My apologies. I’ve been out of action for quite a while.
I have been attending IAMP meetings. I have been in therapy.
Several months ago there was an intervention. There had to be. I was at rock bottom.
My wife said she found me wandering around in my socks, searching the local park for the money tree I told my kids must exist.
She knew that was the last straw.
I had known for a while. But I buried my head in the sand. Refused to acknowledge there was a problem.
Looking back I was fighting a losing battle.
They say it takes on average 10 years before the change fully happens. With my boys now 11 and nearly 10 I had reached that point.
It’s a bit like the movie “The Fly” where the scientist slowly changes into a fly. I have also been slowly changing. Into. My. Parents.
It was just the odd word at first, then a similar saying here or there. Until one day I looked in the mirror at the grey hair and wrinkles. My dad looked back.
The antidote for this was alcohol. Every night a glass or 4. But even my tolerance to numbing agents was such that a glass of propofol now wouldn’t touch the sides.
The flashbacks would come at the strangest moments. Triggered by words, smells and action. Often as I picked clothes off the floor or told the boys not to come out their rooms until they learnt how to behave. Or to finish their homework, to study harder, to put more effort it etc etc etc. I would find myself in a movie-like dream sequence living back at home, being told the same things by my parents.
My downfall may have been triggered the day I found myself chiseling off 3 day old poo with a raggedy shitty poo brush. It was 35deg outside and the air con had just packed up. I was not in the cheeriest of moods.
I was barking orders. No one was one listening. As I threatened them with extinction, expulsion and all manners of things you shouldn’t say to your kids I knew that I had finally lost the battle to become the parent I knew I wanted to be.
I had the vision pre-kids, like all, of being the perfect parent. Of not following in my parents footsteps. Of not making the mistakes they made.
But now with loo brush in one hand and a pair of not-so-slightly soiled underwear in the other I knew the battle to become my own person was lost. The once calm level headed rational loving human-being I once was had morphed into my parents.
And so D-day arrived. I came home to find my friends and family in the house.
“Rob. We are here for you. We are here to help you.”
“Not happening.” I said “I’m going to count to 3 and I want you all out my house”.
They just looked at me with their sad expressions. They could hear my parents in me.
“I’m warning you. This is your last warning.”
They knew it wouldn’t be.
“Look this is my house. You do what I say in my house. If you don’t like it you can get out”
Smiling warm faces twinkled back at me. They knew I was lost.
“Stop it. Stop it now. Get out my house.” I screamed. My anger levels boiling over.
I was losing control.
“Right! Who wants a smack.”
My wife takes a step forward.
“It’s ok” she said, draping a loving arm around my shoulder.
“Get off me. Don’t touch me. I’m sick of the whinging.” I brushed her arm away. The tears in her eyes were too much. I broke down. Fell to my knees.
I was done. They broke me.
“We all love you Rob.”
They lifted me, this heaving, sobbing mess up into their collective arms and carried me to the car. It was time to go.
I said nothing at my first IAMP meeting. I sat quietly. Broken. Depressed. Numb.
Time is a healer. And I grew stronger. Bolder.
It took me 6 weeks before I finally stood up and said those words. It felt good.
“Hi. My name is Rob Harris. I have been here for 6 weeks.” the back of my throat started to swell up. My eyes started to sting. Come on son, pull it together.
I was about to say it. Admit it. For the first time.
“My name is Rob Harris and………..I Am My Parents.”
I expected whooping and cheering. Some back slapping. I wanted to be raised upon their shoulders.
The respectful applause was all one gets in IAMP meetings. We are all in it together. We are one. We share experiences. We make admissions. We give ourselves over completely.
And every meeting closes with the same chanting maxim of the IAMP, and the one saying that every parent will at some point finally understand:
Tu puganre Potes Terebat
“You can fight it but you can’t beat it.”