Secrets and lies …
Are we ever supposed to understand our parents, l mean really, truly and deeply?
My Mother, thankfully has stopped this annoying behaviour she used to have where upon she would say “I carried you for 9 months, therefore l know you and you should be grateful!”
What does that really mean? That just because l was in my Mother’s womb for 9 months, that she automatically knows me for the rest of my life? I only lived with my parents for the first 19 years of my life, and now at 55, this means that l have not been in their daily presence for 36 odd years, and since that time l have perhaps only with all the visits as in face to face been with them for perhaps a further month, if we include phone calls and emails and texts, then maybe that might amount to a further week in terms of time.
I didn’t really understand my parents when l lived at home with them, l knew them relatively well based upon what l was living with and what they then thrust into our faces through the arguments and combat zones. There was no such thing as’What goes on behind the bedroom door stays behind the bedroom door’ with home life, because both were guilty of telling secrets on each other to both my Sister and myself.
Things that kids don’t need to know nor wish to know were explained to us. I recall with a rather grim clarity of how my Mother explained to me that Dad was hopeless in bed when l was 14, l didn’t need to know and when l told her this, she became haughty with me, and then accused me of being the same as he was .. arrogant! Which was somewhat ironic l thought given her behaviour.
Mum always confided in me whether l wanted to hear those things or not, and all it really did was pile on the stress for me, there were always so many bloody secrets and lies in our family. I knew from a somewhat young age that l wasn’t supposed to tell Mum this or not tell Dad that that it is hardly surprising, Asperger’s Syndrome or not, that l simply escaped and retreated into my own bubble and surrounded myself and my bedroom with things that kept me away from them.
I didn’t know what a normal family was like, but envied those of my mates who seemingly enjoyed one. My Sister and l .. today are wary of each other because of the manipulations of both of our parents, as in what has the other parent performed in so far as backstabbing on either her or l and so all the family are distant from each other, we are all scattered to the corners of the country like frightened winds.
Yesterday l received a phone call from my Mother and the first thing she said was “When was the last time you saw your Father?”
“May this year.” I answered, “Why?”
“How is he?”
“Well if you mean back then, he had lost a lot of weight and looked ill, he had problems with his eyes and one of his knees was swollen up to the size of a pumpkin, but l did tell you this back in May.” I said, “But if you mean as in now, well then he has a blood clotting problem and liver and bowel cancer, which he is starting to receive chemo for. Again something l told you only last week.”
“I don’t believe it!” She snapped “There are too many secrets in this family, why all the lies??”
“Sorry Mum, but l am a bit lost, what don’t you believe?”
“That he has cancer, l think he is lying!”
“Based on what, have you seen him? Considering that you don’t wish to speak to him and haven’t done so in a good five plus years, what are you basing that on?”
“Just spoken to your Sister and she said nothing about it, only a DVT.” She shouted.
“Yes he does have that in so far as a deep vein thrombosis which is the blood clot l told you about back in May.”
“Well why did she not tell me about the cancer?”
“You know damn well why! Because in essence l shouldn’t have told you about his cancer, but l AM sick to the back teeth of all the secrets and told you out of courtesy despite him telling me not to tell you. So l am in the wrong for doing so. But l should imagine, that he has told my Sister exactly the same. Let’s be honest the pair of you don’t get along.”
“Well l am tired of all these secrets!”
“Mum, correct me if l am wrong, but you are divorced from Dad and have been for 30 odd years now, and you don’t wish to hear from him or have anything about him in your life?”
“So why are we having this conversation if you don’t care?”
“Well l don’t care if he lives or if he ..”
“You can stop that right now, l will not tolerate it from him about you and l will not have it from you about him either!!”
“Well l don’t care, l don’t live in the past!”
“If that was the case, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, surely?”
“I just don’t understand why he lies all the time, why he tells you one thing and your Sister something else?”
“Well he isn’t lying is he, both my Sister and l know he has cancer, and she hasn’t told you, but l have, and he hasn’t told you because you don’t wish to speak to him or acknowledge he exists.”
“I have been ill, and l have had cancer scares, and a DVT, and a darn sight more than he has, and that man made me lose three children! I never said you weren’t to tell him, bet you didn’t even ever tell him?”
“Yes l did tell him and he WAS concerned, and he wanted to send you a card, but you said no to that.”
“Well he never cared back then, why care now?”
“Mum, l know the past, but if you do not wish to live in the past, why keep bringing up in every single conversation we ever have when it upsets you so?”
“Just like your Father – more secrets, l expected better from you, your Sister and you keeping me in the dark, more secrets and lies! She never rings, l never see her.”
“But you just said that you heard from her just today?”
“Well apart from that, why doesn’t your Father understand that you both have lives of your own now?”
“I don’t know, perhaps the same way that you keep saying you haven’t heard from my Sister when you have and then never telling me when you have seen her when l know from previous conversations with you that you have, is that too not a secret that is only accidentally spilled?”
“How is that different?”
“Well you two don’t get on and therefore you don’t need to know.”
“So like a secret then or is it a lie?” I asked. “I am not really bothered about the so called secrets and lies Mum from either you or Dad, on the few small text conversations l have with my Sister via Facebook, she is always seemingly honest with me. Unlike my parents? The biggest problem l feel is that this ‘secrets and lies’ you speak of have been with us as a family for years and years, and after a while one becomes laissez-faire about it all. Don’t misunderstand me, that attitude is now fairly new to me, because l have for years been instructed by both of my parents to not tell one or the other about things going on in each other’s lives that l have lost track of everything. Dad has cancer and is ill and is lonely, you are unwell and bitter once more, my Sister and l are somewhat estranged from each other and that has happened because of all the secrets and lies that our parents have been telling everyone and us for years.”
“I see!” My Mother snapped once more, “Anything else?”
“Yeah sure, l think l love you both, but it is extremely hard work. Thanks for calling.”