Archive for the 'Family' Category

Ashamed, Frightened – No Way Out!

I have been a stepmother now for nearly 7 years and I have to say it has never been an easy path.  First I was accused of being the “other woman” – I wasn’t!  Then I was accused of trying to do “too much” for my stepson because I wanted to attend parents’ evening at school.

I’m the one who has to pick him up from school and care for him when he’s sick, not his mother – she’s “too busy” at work.  I’m the one who has to speak to the teachers when he gets bullied and now that I’m at stay at home mum to my own babies I have to look after him during the school holidays because Mum is too busy with work/going away etc etc.  Notice a pattern yet?

Unfortunately, as my stepson has grown up (nearly 10 now) our relationship has become more and more strained as he seems to turn into his mother more and more each day.  He is the laziest peson I know and always has been, the only person he ever thinks about is himself.  He gives me the dirtiest of looks if I speak to him, he shows no interest in his younger siblings other than to tell them what they can and can’t do and I have to say that I resent having to spend time with him.  I feel totally ashamed to say it, that’s why I’m placing this post on an anonymous site because I don’t feel I can talk to anyone about it who knows me. 

I have always prided myself on being really good with children and being a good mum.  I consider myself to be a caring person but sometimes there are people that you just don’t gel with and I hate to say it but my stepson is one of those people.  We just seem to clash on just about everything.  Sometimes I think it’s just because of his age and he’s probably being no different with me than he is with his own Mum but then I feel guilty for feeling the way that I do about him.  Would I feel differently about his behaviour if he were my own?  I sometimes find myself telling my daughter off for something really petty just because I’m mad at him but don’t want to be accused of picking on him and I know that’s not fair on her.  When he isn’t with us our house is a very happy place, we all get on well and have lots of fun but the minute he sets foot in the house, arguments break out, the house becomes a mess and the air can be cut with a knife.  I can’t talk to my husband about it because he is his son and I would expect him to back him up even though he has said himself that he finds him hard work, then I take the opposite foot and feel cross with my husband that he isn’t supporting his son more.

I am due to give birth in a couple of months’ time to my first baby boy.  If he is more than a couple of days late he will be the same birth sign as my stepson and I’m scared to death that I will have the same relationship with him.  Of all the star sign, my stepson is the one that I clash with and I’m so frightened that my own little boy will be the same.  What if I can’t get on with my own son, I feel like a complete failure and there is nothing that I can do about it.  I love my husband dearly and our family life, his son isn’t going anywhere so I just have to live with it but its tearing me up inside.

This is my story

Where do I start? I could talk about the physical abuse I suffered at the hands of my own family or the sexual abuse I suffered as a teenage girl by someone I trusted. Reading back on my life it sounds like something you would find in those woman real story magazines. This isn’t just any women’s story, this is my story.

 I often got smacked about by my own Father who most the time was drunk , the tiniest thing would set him off. If I said I was going to phone the police he would hit me again. The flashbacks are hard to deal with , the thought of me cowering in the corner of my room whilst my Father raised his hand I just cant get out of my head. My brother got in on this abuse as both me & him got older. It’s true what they say like father like son. So when my Father wasn’t around I had my own brother to fear. He had different issues to my Father , he liked to threaten me with knifes and scissors. I was in the back room trying to escape from his violence, he stabbed at the door but that wasn’t anything new. All the doors in the house had holes in from where he had stabbed it or punched it. Oh how I wish I was stronger back then to speak up and tell somebody, but how would anyone believe such a loving and caring family would be capable of this? That is what people saw from the outside in. No one ever believed anything I said.

The sexual abuse happened at a youth club (I wont reveal its real name) I used to attend , I was 13 at the time so having a older man interested in me was flattering at the time. He bought me credit for my phone , paid for me to go on the various trips that my parents wouldn’t pay for and gave me lifts to and from the club. At the time I didn’t know what he was trying to do , how was I to know what he was doing was grooming me?

The first time something happened was on a camping trip , I left my tent to go to the toilets and he was there. That’s when it first happened and of course at the age of 13 I was not aware of what actually happened, back then I was innocent until of course he stole my innocence off me. Of course it was to be my little secret , that’s what he told me. I wont beat myself up thinking about why I didn’t tell somebody/run away.

Of course I carried on going , it was 2 nights a week I didn’t have to be at home.

It carried on in secret , he would single me out often to do stuff with him like clean out the stores. He never raped me but I always thought he was going too , and like everything else at the time I would not of known it was rape.

