The most commonly felt and dominant feeling was fear. It was so normal I did not notice it until I became aware as an adult of the persistent knot in my stomach, gradually disappearing in my 30s
Fear was due to unpredictability of family life, always busy figuring out moods, watching and waiting for signs of an imminent “binge”, ”skite”, ”session”, ”feed of drink”, all words that fall so easily into “normal” drinking vocabulary. This was sure to happen at the w/e, Bank holidays, Christmas, post matches or other sporting celebrations often returning to our home with fellow drinkers and resulting invariably in noise, chaos, possible violence all the while oblivious to the fact that we were all asleep. From a very early age I kept a vigilant guard at my bedroom door slightly ajar awaiting an eruption.
I hated winter as the darkness went on for so long which seemed to prolong the misery of the night -it was as if the darkness enabled it to happen.
I felt safer in the summer brightness as my childhood assumption was that maybe it will remind them to stop as it is now day, it is bright.
When it all ended, my most treasured gift was a full night’s sleep.
The ongoing and underlying distress was the effect that all of this was having on my mother. I could see how tired, hurt, depressed, hopeless, terrified, lonely, embarrassed, ashamed, helpless she used to feel and I was dedicated to trying to make things better for her.
As a result I feel I never lived my childhood as freely and spontaneously as I was meant to.