I'm struggling with this post, it feels like a probe is going right into my core. What I need to share is upsetting, guilt ridden and makes me ashamed.
The weekend has been hard. It has been very intense. I've got up when Emily did and stuck to her side like glue. I've needed to. She's tried to take pins, thorns from bushes and dinner knives, all with the intention of self harm. This because I found what she'd been using to cut herself. We found them by accident really, last week. My son went to borrow her electronic spell checker, inside it he found a small razor blade. I discovered it had been removed from a pencil sharpener. When I found a second pencil sharpener with no blade I hunted around her room. I was lucky to find it, hidden in her glasses case. Without being able to harm herself, the weekend has been even more tough for her.
Another reason it was tough for her was, as she put it, "I've stitched up my dad".
We sat alone and I let Emily speak at her own pace. She has been speaking to people at the unit about her experiences as a child. Unbeknown to me some of her memories are not happy ones and these seem to centre around her father. She talked of being scared of him, of his bad temper, his shouting, his rough handling, his inability to show love and care. All of this was whilst we were married.
She went on to say when her and my son went to stay with him at weekends after we split up, he would feed them, but that would be all. She would look after her brother, she would tuck him in and kiss him goodnight.
Some of this I was aware of, some of it I wasn't. I do remember incidents when he hurt Emily in front of me because he lost his temper. I remember yelling at him and crying. Guilt has come pouring out of me like water through an exploding dam wall. There is so much I can't remember from that time, does it mean I shut it away? Could this even be the root of some of my own mental health problems?
I was suffering with terrible depression during my first marriage. He did not 'get it'. I'm sure at times he got angry with the kids because he was actually angry with me. I knew about abuse, but the times when he snapped and was physical were not that frequent and they were my fault, weren't they? I did stop him, I did shout at him, but maybe I should have done more. My Mum says I used to tell her some of this at the time, but I don't remember. I think if I had tried to tell anyone else, he would have laughed it off. He wasn't a nasty man, he just lost his temper sometimes. Mr Charisma, but that's not good enough is it? If I had done something before she was 8 maybe I could have saved her from this agony she now faces. I can't understand why I am almost seeming to defend him, even now. My head is saying, 'he's not a bad man', but then it says, 'no, but maybe he's a bad father'. Maybe I made him a bad father.
Maybe I can't accept that he may not be very nice, because what would that say about me?
I looked at my profile and thought, do I need to change this? It may be
that it's not the school bullies that led us here. But then I
thought, it's all still bullying even if it happens to now be at the
hand of her father.
So, what happens now? The unit will explore some of these memories and in a few weeks time her father will be invited into therapy. I have said I want to attend too. I think we all need to hear what he says. We all need to face up to what this means for us. I am frightened of opening these wounds, but I have to do it if it will help Emily to heal. I fear there is so much I have locked away and I'm not sure I can cope with it.
That poor child has struggled through so much, hidden things from me for 'my protection'.
What happens if I turn out to be the monster?
- Mum of 2, suffering my own mental health issues, I began to write this blog as a way to release feelings and emotions. At 13 my daughter was terribly bullied which has led to her having serious mental health problems of her own. She is now 16. I wanted to document our journey and hopefully be able to look back and see how far we have come.