My mother had an aversion to relaxation. Probably because any form of stillness left her alone with her thoughts for too long. But she'd tolerate the zoo.

Once when I was a kid, my family went on holiday. My sisters and I wanted to have a day away from the farm we were camping at to take a trip to a safari park (or “drive through zoo”). So my mother agreed, but only on the condition that we had to go to an open-air museum afterwards.

My mother had an aversion to relaxation. Probably because any form of stillness left her alone with her thoughts and feelings for too long. She hated films, music, and fun fairs so we rarely got to enjoy any of them. But she could tolerate the zoo.

While we were there, she gave us sketchpads and pencils so we could sit down and draw the animals. But it wasn’t just for fun. She was an art teacher at a local school so whenever I drew it was a chance to tell me all the ways I was doing something wrong.

I love drawing so it wasn’t too much of a punishment to send me anywhere with a sketchpad and pencils. But she had to make it into a teachable moment. It would have been nice if it was simply an opportunity to spend time together. After all, what little girl doesn’t just want to hang out with her mom!

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Mags

Mags

Having gained experience while working for a variety of European non-profits, I am proud to now work with SwanWaters. My connection with the website is not only professional. I am glad to tap into my personal experiences to help those who are living in toxic relationships whether with parents, partners or in their professional life. We need to make the world more aware of the devastating effects of emotional abuse and help more people on their way to heal and thrive.

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