No one wants to believe families can do this to each other…

This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of freedomtochoose freedomtochoose 9 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #42113
    Profile photo of Alone Alone 
    Participant

    Since I found myself temporarily unable to log in to the site, I have been internalising things a lot, and I am still working six days a week (sometimes both jobs in one day) and I find myself suffering from stress and exhaustion. I am shocked at some of the physical ways stress can affect a person – it really blows my mind when I get a new symptom and find out it’s caused by stress. (One of these will probably come up more specifically in a bit)

    Well I guess I should give a bit of background info, as I can’t expect people to remember me, or have my situation at the forefront of your minds! I grew up with a mum that – I really hesitate to say abused me, the stuff bouncing around my head is overcomplicating my thoughts on that! But as some here will recall, the biggest event between us was that when I was being bullied at work (weekly hours dramatically dropped to just a single figure a week) I was unable to pay my family money towards the home, and couldn’t afford to feed myself. My mum started telling my family lies about me, including that I was so rich I’d actually retired! (and no, I am nowhere near retirement age, and haven’t even been part of the workforce long enough to have reach double figures in years at work!) and she made me homeless, and based on that and years of other lies about me, my entire family disowned me, and refused to help.

    It took a while, but I started to get things back on track. I got my second job and finally resolved things with my company that I was being bullied in. Which was originally why I started working six days a week, to try to put together some savings, in order to never end up in such a position again. When I was homeless I started calling organisations, speaking to the council, and went to my GP and reported the abuse. I was refused housing, told I wasn’t entitled and was just generally disbelieved that a mother would treat her own daughter like that. It had taken me years to accept that’s what it was – and these people didn’t believe me at all. Of course a couple of them acted professionally, and would give me paperwork and information, but the one that really got to me was my doctor’s obvious disbelief. The way he responded really offended me, and I cried the entire day. That was the same day I became homeless. Kick a girl when she’s down!

    So I started to get back on my feet, was working hard, I was going to do it all myself and was so proud and my confidence was rising, even though I was back living with my family. It felt like it couldn’t touch me anymore, because I knew what I was doing, I had a plan.

    Then one morning I woke up and found my mother dead in her bed.

    I was the one that sprang into action and tried to revive her, despite the fact it was clearly too late. I just had to try.

    So for months afterwards, I felt like I was living in a dream…well a fog really. I went back to work the day after she died, but didn’t go back to working six days until the funeral and everything was sorted. I don’t think that was a conscious decision, I think I’ve been on some kind of autopilot where I don’t know what to do other than keep going. I was also told I was suffering from shock.

    I think working so much allows me to pretend it hasn’t happened; I get entire blocks of time where I forget completely. Then something triggers it and it’s a shock. And obviously I’m so busy that I very rarely even take the time to consider my relationship with her.

    So now I’m still in the same place, living with a relative. This relative got the tenancy, and this is where things get complicated.

    With my mum, it was clear there was some kind of mental illness. I think it was suggested she suffered with depression at one point, but this was when I was very young, so I don’t know whether there was ever a full diagnosis. It was like anything that went wrong in life needed to blamed on someone, and that was me. I was the enemy, and everything I said and did was twisted to be a deliberate attempt to hurt her, or get one over on her.

    That reminds me of something I saw online recently, obviously I am questioning whether it was really abuse and feel like I’m rewriting history in my head just to have better memories to make it easier to grieve (not that it’s ever easy!), but online a woman had posted texts between her and her abusive partner who she had left years previously. The texts were SO similar to conversations between me and my mum that it shocked me. And to read the responses people were posting to it, that it was horrific and good she’s out etc… well that was shocking for me, because those texts represented my ‘normal’. It’s difficult to get my head around.

    So anyway, this relative I live with, was here the whole time everything was happening. I thought that he was just on the sidelines, not helping or defending me because he was afraid of being targeted next. I thought he was too much of a wimp to get involved.

    Well his actions since have me questioning absolutely everything. I can’t believe the lies – he lies about absolutely everything! And I can clearly see him gaslighting me – where he changes one part of a story about things that I’m being blamed for. The story changes a little each time it’s repeated, until I’m so confused that I can’t even remember what originally happened. On these occasions I end up somewhere in tears, telling myself over and over that I can’t go through this again, I can’t!

