Sunday, 9 January 2011

A snippet of 'my mum'

Hello, I’m having a ‘tired day’ today again (where in my head I know what I want to get done but my body just doesn’t have the energy). I feel slightly less guilty than usual because I have a cold coming on so it’s probably best to be resting anyway, but there’s a bit of anxiety because I actually have so much I need to get done before I leave on my big trip in two weeks time. Plus my husband’s brother and sister in law are coming round for dinner tonight so I need to get the house ready and the food ready. I cheated by buying a ready cooked chicken for the roast today. Oh well! But I am going to have to muster the energy to hoover because they have a little baby who will undoubtedly want to shuffle about on the floor and I don’t want her going home with hairballs. LOL

I know that if I could drag myself up to the bath and have a good soak I might feel revitalised but I can’t even be bothered to get off the sofa.

My mum stayed over last week and tidied some in the kitchen (as she loves to do) and the next day I found a piece of writing that I had done sitting on the table. It held a lot of my thoughts about therapy and issues I wanted to discuss with my therapist. I really, really, really hope she didn’t read it. My family don’t know anything about my mental health problems. My mum probably knows more than others, from having tidied my entire house uninvited when I have been away and most likely seeing medication lying around as well as my diaries and bits of paper with writings that I tend to do when the notion takes me.

My mum would like to know more; she works in mental health and at various times over my teens and twenties has tried to get me to confess to her if there’s stuff going on or accused me of ‘having depression’, but it’s best for me to keep anything like that hidden from my family. Growing up in the cult (It still feels weird to call it that) that my father was a leader in, I learnt that any kind of illness was sin and that mental health problems were sin and that it was important to never let anyone see my weaknesses or sins for fear of disapproval and punishment. I remember getting a stern lecture from my mother because I suffered from extremely bad IBS. She gave me a good telling off for not having the faith to get a healing from God. There was never any thought of taking me to the doctors to make sure it was just IBS and there was never any consideration as to what stress was causing me to run to the loo four or five times a day.

Although my family is not in that cult anymore, I still don’t trust my mum for various reasons and she always wants to give advice without really listening. It’s hard sometimes to listen to her stories about her clients because at times she is quite unsympathetic and talks about people self harming for attention and comments that they need to get a job and get on with life instead of feeling sorry for themselves etc. When she talks like this it makes me paranoid and I wonder if my therapist feels that way about me. In the end I try not to care what my therapists thoughts are because it doesn’t really help me to get better. She has tried to reassure me at times that she believes I am genuine and is interested etc but it just takes the slightest thing to knock my confidence and make me start wondering again if she thinks I’m just looking for attention and making it up.

Anyway, my mum is coming to stay at my house to look after the cat when my husband and I go travelling at the end of the month. I am going to have to go through everything with a fine toothed comb and put all of my personal items and pieces of writing away somewhere. Where though? Last time, she was up in the loft and all.

I will also need to think about how I am going to approach the subject of her doing things to my house. Last summer when I went away camping I left her a list of jobs she could do if she wanted (she asked me to do this). I made sure they were mostly jobs in the garden or downstairs of the house so she wouldn’t go through my bedroom or anything upstairs. I also asked her not to do the laundry (I always insisted on this since the age of about twelve, mainly because I didn’t want her to know I was having periods but also because she always managed to ruin my clothes somehow).

Well, when we came back she had tidied my entire house, done all the laundry, shrunk my new dress, ruined the lovely scarf my sister got me for Christmas and not only had she tidied but she had REARRANGED a load of my things (including my underwear drawer; yes, MY UNDERWEAR!). I was so angry. I felt so violated and also embarrassed and upset because I hadn’t hidden any writings etc as I didn’t think she’d be upstairs. It was so difficult because on one hand I knew she was trying to do a nice thing for me and that I should be grateful but for the main part I was just so angry that she had done this when I specifically asked her not to (another sign that she never listens) and I just felt so violated.

The feelings arose every time I was unable to find something, which happened a lot over the next few months as I knew she had put things away somewhere.

I don’t know how I am going to be able to make it more clear to her this time that I don’t want her to do that, without her feeling like I am ungrateful. One way would be to have the house cleaned and spotless before I go, but if you had a look at the state of the upstairs of my house, you would realise I would need two things I don’t have: firstly, a lot of time and secondly, a lot of energy.

When I think about all of this I imagine others asking me why it matters to me if someone cleans my house. Maybe it is wrong of me to feel this is a violation of my privacy but I just feel that it’s my house and I don’t want someone else’s mark on it. I wouldn’t go into someone else’s house and decide that the saucepans would be better in a different cupboard and just move them all. But somehow it makes me angrier than is reasonable. To me it represents other times when my personal boundaries have been violated in a much more harmful way and I have not been able to protect myself. It’s probably a similar to how I reacted to Pou pouncing on my boobs and trying to kiss me. I am oversensitive to these things, but at the same time I can’t help but feel that anyone would be right to be annoyed, even if they weren’t oversensitive, which kind of just makes it even worse.

Oh my gosh, I just realised the time. Where has my day gone? I better go and get stuck into the dinner etc. Bye for now.



Anonymous said...


I don't think you are overreacting at all to your mum's invasion of your privacy. I wouldn't want anyone in my private things which would certainly include my underwear or things I write about. My mother used to do similar things including organizing my bills and commenting on what I was spending. Now I rarely let her be alone in my home.

Meronym said...

It is completely inappropriate for your mother to be in your things. No one should be in your private belongings unless you ask them to be. And even more so when she has a track record of messing things up.

In this case (I know, a year later, big help), I don't think it would be out of line to install a lock on your bedroom door. Yes, it would likely hurt her feelings, but it might also make the point that you mean it when you tell her to keep out of your things.

I'm very particular about everything being put away in certain places, and although I love to get everything out and reorganize it, I would hate it if someone else did the same thing to my stuff.