During the time I was in the cottage, as before and ever after, I continued to try to develop myself and improve myself and seek appropriate help, and after a failed suicide attempt that I will explain later, with some help I took to searching for counsellor who would accept a reduced fee, as there was no counselling on the NHS, and I was poor.
we found LD, a counsellor who would accept a reduced fee, JM had tried to discourage me from looking for counselling, and had told me that a lot of counsellors do more harm than good (haha JM!), but I found LD, and a friend took me to see her, she was skilled in helping with trauma and abuse. LD implied that she may have heard of JM and her way of doing things, and explained to me that I was vulnerable when JM took me to her house, and FM was in charge of his behaviour so it could not have been ‘six of one and half a dozen of the other’ as JM had put it.
LD explained a lot of things to me, including that my relationships needed strong clear boundaries, this is why I tried to get George and Jill Lihou to speak to me later on and discuss the boundaries, but they wouldn’t, they tried to change the boundaries without discussion, which signifies and unhealthy relationship, and also in the case of the hypochondriac couple, they were reluctant to discuss boundaries, I now do my best with boundaries singlehandedly in order to help my relationships, but it is difficult to know how, and in some of my friendships I do not need to do anything with boundaries.
In my case, because of attachment disorder and being abused in the past, I need boundaries round how involved people get in my life, and only minimal involvement helps, which is hard because people seem to always want to change my life in major ways, and I can’t cope with it.
A recent example of boundaries is a vulnerable couple who have befriended me, they have a set time to see me and we share a meal, I sometimes have wash at their house, but I don’t stay over, they offered me a night at their house recently, but bearing in mind Jill and George, the hypochondriacs and everything else I decided it was better to love them and say no. Another friend will have me to stay if I want sometimes, but I also keep those stay overs within certain boundaries, just as I will not visit or phone my local priest, I email him rather than invade his privacy and that way he can read and do as he wishes with the email in his own time, some relationships I have where the people are emotionally strong and not getting involved for the wrong reasons seem to have natural boundaries, these included (9 names, all removed from me by the diocese)
A note about the vulnerable couple, they have remained my friends since I wrote this in 2011,despite efforts by the diocese and I have stayed over with them many times, but as a result of the diocese, I do not feel safe in any friendship).
But LD did me the world of good by teaching me about boundaries and about how abuse is the abuser’s responsibility, and she also taught me metaphors from a book, she also did a psychological test on me, I do not know what it said, apart from that she told me that it showed I had high levels of integrity and despair, that was in 2004/5.
I developed a tremendous amount of speech and self confidence in the time I saw LD and I also continued to overcome some of the limiting beliefs that I had inherited from my parents which were holding me back. But it never stopped being difficult to verbalise things for LD, and I did a lot of writing and drawing for her in order to help.
LD also made the tremendous difference to my outlook when I was in despair over having to try and understand my relationship with George and Jill being all wrong after having such similar problems with the hypochondriac couple, she told me that sometimes there are people with emotional problems of their own, they see someone else struggling and take on the other person’s problems and think this will make it all come right as well as making them feel good, and they do not set proper boundaries and they wear themselves out and sometimes the person they are helping gets badly impacted and can even be made to feel responsible. (This is not to say that I have done nothing to contribute to the issues between me and these people), but understanding this from LD helped me to go on living, because I came to understand what the church refuse to accept, that I am not fully responsible for these relationships that did not work, I have my share of responsibility (and grieve for it) and they were responsible for their side, and have blamed me.
I saw LD for 2 years, and then she was retiring due to health problems and I was going away to college, but we kept in touch, she has continued to help me by being in contact, within strict boundaries due to her health and her being my ex-counsellor.
Ted was taken ill, he had Pancreatitis, which he had many problems with before, and also developed pneumonia, after a while of being very ill he was taken to hospital and was seriously ill.
I tried hard to help. I took Joan to the hospital or visited Ted every day, I asked the chaplain to pray for him as I prayed in the hospital chapel, I asked the L. prayer group to pray for him, I looked after his greenhouses at his house and did whatever I could to help Ted and Joan, but I was becoming ill and Ted gasped from his bed that he was more worried about me than himself.
I was deeply exhausted and distressed, I was struggling with the work because the handyman, as predicted was turning ratty to me, he knew I had seen him with several cans of beer in his hands one lunchtime not long before he took off in his car, and I think that seems to be where is hostility came in. I was struggling to look after myself and my debts were worsening, I was simply overloaded with things that needed doing. MY friends were suffering my depression with me, and inadvertently deepening it as well, I will explain in a different paragraph.
Anyway, early one day I got a call to go to the hospital, Joan was there, Ted had been very ill, he had coughed up pints of blood, literally, and there didn’t seem much hope, but amazingly, from that day on he got better, he made a slow but steady recovery, and despite some of the doctors wanting to put him in a care home, he came home, and he and Joan were my friends.
Ted would hold my hands or hug me, and he was not usually a demonstrative man, but this touch was safe and true friendship, Ted and Joan were in their 80s and lived an honest straightforward life and despite the age gap I was proud to have such friends, and there was no issue of them being like parents or grandparents to me, they were my friends and were safe and devoid of ulterior motive, if I had just been a sponger, as FM shouted I was, while he lived off JM, or out for what I could get, as JM’s mother said, then why would I have looked for such friends? These people had nothing material to offer, but what they offered was worth more than gold, real old fashioned honesty and values that I wanted to emulate.
FM was calling me names like that while he was living off JM and in JM’s words ‘doing very little to help in the house’, his job seemed to be to sit, to shout and scare people off like a human guard dog. JM said that on the worst days she considered him to just be using her.
JM continued to annoy and upset me by calling me Sally or ‘Sal’ sometimes, I did not want to be the ghost of this daughter they had let down and abandoned, I was not Sally, wherever she was she was much older than me and from what JM had said she was nothing like me, but JM tried to make me similar, thankfully my asthma stops me from becoming a chain smoker like Sally, and I could never be passive-dependent, and I have a sense of humour.
I stopped seeing JM for some months due to the tensions in our friendship, her continued interference and the always unresolved FM issue, then one day I went to see her for the first time in months and she told me she was going on a sabbatical and she wanted to take me to New Zealand with her, she seemed to expect me to say yes and seemed surprised when I said ‘we need to talk first’.
I told her we needed to talk about FM, ad about her saying it was six of one and half a dozen of the other, and I told her I was not at all sure I should go to New Zealand, not that it wasn’t deeply tempting, but I knew how scary it would be, and how weak my friendship with her was.
She agreed to talk, and we talked, but it didn’t make things better, I regret it now, but I told her not to come to the party at my cottage, and I told her I would not go to New Zealand, JM said she cried about the party, I cried too, I still do when I think about it, it was a lovely big party with all my friends there, JM saw the pictures and was surprised that (two vulnerable people from church) were there, of course they were there!
They were always so accepting of me, why should I not accept them as friends in return? But JM didn’t get her stand in New Zealand companion to go with her in the end, I went, and it got me out of my depressing situation for a few weeks and got some good food into me, but it was in itself a tough adventure, I will explain later as the NZ trip comes later in this story.