    He refuses outright to help with housework. I am still living out of boxes and he won’t allow my mum’s stuff to be touched. At first I was getting up at 5am every day and doing a massive clean of everything, and by the time I came home from work it was all messed up again. He won’t wipe a counter, pick up anything he drops etc. Someone advised me not to do it, that he would eventually start helping. They were wrong. The place is now absolutely disgusting, and I am ashamed. A bin liner lives in the middle of the floor, as he refuses to empty an actual bin. Now that I’m not cleaning up after him, it’s just not done. I am too ashamed to go into much more detail. The room I live in has become very damp, and there is mould growing on the ceiling. I am not the tenant, so only he can report it and get help. He refuses. I wouldn’t want to even if I could, because of the state of the place.

    I have developed a problem with my nose, which I am told can happen due to stress, apparently there are nerve endings in your nose and they tear or something… I can’t remember exactly, but my nose is sore and full of cuts and scabs. And no, I do not take any kind of drugs! But then there’s that part of me that thinks, but what if it isn’t stress, but is actually my living situation? It could be the damp and mould causing it, and I’m too ashamed to admit to anyone what is going on. I wasn’t believed before, so why would anyone believe me now?

    I keep begging to sort the place, but this is difficult as of course I don’t want to go through my mum’s stuff. I don’t want to throw her stuff away, but we need to do SOMETHING. I can’t keep asking him for long though, as I feel incredibly guilty, like I am betraying my mum, and as if it makes the things she used to accuse me of seem true. I am not trying to get rid of her, I am not trying to erase her, I just need to have a healthy home…

    So building on the lies my mum started about me to other relatives, the one I live with has told them I’m the one refusing to clean! Me! I looked in his room recently, and the dust is so bad that it dangles from the ceiling like streamers! I’m horrified! I have a text message from him, saying that he is going to ask certain people to back him up as witnesses that it is me making things this way. That he will do that and get me removed from the home if I keep speaking about it. I also have an email from him, a copy of information he got from Shelter, detailing that family members can ask another to leave a home.

    I find myself questioning everything, I don’t understand this, how has the person I considered an innocent bystander become the abuser? It really has me wondering whether he was actually behind it all the time, whether he fuelled what my mum was saying and doing to me… I don’t know what to think at all!

    I consider going to my doctor about my nose, but if it’s not caused by stress then it’s not going to help. But as they didn’t believe me about my mum, how can I expect them to believe me that my relative is now doing it?

    I feel trapped.

    So I came up with a plan of action a little while back, that I was going to take a few months unpaid leave from one job, I have even spoken to them about it and I just have to submit the paperwork. They can see I am exhausted. But I would need the other job to adapt my hours and work pattern so that I could still support myself financially. I keep putting off this conversation as all the above is in my head and I don’t know how or what to tell them to gain enough understanding to get the help I need.

    Originally I thought doing this would allow me to sleep, and to stop long enough to try to process my thoughts, and even look into counselling if I decided I needed that kind of help. I just don’t have the time for anything like that with only one day off, which is spent doing washing, shopping, running errands etc. I thought this would give me time to sort out the home, and try to get some of my health back!

    But now I am doubting that.. this relative is not going to help me. I can’t sort the flat without his help, and his permission to touch my mum’s stuff, which will obviously be extremely difficult to do under any circumstances! So I’m questioning whether taking time off will actually achieve anything at all. I can’t unpack my boxes unless he allows me to place my things in other rooms. I cannot start cleaning up after him every day again.

    I’m lost. I don’t know what to do, and one of my employers in particular is waiting for me to say I feel ready to progress there, but while all this is going on and I am suffering from stress and exhaustion and declining health, I just can’t. I don’t know what to tell them, so I just tell them nothing. And keep everything going, because I just don’t know what else to do.

    I really don’t.

    I have absolutely no one to talk to, no one around me knows my past with my mum, or my situation with the relative I live with, so if anyone notices something I just say I am tired from working so much and still struggling with the loss of my mum, as I haven’t given myself any time to deal with it. I get moments where it builds up and the need to blurt it all out becomes so strong… but so far I have managed not to. It’s just so hard.

    I feel so lost. I feel so ashamed.

