New Routine

 My five year Dorothy routine is in disarray.
The Welsh like a lie in, and walks are not greeted with an hysteria bordering on a1960s Beatles concert.
So I’m starting the day later in general , in a quieter, less fraught environment.
My blood pressure will benefit, I’m sure.

I have a journal to complete for college.
This time centring upon a childhood memory, resurrected during personal development group. I have a few in mind and discussed possibilities with myself during dog walks this morning. 
I am a big self chatterer. 

I have picked a rather painful memory when I challenged my mother about the level of her drinking.
Instead of exploring the subject, brought up by a gauche and very young 17 year old, she did what she often did and retreat to bed blaming her unhappiness on me or us ( her children) 
Incredibly passive aggressive and exceptionally dysfunctional, her behaviour found its mark  and , I found  myself ultimately apologising for upsetting her, which in retrospect was a terribly skewed expectation of an adolescent to behave .

And so I’ve tossed the memory around this morning. That’s half the battle all told. Memories can warp themselves into passable chunks. I just need to map out the essay,

In half an hour I need to take Trendy Carol’s Hubby for a hospital appointment, he is a regular attender and I’m happy to take him. I will refer to him in the future as Ieuan which the Welsh version of John.
Today I found the ceramic heart on the kitchen wall, a gift from the velvet voiced Linda and a few days before the pencil drawing of Dorothy was left on Bluebell’s passenger seat by Margaret from Choir,
Kindnesses go far….


I’ve made a lasagne today as I’ve a friend coming over for supper tomorrow.





82 comments:

  1. I am so grateful that alcohol hardly figured in my parents' lives when I was young. However, my mother developed a taste for whisky in the last ten years of her life. When she was in residential accommodation, she even tried to bribe members of staff to fetch her whisky. It was all pretty sad.

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    1. Jo in Auckland6:09 pm

      I've worked in residential accommodation YP... I can understand why she tried to bribe staff to bring her some whisky; it is sad that people in the last years of their lives are not treated as well as they should be by all.

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    2. We have a large collection of alcohol at the hospice , and use it “ realistically” with patients

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    3. YP, not sure what you are referring to as "sad": The fact that your mother developed a taste for whisky in her last years or the fact that she had to resort to bribery in order to indulge one of her last pleasures?

      Reminds me of my grandmother. When she was on her deathbed [in hospital] - and, no, she wasn't a drinker - she asked for an ice cold beer. What did the nurse say? "No, it's not good for you". Great. You've got to laugh. Enter MY mother, the daughter. Let's just say that my beloved grandmother got her last wish.

      U

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    4. My mother's downward spiral was because of whisky. She broke her hip in the middle of the night when searching for some whisky in our house. I told her she should have simply asked. Trouble was she could finish an entire bottle in a day. It wasn't just a little snifter and the habit bore no relation to the abstinence displayed during the first seventy five years of her life.

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    5. Alcohol abuse in later years is often linked with symptom control …of pain, anxiety , comfort , insomnia , depression

      Delete
  2. Debby1:09 pm

    What a wonderful sketch! The heart is sweet as well. You know, Trllawnyd seems to hold a great deal of talent and kindness. Your story reminds me of the time I could no longer, in good conscience, go with her once a week to the Chinese buffet. She hated me for that for the rest of her life. Totally not kidding.

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  3. My mum suffered with her nerves as did grandma and apparently I followed - she was adoring - m i l we had to walk on eggshells around from which I have ptsd x

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    Replies
    1. Many people have developed PTSD from childhood, from areas and subjects not traditionally thought to be causes

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  4. Anonymous1:28 pm

    What lovely gifts from your friends. When I read about some people's experiences with their parents I'm so grateful that mine didn't drink or treat me cruelly in any way. Dad could be a bit emotionally distant but I think maybe that was partly his own rather difficult upbringing.
    Alison in Wales x

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  5. Dorothy was in many people's hearts.

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  6. What lovely, kind, thoughtful gifts. Dorothy obviously touched many more hearts than you realised!
    Working through your painful memory will be challenging, but may lay some demons to rest. Our relationship with our parents is always an odd one. Even when we are adult, we are still their child and sometimes (many times) act and think as such. xx

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    1. Your last sentence has a resonance for most of us. HH

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  7. What a sweet portrait of Dorothy! I'm a big self-chatterer too. Sometimes I'll be walking the dog and suddenly realize my lips are moving and I look thoroughly crazy, though I suppose people will just assume I'm somehow on the phone.

