I tend not to post for others to see – most my posts are just for myself, and even when I could post them I feel wrong to. I’m wondering whether I’ll post this publicly. I guess we’ll see.

I just saw this image and quote and it brings up a LOT of thoughts that I want to try and put down. I’m laughing in my head writing this coz I imagine I’ll only write a sentence or two. But I guess will see.

I was thinking recently about my sis. How, however much I’ve talked about her, it doesn’t change my reality. I know that when I was about 9 she would say she wanted to die, how she was going to, it was our fault coz we didn’t love her, and we were gonna go to hell.

I understand why she felt that way. I understand why the 9 year old E would feel guilty. I understand it all. It doesn’t, however, change the guilt I live with. Understanding where it comes from doesn’t make me not guilty for living.

I was actually realising about that, remembering when I once wrote about how I overreacted to something minor, completely freaked out, because I was hearing all she said then, now.

I know that my mother doesn’t have the emotional ability to feel all her emotions. I feel guilty writing this because over the last few years she’s been changing a lot. She doesn’t have the capacity to hold emotions. Didn’t have the capacity. Therefore invalidated everything we said. If we felt sad, we didn’t. It was things, facts, too. Anything we’d say, wasn’t. It was never intentional. I was seeing it recently with my special needs sister. She told my mother she was hungry, and my mother said you’re not. My mother wasn’t trying to say you aren’t hungry. She was trying to say I’ve not yet thought of what to make for supper and feel bad when you tell me you’re hungry because I don’t know what to make and haven’t had time to see to it yet. Which instead she said with you’re not. (By the way, we grew up with hot supper on the table when we came home from school at around 4. I’m putting this in because my mother was, and is, a good person. Yes she was critical, had very little sense of self, anything her kids do are about her, cannot regulate or handle emotions. She also waved us goodbye every single morning. Had supper on the table when we came home. I’ve loads of happy family memories, especially summer holidays. My memories of my childhood are mostly those times – though anything not happy is kind of images or knowledge that I don’t really know).

Seeing, and understanding, the what and the why, doesn’t change the fact that I don’t believe what I think. That I don’t feel safe to feel. That it isn’t safe to feel.

Growing up any time I’d complain to my father about anything, maybe not every time, maybe most times. Actually probably every time. He would tell me I was just being sensitive. My father is someone I trusted, I still trust. He’s a really good person. He genuinely believed I was just being ‘sensitive’. That catch all phrase.

The reason I say probably always, because still today that’s what he says. Except as an adult whose thoughts he respects I can actually explain to him how anything I’m saying is valid and is not just about me being ‘sensitive’.

Understanding it doesn’t change the confusion and shame.

There was a lot of denial in my house. Things that were, just weren’t. That taught pretty much all of us not to trust ourselves. Because what we knew wasn’t true. There was a lot of secrecy. That’s mostly generational. Things that today wouldn’t be kept secret. Understanding it doesn’t change the shame it engenders.

That quote above was interesting. Changing the memories. How do you do that? How do you actually change the memories? And what about when it’s not really memories, but a narrative, a fact, life.

It makes me think also of the non memories I have. The half formed images in my mind that I don’t really know what happened, if anything even did. There are 2 images that I wonder about.

I’ve a vague memory of being in the playground and my class running after me. Something doesn’t add up because I’ve no idea when this could have happened. Weren’t teachers always outside? I know I was hurt because everyone including my supposed best friend joined in.

I’ve a vague image of my sister rescuing me from someone a few tears older than me. I can see the location in my mind (side of school building as it used to be). I can’t see her or the other. I know I must have been between 5 and 10 – because my sister was in school. I have no idea what happened. I actually only know this person really did bully me because recently at a family meal then the surname came up, and my mother asked didn’t so and so tease/bully E. Or something like that. I didn’t reply. I’ve no memories of her bullying me. Though now, I kinda feel like she did, and feel like she ganged some of my classmates against me, and I’ve no idea why I think that.

That’s all I have to say on this for now…

For now I’m keeping this public and may change my mind.

One of the reasons I rather my posts are private is because people comment. They show up. They deserve the respect and courtesy of a response. And sometimes I don’t have the headspace to reply. Then I feel bad for not replying. Because I want to. And I don’t want them to think I’m ignoring or don’t appreciate what they’ve said.

48 thoughts on “Memories

  1. Please don’t reply to my comment (unless it’s killing you not to!).
    I just wanted you to know my upbringing was so similar in the way you describe here, and I find my mum to be changing over time too.
    But it was the narrative memories thing I wanted to comment on because it’s actually happening to me. For example, I used to believe I was at fault for wandering the streets as a child, the family narrative was that there was something wanton and disobedient in May (bearing in mind we are talking preschool age peer) that compelled me to miss behave to that level, and it was my fault I was taken in and abused the way I was. I had been warned so many times by my mum that what I’m doing is dangerous, but I wilfully went my own way and did it anyway. Now, put me in a room with a competent psychotherapist, and give me a bit of time to unravel this family narrative, and I slowly begin to see that a child of that age doesn’t have adult intent! I began to change the narrative because I saw the old narrative was full of holes. I think it probably helps to have my own children and to realise that if my children were wondering the streets like are used to as a child, then not only would social services and the police be heavily involved, but I also would move mountains to find out what the problem was and to prevent my child from being put in that kind of danger. I’m not dissing my mum, I don’t know what her situation was at the time and I don’t know how frail her mental health was. But I do know that I was out wandering the streets, seeking comfort because for some reason I wasn’t finding it at home. And I did get into danger, from more than one man, and more than one location. But the narrative is completely different, and I now see that person as innocent and lost, and just needing an adult to protect such a young person. That’s probably a very extreme example but it’s the first one that came to mind, and probably is the most obvious change, because are used to really despise that little person that caused so much trouble. So the way it’s changed my memory is to switch from a memory of me wandering the streets because I was bad, to me wandering the streets because I was young and searching for needs to be met that weren’t getting at home. Subtle difference but a completely different narrative to carry with me, and it changes my memories because it changes how I frame the memories.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It can be difficult to look back at memories. One thing I realized as I got older was that my siblings grew up with different parents than I did. Not literally different, but my parents changed and parented differently. It can be helpful to rethink and reframe memories, but it can also be challenging.
    Never feel obligated to respond to comments if you aren’t in the space to do so.
    Shabbat shalom, E! Wishing you a comforting and peaceful Shabbat.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I have more to write, but I don’t have the time to write all of it so I will return to this post later, E.

