I remember a friend telling me about teddy bear syndrome years ago. It’s what happens when someone hurts and they take it out on those closest to them. (Their teddy. Because a teddy forgives anything, doesn’t it?)
Two weeks ago when I looked after Mum she told me (among all sorts of other things) ‘you have been an awful person since the day you were born’. It hurt. It still hurts. Today she shouted at me for moving the kettle out of her way with ‘why are you trying to burn me with the boiling water?’ I’m pretty sure I shouted back at the stupidity of that accusation, which was probably wrong of me, but then we somehow moved on to ‘I don’t need you; I have two other daughters who will look after me.’ Both times she told me she would rather be on her own than spend time with me.
This morning I was working by 7am to get an hour and a half in before I drove to Mums. I usually start again as soon as I get back at 3pm and finish work about 8pm. Yesterday was and tomorrow will be longer to make up for the time I was there today. My days are busy but I don’t begrudge it – they are my parents and it is my turn to look after them.
So I am kind of appalled at myself that today Mums comments were just too much and I left. I walked out the house, got in my car and left her. I went to see Dad (who goes out when I am there) and apologised but the upshot is that I came back, because Mum can’t be left, whatever she says to me. I am her teddy bear.
As I wrote this though, sitting at their kitchen table trying to work out how you move on from this point, I felt like a very battered and tatty teddy bear who just wanted to be told she is loved.
(Note: I said there would be no filter on the blog this time and I thought over and over about hitting publish. I know there are no smiles, and sorry for that, but if this helps one other teddy bear feel less alone, then it’s worth it.x )