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    1. Yes!!!! I even lift my phone to make it look like I’m chatting

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  8. Lovely gifts and thoughts.. Dorothy found the hearts of many.
    Walking does help thought, and a dog does give a pair of ears to bounce ideas off...even if you don't always get a response!

    It looks like your course will be of personal assistance, giving you understanding for yourself as well as the ability to do that for others.

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    Replies
    1. Understanding yourself and your own motivations and your past is vital to therapy .without good self awareness you cannot be an effective counsellor

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  9. Barbara Anne2:26 pm

    What wonderfully perfect gifts from your friends who understand the depth of your loss of Dorothy. Then, too, youre a good neighbor to all.

    alcohol didn't figure into my childhood at all and I didn't realize how much of a differnce that made in our home until I was grown.
    Lasagne - yum!

    Hugs!

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    1. The sketch and plaque were kind , incredibly kind, which do cushion

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  10. Anonymous2:54 pm

    I was lucky to have a wonderful childhood, my parents rarely had a drink. The only thing was that my mother totally favoured my brother, he could do no wrong, it was really noticeable by my friends. It made me not care about her all that much. My first husband had an alcoholic mother and she was pathetic. She always wanted our kids to stay with her for the weekend but we just couldn’t allow her to be alone with them. My then husband also became an alcoholic and the reason I finally left him.. I stayed till the girls grew up but it did damage them too. So sad. Gigi

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    1. Some painful memories there Gigi. Thank you for sharing them with us

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    2. Anonymous10:37 am

      I almost forgot about the day my first husband drank antifreeze, my daughter found him unconscious on the floor, called an ambulance and got him to hospital just in time to save his life. It did severe damage to his kidneys and he died a couple of years later at the age of 48. I had left him before this happened. My daughter and I had a good discussion last night about things we had forgotten about from when they were young. She was about 19 at the time of the suicide attempt. Gigi

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  11. Anonymous2:59 pm

    I feel very sorry for your mother. She must have been so unhappy....all drinkers are. My mother never drank until the last years of her life because of a miserable relationship with her husband.During the post war years alcohol was the crutch of many. I am tired of people being so critical of their parents who often suffered as children themselves. My lot were not perfect but they tried their best and in retrospect I was a lot better off than my more socially accepatable middle class peers

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    1. Anonymous3:18 pm

      Parents have a responsibility not to harm their children , whether that be in a physical or psychological way.
      Looking at past traumas is not really looking to blame another person, it’s about seeing things clearer in the hope that self awareness and enlightenment shapes future behaviour and coping. Well that’s how I see it anyway
      You can still accept the person but totally not accept their behaviours
      Am I right?

      Lee

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    2. My father was a hard core alcoholic who did not have a horrible childhood. I chose to treat my son totally different than how I was treated. Sorry but I just will never understand how someone can abuse their child (mentally) the way I was and I will never forgive him. He passed away 38 years ago and I am still affected by what I went through.

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    3. Linda
      You have answered the 2.29 comment better than I could have. I hope they reflect on it . Thank you

      Delete
    4. Lee,
      I can add no more , I agree totally . Accepting the person is central to client centred therapy . I would need good clinical supervision if as the therapist I identified with a client with a similar history to mine

      Delete
  12. Lovely gifts from thoughtful and generous friends, you are well loved. I had no idea that terriers like a slow start to the morning and a nice lie in. Alcohol seems to bring hardship and sadness. As you state, It impacts the entire family, especially innocent children. Is it still a common problem?

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    Replies
    1. Since lockdown , it’s become an even more pressing issue susan.

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. Constance, Winnie, Dorothy... what will you say if someone turns up at your door with another diva bulldog? I'm guessing it will be 'Yes'
    xoxo Elizabeth

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    Replies
    1. Elizabeth , don’t forget Mabel

      Another waif will no doubt show up

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    2. Sorry Mabel!!!

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  15. A difficult memory you've dredged up. Will you be expected to find insights into why your mother behaved this way? Or only look at your own feelings and experience. And--is 17 ''childhood'' enough, maybe something happened when you were 5 or 6?

    lizzy x

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    Replies
    1. The idea of PD is to explore yourself and what has affected you. We are expected to take part of 12 sessions of therapy too with a qualified person centred therapist .
      I am in the middle of that experience too, which is tough

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  16. Anonymous4:06 pm

    Lee, I am not one for tattoos, but if I were so inclined, your message would be what I would imprint on my body.

