From an abusive relationship to familial abuse

This topic contains 4 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of SunshineRainflower SunshineRainflower 3 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #63745
    Profile photo of SunshineRainflower SunshineRainflower 
    Participant

    Hi everyone,

    I arrived at this forum last year after leaving an abusive relationship and found everyone really helpful. Over the past year I have been working on slowly rebuilding my life with slowly being the operative word! I don’t get as many problems with PTSD now and have been volunteering, meeting some new people, walking, yoga and doing my hobbies as well as looking after myself and my awesome cat. However there has always been this issue of my family looming over me. When I rang the helpline last year and told them about my ex, I expected them to tell me not to worry and that it wasn’t abuse but they said it was all serious illegal abuse and in particular coercive control. At the time I remember thinking ‘but my brother and family have behaved like this towards me my whole life’ which was why I didn’t ‘see’ the abuse from my ex because it seemed totally normal to me.

    I’ve tried to push it away all year because I am still financially dependent on my parents. Last year I was living with them and they suddenly decided to sell their house. I had a really stressful few months trying to find somewhere when I had no job (I have had difficulty holding down work due to depression and anxiety). They acted really bizarre during this time like sending me a lot of ‘accidental’ texts and leaving things in my room then denying anyone had been in there (gaslighting) and moving or throwing out my things as well as implying I was bad/wrong and incapable. I had to start speaking to them again during the house sale and then they went back to ‘being supportive’ and I found a private rental place which they help me with.

    Over the past year I’ve tried to learn about boundaries and maintain a boundaried relationship with them but there have been a few bizarre incidents which suddenly made me feel v distressed and question everything about them. Another issue is that my dad makes me uncomfortable, for the last few years at least I noticed that he would look at my body and I now always wear baggy clothes if I know he’ll be there. He just gives me this yucky feeling. It’s so awful because for years I always thought I had a really good family. I’m not sure if this was going on the whole time and I didn’t realise or whether as they’ve got older they’ve got stranger.

    I finally rang the helpline again this week to ask their opinion and the lady said it was emotional abuse and a pattern of controlling behaviour. She suggested I apply again to the council for a council house but to be honest this is the last thing I want to do. I tried that last year and the only places I was eligible for were the most grim depressing places in the worst areas and they didn’t allow any pets, when my cat is the only reason I didn’t kill myself over the past year.

    I want to work again and be able to support myself instead, mainly because I already feel trapped on benefits to a certain extent and don’t want to go further down that road. I’m educated and conscientious and never expected to ever be on benefits let alone for this amount of time. Throughout all of this I’ve continued to work without payment on a self employed venture but it is not something that will support me anytime soon which is sad because I absolutely love it. I worked out a budget this week and know what salary I’d need to live on, I just now need to find an employer and a job I don’t hate or preferably enjoy that will pay that salary for work that doesn’t make me have a mental health relapse – I really need to only work part time to give me space to look after myself and not go crazy so somehow need to find a well paying pro rata job.

    I wanted to write on here again to get some support going forward. I want to find work and support myself to get out of this nightmare of being dependent on others and at their mercy or being on benefits. My mum seems incredibly supportive for months but then always seems to have this knack of inflicting some sort of sudden emotional cruelty on me when I’m least expecting it. They’ve always said things like ‘it’s only because we love you’ after such cruelties. Nothing is ever their fault and they are always right in their eyes. I remember this growing up, they’d often suddenly deny me and my brother of something or offer my toys to visiting friends in front of me.

    I feel nervous at the moment because I haven’t seen them in a while and know my mum will start texting and acting suspicious wondering why I’m not texting to arrange to see them. Like the woman on the helpline said, their support is conditional – as long as I do what they say and allow myself to be controlled they will pay for everything and support me. It’s like being trapped in a gilded cage for want of a better phrase (not that I live in a palace or anything at all but it’s certainly a lot nicer than some of the council properties I was eligible for last year, the thought of which make me feel ill. I know some areas in the country have good social housing but unfortunately my area does not hence my fear about it).

    Please help! Help me to believe in myself, I know I can do this I just have so much fear and anxiety about it.

  • #63769
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 
    Participant

    There are part time well paid jobs out there (although I can’t promise you will love them). I have one because my disabilities stop me working full time. My boss is difficult to work with, but I enjoy the job. And my brother, who lives in another part of the country just got a part time job which is well paid enough to allow him to go back to uni and do a master’s degree in the time he is not at work. I know it can seem like the holy grail sometimes, but these roles do show up.

    Might it be possible to get a housing association house rather than a straight council one? Not sure if they are a thing in your area, but they are common in mine, charge reasonable rent and will accept social security payment if you are on benefits. Where I am they tend to be nicer (and newer) than the council houses.

  • #63771
    Profile photo of SunshineRainflower SunshineRainflower 
    Participant

    Thank you Tiffany. I did twice in the past have well paid part time jobs but both were sadly temporary. But like you said they do exist.

    My plan is to make a list of 100 employers then send out tailored speculative applications. Because I have had no luck with applying for advertised jobs since being out of work (I always used to get interviews from them but I’m not ‘mainstream’ enough anymore and have too many gaps on my CV due to depression to get through all those tick boxes.)

    I feel like I need to aim high, believe in myself and not give up. In the past I just sort of gave up after not getting interviews for months esp as my mum kept discouraging me from working. I thought maybe she was right but now I fear it was to reduce my power and independence to keep control although the whole thing still makes my head spin and I often feel crazy and guilty for thinking all of this.

    Unfortunately the housing association places are grouped in with the council places here. I’m in a city so demand is v high. The council said it’d be 5 years before I got a council flat or HA place.

  • #63773
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 
    Participant

    You might as well put yourself on the list. If it works like my last city you put in bids on properties you are interest in and then get them or not depending on a points system and who else has applied. So you wouldn’t end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. I hope your place operates something similar! And if you got a job and didn’t need it you just wouldn’t apply for any houses.

  • #63786
    Profile photo of SunshineRainflower SunshineRainflower 
    Participant

    I’m already on the list. But what worried me was how they never show photos of the property inside so it could be damp etc, but you’re only allowed 1-2 refusals I believe then you get some kind of penalty. I don’t think this is fair since you have no idea about the flat apart from what it looks like from the outside. Seems crazy to me they do this.

    The other issue is having a cat I need either a small house, bungalow or ground floor flat but I’m not eligible for these properties as they’re usually reserved for the elderly or physically disabled. The whole thing felt like a nightmare to me. I’d just prefer to work if I can find something then be able to afford where I currently live. My parents have also offered to help me buy a house but I’m nervous about trying this in case they suddenly change their mind.

    I wish I could just live off my self employed venture and buy a cottage in the countryside. And somehow break free of their control.

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