt to kill her own daughter. Of being locked in a dog run at the back of the public house where she apparently grew up. Of her father throwing a rat at her and it scratching her face…. Oh yes… for certain, she was a victim of abuse. A chief pre-disposition to Narcissistic Personality Disorder. There were many stories. So many, but none of which can actually be proven by any genealogical research. Her background is a web of mystery/lies/deceit… I grew up knowing her by one name. The one on my birth certificate. Only to discover decades later that she was registered under a different name with official authorities. No... no birth certificate can be found... Yes... it was all explained away by her enabler. 'She had to change her name by deed poll.... There are many things you don't know about her...Many things even I don't even know...'
And when the DT's subsided and she came through the other side, there was never any reference to what had happened. We all had to go on as if everything was normal. Nothing had happened. He would find a discreet moment to thank me for what I had done to ‘nurse’ her back to sobriety. But never her. No. We would be back to being 'Perfect' again. Back to the 'place' where everyone trod on eggshells, each afraid to state the truth.
Sometimes I would wonder if I had imagined or dreamed it all. I was going mad. None of it was as bad as I had imagined it to be. Gaslighting.
Sometimes I would summon the courage to ask. And I would get slammed down for it. Gaslighting.
Yes… I was trying to cause trouble again… The blame would be placed firmly at my feet... I was the bad one. Always the bad one. Gaslighting...
And so it was, the morning after the night before. He had ‘gone away’ for a while because he was ‘unwell’. No, he hadn’t left 'us'. 'He would never leave… he loves us all very much… he just needs some time alone to get better…'
The truth was a nervous breakdown. The psychiatrist had told him that his depression had caused his drinking… that no, he wasn’t an alcoholic. But he believed that he was an alcoholic. That the alcoholism had caused the break down. Why? Was it better to be an alcoholic that be deemed a man who's nerves had failed him?
But when he returned a couple of months later, he was sober. Completely sober. He had been admitted to a psychiatric unit with other patients who were, of course, much worse than he was. He told us stories about the other patients as though it was to convince us that he was not 'that bad'. He explained to us how the mere sight of a drink in an advertisement on television would trigger the craving to have a drink. He described his living day to day resisting the urge to ‘slip’ and give into that overwhelming temptation to take that drink. His favourite saying was 'I’ve not had a drink today…yet'. He used to say how big the word ‘yet’ was. He quoted the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I read the big blue 'bible'. I would Al-Anon in the years to came. The serenity prayer. That prayer still carries so much wisdom and truth when applied to any life situation...
He also confided in us, that he wished she would accept that she too was an alcoholic. A different kind of an alcoholic. A binge drinker. Not like he who constantly ‘topped up’ his level of circulating alcohol.
I have to smile when I recall his revealing to us where all his ‘bottles’ were stashed. Bottle after bottle of Bell’s Scotch Whisky. Down in the hay barn, between the bales. In his work-shop. In the bag of grain. Behind the panel of his car door. Behind a suspended ceiling tile in the bathroom at his work place. We were so proud of him for 'kicking the booze’. This added to the 'idol worship' that both of us had for him. That he basked in.
He would have a few ‘slip ups’ over the coming years, but for the majority of them, he was sober… a ‘dry drunk’. She never admitted to her problem. We could not believe that she would still drink openly in front of him, almost 'flaunting' while he was having that daily battle not to take a drink. She would still drink until she passed out. Oh yeah. Nothing stopped her. She never admitted to her problem, well, not in the years that I was in contact with her. What has happened since I am blissfully unaware.
After his discharge from hospital, he shared our distress and frustration with her drinking and the subsequent denial that anything had happened once she was sober again. Now, all three of us would have egg shells beneath our feet.
And so it continued… The week would pass. The usual Monday to Friday routine. School. Work. Housework. Our chores around the house. Dinner at 5pm every night. House perfectly clean and organized. But as soon as Friday evening came…. So did the Gordon’s Gin…. Soppy, drunk at the weekends. Hard-nosed, spiteful on the weekdays. And denial. But that would eventually came from both of them. Slowly but surely, he became her defendant. The enabler. For years to come we heard how we were lucky. ‘Our drinking never affected you ... you never went short of anything …’ And that is true. We had everything material. But no socialization. Friends were never allowed to come over to play, for fear their secret would be discovered. I had one birthday party which was so 'traumatic' she would never do it again. In fact, it was the only birthday party ever to be hosted. We were ‘perfect’. We didn’t mix with other families. They were beneath us…
For all the years to come, he lived in a 'bubble', believing that none of his work colleagues knew about his drinking. He had taken an ‘early retirement’ after his nervous break down and admission to the psychiatric hospital. The truth, was he retired on the grounds of ill health and was compensated very nicely thank you by the state through his ‘invalidity benefits’ and work pension. He lived in fear of being 'discovered' for claiming those handsome benefits whilst living abroad... They 'emigrated' to start to enjoy 'their time' without the burden of us. Of course, officially, they only had long vacations oversea's so they could still claim their benefits... and oversea's, they were never officially resident there. As for us. We were on our own. They had done their job and now it was 'their' time. And by heck, they kept to that promise. They were never there for me. Never.
And so... it was. Gaslighting from all angles. They lived in their ‘make-believe’ perfect world, denying that anything ‘abnormal’ had ever happened, to the point we would seriously doubt our own memories. My early years were wasted away. I never experienced that trouble-free oblivion afforded a child. That was stolen from me. Just like the ‘right’ to have unconditional love. Instead I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders. I felt a responsibility for me and her. She refused to talk about anything. Shut herself away. Believed that everything was perfect as she was told repeatedly. More gaslighting. She became the easy going, happy child they wanted to see her as. She was happy to receive the affection showered upon her. She was the ‘Golden Child’. They did not see the truth behind those big blue eyes. Had they have done, they would have seen her tortured soul. A struggling child fighting back her dark and morbid thoughts, trying to deal with her depression the only way she knew how. Escapism. Her music. Song lyrics. Her safe haven. Her bedroom walls. Food. Binge, binge, binge... then the guilt that followed so she would induce vomiting and take laxatives.
I continued to feel the need to please, but continually failed. I was never able to do right for wrong. I was always the ‘disappointment’. I tried to so hard to win his approval. But when I did, I would be chastised for it by her green monster that would rise and take it all away from me. She was jealous. So insanely jealous of any attention he gave me which would be taken away from her. A constant battle ground. I entered my teen years desperate to get away, which I did, but I was completely, socially inept, naive to the ways of the world and still trying to please everyone else... to what would be the eventual expense of myself.