We got caught at another camp , he sent me a text message whilst I was using someone else’s phone it told me the place I was to meet to him. The messages had stored to this someone else’s phone, they saw and confronted us both but she wasn’t confronting us both. She was confronting him , he was meant to be her ‘secret’ boyfriend. She was 15 and later I found out she was having sex with him but she never admitted to it.

All of it finally can out in the open when some girls got suspicious as they saw me meet him around the corner for my lifts home. They hacked into my messenger account where they talked to him and found out what happened , after they told me that they knew I went to someone high up in the club who was also a Mother. I don’t know why I didn’t go to her sooner. I told her everything , she listened and then called the police.

 I will never forget the time the police came around and sat me down and helped to tell my parents what had happened. At the time it was embarrassing, I cried for weeks on end. I had to talk about it and when I say talk about it I had to give the intimate details. It was a truly horrifying experience. I never had to go to court Thank God , By now I was starting to know the ways of the world and I saw/read stories of worse things that have happened to girls my age. The last I heard he was put on the sex offenders list and was not allowed to work with children ever again.

I saw psychologists these came at the same time I hit the depression/suicidal route. This past has been dealt with and I have moved on, I used to think I was damaged goods until I saw sense and realised that the people who committed these horrendous crimes towards me were damaged. I never had any control of my childhood , mentally I have deleted all of my life before the age of 18.

Writing for me has been a therapy outlet , If there’s something I want to get off my chest I just write it down. Even if I don’t hit that publish button I feel like I’ve released a part of me. A bad part of me that just shouldn’t be locked anywhere and not told to anyone. I experienced so much and at such a young age , please don’t feel sorry for me. If anything it has taught me to be the person I am now. I am thankful for what I have now.

My life begins today.

Domestic Violence

I have been wanting to write this post for a very long time but it’s hard to write for many reasons. One reason is that my family read my blog and I know that this would upset some of them so I haven’t put it down in words, but I think it will be good for me to share.

When I was 6 my mum left my dad for another man, we came home from school one day and all our things where packed and we were buddled into a car and taken to a new life. Me and my sister didn’t know what was happening but we pretended it was a great adventure and it would all be OK.

My step-dad was really nice to start with but he wasn’t used to children and had a nasty temper especially when he had a drink in him. He would hit us and our mum, he scared the life out of us but we never told anyone not even our dad.

My mum has two more children with him, I can’t remember him hitting them only when they were ‘naughty’ but he often hit me and my mum, he picked on us the most.

He was worse when he was drunk, I saw him try to strangle my mum on many occasions and we learnt as we got older to hide the knives (he was a butcher) when the arguments started.

He didn’t just abuse us physically he was really good at emotional abuse, he would tell me I was fat and threaten to send us to the ‘naughty girls’ school if we misbehaved, we were terrified. I remember once dropping and breaking a plate and I started sobbing and having hysterics because I thought he would hit me.

My mum stayed with him for 8 years and they were horrendous, I know we should have told someone but we were scared he would kill my mum. There is a part of me that hates my mum for putting us in that situation, on their first date he hit her and yet she still left my Dad for him and put us in the violent home environment.

We don’t talk about it, my younger siblings can’t really remember their dad being like that and my sister only remembers a little bit of it, but I remember it all and find it really hard to be around him.

I find it hard to trust men; actually I find it hard to trust anyone, my childhood went from bad to worse and sometimes I really struggle with it. I have nightmares and often suffer with insomnia, l also have bouts of depression. I don’t talk about it and it eats away inside, I feel bitter and twisted.

The one bright spot in my life is my daughter who makes it all worthwhile and I know I will try my hardest to make sure her life is a happy one.

I Don’t Trust Him

We are staying at the in-laws’ this week, and last night, my husband
and I had to broach an awkward topic. The reason we’re here this week
is because on Saturday we’re going to a wedding, without the babies
(now ten months old). This will be the first time we’ve left them
overnight in the care of someone other than one of us.

I trust my MIL and FIL completely, hence we are happy to hand over
care to them. But my SIL has a new boyfriend, who is coming to meet
the family for the first time on Saturday, and this is the cause of
some misgivings on my part.

None of us have met the boyfriend before, and I have now realised that
I won’t get to meet him before we have to leave the babies to make our
way to the wedding. He will be staying overnight in the house. We felt
the need to ask my husband’s parents to be cautious and not to leave
him alone with the babies. And my distrust of this person has made me
feel uncomfortable about myself.

Am I being too judgemental? Has society made us look at everyone with
suspicion? I have always been a very open person, but my maternal
instincts are strong, and I can feel my fur bristling, ready to defend
my babies.