    John, I feel that my own childhood was similar enough that I can relate. I am one of those folks who say I was raised by wolves, because essentially nobody raised me, although I was fortunate to have a home to live in and food to eat. I also did a little confrontation with my mother, to no avail.
    Nina


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    1. Anonymous5:20 pm

      Nina
      I am very flattered.
      I was a social worker for years before my life in the University and that time taught me more than academia ever could.
      It taught me that everyone that has children has a need to the best that they can be.
      Many need help with that.
      More than a few shouldn’t own a dog let alone raise a child. But we shouldn’t just pity these people, we should help them learn ways of coping .
      Children are the innocents
      Let us not forget that part

      Lee

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    2. Children should always be put first .
      I’m looking at my mother’s behaviour from the perspective of an adult with some insight.
      I had a bout of psychotherapy in the 1990s after being in an abusive relationship with a partner, most work I did then was about my mother, who , in therapy I forgave
      I remember one sentence the therapist used about my “ partner”
      “ his teeth fitted your wounds”
      I have never forgotten that

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    3. Nina ,
      I had a typically 1970s childhood . I wanted for nothing except affection

      Delete
  17. Anonymous4:16 pm

    Do you mean The Beatles? I've not heard of The Beetles although they sound the same.
    If you mean The Beatles then you have your facts wrong. They didn't do any concerts in 1960, those events came later.
    They formed in 1960 and played in nightclubs.

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    1. Anonymous5:20 pm

      As for you
      You are a fucking idiot

      Lee

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    2. Anonymous5:29 pm

      Go GIRL!

      Keith

      Xx

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    3. Anonymous---The Beatles played Shea Stadium NYC in 1965 and Carnegie Hall, also NYC in I think 1964. Neither venue is a nightclub. Not to mention John's phrase was a metaphor not a historic reference.

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    4. Anonymous9:11 pm

      Concrete thinker Lizzy

      Lee

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    5. Thank you Lee.

      Delete
  18. Anonymous4:39 pm

    The pencil drawing of Dorothy is fantastic - Jackie

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  19. Were I in your position I might rethink the choice of subject for that college journal.It's supposed to be about a childhood memory,17 years old is rarely thought of as childhood . And your mother's behavior would likely be judged as a symptom of alcoholism, a disease,

    that an adult like you might be expected to understand rather than used as an example of her
    inadequacy as a parent.
    To be clear I truly wish your mother had been healthy enough to give you a happy childhood,I just want you to get a good grade on your paper,
    Nicki

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    Replies
    1. We need to show how WE react and how WE feel and how we process the situation and perhaps how it relates to things now

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    2. Anonymous3:21 pm

      I agree with Nikki. You've obviously got strong hate feelings towards your mother and blame her for your childhood when in fact. as Nikki says, she was sufferig from an illness. She wasn't purposely making you unhappy.
      If you weren't still simering those feelings you wouldn't need to bring it up for your counselling course and it wouldn't "relate to things now."
      A counsellor should be counselling, not still dwelling on things from their own youth.


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    3. I have no hate for my mother.
      I did have but I processed it
      I and my siblings saw things we should never have experienced and that was directly her fault
      I’ve forgiven that now, and see it for what it was…
      Don’t presume you know me more than I know myself
      You don’t

      Delete
  20. John, I am sorry for both you and your mother. You may know or never know [or only by guessing] what made your mother take to drink and her bed. So, yes, you, as her son, deserve compassion - as does your mother as a person in her own right.

    In the future, when you get to be the counsellor of many a client with a similar story, I hope you will have learnt to leave yourself aside. I don't mean this in a patronizing way. However, do re-read your third paragraph - your choice of words; the judgment behind them. I don't know if you ever sought professional help to work through the issues with your mother but, ever the optimist, no parent sets out, deliberately, to be a "bad" parent.

    I hope that one day you will find the strength to make peace with your mother (which is not the same as not acknowledging that certain parts of your childhood impacted on you badly).

    Before I forget: Where was your father in all this? How did/do your sisters digest their childhood?

    Anyway, one way or another, I hope you'll gain acceptance and peace. Doesn't mean that the disappointment in what you had hoped for but didn't get will be extinguished; just more bearable.

