The problem with living with strict parents who are not prepared to listen or understand you, is that eventually you find the courage to stand up to them and question their rules.
Mum used to say to me “Don’t give me your excuses.” My reply “They are not excuses; they are reasons.” This seems to be an intelligent response from a child and in later life with my own children, I had one rule. If you answer back, make it funny.
Mum didn’t have a sense of humour at all, sadly, as much as I tried to make her laugh, I failed at every attempt. Eventually I gave up trying, even gave up aiming to please her, as nothing ever seemed to work.
She had such pathetic rules, mostly concerning cleaning the house. She had no outside influences, no job, no friends, the neighbours were to be feared rather than friended. “What will the neighbours say?” She would often ask me, as I grew into a rebellious teenager, wanting to exhibit my individuality to the world.
She bullied my poor Dad, who was struggling with a terminal condition, trying to stay at work to support his family, despite his ill health.
“You don’t eat enough to keep a bird alive.” She would say, ignoring the fact that he found it difficult to eat and still breathe at the same time.
On the other hand, she would criticise my appetite, call me greedy and often tell me that I was fat. Something which would affect me to the detriment all my life.
I realised later in life, that she was experiencing similar problems to me at the same time. She was struggling with the symptoms of her menopause at the exact same time as I was going through puberty. Not good timing at all.
298 words – Sandy Bryson
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