    For now, I just want to wish you a Shabbat Shalom u’Mevorach.

    Yours,
    David

    Liked by 1 person

  4. God be with you Eliza and your family.

    My guilt is just the opposite. I have such happy memories of my childhood and growing up. It breaks my heart to hear about child traumas and abuse.

    Forgive us my Lord. We know not what we do

    Liked by 2 people

  5. No need to answer.

    I am just glad you are here and didn’t stop fighting.
    I wrote a big comment at first, but now decided against it.
    Just be sure to let the feelings be at some point and that you won’t be completely alone with them.
    The more you write or speak and think about it, the clearer it hopefully will get.
    And some memories and feelings might be overwhelming or blurry.
    But you are always loved here and I know you can do it.
    You have all the feelings inside you and a lot of things to process.
    It was a lot. 💜 (and you survived)
    With your feelings you will find back to yourself, the pain you might feel only shows how hard it all was for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s great that you spoke about all of this stuff… Perhaps it’ll be easier to understand your thoughts once you’ve spilled the emotional bits out on paper. Emotions tend to get confusing, but they aren’t wrong to feel!
    I’m no expert on mental health, but perhaps “changing the memories” could be changing your perspective on them?? Or, changing the way you view them as a part of you??
    Peace be with you, E. This stuff sounds hard.
    You are never, ever obliged to respond. Sending hugs, and whatever else you need ❤
    stay sticky,
    [pbs}

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m the same way with comments. I don’t private my posts, but I always feel guilty when I don’t respond — and I often don’t right away, frequently because I want to give the effort that’s deserved, so if I’m not feeling tip-top, which I rarely am, I avoid it — which often leads to me avoiding it more.
    But bear in mind: the people who comment on your posts are the very people most likely to understand. They are your readers, your sympathizers and your friends. If anyone gets it, at least in part, it’s them.

    Liked by 1 person

            1. I know!!! So not fair!!!
              I contacted the CMHT and asked them to follow up. And emailed a bunch of therapists giving quite a bit of detail in just a few words – none were trained in EMDR. Will see what they respond… I’ve given them enough info to run away – or embrace the challenge.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. EMDR requires very intense training and at least a year practical with every session co-counselled and supervised … many wont have the time or resources for that 😦

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I contacted 7. One by mistake for she’s a counsellor not a therapist. Only the mistake one replied. I must’ve scared them off (which in a sense is good coz was just really honest in the email).

                  Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh E, I’m so sorry for the younger you, and the growing the adult that still bears the pain and the guilt. With the half formed memories, I have a few of those but that might just be my rubbish memory! In some cases I’d have to wonder whether it’s a trauma and high-emotion thing, where the brain blocks and blurs certain things because there’s too much to cope with. Either way, you’ve been through so much and emotional scars have a way of holding on. What I love about you, among another things, is how you are one hell of a beautiful soul, a compassionate, gentle, patient and giving person. As for someone thinking you’re being too ‘sensitive’, that’s a comment I’ve had a lot as well. Not that we’re in the same boat, just that I ‘get’ how invalidating and insulting that is. You deserve more in your life from others. I won’t say any more as it’s not my place, but thank you for sharing some of your memories and feelings here. Sending oodles of hugs and lots of love your way  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. first off, I’ll just say please don’t reply if you don’t have the headspace to!
    you’re never obligated to, we’ll be here all the same
    I really can’t imagine what you must be going through- you seem to be having a rough time
    personally, I feel like memories can be shoved into a corner of my head but I can’t change them – hopefully you can and life lights up
    you’ll get through this like you always do

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh Eliza, it is nice to hear from you again! Naturally, you make things “public” only when you feel comfortable doing so, and I’m glad this was such a time.

    You know, when we were children, we tended to think of our parents as being wondrous, of having answers for everything, but maturity brings a more sophisticated understanding. Now we realize they’re facing what went on in their own childhoods, and that they try their best to make things better. This doesn’t necessarily make them perfect, but superlatively human.

    Take your mother for example. While she may struggle with verbalizing her affection, she showed it in other ways, such as the goodbye wave when you left each morning, and the warm dinner waiting for you when you returned. Better that, don’t you think, than someone who said all the right things, but did nothing?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Changing memories sounds complicated. I think it’s understanding – or seeing it objectively, which might then change your memory of something.There’s always a second side – and third and fourth – to memories, because there’s always something that led to it.
    That said, it’s a great quote you pasted above. Self-belief is key to everyone out there.
    Now, one of the reasons I haven’t posted on my blog for so long was because I didn’t have the time or mental capacity to sit down and interact with others. Like you, I thought it would be rude to ignore comments, hence my absence.
    I’m glad I dropped by today.

    Liked by 1 person

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