When I left Tom I had no choice but to apply for financial assistance in the form of some benefits. My earnings aren’t enough to cover the expense of myself and four children so I’ve been receiving a top up with some benefits. This morning, I received a letter informing me that the government’s changes are starting to come in to effect which means that a benefit I get for the kids will be cut by £10 per week. This means I now need to find an extra £40 per month to cover the rent. I’m almost sure that if I were to sit and work everything out, I would find that this is manageable, albeit with cuts elsewhere.
It has been playing on my mind all day. I noticed I bit all of my fingernails down as far as they would go, I’m clenching my jaw, biting my lip and have a stress headache but it’s not just the worry of the money.
Every now and then I find the weight of responsibility weighs so heavily on me, its almost too much to bear. Tonight, I went up to bed thinking that if a fire were to start, the responsibility is mine, and mine alone, to make sure I get all of the kids out safely. What if I fail?
What if I can’t pay the rent?
What if there is a bill that I’ve forgotten to pay and I don’t have the money?
What if I spend all my money making this house a home and then we’re stuck here for years or worse still, we lose the house and I have no money for us to find a new one. Fear is literally taking over at the moment. I have butterflies, adrenalin surges and I feel sick constantly.
I really missed Tom today, mainly tonight. I really needed a cuddle. I know a lot of it is because of the way I am feeling. I am scared, I need reassuring but most of all I need someone else to take over, to assume all responsibility or maybe just to share it with me.
It’s times like this that I wished I still lived with Tom, he was everything I ever wanted when it came to safeguarding me and the kids. I never had to worry about anything when I was with him, he took care of everything, I couldn’t see that. Instead, the only things I could see were his failings and what he wasn’t doing for me. I always wanted more. I accused him of acting like my father and treating me like a child but I acted like one and wanted him to be my carer. I liked the fact that I could dump everything on him and not have to worry, he’d take everything, deal with it and still offer me a cuddle afterwards. What a complete and utter spoilt little bitch I was, always wanting. Never satisfied or able to see how much he did, happily, for me. He literally provided everything for me and my children and asked for very little in return – the dinner cooked, a happy girlfriend and a pint every now and then. All I could see was a controlling man.
Now I want that control back. I feel out of control. I need him to bring it all back for me, it makes me feel safe. I miss him and I miss our old home. I miss his arms around me and his very presence, so strong and assuring.
However, I know that to give him all the responsibility means to leave him with all the stress, while I sit back and relax. That wouldn’t be fair either. Looking at it now, it’s understandable why he was always on a short fuse and so annoyed with me. I took him for granted completely.
The other day we talked about him selling the house and downsizing. I suggested nearer to me. I realised that the main reason I want to move back to my old area is to be nearer to him. I don’t feel safe being so far from him. He does feel like the protective father, I feel like the out of control teen, needing her father’s arms to pull me back into normality, maybe because I never really had that with my own parents; always allowing me to find my own way, to make my own mistakes because it was the best way to learn. What I had was no boundaries, I never felt safe as a teen. I felt reckless and out of control. I had sex with whom I wanted when and where I wanted, including in my own Mum and Dad’s bed.
Tom imposed boundaries on me. He didn’t allow me to have sex whenever I wanted it, he was the first man to ever say no to me. He has extremely strong morals and boundaries and no-one pulls the wool over his eyes, except me. His ‘rules’ made me feel controlled and abused on the surface, but deep down I wonder if it was exactly what I craved and it was the unfamiliar that made me see it as abuse, that and the messages from my mum.
Is it wrong to base a relationship on how safe someone makes you feel? Maybe it’s normal for someone who’s never felt safe, or rather secure, to need that.
Did I feel unsafe as a child? Yes, very much so.
Did I feel secure? No. Absolutely not.
My place in the family was not secured. Millie was the anchor, her place was valued and held high on a pedestal, probably only by me but I knew, from their words and actions, that she was someone to look up to. I was the pretty one that could spell (the only praise I ever got was about the way I looked and my spelling ability) but Millie was the clever one, that one that would give the family a name, the one that would keep the business running. I was just unimportant and there, which is pretty much how I felt with Tom. He’s the clever one, he keeps everything running. I was just there. My roles were redundant as he took them over one by one. I have to take responsibility for that too and say I allowed him to do that but it’s very hard to fight a force that you’ve had to battle against your entire life. Not being as good as the other one. Izzy came along and then Sasha. Sasha, who has always been treated specially. The baby, the spoilt little madam who got everything she wanted and still does. (I know how much of a brat that makes me sound.)
Nothing about my childhood made me feel secure. I would sit alone in my bedroom most of the time. A bedroom that my parents decorated for my aunt to come to stay in, all their choice of design. Everyone else’s bedrooms were decorated how they wanted them but because mine had only just been done I wasn’t allowed to change it and had to put up with garish big flowers for years until I wrecked the room by drawing all over the walls. No boundaries = no respect.
However the room was decorated, it was my haven. I felt so safe there. I would make my bed as comfy as I could. Loads of pink pillows, tons of them, teddies all around, duvets and extra blankets and I would barricade myself into the warmth and comfort of it all, take out my notepad and pen and write. I would write for hours. In fact, as I’m typing this, I am tucked up in bed, a bedroom that I am considering painting pink as it makes me feel safe. Do we ever truly get over our shitty childhoods?