Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Problem Page

Hi Babs

What a great idea this is. Thank you! My story is rather long, so I won't bore you with all the all the details.

To explain, I grew up in a very unstable home. My father was abusive, threatening, and I generally lived in fear until he left when I was 16. 5 years later he died.
That chapter of my life stole my childhood really and blighted my life ever since, even to the point where now I have no confidence in myself whatsoever.

That's not the reason I'm writing though. I find it hard to come to terms with my mother's behaviour during that period and even now. She was never tactile, didn't really protect us (my older sister and I) from his violence. She worked as he couldn't and I know she was just trying to keep the 'house' going.

That chapter of my life stole my childhood really and blighted my life ever since, even to the point where now I have no confidence in myself whatsoever.
But I often feel so sad that she never made time for me, didn't notice me crying in corners, didn't help us learn a language so we could speak to our German family, lied about going to parent's evening and went out somewhere else instead, glossed over my vulnerability when I said I hated myself and would look at pavements in public, won't take any responsibility for exposing us to my father's wrath - especially when she left a volatile house behind and went off for a week somewhere. (without leaving a contact number)

There's so much more to say. But, now, I find it hard to have a relationship with her. She's distant, doesn't take a huge interest, and yet rings occasionally to ask why I've not been in touch. Conversations are always about trivial things, not things that really matter. I don’t want to make small talk with my own mother, and yet I’m forced to as she is more interested in what we’re eating for dinner than in me as a person.
My problem is letting it all go. Accepting that I do and will never have parents that are really there for me. It's daft - I'm a grown woman, run a business and have a lovely husband (no kids) and yet I just can't mentally be at ease with the past - or with myself now. I've tried to see things from my mum's point of view, to make sense of it all. Why am I looking for answers still? Why is it so hard to just move on?
Why do I still feel like the child? I've tried to avoid that victim tag in my life. I've worked hard, refused to allow my upbringing stop me from being me. In fact, I often say that it made me who I am today. I'm caring, loving, and have a huge heart, yet even when tough things have happened in my life, I've always had great strength of character to beat things. Yet, why can't I just forget things that I can't change, or just let things go?


Babs Response

Hello Karen and welcome to my problem page. I want to say how sorry I am that you had to experience all that pain as a child. It seems both parents let you down badly and clearly it still hurts. I noticed you used lots of 'whys'. I think asking yourself why is a critical stance and it stops creative thinking. So instead I would suggest you ask yourself for example 'what is so hard about moving on'. One of the ways of letting go of  hurt and pain is to think of one of  the traumatic childhood incidents and to write a letter as that child to your mother about what you were experiencing and how you felt. When you've written the letter take it outside and burn it and as you burn say something like 'I'm letting you go' or 'goodbye'. Repeat it for each incident until you've covered what you can remember. I don't think forgetting is an option but you don't need to hold it in the forefront of the mind anymore. One more thing every night before you go to sleep say in your head  3 times 'I forgive myself , I forgive other people'. This is NOT about religious forgiveness but again about letting go. It may sound odd but it does work. Please remember this page isn't a substitute for counselling but I am offering strategies that work.

Kind Regards



  1. I think this page is excellent. Well done Karen for being so brave and sharing your story - definitely
    Keep this page going Barbara

  2. Hi Sheila I see you conquered the comments system after all.I thank you for your perseverance. It is my intention to continue with the page. All it takes is hard work, a bit of luck and brave people like Karen.

  3. Thanks so much for your help and advice. I'll definitely try the strategies you have suggested and wish you every success with your problem page. Thank goodness for people like you.


  4. my pleasure Karen. I wish you well. Always happy to help if I can :)