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Tag: family dysfunction

A couple of weeks ago, on 22 November 2017, my mother died. Her death is something I have been expecting for a year more, and I am glad it happened while I was in Vietnam, because it meant I had a good excuse not to go to her funeral. How could I eulogise kindly about a woman who did so much damage? A woman who was unkind at her best, and nasty and violent at her worst, which was often? A woman who should never have had children? A woman who had carved a powerful message deep into my psyche

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My mother was not a pleasant woman. She was violent and cruel, controlling and uncaring. She probably had Borderline Personality Disorder. She was married (and divorced) three times, and all three husbands ended up with alcohol or mental health issues. They may have been predisposed, but my mother brought out the worst in them. If they couldn’t self-medicate with alcohol, they had breakdowns. Or both. And then they left, leaving my mother as the sole care provider (and I use that term in the loosest possible way) for her three children. From the age of eight to 18 — ten

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I used to love Christmas as a child. I loved the excitement of it all, the anticipation, the fulfillment of wishes. It was the one day of the year I felt loved and wanted and happy. Santa made sure of that, even if my mother couldn’t. Dear, kind, surrogate parent Santa. Kindness on this one day almost lasted me the year. Almost. My childhood Christmas memories are somewhat fragmented, though, like a slide show that keeps jumping slides. My memories, while lucid, don’t flow. I can only remember bits of Christmases, a jigsaw puzzle where most of the pieces of

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A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about why I changed my name. Revisiting the past, which I had to do to explain the aforementioned name change, I was hit (no pun intended) with the realisation that I not only survived what can only be described as a toxic childhood, but managed to thrive as an adult. I’ve heard of other people, who despite similarly dysfunctional families and upbringing, have not been so lucky. Drug and alcohol abuse, addictions, self-harm, criminal activity, even suicide are symptomatic of damaged people who have not successfully made the transition into adulthood. So what’s

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