I Should Never Have Been Born
(Lincolnshire, England, UK)
My story is no worse or better than anyone else's; my pain is no greater and my situation is no harder; but I should never have been born. Why? Because my contribution to this world, my family, my environment and most importantly my own children has been nothing short of damaging and destructive.
I grew up in a volatile household, always moving house due to my father being in the army, parents separating at age 12, being sent to boarding school where I was bullied, first being suicidal at age 13, but not suffering with anger, quite the opposite; I was a doormat! I'm one of eight children, we often got separated, my eldest sister always targeting me and being cruel. I looked after my younger siblings like a mother.
My mother also remarried and had another baby who lived with her and her new husband. We were the in between children who just got in the way! Only ever 'visiting' when we saw either one of our parents. Due to my father's insistence there was nothing wrong, the school refused to let it go so my Dad withdrew me from school. He told me I'd been expelled and told me to live with my mum. I went to my mum's, put myself into a state school, traveled many buses to get there and back, listened to my mum and step-dad arguing over me being there, got sent to live with my older sister who had always hated me, had a worse time there, then one day just snapped at school. I knew I had to leave my sister's, I had nowhere to live, I was still only fifteen, and started to feel angry.
From that moment on I took control of my life, I found a room to rent, a job (as I was just about to turn 16), I spoke to the school about doing GCSE studies from home in the evening and under my circumstances, they agreed. I didn't do particularly well in my GCSEs and not enough to get me to college but I didn't let it stop me.
My life then took a turn for the worst when I couldn't continue at my rented accommodation, ended up in a hostel, lost my job, all my belongings, got trapped in a situation with my cousin who I turned to for help (she was a drug addict but I didn't know before I went there), she abused her children and I was locked in her flat for three months trying to protect them from her violent outbursts.
The police finally raided, I escaped, she lost her children, I moved to London to stay with my Dad in his army house (not his normal home), all was going well until he relocated to Cyprus and I was homeless again. My first boyfriend offered for me to live with him, I did, he became obsessive, wouldn't let me find work or friends, he was wealthy, smoked a lot of weed and got me dependent on alcohol. I ran away a year later, went to stay with an old school friend who also had got involved with drugs, her house was a drug den!
I visited my mother one day, my Aunty was there, she offered for me to move to Manchester with her, I lived in her attic for a few months but she was extremely volatile and expected me to look after her children, clean her house, give her any money I got from work and even tried to get me to be a call girl! I used to go to the local pub just to play pool to escape her temper, there I met my second boyfriend who I eventually lived with, got engaged to and had a baby with. I found out he cheated on me whilst I was pregnant and working long hours; he lied a lot as he was very immature.
I got angry with myself after everything I had been through I allowed myself to have a child with someone so immature and self-centered! I packed everything, moved to Wales to live close to my Mum and finally enrolled in college. I made a safe home for my daughter and started to do what I had always wanted; educate myself so I could find a better job and support my daughter.
Two years later I met the man I'm with today. He was from Scotland and wanted me to return with him. I was anxious about giving up what I'd built up but took a chance on love. We moved to Scotland and sadly it was the worst decision of my life so far.
After living in Scotland for twelve years, suffering with terrible rage, depression, suicidal tendencies, I found out I was pregnant a fourth time and we decided to move back to Wales for family support from my mother as our house was just far too small. It just didn’t work out.
We moved six months ago to rural Lincolnshire, following on from various incidents and many years of upset, I severed almost all ties with my siblings as I could no longer cope with the cold, selfish and downright cruel way in which they repeatedly walked all over me. Now I am a stay at home mum of four, with nothing but an almost constant daily rage being inflicted on my children, a long term 'partner' who I blame for everything even though it's not fair on him, and a broken family who I can't even talk about without crumbling under the emotional upset it brings me.
I swear I can no longer cope with my anger. I started losing my eyesight due to several burst and blocked blood vessels in my eyes, my heart aches (literally) every day with anxiety pains, I've brought our children into a world whereby I try very hard to educate them and teach them respect but ultimately I also inflict terrible bursts of anger and say awful things to them for the smallest of errors!
I am a terrible person; I was ignored completely as a child, rejected and abused by my family and acquaintances growing up, and now I've inflicted my personal torment onto those I care about the most. I should never have been born.
Most days I just want to die. My anger feels too great to be changed. My university degree and working life is in psychology & mental health ironically; so any help I get I feel humiliated and patronized. This makes me more angry and as a result I don't talk to anyone and I'm isolated further. I honestly think I'm trapped. I'm tired. I can't continue. I don't even know why I'm writing this. Just ignore me.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Nanette. I would have honored your request to ignore what you've written, but I heard some things in your story that caught my attention, and I'd like to share some thoughts with you. I hope you find some help in what I offer here. (Your story above is edited slightly, to allow for the length of my reply).
One thought I had is that you have tried to make things better for yourself (and later for your family), over and over. At 16, you got out of a troubled household and tried to make it on your own. You sought out education, to improve yourself and your circumstances. In your words, "I didn't do particularly well in my GCSEs and not enough to get me to college but I didn't let it stop me." You didn't let it stop you.
I want to acknowledge that incredibly strong (from my viewpoint) and indomitable spirit in you that "wouldn't let it stop you." I think that same spirit helped you get two master's degrees, and it has motivated many, many actions on your part to try to make things better. I know, you feel that you have failed...that's very clear. I'm only pointing to something of great value inside you, that has been there all along, and is still there today. It's who you really are.
Like most of us, you have defined yourself by what has happened to you, combined with what you have done in your life that you feel bad about. Yet, from my viewpoint, what defines you is this hope and determination that rises within you, again and again, willing to try again. I think it is that very same force within you that motivated you to write your story on this web site.
When I read all that you've been through, I cannot help but be impressed with the fact that you're still here, still trying. And although you feel terrible about yourself, and cannot stand your anger and how you treat your children, you have tried, and tried, and tried. It's that willingness to keep going, to keep trying...to make things better...that's what I'm pointing to, and hoping to reach with my response.
You're obviously a very intelligent woman, so I'm sure you know there are no magic cures or quick fixes for how you feel or what's going on in your life. However, over my 39 years of counseling, I have found that there are some tools you can use, by yourself, at no cost, which just might help you to turn things around with your anger and anxiety. The tools are basically in two categories: journaling and imagery.
Both of these approaches allow you to help yourself, which I think you're very capable of doing. The journaling is a left brain approach, and the imagery works with the right brain. Of course, like any tools, the more you use them the more skill you will develop, and the better they will help you...and if you don't use them they are useless to you.
You will find an overview of the journaling and imagery tools for anger management on this page, and you'll find some help with your anxiety symptoms here. You'll notice some overlap in the description of the techniques for dealing with anger and anxiety, and that's because when you're using these tools you're actually addressing the causes of both your anger and your anxiety.
I cannot know this for sure, Nanette, but I think if you use these techniques regularly for a few months, you'll start to feel better, have less anxiety, and have better anger control. I sure hope so, for your sake, and for the sake of your children and spouse.
Believe in that spark of life inside you that has kept you going throughout your difficult and painful life. You can bring that into greater fruition, by simply believing in your own goodness, and following what I've recommended.
My very best to you,