Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - FIRST PERSON -

AS MAUDE GREW OLDER she be­gan to test her fa­ther’s rules – us­ing two squares of lava­tory pa­per in­stead of one; es­cap­ing from her bed­room at night for lit­tle walks around the house and gar­den. When these weren’t dis­cov­ered her con­fi­dence be­gan to grow.

But it was her mu­si­cal tal­ent that of­fered her an es­cape. When she was 16, a new mu­sic teacher, Mon­sieur Molin, ar­rived. He was kind, un­der­stood what was hap­pen­ing, and per­suaded Maude’s fa­ther to let her visit his house for lessons and then to work in his mu­sic shop, where she met Richard. Her fa­ther al­lowed her to marry Richard when she was 18, pro­vided she di­vorce him in six months and re­turn to look af­ter him, which she didn’t do.

Maude had one child with Richard, and an­other child from a sub­se­quent re­la­tion­ship. She is now a psy­chother­a­pist spe­cial­is­ing in child trauma. ‘It has been more than 40 years since I left my child­hood home to get mar­ried,’ she says. ‘For a long time, I couldn’t talk about my past, to my hus­band or my friends. Not even to my ther­a­pists. Mostly, I was so happy to es­cape im­pris­on­ment that I had no de­sire to go back, not even in my thoughts. I went to see my par­ents every week with in­creas­ing dis­com­fort, tor­mented by the guilt of hav­ing aban­doned them.

‘As a young woman I had to learn the most ba­sic codes for life: talk­ing to strangers, find­ing my way in un­en­closed places, eat­ing in a restau­rant with friends. It may seem ob­vi­ous, but how do you eat, talk, drink, chew, re­ply and swal­low at the same time with­out drib­bling or chok­ing? I didn’t see a den­tist un­til I was 18, so my teeth were crum­bling, my gums full of ab­scesses, and my mas­sive al­co­hol in­take has ir­repara­bly dam­aged my liver.

‘Af­ter my fa­ther died in 1979 my body started to ex­press the suf­fer­ing with de­bil­i­tat­ing panic at­tacks and I re­alised I had to have some sort of ther­apy. My mother re­mains my fa­ther’s vic­tim and still be­lieves his the­o­ries, which is why we could never build a re­la­tion­ship. To­day, we are barely in touch, but I hope one day that will change.

‘My mu­sic teacher Mon­sieur Molin was a man of in­fi­nite good­ness who saw beauty in ev­ery­thing. He was the ex­act op­po­site of my fa­ther and proof that my fa­ther was wrong.’

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