Monday, June 18, 2007

My Daughter is 14

My daughter is 14 and she has her whole life ahead of her. It is a particularly poignant age for me, and I have been secretly dreading her birthday because I knew it would open up so much pain for me. Pain because in watching her at 14 I have to fully account for how I was treated when I was the same age. I have to observe and see how young she is, and how at the same age I made decisions that have affected me for the rest of my life. Am I happy? no I am not. Just owning that feels honest and right.

I seem to have been crying for most of the last 24 hours as the day approached and today it was all I could do to hold it together while she opened her gifts and I looked with tenderness and compassion on her, and saw myself and wanted to reach out to myself and hold me tight.

Her presents were the usual collection of little things that delight little girls, because she is a little girl and so was I. She had an annual pass for Alton Towers, a pair of pyjamas, a couple of necklaces, two DVDs and an Avril lavigne CD. Little things, little innocent things that symbolise what it is to be 14. She sat and listened to her cd this morning, her hair up in a pony tale and she was so perfect. So happy, so protected and loved. She has a sleep over planned for Saturday, a trip to the pictures and a meal at Frankie and Bennys. At her age I was about to experience a disruption to my life which has affected me ever since.

When I was 14 my mother was filled with jealousy and despair. Her husband was suffering from depression, a failed business, debts and his own 'demons'. When I was 14 my future husband, then almost 19 years old took a fancy to me. At 14 my mother encouraged my future husband to ask me out, but at the same time told me that I had to say no to him. At 14 I said yes - and got involved with a grown man, who wanted grown man things. At 14 I lost my mother for ever because she turned on me in the most vicious and gin soaked rage that went on and on and on for years. She hit me, she ostracised me from my family. She would cook for the others but not for me, she would pack the family cases for holiday but not for me. She would throw me out of the car for daring to ask if I could see 'my boyfriend'. The things she did were cruel and evil and scarred me for ever.

I did not have the resources at 14 to choose my life partner. I did not have the resources to cope without my mother and suffer the abuse that she threw in my direction. I did not have the resources at 14 to realise that responding to a jealous 19 year old by doing everything he wanted to do was NOT a good idea. I did not have the resources to know that I was depressed, abused and was having a nervous breakdown. I was just confused.

Why oh why did nobody help? I was too young to cope. Too young to cope with the sex, too young to cope with my social development being terminated, too young to cope with an abusive parent, too young to know. Where were you - all those relatives that knew what was going on, why didnt you say anything? Why didnt you stop her, or confront her, encourage my mother to get some help? What about husband to be's parents, what the f**k were you playing at allowing your son to pursue a 14 year old girl? If my son were to express such intentions I would chop his bloody balls off. Where were my teachers who watched a bright, lively young girl become withdrawn and desperate, untimately experiencing a nervous breakdown. Where were you all?

The legacy of being 14 lives with me everyday. I am trapped in this age till I process my grief. Maybe my daughter has helped me to start doing that properly.

Maybe this is what makes me a therapist. I have been there, I know what its like. I dont want anyone to stand alone and feel 14 forever.


Pixie said...

OH QV that is so beautifully written, and I know how painful for you to deal with. You will make the right decisions about what you need. You know you don't have to be 14 for ever.I know you know that and i know you're heartbreaking struggle to make sense of who you are, never mind anyone else.

Wish your lovely daughter Happy birthday from me.

And know that i am here for you, whenever.

Love and hugs.

Anonymous said...

I am very touched by the loving tenderness you feel for your daughter on her birthday. You are keeping her protected, joyful and innocent at an age when you weren't given that.

What a generous spirited, powerful and self aware woman you are. How lucky is she, to have a mother like you.xx

Queen Vixen said...

Thank you both. I do feel a lot better today. Its like the milestone has been reached and all the grief poured out of me. I have not cried like that in a long time. Something has shifted and thats good. Now I have to survive feeling guilty for showing my feelings. But I keep telling myself that I am entitled to grieve and if others around me choose to be miserable about that then they can do that too. I am not responsible for the feelings of the world!

qv xxx

l-q-s said...

QV, that's beautiful in it's honesty.

My two children are too small, as yet, to really bring that out of me but I have been aware, since my son was born, that the day of reckoning is at hand, so to speak. To see them, as small as they are, is to realise, as you say, what we ourselves must have looked like and to wonder, all over again, how could they do that to us when we needed them so much?

You can be immensely proud of the fact that you're breaking that cycle of hurt and that your daughter knows the safety & security & love that you missed out on. It's something that I'm still trying to do and it will hurt all of us until I can get it right. Feels good when I read you say that it feels as if something has shifted for you. I am so greatful to know that it can shift, even if it hurts like hell. Thank you for giving me that reminder.


Böbø said...

QV I hear your pain at your abuse, and disgust for those around you who ought to have held you safe. I hear your pride in your daughters perfection and protected innocence.

Clearly, between you being 14 and she being 14 a lot has happened for you, to resource you, to protect you, to give you capabilities to guard yourself, as you were once so unguarded, and to guard your daugther.

Dispite being abused, neglected and attacked, you have flourished to become the magical person that you are. And I know your blossom with bloom further.


Kahless said...

I can feel the love that you have for you daughter shine through this post and its really warm and touching.

And yes, having been there and knowing what its like makes you, I suspect, a very good therapist.


Queen Vixen said...

l-q-s: Thank you for what you have to say. It means a lot, and I have broken a family pattern, and yes something has shifted. Change is possible.

Bobo: Thank you for your faith in me. I feel very supported and cared for.

Kahless: Thank you for feeling the love that I have for her.