Therapy? Part 4

He laughed about it?
Yes, he laughed about it. I could hear him laughing in the background.

But I thought he was the one who suggested it.
You’re right. He was.

And he actually LAUGHED about it?
Yes. He actually laughed about it.

But why did you apologise in the first place?
Because it was required of me. Demanded of me. Mum wouldn’t stop bringing it up. She never lets it go. My parents have held the whole wretched business against me for … what? … 45 years at the time of that phone conversation. In their minds it defines me.
Mind you, she did find it within herself to express a modicum of sympathy for what happened.

How so?
She said: “Because of those psychiatrists you’ve had a wasted life.”

Oof! You really regard that as sympathetic?
No, of course not. I just wanted to see your reaction.

How did you reply?
I didn’t have a chance to reply. I was still trying to absorb the impact of that verbal grenade when she continued with this:
“I’ve had a wonderful life. I got exactly what I wanted.”

Well bully for her!
I know!
Actually, mum does a pretty good job of representing herself with her use of language. She can’t avoid revealing her astounding narcissism.

So where does the apology come into it?
She was trawling through my misdemeanours of 1972. You know – the gas tap, the sleeping tablets, the bottle of aspirins, the…

How do you mean? What did she say?
Regarding the Mogadons episode, she said:
‘We’d just come back from a wonderful holiday in Norway, only to find out that you were in hospital after an overdose of sleeping pills.’

You’d ruined their holiday, in other words.
Well it wasn’t really a holiday in the conventional sense. Mum and dad had taken some 5th form New College girls on an educational trip to Norway.
But yes, that was the gist of her remark, I suppose.

And then what? What happened next?
I apologised for it.

How was your apology received?
Unfortunately, when you apologise to mum, she never makes any move to accept it. You’re merely activating her hunger for more of the same. Her rejoinder is likely to be:
“And what about the time when you ….?”
“And then there was the time that you … “
Mum nourishes herself on the apologies of others. I suppose, in some bizarre way, it confirms her view that she’s always right.

Does she ever say ‘sorry’ herself?
Good grief no! I don’t believe I’ve ever heard her say ‘sorry’. The merest suggestion that she should use the S-word sends her into a fit of indignation and outrage.

Really? She’s never said sorry? Not once in her life?
That’s not completely true. I’ve heard her say it in the I-don’t-really-mean-it way. The one that goes:
“Well I’m sorry, but you…” … followed by an elaborate unpicking of the threads of history, only to alight upon an event which allows her to transfer the blame to you.

Ok, so you apologised for the sleeping tablets incident. Then what happened?
It’s like I just told you. It stimulated her to explore my later adventure with Jeyes Fluid:
“And then there was the time that you drank that Jeyes Fluid! “

And you said sorry for that too?.
Yes. And she replied: “It’s alright. Your father’s laughing about it. “

He laughed about it?
Yes, he laughed about it. I could hear him laughing in the background.

But I thought he was the one who suggested it.
You’re right. He was.

And he actually LAUGHED about it?
Yes. He actually …
Hang on a minute! Haven’t we already had this conversation?

2 thoughts on “Therapy? Part 4

  1. As always Bill, your words very much move and sadden me. I really hope you are finding some kind of solace now. Wish I g you the very best x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is possible your father suffered from abuse as a very young child in his boarding school – and found it difficult to break the cycle of pain/ flashbacks, even as an adult.
    Nothing at all excuses the years of emotional cruelty and neglect he aimed at you – serious by any standards. Today, you would have had access to more help – and key signals of serious emotional cruelty would have been picked up by professionals.
    However, it might just give an insight into his consistently cruel treatment, dark moods and angry outbursts.
    You have broken that cycle and been a caring, supportive father … both loving and much loved!
    Your sister too, has been and is, a wonderful, loving parent.
    I wonder if he has received any counselling? Never too late! Ross

    Liked by 1 person

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