Hearing Voices

I remember hearing voices as a small child.

I both adored and feared my Mother. She could be impulsive and critical, but she was also kind and craving affection and attention and respect as a human being just as much as I was.

As a child, I rejected her and she rejected me.

Her rejection came in the form of criticism, disapproval, disrespect, and scapegoating. I was terrified.

As I got older my rejection came in the form of impudence, disobedience, disrespect and defiance. She gave up on approving of me and started blaming me for a lot of the bad things that happened in our house.

It was a difficult dynamic.

We have a good relationship now. My job is to cheer her up, get her to exercise, remind her to do life affirming things, remind her of how needed she is, make suggestions that might improve her life, and buy her the things she won’t buy herself (that expensive tooth paste Sensodyne, for example).

She’s mellowed a lot over the years. She doesn’t have the stress of a mortgage at 18% interest or two small children demanding attention and affection any more. My Dad’s mellowed too. Their dynamic has improved. My dynamic has definitely improved with my Mum.

The first time I remember hearing voices was when I was a small child. I had used my Mother’s fruit knife for some kind of craft, and it had been sitting under a pile of stuff. This had prompted an enormous search in our house because she loved that knife. Nothing in our house ever got really tidy, but the mess did get shifted into more orderly mounds now and again.

Anyway, I found the knife under a pile of stuff, didn’t want to get in Big Trouble for being the one who used it and lost it, so I put it on top of the compost heap. I think my Mum’s voices must have sent her out there, because she found it and (quite fairly) blamed me, and I remember hearing that little whisper in my ear ‘That was you, wasn’t it?’

It was me. That’s true.

My Mother’s Mother (my Granny) was very disapproving and critical of my Mother. And my Mother felt that keenly. I feel like my Mother planned to have a relationship with me that was very different from the relationship she had with my Granny.  Then I disapproved or rejected her, and she became just as critical (and even more disapproving) than her own Mother.

I don’t know how to categorise this. I can analyse it well enough in many situations to try to avoid repeating this. My voices have helped me with this a lot. Often they teach me how to critically analyse things and point out my blind spots. It’s horrible in so many ways, it’s so uncomfortable, my heart opens up and I just weep, but it’s also very helpful to hear where I’m going wrong. It’s helpful to hear about things I would never think about but other people do.

It builds empathy. I just have to stop myself from trying to kill myself every time it gets overwhelming.