I admired her.
The first female Prime Minister in the UK. I aspired to be like her. To not let gender, define my success. But to defy it!
Yet her name was MUD in my household.
She was despised. Hated. Vilified.
Margret Thatcher was personally blamed for the financially instability of my family.
The Housing Act 1980 meant that many people were now able to buy the council house they had been renting at a discounted price. With 3 children and my dad being made redundant at Christmas, my parents were struggling to pay the mortgage, the bills were piling up, and here was this woman handing these people a home at a fraction of the cost of their private house.
I learned about anger, bitterness, jealousy, rage, hatred, depression, sadness, regret, and anxiety during that time.
I saw it firsthand. Etched on their faces. The worry lines deep. Dad’s hair changing silver almost overnight.
I heard conversations between my parents about the situation. I heard the arguments, the desperation in their voices, the fear as they tried to work out how to pay for food and bills. I heard the tempers lost as doors slammed and things got thrown out of pure frustration at the situation.
As months moved on. As our finances became more depleted.
I learned about free school meals and prejudice and how cruel children could be. How wearing secondhand clothes could make you a target of other peoples’ rage and hatred. And how other peoples’ actions could affect how you felt about yourself.
I also learned how adulthood was scary. And how even as a grown-up, you are not in control of your life sometimes.
I was petrified!
I did everything I could to make Mum and Dad’s life easier.
I didn’t dare tell them about anything bad that happened to me or any school trips or cooking classes that needed money.
I tried not to worry them. I kept myself to myself and kept quiet.
But I took it all in.
I learned a lot.
So, when I say I learned about emotions from Maggie, I did. I learned what behaviors they caused and what they felt like for me, and what they looked and sounded like in others.
If it hadn’t been for her, I probably would still have learned, but later.
But it wasn’t until years later that I could put names to the emotions I had encountered. And it took even longer to make sense of them.
At the time I didn’t understand them. I was scared and felt alone. And I felt that same way for a very, very long time.
There are better ways to learn about emotions.
There are better ways to deal with emotions SAFELY.
To be taught what they are as they occur, in the moment, by a parent, or someone else you trust feels so much safer.
Or to learn about them retrospectively in therapy within a safe, trusting therapeutic relationship.
Either way is good.
Not having a full emotional vocabulary and being stuck in a particular feeling pattern is painful and unnecessary.