I had unwillingly become involved in the local churches to my house, my boss at the big house was part of these churches, and she got me involved, she introduced me to Vicar and his wife and I was dragged into helping with Sunday school at one of the churches, which was odd because the congregation varied between 8 and 15 people, so where the children came from I do not know.
I went to the other churches without great interest, there was nothing remarkable about them, but it got me out of the range of FM’s temper and the stress of L. occasionally, L. was a deeply cliquey church and just a few people there made me feel small despite the wonder of all the nice kind and friendly people.
St. M’s was in that benefice local to me then, and I quite liked that occasionally. I also made a few friends/gardening customers through the churches, I have nothing bad to say about them, the only problem was that old staff from the college who did not understand me and still didn’t were there and could be quite rude about me from not understanding. Whereas Ted who was part of the choir at the next benefice over, often poked fun at the local vicar and his half-empty churches, Ted liked their Vicar/rural Dean at his church, I did too. JM got jealous if I went to other churches. And I asked her not to get involved as she usually did, and not to intervene.
But she did.
I suppose most churches have their politics and people who don’t get on, and I was not really equipped to deal with the politics of L. and some of the characters there, there was one woman who always seemed to be laughing at me, she really seemed to think I was stupid, and that made me sad, if I was helping with something in church, she didn’t want me to be helping, it made me sad, because as well as being like that she sometimes could be very kind and helping me, albeit in a patronizing way, when I am treated as stupid, I feel stupid and I lose competency.
That lady is part of what I call ‘the gossip club’ -essential to all Church of England Churches, she talks about people, including me, being ‘talked about’ in a less than helpful way added to my lack of confidence, but I forgive her, she is not evil, not malicious, certainly not deliberately unkind, in fact she means well, she simply has no experience at all of poverty or disability, she has led a very comfortable life indeed, married to a millionaire and a stable part of that lovely wealthy community.
Anyway, when JM’s startling curate moved on, she eventually got another one, I was never at odds with this woman, when she first arrived JM vaguely introduced her to me and no doubt gave this curate her opinion of me, whatever that is that makes people avoid me, and though there was no enmity whatsoever between me and her, she only spoke to me once, that was in the last year of her curacy, she spoke to me about Anne’s illness and impending death. Her recent apparent opinion of me to Romsey Abbey is therefore unjustified, unchristian and wrong, in fact if I had gone on JM’s opinion of her when she first arrived in L., that could have caused problems, with JM saying this curate was far too uptight, self absorbed and beset with emotional problems, I gather that in reality she was just very nervous but gained confidence.
The hypochondriac couple really came into my life one day after a sponsored fast, I know from my two sponsored fasts that if I fast or starve I get ill, after the fast I asked JM if I could rest in her study as I was not well, the hypochondriacs heard me and invited me to go and rest at their house, I had spoken to them and helped alongside them with things but I had never been to their house before, and they took me home and befriended me. Their life seemed to be so much about illness and symptoms, and in the end it was damaging me: they had depression, cancer, hypoglycaemia, cold feet, stiff neck, spots in the throat, arthritis, in fact every time I met with them they were working with my symptoms and theirs, what the symptoms were and how to control them, but this was actually making me ill.
They liked the idea of me having autism and the rest of the problems and got very involved in the efforts to take me to the Maudsley in London for diagnosis. They were very kind, but the boundaries of the relationship were shot, they got too involved and exhausted themselves and me, but I was the one who took all the blame as usual, they also used to embarrass me sometimes, they had family in Italy and went on and on about them, and would also speak to me in Italian and expect me to answer, I thought this was showing off and asked them to speak in English please, and when their family were there, they would make jokes that I didn’t understand and when I asked what the joke was they would say, ‘oh it’s a family joke, never mind’, and one of their Italian family was rude to me and said ‘oh you don’t speak two languages, you only speak English, which technically isn’t true, but I was humiliated at being spoken to like this by an 11 year old’
I do speak two languages and a small amount of three other languages, but I don’t want to boast.
They had family in Devon as well, and were constantly telling me of the rows that their Electrician Son in Devon had with his ‘partner’ who was a psychologist, I really really wondered what a psychologist was doing fighting with her unmarried partner in front of their young child, and I gather that the hypochondriac couple also asked this ‘psychologist’ for advice about me!
Isn’t it a bit stupid to ask advice from someone who is in a damaging relationship and harming their own child, and they were asking advice without my consent and when their son and partner’s relationship was causing them concern!
The hypochondriac couple were constantly stressed or even in tears over their son and partner, and were up and down to Devon to try and look after the child, and then the couple had another child. The first one sounded miserable and neglected and the relationship was not stable, so why have another? The hypochondriac couple were very involved indeed, and even gave their son their car when he was struggling for work. I was simply horrified by the way that they were describing the rows and the way this psychologist ‘daughter-in law’ was behaving.
It made me wonder if psychologists could really help anyone else if they couldn’t even look after their own personal lives.
The hypochondriac couple also advised me on money, and told me that credit cards were worth applying for as I was bombarded with ‘acceptance letters’ from credit card companies, and the hypochondriacs were also the ones who helped me to get a loan to pay for my new car, I ended up in debt not being able to pay everything because my finances were never stable and money I relied on from one of my jobs never came through, I do not blame the hypochondriacs for any of this, it is my life, but I am and always have been a bit too childlike to cope with finances or override the influence of older church people in my life.