Tuesday, 31 March 2009

History Repeating

It was difficult to bring the subject up.

I'd been thinking about it for weeks. I had considered the small step of starting to sleep in a different room but it just seemed like a way of alerting everyone to the fact that something was seriously wrong but without actually addressing the issues.

I had already tried the threat that I would leave if people's attitudes towards me did not change but that just seemed to unleash anger and attempts to explain that their behaviour was acceptable using arguments that befitted their age. Sadly, within earshot of their father who made no attempt to try to curtail their disrespect which just reinforces their belief that he tacitly agrees that it is alright to respond in such a way.

Despite my best efforts, I have become my mother. I hear her shouting. I hear her despair. I know I tried to help but I was still just a young girl. It's only now that I see history repeating and I can suddenly empathise with her decision.

We were eating dinner when I started talking. One child had taken the plate on a tray to watch television in the front room, another upstairs for the same purpose with no word of admonishment. Our family is fractured, our children almost feral in that they do what they want whether I raise a complaint or not. Everyone is happy so long as they can indulge their own desires, but cross them and they will shout in the most offensive way.

When I finally opened my mouth and started to speak, I stayed amazingly calm with just a few moments where I spoke through tears. He listened calmly and continued to eat as I tried to explain the situation.

That a point had been reached where there was no point in staying. Where my ability to be a parent, a mother is impossible. My position in the household has become untenable. Where my children refuse to accept that I have any rights or that there is any reason to respect my words or my instructions and I feel totally alone in my own home.

His response was that he understood but that he could not afford to buy me out and I explained that this was not my aim. I don't hate him. I still care for him and know that he has and is working extremely hard to try to maintain our lifestyle. I don't want to put any more on him but that I cannot go on as we are.

It has been agreed that we will look into buying me a flat somewhere very close where I can still see my children easily and be involved with their upbringing but not have to nag them about cleaning up after themselves which seems to be the biggest bone of contention.

As I did three decades ago, they too will remain in the security of their home, with their father presumably maintaining the same conditions as before but having to deal with the consequences of his own inactions, rather than complaining to me.

I, of course, will have to get a better job to help to finance my new independence and we will tell the children what is happening when this has been achieved.

When I then mentioned the D word, he seemed surprised. I was caught off-guard. I couldn't work out why he would feel that we could continue without one. I tried to explain that I wanted to be able to find love... to 'date'. I hated the word as soon as it came out of my mouth, but it was done.


So life reverted to its normal pattern for the rest of the evening.

When you write it down it seems so clean and easy and, indeed, at the time of the 20 minute discussion, it seemed so easily achievable.

So why, the following morning, did I find myself sobbing and howling like a wounded animal in the silent security of the place that has been my home for a quarter of a century, crying for the loss of everything that is most dear to me and the fear that desertion might cause the rift with my children to become permanent.