I’d like to say that I’d feel on my guard about any stranger spending
time with my babies, but there are certain bits of information about
the boyfriend that ring alarm bells. He’s 40, has never been married,
and is, by all accounts, a bit of a loner. He doesn’t have his own
home, and has only been seeing my SIL for a few months. I’m ashamed of
myself to be questioning his motives and to be judging an innocent
person so harshly.

Have I become narrow-minded and paranoid? Or am I right to be wary?
How would you approach the situation without causing offence (or at
least causing the minimum amount of offence possible)? Have you had to
negotiate a similar situation in the past?

All advice would be very welcome.

The Outlaws

I made a terrible mistake a couple of weeks ago, not one that will be forgiven easily, but one that is so easy to do.  I forgot that although I do not use our names my blog is not anonymous.  They is always a way so someone to find out and also I post pictures of us on the blog, so really should have known better.

I blogged about an incident with my mother in law and it has come back to bite me and mine on the backside.  So let this be a lesson to you all.

The hardest thing about all of this is it is not me that has or is suffering, but my husband.  Yes he is angry at me for “washing our dirty laundry in public”, but more than that he is angry, upset and in fact devastated by the betrayal of his brother.

You see his brother told his parents about the post and didn’t even have the courtesy to warn him.  Oh yes we got a phone call about 3 minutes before the one from his mother, but that was telling him to rein in his wife!

I feel terrible, I have never had the best of relationship with his mother or brother, but I have always put up and shut up, so as not to cause any discomfort or disquiet.  My husband knows this and in some ways I think is thankful for it, but this is something else.

We were threatened with libel, sue their own son, what does that say to the wider world?

I understand the pain I have caused, if I knew that MIL was reading I would never have written, well I would, but I never would have published.  Writing is my way of processing things, of event and emotions of getting it all out of my system.

So let this be a word of warning to you all, unless you are very, very careful, you are not just words on a laptop or PC screen, these words have power, more power than you could imagine.  So harness them, use them for all the right reasons and I hope with all my heart that you do not get caught out like I did.

To My Mother

The summer I turned 18, I came home from college and moved into my old bedroom. I was working in a bar, I had a boyfriend who played in a band, I had friends. I was living the life I always wanted. The life I dreamed about through my early teenage years in a provincial Yorkshire town.

I was a bit full of myself. I thought I knew more than I did. About life, about men, about everything. I recognise it now, when I see undergraduates, with their slightly-too-loud, self-consciously intellectual conversations on trains, their self-conscious drags on Camel Light cigarettes. They know it all, masters of the universe in waiting.

So, when I came home late that night, and you were discussing a fight you’d seen in the pub, I didn’t think twice about saying that violence didn’t impress me, I was probably just parroting something I’d read or heard someone else say. Actually, violence terrifies me. Makes me feel sick. Always has, always will.

It was a stupid thing to say, but the backhander I got from your husband still came as a shock. When people say something is like a slap in the face, I don’t think they really know what they’re saying. When you’re slapped, really slapped, you stumble, try to keep your footing, confusion clouds your mind while you try to work out what just happened. And that’s before it starts to hurt.

I was still trying to find something to hold on to, to keep myself steady when I found myself on the floor, him standing over me, shouting curses, making threats. You threw your body over mine, there was screaming, I can’t remember if it was you or me. And he was raining blows on us, kicking and shouting. “I’ll show you violence, I know what violence is.”

You found your feet first, which is why it was your throat he closed his hands around, pinning you to the wall and demanding, “Should I kill her? Would that impress you?”

It wasn’t the first time I’d seen him violent, but it was the first time he’d turned on you. That was new. You always imagine you’ll be courageous in that sort of situation, heroic, saying the right thing, standing up for what’s right. As it turned out, I just lost my voice. I could hardly breathe. I was so shocked. How did this happen? Within the space of 60 seconds, it had all gone wrong. An hour ago, I was in a wine bar with friends, smoking cigarettes and drinking damson wine from half-pint glasses.

I backed into the kitchen, praying I wouldn’t fall over. I wanted to run out of the back door, but I was too scared to turn around to look for the escape, and fearful that by the time I opened the bolt, he’d have got me. So instead, I fumbled on the worktop and picked up the biggest knife I could find. I waved it at him. I admit, I wanted to kill him. I wanted him to come for me, so I could kill him and we could finally be rid of him. I don’t think I’d ever felt such rage before.

Emboldened by my hate and anger, I found the breath to tell him to stay the fuck away from us. With my back to the wall, I eased past him towards the front door. You didn’t move. I opened the door, I dropped the knife and I ran. I didn’t look back.

