Life and other things

Thinking Aloud


it all started ,when I heard something called “Attachment theory” mentioned on the radio. I looked it up and it was all about the attachment an infant forms with the primary carer ,who is in most cases ones mother.

It is not fair to blame everything on parenting or the lack of it, one can over come certain difficulties and vow to be a better parent themselves and may be I have, but there are things which niggle at you and the underlying questioning of yourself, which started in childhood and goes on for the rest of your life raises its questioning head. On the whole I have made my own life ,mostly on totally on my own until I met my late husband, we had a very long marriage, he was kind, decent and probably loved me far more than I was capable of loving him.

Then I met a journalist, we were talking about this and she said something to the effect that may be because your mother was married off to your father who was in love with another woman, she rejected you as she probably didn’t want to be his wife or a mother!

Yes.

This made sense. My mother didn’t make a secret of how much she didn’t want the pregnancy which was me, she talked about jumping from heights, having hot baths and such like trying to get rid of me and couldn’t. To top it all she had a very difficult and prolonged ;labour. The result was she refused to do anything with this infant, who was not fair skinned, was a girl and was here despite her efforts to get rid of.

I was looked after nannies or Ayahs as they are called in India, they were two of them to look after me round the clock, my parents didn’t have much time from their busy social life so they carried on ,occasionally they will look into see I was still around. But those Ayahs were ever changing ,they moved on I believe after few months, so there was no permanent figure in my life in those crucial years ,and I grew up to be a someone who needs a lot of reassurance and even one can say “needy’.

That is where the Attachment theory comes in.

My father was sent away at an early age to a prep school in Henley -on Thames , at the age of twelve to be precise. He was the youngest and the only son among five daughters. He was of course the apple of his mothers eye. My grandfather who was a stern man, to him education meant everything, he was a barrister in an Indian high court. He had high hopes for his son , so he sent him away to England. He wanted him to be away from the female influences of his sisters and my grandmothers. So much so that when my grandmother was taken ill and died , he didn’t inform my father as , at the time he was doing his exam. Father went back in summer holidays to find that his mother was no more ,and he also learnt that she has taken to bed since he was sent away and has never recovered, no one knew the actual cause of death. Grandfather remarried after a year or so and went on to have two more daughters.

I think this created such a void between father and son that my father never ever forgave his Dad. So much so that when he died my father didn’t go to his funeral or ever attended to his grave ,which remained in a very poor state.

In India, the parents live with their son, so my grandfather lived with us, but he remained mostly in his room, he developed cataract quite early and his sight detoriated. There were servants and his second wife who attended to him but he was mostly bed ridden as his eyesight was so poor. I have memories of me sitting by his bed and talking to him, but dont remember my father ever doing the same. Not just that, grandfather was a very prominent lawyer in the city, highly paid and extremely generous, at any given time there will be six to seven guests staying in that palatial house we lived in, all the poor relatives who will come asking for help and never leave.

I was very scared of my parents. They never showed any affection, never encouraged me but were very harsh critics of whatever I did. Until the age of seven or eight there was no talk of my schooling, my step grandmother taught me a bit of Arabic to read the Quran, but my parents never showed any interest in any of my development. I would see them now and then, their part of the house was always full with their friends and parties or they will be out, when I think back it was as if they were trying to forget they had a child.

The only constant figure in those days were my step grandmother and my step aunts. I used to spend my day playing and being with them, as I was the only child until the age of twelve when my sister was born,I had no other children to play with, besides most children went to school and had an structured day, where as I was at a loose end, the only contacts I had with was the servants, I would talk to them and play with their children and this used to annoy my mother immensely , she was so conscious of her or rather our social status that the thought of me playing with the children of the poor servants was unthinkable for her. But it never occurred to either of my parents that what else I should be doing with myself.

This has opened a pandoras box in my mind ,may be I will continue to write about this as am trying to find the background of the years my father spent in England ,to get a clue as to why he became so insensitive.

If anyone thinks I should then please leave a comment, or may be tell me to shut up!

7 replies to “Thinking Aloud

  1. I can so relate to this, Sabina, I didn’t grow up in the kind of environment you did, but I was an “unwanted child” from a “shot-gun marriage” when my mother got pregnant before marriage and was urged to marry to “make an honest woman” of herself. The marriage broke up before I was born, so I never, ever knew my father and my mother never let me know who he was. She made it clear I was not wanted, left me in the care of my maternal grandparents who brought me up 9nd gave me a very good upbringing) whilst mother went off to work and to socialise. All she would say to me was that my father never sent her any money to raise me, that I was a useless waste of space, and that (later, when I was 10 and she remarried) that I was lucky Ern (her new husband) took me on! No bonding with her, then, but I was very close to my gran and grandad. When gran died and I cried at the grave, mother just told me, in front of everyone, to pull myself together. No empathy!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, Sabina, this is heartbreaking stuff. Poor little girl, with parents but motherless and fatherless. Their neglect is unforgivable, whatever the circumstances of their marriage.
    I have a close friend who had wealthy but negligent parents. She describes herself as hard hearted. She never expected anything from her mother and father, and never received anything. She went on to have seven children, perhaps to make up for her childhood.
    Please go on writing. You express it so well!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s hard for those of us who love our children so much to understand how a parent could not love their child, but it’s clear it’s often to do with neglect they suffered as a child. So sad and I feel for you, but I agree with Allison and Harriet: keep on writing.

        Like

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