    And I have to get ready for work

    🙁

    Thank you for reading, I have been needing to let this out and not having access here was quite difficult!

  • #42115
    Profile photo of Escaped not free Escaped not free 
    Participant

    Oh honey.
    My heart goes out to you. You are on autopilot and I think a bit dissociated from what’s happening here. Work has become your normal place where u escape which I relate to totally.

    I’m going to give you one piece of advice and please please please take it. Get out. Don’t converse with him about it. If he goes out plan if for then so no conversation is needed. It’s not worth you holding on to this place. You are too emerged in toxicity to see how bad it is. You need a safe place of your own. If that’s a one room bedsit…which I have done before then it’s worth it to leave in the morning and come home to peace and safety. Until you are out and having no contact with these people you are not going to know who you are or how to be you. Please get out. If it seems to much to do then write down the steps in tiny tiny stages. Get on a website. Go for a viewing. Box up some of your stuff. All the other stuff, your mothers, can wait. Small things of sentimental value take with u when u go and step away from the rest.
    Get out. You have a chance to help yourself here. Get out of there please. You only have you to think of, no children, you need to be the parent to you. Imagine what a caring mum or big sister would want for a girl in this position and be that person for yourself. Put your focus on taking the tiny steps one after another to get out. Get in touch with your local women’s aid or adult social services or citizens advice if the practical side is too overwhelming. Get yourself out. Please. Sending you love and hugs and hopefully some strength to leave. X*x

  • #42203
    Profile photo of Alone Alone 
    Participant

    Hi, thank you for the reply!

    I’m really not sure how to respond, to be honest with you! I like what you said about being a parent to myself, and thinking of what caring relatives would want for me. I used to do something similar; where I would imagine a friend was going through things I was, and the advice I would give them. I haven’t had any friends in my life for a while now, so it’s not as easy as it once was to use that method!

    Regarding moving, I do think there is an element of me hanging on, especially with my concerns of becoming homeless again. Staying is definitely a cheaper option, particularly as I live in an area that has a reputation for high costs of living! Despite working so much, I earn less than four figures a month, and as I’m trying to work out how to reduce my hours, I’m not sure yet what my finances will be in the near future.

    I am so exhausted today that my head is pounding.. I had a situation at work very recently where I was so worn out that my mind went blank, and I didn’t know what I was doing. I was attempting to complete a very simple, basic task! But I just couldn’t hold the information in my head long enough to get it done. I felt anxious and very close to tears, someone at a lower level than me had to come over and break the task down for me and talk me through it. I was embarrassed, and distressed about it!

    I can’t go on like this, the exhaustion is affecting me in so many ways but I don’t want to lose my job, and if one of my colleagues was in this position I would tell them to be honest with the managers, tell them what they are going through and what they need, and I would offer to support or mentor them. But I can’t take my own advice. Experience has taught me that I need to do things for myself and involve no one, but that’s causing me to go around in circles, on autopilot and puts everything I am afraid of losing at risk! And I’ve now got another physical symptom that someone told me they also suffered from when overworking, and that they were told it would become a permanent issue if not dealt with. I feel like I don’t know how to stop.

    I came home and the relative I live with made a very nasty, untrue comment towards me and I always just have to take it, if I try to respond it just gets worse and he always wins! I just want to scream!

    I haven’t got work today, but I can’t rest as I’ve got to go through documents and paperwork that I need in order to apply for a change to my work pattern. It will be ten days until I have time off again…

    I barely slept last night as I was having one dream after another about my mum, in some she was alive, in others she was gone, in one I was homeless and being chased and arrested for trying to sleep in an abandoned building. In a half awake state I could feel myself crying in my sleep.