    U

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    1. Very soon I will start to take my own clients clinically and we can only do so as long as we have clear, structured and ( expensive) supervision by a senior and appropriately trained counsellor . This is where any transference, counter transference etc conflicts can be explored if required.
      I understand and am aware of how I view my mother’s dysfunctional behaviour . My former psychotherapy helped me with that
      No parent want to parent badly
      But many, in reality do, and my assessment of my mother’s behaviour stands. I now judge her rightly . The thing that HAS changed is my reaction to it.
      I forgave her years ago.
      But I have never forgotten.

      My father was emotionally distant because of his own demons and upbringing

      I won’t presume to discuss my sisters here

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    2. A bad parent can choose to at least try to change their behavior, or in the case of an alcoholic at least attempt to stop drinking, not to choose alcohol over their child, even when begged to stop.

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    3. And adults have more choices and power than any child

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    4. Right. A child can't understand rejection, they only feel it and blame themselves.

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    5. Anonymous3:14 pm

      Linda - alcohol addiction is an illness, it's not a case of "at least attempt to stop drinking" .

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    6. It’s also a choice anon

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    7. I said "at least attempt" meaning maybe you will fail but at least try to show you care to try to stop or that you care for the child enough to try. A disease? Yeah, one of the only diseases where you actually can choose to cure yourself or try to at least. I am sorry but after all I've been through I just don't fully subscribe to the disease theory. I can tell you probably don't understand my stance but it will never change. Alcoholics don't just endanger their lives but others as well.

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  21. Anonymous7:40 pm

    A considered reply John
    It underlines the professional

    Lee

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    1. weaver8:03 pm

      Two lovely, thoughtful presents John and I am sure well-deserved.

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    2. Thank you pat , how are you feeling tonight?

      Delete
  22. Anonymous8:13 pm

    I did not realise you have to pay for your own practice reviews? How often do you have to have this john ?
    Doesn’t your employer pay for it?

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    1. All counsellors have to pay for quality supervision , generally it has to take place every few weeks or so depending on the number of your clients .
      It’s rare to have supervision by an employer

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  23. You have some seriously fine friends! Take care.
    Bun

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  24. Anonymous2:39 am

    Isn’t life complicated??? I grew up with 11 brothers and sisters and a father who was an alcoholic. Yikes! Your gifts from friends are both very special. I think you will be very good at your new job. You have a lot of insight and good feelings for others. Kathy

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    1. 11 brothers and sisters, that’s a novel it itself

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  25. For some reason I keep thinking around your sentence "Memories can warp themselves into passable chunks." Makes me think about memories, how they are formed and how they can change.

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    1. We all rewrite our own histories , many making themselves the hero or the victim of the piece

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  26. Oh, goodness - isn't parental alcohol a fraught topic. My father was an alcoholic, brought up in huge wealth but no affection, and the war probably contributed too. My parents separated when I was some months old and until I was 8 I was raised by a (weepy) mother and a wonderful, amazing aunt. Then mother went back to him (remember the social pressure of the 1950s) and I discovered I had 2 half brothers, (who'd had a dreadful time with him) and I was packed off to boarding school (as were they). Aged 10 my mother was hospitalised during a difficult pregnancy, and I felt I had to "make sure he was OK" by going down 90 minutes' drive to see her each weekend... but I had to stay in the car (too young to visit). One night he was so drunk I drove the car back home - that I"ll never firget. Whenever I see a new piece about a young child caught driving I wonder whether self-preservation may have been behind the child's driving. When my father was sober - which was 95% of the time, he was perfectly fine, remote but fine. As a result of this, I drink about 30ml on social occasions and alcohol is a 'turn off' for me. To be fair, I think New Zealand has underestimated the damage the war (actually both wars) caused, and long before any form of therapy was available. I'll bet others could tell equally awful stories.

    You are surrounded by good people who appreciate you John, and you them. You'll ace the Journal assignment. Thanks you triggering another great discussion.

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    1. Virginia , thank you for sharing this. A painful memory of a sad time.
      The sad thing of experiences like yours, mine and thousands of others is that we saw things and experienced emotions no child should experience

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  27. We are reaching the age, when some of the family memories, can be written out. Putting it on paper can help to sort through the experience.

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    1. Yes david..others I guess stay buried

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  28. At first I thought you meant you were sleeping with the Welsh (people). What did I miss? Then I realized, the Welsh dogs.
    I didn't realize your mum was an alcoholic. They're awful to live with and make you feel like the crazy one.
    Sending hugs to you John. Take care.

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    1. I was lucky I have loving sisters and had a grandmother who provided the stability , affection and support we all needed

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