The next night, he was in the pub where my boyfriend worked behind the bar. He leaned over the bar and said I could go home if I wanted; he’d decided not to kill me yet. He laughed. Big joke.

And that’s how history gets rewritten. In that moment, it became a tiff. A family row. Just one of those things. I’d been cheeky, I got what I deserved, I always was one for the big over-reaction. Drama queen. That’s me. 

It took me a while to fall into line. I went back to college without calling home. I stayed with my sister when I came home for Easter. You never called. The next time I heard from you was in May, when you called to make sure I’d be sending a Father’s Day card. Don’t worry about a present, you said, but a card would be polite. 

When I came home the next summer, I came to your house. I watched you standing in that kitchen, washing dishes at the counter where I’d fumbled for a knife a year earlier. You cried a little. You never cry; my heart went out to you. “I don’t want to lose you,” you said. “But I love him.” And there and then, in that moment when you chose him over me, my heart broke a little.

It’s strange but I started to believe the story in time. I provoked him. He wasn’t a bad man, really. He means well. It’s hard for a man to raise someone else’s children. If only I wasn’t so stroppy, so opinionated, so – me. I didn’t want to make life harder for you. So I tried very hard to bite my lip. Most of all, I learned to keep my eyes down when I came home and he had a drink in his hand.

Of course, 10 years on I have my own children. And reading those journals, I feel my heart break all over again. I look back on that moment in your kitchen, and I know what I should have said. I should have told you that a man who hurts your children isn’t a man worth loving. And that as much as I don’t understand what made him do the things he did, your choices will always be a complete mystery to me.

My Grandparents’ Secret

I wrote a post on my blog about my Grandad recently. But I didn’t write about my other Grandad: my Dad’s father.
 
I didn’t know him that well, I was nine when he died. He wasn’t very old when he passed away but years of ill health made him seem elderly. I can recall he had a shock of white hair and a walking stick. He didn’t say much.
 
After he died, my Grandma came to stay with us a lot. She lived 250 miles away and was lonely. She always got on well with her daughter-in-law, my Mum. During her stays with us she told Mum some things she hadn’t told anyone.
 
My Grandparents were married shortly before the Second World War. Grandpa served in the War, I don’t know what he did but he was away from home a lot like most men of his generation. During the War and afterwards their children were born.
 
Grandpa’s family were wealthy (I don’t know where the money ended up, not on our side of the family!) and apparently it was considered that he’d married beneath him. According to my Grandma the War changed him. Once returning from the War, he had a number of affairs which she knew about. Then he fell in love with another woman. A few weeks before my Dad was born, Grandpa told my Grandma he was leaving her. Devastating for her and even more shocking in 1950 than now.
 
Grandma was desperate. She already had young children. She’d never worked because most women of her generation didn’t. She was a housewife and Grandpa earnt the money. It was a very traditional household.
 
The family were religious. Grandma did the only thing she felt she could do. She told senior members of their Church about my Grandpa’s affair and how he was planning to leave her. Shortly after this he was taken to one side and told he must end his affair and be loyal to his wife for the rest of his life. I’m not sure what the threat was, maybe it was public humiliation or excommunication of some sort. Whatever it was, Grandma’s tactic worked. Grandpa left his mistress and stayed with his wife.
 
For the next 35 years my Grandparents stayed together in an unhappy marriage. And Grandpa sulked for the rest of his life. He hardly ever said a word to anyone. His ill health was probably brought on by years of unhappiness.
 
I feel sorry for my Grandma, she spent most of her life with a man she knew didn’t love her. I can understand why she did what she did. Being a single mum these days is hard enough, to have done it in the early fifties would have been extremely difficult. The social stigma would have been intolerable. And Grandma would have struggled to support herself. She’d had a limited education. She’d been groomed to be someone’s wife, never to work or be independent.
 
I feel sorry for my Grandpa too. Clearly the marriage wasn’t meant to work out. But in those days marriages were expected to last for life. He’d made a mistake and he’d fallen in love with someone else. Not ideal. But he was only human. He suffered for it. Both of my Grandparents suffered.
 
How different times were then and how lucky that these days women have a few more choices. It’s never easy when a family breaks down but at least we’re more accepting of it now. And there’s a bit more help.
 
I don’t know why my Mum told me this story. I don’t think she’s told many people. She didn’t tell my Dad because Grandma didn’t want him to know. My parents aren’t together any more. And my Dad still doesn’t know the truth behind his parents’ marriage. This is why I chose to publish this post here.
 

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