    I really feel ashamed of myself.

    x

  • #44952
    Profile photo of anna anna 
    Participant

    Hi alone,
    wow you have been through a lot. Firstly I am sorry to hear about your mum. Even though she was abusive it would still have been shocking and upsetting to find her in bed. And we often still love our parents when they have been abusive. In fact we usually have various emotions towards them that seems to vary from day to day! it sounds very much that you are still in shock and grieving. All made harder by the nature of the relationship. And you talk about feeling ashamed so it sounds like their is misplaced guilt and blame toward yourself too.
    I would suggest if you can to make it a priority to get into a new place away from your uncle. He has no right to tell you that you cant sort your mothers things. But right now that is not worth the battle. And realistically even though you may want some things of your mothers to help with your grief they really are not items that would have come from a loving happy relationship with her so maybe it might be better to walk away from that. And if you feel responsible for the practical side of sorting your mothers things. Well as uncle is so keen to be in charge he can sort them.
    Right now its time to care for and honour yourself nurture ‘your inner child’. And be your own advocate.
    Ask for a different GP at your surgery. You are allowed to change what GP you are registered with if you are not happy. You could if you wished complain to the practice but that would be be stressful and not really achieve anything. ( i have learned since leaving my mum to choose my battles wisely and only do things that get me results and benefit me in a good way) Many years ago I was not believed by a mental health nurse when i told her about the severe abuse from my mum. She said right out that I would be in trouble if I was lying and visited my husband at our home to see if he would confirm what i was saying! it was dreadful so i totally understand how you feel. See the GP about your nose though as whether it is stress or damp/mould in the house, it still needs treating.
    So really work toward getting out as the previous poster said its just not worth it being abused by your uncle. I am not surprised in the least uncle is doing this as its very regular for abuse to run in families as it is learned/conditioned behaviour.
    Would there be a possibility to pay for private therapy? To help process everything and give you support and someone to talk to? I would reccomend a properly trained and registered BACP therapist who is trained and familiar with Trauma. As its unlikely to get it on the NHS with lack of funding. If you contact your MIND organisation in the area where you live they often have greatly reduced private therapy sessions or at least they do in my area.

  • #46188
    Profile photo of Alone Alone 
    Participant

    I haven’t been online in a while, so have only just seen this message. Thank you for your words of support. I’m feeling really, really low today and so can’t respond clearly. Seeing your message has helped bring tears to the surface that were bubbling just underneath and driving me mad!

    xx

  • #46189
    Profile photo of lover of no contact lover of no contact 
    Participant

    Hi alone,

    please share your thoughts and feelings if it helps. We are here for you. You have been through so much and living with your sibling who is difficult along with working so many hours is so hard for you.

    Keep posting for support and a call to Women’s Aid will help also. Gather as many supports around you as you can. Abuse is impossible to process, heal from or get away from on our own. We all need the strength of all the ladies on here.

    Its good you posted.

  • #54864
    Profile photo of freedomtochoose freedomtochoose 
    Participant

    Hello there,
    I logged on today as I am likewise dealing with the aftermath of things close relatives did which really were the ultimate betrayal for me emotionally.

    I am so sorry to hear about what you went through and how you suffered, are suffering.

    I am familiar with those times in life in the past few years when I kind of ‘blanked out’ for a period of time – I was physically there, and capable of doing routine things – but looking back my brain must have gone into a protective state. And although it sounds strange I kind of accept now that is what my brain did that was a useful and helpful thing to do, at the time.

    Sometimes what helped were routine things, and stuff like gardening. Sometimes when I get a great deal of emotional pain – I make bread. At least then I when I’m finished there is a lovely smell and something good to eat. I try not to focus on all the things that are not right or need doing.

    I’m so sorry about what you experienced with your mum. I have recently been in a space where I saw mine and one of my sibligs recently and it was extremely difficult – simply because with both I just don’t trust them after everything that has gone down. And that is still shocking for me – being a mother myself – that I hope my own child will never be in that situation. It is truly awful – to find that one of your first and supposedly most important relationships in life – is so dysfunctional that it does not provide the comfort it should.

    I think too, that as someone has said – being a mother to yourself is one way forward. For me that is something i still need to learn how to do.

    I’ve not experienced obviously what you have, but I’ve certainly had moments when I’ve shared my story with a professional – or person who is supposed to be trained – or even someone I thought I could trust, like someone from my place of worship – and I’ve mentioned a few details of my story and met with a jaw drop. I think it is so awful to be met with that sort of reaction.

    I feel it is important on this forum that we talk about what close relatives have done – in the aftermath of domestic emotional abuse and coercive control as it can wreak such havoc and upset in our lives.

    This week I have put distance between them and us – distance between some members of my birth family. This seems to be one way forward.

    I wish you all the very best in finding a new place and thank you for sharing.

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