Monday, 9 April 2018

I'm not with stupid - I am stupid

I've been told I'm stupid a lot of times. My parents have always had a knack of telling me how useless I am and they have often shared their forthright and not at all flattering thoughts about my shortcomings. I grew up believing that anything bad that happened was my fault. If my sister fell and was hurt I'd get blamed for not watching her carefully enough. If I was hurt I knew it was because I'd done something wrong. My dad would either shout at me or ignore me - it was the only way he know how to deal with stressful situations. At the lowest point he stopped talking to me for four years and walked past me in the street pretending he didn't know me.

I was frequently told how stupid I was by an ex-partner - hence he is an ex. In fact after I left him he took what I can only guess was delight in phoning me at work to tell me that there was clearly something wrong with me. He wasn't the first (or sadly the last) person to gaslight me, but I had no idea it was a thing back then. When I was in my first marriage I used to keep it all inside. The fear, the shame and the feeling that I had brought it on myself. I learned over time not to argue as it was just fuelling the self-hatred. If he was looking for a fight I'd back right off and just go quiet. Then he'd criticise me for 'walking on eggshells' around him. My family had no idea and I made excuses for why we had to cancel visits at short notice. I didn't tell anyone and barely spoke to my friends for years. When I finally left and they asked why I hadn't said anything I just didn't know what to tell them. It made me look and feel even more stupid.

Years later a woman who was working in my office, but wasn't really a colleague, was leaving her job and no one had offered to do anything for her last day so I asked if she wanted to go to lunch - thinking that she would invite others. When it was just me and her in Wagamama waiting for our food she proceeded to list all the reasons she thought I was stupid. I hadn't asked. I think I even paid for the meal. Another colleague spent a work social telling me how rubbish I was in front of everyone then at the end of the evening asked me for a lift to the station. I wanted to tell her to sod off, but I was so stunned at the cheek of her that I dropped her off at Elephant and Castle and willed a bus to knock her down. It didn't.

Frankly the queue of people waiting to tell me my many faults is not dissimilar to the scene from Airplane !

So what is it about me that is so kickable ? Well, they probably have a point. I mean how can so many people be wrong ? You see in my head I'm a person who tries her best to be kind and to be fair. I am a fiercely loyal friend and I care deeply about people. However, I am also inclined to speak without thinking. I make inappropriate jokes and I am terrible at hiding my emotions. If I don't like someone much I will be nice to them but I won't get close. The people who know me best have witnessed the idiotic and frankly baffling range of my emotions / behaviour and are still here. There is some reward for that surely ?

When Hubbie and I were first courting (his chosen word for it - it's quaint and sweet, I would say just like him, but he does read this !) we had a bit of a rough patch. I told him I needed to talk to him and we met in Battersea Park. He looked terrified. I asked why he was so worried and he said he guessed we were breaking up. I explained that there were some things we needed to talk about so we could work things out. It was a difficult conversation, but we walked in the park and talked about the difficulties and made a promise to keep talking to each other. We established something fundamental that day. Firstly, we are here for each other whatever the problem is and secondly that not talking is unkind and hurtful. With what was to follow it's just as well we had coping strategies. I don't know how else we could have coped with infertility, miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, adoption, bereavement and whatever else is yet to come. I have asked him to come with me for my mammogram so I may have pushed him too far - let's see.

The self-loathing I feel right now is really taking it's toll on me and those I love. I thought I'd broken my fingers the other day when I was upset about something and took it out on an inanimate object. My boys asked if I was alright and I said, "Yes I'm ok" while struggling to fix dinner with only one hand. Then I felt stupid for doing something that meant I couldn't care for my kids properly. I asked Hubbie last week if I really am a horrible person. He laughed and asked why I care what people think of me, but I can't help it. My own opinion of myself is so flawed so why would I trust my own judgement ? It feels like that at the moment. As though I've got a skewed perception of myself and that I think I'm ok, but the queue of people with baseball bats and rolling pins is getting longer again.

My cat is lying next to me on the sofa with his paws on my leg. He is a pretty good judge of character so I can't be all that bad can I ? 


  1. My lovely, you are not stupid.... you are an amazing person. I think you are incredibly strong and I know exactly how you feel as you know. Please believe in yourself. Stay strong x

  2. You are not stupid. Well if you are so am I. I too have been told many times I am stupid and useless so once again I think we two are sisters- we are so alike. Keep your chin up lovely lady. Xxx