Mother - Woman No 4
Posted by jackmarsden
11th Jan 2018

This is where it all began.

This is why, unlike my children, I am unable to simply shrug off disappointment in a failed relationship.

Why it hurts so fundamentally. And why I tried to end my own life.

I was the youngest of six children, born to a mother (Woman No 4) who suffered from depression all of her life.

When I was just a few months old, according to the story later told in the family, I contracted pneumonia and was in an incubator in hospital, fighting for my life.

I remember, as a little boy, asking: "who was with me?"

The answer, as it turns out, was no-one. These were the bad old days, when parents never stayed with their children in hospital. No-one was there.

I remember, even at their early age, being so shocked and hurt to learn that my mother was not at my side in hospital. That I was left alone.

She was probably suffering from post natal depression. (The parish priest threw the tablets which she had been prescribed, on the open fire).

So from that moment on, when this story was first told and then repeated occasionally, I have felt a strong sense of abandonment. I feel that my mother never loved me. She certainly never showed any physical affection. I have only one memory of ever being cuddled.

My mother was highly intelligent and frustrated by her circumstances. With six children to look after, she wanted to get on in the world. Do better. Fulfill her aspirations. Make her way.

But she was trapped by yet another child.

So as the youngest, I was not wanted, not loved, not worthy. Abandoned. Rejected.

Cue resultant lack of self-esteem.

When my relationship now ended suddenly, those feelings all came bubbling up, slowly but surely. There was the shock, first. And then the feelings of abandonment and rejection which became even more potent, because when the relationship ended, I was ill, again, at that time.

She abandoned me when I was sick, just as my mother had. And of course, there was no real rational explanation for it. If I had been unfaithful to her, then fair enough. But no.

So little boy lost.

Then, when I tried three times to get help from the NHS with my worsening mental health, those feelings of rejection and abandonment, disappointment, loss and grief were only compounded.

So that's how and when The Crash came. 

Never mind just feeling betrayed - and I guess feeling betrayed is linked to feeling abandoned and rejected - I was actually betrayed.

I both felt the betrayal - and I experienced it.

As Bob Dylan remarked, it's a wonder that I still know how to breathe. But I do. Somehow.

And, I guess, having that understanding of how and why I feel the way that I do - and the direct line which can be traced back to my experiences with my mother - helps, in a way. As John Lennon sang: "Mother, you had me, but I never had you..."

It's a moot point, but maybe I was also looking for unconditional love in my relationship with her, just as she was. But that doesn't feel right, somehow.

Certainly, I was looking for a woman who could love the whole me. With all my own weaknesses and insecurities. And my mistakes. But maybe that is asking too much from anyone.

Anyway, the knowledge of how and why I feel the way that I do, still doesn't change the way that I feel.

And that's where the work must now start.

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