With it being Mental Health Awareness week I thought it was a good time to finally take the plunge and say something I should have said to you decades ago….
I appreciate that sorry doesn’t really cut it when it comes to all I have done, but it’s all I’ve got, even after all this time.
I have spent the last twenty five years being unkind to you, in all kinds of ways, on so many levels, and never stopped for one minute to think about saying kind words, complementing you, supporting you, or making you feel important and worthy.
I can’t remember the exact point when I began to hate you, but I know that I did, with an absolute loathing. I hated the way you looked, the way you spoke, the choices you made, a list so long I could reel them off one after another. And it hasn’t always been that way, because in the beginning I loved you whole heartedly, I loved all that you were and all that you stood for, all of the same things which I would later come to detest you for.
I have called you every name under the sun, ridiculed your weight, criticised your hair, scrutinised your wardrobe, mocked your abilities, your intelligence, your goals and your dreams. Bit by bit I have single handedly stripped you of your self belief, your self confidence, your self worth.
I disallowed you to eat, for such a long time, even when you were starving hungry and desperately needing just a handful of calories to get you through the day. I deprived you of the vital nutrients you needed for your body to grow and recover, long after you reached a point where your life depended on it. I silenced your cries for help, even when you were desperate to end the cycle, whispering in your ear that there was no other way out for you, apart from one….
I forced you to exercise obsessively, shaming you whenever you dared to sit down, a walking, talking calorie counter, reminding you that you were getting fatter by the day. I encouraged you to lie to others, to make excuses, to become adept at plastering on a smile, even when I knew you were dying inside.
I blamed you for the death of your child, lay awake each night loathing you for the part that you played. I’ve questioned what kind of Mother misses those vital signs and neglects to notice her own child has died; I’ve pointed the finger of blame solely at your body for failing him, for being so utterly useless that you couldn’t even keep your own baby safe inside. I’ve directed every single part of my anger and hatred towards you, for all of these years.
I’ve questioned your parenting on countless occasions, listed the ways in which you have failed each of your children, reciting them one after the other in those early hours when your babies cried and I watched you break down, jeering at your failings.
I stood by and watched you stay in unhealthy relationships, enouraging your failings when you questioned your worth. I’ve allowed you to believe the lies I have fed, with absolute conviction, that you didn’t deserve to be loved, that your happiness no longer mattered and that, actually, it never did.
I isolated you from all of your friends, even at the times when you needed them the most. I told you they wouldn’t understand what you were going through, that they wouldn’t want to love and support you, that you would be better off alone, enveloped in your misery, than inflicting your woes on others.
I’ve shamed you, I’ve mocked you, I’ve ridiculed you, I’ve bad mouthed you, I’ve abused you, both mentally and physically, and whilst sorry isn’t enough, because I’m not sure it will ever be, believe me when I tell you that none of it was true.
You are wonderful, in so many ways. You are kind and thoughtful, you are strong and ambitious, you are brave and determined, you are all of the things I was so blinkered to for such a long time. And you are beautiful, both inside and out, and it makes me so sad that I didn’t allow you to see it, that I allowed my thoughts to cast such darkness during the times you were trying so desperately hard to shine.
Laura, you are so much more than I have ever allowed you to believe, a good Mummy, wife, daughter and friend, and today, during mental health awareness week, I want you to know that I was so wrong about you. You are lovely, just as you are, with all of your quirks and all of your imperfections, and I vow to remind you of that, every minute of every day, for the rest of my life.
I am so proud of you.
Love from Me